A Partial Chinese Market for 2022?
State-of-the-Market: Chinese outbound travel should return in 2022. But when? Those looking to hear some morsel of wisdom or insight were not disappointed when George Cao, co-founder and CEO of Dragon Trail International, opened last week’s global webinar on “China’s Must-Know Post-COVID Travel Trends” by answering his own question.
Said Cao, “The top question on everybody’s mind is ‘When is the Chinese border going to open?’ and ‘When will China’s outbound travel going to flow again?’ “
In answering the question, Cao told webinar participants, “We don’t have a specific answer, but what we did hear from a semi-official source, very recently, is that the government’s research arms are projecting that outbound tourism from China will reach about 25 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.”
“That is telling me that the borders are definitely going to open this year, but it is going to be opened in a limited fashion,” he added, indicating travel to Hong Kong will be first, followed by destinations to Southeast Asia, North Asia and “maybe, then, to the rest or the world.”
Following CAO was Sienna Parulis-Cook, Dragon Trail’s director of marketing & communications, who walked webinar attendees through a crisp presentation that included the suggestion that the China outbound market won’t open until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which conclude on March 13. She said that a best-case scenario would have the Chinese border opening anywhere from spring to early summer.
Following are highlights from Parulis-Cook’s presentation, which taps into a range of sources, as well as Dragon Trail’s own market research.
The Current state of things affecting travel to and from China
• Travel restrictions will not be lifted before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics (4-20 February). The Paralympics run from 4-13 March.
• In December 2021, Ctrip Chairman James Liang said the OTA predicted that China would relax international travel restrictions in six months.
• As of 10 January, the China Tourism Academy is projecting a 20% growth in outbound and inbound tourism in 2022, recovering to 20% of 2019’s level.
• Several autumn events could delay reopening: September’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, and the 20th National Party Congress in October-November.
• A reopening will depend on the severity of the pandemic, new variants, and vaccine efficacy as well.
Current Restrictions and Obstacles
• Outbound group and package tours have been banned since January 2020.
• New passports are not being issued except for essential travel reasons.
• Outbound travel for non-essential reasons has been repeatedly discouraged – but never banned.
• Arrivals to China must quarantine in a self-paid quarantine facility for a minimum of 14 days.
• Flight tickets are far more expensive than usual – for example, US$5,500 for round-trip airfare from the Philippines to Xiamen. Additionally, flights are limited in number to once per week for most international routes, and flights to China from overseas are often canceled due to imported COVID cases.
• Chinese-made vaccines are not universally accepted or recognized by countries outside of China. For example, only seven European countries accept Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines for exemption from quarantine.
What happened to the group tours that were the staple of the Chinese source market during the early years in the late 00s and early teens? The FIT segment grew steadily and, then, as soon as COVID-19 had a name, Dragon Trail pointed out, outbound group and package tours have been banned since January 2020. And now, the profile looks like this:
Small Group and FIT Segments
(Question: What is your ideal travel type(s)—Select all that apply)
|Segment||% Of travelers favoring segment*|
|Small tour groups||23%|
|Local guided tours||15%|
|Large group tour||5%|
|I don’t know||5%|
* Source: China Traveler Sentiment Report, September 2021
Pre- and Post-COVID
|Booking Window||Percentage (%)|
|30 days or more||5%|
Source: Forward Keys 2021
Pre- and Post-COVID
|Booking Window||Percentage (%)|
|30 days or more||4%|
Source: Forward Keys 2021
In 2019, 70 percent of Ctrip’s hotel bookings in mainland China were made within 3 days of the stay. By 2020, this had increased to 80 percent, and in 2021 same-day bookings account for 60 percent of mainland China hotel reservations.
U.S. destinations should get ready to “be glamped.” As are visitors from other source markets for travelers, many Chinese are looking for activities that are new, untried and/or different. Among those especially appealing to the visitor to China are: self-driving, glamping and surfing.
—Self-Driving: Mafengwo (a popular Chinese travel SNS website that enables users to share travel experiences with each other) and the China Tourism Academy’s data shows that self-driving was the top travel activity for Chinese FITs in 2020, with nearly 28% of independent travelers going on self-driving trips. It was also the no. 1 activity for Mafengwo users in October 2021.
• “Campervan” and “self-driving” were both in the top 10 Mafengwo searches in 2020.
• On Ctrip, searches for certain highways and routes in northwest China were up by 200% year on year in 2021.
• On Ctrip’s forums, there was three times as much content on self-driving and roads in 2021 than the previous year.
