The Discontent of the UK Holidaymaker
A hoped for Q2 recovery evaporates and Q3 is now in peril. Were he writing Richard III today, perhaps Shakespeare might change the word “winter” to “summer” so that King Richard would utter the widely used quote from the drama so that it would say, “Now is the summer of our discontent …” For, judging from the content of the news coverage and commentary coming out of both the trade and consumer news channels of distribution in the UK, the travel and tourism industries—as well as their clients and customers—are feeling pretty miserable.
How things have changed. On February 23rd, the day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it might be OK for long-haul travel to outside of the UK to start by May 17, business at travel agencies exploded. According to a Bloomberg news item at the time, easyJet ticket sales more than quadrupled in the hours after Johnson made his announcement, and TUI UK said that reservations to Spain, Turkey and Greece jumped sixfold overnight. Later, June 21 was established as Freedom Day, the day upon which travel most restrictions imposed on travel because of COVID-19, would be eased.
Then, last week, the Johnson government announced that an additional month had been tacked on to the proposed “Freedom Day” on which most restrictions on outbound international travel would be eliminated—pushing it back to July 17. The reason cited for the postponement was an increase in the number COVID cases that involved a new variant.
Johnson said if the government were to lift restrictions on June 21, as first planned, there could be thousands of more deaths. So, the government’s goal is to get all adults vaccinated even more quickly than before. As summed up by Euronews, the situation, then, looks like this:
—Full opening of restrictions delayed until July 19.
—Delay in the opening is due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
—Accelerating vaccination for all adults to get two doses.
—There will be a plan for ‘booster vaccines’ coming out soon.
—Furlough scheme for employees’ wages continues to September 30.
Just as the Johnson announcement was sinking in, the authoritative travel trade publication, Travel Weekly(UK) released some details of a report based on survey research it had commissioned. A key finding was that merely 31 percent of UK adults planned to take an overseas holiday by April next year, but of these only just 15 percent (just a breath above five percent of the adult population) would “travel at the earliest opportunity.” (You’ll find more results from the study below.)
And it didn’t help the industry’s esprit de corps when a TV doctor, Amir Khan, said last week that no one should be able to travel abroad until everyone in the UK is vaccinated. No wonder, then, the historically sedate and polite professionals in the British tourism industry called for a “Travel Day of Action” (scheduled to take place today, June 23) at major cities that would include talks with government officials. Organized by the Save the Future Travel Coalition, the day’s action was also convening virtual and local events for those unable to travel.
What the public is telling us—more from the survey: Whether there is a causal relationship between the discouraging news about the COVID-19 virus and the British public’s attitude about travel is irrelevant. What seems to matter is how the industry can analyze the survey and take steps to help the travel and tourism industry salvage something in the remaining half-year of business. Some of the survey findings include the following:
—Almost one in three prospective holidaymakers (30 percent) intended to “wait and see” how the traffic light system (the colors of red, amber or green—red meaning “don’t even think of trying to go there”) for international travel develops before booking.
—One in four (26 percent) either said they were “unlikely” to take an overseas holiday “while the traffic light system is in place” or were uncertain of the requirements for travel.
—The remainder simply didn’t know when they might book or travel.
—The findings suggest substantial caution among consumers even before the government removed Portugal from the destination green list in early June.
—There was a clear division by age on almost every response.
—Almost one in five would-be holidaymakers under 54 (18 percent) said they would travel at the earliest opportunity compared with 5 [percent of those aged 65 and over.
—Twenty percent of those aged under 35 felt reassured they would be able to travel before the end of the year. It was just 14 percent or less among all aged 35 and above.
—One in four (26 percent) of those under the age of 45 said they would wait to see how travel’s restart develops before booking, compared with 39 percent of those who are 55 and over.
—Only one in nine of those under 45 (11 percent) said they were unlikely to take a holiday while the traffic light system is in place, compared with the one in five (19 percent) who would delay booking among those 45 and above.
—One in seven (14 percent) young holiday buyers (aged 16-34) were unsure about overseas travel requirements, second only to those aged 65 and over (18 percent). Less than one in 12 (8 percent) of those 45-to-64-year-olds who said they were unsure.
—Overall, the research said under-35s who intend to take a holiday (37 percent) are confident about travelling abroad, declining to almost one in three 35-to-54-year-olds 31 percent) and one in five over the age of 55 (20 percent).
