- Tourism Industry news
Travel Weekly, 29 June: Global tourism growth outstrips forecasts
Global international tourist arrivals rose 6% year on year in the first four months of 2018, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), exceeding the organisation’s forecast. The Caribbean was the only sub-region to experience a decline in arrivals, with visitors down 9% on the same period in 2017 as some destinations continued to struggle from the impact of last autumn’s hurricanes. The UNWTO reported 8% growth in visitors in Asia and the Pacific, with numbers in Southeast Asia 10% higher and in South Asia up 9%. International arrivals in Europe rose 7% in the first four months with arrivals in Mediterranean Europe and Western Europe increasing by 8%. Growth in the Americas was put at 3%, but with South America seeing an 8% rise. There was 6% growth in Africa and 4% in the Middle East. The UNWTO had forecast growth in international tourism numbers of between 4% and 5% for this year. UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “International tourism continues to show significant growth worldwide, and this translates into job creation in many economies.” However, he said: “This growth reminds us of the need to increase our capacity to develop and manage tourism in a sustainable way, making the most of technology and innovation.” The UNWTO reported international tourism receipts rose 5% last year on 2016 off the back of a 7% increase in tourist arrivals. This put total annual receipts from tourism globally at $1,332 billion. Europe recorded 8% growth in receipts to $517 billion in 2017, comprising 38% of global tourism receipts. Income from tourism rose 1% year on year in the Americas in 2017, 3% in Asia and the Pacific, and 13% in the Middle East.
TTG, 28 June: Abta pleads for clarity from government over Brexit
Speaking at Abta’s Travel Matters conference in London, chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “A year ago, I set out a number of areas in which we needed to see urgent progress – aviation access, movement of key workers, VAT and consumer rights. Twelve months on and we still don’t have any clarity on any of these. “On aviation access, probably the most critical issue, the government has said that it “fully expects” that a deal will be done before March 2019. The industry, along with the rest of the nation, is holding them to account on this.” Tanzer said business in general was right to speak out against a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU – which could potentially mean no aviation agreements or the right to employ UK staff abroad. “We are surely approaching a crunch time, when hard choices will have to be made, and the government should listen to those who have knowledge on their side, rather than just ideology,” he said. Aviation minister Baroness Sugg sought to reassure the audience, saying said the government was making progress in its negotiations over air travel rights. She said it had agreed the implementation period that will see the current arrangements continue until the end of December 2020. Tanzer concluded that the industry still had a “bright future” despite the lack of clarity. “Even now, in spite of general uncertainty and the devaluation of sterling, bookings are up, in volume and value. That shows an enduring commitment to and confidence in taking holidays overseas,” he said.
Travel Weekly, 29 June: Families plan holidays six months ahead on average, study finds
The average UK family starts holiday planning more than six months in advance, a new study shows. Busy lives and hectic work schedules mean millions of families try and arrange breaks well in advance so they have something to look forward to. Adults will spend around six hours browsing the web for ideas before asking their children, friends and family for input on where to go on holiday. The poll of 2,000 people found eight in ten families will go through three key stages when booking a holiday, seeking inspiration on where to go, comparing prices and then making the booking. But while more than seven in ten Brits families book both their flights and hotels well in advance of their trip, less than a quarter (22%) book activities ahead of their holiday. Spending time together as a family on holiday is seen as the highest priority, ahead of getting away from work and the daily routine. Getting a good deal was also vital for more than nine in ten consumers.
TTG, 25 June 2018: Heathrow expansion approved by Parliament
Parliament has approved the building of a third runway at Heathrow – but many believe it will be at least a decade before it is open. MPs voted 415 to 119 in favour of expanding Heathrow on Monday evening (June 25) with the Conservative-led government resorting to a whipped vote to ensure the support it needed. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who had vowed to lie down in front of the bulldozers if the runway was approved, missed the vote due to foreign office commitments in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Theresa May said. Many have accused Johnson of shirking the Heathrow vote, with the proposed new runway likely to have significant ramifications for his Uxbridge constituency. Heathrow Hub, a consortium advocating an alternative third runway proposition by extending the existing northerly runway west and dividing it into two, claimed the plan approved by parliament would never be built. Jock Lowe, Heathrow Hub director, said: “The third runway plan is so complicated, noisy and expensive it will either never be built, or will be delayed by years and vastly over budget. It is passengers, airlines and local communities who will pay the cost.” Transport secretary Chris Grayling has insisted the taxpayer “is not going to be paying for the expansion of Heathrow airport” and said there would be no big rise in landing charges. However, IAG has claimed the cost of the project will mean passenger fees doubling to £40.
