Connect with Canadian Tour Operators
Connect Travel’s recent “Staying Connected” virtual roundtable discussion with Canadian tour operators proved to be popular with travel and tourism professionals—more than 200 watched and/or listened to the hour-long presentation, which is hosted by Connect’s TourOperatorLand.com brand.
Those taking part in the panel discussion were:
—Nadine Paulo, vice president, product & procurement, Kensington Tours;
—Sash Munjal, general manager, ShortTrips.ca; and
—Shari Bailey, vice president, Connect Travel and general manager, Connect Travel Events, who served as moderator of the session.
1. Canadians are definitely ready to travel. “Thank god you’re up and operating,” one client told a Canadian tour operator after the latter opened a dozen tours last autumn during a five-week interregnum in the country’s nationwide lock-down and pandemic that brought tourism to a halt and the borders between Canada and the U.S. were closed. While the comment above is not the product of a scientific poll, it and other similar comments tell operators that there is much pent-up demand for travel experiences among Canadians.
2. Canadian operators know that they will have to make some adjustments in their products, and they already have. For instance, in order to comply with social distancing standards and for other health-related protocols, one operator’s tour buses can take only 24 passengers—not 55—as had been the standard prior to the pandemic.
3. It is still a time of learning for operators and their partners—including restaurants and attractions—as operators have to assure travelers that health-and-safety protocols are understood and practiced by everyone involved in a group tour—from drivers, to food servers (“Buffets are long gone.”) to the person who handles baggage and moves it from bus to hotel room.
4. While the notion of recovery is one that both operators and their suppliers hope for, the projections on when it will come has shifted among operators, who had been hoping that they could start moving product early this year. Instead, “once things clear up” means that most operators are hoping for recovery to start sometime this year or in 2022 or even in 2023.
5. Responding to what their customers have indicated, domestic tour operators will be looking for simpler, cleaner products that will involve protocols that are less cumbersome or time-consuming. This could mean direct entry for passengers to a meal setting, rather than checking in at a front desk. For the operator, it also means more short-haul destinations, day trips and overnighters.
6. For the moment, operators are holding back on marketing and selling, until “we have a clearer vision of where things are going.” But suppliers are encouraged to stay in touch with operators because “it’s never too early” to present a new product or new suggestion.
Sash Munjal: “We had a tour scheduled to leave on March the 16th last year which was, for us, the beginning of spring break for schools. And that’s, of course, when the lockdown started and we ended up having, basically, a sold-out busload of people getting stranded. And we weren’t able to fly out because of the announcement that the prime minister made that said to all Canadians, ‘Don’t travel.’ So that was an interesting challenge for us as it was, I’m sure, for many of the people on this call.”
Nadine Paulo: “We have a process called our readiness program in which we evaluate the readiness of a destination across our partners and across the expectations and standards. It’s almost like a training program where we make sure our partners are upholding our standards before our clients … it includes the cleanliness of the vehicles, a mask mandate and the cleanliness of an accommodation and to what degree we engage with our clients in destination and to support their safety. In cleanliness, we have a full list of what we offer from a travel safe certified program.”
Sash Munjal: “‘Sold out’ to us used to mean 55 passengers and now it means 24 because we are doing social distancing on the bus. So, basically, each passenger has their own window seat—no one next to them.”
Nadine Paulo: “Some of our clients have been converting from international destinations to domestic, so if they can’t travel to a certain destination, they’re then saying ‘Well, if I can’t go to Italy, where can I go?’ So, we’re seeing some conversion to Alaska or the national parks.”
Sash Munjal: (Last autumn, during a six-week break when the company was able to run some tours) “We had trips that we’d never done before—short day trips except for one overnighter. This was our experiment to determine if people were comfortable staying in hotels. The two sold out and they sold out within hours. I mean, we would put the trip up at 7 a.m. in the morning when the announcement would go out, and by 11 a.m. it was sold out.”
Nadine Paulo: “We have seen a shift in demand to Alaska and national parks and some of our more nature-focused and open landscape-focused destinations. So, we are continuously looking at expanding product and destinations specific to North America, where we anticipate demand going forward.
