Future, Past Seem Same for U.S. Arrivals
“I’ve been down so long that bottom looks like up to me,” one variation of an old saying tells us, and it’s an apt—if not statistically precise—assessment of the July 2020 monthly posting from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) of overseas arrivals to the United States.
There has been no appreciable arrivals number from just about any source market since the first quarter of the year—a reality that could change modestly with the next monthly report for August, during which there have been some easing of restrictions on long-haul travel worldwide. Also, airline lift capacity has increased just enough through favored travel “bubbles” and on some well-established routes that it has crept back up to about half of what it would have been this summer were it not for the damage to the travel and tourism industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked more damage to the global tourism economy than anything else in the post-World War II era of international air travel.
(Editor’s note: the comparisons reflected in the tables below are not a mistake. The wash of red print merely illustrates in graphic terms just how bad it has been. Perhaps the numbers for August will show that we have finally bottomed out and that a recovery is on its way.)
Notes on the July 2020 Numbers: Helping INBOUND take a more thorough look at the overseas arrival data just released by NTTO was the widely-know industry analyst Ron Erdmann, now senior research associate at CIC Research, Inc. Erdmann career has included a tenure of more than 30 years at the U.S. Department of Commerce, including 20-plus years as deputy director for research at NTTO. Following are some of the points he noted:
—The dramatic shifts in overseas visitation to the USA in 2020 can be neatly summed up by looking at the top countries generating visitors to the USA in July at: 2020 Quick Release – Country of Residence (COR) compared to top 15 arrivals markets year-to-date.
—Seeing the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, India, Ecuador and Haiti as the top arrival markets in July 2020 seems odd when year-to-date arrivals from the United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, China and France are more the traditional look you would have seen over the years. But, 2020 is not a normal year. July marks the fourth straight month of declines of 97 percent or more in arrivals to the country.
—How long will these declines stay this way? Well keep coming back each month to the NTTO website and you will be able to see the top 15 arrivals in the 2020 Quick Release – Country of Residence (COR) tables.
—For those who want more information, the NTTO also posts data on the top 50-plus arrival markets each month at: Arrivals Data – Country of Residence (COR).
—Since NTTO relies upon both Canada and Mexico for the arrival figures from these respective countries, there is always a delay in getting the total arrivals for these two markets. But, as NTTO obtains them from their respective governments, they add them to the totals.
—When looking at the January to July 2020 year-to-date arrival figures the 72 percent decline is staggering. To put it in numbers: overseas arrivals January to July 2019 totaled 22.9 million visitors. In 2020, overseas arrivals for the first seven months totaled 6.3 million. But the rates of decline are not all the same.
—The steepest decline for the first seven months in the countries reports was from the Philippines down almost 80 percent when compared to 2019. The country with the least decline to date was Costa Rica down nearly 64%. In between there are 50 other rates of change. As the year continues, these declines will most likely show a different set of top markets for 2020 when compared to 2019. How much different? Keep watching the NTTO monthly website site. The August 2020 arrivals data should be released around September 25th. Go to the following link on the NTTO website to keep current: 2011 – 2020 .
In UK—Despite Dire Talk, Hope Persists
Last week started out for Britons in the overseas tour and travel industry with the UK’s largest and oldest travel trade organization, ABTA, reporting that 39,000 jobs have been lost or are at risk across the UK outbound travel sector since the Covid-19 crisis started, with the number rising to a staggering 90,000 when supply chains are taken into account.
The source for the above is the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research, whose statistics show that, for every job in outbound travel, there are 1.39 jobs in the wider related industries. This equates to a total number of affected jobs of 93,210.
Small wonder, then, that ABTA said that the UK travel industry jobs situation is now critical and, if a second wave forced a further shutdown, 96 percent of travel businesses report it would have a critical or serious impact on their ability to survive.
Meanwhile Research among ABTA members also revealed:
—8 percent of jobs in outbound travel have been lost or placed at risk and the situation is set to worsen.
with over 78 percent of businesses yet to enter redundancy conversations expecting to do so in coming
months, based on current trading conditions.
—Nine in 10 businesses have used the furlough scheme, but 65 percent have now either made redundancies (layoffs) or have started a consultation process.
