Δευτέρα, 31 Αυγούστου 2015

STR Global: EMEA, Americas hotel results for July 2015


LONDON - The European hotel industry recorded positive results in the three key performance metrics when reported in Euro constant currency, according to July 2015 data compiled by STR Global.

Compared to July 2014, Europe reported a 5.1% increase in occupancy to 77.3%, an 8.0% increase in average daily rate to EUR117.70 and a 13.5% increase in revenue per available room to EUR90.93.

Performance of featured countries for July 2015 (local currency, year-over-year comparisons):
  • Austria reported a 4.7% increase in occupancy to 77.0% as well as double-digit growth in ADR (+13.5% to EUR93.20) and RevPAR (+18.8% to EUR71.79). Preliminary estimates from the Austrian Institute of Economic Research showed second-quarter GDP growth of 0.3% when compared to the previous quarter. Improvements in domestic demand and government consumption were cited as reasons.
  • The Czech Republic experienced double-digit increases in each of the three key performance metrics: occupancy (+12.8% to 82.3%), ADR (+15.3% to CZK1,883.42) and RevPAR (+30.1% to CZK1,549.45). GDP for the second quarter of 2015 increased year-over-year by 4.4%, according to a preliminary estimate from the Czech Statistical Office. Employment also was up 1.4% for the same period.
  • Germany saw a 3.2% increase in occupancy to 72.9%, a 5.2% rise in ADR to EUR90.24 and an 8.6% increase in RevPAR to EUR65.74. GDP growth for the second quarter of 2015 (+0.4%) fell just short of expectations, according to Destatis.
  • Portugal posted a 6.2% increase in occupancy to 82.3% and double-digit growth in ADR (14.5% to EUR110.31) and RevPAR (+21.6% to EUR90.80). According to Eurostat, the nemployment rate in Portugal dropped 14.3% in June 2015.
Performance of featured markets for July 2015 (local currency, year-over-year comparisons):
  • Berlin, Germany, reported increases in the three key performance measurements: occupancy (+9.7% to 83.0%), ADR (+5.9% to EUR82.61) and RevPAR (+16.2% to EUR68.57). For the first half of 2015, arrivals in Berlin increased 4.9% according to Amt fur Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg. The number of visitors from foreign countries increased 9.0%.
  • Madrid, Spain, saw a 5.2% increase in occupancy to 66.6%, a 14.2% rise in ADR to EUR86.89 and a 20.2% increase in RevPAR to EUR57.90. RevPAR in the market has grown year-over-year by double digits in each month since March 2015. STR Global analysts attribute the growth to an increase in demand, improved economy across the country and a weak Euro.
  • Paris, France, experienced increases in the three key performance metrics: occupancy (+2.4% to 86.9%), ADR (+9.4% to EUR274.60) and RevPAR (+12.0% to EUR238.68). Demand growth (+3.4%) outweighed supply (+1.0%) for the month. In the previous six months, supply outpaced demand.
  • Vienna, Austria, posted a 4.2% increase in occupancy to 76.3% as well as double-digit growth in ADR (+11.0% to EUR88.49) and RevPAR (+15.7% to EUR67.54). July results in the market remain in line with year-to-date performance, which shows RevPAR growth of 8.2%.
Middle East/Africa hotel results
Hotels in the Middle East/Africa region reported positive results in the three key performance metrics when reported in U.S. dollar constant currency. Compared to July 2014, the Middle East/Africa region reported a 12.1% increase in occupancy to 55.1%, a 5.3% rise in average daily rate to US$159.10 and an 18.1% increase in revenue per available room to US$87.69.

Performance of featured countries for July 2015 (local currency, year-over-year comparisons):