Sash Munjal: “We’re always developing tours. Now, we’re small—we typically in a year will do about 200 tours. Historically, it’s been about 100 in Canada and 100 to the U.S. But year over year, 40 to 50 of those tours are brand new. So, we’re constantly looking for new suppliers, new markets, new destinations.”
Nadine Paulo, vice president, product & procurement, Kensington Tours – [email protected].
Sash Munjal, general manager, ShortTrips.ca – [email protected].
Shari Bailey, vice president, Connect Travel & general manager, Connect Travel Events [email protected]
Click here for the recording of the session.
Not Exactly Best Year for Inbound Tourism
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has issued its final monthly posting of 2020 arrivals from the top overseas source markets for the United States. And, as expected, the data show that 2020 was indeed the worst year ever, in terms of a year-on-year decline, for overseas arrivals since NTTO has maintained such records.
Put another way, the numbers tell us this: there were 40.4 million overseas arrivals in the U.S. 2019. And last year, there were 7.6 million arrivals—a decline of 32.8 million. With that as a preface, we urge you to review the tables below. They speak more clearly than INBOUND can.
For more information, or to contact staff at NTTO, visit: https://travel.trade.gov/about/contact-us.asp
TourOperatorLand Partner of the Week: Alabama
For Operators, here are just two examples of itineraries featuring Alabama:
—Ten Top Sites on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail: See where Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr changed the world plus food and music of the south. This amazing educational adventure mixes fun with history. Embark on a journey of discovery and memories while standing where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached and marched. It’s not only a top 10 King site tour, but a true southern USA experience. You will start in Atlanta and end in Memphis, but as you will discover, Alabama stands at the center of southern cultural and history that changed the world.
—American Music Trail: Sweet Home Alabama: Great way to showcase the south’s music. Easy connections to Memphis, Nashville, Atlanta and New Orleans. The south USA is known for its music and Alabama is in the center of it all. This trip highlights the music aspect of Alabama; but it’s also a great way to experience food, history and outdoors. Come hear gospel in our churches and sing Sweet Home Alabama in our music halls. Group or FIT, this itinerary is for both markets.
—Also, you can highlight the entire region comprising the southern U.S. experience with “Nashville to New Orleans through Alabama: Touring Cities of the Deep South USA.” This trip travels the length of Alabama, from north to south, stopping in the state’s biggest cities and most famous destinations as you go from your starting point in Nashville, Tennessee to your final stop in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Here is a sampler from the many royalty-free images of Alabama that you will find at the state’s TourOperatorLand.com pages.
For more information on Alabama’s tourism products, visit its TourOperatorland.com pages at https://www.touroperatorland.com/destinations/alabama_tourism_department.
For additional information on partnering through TourOperatorland.com, contact Betsy Cooper, Director of TourOperatorLand.com and Partner Engagement at Connect Travel.
Email: [email protected]
UK: Price No Longer Key in Holiday Choice
Safety now drives choice of holiday—especially for older travelers. It used to be that, for Britons, price
was the key factor in determining a holiday package or its key components. Then came last March followed, in quick succession, by the COVID 19 crisis, in-country lockdowns, and closed borders.
Survey research in the second and early third quarter last year seemed to indicate that most UK travelers were still holding out hope against reality that something, anything, would happen that would enable them to take their holidays. Nothing happened.
While British consumers have resigned themselves to the reality that a 2021 holiday is now open to question—if only enough of the world’s population would receive vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus—what has changed over the past half-year, is that priorities about what is important to a holiday have change.
Tracking surveys undertaken during the second half of 2020 by the UK-based AllClear Travel Insurance shows how the priorities and concerns as to what the key considerations are when making a travel purchase have changed. (The research was conducted online by customer insights company MaruBlue at intervals during 2020—in June, July, November and December 2020. Each research sample polled a representative audience of 2,000 UK adults.)
The surveys found that:
—Demand for a summer holiday was high after the first lockdown, with two thirds of those surveyed wanting an overseas holiday in the summer.
