Thursday, August 26, 2010

NEW TSA Requirements

Effective November 1, 2010, traveling will require full Secure Flight Passenger, a program started in 2009, for those traveling to/from/within/over the United States on any of U.S. carriers regardless of their ultimate destination. The TSA said there WILL BE NO exceptions to this new policy; 100 % compliance is necessary by all airlines and travelers.

What will you need to provide to the airline or travel agent?

  • · Your full name as it appears on the government-issued I.D you plan to use when traveling
  • · Date of birth
  • · Gender
  • · Redress number (if available)

It is a good idea check with the airline and/or travel agency that this information has been placed in your reservation. For more information check out the TSA website or contact AFCnet and we can help answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

AA is charging everyone for seats, again. Introducing "Express Seats"

American Airlines announces today their new "Express Seats" option. Instead of allowing their best "elite" customers the ability to pre-reserve the bulkhead - or the 1st few row of coach - American Airlines is now only offering these seats within 24 hours of check-in, only via the Check-in kiosks @ the airport, and only after you pay a service fee. The fee (based on distance) will range from $19 - $49 per person per flight.

AAvantage Elite customers will still be offer "preferred seats" - but these will be behind the "Express Seats."


See: AA News Release

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All you can Fly Pass

Both JetBlue and Sun Country today announced all-you-can-fly pass for Sept/Oct travel.

Sun Country (based here in Minneapolis) is offering their pass for $499.00 for unlimited flights between Sept. 7 and Oct. 13 (plus taxes). The pass -- must be purchased by Aug. 24 or while supplies last. Reservations must be made at least three days in advance, and fees apply for no-shows or for changes made within three days of a flight's schedule departure time.

JetBlue's pass base price: $699.00
The pass covers travel between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6. (If you are willing to travel only 5 days a week - Excluding Fridays and Sundays - the pass is only $499.) JetBlue says pass holders will have no boundaries -- every available seat on every flight between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6 will be available with no blackout dates -- to travel to more than 60 international and domestic destinations in JetBlue's route network as often as they like. Domestic taxes and fees are included in the price of its pass, though taxes and fees for international flights and flights to Puerto Rico are not included.

The Fine Print(rules): Both offers...Pass holders must book flights at least three days prior to their desired flight's scheduled departure. Pass holders can cancel or make changes to pass reservations for free if done more than three days in advance. Changes or cancellations made within three days of a flight booked under the pass will incur a $50 fee. No shows incur a penalty of $100.00

Happy Travels.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Delta SkyMiles Upgrades

Being a Diamond, Platinum or God Medallion member of Delta Air SkyMiles program just got a little better. You can now request an upgrade on either an award ticket or a "pay with miles" ticket. It's already happening for people who have these types of tickets. In addition, Delta is rolling out many other enhancements this fall and into early 2011. You can read about them at the Delta website.

Speaking of Delta’s website, it has undergone a "face lift" and now features a brand-new look. Be sure to check it out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Travel Industry Overview: A summer review

Travel Industry Overview (from AMEX):

The travel industry continues to stay on a recovery track. In the airline sector, travel demand continues to build, leading to rising airfares and growing revenues for carriers:

• International air travel rose 11.9% in June, the second month of growth recovery following the ash cloud crisis in April.

• Passenger volume on Asia-Pacific airlines surged 25.2% in June, the eighth consecutive monthly increase.

• Congress approved aviation safety legislation addressing pilot qualifications.

• The average domestic airfare rose 4.7% in the first quarter of 2010 to $328, the second highest first quarter level since 2001.

• Passenger revenue for U.S. airlines rose 25% in June, the sixth consecutive month of revenue growth.

• The airline industry is working to develop global standards specifying when it is safe to fly through plumes of volcanic ash.

• Airlines are continuing to contain capacity growth in spite of growing demand as part of their policy of prudent management in the face of rising fuel prices.

• U.S. airlines see a multi-billion-dollar benefit from the financial reform legislation signed into law, predicting it will cut their fuel costs.

• A rebranded version of the Registered Traveler Program will be debuting at Indianapolis International Airport.

• Full-body scanners are being rolled out at airports throughout the country.