—Glamping: Between 1-3 May 2021, searches for (luxury) “camping” on Xiaohongshu (also known as Little Red Book, is a social media and e-commerce platform. It has been described as “China’s answer to Instagram”) were up by 230 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Through the summer and October National Day holidays, camping continued to lead the travel trends.
• Ctrip reported that reservations for local area family camping were up by 206% in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.
• Of the approximately 26,000 camping-related companies in China, 60 percent were founded in 2020 or later.
Surfing: This activity has had one of the biggest increases in interest of any sport in China in the past several years.
• The majority of new surfers in China are women, accounting for up to 3/4 of clients at Chinese surf schools.
• After surfing was announced as a 2020 Olympic sport, it started to get government backing in China, which has helped drive growth.
Given the popularity of activities noted above that were hardly imagined a decade ago, one wonders if things are going to change significantly once emerges from the nothingness of the global pandemic. Dragon Trail wondered, too, and the results of some of their research showed the following.
Question: What activities would you like to do on your next outbound trip? (Top 5)
|Activity||% Of those surveyed|
|Try local food||92%|
|Visit landmarks (museums, architecture, etc.)||68%|
|Hiking or exercising in nature||51%|
|Occ-the-beaten path attractions||37%|
|Spa or other wellness activities||33%|
|Attend a concert or festival||33%|
|Go on a road trip||24%|
Source: Dragon Trail Research, March 2021
Product Preferences: Be prepared to find and offer new products to support and satisfy the preferences and products who are engaging in new activities and traveling differently than they did a decade ago. The table below shows us the importance of a healthy and safe travel experience.
What Will Chinese Travelers Expect:
Safety˃ Convenience˃ Pricing
|Travel insurance coverage||52%|
|Trip crowd control||28%|
|Flexibility for cancellation and changes||34%|
|Additional membership benefits||17%|
Source: Dragon Trail-China Travel Market Monitor, November 2021
For the complete video/recording of the Dragon Trail presentation, click here.
For additional information, visit https://dragontrail.com/
Major Measures for UK Inbound Are “👍”
While INBOUND did not have access to any hard figures that might tell us whether Blue Monday (January 16th*) helped give UK holidaymakers a boost in their attitude toward travel—especially long-haul overseas travel—there were enough indices registered by the date that provided the stuff that feeds confidence and upbeat outlooks.
And even though the specter of additional damage from COVID-19 and its omicron variant still loom large over the international travel market place, one could sense in the UK trade press a positive tone—one that suggests that the worst is over. Here are some of the indicators we’ve noticed:
● Starting last Friday, France opened its borders to UK travelers. In a move that boosted morale for the tourism industry, French state minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced the move. “We are relaxing the entry conditions to France from the UK for vaccinated travelers,” said Lemoyne, whose official title is secretary of state at the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, adding that unvaccinated travelers must still have a “compelling reason to enter the country.” The UK travel trade was ecstatic over the announcement. France is, after all, closest to the UK of any continental European nation.
● Results from the latest survey conducted by ABTA showed that the United States has surged to number two among the list of favorite destinations registered by UK travelers, trailing only Spain, which is, in essence, a short-haul destination: Spain’s popular Costa Brava is 850 miles from London.
—Nearly one-fifth of UK holidaymakers are planning to visit the U.S. this year, ranking only behind perennial favorite Spain at 29.3 percent – illustrating how long-haul holidays are back on the agenda after nearly two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
—New York and Florida remain among the most popular destinations in the U.S. for British holidaymakers.
—There is also increased interest in other long-haul destinations this year, with both Australia (5.1 percent) and Canada (4.5 percent) increasing their ranking to eighth and ninth places, respectively, in the ABTA list of Top 10 destinations for 2022.
The Top 10 Holiday Destinations
For UK Travelers, 2022
|Country/Destination||% Who Plan to Visit||Change in Rank vs. 2021|
ABTA indicated that we’ll see more consumers using the services of a travel professional to book their breaks in 2022, with research showing people are 30 percent more likely to do so than they were before the pandemic struck.
● More people are planning to travel this year than those who actually travelled before the global pandemic 2019, according to research from Tripadvisor and Ipsos Mori. Their report, Travel in 2022: A Look Ahead, is based on a survey of more than 10,000 people in key markets – including 2,199 adults in the UK – as well as Tripadvisor search data.
In the UK:
—78 percent of respondents said that they are likely to travel for leisure in 2022, compared to 72 percent of those who said that they travelled for leisure in 2019.
—Twenty-five percent of UK travelers said it is more important now than before the pandemic to spend on a big trip.