—Safety was the top priority, rather than price, with more than two in five respondents (44 percent) wanting to visit a country with a good COVID-19 record.
—More than a third (36 percent) said having the best insurance cover possible, covering them for COVID-19, was top of their agenda.
—Over 55s were more likely to pick a destination based on its perceived COVID-19 safety record (56 percent vs. 28 percent of those under 34).
The Year Ahead—What It Looks Like: AllClear also tracked consumer sentiment towards travel at each pivotal point of the last year: the lockdowns, the tier levels in the UK, and the response to the vaccines—to give forecasts for what the industry will look like in 2021.
—AllClear found that of those UK adults surveyed last year, they were prepared to spend £1,335 ($1,824) more than they would usually on their holidays to ensure their trips would be as safe as possible. This rose to £1,644 ($2,247) for those with underlying health issues.
—In the autumn of 2020, when UK restrictions began to tighten, the number of people looking to book a short-haul break had doubled from 24 percent in July to 51 percent in November and the demand for long-haul travel had tripled, up from 10 percent in July to 30 percent in November.
—The research suggested that staycations rose in popularity, with 17 percent of those looking to book a getaway opting for a villa or private house, compared to just 5 percent who were choosing to book a cruise.
—With news of a possible vaccine announced near the end of 2020, more than half of the respondents (55 percent) said they would feel comfortable going on holiday again as traveling came a top priority for plans in 2021.
U.S. Not seen as that safe: Australia and New Zealand emerged as destinations people think are safest to visit now – even though they can’t due to current travel restrictions. Respondents believed southern and northern Europe would be safe to visit within 12 months (56 percent for each), almost one in two believed the Caribbean would be safe in a year and the U.S., South America and southern Asia will be off limits for at least a year, according to survey results.
• Meanwhile, consumers have little confidence in Summer 2021 overseas holidays: Results of a recent YouGov online survey of more than 3,500 UK adults revealed that only nine percent are confident that they’ll be taking an overseas holiday this summer, while 74 percent were not confident. The survey was conducted January 20.
“Staying Connected” Cont’d.: Best Practices for 2021
Panel Discusses Best Practices to Get Tourism Industry through 2021: In a busy virtual roundtable late last week that had those who called into the session offer up nearly 40 questions and comments, a four-person panel of industry experts discussed challenges confronting travel and tourism’s public and private sector components. Panel participants included the following:
Amy DeFrancesco, national sales manager, Drury Hotels;
Jenny Keeton, director of operations, Village Travel;
Tod DeHart, founder, DIRECTIONS Tours LLC; and
Shari Baily, vice president of Connect Travel and general manager, Connect Travel Events, who served as moderator of the session.
Staying Connected Virtual Roundtable
1. Operators and suppliers agree that consumers want to “get out and travel,” but potential travelers also want to know what they can do and where they can go with the global pandemic limiting what their movements and options are.
2. The number one priority for travelers and travel providers is a collective one—safety, security and peace of mind. This has brought into play protocols that affect every aspect of the travel experience. For those who are part of a group, this means masks, temperature checks, and regular sanitizing of the inside of buses before, during and after a day’s activities. It also means social distancing inside a bus through smaller passenger loads and measures such as non-rotation among seats by passengers.
3. For tour and bus operators, the pandemic has meant smaller motorcoaches or, in regular-sized motorcoaches, fewer passengers. This means a coach that used to carry 40-50 customers, now carries less than 30 and, often, less than 20. The latter size means that operators have to work with hoteliers and restaurants to secure the traditional comp seats for drivers and tour guides for every 20 paying customers.
4. Tour and motorcoach operators, as a result, are “taking a hit” as they are virtually unable to make up revenue lost due to smaller group sizes, while customers expect rates that are no higher than they were in 2019. Smaller margins are the rule. And so is working with hoteliers to fill income lost due to a de facto price freeze and the absence of comp meals and rooms.
