Industry Leaders Talk International Travel with President Trump, Senior Aides
The U.S. Travel Association, joined by CEOs of 13 member companies, met Sept. 4 at the White House with President Donald J. Trump and senior officials of the Trump Administration. The president and industry leaders discussed travel’s essential contributions to the U.S. economy and job creation, and the importance of international inbound travel to trade deficit reduction.
“Our discussion with the president was simple: a strong flow of international business and leisure travelers into the U.S. reduces the trade deficit and creates an outsize number of American jobs,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “There is a global international travel boom, and there is a huge opportunity to greatly expand upon the already strong economy.
“The president is a keen listener whenever you’re talking about growing the economy, and he was receptive to the idea that travel growth can be achieved without compromising security.
“We’re grateful to the president and his senior aides for their time and attention.”
According to a US Travel statement issued following the meeting, the conversation highlighted ways the administration and the travel industry can work together to achieve travel-related growth. Among the policies discussed to help improve inbound travel: expanding and enhancing secure visa policies and supporting the Brand USA as the nation’s destination marketing agency. Transportation infrastructure—critical to growth of both international and domestic travel—was also on the policy menu.
Attending the West Wing meeting were the following:
Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association;
Geoff Ballotti of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts;
Phil Brown of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (attending in his role as chair of U.S. Travel’s Gateway Airports Council);
Kevin Frid of AccorHotels;
Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt Hotels Corporation;
Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group;
George Markantonis of Las Vegas Sands Corporation;
Chris Nassetta of Hilton;
Patrick Pacious of Choice Hotels International;
Joe Popolo of Freeman;
James Risoleo of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.;
Arne Sorenson of Marriott International;
John Sprouls of Universal Parks & Resorts; and
Greg Stubblefield of Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
Also joining Dow and member executives at the meeting were Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Jonathan Grella and Senior Vice President for Government Relations Tori Barnes.
The White House session is in keeping with US Travel’s efforts to meet personally with the sitting U.S. President. US Travel President Roger Dow headed similar industry delegations to two meetings with President Barack Obama—one in March 2009, less than two months after Obama took office, and a second West Wing meeting in May 2014.
Question: Did Roger Dow use the occasion of the meeting make a pitch to President Trump to upgrade his membership in the association? Trump Hotels is a US Travel member.
USA Remains Favorite Long-Haul Destination of Chinese Travelers
In a just released report that touts record outbound travel from China for the first half of 2018, the China Outbound Research Institute (COTRI) tells us that the USA remains the favorite long-haul destination for Chinese travelers (See table below). While the United States was No. 10 in COTRI’s top ten international destinations visited by travelers from China during the first six months of the year, all of the other countries listed were close-in regional or short-haul destinations.
This does not mean that the number of visitors to America recorded by COTRI for January through June–they are the only hard data on the subject, given the absence of any figures from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), which hasn’t issued a report in six months¹—are cause for elation. What data are available suggest otherwise. In the COTRI table below, 1.2 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S. in the first half of 2018.
The last forecast for 2018 from NTTO projected that more than 3.2 million Chinese travelers would visit the United States this year. While historical data show that China sends about 55 percent of its total annual visitors to the USA in the second half of each year, a 55-percent share of the total for July through December 2018 would translate into about 1.47 million, for an overall 2018 total of roughly 2.67 million: this is about 530 thousand less than the 3.2 million NTTO forecast.
Why is the Bottom is Falling out of Argentina Market?
International Sales down 40 Percent in May through July: Argentina, a Top 15 overseas source market for the United States that hasn’t seen a serious decline in the number of visitors it sends to the U.S. in more than a decade has suddenly experienced a perfect storm of economic currents that seem certain to drive the country into an economic recession and have a significant impact, as well, on outbound tourism drive visitation down for the rest of 2018 and into 2019. In doing so, it will do damage to the upcoming 2018-2019 peak summer travel season
Here is a quick digest of what’s been recently reported concerning the economic condition, as well as its impact on the tour and travel industry in Argentina. (Remember that summer in the southern hemisphere extends from Dec. 21, 2018 to March 20, 2019.)
