Τετάρτη, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2015

Open Destinations Releases the Top 5 Technology Challenges at ETOA Showcase.travel Digita


LONDON, UK (30 September, 2015) – Leading travel technology provider Open Destinations today released their annual report, titled ‘Top 5 Technology Challenges in the Tour Operating Sector.’  Members of the European tourism association (ETOA) had an early preview of this report yesterday during the Showcase.travel Digital workshop held in London. 

‘Our technology workshop is the perfect forum for this discussion,’ says Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA. ‘This report from Open Destinations adds real value to our members and gives them an opportunity to gain some valuable insight from experts in the sector.’

Open Destinations_revised 30 Sept
The report was created from worldwide customer feedback during technology projects over the course of 2015. The five challenges were derived from discussions with tour operators around running their technology systems more effectively, such as hosting their technology in the cloud and integrating with channel managers.

‘Tour operators are facing increasing competition from OTA’s and large travel companies,’ says Open Destinations CEO, Kevin O’Sullivan. ‘Both their technology and their processes need to be more sophisticated. This report looks at ways that tour operators can improve their technology to compete in this arena and also streamline their staffing costs to make them work more efficiently.’

In addition to the technology challenges faced by tour operators, the report highlights real life case studies of business process outsourcing (BPO) services provided by Open Destinations. This includes managing products and contracts, auditing flight tickets and reconciling supplier invoices. ‘Our outsourcing teams have helped our clients achieve remarkable efficiencies in their operations,’ says O’Sullivan. ‘One of our travel wholesale clients estimates that they’ve had 30% in cost savings and 50% increase in overall productivity.’

The report is now available to download through the Open Destinations website and the reports section of the ETOA member area.

Teamwork, Innovation and Industry Unity for a Sustainable Future


Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) co-signed an open letter calling on governments to act to help the industry reduce its carbon footprint. The letter was organized by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), which brings together all the major players in the aviation sector (airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers, and air navigation service providers) with the aim of responsibly dealing with industry issues such as managing aviation’s climate change impact.
In the letter, signed at the ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, the aviation industry reaffirmed its commitment to its three environment goals:
  • 1.5% fuel efficiency improvement per year to 2020
  • Stabilizing net carbon emissions through carbon-neutral growth from 2020
  • Halving net carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 2005.
The industry is delivering on its commitments. Since the goals were set in 2009 a cumulative 600 million tonnes of CO2 have been avoided as a direct result of efforts associated with the industry’s four-pillar strategy of improvements in technology, operations, infrastructure, and the implementation of a global market-based measure (MBM). And the airline industry is the first industrial sector to agree on a position asking governments to implement a market-based measure to help it manage its carbon footprint. Specifically, at the 2013 IATA Annual General Meeting airlines resolved to ask governments for a mandatory global carbon offset program.
"A global offsetting scheme would be our preferred MBM. Offsetting is important because it is a legitimate means for the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth. It makes sense for aviation, while it continues to take every step it can for itself, to encourage reductions in other business sectors where the scope for emissions cuts is greater," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Teamwork, Innovation and Unity
Addressing the summit, Tyler focused on the importance of teamwork, innovation, and industry unity as the bedrock of the industry’s environmental achievements and the driver of future gains.
"Flying is a team effort. And that is equally true for reaching our sustainability goals. Innovation has been at the root of our technological and operational improvements. But above all it is the unity of the aviation industry, jointly setting our three climate-change targets, and the four-pillar strategy to reach them, which has enabled us to make significant progress," said Tyler.
The industry’s united strategy to achieve its ambitious targets has given it a strong voice to call for governments to agree an MBM to capture carbon emissions, to enact long-overdue air traffic management reform, and put in place policies to accelerate the production of sustainable fuels.
A global market-based measure to manage aviation carbon emissions can only be achieved by agreement among governments at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
"In that context, I welcome and support the remarks of Dr. Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, this morning. In particular, his call for avoidance of financial impositions on the aviation industry at COP21, if we are to create the conditions for a positive outcome at the ICAO Assembly.
We have only 12 months to go before ICAO makes its decision on that MBM. In the hands of 190 states will be the power to make aviation’s carbon-neutral growth goal a reality. It is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world will be on them. And the industry is committed to supporting their success," said Tyler.
Aviation as a driver of sustainability
Tyler concluded with a personal vision on the importance of aviation to delivering a more sustainable world, urging delegates that "to save the earth, take to the air."
"Aviation creates the connectivity that helps make our world a more prosperous place: a source of 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in economic activity. That prosperity drives the innovation that is needed for societies to move forward sustainably. Rising living standards lead to greater technological advances, far more efficient use of resources, and political pressure for environmental safeguards.
So aviation’s greatest environmental service is to do what it keeps on doing – being a force for good, spreading peace and prosperity around the globe," he said.

Windstar Announces New Tours with Sister Brand VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations


Seattle, September 30, 2015 – Today, Windstar Cruises announces a new partnership with sister brand VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations featuring land and sea tours throughout Italy. Recently, Windstar also partnered with sister companies AEG and Ritz Carlton to promote its Rising Stars Travel Agent Challenge. Windstar’s recent commitment to partner with sister brands and parent company Xanterra gives guests a more well-rounded travel experience.