—However, those under 45 also appear more uncertain about travel. That is, 23 percent of respondents in 35-44-year-old category and 17 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds were unsure of their intentions. In contrast, just 6 percent of would-be holidaymakers aged 65 or over were unsure.
Notes on the China Market
● Chinese Family Travel Market Looms Large: “Three-child policy set to further boost China’s booming family travel.” This across-the-top-of-the-page headline in a recent China Travel News article on the growing importance of family travel makes its point with a treasure trove of data and charts that area very convincing. They also buttress the opinion of those who are marketing to Chinese travelers that interest by families in “outdoorsy” product is high.
This and other points are noted in a report put out by Tencent-backed online travel company Tongcheng-Elong that focused on family travel in China in 2020 and related trends for the future.
Some of the information bytes one ought to digest from the report include the following:
—In the first half of this year, spending on family travel increased by 41 percent year-on-year.
—According to the seventh national population census conducted last year, there were 253 million children aged 14 or below in China—a 17.95 percent of the population and 1.35 percentage points higher than in 2010.
—The increase in the number of children aged 14 or younger reflects the potential for the growth of family travel.
—Summer was prime season for family travel
—Although long-haul trips catering for families with children aged 12 and younger declined 13.8 percent in 2020 compared to pre-Covid levels, long-haul family trips taken in July and August as well as January had shown peak demand.
—Despite the impact of the pandemic, local family trips started recovering since the second quarter of 2020 and peaked in August and October
—Consumers born in the 1980s and 1990s (aged between 22 and 41) became the major force for family travel, accounting for 44.8 percent and 29.5 percent of the travelers. As a second child was allowed in the 1970s, there was a relatively high proportion of family travel in certain age segments in the age range of age 42 to 51.
—Travelers aged between 22 and 41 were more fashion and quality oriented, which also pushed the family travel market toward diversification and high quality. Tongcheng-Elong’s data showed that while typical family rooms in hotels remained the most popular accommodations, alternative accommodations such as log cabins, tree houses, tents and RVs were also gaining popularity. (Read the complete article here.)
● Fire up the Barbie—for Chinese Visitors: Does this sound like a scene from Beijing? Families are barbecuing beside their tents at a campsite. The children, who have spent the day playing outdoors, help their parents with dinner by passing them food to place on the grill. But in suburban Beijing?
Take note, U.S. travel suppliers interested in offering an itinerary to Chinese visitors in the wake of the global pandemic, in which outdoors activities are expected to be a sought-after component of a Chinese traveler’s holiday in the USA.
For many Chinese parents, the outdoor barbecue, along with other activities outside, has become increasingly popular. It is a chance to break free from urban responsibilities and get close to nature with their children.
A recently released survey report from Trip.com Group showed that the expenditure on trips by Chinese families in the first half of 2021 has increased by 41 percent from the same period last year, with a surge in camping and outdoor activities.
Not something that have appeared in surveys of Chinese travel intentions in the past, camping and outdoor activities are considered by many parents consider camping to be a great opportunity for children to experience the outdoors and develop skills, curiosity and courage.
In a China Daily article on the phenomenon, Zhao Yihong, a mother in Beijing, said that her son still
recalls their trip to Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park in Guangdong province two years ago, when they camped in a tent outside the glasshouse of pandas.
For Xiang Yan, a Beijing citizen, camping allows for more freedom and is more slow-paced compared with other types of family trip. He took a camping holiday in early May and is already planning a second one. “Many young parents also consider camping a break for themselves,” he says.
The trend is more evident in larger cities. According to Trip.com statistics, family bookings for camping in and around Shanghai increased by 206 percent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2019, while the number of campsites around first- and second-tier cities account for over half of those in the whole country. Click here for the complete article.
● Chinese spoken here: What every professional in international tourism already knew—Chinese is an official UN language. In an interview with the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said that its recent decision to adopt Chinese as one of its official languages reflects China’s growing importance in the world tourism market.
Pololikashvili said that “China is playing an increasingly significant role in the global tourism sector,” adding that China “is a top destination in its own right and, prior to the pandemic, had established itself as the number one source market for international tourists. Including Chinese as one of UNWTO’s official languages ensures the increased participation of China in our organization’s work, reflecting the significance of the country to global tourism.”
