New Data Show Dearth of Arrivals in May
The latest overseas travel arrival figures—for the month of May 2020—posted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) are disappointing, although expected, as they show a virtual absence of travel to the United States as the world’s travel and tourism industry copes with impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. And it is unlikely that the statistical picture will change once the data for June are released later this month.
China Market Notes
The noiseless, cashless journey from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic China. While much, if not most of the travel-related news discuss in China’s consumer and trade channels focuses on the present pandemic-driven crisis, a recent webinar featuring a Dragon Trail Interactive presentation prepared for ChinaDaily and featuring George Cao, Dragon Tail’s CEO, effectively took a look forward and what it is happening with digital consumer trends in China and how that will impact post-pandemic Chinese digital behavior.
Key points noted in the presentation, from a report by The Moodie Davitt Report, included the following:
• The pre-pandemic digital landscape offered plenty of variety and was saturated with many players. The market was highly susceptible to change; Chinese customers made purchasing decisions based on word of mouth and were often prone to abandoning older platforms for newer versions. Said Cao: “A few years ago, Alipay was the most popular mobile payment application. However, customers switched to WeChat Pay, which now dominates 40 percent of the market.”
• So, it’s a different and crowded landscape. The average Chinese internet user flits between 15.5 apps and social platforms on their phones every day. Some of China’s most popular applications and social platforms include WeChat, Sina Weibo, Douyin, Kuaishou, and Xiaohongshu. Each platform is used for a myriad of functions and can be leveraged to seize lucrative commercial opportunities for the tourism and travel retail industries
• China’s digital landscape is mobile-driven. The country has over 788 million smartphone users, with over 98 percent using mobiles over desktops.
• A video boom has been underway. Prior to COVID-19, China was experiencing a video boom, buoyed by the rising popularity of short-video platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou. More than three quarters (78.2 percent) of China’s online population used short-video platforms at the beginning of 2019, which rose to 96 percent by June of the same year. According to Cao, 821 million people in China spend at least 58 minutes each day consuming video content on their mobile phones. These have combined to lead to the rise of China’s lucrative live-streaming industry.
• Social word of mouth is important—the social factor is decisive for purchasing behavior.
• China now has a de facto cashless society. In China, more than $41 trillion was spent via mobile payments in 2018; $36 trillion in payments was spent for the first three quarters of 2019.
• The rise of live streaming has been dramatic. Live streaming’s growth, said Cao, is one of the most important digital trends that has emerged during the crisis. In China, there are 560 million live stream viewers, encompassing 62% of all internet users in the country. The trend skyrocketed during lockdown, with live stream ecommerce sales projected to reach $14 billion in 2020 (up from $4.4 billion in 2018).
The live-streaming trend has also been adopted by Chinese celebrities and CEOs. Gree Electric’s CEO, Dong Mingzhu, reached almost $100 million in sales during her company’s live-streaming event on June 1st, while tech entrepreneur and KOL Luo Yonghao produced US$17 million in his first live-streaming event. Trip.com Chairman James Liang — who has now become a live-streaming celebrity in China — has sold over 520,000 hotel room night stays across 11 live streams since March.
• COVID-19 has changed the Chinese traveler’s online journey. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the traditional digital customer journey began with inspiration, research and planning, followed by booking, interaction with providers, consumption of products and services during the trip, and then sharing the trip online. In China’s case, each step of the customer journey is determined by different sets of applications and social platforms. This journey, Cao emphasized, has been completely transformed by the global health crisis. Today, it is now characterized by virtual experiences such as online exhibitions, augmented reality and live-streaming.
Importantly, the post-pandemic customer journey collapses the long process of awareness building, inspiration, evaluation and purchasing into a single event. Products are purchased before the research phase, leading to several challenges and limitations in planning.
• Digital will become more prominent in the travel planning process, Cao noted, highlighting the role of mobile tools and platforms, particularly video streaming. He also stressed the importance of understanding the data for these new trends.
• The expectation for contactless services in a post-pandemic marketplace will also change in-destination experiences significantly, said Cao. He pointed that most consumer journeys for travel will now be primarily completed through lifestyle and ecommerce platforms.
