Will Germans Switch, Visit USA, Instead of Turkey this Summer?
The German outbound market to Turkey and elsewhere in the region has been hemorrhaging since Jan. 12—that’s when an ISIS-backed suicide bomber killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet Square—and Europe’s major tour operators seem to be re-routing the summer 2016 itineraries of clients who had booked trips to the region. Whether it will have any impact on Visit USA traffic seems to be a matter of conjecture, and the tour and travel trade will probably have to wait to conduct its own colloquy on the matter next month (March 9-13) at ITB in Berlin before a consensus emerges.
“Honestly we don’t know yet if Germans will choose the U.S. as an alternate destination to Egypt, Turkey, North Africa or will stay in Europe,” Jeff Karnes, executive vice president of New World Travel, who is based in Los Angeles, told the Inbound Report. “The U.S. is certainly losing MICE business to European destinations like Barcelona, Rome and Paris this year and next.”
Karnes, whose company specializes in the German market, added, “there are so many factors coloring the German’s travel decisions right now from currency value, security, consumer confidence that the jury is still out. We should have a much better picture in April.”
“Yes, I do think that it has some kind of impact,” Timo Kohlenberg, president and CEO of America Unlimited, told us. “Lots of regions in Europe/short haul are not safe at the moment, such as Turkey or Egypt. The U.S. is the number one long haul destination for Germans, so lots of them will travel abroad.”
“I cannot estimate by how much this will actually influence the numbers,” added Kohlenberg, whose company is based in Hannover, Germany, “but we are around 15 percent up in 2016 at the moment.”
Peter van Berkel, president of Travalco, a receptive tour operator based in Florida, had a different take. “Long haul (USA) substitution of short/medium haul product is a stretch,” he explained.
“Passenger expectations and price points of charter based single resort based trips like in Turkey and North Africa are not very compatible with high mobility multi destination type of travel and associated cost we see here into the USA. Impact will be very limited as a direct substitution; there can be however a slight positive bump if the current concerns result into accelerating pre considered USA trips for 2017 or beyond into 2016.”
Meanwhile, the TUI Group (It controls 16.9 percent of the German market, according to a recent study) reported on Feb. 9 that it had already experienced a 40 percent drop in bookings to Turkey this summer due to safety concerns and said it “was investing in Cape Verde and Bulgaria as alternatives to security-threatened North Africa.” Earlier, it was reported that several operators— DER Touristik (12.4 percent), Alltours (8.1 percent) and FTI (5.6 percent)—had offered a free re-booking option to those who had already booked for Turkey.
Notes on China
—According to the China National Tourism Administration, 120 million tourists from the Chinese mainland travelled abroad in 2015, with a spending of RMB 11,625 ($1,768) per capita. Two thirds of them are free independent travelers.
—The boom of outbound tourism is also reflected by the bookings with major travel agencies, and the largest source cities are Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Guangzhou. (Source: China UnionPay International)
—While domestic luxury consumption in China fell two percent last year, luxury purchases abroad increase 10 percent, according to the consulting firm Bain & Company. Shopping tourism from China increased 32 percent in 2015 from the previous year.
RSAA Rebrands itself as IITA
Following months of discussion of the idea, the Receptive Services Association of America has announced that, after 25 years, it will re-brand as the International Inbound Travel Association (IITA). The announcement came at the organization’s just concluded 2016 Summit in New York City. “The term receptive is no longer an accurate reflection of who we are or whom we represent,” said a statement issued by the organization. “The new name and the recent Board election, with leadership representing markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, reflect the changes in the industry. The rebrand will engage new members from expanded markets and connect additional sectors of this dynamic industry.” The association will now seek an official vote of the membership through a Bylaws Amendment. The vote is due in 30 days and the organization will be officially known as the International Inbound Travel Association.
Kuoni to Double the Number of LGBT Experts as Researchers Identify USA’s Top “Gayborhoods”
The company began focusing more on the LGBT segment last year, training 10 LGBT travel specialists, following the TTG LGBT Conference, held in July, which was aimed at educating those who attended the on how to sell travel to the LGBT market.
Mark Duguid, vice-president commercial and product management at Kuoni, told TTG that the company was now assessing whether to increase its number of specialists. “We thought long and hard about it and wanted to do it carefully to avoid pink washing,” he said, adding, “The heart of what we do in this area is less about product and more about the customers and their comfort levels, and the advice we can give them.” He said Kuoni would reassess the situation in the second quarter of the year.
