Consumers in 14 Countries are asked to describe Donald Trump in one word. The winner: “Idiot”
He is also “crazy,” and “racist” according to first impressions of many international travelers: While the opinion is not universal—travelers from China, Japan, South Korea and India seem to have a higher esteem for U.S. President Donald Trump than do people from other countries—the regard for Donald Trump is low. Very low. For instance, when developing its latest State of the International Traveler forecast for 2018, researchers for San Francisco-based Destination Analysts asked residents of 14 top country markets the question, “What one word best describes Donald Trump?” the top word that came to mind for Canadians, Australians, Britons, Germans and the Dutch was “idiot.” For the French, Italians and Brazilians, the word was “crazy.” And for Argentines and Mexicans, it was “racist.”
But, although the reaction to Trump has become more decidedly negative in the past year in some markets, it has not necessarily translated into a negative opinion of the U.S. itself. While about half of those surveyed for the State of the International Traveler said Trump had a negative impact on their opinion of the U.S., it had actually improved among 18 percent of international travelers.
For its State of the International Traveler 2018 report, Destination Analysts asked the question “Have the actions and policies of Donald Trump changed your overall opinion of the United States of America? If so, how? (Please select the answer that best fills in the blank below) As a result of the actions and policies of Donald Trump, my overall opinion of the United States is ……………….. “
Warning: The next series of images (Word Clouds) are comprised from travelers’ opinions about Donald Trump, based on their answers to the question, “What one word best describes Donald Trump?” These Word Clouds contain words that some may find offensive.
Perceptions of Donald Trump—the World
Perceptions of Donald Trump—China
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Japan
Perceptions of Donald Trump—South Korea
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Australia
Perceptions of Donald Trump—India
Perceptions of Donald Trump—UK
Perceptions of Donald Trump—France
Perceptions of Donald Trump
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Netherlands
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Italy
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Argentina
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Brazil
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Mexico
Perceptions of Donald Trump—Canada
Breaking: ATI’s Noel Irwin Hentschel and CityPASS’s Mike Gallagher appointed to Brand USA Board
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced on Tuesday afternoon (EST) the appointment to the Brand USA board of directors of Noel Irwin Hentschel, chairman and CEO of AmericanTours International (ATI) and Mike Gallagher, co-founder and co-chair of CityPASS. Irwin Hentschel becomes the first receptive tour operator to serve on the board and Gallagher becomes the first board member with a background in packaging admissions to attractions and entertainment venues. More details here:
Angela Merkel to open ITB Berlin 2018 to a Wave of Good Operator News
Just as ITB convenes in Berlin, the news about the state of the German tour and travel industry is encouraging. Only last week, the German trade publication, FVW, releasing partial findings from its annual FVW Tour Operators Dossier, which showed that Top 10 Tour operators in the country had 2017 sales totaling $26.2 billion, with annual increases for 9 out of 10 ranging from 1.4 percent to 30.5 percent. Only one—DER Touristik—experienced a decline (of 3.6 percent).
A week later FVW released additional findings from its Tour Operators Dossier showing that a number of mid-size operators experienced double-digit percentage increases in sales in 2017, and that these operators “are confident about prospects for this year.”
Quick takes from the latest findings released by FVW:
- The fastest-growing mid-sized tour operators last year with increases of more than 20 percent were Bentour, Lernidee, Attika and Chamäleon, but six others also managed growth of over 15 percent.
- Specialists for cultural holidays, such as study tours and “‘experience trips,” generally had a satisfactory year.
- Studiosus/Marco Polo increased revenues by 5 percent to €276 million ($340 million), while
- TUI-owned Gebeco/Dr. Tigges grew slightly to €118 million ($145 million).
- Smaller competitors such as Lernidee; Chamäleon; Diamir Erlebnisreisen, up 18 percent to €36 million ($44.3 million); and Ikarus Tours, up 13 percent to €34 million ($41.9 million) all generated double-digit growth.
- The largest tour operator for “active holidays,” Wikinger Reisen, had healthy growth of 9 percent to €108 million ($133 million).
- Destination specialists … Bentour and Attika grew strongly; Olimar, which focuses mainly on Portugal, dropped 4 percent
- Canusa had a solid 5 percent rise in revenue with strong growth for Canada and a slight rise for the USA.