• It is critically important to choose the right platform to navigate China’s growing social ecommerce ecosystem. Customer research is key and leveraging data will help companies understand the changes in China’s ever-changing digital landscape and control the consumer journey in a more efficient way.
(For the full article on the above, click here.)
Three Factors Affecting How Chinese Travelers Choose Destination after Pandemic. Complementing the above article, which explains to the reader the three factors affecting how Chinese travelers choose a destination after COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly changed Chinese travelers’ mentality. After the pandemic, some factors will affect how Chinese travelers choose their holiday destination in a more significant way. Those used to be popular might be less attractive. They include the following.
• Destination Safety – Crowded popular attractions might not be attractive.
• Geopolitics – Countries and regions joint hands with China in covid-19 combat might become more popular.
• Live Streaming – A new communication form for destination marketing.
(For the complete article, click here.)
Chinese Will be First to Travel Once Borders are Open
With restrictions on international travel to and/or from China that may overlap or, in some cases, avoided when some Chinese hold passports from Macau or Hong Kong, it is a challenge to speculate on when such travel will return to pre-COVID levels, but it appears that Chinese are more ready than others, according to a report by ChinaDaily.com.
The news site indicated in a recent article that Chinese travelers are likely to be the first to restart traveling after lockdown restrictions lifted domestically and internationally, with so-called “revenge travel” coming underway for the National Day holiday at the beginning of October—this according to a report by Rentals United, a vacation rental channel manager.
According to James Burrows, Rentals United’s CEO, China offers a playbook for other countries on how to contain the coronavirus, therefore the world can look to China for recovery strategies and as an indication of what to expect once travel restarts. As the majority of businesses resume in China, the two hardest-stricken industries—out-of-home dining and tourism—will witness huge rebounds when citizens’ attitudes gradually turn positive but cautious. More from Burrows follows:
—Citing a study by Kantar, a UK-based data and consulting company, he said that 82 percent of Chinese said they will resume their canceled out-of-home dining spending once the outbreak is over, and 78 percent will resume their canceled spending on travel.
—Both flight and accommodation bookings across the country have shown constant recovery since April, and peak recovery time is expected to arrive after September, especially during the National Day holiday a peak time for long-distance travel; it begins Oct. 1.
—Younger generations without families tend to be more adventurous and eager to travel first. On April 4, Tomb Sweeping Day, the first big holiday after the pandemic in April, 60 percent of the people who booked trips were below the age of 30, an increase from 43 percent in the same period last year.
—Travelers’ behaviors and preferences on destinations have changed during the outbreak. The mental and emotional effects of lockdowns push people out of cities to get away from crowds.
—”Our data is showing an upsurge in bookings at remote, off-season locations – especially for luxury rentals,” said Burrows. “Families are looking for longer stays at rural hideaways to isolate themselves while also being close to nature,” according to the report.”
—Group and guided-tour packages will no longer have as much appeal as before since social distancing rules are still relevant, the report said, however, self-guided and self-driven markets mark a huge opportunity for short-term rentals as they are more attractive for large families and off-the-beaten-track locations.
—As they determine how much to spend on a trip, Chinese consumers are seeking more economical options. A trip.com survey found that 85 percent of travelers in China will spend less than 10,000 yuan ($1,415) on travel this year. This segment accounted for only 27 percent in 2017, which suggest that mid-scale to economy-priced travel packages will likely to rebound faster.
Insights of Student Tour Operators Explored
Connect Travel’s virtual roundtable with key operators underscore value of student market segment. As a part of the ongoing “Connect with” series, two widely known experts in the U.S. student tour market fielded questions and provided their audience—it included many DMO officials and key marketing figures for a wide range of U.S. travel suppliers—with special insights on a market that provides a core segment for many in the tour and travel industry.
Taking part in the dialogue were Bryan Cole, president of Super Holiday Tours, an operator with special expertise in helping performing arts students, mostly from school bands and choirs; and Keith Snode, chief operating officer at Kaleidoscope Adventures, with programs ranging from dance to physics. Moderating the discussion was Shari Bailey, vice president, Connect Travel, general manager, Connect Travel Events.