Travel Weekly, 27 June 2018: Gatwick boosted by growth in long-haul passenger numbers
Gatwick handled record 45.7 million passengers in the year to March – up 3.6% or 1.6 million passengers on the previous 12 months. Revenue rose by 5.4% to £764.2 million, resulting in earnings [EBITDA] increasing by 10.1% to £411.2 million and a pre-tax profit of £233.7 million.
- Airline news
Travel Weekly, 25 June: EasyJet adds sixth aircraft to Belfast fleet
EasyJet’s Belfast-based fleet has been expanded with a sixth aircraft to fuel expansion with four new routes. The 186-seat Airbus A320 joins two other A320s and three 156-seat A319s at Belfast International airport. The additional aircraft is being deployed to coincide with the start of flights to the Isle of Man, Venice, Naples and Valencia. The budget airline now operates up to 624 flights a week across 32 routes from Belfast, and 8% more flights compared to summer 2017. Flights to the Isle of Man and Venice run twice a week throughout the year, with two flights a week to Naples and Valenica running during the summer only. EasyJet UK country manager Ali Gayward, said: “The addition of another aircraft and even more routes will help us to deliver long term, sustainable growth at the base providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service. “Our ongoing growth demonstrates the airline’s long-term commitment to Northern Ireland, and with fares as low as £18.70, that’s 37% cheaper than when we launched our first route for £29.99 from Belfast over 18 years ago. “EasyJet is the largest airline in Northern Ireland and we are proud to have carried over 55 million passengers in that time.” Belfast International airport managing director Graham Keddie added: “The addition of a sixth easyJet aircraft to the five already based at the airport is a huge boost. “In a year that we expect will be record-breaking for the airport, this enhances our route offering for passengers and also shows the value that easyJet places upon its operation at Belfast International airport and the importance of the Northern Ireland market.
- Tour Operator news
Travel Weekly, 28 June: Riviera Travel adds six itineraries for 2019 short-haul collection
Riviera Travel has introduced six tours and more options to personalise clients’ in-destination experiences in a new-look 2018-2019 Tours Collection. The escorted tours feature a return to Jordan after a gap of eight years and new destinations Umbria, Sardinia and Montenegro. The brochure includes 83 tours in total, of which 56 are in Europe and 27 are worldwide. The new tours are: Montenegro: Budva, Cetinje & the Bay of Kotor; Spain’s Basque Country, La Rioja and Burgos; Jordan & Petra, plus Jerusalem; Ireland: Belfast, Galway & the Ring of Kerry; Umbria, Perugia & Assisi: The heart of Italy; Sardinia: Alghero, The Costa Smeralda & Corsica. Jordan and Petra was taken out of the programme eight years ago because of political unrest. The new eight-day tour, from £1,989, offers the option of a three day excursion to Jerusalem, which was not offered previously.
- Competitor news
Travel Weekly, 29 June: Jet2.com and Jet2holidays target Madeira growth with year-round offering
Madeira is being targeted for major growth by Jet2.com and Jet2holidays with year-round flights and holidays. The company has more than 400,000 seats on sale to the Atlantic island, with major growth for this summer, winter 2018-19 and next summer, demonstrating the Portuguese destination’s year-round appeal. Jet2.com and Jet2holidays will operate up to 12 weekly flights to Madeira from across its network of nine UK bases, including a new exclusive route from Belfast International airport. This means the company has almost 135,000 seats on sale – a 36% hike in capacity over last summer. Next summer will see bigger programme in operation with a 21% increase in capacity to provide more than 160,000 seats. Jet2.com and Jet2holidays are increasing capacity by 29% for the winter, with up to 13 weekly flights from across nine UK airports from the end of October until March next year. The company has also extended the number of hotels offered in Madeira to more than 65 and villas available via through Jet2Villas Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “Madeira is a very important destination for Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, which is reflected by these fantastic growth figures. “The island has established itself as a firm favourite with Britons of all ages, as it has so much to offer right throughout the year. “This news is a real boost for the tourism industry and is living proof that we are not just working to fill hotels in the peak summer season but that we are working with our hotel and industry partners such as the Madeira Promotion Bureau to achieve the best possible results all-year round.”