“There is optimism that the travel industry can recover, if offered the right support by government.”
Despite this, wrote Lisa James, deputy editor of the trade publication, TravelMole, “there is optimism that the travel industry can recover, if offered the right support by government, with four in ten businesses confident travel can return to 2019 levels by 2022.”
ABTA has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, under its “Save Future Travel” initiative, to demand tailored help for the outbound industry. The organization wants to government to adopt a regionalized approach to quarantine rules otherwise it is ‘difficult to see how the UK can reopen travel to critical trade partners, including the United States, in the foreseeable future.
The organization also wants a “holiday” for the Air Passenger Duty (or APD, a per-person levy on passengers departing from the UK and based on how far the aircraft carrying passengers will fly to its destination) covering summer 2021 to incentivize bookings from December.
If the Government does not act with tailored support for travel, as it has for other sectors, ABTA said, 83 percent of firms estimate that it will have a critical or serious impact on their business.
ABTA is also asking for a testing regime to enable travel to resume to major global trading partners and mitigate the risk of infection from high-risk countries; more recovery grants and other business support as well as ongoing salary support until March 2021.
ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer noted: “With the government’s stop-start measures, the restart of travel has not gone as hoped for the industry, and sadly businesses continue to be adversely affected and jobs are being lost at an alarming rate.”
And in a sample of the dire language common to news media coverage taking place in the worst economic contraction of the UK economy since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, Tanzer added, “Coming towards the end of the traditional period for peak booking, we have hit a critical point as existing government measures to support businesses begin to taper off, the consequence of which, according to this survey of ABTA members will be ruinous for more people’s livelihoods.”
From LinkedIn’s Public Square:
In the course of its preparation of material for each and every upcoming issue, INBOUND listens to, watches, follows and/or reads its share of webinars, press releases, tourism data, e-papers and presentations and blog posts. But on Tuesday of last week, at just about 1p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, we stumbled over a quick-but-impactful colloquy by some highly regarded leaders in the travel and tourism industry in the U.S.—as they used the vehicle of LinkedIn. And not too long after the back-and-forth had begun, it was over. It was, basically, an afternoon and early evening of short, crisp dialogue. Not untypical among professionals in the travel and tourism industry who wrap up a conversation on their cell phones, laptop or tablet before their flight takes off. But on LinkedIn? Following is what we “overheard.”
Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics: “All our forecasts and scenarios are moored to the non-negotiable assumption that travel will fully recover. The pandemic will end. The drivers of travel – income growth, demographic shifts, the importance of meetings and the intrinsic value of a vacation – will still be intact on the other side. History supports the premise; recovery is inevitable.”
Rafat Ali, CEO & founder, Skift: “Words to that effect also said by music industry, newspaper industry and video industry in the last two decades as well. ‘Non-negotiable assumption’ seems like a strange hill to stand on for an economist …”
“The demise of travel has been a popular pundit talking point before. After 9/11, ‘People won’t fly again in the same numbers.’ During the great financial crises, ‘Meetings will never return to their former glory.’ These predictions have not aged well. Confidence was restored and travelers came back.”
Adam Sacks: “The demise of travel has been a popular pundit talking point before. After 9/11, ‘People won’t fly again in the same numbers.’ During the great financial crises, ‘Meetings will never return to their former glory.’ These predictions have not aged well. Confidence was restored and travelers came back. Around the world, we have seen this same narrative play out dozens of times. SARS, Middle East unrest, terrorist attacks, tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes have all buffeted our industry. During any crisis, it is natural to wonder if this is the one that represents a sea change or a ‘new normal.’ But history would advise us all to not forget that travel prevailed through every crisis to date, moving from survival to recovery to flourishing each time.”
Clayton Reid, CEO, MMGY Global: “Great point Adam. Not only is travel recovery inevitable, but that recovery will be faster and more pronounced than many are suggesting.”
Robert (Bob) Adams, senior managing director, travel/hospitality, gaming & entertainment-data/analytics/MarTech Solutions at Valid: “Totally agree!”
Brad Dean, CEO, Discover Puerto Rico: “Thanks for the reminder, Adam. COVID or no COVID, travel still changes lives & shapes communities.”
