DER Launches New UK Long Haul Tailor-Made Brand Online
Kuoni parent company DER Touristik (UK) is launching Meraki Holidays, a new tailor-made brand for long-haul holidays. The operator will offer complex, long-haul trips that customers will be able to build themselves online within an existing framework. DER Touristik said it was targeting consumers who weren’t already customers of Kuoni or its other specialist brands Carrier, Kirker, CV Villas and Voyage Jules Verne.
Der Touristik UK CEO Derek Jones said the product was unique, explaining that, “as far as we’re aware it’s not available anywhere else in the world,” adding, “the brand is a new concept for tailor-made travel and differs from anything else currently available, making complex tailor-made trips easy and fun to plan, customize and then book online,” said Jones. The lead-in price is expected to be about £1,300 ($1,700) per person. Itineraries can be saved, shared and paid for online and travel documents will be saved in the My Meraki section of company’s website, https://www.merakitravel.co.uk/
France: Tour Operator Launches New Brand Focused on Experiencing Cities Through Music
In France, Philippe Jolivet and a team of team of tourism professionals have banded together to create Music Travel—a tour operator who wants to discover a destination, a city through the prism of music. Music Travel does not intend to sell concert tickets, or stage meetings between customers and the musical idols of their youth, but wants to develop products around the musical universe.
“I had the idea a few years ago, and to be honest, I pushed the concept away by buying the RockTravel domain name,” he told Tourmag, the French travel trade news website. A fan of the American group Toto, he got the inspiration last March, deciding to quit his job to pursue the notion.
Jolivet has solid credentials in the tour and travel business. He has worked as marketing manager of Jet Tours (2001-09); operational marketing manager of Chateaux & Classic Hotels Collection (2009-12); pricing manager of Beachcomber Tours (2012-13); and as marketing manager of Top of Travel. He is currently at work promoting a December tour dedicated to the late Johnny Hallyday, the popular French Rock n’ Roll singer who died last December. He and his team are also in the process of producing a trip to Cuba for Salsa fans, and one for Michael Jackson.
Does the Number of Vacation Days in Long-Haul Markets Have Something to do with U.S. Inbound Arrivals?
“Yes” seems to be the answer. When looking for a factor that seems to be a common correlation to being a part of the U.S. tour and travel industry’s Top Ten Overseas Source Markets, look no further than the number of vacation days that workers in these countries receive. (Remember that correlation does not equal causation, but it seems worth investigating the connection for the U.S. marketer.)
INBOUND noticed the correlation when we went a little beyond the Expedia news release put out last week that announced the results of its 18th annual Vacation Deprivation® study today, which examines vacation usage and trends across 19 countries. The report found that global vacation deprivation is on the rise, and that workers in the U.S. took the fewest number of vacation days in the world in 2018, alongside Japan and Thailand.
Focusing on the U.S. an Expedia statement, that “with the number of U.S. vacation days awarded and taken at a five-year low, it’s no wonder that vacation deprivation levels for Americans are at a five-year high (59 percent, up 8 percent from 2017). According to the report, American workers received 14 vacations days and used 10, resulting in 653.9 million days left on the table in 2018.”
What the statement could have said—and would have been a source of much succor to tourism sales and marketing professionals—is that workers in five of the six top source markets covered in the Expedia report (China was not included in the study) were from countries that used all, or most of, their vacation days: UK, South Korea, Germany, Brazil and France.
For Inbound USA Traffic, Canada is Soft; Overall, Record Pace Continues
In the latest monthly bulletin on the state of business from its Top Ten international source markets, year-to-date traffic from Canada’s two large English-speaking markets—the USA and UK—is down slightly, while overall inbound international arrivals are up one percent over last year, which was a record year, according to Destination Canada, the country’s official marketing organization. (See graphic below.)
We speculated at INBOUND as to why U.S. arrivals are down—if only slightly—and thought that it might have something to do with the exchange rate between the U.S. and Canadian dollars. We see that Canadian dollar rose from a low of 69 cents in mid-January 2016, trading at or about 75 cents through much of the year. It later peaked at 82 cents in September of last year before settling in at the $0.76-$0.78 level for most of 2018. In sum, Canada was not the bargain it was two-to-two-and-half years ago, with the cost of the components of a travel package about 10 percent more this year than they were in
- (Recall that, at the beginning of 2013, the Canadian dollar was trading at parity with the U.S. dollar.)