According to Pololikashvili, the addition of Chinese “means the UNWTO now has all six official languages of the United Nations in alignment with the UN’s objective of promoting multilingualism and good communication between nations and peoples.” The six languages are now Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. He explained that the large numbers of Chinese tourists “help support jobs and businesses” throughout the world. Click here for the complete article.
Which are the USA’s Most Popular Parks?
With so much pent-up demand among overseas travels who want to come to the USA, one wonders if there is any room left this summer? For international visitors to the United States, nothing speaks to meaning of America as much as our national parks.
However, when developing an itinerary that includes a U.S. National Park, be aware that the U.S. National Park Service, be aware that the NPS has oversees 423 units in the United States. Of these, 61 are national parks. The remaining units have around 20 naming designations, and many of these are commonly called “parks.”
The following list, provided by the NPS, gives one an idea of the vast range of NPS units.
For more on the units in the above list, visit here.
The most popular: The following table provides the ten most visited parks in the USA—that is, the ten most visited parks list from the more than 19 naming designations that currently exist.
A couple of interesting notes regarding the data in the above table:
—Nearly 14.9 billion visits have been registered at U.S. national parks and properties since the numbers were first recorded in 1905.
—After reaching 327.5 million visitors at national parks in 2019, the number declined by 27.6 percent last year.
Notes on the German Market
● Mood is Upbeat, even if most of the activity is in the retail channel. The point is: Germans want to travel—now! The setting, the attitude and the outlook is best summed up in an item from FVW / TravelTalk by its editor-in-chief, Holger Jacobs: “The upturn continues: After months of doom and gloom, the easing of travel restrictions and proceeding vaccinations have significantly lifted the mood in German travel agencies in June. The sales situation has improved considerably while future expectations even reached a record high.”
● The Numbers Reflect an Upswing: According to the consulting agency Dr. Fried & Partner, travel agent expectations (“Erwartung”) for the next six months reached an index level of 134 in June. This increase passed 100 in May and reached its highest level since the index was launched in 2005.
—The percentage of respondents who expect demand for travel services to increase in the next six months had already more than doubled from 21.4 percent in April to 45.9 percent in May, rose to 78.9 percent this month.
—The upswing is also reflected in the improved assessment of future earnings –
Although the change in the anticipated amount of earnings is not great, more than half of all agents (54.2 percent vs. 31.5 in May) expect an improvement within the next six months.
—Travel industry market researchers Travel Data + Analysis tells us that bookings started rising week by week during May, and even exceeded the pre-corona levels of May 2019 in the third week of the month. This indicates a real boom in the last few weeks. As of end-April, bookings for summer 2021 had been 11 percent below the level of last year and a massive 82 percent behind April 2019.
● Thumbs up at TUI: Summer business is picking up significantly at TUI, Germany’s largest tour operator. The trade publication Touristik Aktuell says that “the easing of travel in Europe and the cancellation of the general travel warning for corona risk areas with incidence values below 200 worldwide, announced for July 1st, are causing an extreme catch-up effect.”
“The race to catch up for the summer vacation is in full swing, and the consumer mood for travel seems to be increasing every day,” said Marek Andryszak, CEO of TUI Germany during a media call last week. “We have had strong booking weeks, which since May have even topped the level of the comparative weeks of 2019.” The most popular holiday destinations were even up by a double-digit percentage
Mallorca leads TUI’s top ten for the summer: While hardly a long-haul destination, Mallorca, off the eastern coast of Spain, ranks Number 1 in a ranking of top destinations for TUI customers. The top ten looks like this: #1 Mallorca; #2: Crete; #3 Antalya; #4 Rhodes; #5 Kos; #6 Fuerteventura; #7 Gran Canaria; #8 Tenerife; #9 Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania; #10 Ibiza.
TUI officials said that its revitalized package tour holiday form currently accounts for 70 percent of total demand at TUI, noting that this trend is favored by the strong customer demand for security and flexibility. According to Hubert Kluske, head of sales, said that more than half of TUI customers now opt for the Flex tariff, which the tour operator introduced as a novelty for global package tours during the COVID-19 crisis. This allows a customer to rebook and cancel free of charge up to 14 days before arrival.
Customers want help: The need for advice—from customers and travel agencies—is currently “extremely high” at TUI. This leads to poor availability, it was explained and, therefore, too much resentment among sales partners. Kluske said that he was aware that their expectations of TUI’s service quality. are different from what TUI is currently able to provide. To improve the situation, TUI wants to set up a callback function for travel agencies in the next few weeks. At the headquarters in Hanover, Kluske told the media gathering TUI was working together to process requests for departure dates.