The hospitality sector continues to build recovery momentum:

• U.S. hotels posted gains in all three key performance measurements for the first three weeks of July.

• The luxury segment in the U.S. recorded the strongest lifts in all three performance metrics, including a double-digit revPAR rise for the month of June.

• A rise in business travel is sparking a summer rebound for U.S. hotels.

• While U.S. hotel values are projected to dip this year, they are expected to rebound strongly in 2011.

• Smith Travel Research data suggests that to date, Arizona’s hotel industry has been relatively unscathed by the state’s new immigration law.

• Satisfaction among hotel guests has improved notably in 2010, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study.

• Hotel markets in eight out of nine global regions registered year-on-year increases in revPAR for the first half of 2010.

• London’s hotel industry recorded a 14.9% increase in profits for June.

• Hotel markets in six out of ten major European cities registered gains in profit levels for June.

• Sparked by stabilizing fundamentals in the hotel industry, investors are gearing up for acquisitions.

• Hotels are increasingly targeting teenagers on summer vacation with their families.

• Economy and mid-scale hotels are adding value to their free breakfast offerings.

Tourist destinations worldwide are on the rise despite challenges:

• In a positive sign that travel spending is rebounding, American Express reported brisk growth in travel sales for the second quarter of this year.

• The U.S. Travel Association has recommended the creation of a marketing campaign designed to alleviate the impact of the oil spill on tourism to the Gulf Coast.

• The Jamaica Tourist Board credits travel agents with playing a key role in preventing the riots in Kingston from negatively impacting Jamaica’s tourism industry.

• In a Harris poll, more Americans indicated they would vacation in Italy rather than in any other country outside the U.S. if cost was no object.

• Israel tourism set two records for visitor volume, one for this June and one for the first half of 2010.

• International tourist arrivals to the Asia-Pacific region picked up strongly in the first five months of 2010 with a 10% rise.

• Total spending by tourist arrivals to Hawaii surged dramatically to $948.9 million in June 2010 compared to only $131.7 million in June 2009.

• In spite of political turmoil in Thailand, international arrivals to the destination surged 13.7% in the first half of this year.

• Vietnam is anticipating robust growth in tourism.

The cruise industry continues on a steady recovery track:

• The world’s three largest cruise companies recorded favorable financial results for the second quarter of this year.

• Cruise companies are reporting that cruise fares are rebounding.

• President Barack Obama signed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act into law.

• Worldwide, the cruise industry is currently facing what one industry insider terms a regulatory “minefield.”


Aviation Industry


Robust Rise for International Air Travel in June
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that demand* for international air travel was up a brisk 11.9% in June, the second month of growth recovery following the ash cloud crisis in April. Capacity increased by only 5.9% keeping the load factor in line with historical highs at 79.8%. For the first half of this year, a 7.9% demand rise outpaced a 2.0% capacity gain to yield a load factor of 77.1%.

Results for International Air Travel by Global Region in First Half 2010
• “The industry continues to recover faster than expected, but with sharp regional differences. Europe is recovering at half the speed of Asia with passenger growth of 7.8% compared to the 15.5% growth in Asia-Pacific (for the month of June 2010).” -- Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO

• North America posted growth of 10.8% in June, comparable to the 10.9% recorded for May. Brisk growth and the industry-leading load factor of 86.6% are contributing to strong second quarter financial results for the region’s carriers.**

• Asia-Pacific posted double-digit gains for both June (15.5%) and the first half (10.5%).

• Europe lags behind other regions with gains of 7.8% in June and 3.3% for the first half.

• The Middle East registered the strongest surge for the first six months (20.1%).

• Africa had the strongest growth in June (21.3%) due to the FIFA World Cup.
Year-on-Year Change in International Air Passenger Demand* for First Half 2010
Global Region June Jan.-June
North America 10.8% 5.9%
Asia-Pacific 15.5% 10.5%
Europe 7.8% 3.3%
Latin America 14.7% 10.2%
Africa 21.3% 13.2%
Middle East 18.0% 20.1%
Industry 11.9% 7.9%

*Demand is measured in terms of revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs).
** As reported in the previous issue of this newsletter.
Source: International Air Transport Association Press Release – 7/28/10

Travel on Asia-Pacific Airlines Surges in June
The Asia-Pacific zone continued to spearhead global recovery in air travel during June. The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) reports that the number of international passengers on AAPA member airlines was up 25.2% for the month to 15.1 million, the eighth consecutive monthly increase. Passenger volume for the first six months of this year rose 14.9% to 89.3 million.