5. Amenities? Clearly, the most important one is a hot breakfast at the hotel where patrons are staying. “A hot breakfast is key,” said one panelist. Also, “saying that they’ll get a muffin and a container of orange juice is just not acceptable. If you really want to do it, you’ll find a way. Breakfast is a requirement.”
6. While everyone agreed that there is a pent-up demand for travel, especially among seniors, there was not much optimism that the levels of activity will return to 2019 levels until next year. In the meantime, operators would like DMOs to help put together new packages to offer current customers, as well as returning customers, once tourism recovers to pre-pandemic levels.
Tod DeHart: “Once we realized we’re in this for a little bit of a long haul here, I think most of our clients were saying ‘We want to get out but what can you do to keep us safe?‘“
Jenny Keeton: “our clients really want to feel comfortable traveling—especially with the senior clientele. They want to get out. They’re in their golden years losing a year of their travel has been has been difficult.”
Tod DeHart: “If just kind of go out there and float and you don’t say hello, especially during a pandemic, you’re not going to stay afloat with your customers you’ve got to be reminding them this is what we’re working on right now. This is what we’re doing here. We’re not dead in the water.”
Amy DeFrancesco: “It was really important for Drury at the very beginning to be all about safety. And I think as a family-owned company, it was really easy for us to implement our clean and safe procedures, figure out exactly what we were going to do at every hotel and put those in place and implement them starting the next day.”
Jenny Keeton: (Before COVID) We could take on a standard motor coach anywhere between 40 and 50 people. We’d love to have 50 people, which, prior to COIVD, pretty much fills the coach up. Right now, our comfort level is 50 percent capacity. it’s really hard to social distance on a coach and so to get 100 percent. Social distancing is really not going to happen, so that’s why you have to have the clean and safety protocols in place.”
Tod DeHart: “We’re doing 16 to 20 people on a motor coach on a full motor coach and so, we’re talking about a full-size 55-passenger motor coach. Right now, with 16 to 20 people, as Jenny Keeton said, it is hard to keep those protocols especially when you have a lot of single travelers.
Amy DeFrancesco: We lowered our comp policy. There’s no reason to say you’re going to offer a comp one-for-20 when there’s most likely no way they’re going to have 20 rooms on most on most tours right now. So, we looked at that like: ‘How can we be a better partner?’ I’m always looking for that. What can I do to be a better partner? A partnership is always win-win. But at the end of the day, sometimes you may give a little more; the next time they may give a little more. I think that that’s really what it was about. And we just reached out and said ‘What would it take to make your tour run?’ I would rather have 10 rooms for five nights than no rooms for five nights.”
Jenny Keeton: “We’re taking a hit. I mean, honestly, nobody’s going to want to pay more than what they did in 2019, so we can’t pass (some) costs over. Even with you’re running 16 to 20, you’re breaking even. You’re not making any money and, at times, you might be even losing a little bit. But the goal here is to get people comfortable traveling again and, so, if we need to break even and not make a dime, we’re at least getting people out and comfortable traveling, they’re seeing the protocols in place. But at this point we, have not raised our rates and our margins are next to nothing.”
Jenny Keeton, director of operations, Village Travel, [email protected]
Tod DeHart, founder, DIRECTIONS Tours LLC, [email protected]
Amy DeFrancesco, national sales executive, Drury Hotels, [email protected]
Shari Baily, vice president of Connect Travel & general manager, Connect Travel Events, [email protected]
Click here for the recording of the session.
Global Air Route Map Changes in Winter
Dubai to Heathrow is now the world’s top international market; it wasn’t in the Top-10 last winter, points out anna•aero, the airline industry analytical news publication. But it, along with other changes in the Top 10 illustrate the change in flow of traffic during the “off season” for international air traffic. (The peak travel season is designated with an S prefix; S 21 begins at the end of March and concludes at the end of October.) So, the major changes to the Top10 list are just temporary. This includes total seats, down as they now are by 11 million to just over six million.
With the above as a preface, or sorts, following are some other notable changes in the international airline route map as we experience the peak of the off season.
