Movie Star is Paid $365,000 to be Face of North Dakota
Movie star Josh Duhamel has been re-appointed as tourism spokesperson for North Dakota Tourism. Duhamel, a native of the state, will continue to be the face of the state’s tourism campaign for the next two years. Duhamel will be paid $365,000 for his work. The actor wasn’t present at the announcement of the news. According to an AP news item, Duhamel has already has earned $525,000 since 2013 to be North Dakota’s pitchman.
Demand for Long Haul Looking Up in Germany in 2018
However, there are those Itching for “Something New” this Year: Many Germans consider themselves better off financially this year, which will help drive demand for holidays in general. This is the thrust of the message delivered at the just concluded CMT travel fair, which took place Jan. 13-21 in Stuttgart, by Dr. Martin Lohmann, managing director of the Kiel-based Institute for Tourism and Recreational Research in Northern Europe (NIT) and scientific advisor of the FUR (Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen), which is responsible for the comprehensive annual Reiseanalyse market survey, a sort of statistical bible on the German tour and travel industry (The survey is the result of interviews with of more than 7,500 Germans conducted in November.) As reported by the German travel trade publication, FVW, Lohmann made a number of points derived from preliminary Reiseanalyse results, which included the following:
—Nearly one German in four (24 percent) plans to travel more in 2018 vs. 2017, which is a slight increase on the 23 percent figure at the same time last year. Moreover, 30 percent (compared to 28 percent last year) want to spend more on travel and holidays in 2018. In contrast, only 13 percent want to travel less (the same figure as last year) and a similar 13 percent plan to spend less (down from 14 percent last year).
—“These results,” said Lohmann, “demonstrate a positive mood for holidays which signals good starting conditions for 2018,”
—The Reiseanalyse survey report showed that there was a “stable high level of demand” in Germany, with 69 million holidays (of 5 days or more) in 2017.
—The number of short private trips increased by 2.5 percent to 91 million last year.
—Overall spending on holidays went up by 2 percent to €69 billion ($84.5 billion) 2017, according initial Reiseanalyse results.
—The industry should not expect any major changes in destinations or types of holidays this year; with a 30 percent share, Germany remains the top holiday destination for Germans, ahead of Spain, Italy, Turkey, Austria, Greece and Croatia.
In the Mood for Something New (Long-Haul Trips, FITs?): Said Lohmann, “The constant overall picture should not hide the trend towards individual flexibility and the desire for something new.” As many as 42 percent of Germans plan to visit a completely new destination this year, with 17 percent considering a long-haul trip (compared to 15 percent last year). There is also more interest in city trips, wellness breaks and cruises.
Lohmann also noted that:
—A “stable” 22 percent of holidays will be booked as packages.
—A further 11 percent will be booked as a combination of individual elements.
—More travel components such as hotels or flights will be booked individually online.
—The number of survey respondents planning to book through a travel agent declined to 16 percent from 18 percent in the previous year.
The thrust of the Reiseanalyse report seems to comport with that of a report released earlier this month by the Nuremberg-based research organization GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, or Society for Consumer Research), which cited an improvement in business turnover of German tour operators in 2017 vs. 2016.
Low Cost Carriers Driving Growth in Traffic to USA and Every Place Else
The latest analyses of airline schedules for S18 (the 2018 peak travel season for airlines, which runs from the end of March to the end of October) give definitive proof that low-cost long-haul carriers are driving air traffic increases and show that a key cluster of U.S. cities are the top points of entry and departure for long-haul travelers who like to fly cheap: Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR) and Fort Lauderdale All four will experience substantial increases in long-haul traffic this year, as indicated in the table below.
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 6 August 2018 and wc/7 August 2017. Long-haul is defined as flights of greater than 4,500 kilometers (Just less than 3,000 miles); anna.aero
The table below shows which low-cost long-haul carriers which will be experiencing the largest increase in lift capacity bin S18 vs. S17. Those with flights to the U.S. are Norwegian, Azul, WOW, LEVEL, and WestJet. Latvia-based Primera Air, new entrant to the low-cost long-haul scene in 2018, is number six in the above table, and will be offering transatlantic flights to Boston, Newark and Toronto Pearson from Birmingham, London Stansted and Paris (CDG).
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 6 August 2018 and wc/7 August 2017. Long-haul is defined as flights of greater than 4,500 kilometers (Just less than 3,000 miles); anna.aero.
NEW PRODUCT & EXPERIENCES
What is Best New Attraction in the US?
Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium: The recently opened attraction has been named by USA Today as the best new attraction in the United States. It won the honor in a competition among 20 attractions around the country. Spanning 350,000 square feet and more than 1.5 miles of trails, Wonders of Wildlife takes visitors on a journey through immersive habitats that entertain and educate while sharing the story of America’s most significant conservationists throughout history and today.
There are numerous huge, multi-story tanks featuring exotic fish species; a tidal-pool tank for petting horseshoe crabs and small, child-sized shark; and a stroke-a-stingray experience stocked with five species of the flat fish. Later, the aquarium hopes to offer visitors a dive-with-the-sharks option. The new attraction is built around Bass Pro Shops’ flagship store in Southwestern Missouri, where Johnny Morris launched the brand. Tickets for the two attractions at the site—Aquarium Adventures and Wildlife Galleries—are $23.95 for children ages 4-11 and $39.95 for adults. For more information, visit: www.wondersofwildlife.org.
U.S. Civil Rights Trail Launched: The occasion of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday served as the catalytic event marking the official launch of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a major project that highlights more than 100 locations in 14 U.S. states that were significant in the U.S. civil rights movement. The importance of the trail to tourism is underscored by the key role in its development and promotion by Travel South USA, which is comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The trail stretches from schools in Topeka, Kan., known for the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation court decision in 1954, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where thousands rallied for equal opportunity in 1963. Because of the impact of the movement on other parts of the globe, the marketing phrase is “What happened here changed the world.” Additional famous sites along the trail such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.; Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s–where sit-ins began–; the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.; and King’s birthplace in Atlanta, Ga., are anchors. For more information, visit: www.civilrightstrail.com.
LEGOLAND California Dives Deep Into 2018 With New Submarine Attraction: Opening this summer is the LEGOLAND® California LEGO® City Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride. It is Merlin Entertainment’s single largest investment in any LEGOLAND® Park and will take passengers aboard a real submarine where they will be submerged underwater and immersed in an ocean habitat. They’ll be looking for lost treasure on a sunken LEGO shipwreck. Among the real sea animals are bright LEGO octopi, marine tropical fish and LEGO scuba divers. Touchscreens at each porthole inside the sub are used by guests to help the LEGO minifigure dive team identify gems, pearls, LEGO gold coins and more throughout the journey. Up to 12 guests will board one of eight submarines that are designed after the LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure line of toys. Ticket prices start at $89 for a one-day admission to LEGOLAND, and $105 per person, per day, for a LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel and theme park package. For more information, visit https://www.legoland.com/deepsea2018/.
How Sedona Redirects Visitors to Roads Less Traveled:
For anyone, including INBOUND’s editor, who’s seen the unspeakably beautiful visual experiences that one enjoys when visiting Sedona, there has been a sticking point: the mind-bending chokehold of slow traffic as it snakes its way over Arizona Route 89A through the small (est. population of a little more than 10,000) city that is a favorite destination of Arizonans, Americans and travelers from throughout the world.
But the sticking point is becoming unstuck.
“We want people to come here and be happy, and nobody likes traffic, even if you’re stuck in traffic staring at the most beautiful red rock formation you’ve ever seen,” said Kegn Moorcroft, the director of communications for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, said in an article posted on a blog at CrowdRiff.com, explaining that no one wanted to approach the problem with an approach that depended on wider roads because “that visitors are drawn by the small town appeal, something an eight-lane highway could jeopardize.”
Sedona Secret 7: Moorcroft and the team from Sedona spent a year of working through potential solutions. At the same time, they came upon a rare opportunity to turn their vision into reality. In July of 2016, they submitted their proposal for a new tourism microsite to promote Sedona’s lesser-known attractions to the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism and its “Grand Pitch” competition, which awarded one winner $100,000 in free media buys from the Arizona Office of Tourism’s media partners.
“And we won The Grand Pitch, which means that we had $100,000 of ad buys with major, amazing publications and online digital assets.”
The result, SedonaSecret7.com, is “a highly visual standlone website that drives interest toward seven lesser known attractions in seven popular tourism categories: hiking, biking, arts and culture, spirituality, vistas, stargazing and picnics.”
There were was a big deadline, though. As Moorcroft explained, “We had to put it together in one year, and present on our success at the next conference one year later.”