Demand Growth Outstrips Capacity Gains to Yield Robust Load Factors
• In June, a rise in demand* of 19.0% far outpaced a capacity rise of 6.4% to yield a surge of 8.5 percentage points in the average load factor to 79.5%.

• For January - June, a demand increase of 11.9% far outpaced capacity growth of 1.8% yielding a gain of 7.1 percentage points in the average load factor to 78.2%.
International Travel on Asian Airlines in 2010
June January - June
Passenger Volume (000) 15,134 89,252
% Change Year-on-Year 25.2% 14.9%
Passenger Demand (in millions)* 57,744 338,570
% Change Year-on-Year 19.0% 11.9%
Seating Capacity (in millions)** 72,666 432,863
% Change Year-on-Year 6.4% 1.8%
Passenger Load Factor 79.5% 78.2%
Change Year-on-Year 8.5 pp*** 7.1 pp***

* Passenger demand is expressed in terms of RPKs (revenue passenger kilometers).
** Seating capacity is expressed in terms of ASKs (available seat kilometers)
*** Percentage points
Source: Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines Press Release – 6/23/10

Congress Passes Air Safety Bill
On July 30, Congress approved aviation safety legislation developed in response to a commuter airline crash in western New York last year. The safety measures apply to all airlines and are the first comprehensive attempt in decades to revise rules governing pilots. They would require airlines to hire more experienced pilots, investigate pilots' previous employment more thoroughly, and train them better. The legislation also requires a major overhaul of rules governing pilot work schedules to prevent fatigue.
Source: The Washington Post – 7/30/10
Source: The Wall Street Journal – 7/30/10

Domestic Airfares Rise in First Quarter
The average domestic airfare rose 4.7% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2010 to $328, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This was also a 2.8% increase over the fourth quarter of 2009 and represents the second highest first quarter level since the $348 amount recorded in 2001. In the 15 years from 1995, the first year of records, air fares rose 10.5% compared to a 43.7% inflation rate.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics Press Release – 7/28/10

U.S. Airlines Post Six Months of Revenue Growth
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) reports that passenger revenue for U.S. airlines rose 25% in June, the sixth consecutive month of revenue growth. For the 12 months ending June 2010, passenger revenue was 0.5% greater than calendar year 2000 levels. 1.4% more passengers traveled on U.S. airlines in June while the average price to fly one mile rose 20%. International passenger revenue rose 38%. “It is clear from these positive results that the recovering U.S. economy is enabling airlines to dig out from the very deep hole of a year ago,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May.
Source: Air Transport Association Press Release – 7/21/10

Airline Industry Still Striving for Ash Cloud Standards
Stung by the ash cloud crisis, European airlines have been pressing for development of global standards specifying when it is safe to fly through plumes of volcanic ash. However, three months after volcanic ash temporarily closed nearly 80% of European airspace, aircraft and engine makers don't appear any closer to agreement on such standards. The task has proved to be a daunting one, partly because each eruption produces different size particles with unique chemical compositions.
Source: The Wall Street Journal – 7/23/10

Airlines Continue Capacity Restraints Despite Rebound
Despite a strong financial showing for this year's second quarter and the promise of similar results through the rest of the year, airlines are still keeping a lid on capacity growth. Airline executives said the economic recovery is still fragile and they cannot plan on substantially increasing capacity as long as fuel prices continue to roller-coaster. Especially troubling, executives said, are the fuel increases this year compared with last year. Consequently, airlines are not hurrying to replace the capacity that they took out of their networks during the 2008 fuel spikes and subsequent recession.
Source: Travel Weekly – 7/23/10

