Former TUI Executive Karen Doyle Pleads Guilty to Fraud
Karen Doyle, a former TUI (UK) manager who left the company last May, has pleaded guilty to fraud after stealing more than £63,000 ($82,000) worth of gift vouchers over a period of seven years during her tenure at the company. She joined TUI in June 2009 as general manager cruise distribution. Before her departure, Doyle was Marella Cruises general manager of supplier management and ancillary revenue.
According to court documents, the fraud was committed between February 2011 and February 2018; during this time £63,454 worth of gift vouchers were used “for her own gain.”
Doyle, who appeared at Luton Crown Court on Oct. 1, under her maiden name, Karen Mitchell, was released on unconditional bail. She is scheduled to be sentenced on October 22.
According to the charges to which she pled guilty, “Karen Mitchell abused her position as a senior manager at TUI UK & Ireland in which you were expected to safeguard, or not act against, the financial interests of another, namely TUI, by representing that you were entitled to use gift vouchers in the sum of £63,945 in breach of Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.”
According to her LinkedIn entry, before joining TUI in 2009, Doyle, whose career in the tour and travel industry spans three decades, served as: branch manager for Thomas Cook (April 1988-April 1990); account executive at Cunard Cruise Line (April 1990-July 1994); national account manager for Air UK (July 1994-April 1998); and head of national accounts at Royal Caribbean International (April 1998-June 2009).
Brexit Worries Making British Skittish over Overseas Travel
How Many of them Will opt for a Staycation vs. Vacation Abroad? The British tour and travel trade will have a better idea of the condition of, and expectations for, next summer’s outbound travel season when the industry gathers for the World Travel Market (WTM) next month (Nov. 5-7). WTM generally serves as the global international tour and travel industry last take on how the current year—in this case, 2018—has done, and what the next year looks like, as tour operators can usually make a fairly reliable projection for the coming year based on the level of advance bookings vs. previous years, as well as other factors.
While there are no real-time numbers for the volume of overseas travel by Brits, the data that are available for 2018—for the first quarter only—were not encouraging. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK residents made 4.6 million visits abroad in January 2018 (4 percent fewer than in January 2017), 4.1 million visits abroad in February 2018 (7 percent fewer than in February 2017) and 4.6 million visits abroad in March 2018 (6 percent fewer than in March 2017).
There are two other measurable factors that will be influencing operator projections for next year:
First is what Brits are telling pollsters how they feel about traveling abroad. And what they are does not seem encouraging. According to the poll by domestic accommodation rental firm Sykes Holiday Cottages (Obviously, one has to wonder just how much such a self-serving poll had to do with the way questions were asked of those surveyed). A quick digest of the key findings of the poll, which surveyed 1,000 individuals:
—Almost half of Britons—just under 50 percent—are less likely to holiday in Europe after the UK leaves the EU.
—Almost two thirds (65 percent) said they were worried that a further fall in the value of the pound would drive up prices overseas.
—Six in ten (60 percent) said they were concerned about not having free, emergency healthcare while abroad after Brexit takes effect in less than in six months.
—Four in ten of the 1,000 people polled also fear travel chaos on the roads around the English Channel, and pet owners are worried about difficulties with pet passports (27 percent of respondents).
Brexit, the name given to the UK’s “exit” from the 28-nation European Union (EU), takes place March 29, 2019. UK citizens voted for Brexit by a small margin in a referendum held in June 2016. The UK has yet to negotiate trade and traffic agreements with the member countries of the UK, causing many in the tour and travel industry to wonder about what happens to aircraft from EU nations traveling from or through UK airports.
Second, after a period earlier this year during which the British pound sterling was recovering to the point that some might thought it would return to the level it held against the dollar before the Brexit referendum (it traded at $1.47 on June 23, 2016—the day on which the Brexit vote was taken—and dropped 12 percent within a week, to $1.29), the pound has stumbled back down to the low levels it held immediately after the Brexit vote.
Here is a quick review of the pound vs. dollar level over the past six months.
USA is Still Number One
While the image of the United States has taken a hit recently—a new Pew report showed a significant decline in approval of the U.S. worldwide—and U.S. share of global international tourism has declined over the past decade, travelers and potential travelers still spend more money in the U.S. and want to visit the U.S. than they do any other country. Several just-released tables and an infographic based on figures provided by the World Tourism Organization make the point; as well, they show U.S. travel sellers that their individual products will do very well by configuring them into the U.S. brand, which remains a global favorite.
How to Read this above Map: This map shows the biggest international tourism receipts in 2017. Each country is sized to reflect the amount of tourism receipts. Countries appear bigger as their tourism receipts are higher; for example, the USA. Conversely, countries with small tourism receipts appear smaller; for example, Sudan.
Top International Destinations: Below are the world’s top countries for tourism, based on total money spent. The United States occupies the number one ranking, with $210.7 billion spent by 74.7 million tourists, or roughly $2,819 per person in 2017. Spain ($68 billion) and France ($61 billion) come in at number two and number three.