—The Dubai to Heathrow connection has pushed the previous top—Hong Kong to Taipei–off the top spot, and it is no longer on this winter’s Top 10 list.
—In fact, there is now only one within Asia-Pacific – Seoul Incheon to Tokyo Narita – down from seven a year before.
—Seven markets now involve the Middle East. This includes the only one to feature in both lists: Cairo to Jeddah. This is now the world’s second-largest, despite seat capacity being down by 43 percent year-on-year.
—If Puerto Rico were a sovereign state, Orlando to San Juan would instead be the world’s second-biggest. In the week used to calculate the list below, it had 90 weekly flights each way across four carriers.
Some key markets just outside the top-10 include: Dallas Fort Worth to Cancún, New York JFK to Santo Domingo, and Los Angeles to Guadalajara. There are presently 59 weekly flights from Los Angeles to Guadalajara.
Note: One can study or analyze the data above and, over the years, realize that it is not just winter vacation travel or, in the case of the past and future year, that traditional non-peak-season traffic is not taking place due to the global pandemic. However, one will also notice that it is not just traditional European or North American connections providing service to non-western global markets. The Middle East, for instance, has become a major connecting region for international air traffic with airports that didn’t exist a generation ago.
• In Germany one third of travel agents fear bankruptcy. This was one of the results of a survey conducted by DIHK (German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce).
• American Express Global Business Travel (#3 on the Travel Weekly 2020 Power List of the largest travel agencies doing business in the United States) has acquired corporate and leisure business Ovation Travel Group (#15 on the Travel Weekly Power list) for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes all of Ovation’s brands, including UK-based Chartwell Travel, which will all be retained. Ovation, which formed in 1984 and is headquartered in the US, has 30 locations in the UK and US and operates in 100 countries.
• Hays Travel, which stepped in following the September 2019 collapse of Thomas Cook—at the time, it was the UK’s second-largest tour operator—and acquired much of what remained of the company, saving thousands of jobs in the process, has closed 89 stores in the wake of the imposition of the latest lockdown in the UK. Hays had deferred reviewing the performance of the former Cook shops it acquired in October 2019 to see if business returned in 2021.
• A new report issued by the American Hotel & Lodging Association says that just more than half of all hotel rooms in the USA will be empty this year In group’s annual State of the Hotel Industry forecast, AHLA said it expects nationwide hotel occupancy to average 52.4 percent for 2021. Although that figure is above 2020’s annual average occupancy level of 44 percent, it remains well below 2019’s average of 66 percent. As well, U.S. hotel room revenue for 2021 is predicted to remain 34 percent below 2019 levels, at around $110.5 billion.
• Norwegian Air, noted for its cheap flight business model, announced several weeks ago that it was ending all of its long-haul routes. It will now refocus its efforts between Nordic countries and short-haul European destinations. At one point, the airline—it was founded in a—a operated 52 routes between North America and Europe. From the New York area alone, the airline offered flights to Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, Oslo, Paris, Rome, and Stockholm. The carrier had plans to increase the number of cities it planned to serve in the U.S., but the global pandemic and the de facto shut down of long-haul service into and out of the USA put an end to those plans. Norwegian was founded in 1993 and began operating as a low-cost carrier with bigger Boeing 737 aircraft in 2002.
• And, yes, there is some good news out of the UK, despite an extension of a nationwide lockdown:
—Senior travel specialist Saga said last week that it expects to report a full year pre-tax profit despite the pandemic. In its quarterly trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Saga said its liquidity remains strong, with total available cash of £51million ($70 million) on December 31, 2020. The company announced last week that it would delay the restart of its travel programs until May 1st to allow more time for its customers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
—EasyJet’s CEO Johan Lundgren has announced that bookings for this summer with its holidays arm were up 250 percent on last year, explaining that the airline industry is hoping for increased demand when lockdown restrictions are eased. “We know there is pent-up demand – we have seen that every time restrictions have been relaxed – and so we know that people want to go on holiday as soon as they can,” he told the BBC, adding that EasyJet offers confidence for the post-pandemic travel market.