New Partnership with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations
Windstar has partnered with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations for a new program entitled Italy Tour & Cruise, a collection of new back-to-back experiences in Italy, that were put on sale September 21, 2015. The Italy Tour & Cruise program gives guests the opportunity to experience the enchanting towns, countryside, and mountains of Italy through VBT’s walking or biking offerings, before embarking on a Windstar Cruise to see the country and its ports by sea.
Sample Italy Tour & Cruise itineraries include:
  • Tour and explore the mountains and villages along the Amalfi Coast with VBT’s Amalfi Coast and Capri Walking Toursitinerary, then discover the cobblestone streets and colorful towns while cruising along the iconic Greek and Amalfi coastlines on Windstar’s Enchanting Greece & the Amalfi Coast itinerary - April 24, 2016
  • Bike along the Strada del Vino, one of Italy’s most famous wine roads, between family owned wineries and the Tyrrhenian Sea on VBT’s Tuscan Coast Tour before setting sail with Windstar to explore the glamour, the excitement, and the exquisite élan of the Italian Riviera on the Riviera Enchantment itinerary – May 25, 2016
  • Overlook the Adriatic Sea while biking along the coastal roads of Puglia, with stops for olive oil and wine tastings on VBT’sPuglia: Italy's Undiscovered Coast before cruising along the sun drenched shores of Capri, Croatia, and Montenegro on the Adriatic Sea with Windstar’s Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast itinerary – June 6, 2016
  • Explore the Tuscan hills and converted monasteries during VBT’s Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany walking tour, then experience the luxury and dazzling lifestyles of the Italian, French, and Spanish Riveras with Windstar’s Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras itinerary – June 11, 2016
Windstar guests will receive special discounts and perks when they book a VBT tour with the corresponding Windstar cruise, including:
  • 15% off cruise fare
  • Two free hotel nights in Rome after the VBT tour, before the Windstar cruise
  • Complimentary transfers to the yacht
Windstar Cruises Rolls out Red Carpet  Rising Stars Winners

Windstar celebrated the winners of its 2015 Rising Stars Challenge last weekend at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California. Windstar partnered with sister brands AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world, and Ritz Carlton Los Angeles to create a VIP red carpet weekend in Hollywood for the top selling travel agents. Winners and their guests were treated to tickets to the 2015 Emmy Awards, accommodations at the Ritz Carlton, and complimentary air fare, dining and transfers to the airport. The agents were hosted by Joe Duckett – Windstar’s Vice President of Marketing & Sales.
The four winners of Windstar’s 2015 Rising Stars Challenge are as follows:
  • Phyllis Murray – Avoya Travel
  • Jim Eagan – Cruise Planners
  • Laura Dodson – The Cruise & Travel Specialist
  • Katie Sitton – The Cruise and Tour Center
The winners were selected based on sales results of the Windstar 2015 Rising Star Challenge and graduation from Windstar’s Travel Agent Academy.
To read more about the event, check out our blog.
Windstar Yacht Club Enhanced with Extended Member Benefits
Windstar Cruises recently enhanced Windstar Yacht Club, its loyalty program for returning guests, by offering exclusive discounts from top luxury brands in parent company Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ portfolio.  Windstar cruisers are automatically registered as members of the Windstar Yacht Club following their first sailing. Yacht Club Membership rewards include the following discounts at other Xanterra properties:
  • 5% off a future Windstar voyage
  • 5% off an Austin Adventures adventure vacation
  • 5% off any guided, self-guided, or private adventure with Country Walkers
  • 5% off any scheduled or private CW Safari
  • 15% off a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom River Suite at Kingsmill Resort, plus a $50.00 resort credit
  • $200 resort credit per stay at The Cloister or The Lodge at Sea Island
  • 10% off standard rack rates and a complimentary room upgrade at The Broadmoor
For more on the Yacht Club Membership, visit http://www.windstarcruises.com/Yacht-Club/Member-Benefits/.

Hilton Worldwide Portfolio in Latin America and the Caribbean to Surpass 100 Properties this Year