The full Dossier comes out each year just prior to ITB. Along with an annual report from the German Travel Industry Association (DRV), which is published for ITB, it makes the place and the occasion the premier venue for measure the pulse and condition of the German tour and travel industry.
An Inbound Rebound in 2018?
While most available sources for international inbound visitation to the U.S. show that both 2016 and 2017 were negative to flat in arrivals, the outlook for this year seems to bode well for an increase. This is the forecast—The State of the International Traveler 2018—that delegates to NAJ’s recent RTO Summit West, held at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, heard from David Reichbach, director of analytics and data security for San Francisco-based Destination Analysts. His presentation provided support for the recently released long-range forecast of inbound travel released by the U.S. National Travel and Tourist Office, which projected total international arrivals in the U.S. to grow by nearly four percent this year.
For the report, Destination Analytics measured data collected in 14 U.S. feeder markets: Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, India, Germany, France, UK, Argentina, South Korea, Netherlands, Italy. (All markets, except for Netherlands, comprise the Top 15 international inbound source markets for the U.S. The Netherlands rank No. 16.) More than 65 U.S. destinations are tracked by familiarity, appeal, likelihood of visitation, “promotional buzz” and “bragging rights.”
We’ve selected some of the tables used by Reichbach in order to provide a synopsis of his presentation.
Travel Sentiment is up 3.4 percent in 2018 vs. 2017 in all countries.
Key Market Summaries
Chinese Find American Food Unedible?
And Other Notes on the WeChat Age of the Chinese Traveler: As William Ding, deputy general manager of the Shanghai-based CITIC Travel company, was nearing the end of his remarks concluding a “China Ready” session at the recent Connect Travel Marketplace in Orlando, he paused briefly to explain why Chinese travelers take with them on their journeys items such as tea cups, chili sauce, instant noodles and preserved pickles: “Because American food is unedible,” he said to a roomful of chuckles.
As U.S. travel suppliers try to tap into what will soon be USA’s largest overseas source market for international visitors, Ding’s breezy collection of factoids and do’s and don’ts seemed just what attendees wanted to hear for upcoming one-on-one business meetings with tour operators—some 35 of them from China—on the following days.
WeChat Means Wi-Fi is a Must: There is no overstating the importance of WeChat, the “app for almost everything,” for its more than 900 million daily users—the overwhelming majority of whom are Chinese. Said Ding, “we no longer use e-mail.” Perhaps it was a bit of an exaggeration, but every Chinese operator that INBOUND met with preferred to see a WeChat QRC before he or she talked about anything else.
What this means, Ding said, is that free Wi-Fi at one’s attraction or property is a must so that Chinese visitors can access their WeChat accounts.
- In China, when a family takes a vacation, women rule: 70 percent of decisions on vacations are made by women.
- Budget airlines are now taking on a more important role in outbound travel from China.
- Cruise trips are becoming more popular with Chinese travelers.
- Outside of price point considerations, Chinese prefer upscale hotels on their travels; this is evident by the fact that the number of five-star hotels in China reached 809 by the end of 2016.
- America, which used to be the “Holy Land” of destinations, is still popular, but travelers are now aspiring to go other places abroad. It is easier to get a visa to go to Canada than it is to get a visa to visit the U.S.
- While the notion exists that Chinese travelers prefer luxury shopping, Costco has become a very popular stop on U.S. itineraries.
Most of our tourists start their outbound travel from Southeast Asia. Here is an example of those destinations that are popular, and why.
- Thailand, Vietnam (inexpensive, close)
- Japan, South Korea (visas are easy)
- EU, Russia (group visas)
- Australia, USA (make sure not to be denied)
The Four Treasures taken along “on the way” for Chinese Travelers (Remember: American food is “unedible.”)
- Cups (for tea)
- Chili sauce
- Instant noodles
- Preserved pickles
Monterey County Evicts Vacation Rental Businesses from the CVB
In a move that laid bare the hostility between hoteliers and the organizations that manage vacation home rentals, and which could have widespread consequences should DMOs in other parts of the country pick up on the idea, the Monterey County CVB has kicked out the five vacation rental businesses that were members of the organization.
According to the Monterey County Weekly, the move affects five dues-paying members of the organization in a move that followed a similar action by the Monterey County Hospitality Association and the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce. (Pacific Grove is on the tip of the Monterey peninsula.) The three organizations apparently believe that the competition from vacation rentals was driving down hotel occupancy rates.