Phil Bruno, creator at Home E-Course: “Thanks for the hope, much needed!’
Christopher Heywood, executive vice president, global communications, New York City & Company:
“Pent-up demand will hopefully help accelerate the industry’s recovery!”
Chakradhar Munjuluri, product manager third party distribution, Choice Hotels International: “The other industries mentioned are still there—music, news, video—and so will travel. This is an opportunity for disruptions in the delivery similar to what was seen in other industries, but the core product will remain.”
Derek Schlager, director of business relations, Namu Travel Group: “We will always have negative people that enjoy being right for a while.”
Suzanne Wolko, change management consultant, Arden Road: “I wish I could be that positive -I don’t think it will fully recover to 2019 levels and not likely in time to save some local businesses tied to travel. There’s additional risk involved with business travel and meetings and increased ROI with video so that will change biz travel patterns, volume, and appetite. Leisure has a different road to travel in the short term but once borders are open without quarantine, that will be first to show promise IMO.”
Cole Turay, territory lead (sales, BD >M), Particle: “Completely agree with Suzanne Wolko, Adam Sacks and Christopher Heywood! Hopefully a COVID-9 vaccine is GA in the latter half of 2021 or earlier, then pent-up demand and income growth will expedite leisure travel recovery, but business travel recovery will take a few years … based on historical travel ‘pauses,’ wonder when Adam predicts business travel will return to 2019 levels?”
Nandini Nadkarni, research consultant: “Yes, recovery is inevitable. The travel landscape will change and look different. Who will survive? What will it take for the recovery to happen? These and more will be the negotiable assumptions as we think about recovery.”
James Hepple, managing director, Tourism Analytics: “Adam, I don’t know. It will recover only if the underlying discretionary spend recovers. If the major source markets slide into a deep recession or even depression recovery is not so certain.”
Benjamin Chambers, CEO & Founder, Elevation Wealth: “Well said Adam! The world will move on, innovation will continue. Here’s hoping our boys will get their Senior varsity season in!”
Mark Mekki, co-founder, Bond—Building Digital Communities: “Let’s be optimistic that it will … but a ‘non-negotiable assumption’ sounds like a euphemism for ‘I really hope because the alternative is unthinkable.’”
Ibrahim Osta, director, Middle East & North Arica, Chemonics International: “That’s certain. Hope it comes sooner than later. We all have a role to play in this recovery.”
John Barranco, director of business development, Morgan & Co. Media Agency: “So ready to travel!”
James Rice, consultant for hotels, convention centers, hospitality & the special events industry: “Agree, and as with Monopoly, we just have to have patience in how this all comes back together. We have to get F.I.T. right first.”
Robert West, manager, World West Consulting LLC: “Adam – I thought I had lost track of you since the WEFA days and the great project in The Bahamas. Want to catch up?”
Dave Looby, president & CEO, Minneapolis Northwest Tourism: “The question is, how long can many tourism related businesses, destinations and tourism professionals wait out the storm and financially survive to reach the other side?”
Candace Carr Strauss, CEO, Big Sky Chamber of Commerce: “AMEN, Adam Sacks. Now look into your crystal ball and tell me when you think that will be—lol.”
• Chinese Behemoths Partner Up: China’s largest OTA, Trip.com Group, is partnering with e-commerce giant JD.com to increase their cooperation in tourism and online retail. (JD.com, Inc., also known as Jingdong and formerly called 360buy, is a Chinese e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing. It is one of two huge B2C online retailers in China as measured by transaction volume and revenue and is a major competitor to the Alibaba-operated Tmall.) According to statements issued by the two companies, Trip.com will offer real-time tourism product inventory with competitive-priced tickets to JD which, in return, will offer traffic, marketing, and livestreaming.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the cancellation or postponement of tens of millions of trips booked on Trip.com in the first half-year, CapitalWatch.com reported. The orders were valued at more than 31 billion yuan (appr. $4.9 billion). Now, as domestic travel has started to pick up, Trip.com is to launch a flagship store on JD.com to take advantage of the recovery of the tourist market.
