NYC Receptive Operator CTN Shuts Down
Consortium Tours of North America (CTN), a New York City-based service-oriented receptive tour operator that has been in business for nearly 35 years, has closed its doors and apparently laid off over 30 staff members last Friday.
“As you undoubtedly know, the impact of OTAs, loss of business in prime markets, political and economic upheavals, low profit margins and the ever faster growing impact of technology on our trade have all severely ravaged our receptive wholesale travel industry,” the company said in an e-mailed statement, adding, “We are therefore forced to discontinue all booking services offered by CTN (hotels & other). Please trust this resolution has not been arrived at lightly, yet it requires us to act with immediate effect.” CTN officially shut down at 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 17.
In an effort to reassure some of its customers and business partners, CTN said that its group department and its group department staff was acquired by “a reputable international wholesaler,” and that CTN group agents would seamlessly transition all group operations. According to the CTN website, the company had 70 employees worldwide. Evidently, according to one supplier familiar with the transaction, CTN’s robust groups business was sold to a South African tour operator.
It also advised its hotel and vendor partners of the closure of the company, noting that, “since we will not be operating, we will not be able to guarantee, service or pay for those future bookings going forward.”
Sources tell the Inbound Report that the operator had difficulty after its owner, Wolf Mertel, made a move to expand into the FIT market, having developed expensive new FIT booking engine just as the market for FIT leisure bookings was being commoditized by OTA’s and the Bed Banks, which rendered mid-scale operators less able to compete, and the European business environment has started to soften.
One New York hotel told the Inbound Report that he found it concerning that no mention was made in the e-mail concerning outstanding invoices due to hoteliers from FIT bookings that were prepaid.
As of this writing, the CTN website is up and functioning with no mention of the closure; efforts to leave a message on the answering machine revealed that it was, not surprisingly, full.
A Third of Brits Would Give Up Sex for Their Dream Holiday
The results of an apparently legitimate survey in the UK show that one-third (33 percent) of Brits claim they would give up sex for a month if it meant going on a dream holiday. Conducted by LoveHolidays.com, the survey produced results that included the following:
- 38 percent of women would happily swap a month of sex for their dream getaway
- Just 28 percent of men would do the same.
- 40 percent of Brits would give up personal grooming (shaving, skincare and makeup) in exchange for their dream holiday.
- Women are less keen to sacrifice their beauty regimes; only 14 percent would do so.
- 23 percent of men would give up their beauty regimes.
- As for personal hygiene, only one in ten Brits say they would give up showering for a month in exchange for the dream holiday.
- Only 6 percent of women said they would swap showering for time in the sun, compared to 13 percent of men.
Searching for an answer to the question, “Why?” LoveHolidays furnished a quote from behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings, who had this to say about the survey findings: “We like having something special to plan and look forward to, and these events matter so much that we’re willing to relinquish everyday activities, like personal grooming, to swap them for something more interesting and exciting – a much-needed break from routine.”
She added, “Studies have shown that we tend to experience more intense emotions about future events—like a holiday—than we do of past events. We get more excited and have higher expectations of things to come, as opposed to memories of the past.”
The Inbound Report’s Takeaway from this Item: We have none, except to wonder how this information could be of use to tour and travel industry marketers seeking to understand the bewildering psyche of UK travelers.
UK Travel to North America up 20 percent in Last Three Years
The latest data released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that—despite a weak pound sterling and the combination of doubt and uncertainty as to what would happen following the June 23, 2016 “Brexit” vote in which Britons voted to leave the European Union—outbound traffic to North America in 2016 increased over 2015, although at a slightly slower annual rate than in recent years. In fact, the increase in outbound British travel to North America last closed out last year with a total that was 20 percent greater than it was in 2013.
The full-year numbers for 2016 just released by ONS indicate that departures for North America (about 90 percent of traffic to North America goes to the USA) increased by 4.3 percent over 2015—down from a 6.4 percent year-on-year increase in 2015 and an 8.5 percent year-on-year increase in 2014.
But rather than cherry pick data bytes, and to put the latest ONS information in perspective, we’ve entered it into the following four-year table below.