Connect with Student Tour Operators Virtual Roundtable—Key Takeaways
1. Communication: Consistent communication is imperative. Please make sure you are communicating the same message on all levels, especially when it comes to terms and conditions, health and safety, and opening guidelines. Toolkits that keep the most up-to-date information in one place are very helpful – remember to include pieces that are ready-to-use for specific markets.
2. Approval Process: There are many steps for a student group tour to actualize—teacher, parent, principal, administrator, local and state boards. Understanding this process is important when interacting with student tour operators. They are providing trip information multiple times, at multiple levels, over an extended period of time. Consistent, current information on your destination, attractions and hotels will help operators quickly process requests.
3. Community Investment: It is important to promote that your community, attractions, restaurants and hotels are open for business. Join with your local, regional and state partners to provide safe, clean and open messaging.
4. Creativity: Find unique ways to engage clients and consumers alike. Virtual tours, videos and site visits are exceptional ways to keep your destination or business top of mind. Tour operators will use these for staff training as well as sales presentations. Please try to keep your videos to 1-2 minutes in length as there are many components to a multi-day tour. One note: keep specific contact information to a minimum. (i.e. If used for sales presentations the operator will need to list themselves as the contact.)
5. Connect: Student Tour Operators are working through a few unknowns at the moment; school openings, field trip regulations and program funding. However, they do know that student tours will be back! They need and want information about your destinations, services and activities; including updated contacts to work with.
Keith Snode (asked what was his company’s biggest challenge during the current pandemic): “Our biggest challenge has been the line of communication between the group leader and their participants—whether it‘s a line that we’re managing, or we’re managing it through them—making sure that that is consistent and making sure that the group leaders who are managing that on their own, and not allowing us to do it, are managing that communication in a way that doesn’t cause them further problems. I would say that that’s been our biggest challenge through all of this.”
Bryan Cole: “With the anticipation and the expectations that there were going back to the beginning of all this back in March, there was a lot of uncertainty, but there was a lot of positive feedback—‘Oh, we’ll re-schedule in May, we’ll re-schedule in the summertime’—it kind of fell through. Things got worse.”
Keith Snode: “The decision-making process for where a group goes is going to be much different moving forward. Groups are going to be very interested in risk. I’m not just talking about the risk from a safety and security standpoint, which is something everybody is concerned about. They’ll also be interested in destinations that are going to be a little bit more flexible in terms of … if this happens again, how are we going to cancel it? If a destination is going to have more stringent policies and hotels are going to be more stringent and things like that, then groups are not going to be as interested …”
Bryan Cole: “There is just so much that is unknown in our industry and in student group travel – How many are going to fit on a motorcoach? What’s the capacity going to be? We started seeing more of this several years ago when more student groups would travel within a six-to-eight-hour radius of where they live, and make it a shorter trip. We may see more of that. But there are still a lot of unknowns.”
Business Travel Expects Gradual Recovery
New Global “State of the Market” study details when businesses expect to resume corporate travel.
While corporate travel businesses operate by a different set of metrics for what counts as healthy margins than do the leisure travel segment, their glide path is usually similar to the general ups and downs of tour operator and leisure travel agent performance. If so, the principal findings of the recently released “State of the Market” survey by global TMC, FCM Travel Solutions, and sister SME-specialist business travel provider Corporate Traveller are encouraging. (FCM Travel Solutions is the corporate travel business of the Flight Centre Travel Group.)
In essence the study tells us that the majority of organizations will take a phased approach to resuming domestic and international business travel over the next 12 months according to the first phase of a combined of the survey.
A total of 1,600 business travel managers, bookers and travelers at FCM and Corporate traveler clients in the Americas, EMEA, Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand took part in the survey in order to give both TMC divisions greater insight into their clients’ prevailing sentiments on business travel conditions as countries emerge from the COVID-19-driven global pandemic.