After winning the Grand Pitch, Moorcroft and her team began collaborating with key local partners to bring their idea to life, including:
—The Forest Services department to help scout locations
—State and local governments to secure shooting permits and ensure they were promoting the right trails at the right times
—Local nonprofit agencies to ensure they were on board
—Local influencers to employ as photographers
—Their agency of record, OH Partners, to help orchestrate the production within the allotted time
Since its launch to the public following the 2017 Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism in July, the microsite has averaged about 200 sessions per day, approximately two minutes each. “Phase two is integrating CrowdRiff* with this website, which we’ll begin likely in February (2018),” said Moorcroft. “We’re probably going to do a [user-generated] gallery within each of the seven themes, and we’re hoping to use the Sedona Secret 7 hashtag to pull out some great imagery that’s already out there.”
CrowdRiff is described as s an “Artificial Intelligence-powered visual content marketing platform that enables marketers to discover and deliver top-performing visuals across every channel.” For more information on the work of Crowdriff, visit: www.crowdriff.com.
USA Falls into Tie for Number 2 Global Destination
The latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) research, Tourism Highlights 2017 Edition, lists the world’s 10 most popular tourist countries in the world. First place went to France with 82.6 million tourists in 2016. The second and third line of the rating took the USA and Spain, actually tied, with each receiving 75.6 million foreign visitors. However, while the number of tourists in Spain grew by 10.3 percent in comparison with the year 2015, it fell 2.4 percent for the U.S.
When ranking the world’s top international tourism destinations, it is preferable to take more than a single indicator into account. Ranked according to the two key tourism indicators, says the UNWTO. So, in additional to visitor numbers, the UNWTO also lists a Top Ten according to tourism receipts.
Still, it is interesting to note that eight out of the Top 10 destinations appear on both lists, despite showing marked differences in terms of the type of tourists they attract, as well as their average length of stay and their spending per trip and per night. It should be noted that changes in the ranking of international tourism receipts not only reflect the relative performance of the destinations, but also exchange rate fluctuations of the local currencies against the U.S. dollar. The United States continues to top the international tourism receipts ranking, with $206 billion earned in 2016. The two tables below provide more detail for the two Top Ten lists.
TF = International tourist arrivals at frontiers (overnight visitors, i.e. excluding same-day visitors)
TCE = International tourists arrivals at collective tourism establishments
What Worries Travelers the Most?
More than Anything Else, It’s Getting Sick before a Trip: For both international and U.S. travelers, nothing makes them full of anxiety as much as the prospect of getting sick and having to cancel a trip. This is the key finding in a recently released survey of more than 20,000 people by Allianz Global Assistance.
According to travel insurance provider Allianz, three out of four insured customers said they agreed that purchasing travel insurance eliminated their concerns when booking flights. Additionally, about four out of five insured customers said they are likely or very likely to purchase trip protection in the future.
Tourism Taxes Provide a Quarter of Revenue for Beverly Hills
The neat, tony 5.71 square miles of real estate that makes up the City of Beverly Hills (est. population 36,000) is so prosperous and its brand so connected with wealth and exclusivity that one would think it needs not concern itself with tax revenues collected from—ugh—tourists. But, as unwelcome as some locals might find the tourists on tour buses that drive through their neighborhoods while step-on guides point out the homes of the rich and famous or the locales that were featured in this film or that television show, they are not averse to reaping the harvest of tax dollars from the hundreds of millions of dollars that both international and U.S. visitors drop on mostly luxury purchases and hotel rooms in the city.
In fact, the city last week celebrated that fact at the very first Celebrate Tourism Forum for key stakeholders and partners, hosted by the Beverly Hills CVB and held in the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Property and focusing on what the luxury consumer is looking for this year and in the near future. Snippets from the event’s presentations and panel discussions, as reported by TravelDailyNews International, included the following:
—Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills CVB shared results from its 2016 visitor economic impact study*, which showed the City received $57 million in tourism-related taxes, representing 26 percent of the City’s General Fund for services for residents such as police and fire.
—Annual visitor volume rose to more than 7.4 million, resulting in over $2.8 billion in economic impact of direct and indirect visitor spend.
—Eliot Finkel, the CVB’s treasurer and former treasurer for the City of Beverly Hills, said that Transient Occupancy Taxes have grown 60 percent over the last decade.”
—Jay Newman, principal and chief operating officer of the Athens Group, explained that hotels are the contributor to TOT revenue, and a high hotel occupancy rate (currently, hotels maintain an average of 80 percent occupancy year-round) resulted in an increased forecasted TOT revenue, up from $24 million in 2009/2010 to $44 million for 2017/2018.