An Almost Pathological Love Affair—Why does Florida attract Brazilians?
or Por que a Flórida atrai o brasileiro?†
(Following is a commentary posted last week on a Brazilian website that focuses on tourism and tourism-related issues. Though it is somewhat filtered in its precise meaning because we present the google-translated version—touched up just a little by our own, limited understanding of Portuguese—its message is a true celebration of what Florida means to Brazilian visitors to the USA.)
By Fábio Steinberg*
There is an almost pathological love affair of Brazilians for Florida. It is impossible to explain only by the logic of where comes so much passion ignited by everything that refers to this destination. It is no wonder that, with or without economic crisis, we are the third largest international visitor to the US state, which corresponds to 10 percent of the total. And, as it could not be, we also won the title of number two country in spending.
This blind idolatry for Florida and its main icons – Miami, Orlando, Disney and other theme parks – is reflected even in our culture. For example, it is there that our little children learn not to throw trash on the ground, and their parents to respect the traffic laws.
The same irresistible attraction also gives signs of life in the pathetic attempts to repeat the urban model so beloved in Brazil. For example, Barra da Tijuca, in Rio de Janeiro, pretends to be Miami. Or the neighborhood of Alphaville, in São Paulo, pretends to be Orlando. Of course copy never surpasses the original, and the result is a sometimes crude and flawed version, but which, in a pact of silence, everyone pretends not to see.
Meanwhile, Florida celebrates exuberant results. A Tourism Economics study commissioned by Visit Florida to assess the impact of foreigners on the state’s economy points to a growing increase in tourism-related spending, revenue, and jobs, currently its industry number one.
It is no small thing. Visitors—84 percent of them at leisure—spent $ 108.8 billion in 2015, giving an average of $ 300 million a day. Of the estimated 85 million visitors who landed during 2016—more than 14 times than the whole of Brazil – 24 percent of them were international. They were led by a trio of 4 million Canadians, followed by 1.7 million Englishmen and 1.5 million Brazilians. Together with the other countries, they left $ 25.7 billion in the local coffers.
Domestic visitors stayed on average four days. Already the international ones extended for 11 days. Hors concours, sure to escape the cold polar bear worthy, the Canadians were way off the curve, settling in the area on average for 23 days.
The consumption of all visitors brought direct revenues not only hotels (28.3 percent), but also food (20.4 percent), commerce (14.5 percent), entertainment (14.3 percent), land transportation (12.4 percent) and Aviation (10.2 percent).
There was also the indirect and induced financial impact of these expenditures on other sectors of the state economy. Thus, results almost doubled to $ 183 billion, taking into account areas such as finance, education, agriculture, fishing, fuel, health, wholesale, construction, services, manufacturing, communication, among others.
As for taxes, tourism in Florida contributed $44.4 billion. To give you an idea, if it were not for this, each resident would have to pay $1,500 to maintain the same level of government services.
And the jobs? There were 1.4 million people in all sectors, which generated an income of 50.7 billion dollars. Put another way: every 76 visitors allowed to generate a hiring for tourism.
“The tourism industry is driving the growth of our economy,” commented with a smile from ear to ear Ken Lawson, president of Visit Florida. It is the organization that promotes tourism to the state, which serves more than 11,000 companies associated with tourism. He just needed to thank the Brazilians for their expressive contribution to the excellent results.
† From diarioduturismo.com.br—you can access the original article at: http://diariodoturismo.com.br/florida-atrai-o-brasileiro/
* Fábio Steinberg is a journalist and founder of the Viagens e Negócios website. This commentary was posted on Feb. 12, 2017
Mexico’s Travel Trade Seeks to Recruit Deportees from U.S.
While approval ratings among Mexicans toward U.S. President Donald Trump and his stated policy positions directed at the country could not sink lower, part of the tour and travel industry in Mexico is turning the situation into a positive by redeploying English speaking migrants returning to Mexico to enter the tourism industry.