Tammy Blount, executive director of the CVB, said that the organization’s board, which comprises 30 representatives from hotels and inns, restaurants, golf courses, tourist attractions and local governments, is sharpening its mission to promote overnight visitation growth among properties that pay transient-occupancy taxes and pay into the Monterey County Tourism Improvement District ITID). While legal short-term rentals do pay tourism occupancy taxes, they are not eligible to pay the $1 per night TID fee attached to hotel bills.
Even though the action took place about a month ago, the Monterey bureau still promotes vacation rentals on its website, with this passage: “Vacation rentals. Renting a home or condominium is another wonderful option for those who seek a more personal home base during their stay. Designed for the longer-term visitor, vacation rentals are regulated by each city and the county, and typically require a minimum of one month’s stay. Vacation rentals are ideal for large families or groups of friends who want to stay together, but still enjoy the privacy of their own rooms.”
Overall, the bureau says that there about 300 lodging businesses in Monterey County, with many of them B&Bs.
Apparently, the CVB board’s action was unanticipated by the county’s short term rental businesses. Ben Edwards, co-owner of Sanctuary Vacation Rentals, told the Monterey County Weekly, ““We’ve been a little bit under attack and scratching our heads … I thought we were all on the same side of the fence, trying to pull in people to share Monterey County with them.”
“We really don’t see those guys as competition,” Edwards added. He said that the average length of a stay in his company’s properties is 9.5 days, longer than hotels. His company manages about 90 homes in Monterey County, booking 2,000 reservations a year for more than 10,000 visitors.
Edward said that he is planning on going to the CVB’s board with “hat in hand” in order to make the case for getting back into the organization.
Blount responded by noting that board meetings are open to the public, and anyone is welcome to come address the board members, adding, “We are all on the same side of growing the tourism economy,” says Blount. “The best solutions come from an ongoing dialogue.”
UK Operator Notes
- Thomas Cook announces no-deposit payment plan: Not uncommon in some major South American markets, the practice of paying for holiday over time is being introduced by Thomas Cook. The new payment plan means customers will be able to book a trip with no upfront deposit and then pay the balance off in monthly direct debit installments. The service began last week.
UK managing director Chris Mottershead said that the new “zero-deposit-buy-now-pay-later” offer “means that they can get the holiday in the diary now, and then spread the cost over the coming months,” adding, “Our existing direct debit payment plan is very popular with families and we expect this new offer to appeal to them too.”
The announcement of the new payment plan coincided with the launch of Thomas Cook’s summer 2019 holiday program, which went on sale at the same time.
- Kuoni UK to launch a new brand this summer. After having acquired Kuoni UK in 2015 and announcing at the beginning of February the takeover of Kuoni France, the German tour operator Der Touristik seems determined to transform the former Swiss-owned company. The as-yet unnamed brand will be launched at the end of June and aimed at offering a modular approach to packaging online.
Of the new brand, Derek Jones, chief executive of Der Touristik UK, said: “We have a name, we have a plan, it will be happening in the next four to five months.” He said the new brand, the first from Kuoni in a decade, would be “an online first proposition”.
The new brand will allow UK customers to make their own tailor-made trips from pre-built but fully customizable routes. To see if the new brand will be available in other markets, including France … The bets are open but the probabilities very strong!
- Intrepid Travel launches new campaign—hopes to change world views of travelers: Intrepid Travel has launched a new creative effort, “Be Intrepid,” aimed at encouraging people to be more open and curious about the world. James Thornton, chief executive of the Intrepid Group, said the new campaign speaks to the company’s ethos of purpose beyond profit.
“Be Intrepid is a brand platform that allows our company to talk to its purpose, values, and vision of changing the way people see the world on issues from animal welfare to child protection and gender equality,” he said.
Added Thornton, “We live in the era of Trump, Brexit and debate over same-sex marriage. There’s a notable division between those who are small minded and live in fear, and those of us who are open, optimistic and inclusive. Travel has the opportunity to create awareness, change perceptions and behaviors’. Intrepid Travel has been doing this since inception but now it seems more important than ever.”
A series of personal first-hand stories will be rolled out across Intrepid’s platforms including online and at cinemas and gyms. The Intrepid Group, which includes Peregrine Adventures, Urban Adventures, Geckos Adventures and Adventure Tours Australia, now employs 1,800 staff in 30 countries.