MCLEAN, Va. - Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) announces plans to reach a milestone 100 hotels in Latin America and the Caribbean this year, with an accelerated 60 percent growth in the portfolio expected through 2017.  The momentum in the region's expansion is underscored by nearly 20 new hotels opened in 2015 to date, a consistently robust development pipeline of more than 60 hotels and the introduction of the company's industry-leading brands to new destinations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
"Hilton Worldwide continues to lead the industry as one of the fastest growing hospitality companies with the largest rooms pipeline.  The Latin America and Caribbean region is a key contributor to this success and we are steadfast in our efforts to ensure this growth continues," said Ted Middleton, senior vice president, development, Latin America, Hilton Worldwide.     
Recent Openings
As of Q2 2015, Hilton Worldwide has approximately 20,000 rooms at more than 90 hotels and resorts open and welcoming guests throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, including the recent notable openings of the 298-room Hilton Barra Rio de Janeiro; Anselmo Buenos Aires - the first Curio - A Collection by Hilton hotel in Latin America; Hilton Garden Inn Guatemala City - the first Hilton Worldwide hotel in the country; and the 355-room Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. 
During 2015 to date, the company has added nearly 20 hotels and approximately 3,000 rooms to the Latin America and Caribbean portfolio including:
Latin America
  • Argentina: Anselmo Buenos Aires, Curio - A Collection by Hilton
  • Brazil: Hilton Barra Rio de Janeiro
  • Chile: DoubleTree by Hilton Santiago Vitacura and Hampton by Hilton Rancagua
  • Colombia: three Hampton by Hilton hotels in Bogota, Yopal and Valledupar
  • Costa Rica: Hilton Garden Inn San Jose La Sabana
  • Guatemala: Hilton Garden Inn Guatemala City
  • Mexico: Hilton San Luis Potosi; Hilton Garden Inn Monterrey Airport; Hampton Inn by Hilton Merida; Hampton Inn by Hilton Zacatecas; and Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Aguascalientes
Caribbean
  • Aruba: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino
  • The Bahamas: Hilton at Resorts World Bimini
  • Jamaica: Jewel Paradise Cove Resort & Spa Runaway Bay and Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa, Ocho Rios - both Curio - A Collection by Hilton
An additional 10 hotels and more than 1,200 rooms are expected to open by the end of this year including Hilton Garden Inn Cusco, Peru; Hampton by Hilton Santa Cruz, Bolivia - marking Hilton Worldwide's first hotel in Bolivia; DoubleTree by Hilton Calama and Hilton Garden Inn Iquique in Chile; DoubleTree by Hilton in Bogota, Colombia; four Hampton Inn by Hilton hotels in Mexico; and Hilton Garden Inn Montevideo, Uruguay.
"There is tremendous potential for portfolio growth in Latin America and the Caribbean, and our development team is exceptional in partnering with owners and properly identifying the right brand for the market and development opportunity," said Tom Potter, senior vice president, operations, Latin America and the Caribbean, Hilton Worldwide.
Development, Brands and Target Markets
Hilton Worldwide is diligent about the portfolio's growth in Latin America and the Caribbean and as of Q2 2015, boasts a strong development pipeline of more than 60 confirmed hotel projects and more than 8,000 rooms across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Thomas and Uruguay.  Recently signed deal highlights include the introduction of DoubleTree by Hilton in Colombia with two hotels in Bogota; two Hampton by Hilton hotels in Tarapoto and Trujillo, Peru; Hilton Garden Inn Neuquen, Argentina; Hampton by Hilton Santo Domingo Airport and Homewood Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - the first for the brand in the Caribbean; and Embassy Suites by Hilton, Saint Kitts and Nevis, among others. 
Hilton Worldwide's current expansion plans span seven brands: Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton, with approximately 75% of the projects driven by focused service brands.  While Hampton by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn continue to prove successful in attracting both developers and travelers, Hilton Worldwide sees continued interest in the company's flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand primarily for full-service hotel management agreements in key gateway cities and DoubleTree by Hilton for full-service hotel conversions.  The company's luxury and all suite brands are seeing rising interest due to recent activities generating added recognition such as Curio - A Collection by Hilton debuting its first hotel in Latin America and two more in the Caribbean; the recent rebranding of Embassy Suites by Hilton in the U.S. adding further strength to an already established brand; and the introduction of Homewood Suites by Hilton's Latin America and Caribbean prototype.
For further information regarding Hilton Worldwide's development opportunities, visit www.hiltonworldwide.com/development.

2016 is set to be U.S. - China Tourism Year

china us handshake
United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that 2016 is set to be U.S.-China Tourism Year that will celebrate the recent reciprocal extension of visa validity and support increased travel and tourism exports. The two countries will work toward expanding and shaping U.S.-China travel and tourism, and strengthening the bond between the two peoples.
The announcement comes on the heels of the 2015 U.S.-China Tourism Leadership Summit held in Los Angeles, California with nearly 200 U.S. and Chinese tourism leaders from government and industry present.
Travel and tourism is the United States’ largest export services industry, generating a $74 billion trade surplus for the U.S. economy in 2014. International travel to the United States generated $220.6 billion in 2014, supporting 1.1 million jobs.
China is an important contributor to revenues generated by international travel to the United States:
  • China was the number two country for visitor spending to and within the United States in 2014 with an estimated $23.8 billion spent on travel and tourism.
  • China accounted for 2.9 percent of total international arrivals in the United States in 2014, with an estimated 2.2 million travelers (a 20+ percent increase over 2013).
  • National parks are a significant attraction for Chinese visitors to the United States, with 40% saying they had been to a national park when visiting.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, China is the world’s largest tourism market, representing more than 100 million outbound travelers in 2014, and Global Chinese overseas travel expenditures in 2013 were a record $129 billion.
U.S. – China Tourism Year
Throughout the year, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), in collaboration with Brand USA and other partners, will design and execute a year of events and activities that will promote and further open travel between the United States and China, expand market access, and advance initiatives to ensure a quality visitor experience for increasing numbers of travelers to and from both nations.
The U.S. – China Tourism Year provides a platform for the United States and China to continue to improve and upgrade systems to accommodate anticipated travel flows by:
Continuing progress on visa processing: About 2.5 million visas have been processed for Chinese citizens since the announcement of validity extension in November 2014, a 52.6 percent increase over the same period in the previous year and a substantial growth in first-time applicants.
Improving the border entry experience: The United States will continue to make progress toward a “Best in Class” arrivals experience for international visitors and will develop and make more readily available Chinese language materials and website pages.