● Up Nearly 300 Percent! Agency sales rebound, far outstripping totals for last year. There was a year-on-year increase of almost 300 percent. The total invoiced turnover of the travel agencies recorded in the “ta.ts* travel agency mirror” in May 2021 was plus 294.4 percent compared to the same month last year.
The over-the-top increase vs. May 2020 is due in part to the fact that industry business had hit rock bottom in May of last year. As such, the record increases in turnover show that travel and tourism are bouncing back (to normality, one hopes) to pre pandemic levels. Other data points in the travel agency mirror” include the following:
—The billed tourism turnover shows an increase of 247.2 percent in May.
—Air traffic revenue was up 196.0 percent for May.
—“Other sales” were up 109.4 percent and the number of tickets is plus 185.4 percent.
—The turnover from the tourism sub-division cruises was an increase of 134.4 percent in May.
—Viewed cumulatively (Remember, the first several months of 2020 were healthy in terms of sales; as such, the year-on-year cumulative will be lower levels of sales overall.)
—The total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to May is minus 69.5 percent.
—Tourism recorded a minus of 79.7 percent.
—Air traffic recorded a decline of 71.1 percent.
—”Other sales” showed a drop-off of 39.7 percent.
—The number of tickets scored a decrease of 74.7 percent.
—The cruises segment recorded a minus of 77.2 percent.
Meanwhile, incoming orders for tourism were up 177.8 percent on a monthly basis.
The tourism order backlog by travel date up to October 2021 is minus 69.2 percent. In the sub-division cruises, incoming orders are plus 199.8 percent in a month-on-month comparison, the order backlog according to the travel date up to October 2021 is minus 58.0 percent.
● FTI has new brand. The tour operator has created a new look for its main brands. One of Germany’s top operators, Munich-based FYI, is using the current atmosphere of change in the tourism industry as an opportunity to relaunch its brand. The new logo has less orange and appears to be more airy and high-value.
“The logos for the FTI Group, FTI Touristik, Drive FTI and the FTI Ticketshop have been given a facelift in all our source markets and will replace our previous representation with immediate effect,” explains Ralph Schiller, FTI group managing director. “We are focusing on a uniform, open, fresh and contemporary design.”
At the same time, added Schiller, FTTI Group is concentrating its color scheme on the contrast between gray and orange – which should look more elegant. Schiller explained the new concept should make FTI Group independent of backgrounds for the integration of the logos on travel documents, sales information, advertising material or in moving images, and therefore particularly flexible.
“As cautiously as we currently still have to deal with such tendencies, it currently looks as if the Corona pandemic can be brought under control and the tourism industry can get back to full speed,” Ralph Schiller summed up. “We are pleased to be able to literally send out a signal for the dawn of a new world of travel with our new logo.”
● International capacity slowly, slowly expanding. The last time we checked, airlines have taken steps to make sure they are market ready once border issues and other travel restrictions are removed. In the meantime, the activity of some of the legacy carriers shows some movement. For instance,
—Lufthansa is bringing back its flights to the U.S. On Wednesday, June 2nd, the airline brought back service to Orlando International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. There are also flights to Detroit.
—Delta Airlines has flights to the U.S. from Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Dresden
—American has flights to the U.S. from Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich.
—United has flights to the U.S. Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Munich.
Almost all of the above connections have at least one stop between destinations. And while they don’t seem to be major revenue generators, the legacy carriers seem to believe that, by having flights during this period of near-zero activity, they will build share that they will keep once there is a back-to-normal level of activity.
What We Mean When Say “Blackout Dates”
New industry employees, loss of others, makes it necessary for some to learn the travel and tourism industry’s terminology. By the scores of thousands, employees for hotels, restaurants, airlines, tour companies, theme parks, attractions and motorcoach companies lost their jobs as the global pandemic laid waste to the travel and tourism industry in 2020 and 2021.
Some were laid off or retired. Some found employment in other sectors of the U.S. economy, such as real estate, insurance, financial services or retail sales. One of the net results of this dislocation or re-employment to other sectors has meant that many, if not most, of the replacements new to the industry are unaware of the special vocabulary we employ in our daily business.