  • Kenya reported double-digit growth in each of the three key performance metrics: occupancy (+11.0% to 61.0%), ADR (+20.4% to KES15,346.94) and RevPAR (+33.6% to KES9,354.16). Despite terrorist attacks in prior months, the occupancy and RevPAR increases were the highest in Kenya since March 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama visited the country in late July.
  • Lebanon experienced double-digit increases for occupancy (+45.1% to 56.3%) and RevPAR (+57.8% to LBP152,558.34). ADR in the country was up 8.8% to LBP270,939.91. An earlier Ramadan made for positive comparisons to the same time period in 2014. STR Global analysts note that the performance increases in Lebanon came even with regional instability, in particular, the Syria crisis. Despite the positive year-over-year results, absolute performance levels in Lebanon remain low.
  • Saudi Arabia reported a 0.7% increase in occupancy to 59.1%, a 1.2% rise in ADR to SAR1,260.93 and a 1.9% increase in RevPAR to SAR745.84. The 59.1% occupancy level was Saudi Arabia’s highest for July since 2012. A contributing factor was the performance in Makkah. During the final 10 days of Ramadan, Makkah occupancy rose to 82.8%, and ADR increased to SAR3,061.88.
  • The United Arab Emirates posted double-digit increases in occupancy (+24.1% to 57.6%) and RevPAR (+23.6% to AED307.46), while ADR in the United Arab Emirates was down 0.4% to AED533.88. Occupancy and RevPAR growth in the market began with the start of Eid al-Fitr. Overall for the two months in which Ramadan occurred, occupancy in the United Arab Emirates increased year-over-year by 1.9% to 59.4%. Combined ADR for June and July was down 4.5% to AED523.8, and RevPAR dropped 3.2% to AED310.60.
Performance of featured markets for July 2015 (local currency, year-over-year comparisons):
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates, reported double-digit growth in occupancy (+24.7% to 57.8%) and RevPAR (+21.9% to AED346.76). ADR in Dubai fell 2.2% to AED599.62. July occupancy in Dubai moved at or above the 75.0% threshold for the days of the month following 19 July. ADR in the market has been pressured as year-to-date supply growth (+6.2%) has outpaced demand (+5.1%).
  • ama, Bahrain, saw a 5.6% increase in occupancy to 42.3% as well as double-digit growth in ADR (+19.8% to BHD82.13) and RevPAR (+26.5% to BHD34.74). The increases are notable because July historically is a weak month for the market, according to STR Global analysts.
  • Nairobi, Kenya, experienced double-digit increases in the three key performance metrics: occupancy (+11.5% to 61.4%), ADR (+22.8% to KES15,486.47) and RevPAR (+36.9% to KES9,501.59). STR Global analysts point to the 10-day period around the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama as a driver of strong performance.
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reported increases in the three key performance metrics: occupancy (+1.0% to 35.6%), ADR (+7.2% to SAR812.48) and RevPAR (+8.3% to SAR289.29). July occupancy in Riyadh has not reached the 40.0% mark for three consecutive years.
Americas hotel results
Hotels in the Americas region recorded positive results in the three key performance metrics when reported in U.S. dollar constant currency. Compared to July 2014, the Americas region reported a 2.2% increase in occupancy to 74.8%, a 5.8% increase in average daily rate to US$124.78 and an 8.2% increase in revenue per available room to US$93.37.

Performance of featured countries for July 2015 (local currency, year-over-year comparisons):

  • Argentina experienced a 1.4% increase in occupancy to 59.1% as well as double-digit growth in ADR (+15.6% to ARS1,054.58) and RevPAR (+17.2% to ARS623.01). Inflation led to the increases in ADR and RevPAR as well as a 17.6% year-over-year increase in revenue.
  • Due to another month with difficult-to-match comparisons from the FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil reported decreases in the three key performance measurements: occupancy (-2.7% to 58.5%), ADR (-28.1% to BRL254.24) and RevPAR (-30.0% to BRL148.79). Supply has grown year-to-date at 2.9% in the country when compared to the same time period in 2014, while demand is down 4.2%.
  • Colombia saw a 2.8% increase in occupancy to 58.0%, a 9.2% rise in ADR to COP251,490.64 and a 12.2% increase in RevPAR to COP145,766.23. According to Oxford Economics, inflation in Colombia is expected to reach 4.2%, and the value of the Colombian Peso dropped 9% in July.
Performance of featured markets for July 2015 (local currency, year-over-year comparisons):
  • Occupancy in Bogota, Colombia, decreased 0.2% to 55.5%. However, ADR in the market was up 15.0% to COP285,912.93, and RevPAR increased 14.7% to COP158,685.22. STR Global analysts expect the number of visitors to Bogota to increase as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines re-installed a flight from Amsterdam to Bogota in March 2015, and Avianca increased its frequency from London to Bogota in early July.
  • Panama City, Panama, saw an increase in occupancy (+4.7% to 50.3%), but decreases in ADR (-6.2% to PAB99.33) and RevPAR (-1.8% to PAB50.00). Supply growth has outpaced demand for several years in the market. Both metrics have grown year to date at 8.5%, but high supply continues to pressure rate.
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil, reported a 1.9% decrease in occupancy to 59.3%, a 19.1% drop in ADR to BRL308.82 and a 20.7% decline in RevPAR to BRL183.18. The market was unable to match comparisons from last year’s World Cup even while hosting events such as ForMobile, Feira Francal and CeMAT South America.

Langham to open a New Luxury Hotel in Dubai

Langham Place Dubai
Langham Hospitality Group will open its first luxury city hotel bearing the Langham Hotels and Resorts brand in the United Arab Emirates through its partnership with Omniyat, a Dubai-based privately-held real estate development group. Located in Burj Khalifa district, Langham Place Downtown Dubai will span a built up area of 680,838 square feet.
The USD 273 million project will comprise the five-star luxury hotel and serviced apartments, adding a total of 438 units to the hospitality sector in Dubai upon completion in 2018.
"We are pleased to partner with Langham Hospitality Group to expand our portfolio in the region by introducing a new offering in the market, in which its serviced apartments will be released for global investors as of the 13th of October. As a Dubai-based company, we are committed to contributing to the city's iconic skyline with innovative real estate concepts. The launch of Langham Place Downtown Dubai therefore complements Dubai's strategic tourism vision to annually attract 20 million visitors by 2020," said Mahdi Amjad, Executive Chairman and CEO of Omniyat.
With spectacular views facing Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, and Dubai's Water Canal, the 167-room hotel will provide easy access to Downtown Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid City, Business Bay and the upcoming Dubai Design District. Offering close proximity to Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai International Financial Centre, the Langham Place will feature a range of facilities including four distinct food and beverage outlets comprising an all-day dining restaurant, a rooftop bar and lounge, a specialty restaurant and a salon which will serve the brand's signature afternoon tea, and more than 400 square meters of event space for corporate meetings and social galas. For an unrivalled retreat of relaxation, Langham Place Downtown Dubai will also showcase the group's signature Chuan Body and Soul. The spa will offer therapies based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) using the five elemental forces of wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
"With Omniyat's vast experience in developing luxury properties with cutting edge architecture and design, we are delighted to manage this hotel in such a premium location in this dynamic city," said Dr. Lo Ka Shui, executive chairman of Langham Hospitality Group. "Through this strategic partnership with such a renowned property development leader in the Middle East, we look forward to creating a prestigious luxury lifestyle centre that will add to the iconic skyline in Dubai."
The announcement of Langham Place Downtown Dubai brings the total value of Omniyat's portfolio to USD4.4 billion. Launched in 2005, Omniyat's main focus is to generate superior value proposition and yield high returns while delivering projects that cater to the needs of both business and leisure clients. The developer has recently completed its third project in Business Bay, The Binary, and is world renowned for developing the most expensive penthouse in Dubai at a value of $54.45 (AED 200million).
For more information about Omniyat, please visit www.omniyat.com or call 800 666. For further information on the Langham Hotels & Resorts, please visit http://www.langhamhotels.com.