Clients taking part in the study, which was conducted by FCM’s consulting arm 4th Dimension (4D) spanned national businesses spending around $100,000 per annum with Corporate Traveler, to large multi-national customers managed by FCM with annual travel spends of over $100 million. Following are some of the survey’s findings:
—Seventy percent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they expected to increase business travel gradually over a period time with a consensus peaking in business travel returning domestically in one to three months (40 percent of respondents) and internationally in six to twelve months (32 percent of respondents).
—The easing or complete lift of border restrictions ranked as the primary trigger for resuming business travel (70 percent said this would have significant impact) closely followed by organizational endorsement that it is safe to travel (68 percent of respondents indicated that traveler safety will have a significant impact and must be reflected in travel policy). However only half of respondents believe that their business travel volumes will eventually reach pre-coronavirus levels.
—Business travel recovery will be led by Asia and EMEA, according to survey participants in those regions. In Asia, 50 percent of respondents have already begun booking domestic travel and 37 percent expect to resume international travel in three to six months. In EMEA, 37 percent of survey participants expect to travel domestically within one to three months, and 32 percent anticipate starting to book international trips within three to six months. This is due to faster opening of borders intra region and easer movement geographically compared to the rest of the world.
—The highest level of uncertainty around when domestic and international business travel will resume significantly was in the Americas with 28 percent of respondents saying that they did not know when travel would return.
—Winning new business (43 percent of respondents) and managing existing client relationships (39 percent of respondents) are the two dominant business activities motivating organizations to a return to travel.
—While a large portion of respondents indicated a need to revamp travel policy post Covid-19, 28 percent of respondents were unsure what needed to change. Of those that did indicate areas for travel policy change, “health and hygiene” and “duty of care” considerations were the two dominant categories.
—Asked whether changes implemented during Covid-19 will reduce their need for business travel, there was a 50/50 split between participants agreeing or disagreeing
There was no distinct differentiation in these findings when comparing FCM responses with those from Corporate Traveller clients.
Travel Weekly’s Multi-Billion Dollar List
TW’s 2020 Power List tells us that it was a very good year. Now for the sequel.
Travel Weekly’s annual Power List of travel agencies is more than just a list of the agencies that had $100 million and more (much more, in some cases) in sales the previous year. The profiles and capsule recaps of significant activity on the part of each company help us understand the importance of the distribution system to the tour and travel industry and to the latter’s contribution to the U.S. economy.
This year’s 2020 Power List of the 52 companies that made the cut will serve as a benchmark against which the industry can measure its progress once it starts to claw its way back to health and productivity. For the record, this year’s list told us that the Expedia Group (its brands include Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity and Trivago, among others) cracked the $100 billion threshold in sales last year—$107.9 billion, to be precise; it tallied $99 billion the previous year. Number 2, Booking Holdings (Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda, Kayak, Open Table and more) registered $96.4 billion—up from $92.7 billion.
The Top Ten on the Travel Weekly 2020 Power List generated a total of $332.5 billion in sales, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year’s Top Ten total sales of $317.3 billion. Look for numbers like these to populate the analyses that economists will use to measure the progress of our emergence from this year’s dark days.
As Travel Weekly put it: “In the year before the coronavirus pandemic, there was actually a whole lot of good news for the travel companies that reported their 2019 results for inclusion in the 2020 Travel Weekly Power List, our annual ranking of companies with $100 million or more in travel sales in the previous calendar year. Many of these agencies had expanded their sales volume, with some making acquisitions, bulking up staff and investing in new technology,” adding, “All of that investment may prove useful as the industry emerges from a punishing shutdown.”
INBOUND has reformatted some of the basics from the 2020 Power List in the following charts.
TW’s Note on Methodology: To qualify for the 2020 Power List, a company had to have a minimum of $100 million in travel sales in 2019. For purposes of this survey, sales are defined as gross sales of travel products worldwide, whether to consumers or to corporate travelers; the company must be the merchant of record on the transaction from a supplier’s perspective. At least 15 percent of the sales volume must have been generated in the U.S.