And it is not as if there are readily available volumes called “Speaking Tourism” or “What We Mean When We Say Blackout Dates.” Aware of this, INBOUND is making available an introduction, of sorts, to the subject prepared by Sally Berry, a veteran of the industry who has been much-sought-after featured speaker, discussion moderator and trainer.
25 Tourism Industry Terms Every Pro Should Know, by Sally Berry
Every industry has its own terminology and bizarre acronyms and the tourism industry is no different. I have kept a list of tourism industry vocabulary terms people have asked me about this year.* I think that we all want to look like we know what everyone is talking about so sometimes we are hesitant to ask what something means.
So, if there is a word that you are wondering about that is not on this Tourism Industry Vocabulary list, you can send me an email and I will explain it and add it on to this list. Save this list and take a look at it next time before you go to an industry event and you will look like one of the smartest tourism professionals in the room.
* First published by INBOUND in 2016
Tourism Industry Terms
ABA– American Bus Association. One of the largest trade organizations for the group tour market. They have an annual Marketplace where several thousand tour operators and suppliers (see definition below) meet to create business for all.
Bed tax. Most counties and states charge a tax for anyone that stays in a hotel. It can range from a few percentage points to double digits ( see this article). Also called a hotel occupancy tax, the funds are often used to support the local tourism promotion agency, as well as infrastructure repairs.
Blackout dates. This is a term for suppliers such as attractions. Are there admission dates you will not sell to tour operators? Some attractions have special events with special pricing and therefore cannot offer the usual discounted rate to a tour operator. In that case, you would let the tour operator know those are blackout dates and they cannot sell tickets on those dates. Another example is for hotels that know they sell out at a higher rate every year on 4th of July – those dates are blackout dates for the hotel. Tour operators prefer to work with limited blackout dates so use these sparingly.
Buyers. In the tourism industry, a buyer is a tour operator. They ‘buy’ your product from you, whether it is admission tickets, hotel rooms or airline tickets. Buyers can be small mom and pop tour companies, or international online travel agencies. Buyers make us happy!
Charters. A tour company will tell you that they work with charters. The definition of a charter is: “the reservation of an aircraft, boat, or bus for private use.” An example is a school band that needs to get to the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade. They will charter a bus to get them there. Sometimes charters are just transportation, and sometimes there is some tour planning involved.
Direct bill. This is a term a tour operator will use when they want you to bill them on a monthly basis, versus every time a customer of theirs comes to your attraction. This makes sense when you welcome dozens of their groups or individual customers every month. Most suppliers will have a tour operator fill out a credit check before they agree to a direct billing relationship. It does make payment and billing more efficient.
D.M.O. Destination Marketing Organization. Often used interchangeably with TPA ( see definition below) this is an organization that works to promote a destination. They can focus on many market such as conventions, group tours, leisure visitors and international visitors. They are often funded by bed tax, membership fees or money made through promotional activities for their partners. A DMO can represent an area as small as a county, or as large as our country (U.S. Travel)
FAM tour. A Familarization tour is a way for tour operators or media to learn more about your destination. These tours are typically organized by a DMO and suppliers are included as a stop on the itinerary. FAMs are the best way for a buyer to learn about your property. I wrote a blog post on best practices for FAM tours earlier this year.
F.I.T. Depending on who you ask, this stands for Foreign Independent Traveler, Frequent Independent Traveler or Financially Independent Traveler. They all have this in common- it’s one person, a couple or a family instead of a large group. FIT customers can purchase an entire vacation package that included everything, or can pick and choose what elements of a vacation they would like.
Fly-Drive. This is a bare bones package for a FIT customer. Just like it implies, it includes a flight and a rental car. Many companies will upsell fly drives by offering touring ideas with unique stops that they can then book.
GDS- Global Distribution System. Wikipedia has a great definition: A Global Distribution System is a network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers (mainly airlines, hotels and car rental companies) and travel agencies. Travel agencies traditionally relied on GDS for services, products & rates in order to provision travel-related services to the end consumers.
Group Leaders. Group leaders will bring groups to your attraction, so they are valuable contacts. They usually do this as a volunteer position, or as a hobby. Many church groups or social organizations fall into this category. They should get a discount from your general admission price, but not as large a discount as a tour operator.
NTA – National Tour Association. One of the largest trade organizations for the group tour market. They have an annual Travel Exchange where several thousand tour operators and suppliers (see definition below) meet to create business for all. NTA has a partnership with the Department of Commerce to vet all Chinese tour operators that want to sell tours of the United States. The China Inbound program has over 200 members currently.