World Spa Awards reveals complimentary four-day networking activities

world spa awards2015
World Spa Awards has revealed a four-day wellness programme built around the upcoming Gala Ceremony to ensure a weekend of unrivalled networking opportunities. The inaugural World Spa Awards Gala Ceremony will take place at the InterContinental® Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam, on Monday, September 14th, with industry leaders from around the world expected to be in attendance.
In order to make the weekend as memorable as possible, a host of excursions and events have been organised for participating guests.
Those arriving on Saturday, September 12th, will be offered the option to enjoy a complimentary Thai Chi lesson, or to indulge in the very best of what luxury pedicure and manicure has to offer with PEDI:MANI:Cure Studio.
On Sunday, September 13th, and throughout the weekend, World Spa Awards attendees can take advantage of a complimentary Bastien Gonzalez PEDI: MANI: Studio Workshop, or restore the natural balance of body and mind at the HARNN Heritage Spa with a discounted 90 minute Spa Journey.
Complimentary yoga lessons begin the experiences on Monday, September 14th, with a half day city tour of Danang, provided by partner Oriental Destinations, among the other highlights.
This will of course be followed by the first annual World Spa Awards Gala Ceremony at the InterContinental® Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. Beginning with a cocktail reception and the gala dinner, the much anticipated unveiling of the World Spa Awards will be followed by an after party at the Cheeky Monkey nightclub.
A final yoga lesson will follow the awards on the morning of Tuesday, September 15th.
World Spa Awards Managing Director Gina Reynolds said: “With just a few short weeks to go before we welcome our guests to the InterContinental® Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, it is a real honour to reveal the unrivalled networking weekend details here today.
“We hope to showcase the best of the wellness and spa hospitality sector here in Danang and look forward to welcoming our guests in September.”

Join the Human Element at Seatrade Offshore Marine & Workboats


Issue of trained seagoing personnel addressed
The growing worldwide shortage of well-qualified seafarers will be a topic of discussion during The Human Element session at Seatrade Offshore Marine & Workboats 2015.
The session, which will be held on Tuesday 6 October at the offshore marine and workboats event in ADNEC, Abu Dhabi, includes industry speakers who will speak about their own experiences and issues their companies have faced.
Session moderator: JOE BRINCAT, Regional Vice-President, Middle-East, ABS
Confirmed speakers:
  • OMAR ABU OMAR, Chief Operating Officer, TASNEEF
  • CAPT SUNIL CHAUDHARY, Founder Director, CS Offshore
  • IAN HUGO, Regional Managing Director, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent, Smit Lamnalco
  • DR MARTIN RENILSON, Dean, Maritime, Higher Colleges of Technology
Strategies to tackle the growing shortage of suitably trained and experienced seagoing personnel available to workboat operators in Gulf waters will be addressed and whilst investment in marine assets and new service facilities for offshore vessels and other types of workboat continues, there have been few corresponding commitments to the human resources necessary for safe and effective ship operation.
Operators face a growing challenge in deploying the right seagoing personnel for specific projects and this problem is amplified within the region where the long hours and potential isolation of life at sea have little appeal to many young people.
Meanwhile, as recruits discover the implications of working at sea, there is a steady and expensive drain of qualified personnel. Crew retention is a constant headache. Investment in the human element has never been more pressing.