Dollars per Visitor: If one takes the sum of international tourist receipts and divides it by the number of visitors for each country, we also see another interesting measure: dollars spent per visitor.
For a country like Australia, the figure is not only massive, but it’s also quite remote for many visitors, meaning that tourists get their fill on their trips. Tourists to a destination like Australia are rarely popping in for an overnighter, and are more likely to spend extended periods of time on vacation.
Topping this list are places that are hard to reach for many visitors (New Zealand or Israel, for example), as well as more expensive destinations (Luxembourg).
Macao, the gambling capital of the world, also makes the list – with many of those dollars likely being spent on games like roulette, blackjack, sic bo, and fan-tan.
For more information, visit the site on which the above information is explored further: http://www.visualcapitalist.com/map-worlds-top-countries-tourism/
JTB Strengthening Global Presence through Reorganization of European Unit
As one French travel trade publication put it, JTB, with the establishment of a headquarters office in Paris for its JTB Europe unit, is out “to conquer Europe.”
The company’s action indicates that, along with other corporate moves in the past year-and-a-half, it is trying to increase its global footprint. With its new Paris location, JTB Europe intends to be one of the key players in the MICE sector in Europe. In addition to setting up in Paris, the subsidiary of the JTB group is also putting the finishing touches to the constitution of its teams in 15 European countries.
Last year JTB acquired what was left of the Swiss tourism group Kuoni Global Travel Services (MICE and groups), restructured the operation, making it JTB Europe Corporate Events & Trade. The new JTB entity has also launched its corporate website www.jtbeurope.com.
Of the move, a JTB company statement said, “JTB’s European teams offer turnkey events of all sizes in France, Europe and around the world, from large conventions to more confidential meetings, all accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and European offices organizing more of 3,000 events a year.” The statement indicated that JTB Europe is currently finalizing the constitution of all its offices and will communicate soon on its French team, its strategy and its ambitions on the French market.
The Paris office is headed by Eijiro Yamakita, president & CEO of JTB Europe, who added, “France is a strategic market for JTB Europe which has also set up its headquarters in Paris. The new website has been designed to make our customers discover the new high-end services and give them easier access to our teams locally and around the world.”
Creation of the new Paris operation comes after a move in June 2017 in which by Brazil’s largest tour operator/travel agency—CVC—that it has retained JTB Americas to serve CVC’s customers New York, Florida and California in the United States, suggests that it is trying to expand its footprint in both North America and South America through the synergy brought about by its partnership with JTB and the latter’s global network, which includes subsidiaries in Brazil. (JTB has long has had a presence in Brazil, a country with the largest population of people of Japanese ancestry outside of Japan.)
In March of last year JTB acquired a large share in Panorama Tours Indonesia. JTB said at the time that it planned to use Panorama’s customer base and network of 53 locations across 24 cities to sell Japanese tours and other products … and to increase the size of its footprint in Asia.
States Accepting China Exam Results to Admit Chinese Students in U.S. Colleges
Making it Easier for the Chinese Student Market to Grow: Universities in some U.S. states have found a way to make the process of enrolling in an American college or university less cumbersome; this, in turn could make the number of students studying in the United States—more than 350,000 were enrolled in U.S. educational institutions in the most recent year for which data are available—grow even more. Were Chinese students considered a separate entity, they would rank No. 24 among overseas source markets—just ahead of Denmark and just behind Ecuador.
A recent article in the Chinese People’s Daily Online, explained how U.S. schools have begun to use college examination results from the admissions test administered to students in China (known as the Gaokao) are making it easier for these students to attend U.S. colleges and universities:*
“A lot of schools in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and other places have taken the lead in taking the college entrance examination results as the admission standard for international students, and the Chinese students who have been admitted to the school have performed well in school.”
Recently, the International Admissions Office of Adelphi University In an interview with People’s Daily, Director Shannon Paul said, “Adelphi University is committed to building an international student-friendly university. Taking the college entrance examination results as an admission standard will reduce the difficulty of international students’ progression.”
Since 2015, some American universities have begun to use the results of the college entrance examination to replace the SAT or ACT test scores originally required by the applicants for the study, but still require the applicant to meet the minimum score requirements of the English proficiency test or pass the interview test. Recently, New York University’s Adelphi University and Louisiana State University announced the adoption of the Chinese college entrance examination results as the admission criteria. These two universities will simply use the results of the college entrance examination to enroll Chinese students to attend their international courses (the “International Year One”).
“The college entrance examination is a high-quality examination. Chinese students have made great efforts to make this. It is very feasible to use the college entrance examination results as the admission standard. We do not want students to spend three years preparing for the college entrance examination, and it will take years to prepare for the SAT or ACT.”