The questionnaire was sent in February to companies that had appeared on the list in previous years; had contacted Travel Weekly believing they qualified; or had been in the news because of acquisitions or had grown for other reasons.
As has been the case for years, Travel Weekly requested that gross sales volume be certified by a company’s owner, CEO or CFO. In a small number of cases, certification was made by an executive at the vice president level but with financial oversight.
Some companies that may have qualified opted not to participate; see our introduction as well as “A note on Booking Holdings.” (Above) While all cooperating listees did certify sales (or made them public), it must be kept in mind that even those numbers are difficult to verify because the great majority of travel sellers are privately held and under no obligation to disclose financial data.
For the complete account of the Power List article in Travel Weekly, click here.
BA Renewing Service to USA in Big Way
BA Renewing Service to USA in Big Way
Also, BA’s Partnership with American Could be an Additional Boost: Midst the welter of educational and networking webinars circulating about the U.S. travel trade of late, little notice seemed to greet the announcement by British Airways last month that is, in effect, a new lifeline for leisure travel by holiday-starved Brits who want to visit the USA.
The news? BA announced that it planned to fly 29 long-haul routes this month, including 13 to North American destinations. Those destinations are: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Toronto (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR), Washington, D.C. (IAD).
(Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)
News of the restart came during a first-quarter earnings call of International Airlines Group (IAG)—the company owns British Airways—from Willie Walsh, the company’s CEO, who told those who called in that the airline was going to make a “meaningful return to service” from July. Overall, information made available by RoutesOnline, BA planned to resume 29 long-haul routes beginning in the month of July.
Much of the recent news coverage on the impact of the coronavirus-driven global pandemic focused on a resurgence of the coronavirus and the role it played in the decision of the EU to ban travel to its member states by U.S. citizens. However, since the UK is no longer a part of the EU, such a ban would have that much of an impact on air traffic between the UK and the USA.
Potential Exists for Recouping Some 2020 Visitor Traffic: In addition to “lates” who might travel to the U.S. to such favorite British destinations—especially Orlando—there is also the possibility that travelers could take advantage of the fact that both American Airlines, the largest carrier in the world when measured by passengers carrier, and BA are both part of the Oneworld global airline partnership.
This point is amplified with the recent news of American’s determination to restore more capacity than the other majors.
As explained by Will Horton in a Forbes piece, “American Airlines wants to win the recovery from coronavirus. It is restoring 55 percent of domestic seat capacity in July, far more than United’s 30 percent or Delta’s 21 percent, adjusted for blocked middle seats.”
As an aside, the following chart illustrates how American is moving toward recovery of U.S. domestic flights.
American Airlines July 2020 domestic seats at its 15 largest airports versus a year ago
No. 1 Overseas Market, UK, is Ready to Go
Restrictions on non-essential overseas travel were scheduled to be eased this week. And if ever a people have indicated that they want to holiday, it has been the UK travelers who have been living under the shadow of COVID-19 and the global pandemic it has wrought.
While long-haul travel is another matter (see separate article on the move by British Airways to re-start routes to North America) holidaymakers are expected descend upon nearby and familiar destinations in Europe, including Spain, France, Greece and elsewhere.
The launch of this activity did not come too soon. In the past couple of weeks leading up to it, the travel trade and business news media in the UK was full of articles having to do with accounts of layoffs, downsizing, closures and turnover at travel businesses large and small. A sampler of the type of news items one was likely to see since the last issue of INBOUND was published included the following items.
• The government has confirmed it will relax quarantine measures on July 10 and remove its blanket advice against all non-essential travel from this Saturday. Passengers returning to or visiting England from destinations with a “reduced risk” of bringing Covid-19 to the UK will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days.
• Results of a PwC survey revealed late last week that Brits missed taking a holiday (86 percent) or having a meal in a restaurant (83 percent) as they did in spending time with friends and family (91 percent).
• TUI UK and Ireland—it is the largest tour operator in the UK/Ireland, has canceled all holidays to Florida due to depart up to and including November 30, 2020. In announcing the move, the company cited “the on-going uncertainty around international travel restrictions and the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.” TUI said the decision was made following new health and safety measures implemented at Walt Disney World to ensure the safety of its guests. TUI’s Florida program will re-launch using flights from flying partners on December 1 2020, and TUI Airways flights will resume in March 2021. At the same time TUI, reported an increase of 50 per cent in bookings the week of June 21-27.