Alila Solo to open in November 2015 in Java

alilasolo deluxe room
Alila Hotels & Resorts reveals that Alila Solo, in Surakarta Central, Java, is set to open in November 2015 as the city’s first luxury lifestyle hotel: a city resort meets urban retreat that is both tradition-inspired and technology-driven. The hotel will have the city’s largest hotel ballroom and highest rooftop bar – not least of which includes the launch of Alila Solo Experiences.
Alila Experiences are lifestyle encounters carefully curated by the Leisure Concierge team to showcase the hotel’s incredible destination – its history and traditions, cuisine and crafts, environment and architecture, daily life and rituals. Recognising that perfection is defined individually, and holidays are about exploring specific interests or cultivating personal priorities, Alila Experiences are grouped according to lifestyle preference or vacation focus: Cultural Learning, Conscious Living, Active Spirit, Culinary Delights, Private Pursuits and Couple Celebration.
Surakarta, or Solo, as it is better known, is the older of the two royal capitals of Central Java, considered the heart of the ancient Javanese kingdoms and cradle of Javanese culture. A city historically ruled by two palaces, it’s steeped in rich court arts, rituals and traditions. Today, Solo is one the fastest developing economic centers of Indonesia, combining the charm of a small city with the ambitions of a metropolis. Vibrant, fascinating and alluring, Solo entices visitors with its centuries-old buildings that sit alongside gleaming paragons of modernity; with its bustling night-life, where stages showcasing customary dance, story-telling and music are juxtaposed with the vocals of street vendors selling traditional food; and with its royal festivities, ritual ceremonies and thriving batik art scene, hailed as the best in the region.
Guest will relax and pampered with spa treatments, cuisine, yoga and meditation. Alila Solo’s Spa Alila is a sanctuary that blends Asian healing techniques with age-old beauty recipes. Products are a creative and curative combination of indigenous ingredients (plants, fruits, herbs and spices): soothing cucumber and aloe vera, refreshing lemongrass and ginger, and toning/conditioning coffee and coconut.
Destination discoveries designed for those who live life to the fullest: four exhilarating active adventures. Two to Candi: breath-taking temple trail to Candi Cetho, a Hindu place of worship associated with clarity and rebirth, and Candi Sukuh, a striking truncated-pyramid style temple of fertility. Fresh Lawu: a 6-hour adventure that entails fresh air, cascading waterfalls, dramatic temples and rolling tea plantations. Rafting Wild Elo (Magelang): an awe-inspiring 12.5km white-water rafting trip with two paces, family friendly or adrenaline pumping. Tale of Three Temples: tour of UNESCO Borobudur Temple (world’s largest Buddhist monument), Candi Ratu Boko (dating to the Saliendra Dynasty between 760-780) and Candi Prambanan (8th century temple and world’s most beautiful example of Hindu architecture).
Gourmet travellers will relish the opportunity to savour regional flavours and national dishes, discover authentic delicacies and local spice secrets. Get interactive with a chef-accompanied market tour and cooking class or indulge with a Rijsttafel dining experience, Alila Solo’s contemporary version of a Dutch colonial feast, representing the multi-ethnic culinary heritage of the Indonesian archipelago.
Alila Solo Room Rates start from from US$90++ per night or IDR 1,056,000++ based on two people sharing.
For more information visit www.alilahotels.com/solo

Nepal opens Everest to climbers for 1st time since April

Mt Everest
Nepal has opened Mount Everest to climbers for the first time since an earthquake-triggered avalanche in April killed 19 mountaineers and ended the popular spring climbing season. Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki will be the first to attempt to scale the world's highest peak since the quake. Nepal's tourism minister, Kripasur Sherpa, gave Kuriki his climbing permit at a ceremony in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Kuriki plans to leave for the mountain on Tuesday by helicopter and then reach the summit in mid-September. The autumn season is considered a difficult time to attempt Everest and is generally avoided by climbers.
"The main purpose of my climb is to spread the message that Nepal was safe for climbers and trekkers even after the earthquake," Kuriki told reporters.
It will be Kuriki's fifth attempt at Everest. His four previous bids to reach the top of the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain were unsuccessful. In his last attempt, in 2012, he lost nine fingers to frostbite.
Since April's earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people, Nepal has been desperate to bring back the tens of thousands of tourists who enjoy trekking the country's mountain trails and climbing its Himalayan peaks.
Source: philstar

Seatrade Europe reveals developments and trends in river cruise industry


Seatrade Europe, the leading European cruise and river cruise convention, will be held at the heart of Hamburg, the great port city on the River Elbe. The convention hosts a conference session entitled ‘Europe’s River Cruise Industry’ where executives will discuss current topics and trends in the field of river cruises.
The conference will take place on Wednesday 9 September 2015 from 1430-1600 hrs at the Seatrade Europe Cruise & River Cruise Convention in Hamburg.
A strong speaker line-up sees Mário Ferreira president & ceo, DouroAzul, Helge Grammerstorf managing director, IG RiverCruise &, SeaConsult HAM, Wolfgang Lüftner owner & ceo, Lüftner Cruises, Daniel Thiriet board member, IG RiverCruise, co-managing director, AMAWaterways Basel/Switzerland, & CEO, sea chefs Group and Thibaut Tincelin director, Stirling Design International discussing these topics, moderated by Frederik Erdmann German & European River cruise correspondent, Seatrade Cruise Review/Seatrade Cruise News.
Many cruise companies have a broad range of offerings. ‘River cruises win over with the variety of land excursions and theme trips on offer. There is something to suit everyone's taste, and with innovative food concepts as well as a focus on special interests, they are increasingly targeting a younger audience too.’ says Helge Grammerstorf, managing director of IG RiverCruise.
While geography dictates that river cruise vessels are smaller in size than their ocean-going counterparts, when it comes to comfort they do not disappoint. For example, some of the premium vessels offer their guests a swimming pool and a modern spa area, as well as panorama windows, or even private balconies.
Shipyards in Europe also benefit from the increase in passenger numbers, with 31 new ships in 2014 commissioned in the European river cruise market, and further plans for 30 new ships in 2015.[1] In addition, existing vessels are also being refurbished. ‘Expectations in terms of what is being offered on river cruise ships are getting higher. Not only are they expected to be more modern and comfortable, they must also be state-of-the-art in terms of technology. This presents the shipyards with a challenge, because it requires them to work closely with a large network of suppliers.’ says Grammerstorf.
As is the case in ocean cruising, river cruising is increasingly turning ‘green’. Among the latest developments are particulate filter systems, water and energy-saving systems, consistent elimination of waste and recycling as well as shore-based power supply for the ships. ‘The river cruise lines are constantly investing in order to make their vessels more environmentally friendly. Shore-based power supplies in particular represents a milestone for river cruising. These allow the ships to shut down most of their engines while lying at berth, which results in a significant reduction in nitrogen emissions.’ explains Grammerstorf.