OTA–Online travel agency. The internet has changed a lot in our industry and the birth and growth of OTAs is one of the biggest changes. Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz are all examples of websites where people can book travel directly. Chinese OTAs such as CTrip and Alitravel will be larger than all the other OTAs combined within a few years.
Pre-formed tour. This is a type of tour group. It means that someone has a group of people who want to travel together and they call a tour operator and have them plan the tour for them. That means that sometimes they have the opportunity to plan a tour to an area they don’t usually feature. Even if all their tours are planned for the year, there might be a preformed group that will have them create something new. Pre-formed groups are opportunities for suppliers and are a good thing!
Retail pricing. This is the full ticket price without any discounts. A visitor walking through the door of your attraction pays the retail price. Wholesale (see definition below) is what tour operators and online booking companies like Viator or Expedia will pay.
ROI. Stands for Return on Investment. This is a common term in many industries. In our industry, it often refers to judging whether a tradeshow, sales mission or ad campaign was worth the money spent on it. What was our ROI on attending this tradeshow last year. As you can imagine, ROI can be a challenge to track.
Shoulder season. This is the time of year at an attraction or destination that is between the high season with the most visitors, and the low season with the fewest. Shoulder seasons area often the best place to develop ideas for growth.
Supplier. Suppliers are the businesses that supply tourism product to a travel buyer. That is a technical way to say that a supplier is an attraction, a hotel, a shopping venue, a restaurant or transportation provider. If you welcome visitors, you are most likely a supplier!
Tiered Pricing. This is different levels of pricing for different customers. In the group tour industry, retail is the highest price. There is a level with a 10-15% discount for group leaders, and the highest discount
(between 15-30%) is for tour companies. Look for a future blog post on tiered pricing.
Tour operator/Tour company. This is a business whose main focus is to sell a package tour to customers. They have websites and staff, which is what separates them from group leaders. They should get a price of 20-30% off your retail price.
Trade shows. There are many trade shows that attractions can attend to get more business. NTA and ABA both have large annual conventions, and there are many regional and state motor coach trade shows as well. This is an efficient way to meet many tour operators in one place, attend educational sessions and network with your peers.
Viator. a large online booking company that specializes in attractions and experience ticketing. Viator is now owned by TripAdvisor so your tickets can be sold right from your TripAdvisor listing. I recommend looking in to it for your business.
Voucher. This is a piece of paper that a tour company will have their customer (tour guide or group leader) turn in at your attraction. The voucher confirms that they will pay. This is often easier for companies to use instead of sending a check or paying with a credit card. In order to receive payment, your company will have to show the vouchers that were turned in and bill the company. Vouchers can also be used with FIT guests.
Wholesale pricing. This is the lowest level of pricing you offer to a tour company or online travel company. The lower price is necessary because they will purchase your tickets, mark them up and resell them as part of a tour package. Viator asks for wholesale pricing when working with attractions.
HODGE PODGE: Changes, Openings & Appointments
Cathy (Keefe) Reynolds, manager, media relations and lead manager, IPW Press Operations at the U.S. Travel Association, who is probably known by more international travel journalists—both trade and consumer—than anyone else in the world, is making a career change. She and her husband, Chris, are moving in a couple of months to Pretoria, South Africa for his foreign service officer job, So, Reynolds said in a social media post, “after 29 years and an amazing career with U.S. Travel, I’m grateful and excited to be transitioning to a consultant role and continuing management of the IPW press operations program.” Reynolds joined U.S. Travel (when it was still the Travel Industry Association of America) in 1992 as a research marketing and membership coordinator.
WestJet has announced that President and CEO Ed Sims will retire at the end of 2021. In four years with WestJet, Sims was responsible for the successful introduction of the company’s Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft, the launch of two new airline ventures, the significant expansion of WestJet’s international network, as well as the continued growth of WestJet Vacations, WestJet Cargo and the WestJet Rewards program. Sims will remain as president and chief executive, as well as a member of the WestJet Group board of directors until December 2021.
Stefan Vasic has been appointed as head of marketing for Swiss International Airlines (SWISS). He will take up his new duties on July 1st. Vasic is presently the company’s head of sponsoring & events, social media and tourism partnerships. Vasic will be responsible for SWISS’s marketing communications in Switzerland and for implementing all marketing actions within the overall framework of the Lufthansa Group’s global marketing strategy. He will report to Head of SWISS Brand Experience Caroline Drische. Stefan Vasic has held a range of positions at SWISS since 2007.