—The consensus opinion of economists in the past several years was that Argentina’s peso currency was overvalued, with the government acknowledging that it would depreciate gradually over the years. But no one expected the speed with which the peso has plummeted against the dollar—down by more than 115 percent in the past year and down by more than 30 percent last month alone. The depreciation made Argentina’s dollar debts more expensive for the government, prompting it to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $50 billion loan.
According to the Argentine edition of the trade journal REPORTUR, a group of travel agents it contacted said that, for the three months prior to August, “We have seen a reduction of 40 percent in sales in relation to the same period of the previous year.”
Further worsening the situation, especially for agents and operators who sell long-haul travel, there has been an elimination of interest-free installment payments for consumers to pay for their holidays. A significant portion of Argentines pay for their vacations via 12-month installment plans.
The group of agents contacted by REPORTUR expressed the hope that the slide in value of the peso vs. the U.S. dollar would stabilize at 28 or 29 percent. That is now seen as an impossible dream and one could safely expect that the inflated peso will push above beyond the 40-peso-to-the-dollar.
Who knows where all of this will end?
Who Are the Most Popular Tour Operators with Brazil’s Travel Trade?
In a new PANROTAS survey of the best sales promoters in Greater São Paulo* asked the question “Who were the best among the operators?” and CVC dominated the scenario. Of the eight operators receiving the most votes, the leader, Vivian Lima (right), and four others are from CVC Operadora, one from Trend and one from Visual. Only Interep, with the presence of Suellen Bandeira (ranked sixth) prevented total domination of the list by CVC brands. The results were based on a tally of more than 815 voters. As some teams have more professionals than others, PANROTAS also add the most voted companies in general.
The Best Sales Teams
- Grupo Trend
- Flytour MMT
- Abreu Viagens
In the above ranking, No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 are brands of CVC, Brazil’s largest travel company, which is both tour operator and travel agency. Grupo Trend is especially strong in Florida, where it has offices. Flytour MMT is Brazil’s second largest company; it was created with the merger—formalized earlier this year—of Flytour and MMT Gapnet. Number 5 Abreu is the oldest travel agency in the country, having begun operations in 1840 in Portugal. Abreu has a receptive tour operator division operating out of Orlando.
10 Things Any New Attraction trying to crack the NYC Market Should Know
INBOUND found 10 simple and free pieces of advice posted on the LinkedIn page of Dan Rogoski, president and partner of Experience the Ride* in New York City for any new attractions planning to open in New York City. Many visitors to the page read and liked what he had to say. We liked the openness and brevity of Rogoski’s insights.
- No, you will not do 1 million people in Year One (definitely not Year Two and probably not Year Three either).
- No, you will not average $30 SPH (Spend per head)
- Yes, Pass programs need to be part of your customer mix from day one.
- Your business plan needs to be reworked the day you open your doors.
- No, it’s not the sales and marketing team or the GM’s fault after only 6 months. Blame the unrealistic goals that were set.
- No, there are not swarms of people waiting with baited breath for your Attraction to open.
- Listen to people who have done this before and hire a local team who know the market!
- No one wants your t-shirt with a logo on it, no matter how neat you think it is. Your commercial SPH will not be $5.
- No, you do not need an advertising or public agency from Day One. They burn through much needed cash, and local team should have the right contacts to do on your own.
- You will not break even for 3-5 years so be prepared to fund the business for this long or don’t bother opening.
* Experience the Ride operates both THE RIDE and THE DOWNTOWN in Manhattan. INBOUND’s editor has experienced THE RIDE and enjoyed it immensely. Rogoski has considerable experience in the attractions segment of the tour and travel industry He has been a part of management at Experience the Ride for nearly five years. Previously, he held senior sales positions with Merlin Entertainments Group and Liberty Helicopters
Families and Millennials: Two Cash Cows for the UK Market
While seemingly more important questions dominate the current dialogue among tour and travel industry leaders in the UK, the private sector keeps churning out the results of “boutique” surveys that should enable tour operators and other travel sellers to sharpen their sales and marketing tools.
The latest comes in the results of a pair of surveys, with the key findings indicating that families are a very lucrative market segment—more so than thought before—and that millennials are looking to travel to exotic, far-off places … but not that far-off. A re-cap of the key findings from the two surveys follows.