Airport Parking & Hotels compares gap year working visas for UK backpakers


With the increasing competition for graduate employment, it is not surprising that the most popular type of gap year is now a CV-boosting work placement abroad and according to a recent study by ABTA, there has been a 10 per cent increase in gap year travel bookings over the last 12 months. Airport Parking & Hotels (APH) is therefore helping backpackers plan ahead with a detailed guide comparing the various working holiday visas for the most popular gap year destinations.

The research compares different working holiday and volunteering visas for 12 different countries including, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Peru and Vietnam highlighting the visa cost, its duration, a person’s eligibility to apply and the types of work permitted on the visa.

The price of a working holiday visa was found to vary considerably between countries, with costs ranging from £23 for the Working Holiday Scheme in Japan to £292 for the Temporary Work Visa in Brazil. However, backpackers should also keep in mind the additional costs for each gap year visa, such as insurance, medical fees and maintenance funds, as some countries demand applicants to have a certain amount of funds saved prior to applying for the visa. For example, applicants must have at least £2,500 in funds before applying for the Japanese Working Holiday Scheme and a minimum of £146 saved per month of their stay when applying for the New Zealand Working Holiday Scheme.

With regards to the validity of a visa, most of the working holiday and volunteering visas are valid for stays of up to six months. However, if applicants are looking for a longer trip, four of the countries researched offer visas for up to 23 and 24 months including Australia, Brazil, Canada, and New Zealand.

An important consideration for many applicants when choosing their working holiday visa may be the nature of employment permitted. Of the 12 countries researched, Argentina, India, Peru, and Vietnam only allowed unpaid volunteering opportunities for UK tourists. Thailand also has strict rules for UK citizens whereby teaching English in Thai schools is the only paid employment allowed with serious consequences for UK citizens found to be working on a tourist visa. However, If travellers prefer the prospect of helping those in need and volunteering, UK citizens may volunteer visa-free in Argentina and Peru for up to 90 and 183 days respectively.

To work for 24 months in Australia, applicants must work at least three of the first 12 months in Australia’s primary industries such as seasonal agriculture or mining. If they do not complete the three month employment, the working holiday visa is only valid for a maximum of 12 months. In addition to this, Australian Working Holiday applicants cannot work for the same employer for more than six months. Meanwhile, Japan is keen to keep its traditional standards with employment in potential ‘morally damaging’ environments such as bars and nightclubs prohibited. The USA is also strict with issuing visas, permitting only ‘casual summer work’ on a J1 Summer and Work visa meaning frequent night shifts, warehouse work, or self-employment are strictly prohibited. 

Gap year students should also take into consideration the eligibility requirements to apply for each visa. All visas require a valid UK passport and for many of the countries surveyed, it is essential to have plenty of time left on the applicant’s passport before a renewal is required. The USA, for example, require six months remaining and Australia require one year. 

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals

sustainable dev goals
The Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which represents the leading public and private bodies in the Travel and Tourism sector, attests to the global importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of the Travel & Tourism sectors in their realisation.
Speaking on behalf of GTAC, David Scowsill, President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said, “Travel & Tourism is a sector which collectively contributes nearly 10% of the world’s GDP and one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. Over one billion people cross international borders each year, a number expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, while at the same time, billions more travel domestically. This is a sector which will play a very significant role in making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Like the Sustainable Development Goals themselves, the Travel & Tourism sector is global and action-oriented. It consists of millions of companies – from the smallest hostel to the largest airline – which together forge an industry which encourages sustainable economic growth, creates jobs, promotes opportunities across society and alleviates poverty.
“Travel & Tourism has the potential to contribute directly or indirectly to all of the goals. In particular, as one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, Travel & Tourism is well-positioned to foster economic growth and create jobs throughout the world to meet Goal #1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”. Tourism has been included as a specific target in Goals #8, #12 and #14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.
“The Sustainable Development Goals will play a major role in framing our world for the next generation. The Global Travel Association Coalition, representing the major public and private bodies in the Travel & Tourism sector, welcomes their adoption and commits to contribute to making them a reality.”
Goals 8, 12 and 14 specifically mention the role of tourism:
-         Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all includes as Target 8.9 "By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products".
-         Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns includes as Target 12.b to "Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products". The Sustainable Tourism Programme (STP) of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) aims at developing such SCP practices, including resource efficient initiatives that result in enhanced economic, social and environmental outcomes.
-         Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development includes as target 14.7 "by 2030 increase the economic benefits of SIDS and LCDs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, acquaculture and tourism".