Here is Destination Canada’s travel infographic for July 2018, followed by some insights on the numbers.
—Year-to-date July 2018, overnight arrivals of visitors to Canada from Destination Canada’s ten international markets eased to +1 percent following a slight drop in July (-1 percent) caused by significant contractions in air arrivals via the U.S. in that month from all markets, except India. Global overnight arrivals to Canada year-to-date July 2018 surpassed the peak established in 2017, Canada’s best year ever.
—From January-July 2018, Canada had a record 11.8 million international visitors (+1 percent year-on-year).
—Year-to-date July 2018, the largest growth from our markets was from India (+8%), Germany (+7%), France (+6 percent), China (+5 percent) and Mexico (+3 percent), where increased direct air arrivals outpaced double-digit declines in air arrivals via the US.
In July 2018, Canada received a record number of visitors from France (94,000), Mexico (60,000), South Korea (41,000), and India (32,000).
Tour Operators are Talking about….
—In the UK, AITO—the Association of Independent Tour Operators—has announced a rebrand that will see its name change to The Specialist Travel Association. The acronym AITO will stay in place as the tagline changes. The association, which has 120 tour operator members, said the new name “better describes what our members do.” Executive director Kate Kenward said: “Times have changed and, over the years, so have AITO members. Specialist holidays and experiences are now members’ main focus and essentially form their stand-out offering in what is a very noisy and competitive travel landscape.”
—The holding company of the French father-and-son team (Jacky and Bruno Berrebi) that owns Time Tours and La Française des Circuits, recently completed the acquisition of 100 percent of the shares of Australia Tours, Terres de Charme, Red Carpet and Back Roads, which sells a substantial inventory of Visit USA adventure travel product. The new complex of businesses is valued at more than $135 million, according to published accounts, and had a turnover last year of around $46 million. ” This merger is the opportunity to establish purchasing synergies vis-à-vis suppliers but also consolidate the portfolio of destinations offered to our customers,” said Bruno Berrebi on Sept. 25 just after the official signing of the sale.
—Newmarket Holidays in Surrey, England, is slimming down following the sale of its education division to Next Generation Travel. The latter, based in Blackpool, now has a half-dozen education travel specialist brands. The company organizes school trips in the UK, Europe and throughout the world. Newmarket made the move to focus its core business of escorted touring holidays by air and river and ocean cruising business. It also sells USA product. Newmarket has apparently laid off some of its 200 employees. A Newmarket spokesman said: “The market is very competitive and demands that today’s modern travel business needs to be agile so that it can continue to adapt and flourish when opportunities present themselves in order to remain strong and successful.”
Receptive Tour Operator of the Month—7M Tours
The first question one usually asks about this young (It was founded in 2011) and small-but-aggressive Orlando-based tour operator is “What does 7M stand for?” The answer: 1. Morality; 2. Manpower; 3. Modern; 4. Management; 5. Meticulous; 6. Marketing; and 7. Memorable. The company has a staff of nearly 30 people stretching from the U.S. to India, which is a major source market for its products. 7M’s core business comprises customized group tours and incentive groups, although it provides a complete portfolio of products and services, including student and educational travel, senior travel and a range of leisure tours.
The TourOperatorLand.com website by the NAJ Group (it also publishes the INBOUND Report) has introduced both receptive tour operators, U.S. tour operators and international tour operators to travel product and services of U.S. travel suppliers and DMOs. Visitors to the website can use its exclusive Receptive Finder™ to find the right RTO. It is designed to help both the travel trade and travel suppliers find the right U.S. based receptive tour operator to sell their products on the international travel market place.
The receptive operators listed on TheTourOperatorLand.com, who are vetted and qualified by the NAJ Group, also take part in at least one of NAJ’s RTO Summits series. The Summits take place annually in Los Angeles, New York City and Orlando. For more information, visit: www.TourOperatorLand.com.