- In the first study—a nationwide survey of 2,000 adults by Piper, a leading specialist investor in consumer brands—it was found that:
—Thirty-seven percent of travelers are adventurous with their travel choices, and 45 percent of these travelers are millennials.
—UK travelers tend to go to attractions visited by fewer tourists.
—While Brits desire unusual escapades, they will not go so far that they will have no access to internet, with 69 percent of these travelers checking their mobile devices at least once a day.
—One out of four (25 percent) of millennials check their devices “at least every hour.”
—About one out of every eight (12 percent) are unable to disconnect, requiring “24/7” connectivity.
—Millennials want Wi-Fi access for their social media accounts to post updates from their travel. (Yet another survey revealed that 97 percent of millennial travelers post on social networks and share experiences while travelling.)
—Millennials tend to avoid travel agents and book their flights and accommodations online; they search for itineraries online, as well as for transportation—either for booking transportation or using the GPS and online maps.
Natalie Thwaites, associate partner at Piper, said: “Despite the economic uncertainty, these findings have shown that holidays remain essential for UK consumers. The appetite for adventure is particularly interesting and consistent with the rise of the experiential consumer in other sectors.”
- In the second study—study commissioned by the tour operator Ocean Florida covering 1,130 adults—it was revealed that people with children are more likely to take multiple holidays a year. Specific findings include the following:
—More than a third (34 percent) of families take two holidays a year vs. 28 percent of households without children.
—While it is generally thought that millennials have more disposable income and time, it is not always being spent on holidays, according to the study.
—The research found that 16 percent of people in the UK are splurging between £3,000-£10,000 ($3,830-$14,050) on their summer getaway.
—A third of those aged 25 to 34 take five to six months to save for holidays, with 23 percent indicating that it took three to four months and 13 percent saying it was one to two months.
—Families are more likely to save over a longer period of time. One quarter (26 percent) said it took five to six months, followed by 21 percent saying it took 11 to 12 months with 18 percent saying it only took them three to four months.
—Those without children are spending more on holiday accessories. Not quite a third (30 percent) of child-free respondents spent between £101-£250 ($130-$319), as opposed to only a quarter of those with children.
Entertainment Cruises acquires Toronto-based Mariposa Cruises
Entertainment Cruises has acquired Toronto-based Mariposa Cruises. The completion of the transaction extends the company’s footprint into Canada for the first time, boosting its operation to 48 vessels serving upwards of 2.3 million guests across 11 city locations in North America.
“As a highly regarded business with an established reputation for quality on-water experiences, Mariposa Cruises perfectly complements Entertainment Cruises’ portfolio. This is a natural and exciting step in our expansion strategy beyond the U.S.,” said Kenneth Svendsen, CEO of Entertainment Cruises.
Recognized as Toronto’s largest hospitality cruise operator, Mariposa Cruises has served the city’s waterfront and Lake Ontario with dining cruises, sightseeing and private charters since 1987. Given its longstanding presence, the business will continue to operate under the Mariposa Cruises brand and will remain headquartered at its home base in the heart of the Toronto Harbourfront at the Queen’s Quay
With 128 full time and seasonal employees joining Entertainment Cruises, the company intends to maximize benefits for both operations and leverage the significant expertise across the whole business.
“Under his leadership, Jim Nicholson has firmly established Mariposa Cruises as an impressive and successful hospitality business that is much admired by its contemporaries. I would like to thank Jim for his tremendous efforts and extend my very best wishes for his future endeavors,” added Svendsen.
Entertainment Cruises already operates a portfolio of seven in destinations such as Alexandria VA, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, National Harbor, Norfolk VA, Philadelphia, New York, Weehawken N.J. and the wider Washington D.C. area. In 2016, the company acquired Virginia-based Potomac Riverboat Co., and has since added four new high speed, low wake, environmentally friendly water taxis to service the DC metro area. This month, Odyssey Chicago River─a modern glass-enclosed vessel built specifically for cruising the Chicago River ─ is expected to make its much-anticipated debut and will introduce upscale dining and entertainment alongside unparalleled 360-degree views of the city’s world-renowned architecture. Entertainment Cruises is part of the PPC Partners group of companies.
For more information, contact: Liz Gilbert, director, national accounts & travel Industry sales. [email protected]. Phone: 312-396-2252.