• The package holiday firm On the Beach (It is the UK’s third-largest operator—Jet2Holidays is No. 2) reported that revenue had fallen two-thirds in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the onset of the virus, the group said that it had been trading well, with summer bookings up 29 per cent. Due to a combination of cancellations and falling demand, revenue in the first half for On the Beach slipped 66 percent to £21.4 million ($26.7 million). In total, On the Beach estimated the cost of the pandemic as £34.7million ($43.3 million) for the half, primarily in the form of cancellations.
• The Eurotunnel website crashed and travel firms report their biggest Saturday (June 27) sales ever as people rushed to book before the “traffic light” system allowing Britons holiday without quarantine came into force on July 6th.
• Spain-holiday.com, the third biggest holiday rental site in Spain—it is the number one holiday destination for most Brits—said it had a record-breaking morning on June 30.
• Adventure travel specialist G Adventures has canceled all trips with departure date up to and including August 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The deposit of the affected customers of 20 percent remains and can be used for a future trip.
• Cox & Kings has reduced maximum group sizes and has dropped single supplements for the first three solo places booked on most of its tours. There will now be a maximum of 18 per group tour, down from 26, and an average of 14 per tour across its program.
• The Travel Network Group is acquiring rival travel agency consortium Global Travel Group from dnata Travel group. Global will remain as a separate entity within the Travel Network Group, alongside its other brands Travel Trust Association (TTA), Worldchoice and Independent Travel Experts (ITE). More than 200 Global members will become part of TTNG in addition to the existing network of more than 1,000 members including retail and homeworking travel agencies.
• Escorted touring specialist Leger Holidays has acquired the Shearings name, website and customer database for an undisclosed sum and plans to “bring the iconic brand back to life” sometime this month. The deal does not include the company’s coaches or hotels, or any of Shearings’ sister brands within the specialist operator, which went into administration on May 22nd.
Germans Tentative about 2020 Holidaymaking
Also: Industry rallies, gets financial break to help stay alive. Were the stark economic realities of the COVID-19-infected year of 2020 put into climatological teams, it might be described thus: “it is a dark, cold day.” Even so, the German travel market will restart and recover. The German tour and travel industry is the most closely watched and measured among all the travel economies of continental Europe, and those who study and analyze it—while certainly not sugar-coating their assessment of the situation—seem to suggest that it might reach pre-COVID-19 levels of activity by 2022.
While 2022 may seem like a distant speck on the horizon—and, by the way, what happened to 2021?—it is less than 18 months off, and much can happen, and should happen to get back to a level of business that was generally expected to be flat anyway. At least, this is the essence of Phocuswright’s latest Germany Travel Market Update.
Looking first at what is left of 2020, the study had this to say: “For the summer season, Phocuswright expects that many of the main destinations will open their borders to receive German tourists. But the downside for tour operators will be limited supply (beds and air tickets) and risk-averse travelers, which will suppress revenue. As a result, domestic travel is expected to see an upswing that might prevent the worst for German hospitality … However, it is primarily leisure hotels and hotels in urban tourist destinations that will reap the benefits. The major transportation mode will be by car, possibly providing the car rental segment some unexpected business.”
Adds the report: “The overall effects of the pandemic are projected to produce a 52 percent decline in total year-over-year gross bookings in 2020 … Many travelers are likely to feel that booking via third parties (OTAs and tour operators) does not provide the security it once did (e.g., problems with cancelations and refunds). As a result, more people will book direct, especially because more detailed information on COVID-19 precautions is available on supplier websites (versus OTAs). This increased reliance on supplier websites will contribute to online penetration, while online supplier-direct bookings grow faster than OTAs. The recovery in gross bookings will be slow and see a slight upward tick in July during the summer holidays. However, 2019 levels will not be reached before 2022.”
