Real Time Impact of Post-Brexit Environment Revealed
In last week’s issue of the Inbound Report, we cited what was the consensus opinion among trade journal editorialists and tour and travel industry experts on the impact of the June 23 vote by citizens of Britain to withdraw from the European Union. The only commonly cited and readily available figure that played into the discussion was the value of the British pound sterling, which dropped by 10 percent against the U.S. dollar in the first week following the vote, but has held steady since then.
But now, thanks to Orlando-based Tourico Holidays and its founder and CEO, Uri Argov, we have some numbers on key tour and travel industry metrics and how they changed among UK travel consumers from the week of the Brexit vote to the final full week of August—eight weeks later. According to Argov, Tourico’s data showed or suggested the following:
—While top lines, bookings and room-nights are substantially up the transaction size, ADR and average stay are the same.
—Lead Time and number of passengers per transaction are slightly higher. These show a certain level of optimism in the future.
—The number of searches is much higher. This usually happens after a major event as potential travelers want to see the impact if any.
—Conversion is lower–this is probably the real number to look at for the coming year: i.e., come 2017, we will most likely see a decline in ability to convert interest in travel due to currency impact and personal uncertainty (the average UK consumer doesn’t know why he was voting right or left but now he needs to deal with the outcome while still having no clue).
There is a New Top Travel Demo for Australia’s International Travelers
While USA Remains Top Long-Haul Destination for Australians, Younger Segments Have Higher Share: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just come out with a 10-year window of arrivals and departures data which show that Aussies will forego closer long haul destinations (New Zealand and Indonesia are short-haul) to make the trek to the USA.
The following table shows, in trend terms, the top ten destination countries for short-term resident departures in 2005-06 compared with 2015-16. New Zealand remained the most popular destination in 2015-16, with Australians making 1.2 million journeys there. Of the top ten destination countries in the year ending June 2016, short-term resident departures to Indonesia recorded the strongest growth over the ten year period, with a percentage change of 416.1 percent. It was followed by Japan (246.5 percent), India (199.2 percent) and the USA (135 percent).
The ABS data help to put into perspective the latest arrivals data released by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office—they cover the first quarter of 2016—which indicate a modest Q1 growth over the same period in 2015 of 3.1 percent in arrivals from Australia, despite a sharply weaker Australian dollar. Australia is the Number 8 overseas source market for inbound tourism to the United States.
Meanwhile, Younger Travelers are making a Greater Share of Trips Abroad: For male Australian residents departing overseas for a short-term stay abroad, the peak age group moved from 45-49 years in 2005-06 (11.1 percent) to 30-34 years in 2015-16 (9.7 percent). For females, the peak age group moved from 30-34 years in 2005-06 (9.6 percent) to 25-29 years in 2015-16 (9.5 percent). For males, the median age decreased from 42.3 years in 2005-06 to 41.8 years in 2015-16, while for females the median age increased slightly (39.7 in 2005-06 to 40.1 in 2015-16).
Most Traveling Brits Can’t Identify Wonders of the World—Maybe it’s the Booze
Just-released survey research results show that many Brits mistakenly name key tourist attractions, including Buckingham Palace and the Hollywood Sign, among the seven modern wonders of the world. This might be because, according to a second survey, their cognitive abilities are dimmed somewhat by their tendency to drink more when abroad.
Survey One: The online travel site icelolly.com asked 1,000 Brits to identify the ancient, modern and natural wonders of the world in a survey that produced shockingly poor results. Asked about how many wonders they think they had correctly identified,
—15 percent of Brits thought they had spotted 10 out of the 21 wonders,
—3 percent thought they had named all 21.
In reality, only 6 percent of people were able to identify all seven modern wonders, with large proportions of Brits missing Christ the Redeemer in Rio, Brazil (60 percent) and Petra in Jordan (67 percent) off the list.
—More than half (54 percent) mistakenly thought Stonehenge was one of the elite landmarks.
—32 percent of Brits thought the Empire State Building was on the list, and 40 percent thought the USA’s Statue of Liberty was included.
Seven Natural Wonders of the World
Mount Everest in Nepal.
Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe.
Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.
Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Paricutin volcano in Mexico.
Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Seven Modern Wonders of the World
Christ Redeemer: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Great Wall of China: China.