TravelMole, 27 June: Be careful in Turkey, travel firms warned
Tour operators have been warned to be cautious when expanding in Turkey, even though bookings for the destination were at one point up 78% for summer 2018. Martin Alcock, director of Travel Trade Consultancy, which advises around 200 travel companies, said Turkey would always be subject to some ‘wobbles’. Alcock pointed out that when the Foreign Office updated its travel advice to Turkey to include a warning about elections on June 6, bookings ‘dropped off a cliff’. “That goes to show you that we do have to be careful,” he said. In 2016, many tour operators pulled out of Turkey or reduced their capacity due to falling demand, but along with other Eastern Mediterranean destinations it has seen a revival for summer 2018. “All the big four operators have been a rise in mid-haul sales, which are up 16% this summer, and the overriding winner has been Turkey,” said Alcock, “but it will always be subject to some wobbles.” He advised delegates attending ABTA’s Travel Matters conference in London this week to remain flexible and to ensure they had ‘friendly’ contracts with suppliers in Turkey, without any cancellation penalties. “It is difficult for smaller companies, but make sure you push back on the contract terms and take advice, don’t just assme you have to sign these contracts.” Alcock also warned that some airlines might be heading for trouble as many – including easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air and IAG – have announced significant expansion this year, which, he said, is bound to lead to lower air fares. “Airlines in Europe are on a land-grab, they are trying to increase their marketshare so they will lower prices, but the problem is that we are starting to see oil prices rising. Where you have excess capacity and rising costs, you could see failures or consolidation,” he said.
TTG, 26 June 2018: Egypt aiming for ‘seamless’ travel with new e-visa system
The Egyptian government said it wanted to simplify travel and speed up waits at border control, offering an alternative to applications upon arrival or through the Egyptian Consulate prior to travel.
Citizens from 46 countries across Europe, Asia and Australasia will be eligible. The e-visas can be obtained through a simple online application form. A single-entry tourist visa costs $25 (£19) while multiple-entry tourist visas cost $60 (£45), payable by credit or debit card. E-visas are valid for a maximum of three months. Travellers are advised to apply at least seven days in advance of departure. Entry requirements include a passport valid for at least another eight months and a print out of the e-visa, as well as your proposed itinerary and details of accommodation. Amr El Ezabi, Egyptian State Tourist Authority director UK and Ireland, said: “We want travel to Egypt to be as seamless as possible and in the digital age, this new e-visa system is an important step towards simplifying the process. “Latest tourism figures have shown a significant rise in arrivals and we hope that this trend continues as more people are encouraged to visit our diverse nation.”
Travel Bulletin, 21 June: Barrhead Travel reveals where holidaymakers are heading this summer
According to figures revealed by Barrhead Travel, Mallorca remains the firm favourite as the number one summer holiday destination for couples and families alike. Mexican hot-spot, Cancun, features in the top ten for both families and couples, with popular summer-sun destinations such as Alicante (Spain) and Dalaman (Turkey) also appealing to both types of holidaymakers. Sharon Munro, the company’s president, says that there’s still time to bag a bargain if you have yet to book your summer getaway. She said: “There is unbelievable value to be had on last minute holidays this year. From all-inclusive cruising in the Med to a family beach-break in Salou, there are plenty of options for every type of traveller. “The pricing in some destinations across Europe can often work out cheaper than if you were to choose a staycation at home. Dining out in Sunny Beach or the Algarve, for example, is on average up to 54% cheaper than the UK equivalent while enjoying an ice-cold bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant in the Costa del Sol costs an average £1.80 – that’s more than half the price of the UK average of £4.30. “If you’re trying to budget with the kids in mind, all-inclusive could be the perfect option as you get everything included in the price, plus most resorts have brilliant kids’ club facilities on offer. Many cruise lines also offer all-inclusive options, meaning you could visit multiple destinations in one trip this summer without worrying about mounting costs.” The company’s late getaways for an all-inclusive holiday start from £287 per person, with holidays to Orlando starting from £478 and 11-night Mediterranean cruise & stay deals starting from £969.