Confirming the above was the lead article in the international edition of the authoritative German travel trade public, fvw, which said that “only about half of the German population plans to take a holiday trip this year while 19 percent do not have any plans yet,” according to a representative survey of 2,500 people (aged 14-75) conducted by the Kiel-based market research organization FUR (Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen/Research Association for Vacation and Travel) for the online travel association VIR (Verband Internet Reisevertrieb.)
The 19 percent compares to January 2020, when another FUR survey found that 72 percent of German consumers “definitely or probably” planned to go on holiday this year. In 2019, 78 percent of the German population took a holiday trip of at least five days, according to FUR’s data.
Reflecting the new concern about hygiene and cleanliness among travelers, two thirds of survey respondents said that the destination and the accommodation must have top hygiene conditions, while 50 percent said the possibility of a rapid return if necessary is also important.
In Sum—It’s a Good Time to Stay Home: An earlier YouGov survey for Deutsche Presse-Agentur found that more than one-third (35 percent) of Germans are “not at all in a holiday mood this year” and 22 percent have “mixed feelings” about going on holiday. One in three expects their holiday to be affected by restrictions of some kind (including 54 percent of those who plan to go on holiday).
More than half (51 percent) of those surveyed do not yet have any plans to go on holiday this year. Of those who definitely plan a holiday, more than one-third (36 percent) want to travel within Germany while 30 percent plan to go abroad. And a third will either stay within their local region or even holiday at home.
It’s Timo Time: Finally, while the matter did not receive that much attention in the news media outside of Germany, the matter of the survival of the travel trade in Germany has been an intensely followed issue in the travel trade media. In Germany, for instance, it was a page one story in the print press and a lead item on broadcast news outlets. Everyone in Germany, for instance, was affected by a national demonstration on May 26 as travel agents and tour operators pressed for government action to help them in their plight.
Many in the United States followed the matter because of Timo Kohlenberg, president of America Unlimited, a tour operator based in Hannover, Germany. Kohlenberg, a well-known figure at major trade shows—his last U.S. event was the Connect Travel Marketplace in late February, a little more than a week before international travel essentially shut down—who cultivates an almost daily social media presence in the USA through thousands of Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections.
Last week, he provided what should be the final news update (in both English and German) on the tour and travel industry’s quest for government action: “I have been fighting for help from the government for specialist smaller tour operators and it finally happened and signed off for yesterday. There is a big economy program which was launched to help the economy get back to normal. As part of this package I had the government integrate a point that allows a German tour operators who suffers of a loss of at least 70 percent for the month of April and May to get a funding of 50K EUR ($56,200) per month for the month of June to August—so 150K ($168,600) in total). It’s not huge but it will help a lot of tour operators to cover the remaining costs for rent, salaries etc.”
HODGE PODGE: Appointments & Changes
Don Staley, president & CEO of the Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Commission, has been given a three-year extension of his contract with the commission. Staley, who had served as executive director of sports for the commission from 2010-14, returned to Tuscaloosa in 2017 to take over as president and CEO. Staley left Tuscaloosa when was hired in 2014 as executive director of the Foley (Alabama) Sports Tourism Complex.
David Filipiak has been named director of sales at Fotografiska New York, a new photography museum located in Mahattan’s Flatiron District. Previously, he was with the National Geographic Encounter for more than three and-a-half years. His career in the tour and travel industry also includes tenures with the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Denise Thevenot, executive director of Louisiana Tax Free Shopping for nearly 15 years, is retiring from the organization, effective August 7, 2010. Before joining Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, Thevenot was an administrative manager at the University of New Orleans.
Barb Wilson has been appointed chief of staff for the Port of Seattle Commission. Wilson brings to the job 25 years of experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in Seattle. Most recently, Wilson worked for 10 years as the executive director of the Seattle Planning Commission, where she was responsible for overall operations and advised city officials on complex urban planning and development issues. Prior to that, she was a program manager for National Wildlife Foundation, worked on regional outreach and advocacy initiatives for the Northwest Energy Coalition, Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, and developed field strategies for Hands Off Washington. Most recently, she was the Director of Government Affairs at Vulcan Inc., the investment and project management firm founded by the late Paul G. Allen.