Just how intense is the feeling toward Trump in Mexico? A report broadcast by PBS last week summed it up this way: “Nearly everything he (Trump) does or says about immigration, a promised border wall or the North American trade arrangement dominates Mexican media. Even on the car radio in a cab stuck in a Mexico City traffic jam, the passenger keeps hearing talk of President Trump … He has been depicted in a newspaper cartoon in a strait jacket; the headline ‘El Fascistoid Trump,’ a play on the word fascist, appears under a magazine cover photo. A recent newspaper poll put his favorability rating in Mexico at 3 percent.”
Given such an environment, the expectation in Mexico is widespread that many Mexican nationals in the United States will be returning to the country—either through deportation or of their own volition.
Se Habla Ingles: The situation has prompted the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (Asociación Mexicana de Agencias de Viajes , or AMAV) to encourage to support for Mexican migrants deported from the United States by hiring them and giving them the opportunity to obtain an income.
The logic of such a policy, as reported by the Mexican trade news portal, REPORTUR.mx, seems to be this: With the Mexican peso down 40 percent against the U.S. dollar over the past three years, Mexican tourism officials are making a major move to attract American visitors; most of the returning Mexicans speak English and would fit right in the growing ranks of employees needed to serve English-speaking Americans.
Said AMAV President Juan Carlos Castañeda Carrión: “We can take advantage of these difficult situation, since there is a high demand because of the growth we’ve had in recent years (Even if) they will not be paid the same as they earned In the United States, it will be a steady income.”
Another factor motivating the Mexican travel trade has been the call from some quarters—such as the National Human Rights Commission—to reallocate funds for tourism promotion to government spending programs that would provide more direct relief for returning Mexican migrants.
German Trade is off to Sluggish 2017 Start
Even though January is generally the top month for travel sales in Germany, travel agents in the country realized a one percent drop in winter revenues last month, reports the German travel trade publication FVW, and summer 2017 bookings were stuck at last year’s level—a level that was a poor one for the industry, with its year-on-year slump.
The numbers, which came from the regular monthly analysis by the Nuremberg-based marketing research firm GfK, followed strong months in November and December during which, FVW said, “Germans snapped up bargain offers and took advantage of early booking discounts.” The GfK’s analysis is based on bookings in 1,500 representative travel agencies.
As a result, according to GfK, summer 2017 sales are now running 6 percent ahead of last year on a cumulative basis, but which is down from a 10 percent growth rate in December.
At the same time, the overall 2016/17 tourism year is still showing a small sales increase of 1 percent on a cumulative basis, with the 6 percent summer growth outweighing a 4 percent decline in winter season sales, according to the GfK figures.
Commenting on the numbers, Dörte Nordbeck, head of Travel & Logistics Germany at GfK, observed: “We assume that some holidaymakers have learned from last year’s (capacity) bottlenecks and the resulting price increases, and have booked their summer holidays even earlier than usual this year.”
The Daunting Dimensions of JTB
When JTB, the largest Japan business in Japan, last month announced its acquisition of Panorama Tours—it is the largest travel company in Indonesia, which has twice the population (260.6 million vs. 126.3 million) of Japan—it served as an occasion for Hiroyuki Takahashi, JTB’s president and CEO to emphasize that the move meant that JTB would now “engage in full-fledged development of our business model, from one that has until now considered human interactions predominantly in terms of outbound travel from Japan, to a model that is global in outlook, with a focus on Asia.”
As a as part of its “Vision 2020,” the company, which already has a global footprint, expects to become the No. 1 travel agency in Asia. By 2020, JTB also seeks to boost its annual revenue from global operations, especially from trips by non-Japanese travelers, to ¥750 billion ($6.66 billion).
A week after the Panorama announcement, Shin Fujimoto, vice president and vice president and of head of leisure department, JTB USA—he is based in Torrance, California—took part in a session at NAJ’s RTO Summit in Marina del Rey, California and made a rare presentation that revealed the global reach and breadth of the company, including data regarding the size of different components of the Japanese market important to U.S. inbound tourism.
JTB’s Global Network: It is present in 37 countries, 107 cities, 418 offices (including affiliated sales shops). Information is as of September 2016. In the USA, some of its brands include Look JTB, MyBus East, MyBus West, Look AME and Look American Tours.
- JTB’s network in the United States—inbound offices are green.
- JTB USA’s breakdown of key market segments for USA inbound.