China unveils construction of three railway projects


Beijing has been aggressively allocating more funds to infrastructure construction to boost the world's second-largest economy, which has been facing headwinds. On Monday, China economic planner has approved the construction of three railway projects with a total investment of 109.3 billion yuan ($US17.2 billion).
The projects involve one high-speed rail in central Hubei province, one high-speed rail in Eastern Jiangsu province, and a railway that stretches through southwestern Yunan, Guizhou and Sichuan, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Delta’s Athens to new York-JFK services now on sale for summer 2016


ATHENS – Delta Air Lines’ nonstop double daily flights between Athens and New York-JFK are now on sale for travel in summer 2016.

Flights will begin five times weekly from March 27, 2016, increasing to a daily service from May 24, 2016 using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 292 seats. From May 27, 2016, an additional flight will be added which will also operate on a daily basis with a Boeing 767-400 aircraft with 245 seats, bringing the weekly total to 14 flights. During the peak summer months, Delta will offer over 7,500 weekly seats between Greece and the United States.  All services from Athens are operated in conjunction with joint venture partners Air France KLM and Alitalia.

“Our investment in our New York-JFK hub means we offer greater connectivity for customers travelling to the United States and beyond from Greece,” said Nat Pieper, Delta’s senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“The U.S., meanwhile, is one of the top markets in terms of visitor numbers to Greece and with the service starting earlier than this year, plus an increase in the number of weekly seats on offer between Athens and the U.S. next summer, we are responding to higher demand for travel during this time and supporting inbound tourism.”

Delta’s Athens to New York-JFK schedules are as follows:
Flight numberDepartureArrivalAircraft
DL256Athens at 12.00New York-JFK at 15.55Airbus A330-300
DL494New York-JFK at 17.11Athens at 09.35 (next day)10.00Airbus A330-300
Flight numberDepartureArrivalAircraft
DL45Athens at 14.10New York-JFK at 18.10Boeing 767-400
DL46New York-JFK at 19.30Athens at 12.25 (next day)Boeing 767-400


Delta’s Athens flights features fully flat-bed seats with individual aisle access and a range of regionally inspired dining options in the Delta One cabin, with Westin Heavenly Inflight Bedding from Westin Hotels & Resorts. Customers flying in Delta Comfort+, Delta’s premium economy service, benefit from up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline than Main Cabin seats, as well as priority boarding. Throughout the aircraft, all passengers have access to on-demand in-flight entertainment andWi-Fi so customers can stay connected at 30,000 feet. From New York-JFK customers can transfer onto more than 60 destinations, including Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco. 

As Delta’s New York-JFK hub has a number of amenities for passengers, including multiple food and retail outlets. Delta One customers also have complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club, which features an open air Sky Deck terrace and specially-selected food and beverage options. 

Deem announces strategic car service distribution partnership with BCD Travel


SAN FRANCISCO - Deem and BCD Travel announced a distribution agreement for Deem Car Service. Deem is the leading Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) company. BCD Travel is a leading travel management company (TMC) that helps companies make the most of what they spend on travel while keeping travelers safe and productive on the road.

Under the agreement, BCD Travel agents will be able to offer business travelers and companies access to the largest network of chauffeured transportation vehicles through a seamless, consumer-friendly application with next-generation cloud and mobile capabilities. The announcement comes on the heels of recent Deem Car Service partnerships and agreements signed with the National Limousine Association (NLA) and dozens of leading chauffeured transportation operators at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) conference in Orlando, Florida.

"Travel managers today are faced with the challenge of managing travel risks for their travelers while providing them with the types of booking experiences they have come to demand from consumer applications like Uber," said Dave Mitchell, BCD Travel senior vice president Supplier Relations. "Deem Car Service enables our agents to provide the kind of fast, efficient, and accurate service our clients expect, while ensuring that travelers receive world-class customer service from fully vetted, licensed and insured drivers."

Deem Car Service provides next-generation cloud and mobile services for corporations and customers alike and substantially enhances customer care and safety as well as customer privacy and data security. Deem Car Service provides the only ground service booking tool that takes into account preferred providers, corporate policy and negotiated pricing at the point of purchase-making travel programs easier to manage and saving companies money. Deem combines the ease-of-use of cloud and mobile apps with the largest and most-trusted network of chauffeured transportation companies globally, spanning more than 80 countries and 700 cities.

"BCD Travel has always been at the forefront of travel technology, offering their customers best-in-class tools and service and helping travel managers make the most of their managed travel programs," said Patrick Grady, Founder and CEO of Deem. "We already enjoy hundreds of mutual customers with BCD Travel and look forward to providing the best chauffeured transportation experience to their business traveling clients around the world."

Leading chauffeured transportation operators such as EmpireCLS, Music Express, Pure Luxury, Flyte Tyme, Arrow Limousine, Gem Limousine Worldwide, Universal Limousine, U.S. Sedan Service Inc., North Point Transportation, AJL International, Sterling Limousine and others have chosen Deem as their preferred technology partner to promote their brands, fleets and inventory to corporations, business travelers and premium consumers.

