⦁ Australia Closed to International visitors till mid-2022: In a move that stunned the tourism industry in Australia, the Australian government has apparently decided not to open its borders to international traffic until the middle of 2022. Announced via government budgeting channels two weeks ago, it seemed to catch industry leaders by surprise. Qantas—the nation’s top air carrier—announced that it will was once again postponing the resumption of international passenger services at the end of October to the end of December. Qantas also issued a statement that said: “We are still optimistic that once Australia is fully vaccinated, it will establish a travel bubble with more countries, but at this stage it is difficult to predict which countries will experience travel bubbles. Bubbles. And as time goes by and the situation develops, we will continue to review these plans.” There has been a great deal of scrambling back and forth between the industry and the government since the border announcement, but the anticipated policy has not been reversed.
⦁ In Germany “Suddenly the mood changes.” That’s what Detlef Schroer, sales manager for, Schauinsland-Reisen, told the German travel trade publication touristic aktuell last week. Like others in the German tourism industry, Schroer is now very positive about the summer—especially compared to just one month ago.
One cannot speak of a boom yet—but definitely of a new start: Since Easter, the number of bookings throughout the industry has been increasing, touristic aktuell reported. Schauinsland-Reisen is right at the forefront. “You have the feeling that every time a travel warning is no longer received, there is a new boost,” said Detlef Schroer, head of sales for the Duisburg-based Schauinsland. According to him, the bookings received by the company in May are at the level of 2019.
⦁ The National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative (BTT) working in partnership with the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), a Black-owned receptive tour operator based in Miami, FL, is launching the Black Cultural Heritage Road Trip on May 30. The Black Cultural Heritage Tours (BCHT) team will travel throughout the United States curating local, immersive Black cultural heritage tour itineraries and experiences through connections with the people and places that have shaped Black communities from the past to the present. “As the only Black-owned receptive tour operator in the U.S., our mission is to create inclusion and engagement of local Black cultural heritage community assets in the multibillion-dollar tourism industry, spurring economic growth and sustainability for small businesses and cultural institutions in underserved Black communities,” said Stephanie Jones, president of CHAT and founder of BTT. Learn more at www.experienceblackculture.com
⦁ An agreement between representatives of the travel and tourism industry and the Brazilian government will provide some relief from the 25 percent remittance levy on services performed outside of the country—an especially hard hit on tourism activity. A reduction to six percent took effect immediately. The rate will increase to 7 percent in 2023; 8 percent in 2024; and 9 percent in 2025—plus a revision in two years, which can change upwards or downwards.
In commenting on the measure, Roberto Haro Nedelciu, president of the Brazilian Tour Operators Association (BRAZTOA) told the Brazilian trade publication PANROTAS, “the government cannot give up because of the fiscal situation. In this case, however, reducing from 25 percent to 6 percent there will be a change in the budget. The government knows that it is an undue tax and that 6 percent is better on real remittances than 25 percentage on nothing.” It is a victory,” he added, “but the struggle continues to eliminate this tax.”
⦁ Controversy over the pros and cons of consulting fees continues. From FVW / Trade Talk: How much is the advice worth to vacationers? Some tourism groups are introducing consulting fees in their travel agencies. The chairman of the Association of Independent Travel Agencies (VUSR), Marija Linnhoff, considers this to be the “wrong signal”, especially in times of crisis.”
⦁ Major UK Online Brands are Merging: Palatine Private Equity has reached an agreement that will combine Icelolly Marketing Limited, which operates as Icelolly.com with Moneysupermarket.com Group’s TravelSupermarket (TSM), to enable stronger and broader travel comparison services across both brands.
Icelolly.com is an online package holidays travel intermediary founded in 2005 and specializing in price comparison and deals, and is described in the deal as complementing TSM’s comparison services. Palatine has backed the business since 2013. Following the merger, both brands will be maintained, with each benefiting from revenue diversification, shared commercial expertise and greater audience reach.
⦁ No Remote? Then, no work: Complicating the journey to and through economic recovery is an apparent change in the attitudes of workers. After up to a year a more in which they’ve done much of their work remotely, a recent study by the staffing firm of Robert Half revealed that a third of professionals (34 percent) currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if require4d to be in the office full time.
Nearly half of all those employees surveyed (49 percent) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide time between the office and another location. Even if given the opportunity to be fully remote, professionals expressed the following concerns in doing so:
1. Relationships with coworkers could suffer: 28 percent
2. Decreased productivity while at home: 26 percent
3. Fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility: 20 percent.
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⦁ TTC offers its DMC services to other companies. The Travel Corporation, which has 12 destination management companies across Africa, Europe, the Americas and the South Pacific, is making its DMC portfolio available to other travel companies to use. In explaining the move, Gavin Tollman, president of TTC, told the trade publication Travel Pulse: “During the uncertainty of the pandemic, we spoke to a number of our partners who were looking for an operational solution with the quality, knowledge, infrastructure, consistency and financial resilience to deliver on the ground in a new post-pandemic world – but they were hitherto unaware of the depth and breadth of TTC’s Destination Management portfolio.”
TTC owns 40 travel brands including tour operators, hotels and transportation companies. Some of the better-known brands include: Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld, Old-Town and Thompsons. The company, which is wholly owned by members of the Tollman family. It traces its history to a small hotel outside Cape Town, South Africa in the early 1900s.