America’s Riviera is Back in Business
The area around Santa Barbara, California has emerged from a once-in-a-hundred-years series of natural calamities and is back in the business of greeting and hosting visitors. Just to refresh memories: There was the Thomas Fire in December and in January came the Montecito mudslides. However, reports Visit Santa Barbara, despite these tragic crises, the local community is already well into recovery thanks to the resilience and spirit of its people as well as the support of visitors to the destination.
Fortunately, for the destination, aside from Montecito, all other Santa Barbara South Coast cities, including Santa Barbara, Goleta and Summerland, were not in the impact zone of the flooding and mudslides, Jocilyn Schumacher, travel trade manager for Visit Santa Barbara, told INBOUND. And now, she said, all hospitality businesses in these cities, including hotels, restaurants and attractions, are open for business.
The fire has not affected Santa Barbara wine industry, she added, and the Santa Ynez Valley and north to Santa Maria and Lompoc were not affected. As well, the urban winemaking facilities and wine-tasting rooms in the city of Santa Barbara (such as the Urban Wine Trail and Wineries of the Presidio Neighborhood) were not affected.
Lodging Update: As INBOUND was about to publish, only three hotels were closed in Montecito: San Ysidro Ranch; Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara; and the Montecito Inn. San Ysidro Ranch is closed indefinitely, but Montecito Inn is slated to reopen sometime this month, and Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara plans to reopen June 1.
Asked what would be the best way to support the Santa Barbara community, Schumacher said: “come experience the special place that the Santa Barbara South Coast is,” adding “We would love for travel agents, tour operators and meeting planners to let prospective visitors know that, except for the temporary closure of three hotels (out of nearly 100 hotels in the area), the ‘American Riviera’ experience is the same as it has always been.
To refresh your memory of what Santa Barbara is all about, check out its destination video:
Former Part Time Employee Buys Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours
Chris Pilley, CEO/contract manager for Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, now owns the company. Pilley, who has been with the company for nearly nine years, purchased it from Gary Schluter. Pilley started with Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours as a part time/seasonal employee, working four hours a day from April through August. “Then I simply refused to leave and somehow talked Gary into selling the company to me!” said Piller. Schluter, who has been with the company for more than 30 years, plans to retire from his daily tasks at the end of this year. The company reports lackluster sales for 2017; however, 2018 bookings have registered an increase of over 10 percent.
Know any Good Networkers?
The essence of the tour and travel industry is formed around relationships, and NAJ is embarking on a new outreach program to identify industry’s top networkers. The best industry networkers have a loyal following by selflessly sharing experience contacts and advice with their peers as well as great follow-up with tour operator in a way that makes them successful. The top 10 networkers will be featured in the INBOUND Report and in our annual TourOperatorLand magazine, which will be distributed at IPW in Denver.
We have created a “Top Networker” nomination form here.
At a Glance: Dallas , Texas
For full information Click Here
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Saga Travel, the UK-based over-50 specialist operator, has announced it will merge its cruise and holidays regional sales teams. Robin Shaw has taken over as chief executive of Saga’s holidays division as well as its cruise division; he was chief executive of Saga Travel. Iain Powell, head of trade sales a Saga, said, “The changes announced today are recognition of the importance of our trade partners to our future success. We have ambitious growth plans through the trade and I am confident we are now set up to deliver again these targets.”
Andy Travis has left his post as national sales manager for Funway, and joined JTA as head of leisure sales. Travis, who had worked at Funway for more than seven years, previously worked for companies that included The Holiday Team, Youtravel.com, Medhotels.com and Monarch Travel Group.
John T. Reilly, who oversees parks operations, has been tapped as interim CEO of SeaWorld following the resignation of Joel Manby, who had been CEO of the company since March 2015. Previously Reilly was president of SeaWorld San Diego, a role he held from 2010 through April 2016.
In France, Gilles Pannekoucke has joined Top of Travel as group sales manager. He will report directly to Yann Richard the new commercial director of the tour operator. Pannekoucke had previously been with Plein Vent. Helmut Stuckelschweiger, CEO of Top of Travel, made the announcement as he completed a sales re-organization in the wake of the appointments of Yann Richard as sales director and Jean-Claude Gaudin as head of the group department.