U.S. Airlines See Benefit from Financial Reform Law

U.S. airlines see a multi-billion-dollar benefit from the financial reform legislation signed into law on July 21, predicting it will cut their fuel costs. A provision in the measure limits the size of trades, or futures contracts, for anyone not hedging with the intent of taking delivery of fuel. Airlines have argued that speculation in recent years caused volatile oil price swings and higher costs that drove some carriers under while severely testing the financial stability of others. Industry officials are optimistic that the new limits in the law will contain such volatility by curbing speculative commodities trading.
Source: Reuters – 7/21/10

New Version of Registered Traveler Program to Debut

On August 16, Indianapolis International Airport will be the first U.S. airport to launch a rebranded version of the nationwide registered traveler program that once had thousands of members until it shut down a year ago. The new iQueue Priority Access program is expected to appeal to business travelers and frequent fliers willing to spend $169 annually for an identity card; the card can be used to pass through express lines leading to airport security checkpoints Two other airports have announced plans to launch similar programs by the end of the year.
Source: The Indianapolis Star – 7/30/10

Major Rollout of Full-Body Scanners Underway
The new imaging technology known as full-body scanners is being rolled out at various airports throughout the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security. About 450 machines will be used in airports nationwide by the end of the year, and 142 have already been installed in airports such as Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York’s JFK, San Francisco, and Miami. The machines debuted at Pittsburgh International Airport on July 20 and will be appearing at Los Angeles and Houston. Passengers’ concerns over graphic images generated by the equipment have prompted federal authorities to take steps to assure anonymity. Passing through the equipment is optional.
Source: WPXI-TV (Pittsburgh) – 7/20/10
Source: Houston Chronicle – 7/20/10
Source: Daily Breeze (Torrance, California) – 7/20/10


Hospitality Industry:


U.S. Hotels Continue Performance Gains in July
Smith Travel Research (STR) reports that U.S. hotels are posting increases in all three key performance measurements. As shown below, while the industry began registering growth in both occupancy and revPAR in March 2010, room rate was still negative through April. In May, however, room rate was flat -- the first month in almost two years that room rate was not negative. In June, room rate edged up 1.0% and continued marginal gains in the first three weeks of July. In the most recent two-week reported (July 11 – 24), revPAR rose by an average 8.8%, driven by a 7.3% rise in occupancy:
% Change Year-on-Year in U.S. Hotel Industry Performancece
Time Period Occupancy Room Rate RevPAR
January-December 2009 -8.7% -8.8% -16.7%
January 2010 -0.4% -7.1% -7.4%
February 2010 0.9% -4.5% -3.6%
March 2010 5.9% -2.0% 3.8%
April 2010 4.7% -1.2% 3.5%
May 2010 7.1% 0.0% 7.1%
June 2010 6.9% 1.0% 8.0%
July 4 - 10, 210 3.9% 0.4% 4.3%
July 11 - 17, 2010 7.3% 1.6% 9.0%
July 18 - 24, 2010 7.3% 1.3% 8.6%

Source: Smith Travel Research data as reported in various “Hotel News Now” releases

U.S. Luxury Hotels Outperform Other Segments in June
STR reports that among the seven chain-scale hotel segments in the U.S., the luxury segment generated the largest increases in all three key performance metrics for June 2010; the segment’s occupancy rose 9.4% to 70.2%, room rate was up 4.7% to $236.59, and revPAR surged 14.6% to $166.20. Four of the seven chain-scale segments reported increases in all three key performance metrics. Overall, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy was up 6.9% to 65.0%, room rate edged up 1.0% to $98.33, and revPAR rose 8.0% to $63.87.
Source: Hotel News Now – 7/20/10
Source: Hotel News Now – 7/21/10
Source: Hotel News Now Reports on First Half 2010 Results for U.S. Hotel Industry

Signs of Summer Rebound for U.S. Hotels
The hotel industry in the U.S. appears to be rebounding this summer, mainly because of strengthening business travel, according to business analysts. So far the biggest beneficiary is New York, though other East Coast cities are reporting gains as well. Upscale, full-service hotels that are favored by business travelers are said to be benefiting more from the upturn in demand than midlevel brands; STR describes the rebound as “top-down,” meaning the more expensive hotels are recovering the fastest.
Source: The New York Times – 7/26/10