Todd Ellwein, director of International Programs at Louisiana State University, said in an interview that he highly respects and recognizes the college entrance examination.
In order to maximize the application time for Chinese students, according to Deng Kai, a US News Global Education staff member in China, two universities, Adelphi University and Louisiana State University, broke the United States (by) one, three, four, one year. 5. The law of enrollment in September (is) for the Chinese students to open an academic English course in October (in mid-term) for 7 to 8 weeks. At the end of the course, students can progress to the International Student Direct Entry, International Year One, or continue their Academic English course in January of the following year. (Hao Mengjia Jiang Hongyu)
*Caution: The article above is a Google translation. To see it in its original Mandarin, click this link to the original article: http://edu.people.com.cn/n1/2018/0911/c1006-30286693.html
NEW AIR SERVICE
—The biggest news last week regarding overseas air service was not what was new, but what is no longer, as low-cost European carrier Primera Air went bankrupt on Oct. 1. As recently as the past couple of months, the airline announced two new bases in Brussels and Berling and new flights beginning next year between Brussels and Newark, Brussels and Berling to Boston and Washington D.C. and Berlin to New York JFK—as well as several other North American destinations. And last month, Primer announced even more new routes between Europe and the U.S. It remains to be seen if other carriers will attempt to secure the slots after administrators decide what to do with the defunct carrier’s assets.
—In the meantime, EasyJet has signed an agreement with Virgin Atlantic to join its flight connections through Worldwide by Easyjet service, which it launched in September 2017. This alliance will allow flights from Barcelona to Orlando or from Edinburgh to Las Vegas thanks to the connection of the two airlines at the London-Gatwick airport, the company said in a statement.
—Cathay Pacific Airways launched the longest link in its network on 15 September when it commenced flights between Hong Kong and Washington Dulles. It will serve the 8,139-mile connection four times weekly.
—American Airlines will launch its first direct flight between Buenos Aires and the city of Los Angeles next December 20; it will operate three times a week.
—Beginning March 31, 2019, Air France will serve Dallas-Fort Worth airport from Paris Charles de Gaulle. DFW thus becomes Air France’s 13th U.S. destination.
—The budget airline Eurowings will operate another U.S. route from the Düsseldorf hub: beginning July 3, 2019, the Lufthansa subsidiary will fly to Las Vegas three times a week. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, a long-haul Airbus A330 or A340 aircraft takes off in the direction of Las Vegas, then head back on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
—Air France and its subsidiary Joon are launching a new long-haul U.S. route in the summer of 2019. As of March 31, Air France will fly from Paris/Charles de Gaulle to Dallas/Fort Worth up to five times a week.
At a Glance: Colorado Springs, CO
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HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Arun Govada has been named director, tourism development, Asia-Pacific, for New York City & Company. Govada, who is proficient in Mandarin, Cantonese, Telgu, Hindi and English, comes to his new position from UDP International, a global urban planning and design firm.
Fernando Harb has joined Spotlight Marketing & PR , which is headquartered in the Miami area, as sales director for its newly added sales division. Previously, he served at the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB for nearly 12 years, lastly as senior vice president of tourism sales.
Alka Chandolia has let people know that she has left Big Bus Tours where she was head of global partnership management, based in London. She had been with Big Bus for six years. Previously, she served as sales and marketing director at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! In London.
Erik Gordon has become executive vice president business development at Beyond Times Square, which promotes New York City experiences outside of, and beyond, Times Square, which is known worldwide. Gordon has been with the company for 15 years.
Canada’s Sunwing Travel Group has announced the recent appointment of Lyne Chayer as general manager, Quebec. A veteran of more than 20 years’ experience in the travel and aviation industries, including a 19-year stint at Transat. Most recently, she was vice president of marketing and commercialization at L.B. Maple Treat in Montreal.
Corrina Ferguson has been named executive director of the Elizabeth City (N.C.) Area CVB. Prior to her new position, Ferguson was director of the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee. She
also served as the vice president of destination marketing, new media and strategy for VisitNewEngland.com.
Thomas Cook (UK) has announced that Phil Gardner (left) has been promoted to sales and e-commerce director, adding to his existing responsibilities of commercial sales, third -party relations and Freedom Travel Group. The role also assumes responsibility for Thomas Cook Sport. Alex Appelmann has been appointed to the newly created role of commercial director. He was previously group commercial in Oberursel, Germany where he has was director of product, planning and portfolio management in a group-wide role. Gardner has been with the company for more than 3 years, having joined from TUI Travel. Appelman has been with Thomas Cook for nearly five years.
Mario Barreiro for 25 years at Medieval Times
Else Elaine Kellogg for 16 years with Gray Line NY Sightseeing
Yuhnis Sydnore for 2 years at Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours, Inc.
Sage Brennan for 7 years at China Luxury Advisors
Polina Pekarskaya for 7 years at Manhattan by Sail
Tish Knudsen for 5 years at SIX in Branson