After a 43-year run, Rick Baron, managing director of global sales for Tauck World Discovery, has departed the company. In a statement, he said, “Although it is purely voluntary, ‘transitioning’ to the Tauck Alumni Club is not a choice I would make under any other circumstance. None of us could have ever have imagined facing current challenges or choices. It feels like the time is right.”
CVC, Brazil’s largest tour operator/travel agency, has named Marcelo Leite as the company’s chief technology officer. He replaces Jacques Varaschim. Leite, was most recently IT director at Schlumberger, Unibanco, MasterCard and Alelo. His last and longest tenure was as general director of DWQ Expedições.
Jayne Buck is retiring from her post as vice president of tourism at Visit Denver. Buck has been with the organization almost 21 years.
Andy Freeth (left) has stepped down from his position as chief executive of luxury operator If Only after two years on the job. Product and distribution director Gordon McCreadie will assume Freeth’s responsibilities in the newly created role of general manager. Both Freeth and McCreadie joined the company, along with other management level employees from Travel 2 and Gold Medal. If Only acquired last November by Elegant Resorts owner Portman Gravel Group, and founders Brendan and Mary Maguire retired from the business.
Stephanie Pace Brown, who recently left her position as president and CEO of Explore Ashville, has been named executive vice president of Indianapolis-based SMARinsights, a research and marketing firm that specializes in serving destinations. Pace Brown started her career in economic and marketing research with the Ohio Office of Tourism and Colonial Williamsburg. She later served as president and CEO at the Alexandria (Va.) Convention & Visitors Association before joining Explore Ashville in 2008.
After serving for more than two decades in which she served in different positions within the fvw media group, Marliese Kalthoff has left the company. The last day on the job for Kalthoff, the long-time managing director and publisher of FVW Medien, was June 30. Ingo Becker, who succeeds Kalthoff, comes from the Hamburger Morgenpost as an experienced media professional, where he worked as managing director of Hamburg First Medien & Marketing.
Robin Shaw, CEO of senior travel specialist Saga Travel, is the company after a decade. He joined the company in in March 2010 as CEO of the cruise division and was appointed CEO of Saga Travel in January 2018. Before joining Saga, he held a series of senior positions in the travel industry with Avis Europe and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Gilles Ringwald was recently named deputy general manager, commercial affairs, for Corsair. As a member of the executive committee, he reports directly to Pascal de Izaguirre, CEO of the company, which is based at Orly Airport in Paris and has flight service to Miami, New York and other North American destinations. A 30-year veteran of the industry Ringwald began his career at Lufthansa in 1990. Over the years he has held senior positions at Thaï Airways International, Jet Airways—he served at one point a managing director of sales in New York—and at Air Transat in Montreal.
Keri Hanson, who was international marketing director for Macy’s for more than seven years, has left the tour and travel industry to become part of the marketing team for Theisen Supply Inc. before her tenure at Macy’s, Hanson was social media and marketing manager for Brand USA. She also worked as manager of national council relations for the U.S. Travel Association, and as public relations and marketing manager for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau.
Posted Industry Jobs
From SearchWide Global:
—The Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority is searching for a new chief executive officer. For more details, click here.
—The Park City Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking for a new president. Click here for more information.
—The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for a senior national account director for the Chicago Metro Area. For more information, click here.
—Visit Santa Clara is searching for a president and CEO. Click here for more information.
—Destination Ann Arbor is looking to hire a vice president of sales. For more information, visit here.
—The Port Aransas & Mustang Island Tourism Bureau & Chamber of Commerce is searching for a president & CEO. For more information, click here.
—The Galesburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in Illinois is looking for an executive director. For more details, click here.
—The Spartanburg (S.C.) Convention & Visitors Bureau is seeking a chief tourism development officer. Visit here for more information.
—An international hotels & resorts company has an opening for a regional director of sales and marketing; the position is based in Vancouver, B.C. Visit here for details.
—The Saugatuck Douglas Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new executive director. Click here for more information.