• STA Travel Closes Doors: Since the last issue of INBOUND published, STA Travel in the UK shut down. The youth and student-travel specialist employed almost 500 staff across 49 agency outlets in the UK and its head office in London. STA was an ATOL holder, licensed to sell almost 30,000 package holidays a year (ATOL holders are generally acknowledged to be tour operators); however, its primary business was as a third-party retailer. It was not on the top 50 travel organizers appearing on the Civil Aviation Authority’s April 2020 list of holders. STA’s action followed by a day that its Swiss parent company—STA Travel Holding AG—filed for insolvency. In a statement, STA Travel Holding AG said: “The global magnitude of the pandemic crisis has brought the travel industry to a standstill, including STA Travel, a student and youth travel company.”
• Sandals UK Already Focusing on 2023 Product: The Sandals and Beaches Resorts tourism operation, Unique Caribbean Holidays, has put Sandals and Beaches Resorts 2023 holidays on sale in an effort to bolster consumer confidence in travel. The resorts’ tour operation recently began taking bookings from travel agents for hotel-only stays until July 2023 through its call center and booking system. Agents can book hotel-only holidays for clients in all Sandals and Beaches Resorts’ destinations, for a £175 (appr. $230) per person deposit. Package holiday bookings for hotel stays including a flight can be booked until the end of 2022.
Simon Foster, deputy managing director, Unique Caribbean Holidays, said: “We’re always trying to find new ways to innovate and this latest addition means that agents can now book package holidays for their customers up to the end of 2022 and holidays without flights until July 2023 – three years in advance. We hope that this will reassure clients and give them the opportunity to plan their holidays even further ahead.”
• “Hybrid” Homeworker-Consortium Model Introduced in UK. The Advantage Travel Partnership has launched a homeworking division—The Travel Specialists by Advantage. A company statement said that new unit has been designed as a “hybrid model between a traditional homeworking organization and a managed services consortium model.” It offers agents who sign up the chance to use either their own branding or the Advantage name and is targeting both new and established homeworking agents. Advantage will levy 2 percent of the turnover of Travel Specialists homeworkers as well as its share of commission. In exchange for this, homeworkers will have access to Advantage’s marketing and business development teams, commercial deals, incentives, education, administrative support and out-of-hours support. It will be operated using a trust account model.
Advantage’s leisure director, Kelly Cookes, said the COVID-19 lockdown had “accelerated the appetite” for remote working and “changed the way we engage with consumers,” she told Travel Weekly UK, adding, “We’ve been working on this for almost a year and feel that now is the right time to launch,” she said. “It was a gap in our offering. We’re all now more comfortable engaging with people remotely.”
UK, Irish Trade Stress Safety, Flexibility
Shortly after the publication of our last issue of INBOUND, readers had a chance to take part in the latest Connect Travel virtual roundtable series, “Connect with … “ to see and hear a top-flight colloquy by tour operator panelists who discussed the current state of the overseas market from the UK and Ireland.
Comprising the roundtable were Liz Wright, product manager, TourAmerica; Alain Kasteleyn, director and product manager, Discover North America; and Stam Tzafos, product manager USA & Europe, THG Holidays.
Shari Bailey, vice president, Connect Travel, general manager, Connect Travel Events, served as moderator for the roundtable discussion.
Key Takeaways: The following emerged as the key takeaways established by panelists and those watched and listen to the webinar.
—Travelers from the UK and Ireland “are ready to go” and visit the United States—once travel bans and other restrictions on travel between the two countries and the USA are removed.
—Safety and Flexibility are key, as operators tell us that their customers want to be sure that every aspect of a trip, from ground transfer transportation to attractions, restaurants and hotels are clean and safe. At the same time, operators would like travel suppliers to be flexible on rates and times.
—Most customers are willing to re-book or postpone a 2020 holiday rather than cancelling and demanding a refund.
—Virtual trade shows “are a good idea,” and all three operators were planning on attending one in the foreseeable future.
—Attractions, hotels, DMOs and other parts of the travel experience should get together and put their money into co-op arrangements in order to better market their product once travel volume returns to pre-pandemic levels. And as for channels, social media marketing is now preferred.
—Because hoteliers and the airlines can’t commit to doing so, it is not possible for operators to guarantee that the cost of a holiday will be fixed and guaranteed from one year to the next.