“We will see where we are and look to see how many more we need – maybe even the same number again,” he explained. “Many gay and lesbian couples already book with Kuoni, so this is really about stepping things up and making sure the sales team are knowledgeable about the legal and cultural positions of the destinations Kuoni sells.”
While it is difficult to establish firm statistics on general travel trends for same-sex couples across all Kuoni products, he said, it was possible to capture data on same-sex honeymoons. “That’s grown 279 percent in five years and we’ve seen a 76 spike spike just in the past two years since the legalization of same sex marriage here. There is real growth opportunity in the market.” He identified The Maldives, Thailand and the USA as the top three honeymoons for same-sex couples.
At about the same time that Kuoni announced its plans to expand its LGBT marketing team, Trulia—it is a San Francisco-based an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals—took the occasion of Gay Pride Month to list the Top Ten Gay and Lesbian neighborhoods in the U.S. For each ZIP code in the U.S., Trulia calculated the share of households that are same-sex male couples and same-sex female couples, based on the 2010 Census. Then, it combined the Census data on where gay people live with median price per foot of listed homes in each ZIP code on Trulia over the past year.
Overall, the Census reports around 646,000 same-sex households in the U.S., which is just 0.6 percent of the country’s 117 million households. Of the same-sex households, 51 percent are female couples and 49 percent are male couples, which means that 0.3 percent of all households are male couples and 0.3 percent of all households are female couples. But, as Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia pointed out, many neighborhoods have a concentration of same-sex couples more than 10 times that national average.
Top 10 Gay Neighborhoods in USA—Male
|ZIP Codes with highest concentration of same-sex male couples||Share of Households|
|94114 Castro, San Francisco, Calif.||14.20%|
|92264: Palm Springs, Calif.||12.40%|
|02657: Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass.||11.50%|
|92262: Palm Springs, Calif.||11.30%|
|33305: Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||10.60%|
|90069: West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.||8.90%|
|94131: Noe Valley/Glen Park/Diamond Heights, San Francisco, Calif.||7.40%|
|75219: Oak Lawn, Dallas, Texas||7.10%|
|19971: Rehoboth Beach, Del.||7.00%|
|48069: Pleasant Ridge, suburban Detroit, Mich.||6.80%|
Top 10 Gay Neighborhoods in USA—Female
|ZIP Codes with highest concentration of same-sex female couples||Share of Households|
|02657: Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass.||5.10%|
|01062: Northampton, Mass.||3.30%|
|01060: Northampton, Mass.||2.60%|
|02130: Jamaica Plain, Boston, Mass.||2.40%|
|19971: Rehoboth Beach, Del.||2.40%|
|95446: Guerneville, north of San Francisco, Calif.||2.20%|
|02667: Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Mass.||2.20%|
|94619: Redwood Heights/Skyline, Oakland, Calif.||2.10%|
|30002: Avondale Estates, suburban Atlanta, Ga.||1.90%|
|94114: Castro, San Francisco, Calif.||1.90%|
Note from the researchers: The U.S. Census doesn’t ask sexual orientation, of course, so the only way to measure gay neighborhoods is based on where couples live. The Census data requires some corrections and adjustments. Finally, ZIP codes don’t line up perfectly with neighborhoods, but we did our best to use the closest neighborhood names that correspond to the ZIP codes in our analysis. (Also, check out Trulia’s original article on the subject: http://www.trulia.com/blog/trends/gayborhood-watch/)
TourOperatorLand.com (formerly TheTourOperator.com) Celebrating 15 Years
EU’s Packaged Travel Update Makes Slow Trip to Implementation
The European Union has issued its final version of the revision of its directive on packaged travel. Stated in its simplest way, the revision now includes leisure travel purchased online—in which the components of a package are purchased separately but linked together by the purchaser—in the same fashion as the directive has treated traditional travel packages put together and sold by tour operators and travel agents. This means that the protections afforded the traveler consumer now include OTA packages, as well as product sold by individual online travel suppliers, thereby removing a vital point of distinction between offline and online travel agencies.
Of course, the above is a considerable over-simplification of what the directive contains. If you are interested in reviewing the complete, 43-page, nearly, 18,000-word document complete with citations and appendices, click on the “A” link below. If you would like to see a clear-and-simple two-page article by Sophie Arrowsmith (she is a London-based attorney who specializes in travel law) that explains directive, visit the “B” link go, which appeared in TravelMole.com.