Where did Americans travel most in the first half of 2015?

St. Louis

DALLAS - With summer winding down and holiday travel plans beginning to take shape, Hotels.com has released the most popular cities from the first half of 2015, highlighting the most popular domestic and international destinations based on data from the Hotel Price Index (HPI).

Top Domestic Destinations
While the Top 10 U.S. destinations for American travelers remained largely the same as the first half of 2014, several Southwest and Midwest destinations rose in popularity. After seeing record-breaking crowds this year, the Grand Canyon region made the biggest jump in the rankings from outside the Top 50 to #45. Phoenix also experienced an increase in popularity in the first half of 2015 after being on the national stage and hosting the country's biggest sporting event in February. The city jumped two spots to become the 27th most popular domestic destination, replacing Atlantic City, which fell 12 spots to #39.

Kansas City (#29) and St. Louis (#30) also made big leaps as each moved ahead four spots to join Chicago (#6) and Detroit (#28) as top Midwest destinations. California hotspots San Diego (+1 spot to #4) and Anaheim (+2 to #17) also rose in domestic popularity, but with a revitalized downtown and a flurry of new restaurant openings, it was the state capital of Sacramento (+4 spots to #31) that saw the biggest increase on the west coast.
50 Most Popular Domestic Cities for American Travelers
CityH1* 2015 vs H12014 ChangeCityH1 2015 vs H12014 ChangeCityH1 2015 vs H12014 Change
1. Las Vegas, Nev.No Change18. Philadelphia, Pa.-135. Reno, Nev.+3
2. New York, N.Y.No Change19. Seattle, Wash.-136. Raleigh, N.C.+1
3. Orlando, Fla.No Change20. Dallas, Texas+137. Jacksonville, Fla.-1
4. San Diego, Calif.+121. Nashville, Tenn.-138. Newark, N.J.+2
5. Los Angeles, Calif.-122. Portland, Ore.No Change39. Atlantic City, N.J.-12
6. Chicago, Ill.No Change23. Tampa, Fla.+140. Savannah, Ga.+1
7. San Francisco, Calif.No Change24. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-141. Honolulu, Hawaii-2
8. Washington, D.C.No Change25. Myrtle Beach, S.C.+142. Albuquerque, N.M.+1
9. Houston, TexasNo Change26. Charlotte, N.C.-143. Columbus, Ohio+1
10. San Antonio, TexasNo Change27. Phoenix, Ariz.+244. Charleston, S.C.-2
11. Atlanta, Ga.No Change28. Detroit, Mich.No Change45. Grand CanyonNew to list
12. Boston, Mass.No Change29. Kansas City, Mo.+446. Arlington, Va.-1
13. New Orleans, La.No Change30. St. Louis, Mo.+447. Pigeon Forge, Tenn.+3
14. Denver, Colo.No Change31. Sacramento, Calif.+448. Oklahoma CityNo Change
15. Miami, Fla.No Change32. Indianapolis, Ind.-249. Memphis, Tenn.No Change
16. Austin, TexasNo Change33. Baltimore, Md.-250. Virginia Beach, Va.-4
17. Anaheim, Calif.+234. Salt Lake City, Utah-2

Top International Destinations for Americans
For U.S. travelers going abroad in the first half of 2015, Canada again was the place to visit. Toronto (#4) and Vancouver (#5) remained in the Top 5, while Montreal jumped two spots to #6 and Niagara Falls remained in the Top 20 at #14.

The list of most popular international destinations for Americans in the first half of 2015 also featured several newcomers. Budapest's international airport is on pace to break 2014's record number of passengers and the Hungarian capitol saw one of the biggest jumps in popularity internationally, breaking into the rankings at #41. Meanwhile, Mexico's Ciudad Juarez (#44), which launched a tourism campaign called "Juarez is Waiting for You" in April to attract travelers, entered the Top 50 at #44.

Other international cities to rise in popularity in the first six months of 2015 included Bangkok (+10 to #11), Punta Cana (+9 spots to #40), Sydney (+5 spots to #28) and Dubai (+5 spots to #17).