—While Beverly Hills lacks a convention center, Offer Nissenbaum, managing director of The Peninsula Beverly Hills, emphasized the city’s “walkability”and high concentration of luxury hotels within a five-square mile radius, which help attract meetings and incentive business.
—Bill Wiley, director at the CBRE Group, Inc. at Two Rodeo Drive, told attendees that Beverly Hills retailers are also impacted by the hotel growth, resulting in more visitors on the streets and in the shops, and that programming such as BOLD (Beverly Hills Open Later Days, an initiative that featured live music, entertainment, restaurant offers, along with extended store hours during the months of August and mid-November through December) resulted in increased sales and foot traffic. Said Wiley, ““We saw just at Two Rodeo Drive a 60 to 90 percent increase in traffic during the BOLD evenings alone.”
—Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights at MasterCard, focused on an analysis of spending statistics from 2017. Despite speculation that online shopping is a threat to businesses, research showed that people continue to seek out brick-and-mortar experiences. She also pointed out that, in 2018, people will travel more. When they are traveling, shopping is an important element of their trip, which promises a prosperous future for Beverly Hills.
At a Glance: Prince William, VA
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Annie Allen has been promoted to the position of vice president of global tourism sales at CityPASS, the company that packages prepaid admission to top attractions in 12 North American destinations. Allen, who joined CityPass in 2005, had been senior director of tourism sales and marketing. Allen’s new role gives her increased responsibility in overseeing the company’s tourism marketing efforts and third-party sales programs, and she will continue to spearhead the company’s at major industry trade shows.
Joe Tropia has joined the National Geographic Encounter in New York City as director of marketing. A veteran of 13 years in the tour and travel industry, Tropia comes to his new position from the Blue Man Group, where he was director of national sales and marketing. His CV also includes tenures at the Metropolitan Opera, where he was sales manager, and Theatre Direct/Broadway.com, where he was sales and marketing manager.
Visit Philadelphia, the DMO that promotes the Greater Philadelphia area, including four suburban counties that surround Philadelphia, has announced that its founding president and CEO, Meryl Levitz, plans to leave her post by the end of this year. A search committee has been established to oversee the process of identifying a new chief executive and it has engaged Diversified Search to undertake a national effort to recruit a qualified candidate. Levitz, who joined the organization in 1996, will continue in her current role as president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia to ensure a seamless transition.
In Brazil, Marcos Almeida has joined the management team at Grou Turismo, where he will be responsible for the promotion and training of all destinations in which Grou operates. Previously, Almeida held senior sales positions at such Brazilian travel companies as Bahiaturs and Turma Viagens.
Alexandre Gavalda, the former head of commercial and product for Kuoni in the UK, is joining the bespoke long-haul specialist Vivid Travel, a new operator that was set up by former Travel Republic executives Kane Pirie and Adam Gill. Gavaldi, who spent more than 14 years with Kuoni in France and the UK, started in his new role on Jan. 25. Vivid Travel was established last year and already has more than 25 staff with a broad range of experience from previous roles with Audley Travel, Cox & Kings, Kuoni, Scott Dunn and Wendy Wu Tours.
Education First (EF), the global tour company that specializes in educational and student tours, has named Jerry Weaver sourcing and contracts manager. He’ll operate from the Washington, D.C. area. Weaver comes to EF from the Harborside Hotel at National Harbor, Maryland, where he was director of sales and marketing. Previously, he held senior sales positions for Sheraton, Crowne Plaza and Four Points by Sheraton.
Christian Armond has been appointed head of marketing for online travel agency Love Holidays. Armond joins the company from TUI, where he was head of digital marketing. Armond has over 20 years of experience in the travel and media industries. At TUI he was responsible for all brand and performance digital marketing and recently led the online delivery of the rebrand of Thomson to TUI.
Prior to Tui, he worked for 13 years in media agencies where he was responsible for planning the ATL marketing campaigns for clients including Thomas Cook, Eurostar and Warner Leisure Hotels.
Transat has announced that after almost 25 years of loyal service to the international tourism business, Denise Heffron, vice president, national sales and commercial, will retire from Transat on March 2. Hefron, who joined the company in 1993, has held a number of senior positions in the areas of sales and marketing, and customer care, and was responsible for operations and development in Ontario, Atlantic Canada and Western Canada.
Cerron Cade is leaving his post as director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development and Tourism, following Delaware Gov. John Carney’s nomination of Cade to be Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor. Cade had served in his director’s position for the past year. Cade had previously worked for Carney when the latter was a U.S. Congressman. He had also worked for U.S. Senator Tom Carper.