Machu Picchu: Peru.
Pyramid at Chichén Itzá: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
Roman Colosseum: Rome, Italy.
Taj Mahal: Agra, India.
Seven Ancient Wonders of the World
Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
Colossus of Rhodes.
Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt.
—In what must be a result of amazingly good marketing by U.S. destinations and travel suppliers, an astonishing 8 percent of the nation named Disney World Florida as a modern wonder of the world.
—Another 5 percent identified the elusive Area 51 as a modern wonder.
—Nearly one of eight Brits (12 percent) thought the Hollywood Sign was one of the noted destinations.
—5 percent of survey respondents thought the fictional land of Narnia was an ancient wonder of the world.
—20 percent of Brits also thought the mythical land of Atlantis makes the list.
Finally, only 4 percent of Brits were able to identify all seven natural wonders of the world, with less than a quarter recognizing the Harbor of Rio (11 percent), Aurora (17 percent) and Parícutin volcano (15 percent) as natural wonders. Another 12 percent were able to select all seven ancient wonders of the world,
Survey Two: The UL’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recently issued safety advice for stag and hen parties heading abroad this summer. The study came in the wake of episodes of drunk and rowdy behavior at airports and aboard aircraft.
The FCO cited a survey suggesting that 43 percent of British nationals are more likely to drink abroad than on other occasions and 52 percent of survey respondents admitted to doing something they later regretted after drinking abroad.
The poll also found: 6 percent had walked back to their resort or hotel alone or taken a dangerous shortcut; 11 percent had jumped into a pool while intoxicated; and 6 percent had tried to drive whilst drunk.
“Stag and hen parties can be great fun and a time for celebration, but travelers are more likely to take risks and get into trouble abroad if they have been drinking heavily,” said Cara Fortune, from the FCO’s Travel Aware team.
For 2016 the USA, Attraction Number is One — One World Observatory in NYC
Just announced by TripAdvisor are the results of its Attractions Trend Index, revealing the top 25 U.S. attractions that have seen the greatest increase in traveler interest this summer, based on year-over-year search activity on TripAdvisor. The Attractions Trend Index rankings were determined based on the percent increase in search sessions on TripAdvisor desktop and mobile for U.S. travelers between 2015 and 2016 for the period of May-July. Attractions were required to have a minimum of 30,000 sessions during the May-July 2016 period and at least four out of five bubbles on TripAdvisor to qualify.
Trip Advisor Attractions Trend Index 2016
|U.S. Attraction||Reason to Go and What to Book||YoY Traffic Increase|
|1. One World Observatory World Trade Center New York City, New York||Popular new observatory that opened last May and offers breathtaking views from the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Travelers can book admission ahead on TripAdvisor for $32 per person. Since being listed on the site, there has been a 165% increase in bookings on TripAdvisor for the attraction.||340.70%|
|2. The Magnificent Mile Chicago, Illinois||Thirteen-block stretch of downtown Chicago that draws travelers for its shopping, dining and entertainment. Visitors can take the Chicago Lakefront Neighborhoods Bicycle Tour for $48 to learn more about the Windy City.||118.00%|
|3. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook Gatlinburg, Tennessee||Secluded car pull-off area on the Gatlinburg Bypass offers scenic views of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. There is no fee for stopping at the overlook.||112.50%|
|4. The Pearl District Portland, Oregon||Trendy one-half square mile area of the city offers a variety of boutiques, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. Travelers can explore the neighborhood and enjoy a beverage on thePortland Brewery Bike Tour tickets start at $69 per person.||109.30%|
|5. Mount Bonnell Austin, Texas||Beautiful hiking trail rewards intrepid travelers with panoramic views of Austin from nearly 800 feet above the city. Admission to the park is free.||109.20%|
|6. Newbury Street Boston, Massachusetts||Upscale shopping, boutique stores and al fresco dining makes this one-mile stretch a must-see in Bostons Back Bay. Travelers can take in this area and more through the Boston Duck Tours, starting at $40 per person.||108.10%|
|7. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster Pigeon Forge, Tennessee||Mile-long downhill ride lets patrons control their speed, appealing to thrill seekers and slow cruisers alike. Tickets range from $5 for children to $15 for adults.||107.60%|
|8. The Grand Ole Opry Nashville, Tennessee||Iconic country music concert hall offers weekly shows and is celebrating its 90th year of operation. Travelers can go behind the scenes with the Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tour tickets start at $24 per person.||107.40%|
|9. Watkins Glen State Park Watkins Glen, New York||Known for its eponymous race track, this park in New Yorks Finger Lakes region offers outstanding hiking and features 19 waterfalls and more than 800 stone steps. Admission is $8 per vehicle.||96.40%|