The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA), the official destination marketing organization for Seattle Southside, including the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines, has announced that Mark Everton is its new president and CEO, replacing outgoing leader Katherine Kertzman, who announced her retirement last year. With over 35 years of experience in travel, tourism and hospitality management, Everton joins the Seattle Southside RTA after most recently serving as president and CEO of Visit Oakland, the convention and visitors bureau in Oakland, California.
Geoff Dobson has been named Travelbag’s destination manager for North America, Caribbean and Mexico. He will report to the long-haul tailormade specialist’s head of product Suzanne Harvey. Dobson has more than a decade’s experience in product and commercial roles at a number of operators, including Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays, and with theme parks. Said Dobson: “Although it’s a different world now, the USA will never stop being a popular destination for British travelers, so I’m looking forward to working with the Travelbag team alongside our supplier partners to create products they’ll love and getting them out there again.”
Jack Kenn has been named general manager of the hospitality company Pursuit’s newest expansion, FlyOver, an immersive ride attraction set to launch in Las Vegas this fall. Kenn will be responsible for overseeing daily operations of the new attraction, which will be located next to the Hard Rock Cafe on Las Vegas Boulevard. With more than two decades of experience in the entertainment and hospitality industries, Kenn has worked alongside some of the biggest names in Las Vegas productions including Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and more.
Mark Hopper has been named director of sales, UK, for Insider Journeys. Hopper, a long-time veteran of the travel and tourism industry, will focus particularly on further developing Insider Journeys’ existing presence in these markets along with Insider Journeys’ UK-based team.
Ross Ferguson has been named chief commercial officer for Gordian Travel International LLC, a U.S.-based travel management company specializing in travel for the non-profit community. A 25-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry Ferguson has spent the last 17 years of those focused on supporting non-profit organizations in multiple countries. He has held leadership roles in sales, marketing and account management for both established and high growth travel management companies, as well as start-up organizations. Most recently, he was senior vice president (USA) for Diversity travel, and senior vice president (USA) for Key Travel.
John Constable, a former TUI UK group managing director and former CEO of STA Travel, has joined Titan Travel as chief executive. Titan managing director Andy Squirrell and chief financial officer Steve Jenkins will report to Constable, who joins from Helloworld Travel Ltd, where he held the role of executive group general manager for nearly three years.
After 15 months of unemployment due to the impact of the COVID virus, David Eaton has been named director of business development in the coach and tour group segment for DATTCO, INC. Eaton said that he is “extremely excited to get back into the tour and travel industry after spending my first 28+ years in the industry with Conway Tours.”
Phil Shipman has joined Classic Collection and Classic Package Holidays as strategic account director for consortia and new business. Most recently, Shipman, a well-known veteran in the UK travel trade, had spent the last year as business development manager, trade, for Ikos and Sani Resorts. Before launching his job with Sani and Ikos last year, Shipman spent more than two years working for G Touring as key account manager for the central region for escorted touring brands Travelsphere and Just You. He has also held trade positions at Club Med and Cadogan Holidays, and was a business development manager for Global Travel Group.
Chris Lee, head of travel for Barclays, has retired after a 40-year career with the bank. Lee joined Barclays from school as an office junior and has spent the past 30 years in corporate management roles in London. He has been head of travel and professional sports for the past 18 years, having been responsible for forming the division.
Andrea O’Hara has been named as a new vice president at Visit Overland Park, a city of some 200,000 people in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. She will provide organizational leadership in areas such as convention development, tournament sports and community partnerships. O’Hara brings more than 20 years of hospitality and sales experience and most recently was the Midwest national sales director for the San Diego Tourism Authority. She also has held sales roles at Visit KC, Hilton, Marriott, and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
Arlette Garibay has moved up to the position of director of sales for the Ontario (California) Convention Center and Greater Ontario CVB. Garbay has been with the Ontario CVB for more than 14 years.
Michael Crowley has been named chief marketing officer for the world-renowned New York Botanical Garden, a 250-attraction in The Bronx. Founded 130 years ago, and is a special draw for international visitors to the U.S. Crowley, who has been a part of the New York City arts and attractions scene for some 20 years, was a previously a partner in LaPlaca Cohen for several years. He has held senior level positions in such attractions as the New York Restoration Project and the Roundabout Theatre Company.