U.S. Hotel Values Expected to Fall in 2010, Rise in 2011
According to projections in the Penn State Index of U.S. Hotel Values, the average value of a U.S. hotel room will be down 2.2% this year to $74,787 and then rise 7.5% in 2011 to $80,424. Among six hotel segments, the luxury segment is projected to dip 1.3% this year to an average room value of $249,906 and then increase 6.4% in 2011 to $265,930. The widest anticipated fluctuation is in the economy segment which is expected to plummet 11.2% this year to $15,797 and surge 11.0% next year to $17,531.
Note: This article includes a suggested formula by which hoteliers can evaluate room value.
Source: Hotel News Now – 7/27/10

Arizona Hotels Unscathed from Immigration Law to Date
Although Arizona’s tourism industry has been threatened by the state’s new immigration law, STR data suggests that Arizona hotels have been relatively unscathed so far. Occupancy in the state is up 5.2% for 59.0% for the first half of this year and increases have actually been improving since the beginning of the year. Room demand for hotels in Arizona is up 7.9%.
Source: Hotel News Now – 7/29/10

Survey Shows Notable Rise in Hotel Satisfaction
As the hotel industry recovers from the economic downturn, overall satisfaction among hotel guests has improved considerably in 2010 from 2009, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. Each of six North America hotel segments posted gains in satisfaction levels in 2010 over 2009, with extended stay properties and mid-scale full service hotels generating the largest increases. Across all segments, satisfaction with the costs and fees, reservations, and guest room measures improved most notably.
Source: J.D. Power and Associates Press Release – 7/27/10

Favorable Performance Results for Global Hotel Markets in First Half
STR Global data shows that hotel markets in nine global regions generally posted favorable performance results for the first six months of 2010:

• Seven regions posted occupancy gains; Asia-Pacific had the highest growth: 12.8%.

• Five regions posted room rate gains; Southern Africa had the highest growth: 25.3%.

• Eight regions posted revPAR gains; Asia-Pacific had the highest growth: 24.8%.

• The results for North America (and the U.S. within the region) show positive trending for a region that has been lagging behind the recovery in other regions.

• The results shown for Europe reflect variable results across European sectors; Hotels in Western and Northern Europe led the way in revPAR gains while Southern and Eastern European hotels could not convert strong occupancy gains into improved room rate increases.

• Asia-Pacific was the only region to register double-digit gains in all three performance measurements.

• Although the Middle East was the only region to record declines in all three performance measurements, it had the highest room rate ($201) and revPAR ($125) levels of any region.
% Year-on-Year Change in Global Hotel Performance: January - June 2010
Global Region Occupancy Room Rate RevPAR
North America 4.4% -1.2% 3.2%
United States 4.4% -2.0% 2.3%
Caribbean 2.0% 3.7% 5.8%
Central America 9.4% -2.1% 7.1%
South America 9.3% 8.8% 19.0%
Europe 5.4% -1.4% 3.9%
Middle East -1.9% -7.6% -9.4%
Northern Africa 9.3% 6.6% 16.5%
Southern Africa -2.9% 25.3% 21.6%
Asia-Pacific 12.8% 10.6% 24.8%


Mixed RevPAR Trending for Global Hotel Markets in June 2010
STR Global data shows variable results for nine global markets in terms of revPAR trending in June compared to the first six months of this year:

• Five global regions show improvement in revPAR growth in June while four regions show lower growth levels.

• North America (and the U.S. within the region) improved by 5.8 percentage points in June revPAR growth compared to the first half.

• Europe, impeded by the ash cloud crisis in April among other factors, fell 5.0 percentage points to post a drop in revPAR of 1.1% for June.

• Southern Africa, sparked by the World Cup games in South Africa, generated a gain of 57.5 percentage points to record a stratospheric 79.2%
revPAR gain in June.