- Number of passengers for escorted package tours to USA, 2015 and 2016
- Number of passengers on group tours to USA.
For more information, contact:
Group—Oscar Ishiguro (310) 406-3156, email@example.com
Leisure Package—Kiichi Suzuki (310) 303-3766, firstname.lastname@example.org
MyBus West—Nagako Vermillion (310) 303-3761, email@example.com
MyBus East—Sae Inaba (212) 424-0812, firstname.lastname@example.org
General Manager—Ken Hasunuma (310) 406-3121, email@example.com
What Sells for China’s Affluent Males, a.k.a. Bling Kings
From “Bling Kings” to “Aficionados”—they are covered in How to Impress China’s Mass Affluent Males, a new report out from Jing Daily, the Chinese news and research service that specifically covers the luxury market in China. Together with Carat, a global media and marketing firm, Jing has produced a concise sketch of the demographic group (and its key components) that drives the most lucrative consumer segment in the world’s largest country market. We’ve digested the report as follows.
The dramatic boom in China’s economy in the last decade has resulted in the growth of the largest group of mass affluent class ever. With this new change, brands grapple to understand this increasingly sophisticated group. Carat’s latest report on China’s mass affluent class males (M.A.C males) gives us a glimpse of who they are, their perception on entrepreneurship and how they make an impression today.
Share of Monthly Household Income†
† Figures are in Chinese yuan; 1,000 = $145
This new generation of M.A.C males between 25 and 40 years old, are different from their past generation counterparts. Having everything handed to them on a silver platter, with higher education and more international exposure, China’s M.A.C males have become more sophisticated and refined. They seek experiential leisure activities centered on their personal enjoyment, such as traveling, swimming and leisure driving as compared to the more status-based activities, such as golf, a preference enjoyed by previous generations
Comparison between New & Old Affluent Males
Carat’s report divides M.A.C. males into five groups:
- Bling Kings
—Aficionados and Epicureans are connoisseurs of style and fashion, always willing to experiment with new styles and technology.
—Aspirants and Bling Kings are more spontaneous and love to be in the limelight.
—For Aficionados and Epicureans, entrepreneurship is about being unique, visionary and making people’s lives easier.
—Aspirants and Bling Kings on the other hand believe that entrepreneurship should be more about intuition and leveraging the right opportunities.
—All five groups are in agreement that it is not just about making money but about making lives more convenient. For them, key areas of interest topics within entrepreneurship includes IoT, IoV, e-commerce, O2O and cross-industries development. Social entrepreneurship is an unfamiliar concept to them and often riddled with misconceptions. Social entrepreneurship is often confused with NGOs, environmental protection and charities.
—M.A.C males consume entrepreneurship content directly from famous and established international and local Chinese business and tech entrepreneurs who they are most familiar with such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma and Li Kai Fu. These affluent males actively rely on their digital devices but have low susceptibility to ads specifically for the highly sophisticated Aficionados, Skeptics and Epicureans.
—They seek out content directly related to their industry of interest instead of “entrepreneurship” as a topic. They demand details, substantiated opinions and are not satisfied with overgeneralized content. Search engines are their gateway to these more in-depth information and clarifications. Mobile is their preferred platform for day-today quick information and discussions. Immediacy, personalization and O2O are increasingly expected as a norm.
—M.A.C males place a lot of trust on a very close knit group of peers and associates for opinions and thought leadership in order to form their own perspective.
Top 10 TV Program Genres Watched in the Past Year
Top 10 Internet Video Genres Watched in the Past Year
- Brands need to break into tight knit groups through content exchanges with respected and established entrepreneurs in order to capture their attention. They should inspire them through people they look up to and showcase details on how they can apply these learnings into their own ambitions.
- “Impress” as a concept has shifted away from a blatant show of status and wealth to one of sophistication, intelligence and influence. The aim of making an impression is to obtain admiration, respect and at the same time be trendsetting. This is done by making a good impression, being fluent in multiple languages, showing interest in cultured lifestyle activities and showcasing detailed knowledge in an interest or hobby.