Heather Larson has been selected to lead Meet Chicago Northwest, the official destination marketing organization for Chicago’s Northwest suburbs. She succeeds Dave Parulo, who moved to Oregon to take over as president & CEO of the Washington County Visitors Association. Larson, who previously served as director of sales with Meet Chicago Northwest, first joined the organization in December 2010 when it was then known as Greater Woodfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Shane Brossard has been promoted to the position of chief marketing officer at Travel Wisconsin. He previously served as director of marketing and advertising. Brossard joined the organization nine-and-a-half years ago as a senior communications specialist.
Tyler Walsh has been promoted to the position of director, marketing at Economic Development Winnipeg, which also includes YES! Winnipeg and Tourism Winnipeg. Walsh joined the organization almost five years ago. Before joining Economic Development Winnipeg, Walsh was a multimedia editor and video producer at the Winnipeg Free Press, and prior to that he was a producer at Global News, which is based in Winnipeg.
Diana Adamson Arias is the new vice president of independent advisors (IA) and affiliates, business development & operations for the Ovation Group She will be responsible for IA support and growth on the U.S. East Coast. A travel industry leader who spent more than three decades with Four Seasons, most recently in sales for the Americas–joined Ovation last week. Her arrival came just two weeks prior to the formal reopening of Ovation’s New York headquarters on June 28. According to Travel Weekly’s 202 Power List, Ovation is ranked number 15 among travel agencies doing business in the United States, with $1.6 billion in sales.
Jorge Franz has been named senior vice president of tourism and industry relations at Houston First, the agency that oversees Visit Houston, the city’s tourism bureau. He’ll retain that role and report to Houston First acting president and CEO Michael Heckman in his new position. Franz has been with the organization since 2003 when he joined the then-Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau as deputy director of international public relations and Houston Image Group.
From SearchWide Global:
—Visit Pittsburg has an opening for chief sales officer. More details here.
—Visit Carlsbad is searching for a president and CEO. More details here.
—Switch, An Experience Agency based in St. Louis whose product lines include digital marketing, business meetings and events, and trade shows, is looking for a president and CEO. More details here.
—There is an opening for a chief executive officer at Explore Skagit Valley in Washington State. More details here.
—Louisville Tourism is looking for a senior vice president of convention development. More details here.
—Travel Portland is searching for a vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. More details here.
—The Pacific Hospitality Group has an opening for an area director of marketing. More details here.
—Visit Wichita is searching for a vice president of marketing. More details here.
—Visit Wichita has an opening for a vice president of sales. More details here.
—Destinations International is searching for a senior director, membership engagement. More details here.
—The tourism research and intelligence company Arrivalist has an opening for a chief sales officer. More details here.
—The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new president and CEO. More details here.
—Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the Promotional Products Association International, is searching for a president & chief executive officer. More details here.
—The Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority in Georgia is looking for a new executive director. More details here.
—In the Charlotte/Concord area of North Carolina, Great Wolf Resorts has an opening for a director of sales and catering. For details, click here
—Georgia’s Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority is searching for a conference sales director. More 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 currently listed.
—Interdependence Public Relations is looking for a managing director of travel and tourism. More details here.
—Jet Blue is searching for a manager of corporate communications, and his based in Long Island City N.Y. More details here.
—REI has an opening for an adventure travel program coordinator. More details here.
—Interdependence Public Relations in Denver is searching for a Managing Director to launch and build a travel, leisure and hospitality division at its rapidly growing PR firm. More details here.
—Ralph Lauren is search for a coordinator, brand activation (regional tourism – West). More details here.
From Indeed.com: We’ve taken a look at this site (click here) which says that it has hundreds of new jobs listed, including a fair number in the travel, tourism and related industries. A sampler of what to expect is below.
—Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City is looking for a manager of tourism and travel. More details here.
—Sesame Place, located in Langhorne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, has an opening for a public relations manager. More details here.
—The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is looking for a vice president of guest experience. The salary range is $130,000 – $157,000 a year: More details here.
—The American Queen Steamboat Company has a temporary, remote location opening for a shore excursions logistics manager. Location cited is in Easton, Pennsylvania. More details here.
—The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum in Los Angeles is searching for a group sales manager. More details here.
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