% Year-on-Year Change in RevPAR for Global Hotel Markets
Global Region June 2010 Jan.-June 2010 Change*
North America 9.0% 3.2% 5.8 pp
United States 8.0% 2.3% 5.7 pp
Caribbean 4.1% 5.8% -1.7 pp
Central America 3.5% 7.1% -3.6 pp
South America 11.4% 19.0% 7.6 pp
Europe -1.1% 3.9% -5.0 pp
Middle East -7.3% -9.4% 2.1 pp
Northern Africa 14.9% 16.5% -1.6 pp
Southern Africa 79.2% 21.6% 57.6 pp
Asia-Pacific 27.0% 24.8% 2.2 pp

Note: Monetary values represented above are based on U.S. dollars. Results vary by currency referenced.
*pp = percentage points
Source: STR Global Hotel Performance Data for First Half 2010

Profitability Surges for London Hotels in June
The latest Hotstats survey from TRI Hospitality Consulting shows that London hotels generated a 14.9% increase in Gross Operating Profit per Available Room (GOPPAR) for June. This result was driven by the highest room occupancy levels of the year in June at 87.5%, a year-on-year increase of 3.4 percentage points, plus an 11.2% rise in room rate to £131.23. The resultant lift in revPAR was 15.8%. Despite snow in January and the ash cloud in April, GOPPAR for London hotels rose 12.0% for the first half of this year.
Note: Currency in this report is measured in pounds.
Source: Hotstats Report for June 2010 by TRI Hospitality Consulting

Mixed Profitability Results for European Hotels in June
Of the hotel industries in ten major European cities reported in the latest Hotstats survey by TRI Hospitality Consulting, six of the cities posted gains in GOPPAR while four registered declines. Three cities generated double-digit gains: Berlin (42.7%), Brussels (23.7%), and London (14.6%). Notably, Paris was down 0.7% in GOPPAR. For the first six months, eight of the cities generated GOPPAR increases while two recorded declines. Five cities posted double-digit GOPPAR rises for the first half.
Note: Currency in this report is measured in euros.
Source: Hotstats Report for June 2010 by TRI Hospitality Consulting

Trend: Hotel Investors See Mounting Recovery
The consensus of hotel experts is that after hitting bottom last year, the hospitality industry has embarked on a modest, yet steady, recovery. The upturn is marked by rising occupancies and stabilizing room rates after an extended period of free-fall. With fundamentals stabilizing, firms with the capital on hand such as REITs and private-equity funds are gearing up for acquisitions to take advantage of attractive valuations and still-limited bank financing. "We consider this a very good time to buy. We expect to be active acquirers over the next 18 months," says Russell Urban, senior vice president of acquisitions and development at HEI Hotels & Resorts.
Source: Lodging Hospitality Online – 7/27/10

Trend: Hotels Targeting Teens on Summer Vacation
Hotels and resorts are increasingly catering to teenagers on summer vacation with their families. In particular, properties are offering activities that can help teenagers fulfill their goal of breaking away from their parents for awhile. Hotels are now realizing they need to offer customized options for teens. Such programs include Wii contests, sushi-making lessons, poker nights, and dedicated ‘hang-out’ spots. The key to attracting teens, hotels say, is providing grown-up experiences while setting limits.
Source: The Wall Street Journal – 7/29/10

Trend: Hotels Enhancing Free-Breakfast Offerings

Economy and mid-scale hotels around the world are adding value to their free breakfast offerings with the addition of waffles, eggs, sausage, and other foods this year. Holiday Inn Express properties in the United Kingdom and Ireland, for example, added scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and warm pastries to their complimentary breakfast offerings in May. In June, Hampton Inn rolled out self-serve waffle makers as part of its free breakfast at properties in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.
Source: Hotel News Now – 7/21/10



Tourism News


Surge in American Express Travel Sales for Second Quarter
In a positive sign that travel spending is rebounding, particularly in the business sector, American Express reported brisk growth in travel sales for the second quarter of this year. Corporate travel sales for the company rose nearly 28% to $4.6 billion for the period while the company’s overall travel sales rose 25% to $5.7 billion. The results reflect growth in transactions as well as strengthening of airline pricing.
Source: Business Travel News – 7/23/10

Campaign Recommended to Reinvigorate Gulf Coast Travel
The U.S. Travel Association has recommended the creation of a marketing campaign designed to alleviate the impact of the oil spill on tourism to the Gulf Coast. According to Oxford Economics, the oil spill could inhibit travel to the Gulf Coast for three years and cost the region $22.7 billion. The association feels that a campaign to attract visitors could reduce the economic cost by $7.5 billion. The association has proposed that federal officials procure $500 million from BP to fund the campaign.
Source: U.S. Travel Association Press Release – 7/22/10