–Overall, however, Brits are planning to spend just a bit less on 2022 travel than they did in 2019 (minus one percent).
“Travelers are quickly adapting to local public health conditions, with cleanliness and safety remaining important factors in their planning.”
—Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Brits say they plan to travel within the UK for leisure.
—Forty-eight percent are planning to travel abroad.
—More than a third of Britons (38 percent) said that travelling to a destination they’ve never been to before would be more important to them now, compared to trips they took in 2019.
—Just over a quarter 28 percent of those polled said it’s more important for them to plan an action-packed travel experience in 2022 or beyond.
About the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus and its variants, Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer at Tripadvisor, said: “Despite new variants of COVID-19, consumers across the globe still want to travel and explore. This is evident in our month-over-month search data which shows a consistent, healthy increase in page views post-Christmas.”
* The third Monday in January is a date often touted as harboring particularly low spirits in the UK, as Christmas spending, short days and cold temperatures dent British cheer. But the time is also known as an important yearly turning point in the travel industry. The idea is that the third week of January marks the point when fed up holiday-makers have had enough of the UK’s cold weather and start booking spring and summer vacations.
Germany Has “Enormous Desire for Vacation”
The pandemic-weary German traveler and the travel trade that serves the traveler seem to be ready to take a holiday of any kind—within Germany or Europe, or even overseas—but the same traveler is cautious and tentative.
Why? Because the latest news accounts show that about 72 percent of Germans have been double-vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. However, new cases of the virus—now in a fourth surge in the country—continue to be reported at near-record levels.
Midst this environment, Martin Lohmann, a leading expert analyst of the German tourism industry—he has headed up NIT (New Insights for Tourism) for more than 30 years and is also the scientific advisor to the Research Association for Holidays and Travel (FUR), said in an account reported by the German travel trade publication Turistik Actuell, “We see an enormous desire for vacation.”
Dr. Lohmann—he’s a psychologist—notes that the indicators for tourism demand in 2022 show a “positive starting position,” and that Germans are more optimistic than they were a year ago. “The individual economic situation, which is generally perceived as stable, is an important prerequisite for holiday tourism in 2022,” he explained, noting that the desire to go on holiday is at an all-time high at 61 percent (last year at this point it was 51 percent), and the factors of time (72 percent) and money (70 percent) for travel are also rated more favorably than ever before.
Although Lohmann described what he calls “excellent conditions on the customer side,” he suggested that we should see lower demand compared to the pre-COVID year of 2019.
He explained that regulations and restrictions continue to influence the accessibility and capacities of tourist offers and thus the volume of holiday trips and their design. Also, changing regulations mean that many people who want to travel have to wait and see when planning and booking their trip.
A slightly different perspective of Lohmann’s view is in a recent survey by Mintel. It tells us the German travelers are somewhat reticent about booking summer beach vacations: “Only 10 percent of Germans have so far booked a holiday for 2022, a consumer survey conducted online between December 6-21, 2021, showed. A relatively high 41 percent of those surveyed said that they do not want to plan a holiday during this year. Another 29 percent are still unsure for what period they want to book in 2022, according to the survey.” (More details on Mintel survey here.)
Overall, a volume of 60 million holiday trips by the German-speaking population can be expected, Lohmann says, with a still high proportion of destinations in Germany and in neighboring countries and a relatively small proportion of air travel compared to 2019. Compared to 2020/2021, Lohmann emphasizes, this still means a step towards normalization to the situation before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, according to the trend researcher.
Putting it in perspective—travel is at a 35-Year Low: According to FUR, International tourism fell by more than 70 percent in 2021 compared to 2019. With 351 million arrivals of international guests (compared to 1.46 billion in 2019), “the volume of international tourism is roughly at the level of 1987”.
Citing provisional data based on online travel analysis from the end of 2021, Lohmann expects a low level of demand with a volume of around 50 million vacation trips for German vacation trips. This roughly corresponds to the level of the previous year, 2020.
Back to Normal in 2023? Lohmann’s take on the future assumes that the pandemic will only play a temporary role as a direct driver for the development of demand. Provided that “dealing with the pandemic allows social life to be as usual again, holiday travel behavior will return to the development path expected without a pandemic from 2023.”
Yes, 2021 was a very bad year: The latest ta.ts (Travel Agency Technologies & Services) travel agency mirror monthly report, which contain data for both December 2021 figures, as well as full-year data for 2021 show what the retail side channel of revenue already new, which is that, compared to 2019 (before the global pandemic), it was a very bad year.