Active senior travellers have different approaches to technology


Are you an Adventurous Experimenter, a Meticulous Researcher or a Fumbling Observer? These are the three groups active senior travellers can be divided into on the basis of how they use tourism-related information and communication technology, according to a recent University of Eastern Finland and Jyvaskyla University of Applied Sciences study.

The importance of senior travellers as a travel segment for the tourism industry is continuously growing as the number of pensioners increases in the Western world. Today’s pensioners are also very different from those a decade ago.

“Today’s pensioners are familiar with computers and information technology, as they have used them when they were active in working life. Moreover, today’s pensioners are more affluent and more experienced travellers than earlier generations. We refer to them as active senior travellers, because they have time, money, skills, interest and health to travel,” says Research Manager Juho Pesonen of the University of Eastern Finland Centre for Tourism Studies.

The study analysed how active senior travellers use tourism-related information technology prior, during and after their trip.

“Earlier research has found that senior travellers are a very heterogeneous group, and senior travellers also have different approaches to using information technology.”

Independent senior travellers on the rise
The study is based on nine interviews with senior travellers, selected by snowball sampling, i.e. existing interviewees recommending future ones. The interviews were used to create matrices on the use of technology and tourism, allowing the respondents to be divided into three groups: the Adventurous Experimenters, the Meticulous Researchers and the Fumbling Observers.

“The Adventurous Experimenters are confident both in choosing their destination and using information technology. They are independent travellers who like to try out new destinations and avoid ready-made travel packages. The Meticulous Researchers, on the other hand, use technology mainly to search for information, and they appreciate safety and user-friendliness both when it comes to technology and their destination. The Fumbling Observers, however, are less keen to use technology and they often require assistance in using it. This group is the one that prefers ready-made travel packages and familiar destinations,” Pesonen explains.

An interesting observation of the study was that the use of technology is closely linked to travel behaviour. Furthermore, senior travellers should not be seen as a homogeneous group preferring ready-made packages; instead, they have varying preferences.

“The share of independent senior travellers, in particular, seems to be on the rise. For the tourism industry, this group is very important in, for example, creating balance between the low and the high season, as they have the possibility and also interest in travelling outside the high season.”

The findings were published in Information Technology and Tourism.

Norwegian Cruise Line presents 2016/17 CE brochure


WIESBADEN – Norwegian Cruise Line has published its 2016/17 brochure featuring new itineraries in Europe from Copenhagen, Barcelona, Venice and Istanbul as well as Norwegian Star’s new itineraries to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Those looking to book one of the exciting 2016/17 Norwegian sailings can do so now, benefitting from a great choice of free extras when the booking is made before 30 November 2015: Guests may choose between one of four free extras unlimited drinks, speciality restaurants, internet package or on board spend. Guests booking a Suite or The Haven by Norwegian Suite will get all four. 

Christian Boll, Managing Director Europe, confirmed: “We are delighted to showcase our incredible new itineraries in the 2016/17 Freestyle
Cruising brochure to our customers presenting new cruises and offering even more options worldwide, combined with the endless freedom and flexibility of Freestyle Cruising. The new brochure is packed with highlights: More than 100 different itineraries on board our 14 Freestyle Cruising vessels from 29 ports all around the globe, from the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea; the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawai’i to South America and – brand new – the Asia-Pacific region.”

Among the many highlights are Norwegian Star’s brand new cruises in winter 2016/17 to the Gulf, India and Sri Lanka, as well as voyages to South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. During the upcoming summer season Norwegian Cruise Line will again have 4 ships cruising in Europe: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Star will sail to all of the Mediterranean’s and the Baltic Sea’s highlights departing from Copenhagen, Barcelona, Venice and as new embarkation port Istanbul.

The varied programme for the Caribbean will among other news feature cruises out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the first time. The youngest member of the fleet, Norwegian Escape, will spend her first full season in the Eastern Caribbean presenting dream beaches and nothing but relaxation to its passengers. The extended South America programme includes new itineraries starting in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro to bustling Sao Paolo and some of Brazil‘s most beautiful beaches as well as Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. 

Google to install Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India


Google plans to install high-speed public Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India. The project, which will initially be free but has the long-term goal of being self-sustainable, was unveiled during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Google’s U.S. headquarters.
Google is partnering with Indian Railways, which operates one of the world’s largest railway networks, and RailTel, which provides Internet services via a fiber network along many of these railway lines. The company expects to bring the first stations online in the coming months, and promises the network will “expand quickly” to cover 100 of the busiest stations in India “before the end of 2016.” the remaining stations will follow in “quick succession.”

Sixth and final ICOMEX Event has successfully concluded to give way to the First Annual ibtm latin america


ICOMEX (now ibtm latin america), part of ibtm events, reaffirmed its position as Leading Trade Show for Incentives, Congress and Conventions in Latin America, following the success of the two-day event which took place in Mexico City last month.

The show delivered over 5,600 business meetings and welcomed more than 6,000 attendees, including 168 international and 177 domestic Hosted Buyers and more than 380 exhibitors, over 5,000 m2 of show floor.