College Tours for Chinese May be Best Path to Growth for Midwest Destinations*
Many middle-class teens in China are embarking on study tours of university campuses in the US, a market sector that could be lucrative for colleges and tourism-related businesses in the Midwest, according to a new study led by Joy Huang, a professor of recreation, sport and tourism at the University of Illinois and lead author of the study.
A growing numbers of families in China are sending their teens on college tours in other countries, creating a potentially lucrative market sector for universities, college towns and tourism-related businesses, a new study suggests.
While the itineraries of these study tours used to concentrate on the Ivy League schools and their peers scattered along the East and West coasts of the United States, intense competition for admission and rising tuition costs are prompting more Chinese students to look beyond the ivies to the highly ranked public universities in the Midwest, said lead author Joy Huang,
“These short-term overseas tours and summer camps are a very important market for the tourist industry in the Midwest,” Huang said. “They are also a very good recruiting tool for universities and a way to ‘audition’ potential foreign students—who usually pay much higher tuition than domestic students.”
In 2013, more than 300,000 young people from China participated in overseas study tours. But by summer 2015, the number of Chinese teens who traveled abroad on these types of trips grew to more than 500,000 annually, according to the study.
Organized by travel agencies and high schools, the two- to four-week trips to the U.S. and other developed countries typically cost Chinese families $5,000-$8,000.
Huang co-wrote the study with Qian Li, then a doctoral student at the U. of I. Their paper appears in the Journal of China Tourism Research.
To learn more about why Chinese teens participate in the tours and the factors that influence families’ decisions to send their children on these excursions, the researchers interviewed 30 Chinese adolescents who had traveled on a group study tour within the prior three years and 20 of their parents.
Similar to the grand tours undertaken by wealthy young men in ancient Europe, the study tours typically include sightseeing and an assortment of educational and cultural enrichment experiences as well as social and recreational activities, Huang said.
China’s integration into the global economy has given rise to a rapidly growing middle class that is curious about other cultures and perspectives and eager to expand their children’s knowledge beyond the Chinese educational system’s test-focused curriculum, she said.
The parents interviewed said they hoped that going on the study trip would enrich their children’s educational and life experience, and foster “global perspectives” that would enhance their competitiveness in the job market after college. Accordingly, the youths said they were motivated by their desire to learn about other cultures, to experience daily life in other countries and improve their English language skills.
With many of the parents’ own college aspirations derailed by China’s Cultural Revolution, they sought to fulfill those dreams vicariously by pushing their children to attend colleges in the U.S. and other countries, which they perceived as being more prestigious than the postsecondary institutions in China, Huang said.
Their children were among the generations born under China’s one-child family planning policy, which began in 1979 and was phased out in 2016.
Among China’s well-educated and more prosperous families, the one-child policy and exposure to Western cultural values has produced child-centered families in which the parent-child relationships are more egalitarian than in traditional Chinese culture, Huang and Li found.
“Several adolescents—and some parents—indicated that they hoped the study tours, which were the youths’ first trips without their parents in tow, would foster greater independence” and prepare them for college life, Huang said. “The teens thought it was important to learn how to socialize and communicate with other people in new environments.”
While much of the research on Chinese outbound tourists takes a “mass-market perspective, viewing all Chinese as a homogenous group, travel agencies and tourist destinations need to recognize the heterogeneity that exists among these travelers and adapt their products and marketing messages to these audience members’ differing perspectives,” Huang said.
he suggested that tourist agencies and universities that want to appeal to college-bound Chinese teens offer diverse itineraries with a mix of educational, social and recreational activities that immerse visiting teens in campus life. The itinerary might include attending classes and sporting events, hosting talks that enable visitors to ask questions of current students and housing the visiting teens in college residence halls.
Marketing campaigns aimed at the parents of these teens, however, should highlight the educational benefits and career opportunities available to students who attend the colleges they will visit, Huang said.