|10. Jackson Square New Orleans, Louisiana||Historic French Quarter landmark features a variety of street performers, vendors, food spots and the renowned St. Louis Cathedral. Travelers can explore the area with the New Orleans French Quarter Segway Tour, which starts at $65 per person.||89.90%|
|11. La Jolla Shores La Jolla, California||Family-friendly beach boasts a full mile of white sands and turquoise waters. Beachgoers can try their hand at a variety of watersports and San Diego Surf Lessons is a popular option with sessions that start at $70 per person.||88.80%|
|12. 360 Chicago Observation Deck Chicago, Illinois||Offers panoramic views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. Tickets start at $20 per person and can be purchased on TripAdvisor ahead of time.||87.80%|
|13. Venice Canals Walkway Los Angeles, California||Tranquil residential area walkway just a couple of blocks from bustling Venice Beach. A guided look at the neighborhood is available through the Electric Bicycle Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach tickets start at $68 per person.||80.40%|
|14. Union Station Denver, Colorado||Recently restored train station has stood as Lower Downtown Denvers transportation hub for 100 years. Features a wide variety of dining and shopping and even a luxury hotel. Travelers can take in more of the city with a Best of Denver Private City Walking Tour, at $130 per person.||79.10%|
|15. Pier 39 San Francisco, California||Sea lions, musical stairs and clam chowder can all be found at this bustling entertainment complex on the San Francisco Waterfront. Travelers can check out all of the areas attractions with the PIER 39 Attraction Pass which starts at $109 per person and includes a ticket to the San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Tour.||68.60%|
|16. Disney Springs Orlando, Florida||Formerly Downtown Disney, this expansive shopping, dining and entertainment center has re-branded and is currently undergoing renovations to soon debut four new neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center. Travelers can get a unique birds eye view of the area with an Orlando Helicopter Tour for $48 per person.||65.30%|
|17. Broadway New York City, New York||Whether attending a show or just sightseeing, travelers will find plenty to do in New Yorks exciting theater district. The NYC Walking Tour: Broadway History and Culture is a popular option for visitors looking to learn more about the area. Tickets start at $35 per person.||63.70%|
|18. The Grotto National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother Portland, Oregon||Peaceful Catholic sanctuary and botanical garden offers a place for quiet reflection away from the excitement of the city. Tickets for the Grottos Upper Level Garden range from $3-$6 per person.||63.30%|
|19. The Gondola at Heavenly South Lake Tahoe, California||Breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountain range are seen from glass pods that ferry passengers to the summit of Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort. Tickets range from $22 for children to $46 for adults.||63.00%|
|20. Central Park New York City, New York||Features more than 840 acres of green space in the middle of Manhattans concrete jungle. Travelers can check out the filming locations for various popular movies and shows with theCentral Park TV and Movie Sites Walking Tour tickets start at $25 per person.||62.20%|
|21. Washington Park Portland, Oregon||Popular park near downtown Portland is home to miles of hiking trails, multiple lush gardens, a childrens playground and more. Parking fees range from $1.60 per hour to $6.40 for a full day.||61.30%|
|22. Statue of Liberty New York City, New York||Symbol of freedom on New Yorks Ellis Island for 130 years, Lady Liberty offers stunning views of the city and travelers can learn about the islands history on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour for $59 per person.||59.00%|
|23. Fenway Park Boston, Massachusetts||Americas oldest ballpark is home to the Red Sox and has hosted thousands of games and events since its opening in 1912. Tours of the park are available for $25 per person and include views from the fabled Green Monster.||58.90%|
|24. Bryant Park New York City, New York||10-acre city park office oasis in mid-town Manhattan features a garden, skating rink, holiday shops, historic sculptures, dining and more.||58.80%|
|25. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood Burbank, California||Entertaining tour takes travelers behind the scenes of some of todays most popular TV shows and movies. Explore the studios sets and soundstages with the Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour and Movie Stars Homes Tour. Tickets start at $126 per person.||57.70%|
Ctrip Going Global
Shanghai-based Ctrip, China’s largest online travel company, has formed a partnership with U.S. private equity firm General Atlantic that will target onshore and global travel businesses. Greenwich, Conn.-based General Atlantic includes two former senior officials of Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group, which has been one of the most aggressive private equity investors in the tour and travel industry in recent years.
