● Brother, Can You Spare a Job (Seeker)? Until the 2020-21 global pandemic came along, the tour and travel industry didn’t seem to have a problem re-hiring workers who lost their jobs in a crisis. Now, with a number of nations having entered the pandemic crisis, the industry is having to face an absence of a labor pool—a situation made worse for those selling Visit USA product because of declining birth rates in major source markets. And it’s not just small or mid-level businesses that are affected. Proof of this was the move announced last week by the global travel agency Group Flight Centre that it is using the lure of free shares in the company will be rewarded with staff loyalty.
Flight Centre plans to offer 250 shares to workers if they remain with the company until at least December 31, 2022. Based on current share price, the offer is worth than (US) $3,000. Flight Centre has laid off thousands since the start of the pandemic and many have left for more stable employment in other industries. Flight Centre is one of the world’s largest travel groups, with more than 30 brands and major centers of operations in four areas, including: Australia/New Zealand; the Americas—U.S. Canada and Mexico; EMEA markets; and Asia.
● Private Equity Firm Acquires Attraction World: The global ticket seller of attractions, tours and travel experiences, UK-based Attraction World, has been acquired by Ten Oceans Private Equity for an undisclosed sum. Ten Oceans, which is headquartered in NYC, said it had purchased the experiences provider after an earlier investment in Prioticket, a strategic partner of Attraction World. During the pandemic, Attraction World and Prioticket worked together to offer a range of in-destination experiences, with API connections to companies including Walt Disney World Resort Florida, Universal Orlando Resort Florida, City Sightseeing Worldwide, Hornblower, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and The Travel Corporation. Dutch entrepreneur Lara Timmerman, founder of Ten Oceans Private Equity, said: “I see a lot of synergies across the two businesses and we will continue to review other investment opportunities across the industry where we feel there are complementary partnerships.”
● “Ongoing Uncertainty” Causes TUI to Cancel Traffic to Major Destinations till Later: Europe’s largest tour operator, TUI, last week cancelled more than 20 destinations until July 22nd. The move was a major blow to the continent’s hopes for launching a post-Pandemic comeback for the travel and tourism industry. Holidaymakers who were booked on packages to destinations including mainland Spain, La Palma, Cyprus, several Greek resorts, as well as the operator’s entire Lakes & Mountains program on the UK, were notified on June 29th of the cancellations.
While these cancellations had no direct impact on US-UK traffic, which has been at a standstill because of coronavirus-related restrictions, those who might have found a way to travel to the USA through some circumlocutory route were also affected, as TUI also cancelled holidays on third-party airlines to long-haul destinations, such as Canada and the U.S.
● Bedsonline upgrades “The Compass”: Hotelbeds’ Bedsonline, a leading global provider of online accommodation and ancillary products exclusively for travel agents, has launched the latest, upgraded version of The Compass, its market intelligence platform. This latest upgrade, which is available in all Bedsonline markets, comes with a refreshed design and new functionality including:
—Automatic translation with information related to each destination now displayed in the client’s default language.
—More data including information on hotels and destinations not currently booked.
—The inclusion of destination and hotels proof points meaning that from now on, travel agents will be able to see, in real time, data related to the destination and hotels based on what they buy and how much they buy so that the information is fully tailored to each and every Bedsonline client. Since its launch in August 2020, The Compass has managed over 80,000 visits for Bedsonline clients.
● Arkansas Establishes Office of Outdoor Recreation: Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced the creation of the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation and the expansion of outdoor recreation in the state that includes an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. The Office of Outdoor Recreation will be within the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and directly report to Secretary Stacy Hurst. Responsibilities will include coordinating the state’s stewardship, investments and marketing of “the great outdoors so it will be available in an expanded way to all of Arkansas.” The office will also help the state recognize what Arkansas’ outdoor opportunities means to the nation as well as the economic opportunities it brings to the state, Hutchinson said.
The office is created by an executive order of the governor. Hutchinson also is creating a 10-person Outdoor Recreation Advisory Board, that will help guide the office. To date, 16 states in the U.S. have created an office of outdoor recreation or a task force to work toward growing the outdoor recreation economy in their state, Hurst said. Arkansas is one of the first states in the U.S. South to do so.
● Travel Weekly’s Power List Resets till Next Year: Every year the travel trade publication Travel Weekly (TW) lists the travel agencies that report $100 million or more in travel sales. The result, the Power List, is regarded as an industry standard, consulted by everyone and anyone in the travel and tourism industry. “But what should a Power List look like in a pandemic year?” TW asked recently when it released its 2021 list.
The answer? Said TW: “We made an early call to freeze the 2021 Power List rankings. With the exception only of 2020 merger and acquisition activity among agencies, the rankings you’ll see on this year’s list are otherwise the same as was compiled by Travel Weekly last June.” That list was based on gross travel sales in 2019.
Why freeze the rankings? TW tells us, “We knew 2020 reported sales would be anomalous, to say the least. We wondered how many agencies would even be able to meet the traditional minimum sales threshold to be considered for inclusion.” There is more, here, in the TW special article on this year’s Power List. And here, with no frills, is the list:
1. Expedia Group; 2. Booking Holdings; 3. American Express Business Travel; 4. BCD Travel; 5. CWT; 6. Flight Centre Travel Group USA; 7. Internova Travel Group; 8. American Express Travel; 9. Direct Travel; 10. Fareportal; 11. ctm; 12. AAA; 13. Frosch; 14. Ovation Travel Group; 15. Omega World Travel; 16. World Travel Holdings; 17. World Travel; 18. Arrivia (formerly International Cruise and Excursions); 19. ATG; 20. Travel Edge; 21. Christopherson Andavo Travel; 22. Adelman; 23. Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative; 24. Adtrav Travel Management; 25. Fox World Travel; 26. Key Travel; 27. Travelstore; 28. Shorts Travel Management; 29. Avoya Travel; 30. TravelExperts; 31. Global Crew Logistics; 32. Travel Planners International; 33. Atlas Travel & Technology Group; 34. OutsideAgents.com; 35. Valerie Wilson Travel; 36. TAG; 37. Gant Travel; 37. Kintetsu International Express; 39. KHM Travel Group; 40. Balboa Travel; 41. AmTrav; 42. Global Marine Travel; UniglobeTravel Partners; 44. Travelink American Express; 45. Conlin Travel. 46. Cain Travel; 47. Hess Corporate Travel; 48. Executive Travel; 49. World Travel Service; 50. Covington Trave; 51. Small World Vacations.
Click here to read the complete Travel Weekly article.