50 Most Popular International Cities for American Travelers
CityCountryH1 2015 vs H1 2014 ChangeCityCountryH1 2015 vs H1 2014 Change
1. LondonUnited KingdomNo Change26. Riviera MayaMexico+3
2. ParisFranceNo Change27. PragueCzech RepublicNo Change
3. RomeItalyNo Change28. SydneyAustralia+5
4. TorontoCanadaNo Change29. MilanItaly+3
5. VancouverCanadaNo Change30. CopenhagenDenmark-2
6. MontrealCanada+231. ShanghaiChina-6
7. BarcelonaSpain-132. Panama CityPanama+3
8. TokyoJapan-133. Los CabosMexico-2
9. Hong KongHong KongNo Change34. ViennaAustria+2
10. AmsterdamNetherlandsNo Change35. AthensGreece+3
11. BangkokThailand+1036. BeijingChina-6
12. VeniceItalyNo Change37. StockholmSweden+4
13. MadridSpain+138. EdinburghUnited Kingdom+2
14. Niagara FallsCanada-339. BogotaColombiaNo Change
15. FlorenceItaly-240. Punta CanaDominican Republic+9
16. Mexico CityMexicoNo Change41. BudapestHungaryNew to List
17. DubaiUnited Arab Emirates+542. VallartaMexico+1
18. DublinIreland-143. BaliIndonesiaNew to List
19. IstanbulTurkey-144. Ciudad JuarezMexicoNew to List
20. CancunMexicoNo Change45. CalgaryCanadaNo Change
21. BerlinGermany+346. FrankfurtGermany+1
22. SingaporeSingapore-347. BrusselsBelgium+3
23. MunichGermany+348. Buenos AiresArgentina-11
24. San JuanPuerto Rico-949. ReykjavikIcelandNew to List
25. SeoulSouth Korea-250. Rio de JaneiroBrazil-6
*H1 is the first half of 2014 or 2015

Top U.S. Destinations for International Travelers
New York (#1), Las Vegas (#2) and Orlando (#3) remained the three most popular U.S. destinations for international visitors in the first half of 2015, while San Francisco surpassed Los Angeles and Miami to reach the #4 spot. The Grand Canyon rose in popularity amongst international visitors as well, moving from #24 to #20. The national park was recently named the sixth most popular international landmark on Chinese travelers' wish lists according to the Hotels.com Chinese international Travel Monitor.

New Industry Insight Series launches with advice on best practices for booth design


The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) announces the launch of a new report series, the Industry Insight Series. These reports offer advice from market leading practitioners. The inaugural report is an article written by Justin Hersh, past President of the Exhibit Design Producers Association and CEO/Founder of Group Delphi, a leading designer and producer of exhibits, serving clients such as Pixar, Medtronic, and Jelly Belly. This report, Best Practices for Exhibit Booth Design – for Companies of All Sizes, provides advice on best practices to help exhibitors build and maintain effective exhibit programs.

CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM noted, "CEIR provides high quality research documenting trends in performance of the exhibition industry overall as well as at the micro level, including why brand marketers use the channel for marketing and sales efforts. This new series provides concrete advice and examples on how to take CEIR research and apply trends into business action for their organizations. Justin's report offers practical, no-nonsense advice that helps exhibitors either build or refine an exhibit program that will meet their goals for exhibiting."

This nine page report breaks down and answers five key questions that assist an exhibitor when looking to build or refine their exhibition programs. These questions include:
  • Why are we going?
  • Why is this exhibition important to us?
  • Is this the best use of our time and budget?
  • What will a successful exhibition look like to us?
  • What experience do we want attendees to have?

Steinreich Communications acquires leading travel and tourism agency


NEW YORK - Steinreich Communications Group, Inc., an international public relations agency headquartered in New Jersey, has expanded its presence in the travel and hospitality sector with the addition of Montgomery Communications, one of the most respected firms in the space who represents leading airlines, hospitality brands, national tourism boards and destinations throughout the world.

Virginia Montgomery, founder and president of Montgomery Communications, has been named vice president and group director of the travel and tourism group of Steinreich Communications.

Over the past 20 years, Montgomery has been the public relations agency top global travel brands and national tourism boards have retained to promote their products, programs and services to the trade, consumer and business media. Working with clients throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, she brings a wealth of experience to the firm.

"Virginia and the Montgomery Communications brand brings an unparalleled level of experience in the travel and tourism sector that will be invaluable to our clients. Likewise, our global resources and services, in particular in social media, will bring added value to Montgomery clients," said Steinreich Communications Group President and CEO Stan Steinreich.

"I am very excited about the tremendous opportunity we have to broaden our base of clients and services through this merger," Montgomery said. "I am looking forward to working closely with Stan and his team of veteran communication professionals."

Montgomery received her bachelor's from the University of Colorado. She currently resides in Manhattan with her husband.

The transaction was facilitated through the efforts of Art Stevens of The Stevens Group.