* Submitted by the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
More information: Zhuowei (Joy) Huang et al, “The Grand Tour in the Twenty-first Century: Perspectives of Chinese Adolescents and Their Parents,” Journal of China Tourism Research (2018). DOI: 10.1080/19388160.2018.1507859
Recognitions & Awards: USA Luxury Shopping Honored by Virtuoso Travel Network
The global luxury travel network Virtuoso has announced that the USA Luxury Shopping Consortium is the winner of this year’s Most Innovative Alliances Partner Award at the 30th annual Virtuoso Travel Week. Founder and President Kathy Anderson received the award during the Virtuoso Alliances Award Luncheon last month. The honor is especially noteworthy as only a fraction of the network’s 1,700 partners are honored at Virtuoso Travel Week. The USA Luxury Shopping Consortium is a collection of 11 shopping centers and retail districts located in key travel destinations throughout the U.S. including Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Fashion Show and The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian | Palazzo Resorts in Las Vegas, River Oaks District Houston, The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Tysons Corner Center in Washington DC and the longest luxury shopping street in North America-Madison Avenue in New York City
At a Glance: Reno, Nevada
For full information Click Here
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Sheelagh Wylie has left the inbound side of the U.S. tourism business—and her job as vice president, business development and head of trade sales, Midway Attractions, North America, Merlin Entertainments—to join Visit Britain as chief marketing officer, Americas. She is based in New York. For the past 15 years, with the exception of a brief tenure as a consultant, Wylie had been with Merlin. Her first position was as manager of trade sales for Madame Tussauds New York; Merlin acquired the Tussaud Group in 2007.
Nancy Mammana has been named senior vice president, marketing, for New York City & Company. She joins the agency from the Patina Restaurant Group, where she worked for 10 years. Her professional resumé includes tenures in senior positions at The Marketing Arm, the NBA, Alvin Ailey and the Cunard Line.
Isaac Pacheco has been promoted to national sales manager at Hornblower Cruises and Events, Previously, he had served for nearly three-and-a-half years as tour and travel sales manager. Prior to joining Hornblower, Pacheco served for nearly a dozen years at Entertainment Cruises, Inc.
The Cedar Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the dismissal of Aaron McCreight, as its CEO. The move followed the news that a Cedar Rapids festival launched by the CVB lost millions of dollars. Newbo Evolve, a three-day arts and music event featuring headliners Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5, lost an estimated $2.3 million, Go Cedar Rapids board chairman John Myers told a news conference. McCreight joined the Cedar Rapids bureau in 2015 from his position as CEO of the Casper (Wyo.) CVB/Casper Area Sports Alliance.
Luis Paulo Luppa, CEO of Orlando-based Brazilian operator Grupo Trend, has returned to Brazil after shepherding the company for the past year-and-a-half through its merger with/acquisition by CVC, Brazil’s largest travel company. According to the Brazilian travel trade news site, PANROTAS, the move “should mainly help in the verticality in the chain of command of the company, which will lead to greater agility in decisions.”
Also from Brazil, Scott Alboni is the new global marketing manager of FCM Travel Solutions. Alboni has had considerable experience in the fields of branding, marketing and design. He joined CTM in 2015, forging a first experience in tourism and business travel, before joining this new position at FCM at the global level. FCM is headquartered in Brisbane and operates a network spanning over 90 countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association has announced the appointment of Michael Jacobson as president and CEO. Jacobson, who most recently served as the senior director of industry relations and political engagement of the U.S. Travel Association, joins the organization effective Oct. 1, 2018 as president and CEO. He succeeds Marc Gordon who retires effective this December, following a 21-year tenure as the president and CEO. Jacobson has been with US Travel for eight years.
In Mumbai, India, Rupen Vikamsey, former managing director of Goomo Orbit, has launched Tibro Tours, which focuses on the M.I.C.E. segment. The new outbound operator has offices in 8 cities—Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangaluru, Pune, Nashik, Ahmedabad and Ludhiana, with a combined staff strength of 80 employees. Tibro organizes industrial visits for MBA students as well small businessmen. “Currently, we are offering customized trips, but depending on the response, we may offer fixed departure tours,” said Vikamsey.
Greg Marshall for 40 years at Visit Rochester. (Photos of Greg Marshall now and circa mid-1980s)
Mel Tye for 27years at Tye’s Top Tour & Travel
Donna Carpenter for 9 years at Cabarrus County CVB
Kelly Miller for 5 years at Visit Huntington Beach
Debbie Johnson for 3 years at the Arizona Office of Tourism
Roni Stevens for one year at D.C. Trails Inc.