The proposed revision to the original EU directive (It was proposed in 1990 and became effective in 1992) was first promulgated in July 2013. It then when through a lengthy process of consultation, during which individual governments, the travel trade and other entities made comments and suggestions. It won’t become fully effective until July 1, 2018.
India: As More Complete Market Profile Emerges, It’s a Surprise When it Comes to Packages
Even though what it describes as a “subset” of Indians have the wherewithal to enjoy leisure travel—even a subset comprises scores of millions in the world’s second most populous country—a Phocuswright research analyst, Chetan Kapoor, tells us in a new report that more than half of the nation’s travelers go online to research and shop for travel. Some of the key findings of the report, Indian Holiday and Packages Market: Now Empowered, Travelers Take Control, include the following:
—While holiday travelers rely on a range of information sources, websites via computer were the most common, with 54 percent of travelers going online to search and shop for travel components.
—Travelers were nearly as likely to shop via smartphone (40 percent), underlining the substantial influence mobile websites and applications are having on travel planning.
—However, few–nearly four out of 10–prepackaged holiday travelers used an online payment method. While the payment distinction is important within the travel industry, travelers themselves are often unclear on what constitutes an online booking.
—Many are searching online but still reserving through call centers or visiting storefronts to make payments. Indian travelers use the best of both worlds to shop and book their travels.
—When choosing a destination, recommendations from friends and family are among the most influential factors, and 35 percent of holiday travelers were motivated by personal advice when planning their most significant leisure trip.
—Although price is not a primary motivator for most important leisure trips, three in 10 holiday travelers were inspired by a great deal.
—Holiday travelers showed a strong preference for domestic destinations when planning their leisure trips.
—When considering every leisure trip taken by holiday travelers in the past 12 months, 68 percent were to domestic destinations. But for the most significant trip, holiday travelers chose a domestic destination 82 percent of the time.
—For holiday travelers, prepackaged trips are the most popular option, with nearly half of travelers (48 percent) choosing to purchase a set package for their most significant leisure trip. In other words, with a lengthy or expensive vacation, many Indian travelers prefer to leave the details to the professionals (i.e., a travel provider or an intermediary) to avoid taking risks.
—Just over half of Indian travelers take matters into their own hands, with custom and non-packaged holidays (21 percent and 31 percent, respectively), showing a maturation of the Indian traveler who is getting more involved in holiday planning and purchase decisions.
Also, from the survey: 65 percent of the participants preferred Android to iOS, while only 25 percent preferred iOS to Androids. Samsung, Micromax, HTC, Sony and Lenovo were the top smartphone brands used for travel photography.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Dieter Zümpel has stepped down from his post as the sales and marketing director of Alltours, is leaving the company due to differences of opinion with owner Willi Verhuven. His contract was officially terminated effective January 2017, suggesting that he is likely to remain for some time until a replacement is found. Zümpel, who had been in the post since 2012, previously held senior positions with TUI, Karstadt-Quelle and club operator Magic Life.
In Brazil, CVC has announced the promotion of Ricardo Kaiser to the position of senior sales manager for the Greater Sao Paulo region. Kaiser joined the company a year ago and had worked as a senior product manager in the car rental area. Kaiser will report to the sales director of CVC, Emerson Belan, and will have the responsibility of developing sales strategies for the key São Paulo market.
n Australia, Louise McAlpine has been named head of global product contracting for Excite Holidays, a global online wholesaler. McAlpine joins the company from The Travel Corporation, where she was head of contracting.
Greg Bernd is joining Travel Impressions as vice president of sales. Bernd’s primary responsibilities will be driving and executing the overall sales strategy for the luxury wholesaler. Bernd spent nearly three decades as the major liaison to the travel-agent community at Classic Vacations, where he oversaw the organization’s relationships with major groups. Bernd joined Classic Vacations in 1984, holding several roles at the company, including vice president of sales and co-president.
Craig Thomas has been appointed Etihad Airways’ general manager for the United States—the first GM for the U.S. in the airline’s history. He will be based in New York where he will be responsible for all commercial activity for Etihad, as well as further the carrier’s relationships with trade and corporate partners. Thomas most recently served as Etihad Airways’ General Manager for Canada, based in Toronto. He joined Etihad in 2005. Previously, he held various management roles in airport operations at Virgin Atlantic.