Etihad Airways CEO explains importance of Alitalia for Italy

alitalia etihad
After a deal last year, Etihad Airways acquired 49 percent equity stake in Alitalia. “Last year’s ground-breaking investment by Etihad Airways in Alitalia has revitalized Italy’s national airline, and set it on a new course towards sustainable profitability”, Airways said the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad, James Hogan.
Speaking at the Rimini Roundtable Discussion, a prestigious annual event held in the historic Italian town of Rimini to discuss issues of cultural and economic importance to Italy, Mr Hogan said, "Alitalia is a company with a great heritage and global brand recognition. But over many years Alitalia has lost its way and become a challenged business.”
Etihad Airways invested 560 million euros in a multi-level deal comprising a 49 per cent equity stake in Alitalia, a 75 per cent stake in Alitalia's loyalty program, MilleMiglia, the purchase from and leaseback to Alitalia of five pairs of arrival and departure slots at London Heathrow Airport, and shareholder loans to reduce Alitalia's immediate financial liabilities. Etihad’s commitment was the largest part of a broader investment with other stakeholders, which totaled 860 million euros.
“Aviation is a global industry, not a local one,” Mr Hogan said. “Like so many other industries, aviation should have access to global investment funds in order to provide the capital required to grow efficiently and remain competitive.
“Global investment is not a threat,” he said. “It is both a lifeline and an energiser, which can only be good for European aviation, European economies and European jobs.”
"Let’s not forget that nobody else wanted to invest in Alitalia. But we see a great future for Alitalia, and we are committed to working with other shareholders, and with the airline, to help rebuild it as a premium brand and a profitable business.”
"Without Alitalia, air connectivity to, from and within Italy would be seriously diminished and left to others without the same commitment to Italy or Italians."
Mr Hogan said that as a strategic shareholder, Etihad Airways needed to see a return on its investment, and together with Alitalia’s management had set a three-year timeline for achieving sustainable profits. In this first year, the aim is to reduce losses, with break-even targeted in 2016 and profitability in 2017.
"We are not a bank,” Mr Hogan said. “We needed to stabilize the business financially by providing fresh capital. We also needed to work with Alitalia, its unions and its partners to identify immediate opportunities to cut costs. These included seeking efficiencies, restructuring the network and schedules, and reducing the short-haul fleet to maximize aircraft utilization. There were immediate results."
Etihad Airways helped expand Alitalia's global reach by connecting the networks of both airlines via Etihad's hub and home base in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, with each carrier entering into codeshare agreements on each other’s services. Etihad also assisted Alitalia in sourcing new wide-body aircraft to increase long-haul services.
"We have not only ensured that Alitalia stays in the air,” Mr Hogan said. “We have also invested in protecting and creating jobs in Italy. We have invested in rebuilding the Alitalia brand. And we have invested in Alitalia with the clear commitment that we will help it to grow into a prestige global brand, and an airline and company which contributes to Italy."

Air Astana restarts Astana – Dubai services


Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, announced the relaunch services between Astana and Dubai on October 25. The non-stop flight will be operated four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays using an Airbus A320.
“Air Astana is fully committed to expanding the route network from Astana, with the re-launch to Dubai following the recent introduction of new services from the capital to Paris, Seoul and Tbilisi,” said Peter Foster, president and CEO of Air Astana.
"With Kazakhstan and UAE enjoying strengthening links in business, finance, tourism and culture, I’m confident that the new service will be extremely popular with passengers travelling between Astana and Dubai."
Prices for a round trip from Astana to Dubai, including all fees, will start at $468 for economy class seats and $2,107 during low season and $2,667 during high season for business class tickets.
The budget airline flydubai also plans to launch four weekly flights between Dubai and Astana from October 26.

Emirates announces second daily A380 service to Frankfurt

emirates a380 landed
Emirates has announced the launch of a second daily A380 service to Frankfurt, significantly increasing the route capacity. The airline currently operates three daily flights to the German city, out of which two are serviced by a Boeing 777-300ER while the other is serviced by the jumbo Airbus A380 jet.
Commencing 1st January 2016, Emirates flights EK47/48, currently operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, will be up-gauged to an A380. The first scheduled A380 service between Frankfurt and Dubai was in September 2014; since then, over 280,000 passengers have travelled with Emirates on this route. The launch of second daily A380 service adds 1,155 seats a week on the route, with 280 in First Class and Business Class.
Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West said, "Our customers love the A380 and adding a second one to Frankfurt will further enhance the travel experience on that route and provide more A380 to A380 connectivity to popular destinations around the world via our ultra-modern hub in Dubai,”
Emirates’ flight EK47 departs Dubai International Airport at 14:35hrs and arrives in Frankfurt at 18:40hrs. The outbound flight EK48 departs from Frankfurt at 20:30hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0610hrs the following day.
The new aircraft will feature 14 Private Suites in First Class, 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class, and 429 comfortable seats in Economy Class. Passengers in all classes will enjoy access to over 2000 channels of films, TV shows, music and games through ice Digital Widesreen, the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system, as well as free Wi-Fi and gourmet cuisine. It will also offer access to the world’s only onboard Shower Spa for First Class passengers and to the Onboard Lounge, where First Class and Business Class passengers can socialise at 40,000 feet.
As with all Emirates flights, passengers will be able to accumulate Skywards miles and benefit from a generous baggage allowance of 30kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50 kg in First Class. Passengers travelling in premium cabins will also enjoy Emirates’ dedicated lounge at Frankfurt Airport, as well as Emirates Chauffeur-drive service.