—To help offset low margins they get for their products, operators like and look forward to incentives, such as “buy-one-get-one-free” for tours and attractions; vouchers for breakfasts now that hotels don’t offer full, free breakfasts; and room and airline-seat upgrades.
Selected Quotations from the Panel:
Stam Tzafos: “The demand is there. We started promoting winter, November onwards. We didn’t want to advertise July or August—last minute holidays—because of the uncertainty. We wanted to have a little bit of leeway. So, we started from November.”
Alain Kasteleyn: “I’m sure that when the border opens, people will all be there booking their holiday—short-haul or longer holiday. They will all be there.”
Liz Wright: “(The preference) is mostly for the same destinations. Easter is hugely popular for us … and then, June.”
Shari Bailey: “We’ve heard that a lot—condos and cabins, villas, private homes, more self-catering units … have become popular.”
New & Old Attractions Reopen in NYC, USA
… And Other Attractions-Related Developments of Interest: For many in the U.S. inbound tourism industry, perhaps the best news they have heard since the coronavirus-driven global pandemic and its effective shutdown of international travel to the United States beginning some five months ago was the news that, beginning on August 24, museums and cultural institutions were finally be able to entertain New Yorkers and international visitors. New York City is, after all, the most popular U.S. destination for overseas visitors to America.
Most NYC museums have reopened or have announced reopening dates. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, reopened on August 29, and the American Museum of Natural History will reopen on September 9. The 9/11 Memorial Museum will reopen to the general public on September 12. Some museums have decided to hold off on reopening during a pandemic. The New York Hall of Science announced that it will stay closed until at least Spring 2021. The exhibits are hands-on, which museum officials say could cause an unsafe environment for children at this time.
Elsewhere, in destinations large and small and in one instance, outside the United States, the development of new attractions and facilities that are a part of the overall attractions component make for some interesting reading.
• Scheduled to open on September 15, the new Krispy Kreme store at Times Square, New York City—a 4,500-square-foot tourist attraction that has a glaze waterfall, a 24-hour street-side pickup window, exclusive merchandise and a doughnut-making theater that produces 4,560 doughnuts an hour—is just one part of the brand’s growing “doughnut ecosystem” in the city. The September opening is more than four months after an originally scheduled May launch date, which was scratched because of the COVID-19 virus. For many, the Krispy Kreme brand will be a new experience, although it has around 400 locations in the United States, with another 20 opening by the end of 2020. In total, there are 1,400 shops in 33 countries. It is part of JAB Holding, which also owns Keurig, Panera and Pret a Manger. For more information, visit here, or call 212.695.0428.
• Virtual Long-Haul Travel That Never Leaves the Ground: While the cost of a first class roundtrip ticket for a flight from Tokyo to New York City can sometimes cost more than $10,000—depending on time of departure, day of the week, etc.—it only costs a little more for than $60 to experience the same sensation of long-haul travel without ever even leaving the ground. Receiving a lot of attention recently is First Airlines, with its long-haul service to Hawaii, as well as to the USA and Europe without ever leaving the ground. While First Airlines is several years old and has been a steady success, its business began to spike as long-haul business travelers realized that—in the near-total shutdown of international travel during the global pandemic—they actually missed the experience. And since the journey is not that long, why not take along family? (In fact, bookings have doubled during the pandemic, the airline reports. So, a two-hour “flight” involves check-in, the usual instructions from flight attendants, takeoff and landing, inflight meals and drinks and video of the destination that one is supposedly going to visit. For more information, send your query to: [email protected], or call 03.6907.0981.
• The Games are on Display Full Time at New U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum: Though a much-anticipated earlier open had been the hope, which was dashed with the coronavirus-driven global pandemic, which effectively halted long-haul travel and visits public places that attracted large numbers of people, Colorado Springs has managed, nonetheless to open its U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. As is the case with any travel attraction that opens during the era of COVID-19, visitors will be subject to all the protocols now in place to insure a clean and safe environment. In addition (and understandable), there will be an emphasis on accessibility. The museum features “inclusive” designs with a focus on making the experience available to people of all abilities. Every video display features an ASL translator at the bottom corner.