More than 30 conferences and educational events, organized by industry bodies, took place, including: Meeting of directors of IAEE; Exchange leads, conducted by CVBs Latin Caribbean; MPI meal; AFIDA meeting; the signing of COMIR consolidation; HelmsBriscoe meeting; EMC certification; Congress Mexico City; CBVS meeting, to name a few.

The Healthcare Day Forum, organized by CETIFARMA and Reed Exhibitions Mexico, brought experts together to discuss the best practices to organize, certify, and regulate medical conferences and events.

Other popular events which were held at the show include; the Human Resources Leaders Meeting which highlighted the importance of incentive travel; The American Express Meeting; the MCI Americas Meeting; the Corporate Planners' Meeting – PCMA; GBTA Mexico Education Day as well as the Wedding and Romance Congress, where attendees could learn how to manage and empower the romance segment's vision and innovation in Mexico and Latin America. This congress gathered major industry gurus such as Camelu Millan, CEO of the Asociacion de Consultores de Bodas y Eventos Capitulo Mexico y Latinoamerica (ABC); Emilio Serrano, Creative Director of La Canaperia; Melanie Ramone, Wedding Designer and CEO of ABC Puebla; and Elizabeth Uribe, CEO of Specialty Cleaners.

Finally from the close of this year’s show, ICOMEX is to be rebranded as ibtm latin america, which will join its sister events; ibtm world, ibtm arabia, ibtm africa, ibtm america, ibtm china and ibtm india under the ibtm events umbrella along with AIME in Melbourne.

David Hidalgo, Show Director of ibtm latin america, who announced the new name during the opening ceremony, said: “Being part of the ibtm portfolio will provide the event with a major boost and an international presence in the MICE industry, offering new opportunities for the international database of meeting planners seeking new business, which will allow the 2016 ibtm latin america Hosted Buyers to qualify for the international market.”

Ricardo Baquerizo, CEO of the AFIDA, commented: "Mexico has become a country of reference for convention tourism. However, to continue growing, it is essential to continue to professionalize this sector."

Alejandro Ramirez Tabche, Representative of COMIR, added further: "The main objective of this type of event is to strengthen and represent the commercial tourism sector. According to a study undertaken in 2011, conference tourism represented 1.43% of the GDP, and by 2014, the GDP of tourism in general represented 8.4%, 17% of which pertained to meetings tourism. We need to achieve growth in these figures year after year, and the only way to do this is to support events of this magnitude."

Miguel Torruco Marques, Secretary of Tourism of the Mexican Federal District, concluded: “In the first half of this year, hotel occupancy in four-star and five-star establishments was between 67 and 73 percent, which is 2% more than in the previous year. Economic benefits were 0.6% greater than they were at the same point in 2014.”

Our department will continue its efforts to make Mexico City the place for more international conferences that will position the city as a more attractive and reliable destination for the meetings industry.”

Valerie Exposito-Coitte, Conference & Incentive Manager for Europe, Russia, Brazil & Mexico for the Paris Convention Bureau who exhibited at the show commented: “The show has been very busy, efficient and dynamic. The quality of the buyers has been excellent; they have been well matched, professional and we have made great contacts. The rebrand of ICOMEX to ibtm latin america has made the event an international one, not just a local show, and will make it an easy sell to our partners.”

Jim McMichael, Specialty Markets Manager for Las Vegas commented: “It’s been an amazing experience for us. The venue has been a tremendous asset for us; the welcoming that you get as soon as you arrive means this is a show we’re going to do business at. The set up has been great and the facilities well managed. This year's hosted buyers have been the best ever. We’ve had positive leads from the buyers we’ve met with, people that have been telling us they have business ready to come to Vegas, they’re looking for quotes, they’re looking for us to respond with immediate action. Groups that are looking to come to Vegas within the next year.”

The ibtm events portfolio is part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, the world’s leading provider of events and exhibitions for the travel and tourism industry.