- Aficionados and Epicureans are more discerning, they listen and observe before they converse to impress through business or lifestyle conversations. Brand communications have since shifted to highlight craftsmanship and heritage over bling. This is done with the aim of creating brand appreciation through storytelling with substance to capture M.A.C males’ attention.
- Aspirants and Bling Kings try to impress by starting conversations about themselves and their experiences. Their consumption driven lifestyles are opportunities to impress. Occasions to party are both ad hoc and planned, with WeChat becoming the ecosystem critical to their party regiment and a platform to showcase their experiences and influence. Providing exclusive content or experiences allows new M.A.C males to gain bragging rights about the first-to-know.
“Overall, the days of simply flashing one’s brand in front of the new generation M.A.C male is over,” the report concludes. “With their increasing demands for substance and sophistication, brands need to shift much more into engagement in order to be part of the storyline.”
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
The Bric Marketing Group (BMG), which specializes in helping businesses and DMOs marketing and promoting to Brazil, India, China and Southeast Asia, have won the contract from Brand USA to assist the agency in designing and evaluating BUSA’s next round of RFPs for its global network of in-country representation companies. Jason Pacheco, based in San Francisco, is president of BMG.
Long-time TUI manager Steffi Schulze zur Wiesch—she’s been with the company for more than 10 years—has taken on a new assignment within the TUI Group. She is taking over as general manager of Atraveo in Düsseldorf. Atraveo runs TUIvillas.com, TUI’s international portal of holiday houses and apartments. Schulze zur Wiesch starts her new job March 1st, replacing by Dirk Froelje, who leaves the company at his own request.
Alípio Camanzano has stepped down from his post as director of online sales for CVC after a year on the job. Camanzano, who told the Brazilian trade publication Panrotas that he would take some time off to travel, plans before resuming his career. Before joining CVC, Camanzano served for more than eight years as managing director at Decolar.com.
Lynn Dorsey, the executive director of the Webster Parish CVB in Louisiana, was dismissed from her post by a 3-2 vote at the bureau’s Feb. 13 board meeting. Dorsey, 61, had been placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation last month after she mistakenly streamed a live video on the bureau’s Instagram account in December. The video was of Dorsey and contained nudity. At the time of the incident, she said that the video was intended for her husband.
Destination Canada has two new agency partners to work on its account: NYC-headquartered IPG Mediabrands (IPG) and London-based Digital Innovation Group Inc. (DIG). The two new agency partners replace OMD, in collaboration with DDB over the past 15 years, and more recently, Acronym. Destination Canada will continue to work with OMD and Acronym through to the end of April in order to achieve a smooth transition.
The Port of Vancouver USA board of commissioners has voted 2-1 to appoint Julianna Marler as CEO/executive director. Marler was appointed interim CEO by the port’s commission after the departure of Todd Coleman in May 2016. She led the port in dual roles as CEO and chief financial officer. Marler joined the Port of Vancouver USA in 1999 as procurement services manager.
Thomas Cook has announced on Feb. 17 that it is closing 39 of its UK retail stores. These locations employ 180 people. The company’s total retail staff in the UK is 5,500. At the time of the announcement, Thomas Cook had a total of 764 stores—208 of them operating under its Co-operative Travel brand. A Thomas Cook spokesperson confirmed that the number split of Co-operative Travel stores closing versus Thomas Cook shops shutting down was “about half and half.”
Long-time tourism industry professional Jeffrey Hentz has been named president and CEO of the Port Aransas (Texas) Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau. Hentz has 28 years of experience as a destination marketing and tourism industry executive. He relocated from Deerfield Beach, Florida.
His experience includes working for Yosemite & Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, Walt Disney World, Warner Brothers, United Airlines Vacations and the Daytona Beach CVB.
Bob Gilbert has been tapped by Rezdy LLC, a B2B online distribution and reservation platform for tours, activities and attractions, to lead its expansion in the United States. Founded in Sydney, Australia in 2011, Rezdy features a tour, activity and attractions database in more than 83 countries. Gilbert brings decades of travel industry experience, having held leadership positions at such companies as Delaware North, Best Western, SuperClubs, Disney and Choice Hotels. Most recently he has headed up his own marketing firm, Captivation Ma