Travel Agents Bolster Tourism Resilience for Jamaica
John Lynch, chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, credits travel agents with playing a key role in minimizing damage to the destination’s tourism industry during the crisis that started in late May. Despite a two-month travel alert issued by the U.S. State Department as a result of riots in Kingston, travel to the country didn't suffer. “The travel agents, in particular, stood out as a real friend to Jamaica,” Lynch said. “They all knew what was really happening in Jamaica and that it was still safe to go there. This is where our relationship with the travel industry really proved big.”
Source: Travel Agent Central – 7/28/10

Poll Shows Italy as Top Foreign Vacation Choice for Americans
In this year’s Harris Interactive survey of travel preferences, more Americans indicated they would vacation in Italy rather than in any other country outside the U.S. if cost was no object. The destination rose from number two on the list last year. Conversely, Australia dropped from number one in last year’s ranking to number two this year, only the second time since 1997 it has vacated the top spot. Ireland, the United Kingdom and France rounded out the top five selections.
Source: Travel Agent Central – 7/22/10


Israel Sets Visitor Records for First Half
Israel tourism set two records for visitor volume, one for this June and one for the first half of 2010. The destination generated 259,000 tourist arrivals from around the world in June, a record level for the month of June. 28% of these visitors, 73,188 travelers, were from the U.S. – making June the best month ever for U.S. travel to Israel. The number of tourist arrivals to Israel in the first half of this year surged 39% to a 1.6 million. The U.S. is Israel's primary tourism source market with Russia, Germany, and France following.
Source: Travel Pulse – 7/26/10


Asia-Pacific Tourism Continues Robust Growth through First Five Months

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) reports that following a 3% drop in 2009, international tourist arrivals to the Asia-Pacific region picked up strongly in the first five months of 2010 with a 10% rise. Although the ash cloud crisis inhibited arrivals to and from Europe in April, total arrivals for all Asia-Pacific were still up 7% for the month and were back to more robust growth in May with a rise of 16%.

Gains in International Arrivals for Asia-Pacific Sub-Regions: January - May 2010
• South Asia was up 15% for the first five months of this year, the highest growth rate of any Asia-Pacific sub-region. South Asia was up 4% in April and 19% in May, sparked by a continuously improving safety and security situation. Sri Lanka, one year after the end of a decades-long civil war, generated surging growth rates of 47% in April and 42% in May.

• Southeast Asia was up 13% for the first five months. Tourism growth slowed to 8% in both April and May, weighed down marginally by the ash cloud crisis and the political turmoil in Thailand; arrivals to Thailand fell 0.2% in April and 13% in May.

• Northeast Asia, the largest sub-region in visitor volume, posted a rise of 10% for the first five months. The ash cloud crisis subdued growth to 7% in April but then the sub-region rebounded vigorously with a 19% surge in May. Notably, arrivals to Japan skyrocketed 26% in April and 49% in May, marking six consecutive months of double-digit gains for the country, following a long slump.

• The Pacific grew by a more modest 2% for the first five months. This was the only sub-region to post declines in visitor volume for April and May due to the ash cloud crisis. Notably, arrivals to Australia and New Zealand were down 6% in April and 4% in May, as the visitor flow from Europe was disrupted by the airspace closures.
Source: Pacific Asia Travel Association Press Release – 7/21/10

Dramatic Rise in Hawaii Tourism Spending for June
Tourists are increasingly visiting Hawaii and spending more on their trips, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Arrivals to the destination rose 13.6% in June 2010 to 625,522 visitors, the seventh consecutive month of arrival increases. More dramatically, total spending by these visitors in June 2010 surged to $948.9 million from only $131.7 million in June 2009. This marked growth in tourist expenditures for Hawaii is based on a 7% increase in the amount spent by the average visitor to $161 per day.
Source: Pacific Asia Travel Association News Release – 7/31/10