According to Lundgren, the vaccination program underway in the UK and Europe was “undoubtedly the key to unlocking travel again.” EasyJet was ready to ramp up its flying schedule as soon as customer confidence returned, he said. EasyJet is the eighth largest tour operator in the UK, based on the number ATOL licenses it has.
• WTM Latin America has postponed the event to August 3, 4 and 5, 2021. It had planned to stage it on June 24-25. 2021. It will take place at Expo Centre Norte, in São Paulo.
• Often an indicator of the pulse of the inbound tourism market for the USA, TUI, the largest tour operator in Europe has canceled Florida holidays till May. On its website, the tour operator said: “Customers are being contacted in departure date order to discuss their options, which include amending to another holiday with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.” It added, “We understand holidays to Florida are an exciting and special time for families, and whilst the situation is out of our control, we’d like to apologize for the disappointment this may cause … “We will continue to review our Florida program in line with updated travel advice.”
ITB Not What It Used to Be
Nor is Germany. But, then, nothing is what it used to be after COVID-19 and 2020. Travel trade journalists and publications alike used to look forward each year to the approach of ITB—it took place during the second week of March—as the time of the year that they would receive numerous research studies and reports with the latest analyses of the condition of the industry. Also, by this time each February, we had our Berlin itineraries set and were looking forward to face time with as many people as possible during appointments, social functions and ad hoc meetings or conversations.
Oh, we all had plans and calendars, but knowing how way leads on to way, we were always prepared for those ad hoc meetings or conversations—made all the likelier by the sheer volume of humans who attended the event at Messe Berlin. In 2019, there were—officially—1,000 buyers and 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries spread out over six continents. Officially, there were more than 113,500 trade visitors. All totaled, there were 169,000 visitors.
Then came last year and the crisis wrought by COIVD-19. Officials waited as long as they were able to before canceling the event. This year, there was never any doubt about ITB. It is being held March 9-12, but it is an entirely virtual event. As such, there was no hesitation about shutting down as there was last year. However, the reports, analyses and outlooks are being e-released.
A Recovery by Next Year: Because one report, in particular, came from ITB Berlin NOW and Statista, the official voices of the event, their review receives especial interest. Briefly, here is what it had say.
—“It was a turbulent year in travel.” And despite 2020’s massive decline, the report tells us, there are signs of a market recovery by 2023. The ITB Berlin NOW and Statista tell us such in their recently released review of 2020 and in their outlook for the coming years—the Mobility Market Outlook (MMO), released by Statista, a research organization headquartered in Hamburg, with offices in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and other major global centers.
—The worldwide travel and tourism market is set to recover fully from the coronavirus pandemic by 2023 and achieve record turnover figures. The MMO tells us that the global travel and tourism revenue for 2021 is forecasted to increase by over 50 percent compared to 2020. New revenue records can be expected from 2023 onwards. In fact, for 2025 the MMO predicts a revenue growth of almost 23 percent versus the success year of 2019.
—Statista projects a 55 percent loss of sales in the tourism industry for 2020. in October 2020, year-on-year international tourism arrivals fell by 72 percent.
—For Germany, the data are just as beleaguering: according to Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association (DRV), the industry registered a 28 billion euro decline (80 percent) in turnover in 2020.
—According to a November 2020 survey by the DIHK (German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce) 94 percent of companies in the German travel sector expected a turnover decline in 2020. No other industry has registered such high losses and, as a result, the tourism industry has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
—Looking back on travel in 2020, the tourism industry has been heavily impacted by the restrictions put in place by national governments due to the pandemic. Various statistics show that those months, in which strict measures were issued to contain its spread, were particularly challenging for the tourism sector. According to UNTWO figures, hotel bookings in Germany declined considerably during spring and autumn – in April German hotels registered a year-on-year drop in visitors of 91 percent.