Just a sample of what else there is: visitors will be able to meet an athlete through an interactive display where one can ask a question into a microphone and a digital screen athlete will do their best to answer you; and for those who want to test your speed against Olympic sprinters, there is a track that virtually pits you against the best runners in the world. Standard ticket price is just under $25. For more information, visit https://usopm.org/ or call 719.497.1234.
• Meet Bruce the Moose from Clinton, Ontario (CA): The story of Bruce the Moose is brief but instructive, as it serves as a case study of how to create a tourist attraction with not very much of an infrastructure. What happened is that Willy’s Burger Bar in Clinton (about 50 miles north of London) Ontario, decided to flag visitors to the small town (est. population of 3,200) by building Bruce, a 10-foot tall, 8-foot long moose. With the local newspaper as a booster, Bruce has become widely known on the social media and has helped to generate tourist traffic where none existed before. Burger Bar owner Gillian Potter told the local newspaper that hopes Bruce will unveiling help stimulate business locally after many local shops were affected by COVID-19, adding ““Now that things are starting to open back up, it’ll be another reason for people to come out and come this way and hopefully help not only our town but help southwestern Ontario out.” Or more on #WillysBruceTheMoose, visit Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/willysburgerbar/) or call 59.606.0040.
Japan’s Travel Down by Half in 2020
As has every other major overseas source market for the United States, Japan and its travel and tourism industry are experiencing a year of decline due to the COVID-19-driven global pandemic. In its just published Japan Travel Market Update 2020, Phocuswright, which notes that the Japanese market experienced gross bookings of $104.4 billion in 2019—it is the second largest travel market in Asia, behind only China—a is projected to decline by $56.6 billion, (or 54.2 percent) in 2020.
Such a projection is especially hurtful, as the Japanese travel trade and the nation as a whole had been looking forward to hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, which have been postponed until next year. news media has not speculated that much on the issue
Note: OTA and suppliers direct online shares may not equal online penetration due to rounding.
Source: Japan Travel Market Update 2020
© 2020 Phocuswright Inc. All Rights Reserved
Aside from the expected decline in travel activity and travel bookings in 2020, Phocuswright takes note of other developments that, otherwise, might have received greater attention were it not for the impact of the global pandemic.
For instance, Japan, which was once a leader in online penetration, now has the lowest online share of travel gross bookings among all major travel markets in the Asia-Pacific region (including Australia/New Zealand, China and India). In 2020, Phocuswright projected, online penetration is predicted to grow incrementally in Japan but will remain well below the 50 percent mark, primarily due to the Japanese preference for booking rail offline through kiosks. “While online bookings in Japan are gaining traction, offline channels, including traditional retail agencies, remain vital,” said Phocuswright, pointing out that, “In 2020, 55 percent of travel bookings will be made offline.”
Also, the company noted, “Suppliers will continue to command a greater share of the online market due to the presence of strong brands in the air and rail segments. OTAs have a considerable lead in online hotel distribution, and have benefited greatly from the surge in inbound tourism. Due to their unique strengths, suppliers and OTAs maintained their online market shares, at 59 percent and 41 percent, respectively, for five years, through 2019.”
However, Phocuswright explained, as more travelers lean towards booking direct amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, suppliers will gain in the short term, taking their share of the online market to 61 percent in 2020. Click here for details on how to purchase Phocuswright’s Japan Travel Market Update 2020.
Shifts Show in Ranking of U.S. Gateways
Will Pandemic-Weary Tourists Seek Alternatives to Where they Arrive in USA? The data are hardly conclusive; their numbers would hardly comprise a decent survey sample. Still, the first half of 2020 suggest that there might be some subtle shifts are underway in where visitors to the United States are arriving and/or where they are starting their itineraries.
What leads the INBOUND Report to this notion are, also, the speculative comments of experienced international and receptive tour operators during Connect Travel’s virtual roundtable discussions this spring and summer during which they suggested that clients in the home markets they sell to are showing an interest in destinations that are further away from the traditional big city gateways to the United States.