Ryanair partners with CarTrawler, launches new Car Hire service

ryanair car hire service
Ryanair launched Ryanair Car Hire and announced a new partnership with CarTrawler, a leading travel-technology platform and online aggregator of car rental services, allowing Ryanair customers to book the widest range of cars at the best prices on the Ryanair.com website.
Ryanair’s new car hire partnership with CarTrawler offers customers a direct connection to over 1,500 leading and independent car rental agents in over 30,000 airport and city locations, across 174 different countries, and the launch of Ryanair Car Hire is the latest in a series of improvements under Ryanair’s “Always Getting Better” programme, with much more to come, including a new personalised website, new interiors and new cabin crew uniforms.
Ryanair Car Hire will go live on the Ryanair.com website from Tuesday, 1st September 2015.
Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary said, “Following an extensive tender process, Ryanair is pleased to partner with CarTrawler, who offer the best conversion rate in the business, as we launch Ryanair Car Hire, offering the widest range and best value car rental service to our 103m customers. This is the latest in a series of customer experience improvements under our “Always Getting Better” programme. Ryanair customers already enjoy the lowest fares in Europe and our partnership with CarTrawler will guarantee them the lowest car hire prices as well, every time they fly with us.”
CarTrawler CEO, Mike McGearty said, “Ryanair is at the forefront of online travel retailing. In CarTrawler, they have chosen a car rental partner with the scale, expertise and technology platform that will help them to deliver on their promise of “Always Getting Better”. This new partnership is a natural fit between two companies that are trailblazers in their respective fields; Ryanair has transformed air travel while CarTrawler continues to deliver innovative ground transportation solutions to airlines and online travel retailers all over the world. We look forward to providing Ryanair customers with an enhanced car rental experience while delivering the best possible return for Ryanair and its investors through our scientific approach to car rental retailing.”

Delta launches new routes between the United States and the U.K.



london bus cab
Delta and Virgin Atlantic Airways will offer customers new routes across Atlantic. The introduction of Delta’s nonstop service from New York-JFK to Edinburgh and Salt Lake City to London begin in May 2016. The routes add to the value that the Delta-Virgin Atlantic joint venture provides customers through premier service with the benefits of an aligned route network offering more frequencies, competitive fares and harmonized service.
“For the second summer in a row, Delta will be launching new routes that give customers more options when flying between the United States and the U.K.,” said Nat Pieper, Delta’s Senior Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Delta and Virgin Atlantic are committed to offering an extensive network on the trans-Atlantic, and our new flights from London and Edinburgh will offer more connections to destinations throughout the U.S. and beyond.”
Starting May 1, 2016, Salt Lake City will be Delta’s eighth U.S. destination from Heathrow and the only nonstop service between London and the Mountain West. As the largest airline operating in Salt Lake City, Delta offers connections to more than 50 destinations throughout the West and into Canada.
For the first time, Salt Lake City passengers will have direct access to London.
Daily nonstop service between New York-JFK and Edinburgh will begin on May 26, 2016, offering customers in the UK up to 60 convenient onward connections from JFK. Delta’s new service from Scotland joins Virgin Atlantic’s three times weekly summer seasonal service from Glasgow to Orlando. 
Passengers traveling in the Delta One cabin on both the Salt Lake City to Heathrow and New York-JFK to Edinburgh flights will enjoy full flat-bed seats and a range of personalized dining options. Additionally, all passengers will have access to on-demand in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the aircraft.
  
Delta’s seasonal Salt Lake City to London Heathrow flights will operate as follows:
FlightDepartsArrives
DL 50/VS 4020Salt Lake City at 8:10 p.m.Heathrow at 1:10 p.m. (+ 1 day)
DL 51/VS 4019Heathrow at 2:15 p.m.Salt Lake City at 6:07 p.m.
Delta’s New York-JFK to Edinburgh flights will operate as follows:
FlightDepartsArrives
DL 488/VS 4026NY-JFK at 8:15 p.m.Edinburgh at 8:40 a.m. (+ 1 day)
DL 4879/VS 4027Edinburgh at 10:30 a.m.NY-JFK at 1:01 p.m

Boeing completes 777X firm configuration


EVERETT, WASH. - Boeing announced the completion of the firm configuration milestone for the 777-9, the first member of the 777X family to be developed.

The Boeing 777X team reached this significant design milestone after working closely with airline customers and key suppliers to optimize the configuration of the new airplane.

The 777X family includes the 777-8 and the 777-9 – both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences. The 777-8 and 777-9 provide significant range, payload and fuel burn advantages compared to the A350.

"It's great to see the airlines and industry team side-by-side with us as we achieve this important milestone," said Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager of the 777X program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The team has followed a disciplined process to complete all of the requirements for this stage of the program."

The firm configuration milestone marks the completion of configuration trade studies required to finalize the airplane's capability and basic design. Wind tunnel test results, aerodynamic performance and structural loads are also evaluated to ensure the airplane meets requirements. This allows the 777X team to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the airplane. As detailed designs are completed and released, production can begin.

"The program is right where we want it to be," added Feldmann. "We have an airplane and production system that are on track and on schedule, and we remain laser focused on meeting our commitments to our customers."

The 777X will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, with 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition. In addition, the 777X will bring cabin innovations and improved levels of passenger comfort.

The 777X program has received orders and commitments for 320 airplanes from six customers worldwide. Production is set to begin in 2017.