—Long-haul leisure travel suffered. This was reflected in destination preferences. According to a representative survey by Allianz Partners, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 22 percent of German citizens favored long-haul destinations, compared with 6 percent after the pandemic began. By contrast, the percentage of respondents preferring “staycations” more than doubled, rising from 30% to 61%. (Google search requests for “vacation/Germany” tripled in late May, compared to the same period the year before.)
—In 2019 domestic tourism accounted for close to 259 billion euros ($314 billion), 85 percent of Germany’s domestic tourism revenues, whereas for 2020 the share is projected to be 91 percent (approximately 173 billion euros or $210 billion). Accordingly, turnover in Germany’s international tourism market is forecast to shrink by over 60 percent, from approximately 45 billion ($55 billion) to around 16 billion euros. At the same time domestic tourism is expected to recover as early as 2022, with turnover reaching 2019 levels.
—Both industry experts and large travel companies expect the market to recover rapidly. The tour operator TUI (It is the largest tour operator in Europe) recently declared that travel in summer 2021 would be “normal”. Due to constantly changing circumstances (e.g., how vaccination progresses, lockdown periods, and closed borders), experts’ forecasts must be treated with caution and regularly re-assessed in line with current developments. Nevertheless, it is expected that people will have a desire to catch up on the last few months of missed travel experiences as soon as possible.
—Tech trends should benefit tourism. Trends that are likely to take off in the tourism industry in the near future are becoming apparent. Analysts at Statista forecast that technological innovations in particular will have a positive impact on the industry, e.g., AI-based, personalized services and innovative forms of presenting tourism services with VR. Thus, the current low volume of travel together with technological innovations could spur a rapid recovery of the industry.
HodgePodge: Appointments & Changes
Doreen Burse has been named senior vice president of worldwide sales at United Airlines. Burse, who will report to executive vice president and chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella, will be responsible for leading United’s global sales strategy. She will work to enhance the airline’s existing sales programs while building new partnerships and driving overall revenue. A veteran of more than 30 years in the travel and tourism, Burse most recently served as the vice president of Marriott’s global sales for the U.S. and Canada. She led a cross-functional global account team serving hundreds of accounts, representing about 1,000 associations, 250 corporations, and hundreds of group intermediary partners, travel management companies, retail agencies and other organizations. Her first day at United will be March 1, 2021.
Cleo Battle, the current chief operating officer at Louisville Tourism, will take over as the organization’s new president and CEO on June 30th. He’ll succeed the current president and CEO, Karen Williams, who is retiring. Battle joined Louisville Tourism in 2013 as executive vice president. He became chief operating office in 2019. Prior to joining the Louisville agency, Battle spent 12 years as vice president of sales and services for the Richmond Convention & Visitors Bureau in Virginia, where he also served as its director of sales and sales manager. A Denver native, he began his hospitality/tourism career in the hotel industry working for Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn and Sheraton Hotels.
Carroll Rheem has announced that she is leaving Brand USA, where she was vice president of research and analytics, and where she served for nearly eight years, developing a reputation as one of the most highly regarded speakers at travel industry conferences, roundtable discussions, board meetings and special events—punctuating her remarks with wry humor and animated slides. She has decided to launch her own practice and, as she told colleagues in a social media entry, will make an announcement on the matter in the near future. Before her tenure with Brand USA, Rheem was director of research for PhoCusWright Inc.
Sven Schikarsky is the new chief product officer of DER Touristik, Germany. The company is the second largest tour operator in Germany. Schikarsky joined DER Touristik in the spring of 2018 as vice president, capacity and revenue management. He ate became senior vice president, sun & beach prior to his new role. Before DER Touristik, Schikarsky was managing director, tour operating for FTI Touristik, another major German tour operator.
Sarah Ridgway Willoughby is leaving the Greater Wilmington (Del.) Convention and Visitors Bureau. Willoughby, formerly director of tourism development at Winterthur Museum, has been with the bureau since 2004, and has served as its executive director since 2008. Willoughby is moving to Hernando, Florida, with her husband, Gary, who retired this past summer
Robert Cavaliere, currently global chief product officer and head of underwriting for the travel line of business at Allianz Partners, a leading travel insurance and assistance company based in Richmond, Va., is taking over as chief sales officer in the U.S. He has been with the company for more than 18 years in a number of leadership roles. He replaces Ricky Horwitz, who will continue to focus on his role as global chief sales officer for the Travel line of business.