Thailand Tourism on the Upswing for First Half
The Tourism Authority of Thailand reports that in spite of the political turmoil that has plagued the destination, tourism is on the rise. International arrivals rose 13.7% in the first half of this year to 7.52 million visitors. Phuket and other beach destinations in the Kingdom continued to see an upswing; according to the Airports of Thailand, disembarkations from international flights were up 49% for Phuket and 26% for Chiang Mai in the first half.
Source: Pacific Asia Travel Association News Release – 7/27/10

Vietnam Projects Tourism Surge
Vietnam is anticipating robust growth in tourism; according to forecasts, revenue gains from tourism will reach US$8.7-million by 2013. The tourism industry reportedly contributes an estimated 13.1% of the country’s GDP. Last year, Vietnam’s tourism industry accounted for 44.7% of the country’s foreign direct investment.
Source: Pacific Asia Travel Association News Release – 7/29/10


Cruise Industry



Three Largest Cruise Companies Post Favorable Financial Results
Royal Caribbean Swings to Second Quarter Profits
Royal Caribbean Cruises reversed last year’s second-quarter loss, reporting a $60.5 million profit for the second quarter of 2010; the company reported a $35.1 million net loss in last year’s second quarter. Second-quarter revenue surged 18.5%, to $1.6 billion. Passenger ticket revenue climbed 21.2%, while the increase in onboard and other revenue grew 12.7%. "Despite ongoing uncertainty with the economy, our profitability continues to improve and our booking environment continues to be remarkably stable,” said Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain.
Source: Travel Pulse – 7/23/10

Carnival Registers Revenue Gains for Second Quarter
Carnival Corporation generated a 10.3% increase year-on-year in revenue to $3.2 billion for its second quarter ended May 31. Passenger yields were up 2%. These results enabled the company to report net income of $252 million for the period. Although this was a 4.5% decline from the second quarter of 2009, it exceeded the company's March guidance. “We were encouraged to see revenue yields turn positive for the first time since late 2008,” said Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison.
Source: Travel Weekly – 6/28/10


Norwegian Cruise Lines Records Improved Net Yields for Second Quarter
Norwegian Cruise Line reports that net yields improved 6.6% from higher ticket prices and increased onboard revenue per capacity day for the second quarter. NCL said that If not for a $33.1 million cost related to a foreign-currency contract associated with financing the Norwegian Epic, it would have made a profit of $18.2 million, ahead of the $15.4 million it made in last year's second quarter; due to the charge, however, NCL registered a $14.9 million loss for the quarter. NCL's revenue was $478 million for this year’s second quarter, a virtually flat result compared to last year’s second quarter.
Source: Travel Weekly – 7/26/10
Source: Travel Pulse – 7/27/10

Cruise Fares on the Rise
Cruise companies are reporting that after plunging during the downturn, cruise fares are rebounding. Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein told Wall Street analysts that pricing is about a third of the way back to where it was before the economic downturn began in 2008. He said improving demand and bookings from both North America and Europe were contributing to the recovery in pricing. Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that "the second half of 2010 is showing solid improvements in pricing from 2009 levels."
Source: USA Today – 7/26/10


Discounted Cruises on the Decline as Booking Window Expands
Discounted cruise prices are gradually evaporating as demand builds. Cruise Critic expects prices to rise between 5% and 7% in the near future. Concurrently, the booking window, which contracted notably in the last 18 months, is expanding back to normal. With fewer last-minute bargains available, cruise lines will be encouraging travelers to book early rather than late.
Source: TravelMole – 7/29/10

President Signs Cruise Safety Legislation into Law
President Barack Obama signed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act into law on July 27, 2010. Sponsored by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA), the law contains a host of provisions designed to enhance safety and security onboard cruise ships as well as insure accountability by cruise companies. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has expressed its support of the law noting it already does, as standard practice, much of what is required in the new law.
Source: Cruise Industry Facts – 7/27/10


Cruise Industry Facing Regulatory “Minefield

Worldwide, the cruise industry is currently facing what one industry insider terms a regulatory “minefield.” In addition to the cruise safety legislation cited above, there are several other U.S. laws and international conventions that regulate the industry’s activities. What makes compliance difficult for the industry is that one of its greatest assets, the mobility of its ships, presents a challenge when it comes to jurisdiction; ships constantly move through different territorial waters, encountering different laws and standards to which they must conform.
Source: Travel Weekly – 7/20/10