U.S. Airlines Serve Largest Number of Airports
For the world’s airlines, the winter 2018/19 (W18/19) season in the northern hemisphere starts this Sunday, Oct. 28 and runs through to March 30, 2019. An early analysis by anna.aero, a site that analyzes global airline traffic, indicates that:
—American Airlines will operate from the most airports;
—Turkish Airlines will serve the most countries; and
—Ryanair will offer the most tours.
Anna.aero points out that the same three carriers topped the same three charts last February when it previewed the summer season for 2018 (S18), which runs from the end of March until the end of October. The research company based its analyses on global schedule data for a typical week in January 2019. The main findings of the anna.aero analyses of scheduled flight information are show in the charts that follow.
- American Leads Big 3 U.S. Carriers, which Lead All Airlines Worldwide in Airports Served: In a ranking which suggests that U.S. airlines are well-positioned to serve inbound flights that will connect to second- and third-tier destinations, the big three U.S. carriers (American, Delta and United) are at the top of the rankings for most airports served in a typical week during W18/19, occupying exactly the same positions they did in the equivalent period last year. A large percentage of the airports these American majors fly to are domestic facilities in the US, and some will only see flights from their regional subsidiary or partner carriers. More than two thirds of the airports served by each of the USB3 airlines are located in their home market. Delta has the biggest proportion of US airports in its schedule, with domestic facilities accounting for 70% of the nodes in its network during the week that was analyzed.
According to anna.aero, the vast majority of the top 15 airlines, based on airports served, have increased the number of destinations in their networks since last winter. In total, 13 of these operators have added more airports for W18/19. The biggest increases have come from Aeroflot (18 more airports), China Southern Airlines and Qatar Airways (both up 11). The only top-ranked carriers to reduce the number of destinations this winter are Delta (four fewer airports) and British Airways (one less).
- Turkish Airlines Serves Most Destinations, while Middle East Carriers Have Expanded: The carrier once again tops the table below as the airline serving the most country markets. It will fly to 30 more countries than second place Air France, maintaining the same lead it enjoyed over the French flag carrier in W17/18. Both carriers have increased their winter country counts by three. Turkish Airlines has added Gambia, Sierra Leone and Zambia to its network. The top three carriers offering the most country markets and five of the top 15, are based in Europe (highlighted in blue). The other airlines marking up the top 15 include all members of the Big 3 carriers in the Middle East (highlighted in orange) and four major North American network carriers (highlighted in red).
- Ryanair Stays on Top in Number of Routes Served: The ultra low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair will serve more routes than any other airline during the week analyzed by anna.aero. It also led this category during the equivalent period in W17/18. In doing so, Ryanair has increased its winter route inventory by 11 percent and will offer 360 more airport-pairs than second-placed American Airlines. Five of the 15 airlines offering the most routes this winter are based in Europe (highlighted in blue in the table below), with a further five registered in North America (highlighted in red). The remaining third (highlighted in green) include four Chinese operators and one from South America.
Death of a DMO—Go Cedar Rapids Shut Down after Running up Huge Debt for Special Event
The end came with more a whimper than a bang but, in the end, the city found itself without a tourism promotion organization. Go Cedar Rapids (formerly the Cedar Rapids CVB, until it rebranded in 2016), which had served that function, was gone. Its nine remaining employees were without a job; this followed the firing of the DMO’s president Aaron McCreight.
McCreight, came to Cedar Rapids in in 2015 from his post as CEO of the Casper, Wyo., CVB. He also owned the Casper Cutthroats minor league baseball team and, as such, had some experience with organizing special events.
Then came a Go Cedar Rapids event, the August 3-5 “newbo evolve” music and cultural festival event that was long on talent—it attracted such performers as Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5, as well as other filmmaker John Waters—but short of the number of paid admissions needed to make it viable. The three-day event lost $2.3 million. Go Cedar Rapids spent $3.8 million on the festival, only making up about $1.5 million through ticket sales. It seems that far fewer people than expected purchased expensive 3-day VIP passes, and there were several thousand complimentary tickets handed out.