A new way to avoid baggage fees

aa Baggage Fees
Several airlines charges baggage fees, adding to the overall cost of air travel. An Orlando-based company has a proposition for passengers desperate to avoid ever multiplying bag fees. Gary German, the founder of Orlando-based Orion Travel Tech, says his company plans to offer free luggage and pay the bag fees of millions of passengers.
There’s just one catch – you will help the company to advertise with your luggage(s). Orion pays your roundtrip Baggage fees by becoming the world's first Mobile Traveling Billboard Luggage Trolley with a front and back advertising wrap that is molded into the plastic. Orion also allows customers to personalize their own luggage with a graphic design that they choose from a number of on-going promotional campaigns that will occur throughout the year.
baggage fee free
The Orion Patent Pending Luggage Advertising Billboard will not only travel through Airport terminals, TSA lines, Ticketing and baggage carousels, but also travel via train, bus, cruise line and automobiles. All this is made available by international, domestic and regional advertisers and sponsors. Orion's free luggage two-piece set consists of a 21-inch hard-shell carry-on 4-wheel trolley and a 29-inch hard-shell trolley. Both will come with a 2-year warranty.
Advertisers can wrap up to 1 million luggage sets that will produce large amounts of impressions within a 4-6 week promotional campaign. Campaign sizes are 10 thousand to 1 Million or more. Promotional Campaigns are also geared to trains, cruise ships, buses, ferries, cars and trucks.
One side of the Orion Trolley is wrapped by the participating Advertisers, those can be an Airline, Car Rental company, a Presidential Campaign, a new Fall TV Show, a Hotel Chain, an Online travel booking Company, a Cruise Line, a Resort, Military Recruiting, a Mobile Carrier, a large On-Line retail chain, or even famous Amusement Parks. Essentially, it's a NASCAR hood that can travel the world in a day! On the other side of the luggage are brands that want to promote to their customers or win new ones. A whole new way to personalize; again paid for by participating sponsors.
"With the invention of hard-shell luggage, it is now possible to approach advertisers and promoters with a whole new set of eyes combined with personalization. What's unique about this luggage, it literally can go worldwide in a day and it comes with its own salesperson!" said Gary German, Orion's Founder.
For more information visit http://oriontraveltech.com
Here is a list of major airlines that are charging for first and second checked bags

InterContinental launches IHG Business Rewards promotion

ihg business rewards
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched its new IHG® Business Rewards promotion, offering members the opportunity to earn an impressive 75,000 bonus points at participating IHG hotels worldwide. Members can earn up to 75,000 bonus IHG® Rewards Club points when booking accommodation, meetings and events, as well as social bookings for others from now until 30 November 2015 (for events and stays until 1 January 2016). Registration is required.
IHG Business Rewards members must register for the promotion, immediately earning 500 bonus points. Thereafter, bonus points are accumulated according to the following set spend thresholds:
•             Spend $2,000 USD and receive 3,000 Bonus Points
•             Spend $5,000 USD and receive 10,000 Bonus Points
•             Spend $10,000 USD and receive 20,000 Bonus Points
•             Spend $20,000 USD and receive 40,000 Bonus Points
Members can also capture more value by earning an additional 1,500 bonus points for international bookings.
For conferences and meetings at IHG hotels across Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), bookers have the added option of including menus with dishes designed by the IHG Culinary Panel, as well as a range of customised offers and discounts. The IHG Culinary Panel is a group of seven award-winning chefs who have worked with IHG to develop a series of signature dishes available at IHG hotels across AMEA.
Members can register for the promotion by visiting: http://www.ihg.com/hotels/gb/en/global/offers/businessrewards. Guests can sign up for IHG Business Rewards by visiting: http://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/businessrewards/home

Aloft College Station in Texas marks 100th Aloft Hotel Worldwide

Aloft College Station
Currently operating in 16 countries across the globe, Aloft has experienced incredible growth since it emerged onto the scene in 2008. With the opening of Aloft College Station in Texas, Aloft Hotels announced the 100th hotel milestone worldwide.
With the recent openings of Aloft Manhattan Downtown – Financial District in New York City, Aloft Santa Clara (CA), Aloft Stuttgart and Aloft Munich in Germany, Aloft continues to expand in key global markets, with eight more hotels set to open by year’s end. “Aloft has been one of the fastest growing hotel brands , successfully opening 18 hotels in three countries within the first six months of launch, and now boasts Starwood’s second largest development pipeline,” said Brian McGuinness, Global Brand Leader, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood.
Aloft hotels now operate in nearly every corner of the world, with properties in North America, Mexico, Belgium, Germany, UK, Turkey, UAE, India, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, and more. Development is booming. Aloft signed as many hotel deals in the first half of 2015 as in all of 2014, and is in its fifth consecutive year of market share gain. The brand will expand its portfolio in Greater China to 10 hotels by year’s end and will continue to penetrate new markets globally, with additional 2015 openings planned for Aloft Raleigh, Aloft Louisville Downtown, Aloft Taipei Zhongshan, Aloft Greenville Downtown, Aloft Raleigh – Durham Airport Brier Creek, Aloft El Segundo – Los Angeles Airport, and Aloft Dongguan Dynamic Town.
Launched in 2008 as Starwood's tech-forward incubator brand, Aloft is designed with a futuristic lens. Built on an agile platform, the Aloft brand’s innovation team works to develop and pilot new technologies to enhance the guest experience and cater to the lifestyle and needs of today’s emerging traveler. In addition to milestone technological breakthroughs including the world’s first robotic butler, Botlr, as well as the introduction of Smart Check-In, which has now evolved into SPG Keyless— the hospitality industry’s first mobile, keyless entry system allowing guests to use their smart phone as a key— Aloft will soon pilot other innovations such as Virtual Reality, 3-D Food Printing and Smart Wake-Up, dreamt up from the brand’s Concept Rooms at its global Headquarters in Stamford, CT. Dynamic lifestyle programming is also in the brand’s DNA, as Aloft offers a buzzing social scene for the early adopter including its renowned global music series, Live At Aloft Hotels, offering guests and locals free access to the hottest emerging artists at every Aloft Hotel around the world.