Another factor has to do with the way one interprets things when one looks a little more closely at data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). A cursory review of the year-to-date (through June 2020) arrivals at ports of entry in the U.S. vs. the end-of-year arrivals numbers for 2019 show some declines, along with some shifts in rankings in the, NTTO’s Top 15 Ports of Entry data.
—Not all ports are declining at the same rate. Plus, the different rates of decline have mean changes in the rankings of the top ports. Miami is now #1, overtaking JFK. There are other shakeups in the rankings as well. Most ports are up or down one spot, but Chicago and Niagara Falls (the latter is further down on the tables shown below) both dropped two spots. In contrast, Houston has moved up two spots.
—All these shifts have also caused market share shifts in the top ports. Miami has seen the largest increase in its share (+2.6 percent) whereas JFK has the top decline of 1.5 percentage points in share, which shows up in the switch of rankings between the 2 ports.
—To put the declines in context, consider this: the 6.2 million overseas arrivals for the first half of 2020 is dramatically down from the 18.9 million overseas arrivals for the same period in 2019.
—From January to June 2020 the port with the steepest decline was Philadelphia (-75%), and the ports with the least decline was San Diego (-56 percent) among the 30 ports the NTTO provides monthly data on for all overseas arrivals.
Additional Note: For the complete list of 30 ports and information on the same, visit: Top Ports – Country of Residence (COR) .
Chinese Are Abandoning Group Tours
For the first decade (2008-2017) in the explosion of Chinese leisure travelers, the low-cost, high-volume stop-to-shop group bus tour was the norm, the standard. Then, as more Chinese began to visit the USA, groups began to lose share. And now, anxious about traveling in large groups as the COVID-19-driven global pandemic continues to stoke concern everywhere, the group option is a preference just one out of 10 Chinese travelers.
According to newly released report—the ITB China Travel Trends Report—on the results of a survey of Chinese travel professionals, health and safety are key concerns that are having an impact on the travel intentions of Chinese travelers as a “new normal” settles upon the Chinese travel market.
As analyzed by China Travel News, the report, based on a survey of 200 outbound travel agencies and companies, indicated that the prevention and control of the COVID-19-driven pandemic at destinations are considered most important to Chinese travelers, and that sanitary measures in force will also become key concerns, as will stable flight schedules.
Self-driving tours, FITs experiencing popularity: Self-driving tours, Free Independent Travel (FIT) and customized tours are being driven by the new situation to avoid places with crowds and large travel groups. “After the outbreak, travelers may prefer outbound products focusing on safety, health and wellbeing, while the demand for natural landscape and customized travel will also increase,” said He Yong, president of HCG Travel Group.
Travel intentions, themes and preferences for 2021: According to the survey results, island, outdoor, natural landscape, family and medical tours are expected to be the most popular themes in the coming year.
Restoring the Market: How should we go about the process of quickly restoring the Chinese travel market? The 200 respondents from Chinese outbound travel agencies and travel-related companies who participated in the ITB China Travel Trends Report survey, offered opinions and suggestions, such as “sustain and improve awareness and popularity of destinations,” “align and upgrade travel products focusing on safety and health,” “communicate with Chinese partners to keep aware of changes in the Chinese market,” “set up flexible operation process and quick response mechanism,” and “engage in pre-sale activities of travel products.“
HODGE PODGE: Appointments & Changes
George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, is retiring from his post after more than seven years. He announced the move during a meeting of the organization’s board of directors. Aguel’s contract expires in early 2021. Before taking over the top job at Visit Orlando, Aguel served at the Walt Disney Company for nearly 23 years, departing while he was a senior vice president. Visit Orlando’s board was to have met in order to discuss a transition plan, including the exact timing of Aguel’s departure.
Jennifer Wesselhoff has been named president and CEO of the Park City Chamber of Commerce & CVB. Wesselhoff joins the organization from the Sedona (Ariz.) Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, which she has served for 19 years, the past 13 as president and CEO. She’ll start new role in Park City—widely known as a premier U.S. ski destination and a host city for the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival—on Oct. 19.