Known as Ocean Link, the new partnership represents a $400 million fund that will join what has become a fiercely competitive market. According to data from Dealogic, reports the Financial Times, Chinese companies have announced $2.4 billion in hotel deals year-to-date in 2016.
Ocean Link, which will continue fundraising for the next six to 12 months, has both a local currency fund and a dollar-denominated fund. It has already invested in German-based hotel chain Ruby Hotels and Mind Education, which is a China-based summer camp for students, called Mind Education.
“Most of the products they offer are domestic tours but it’s becoming clear that students or parents are demanding more overseas products,” said Tony Jiang, a partner at the fund and a former Carlyle executive, who told the Financial Times that the fund could invest in foreign companies to expand the business abroad.
Last year, Ctrip acquired its competitor, Qunar, creating China’s largest online travel company. See Inbound Report, July 20, 2016: “Will Ctrip End up as China’s Only Online Travel Agency?” https://www.inboundreport.com/2016/07/20/will-ctrip-end-up-as-chinas-only-online-travel-agency/
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Rolf Schafroth, chief executive of Kuoni Group’s Global Travel Services (GTS) has resigned. Schafroth “has decided to explore new opportunities outside of the Kuoni Group,” a company statement said. Advisory board chairman Walter Gehl will lead GTS as executive chairman on an interim basis and will continue further development of GTS as planned, Kuoni added. Schafroth had held various management roles at Kuoni for more than 20 years.
Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding, has been named national State Tourism Director of the Year for 2016. The U.S. Travel Association’s National Council of State Tourism Directors—a body representing the tourism offices of all 50 states and U.S. territories—votes on the award annually. Prior to her current role, which she’s had since 2013, Varela’s career included and public service, which notably included an eight-year post as Utah Governor Mike Leavitt’s spokesperson and deputy chief of staff.
Leading UK travel representation company The Greg Evans Consultancy, a leading UK travel representation company, has announced that Mark White will join the consultancy as a director beginning October 1st. A 20-year veteran of the tour and travel industry, White, has for the past 12 years worked within the product and purchasing functions of a number of leading long haul tour operators and wholesalers including Gold Medal Travel Group, Travel Counsellors and Thomas Cook Scheduled Businesses.
Jet2holidays has appointed former Thomas Cook director Andy Cooper as head of regulation, compliance and resilience to help the business prepare for Brexit and the implementation of the EU’s new Package Travel Directive. Cooper has been working for the company as a consultant since May 2015. He was previously director of government and external affairs at Thomas Cook, and before that director general of the UK Federation of Tour Operators.
Tucson, Arizona-based Simpleview has hired Rolf Senstad to be general manager of its new European office in Oslo, Norway. Simpleview works with over 400 DMOs globally and has more than 180 employees in its U.S. offices. The new Oslo office will support the company’s growing customer base in Europe. Previously, Senstad worked with Innovation Norway, establishing technical marketing platforms for destination management offices and regional tourist boards.
SellaTimeshare.com has announced the promotion of Chris Hand to director of membership acquisitions. Based in New Hampshire, he will lead all business development efforts for the company. Hand joined SellaTimeshare.com in 2009 as a customer service representative. He later served as customer service manager. Hand previously worked as a marketing coordinator for InnSeason Resorts.
In France, FTI Ticketshop has added two new appointments to its sales team: Stéphane Baud for its Rhone Alpes region and the Southeast; and Sarah Amani for Paris and the Ile-de-France region. They both report directly to Lincker Martine, director of sales. Baud has 15 years’ experience in the field of sales, including 11 years with Tui France. Before joining Ticketshop, Amani was marketing manager at the tour operator Rev Vacances.