Also gone following the festival debacle, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, which has covered the story closely, is Pat Deignan, the former Cedar Rapids market president of Des Moines-based Bankers Trust, which explained in a statement that Deignan was “no longer with Bankers Trust” and added that it would not share any more information on the parting of ways. The statement didn’t say whether Deignan was fired or if he resigned. The Gazette had reported that Deignan was directly involved in the bank’s decision to extend a $1.5 million line of credit to Go Cedar Rapids, the city’s convention and visitor bureau, to help bankroll newbo evolve.
In the end, the bottom line showed that the organization was deeply in the red because of newbo evolve— $300,000 more than the organization’s $2 million annual budget, which was too much to overcome, GO Cedar Rapids interim chief executive officer Jim Haddad, told an Oct. 12 news conference. Vendors are owed $800,000 and apparently won’t be paid.
As reported by the Gazette, which has followed the matter closely, Haddad, a former Yellowbook USA executive and financial consultant, try and lead GO Cedar Rapids out of the debt it accumulated during festival. But the challenge was just too much. “Everybody put forth their best effort to make this work. That’s little solace to our employees, little solace to the vendors who don’t get paid, but I can assure people we tried everything we possibly could,” he said.
As a legal entity, the GO Cedar Rapids will still exist, but will become a dormant nonprofit and cease activities, he said. The entity was established in 1982 as the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau and rebranded as GO Cedar Rapids in 2016.
The city of Cedar Rapids will temporarily take over the marketing role for tourism, conventions, meetings, sports tournaments and special events. The city’s initiative is expected to continue 12 to 18 months on a transitional basis. Operations will be managed by VenuWorks, which books acts for a number of facilities in Iowa. The effort will be funded using the $500,000 in hotel-motel tax proceeds that would have gone to Go Cedar Rapids.
At a Glance: Louisiana
Photo credits: Louisiana Office of Tourism, Lake Charles, Southwest Louisiana CVB
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HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Gabriel Martinez has been named senior sales manager, international tourism sales, for the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. He succeeds Eric Garnica, who moved on to Discover The Palm Beaches earlier this year. Martinez joined the bureau from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, where he served for more than six-and-a-half years as senior manager of international sales. Prior to that, he served in several sales positions for Disney.
At Destinations International, Melissa Cherry has been promoted from chief marketing officer to the post of chief operating officer. Cherry came to the association from Choose Chicago, where she was senior vice president of marketing and cultural tourism.
Lucimar Reis has been named director of aerial product of CVC Corp. She comes to the post from United Airlines, where she has spent more than 20 years, the last four as country director. Reis has 30 years of experience in the sector, including tenures with Tam, Varig, Continental and United Airlines, where she stayed for almost 21 years.
Also at CVC, Luiz Gustavo Viveiros, is leaving Avianca Brazil, will be, the following week, the new director of planning and air control of CVC Corp. He will responsible for the structuring of his area, as well as the service and internal support to the company’s business units, such as CVC Lazer, Rextur Advance, Visual, Trend, Experiment and Submarino Viagens.
Luis Carlos Vargas has been appointed Travelport’s regional director for Latin America. He arrives at the position after serving as interim vice president and general manager for the region for the past 18 months. In this new role, he will be in charge of driving the growth of Travelport corporate and leisure agencies in the region, leading teams in eight countries.
The UK operator Canadian Affair has appointed Lee Rogers to direct its agent engagement in a newly created role that includes agreeing contracts with partners, overseeing training, roadshows and fam trips and product updates. Rogers, who joined Canadian Affair in 1999, is currently the company’s product and commercial director, responsible for developing the company’s product portfolio and its relationships with Canada-based product suppliers.
Jay Smith for 22 years at Sports Travel and Tours
Kristin Wenger for 18 years at Visit Pittsburgh
David Lorenz for 16 years at Travel Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Marlene Panoyanfor 13 years with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
Teresa Paolini for 12 years at Northeast Unlimited Tours, Inc.
Troy Ackerman for 9 years at Globus family of brands.
Paul Kitching for 3 years at Custom Travel Cllubs, Trip-Smart