After more than 15 years leading the tourism industry in Pennsylvania’s Adams County tourism industry as president and CEO of Destination Gettysburg, Norris Flowers has announced his retirement, effective April 1. Flowers joined the organization in 2005. Destination Gettysburg will soon conduct a national search for a new president & CEO.
Christopher Marino has joined the world of travel public relations as an account executive at the Lou Hammond Group, located in mid-town Manhattan. Marino previously worked in the area of global communications for New York City & Company before the latter was forced to make some huge job cuts due to the global pandemic wrought by the COVID-19 crisis.
Marissa Weaver has been named public relations coordinator for Visit Tampa Bay. She moves to the travel and tourism industry with a background that includes tenures with Feeding Tampa Bay and AmeriCorps Vista.
In Brazil, Fernando Tanaka has joined Rappi Travel as non-air manager. He comes to his new position from Sorte Online, where he was head of business development. Prior to that, he held managerial positions with CVC and Decolar.
Meetings management company Groupize has expanded its team with a number of executive hires, including the appointment of Courtney Bruen as sales director. She comes to her new role from Convene. Where she was account sales director. Previously, she served as a senior sales manager at Longwood Venues & Destinations.
Danny Crowe has joined marketing performance business Go Inspire. A former JG Travel Group sales and marketing director, he has some 40 years of experience that includes in-house roles at major financial services, retail and travel brands.
Aoife Delaney, director of marketing & sales at the DMC (Destination Management Consultants) Network, has been named president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) in 2021. Aoife has been an active member with SITE since the start of her career in the meetings and incentive industry and has served in a volunteer capacity with the association throughout her membership, co-chairing the SITE Young Leaders Committee in 2009 and 2010, and Chairing the Global Conference in 2011 in addition to serving on the International Board of Directors.
Posted Industry Jobs
From SearchWide Global:
—The Washington County (Ore.) Visitors Association is seeking a new president & CEO. Click here for more information.
—There is an opening for a CEO at Experience Olympia & Beyond in Washington State. For more information, click here.
—The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce is searching for a new chief marketing officer. Click here for more information.
—Destinations International has an opening for a sales & services manager. For more information, click here.
—Visit SLO CAL (San Luis Obispo County, California) is searching for a chief marketing officer. Visit here for more information.
—The Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority, located in Valdosta, Georgia, has an opening or a conference sales director. For more information, click here.
—VisitGreenvilleSC is looking for a president and CEO. For additional details, click here.
—Visit Florida is searching for a vice president of marketing. For more information, visit here.
—The Bermuda Tourism Authority is looking for a chief sales and marketing officer. For additional details, click 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.
—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
From Indeed.com: We’ve taken a look at this site (click here) which says that it has more than 220 jobs listed, including a fair number in the travel, tourism and related industries. A sampler of what to expect is below.
—Frederick, Maryland is searching for an executive director of tourism. Salary listed is $125,000-$150,000 a year. Details here.
—Gloucester County, Virginia is looking for a tourism coordinator to perform work in all aspects of a comprehensive tourism program for Gloucester County. More details here.
—American Cruise Lines has an opening for a manager of guest programs who will be based at the company’s Guilford CT office. Details here.
—Hornblower Cruises and Events has an opening for a National Tourism Director-Cruises & Events. Details here.
From LinkedIn Jobs: Known to many across the board in the travel and tourism industry, the LinkedIn list (click here) has numerous job opportunities posted. Following is a brief sample of some of those jobs listed.
—Amazon in Baltimore, Md., is seeking to add a tour specialist to its fulfillment center public tours program. BW12, Details here.
—Caesars Entertainment is searching for a vice president of entertainment and attractions marketing. Details here.
—American Dream, an entertainment complex in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, has an opening for chief of staff to the vice chairman & CEO. Details here.
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