New Orleans & Company has announced that Kelly Schulz, a 20-year public relations and communications veteran, will return to the organization as its senior vice president of communications and public relations effective Monday, September 21. Schulz replaces Kristian Sonnier, a 25-year public relations professional—expert in communications, marketing, media relations, media management and crisis communications, who held the position for more than five years. Sonnier led the overall rebranding efforts in 2018, turning New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau into New Orleans & Company. Schulz held the position for eight years before joining American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as vice president of communications in April 2014. She will rejoin the organization’s marketing and communications department led by Mark Romig, and will lead the four-person public relations team, half of whom were on Schulz’s team in 2014
Mélanie Joly, Canada’s minister of economic development and official languages, has announced the appointment of Marsha Walden as president and CEO of Destination Canada. Walden joins Destination Canada from Destination British Columbia where she served as the president and CEO since 2013. Destination Canada’s board of directors has extended its thanks to David Robinson, who led the organization as interim president and CEO for the past six months. The previous president and CEO of the organization, David Goldstein, stepped down from the job last November to join Gusto Worldwide Media as its chief operation officer.
The Greater Miami CVB has recognized Herb Sosa, executive director of Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida (UC/CU) as a “Miamian Who Shines.” Under Sosa’s leadership, UC/CU created a Micro Giving fund to assist LGBTQ hospitality workers who have been impacted by the pandemic, providing them with financial support to help them pay their essential bills. Additionally, UC/CU continues to work with other organizations and community leaders to offer drive-up food distributions for those in need in the LGBTQ community. Sosa, who has been publisher for Ambiente magazine for 17 years, has been executive director of UC/CU since 2002.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) named Dave Hilfman as the organization’s interim executive director last month. Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as senior vice president of worldwide sales in 2018, stepped into his new role mid-July.
The Long Beach CVB in California has hired Debbie Glenn as a national sales director, working remotely from Maryland. A seasoned tourism professional, Glenn served as sales director for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board for the past 14 years
In Brazil, Kelly Valim, a veteran of more than 20 years in tour and travel, including nearly 16 years at the tour operator Soul Traveler Viagens & Turismo, is joining the sales and marketing team of Orinter Tour & Travel in Rio de Janeiro, where she is already known by the travel trade. Valim will report directly to the regional director, Waldemir Junior, who previously took care of the Rio de Janeiro market. “Having a dedicated person for such an important market makes perfect sense and our customers who are there will have more of that strength”, comments Waldemir. Along with the hiring, the company says that it will take offers dedicated to the Rio de Janeiro trade with special opportunities, training, and customized training.
Deborah L. Cox has been promoted to the post of vice president at Castell Project Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining the Castell Project in 2018, Cox was a principal of Interacting Dynamics, a full-service consultancy focused on strategic and influencer marketing, corporate communication and merger integration. Previously, she was co-founder and principal of CoMass Group, an organization that designed and delivered programs to address issues of incivility and lateral violence within the healthcare community.
Chris Allen has been named product manager for JG Travel Group, which is the parent of National Holidays JG Travel Group, which bought National Holidays in July, also owns touring brands including Just Go! Holidays and Omega Breaks. A 30-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry, Allen was most recently as head of sporting breaks at National Holidays. Prior to that he worked for UK and Europe coach specialist Travelstyle until 2016 when it was acquired by National Holidays. In his new role, Allen will be responsible for product for short breaks, sporting breaks, family and tribute product development and delivery.
Posted Industry Jobs
From SearchWide Global:
—The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau is looking for a new president & CEO. Click here for more information.
—The City of Omaha has an opening for the position of director, parks, recreation and public property. Visit here for additional details.
—The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new president and CEO. For details, visit here.
—The Virginia Tourism Corporation (it is the state’s DMO) has an opening for a director of research and market intelligence. Click here for more information.
—The Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority is looking for a new chief executive officer. Click here for more information.
—In the Charlotte/Concord area of North Carolina, Great Wolf Resorts as an opening for a director of sales and catering. For details, click here.
—Explore Ashville Convention and Visitors Bureau is searching for a president and CEO. Click here for more details.
—In Florida, the Naples.Marco Island.Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for a deputy director. For more information, visit here.
—The Park City Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking for a new president. Click here for more information.
—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 Spartanburg (S.C.) Convention & Visitors Bureau is seeking a chief tourism development officer. Visit here for more information.
—The Saugatuck Douglas Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new executive director. Click here for more information.