Below, segment-by-segment, the sales data for German travel agencies also show that, as terrible as 2021 was, the month-to-month sales of agencies were improving toward the end of the year, and just might mirror stronger activity, year-on-year for Q2 and Q3 of 2022.
ta.ts travel agency mirror
Invoiced values December 2021 vs. 2020 & 2019
—The total invoiced turnover of the travel agencies recorded in the “ta.ts travel agency mirror” in December 2021 is plus 221.3 percent compared to the same month in 2020.
—Compared to December 2019, the total invoiced sales were -53.5 percent.
—Billed tourism turnover in December shows an increase of 424.1 percent compared to 2020.
— Compared to December 2019, the billed tourism turnover was -49.6 percent.
—The turnover in air traffic recorded for the month showed an increase of 179.8 percent compared to 2020.
—Against December 2019, the turnover in air traffic showed a decrease of -67.9 percent.
—The “other” sales in December 2021 vs. 2020 were +118.4 percent and -15.7 percent vs. 2019.
—The number of tickets was +161.4 percent compared to December 2020 and -71.3 percent compared to December 2019.
—Revenue from the tourism sub-division of cruises was up 393.1 percent in December compared to 2020, and -42.8 percent compared with December 2019.
—Viewed cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to December was +25.4 percent compared to 2020.
—For the period January to December vs. 2019, the cumulative invoiced travel agency revenue was minus 71.6 percent.
—Tourism recorded an increase of +31.9 percent compared to 2020 and -69.1 percent. compared to 2019. Air traffic recorded an increase of 20.8 percent compared to 2020 and a decrease of 77.2 percent compared to 2019.
—“Other” sales showed an increase of 21.2 percent compared to 2020 and a decrease of -4.9 percent compared to 2019.
—The number of tickets was -3.1 percent than in 2020 and 77.1 percent less than in 2019.
—The cruises segment recorded a cumulative -11.8 percent compared to 2020 or -72.7 percent compared to 2019.
—Incoming orders for tourism in December 2021 were up 961.8 percent compared to the month of 2020. The tourism order backlog by travel date up to December 2022 was +125.5 percent compared to the previous year.
—In the sub-division of cruises, incoming orders are plus 6,598.0 percent in a month-on-month comparison, the order backlog by travel date up to December 2022 is +78.2 percent.
—Incoming orders for tourism in December 2021 were -61.5 percent compared to the month of 2019. The tourism order backlog by travel date up to December 2022 was minus 53.2% compared to 2019.
—In the cruises sub-division, incoming orders were -40.2 percent compared to the month of 2019. The tourism order backlog by travel date up to December 2022 were -43.5 percent compared to 2019.
TRADE TALK & Tourism Industry Buzz
● USA cities top Despegar’s list of destinations for Mexicans: Despegar.com, the Latin American OTA giant headquartered in Buenos Aires, has released the results of a study which reveals the international destinations that are among those preferred by Mexicans to travel in 2022. Among the most sought-after destinations in order of interest, are the United States (New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami), Spain (Madrid), France (Paris), Colombia (Bogotá), Argentina (Buenos Aires) , United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Canada (Vancouver).
Among the reasons why these countries are the most sought after by Mexicans to visit this year, it stands out that they are cities with outdoor attractions, which allows keeping a healthy distance and health protocols, while living great experiences. Read the complete article here.
● Brazilians can now bring up to U.S. $1,000 in purchases from abroad. The measure applies to goods that are not for personal use. The tax exemption limit for accompanied baggage was raised to $1,000 (US) by Ordinance No. 10,926 on December 31, 2021. With this move, Brazilians are now able to bring products worth up to $1,000, instead of the $500 ceiling. It includes the “other goods” category. In practice, in means that only assets up to the total or are or above the proposed thousand dollars should be declared. If the amount transported exceeds the value, the traveler must bear 50 percent of the exceeded sum. Summary effect? Brazilian international travelers are supposed to spend more on gifts to take back home.
● An apparent first: A U.S. state to use funds to train employee for the tourism industry. In announcing the move, Gov. Kay Ivey told the state’s tourism industry today that she is awarding $1 million to fund a certification program and prepare up to 2,000 students to join the state’s $16 billion hospitality industry. Leaders requested the funds, citing a shortage of new employees entering the workforce since the Covid pandemic began two years ago. Students will train within the community college system’s 24 colleges at more than 130 locations across the state. The system served more than 174,000 students, awarding more than 22,400 degrees and certifications in a recent year. Read the full news release here.
● G Adventures founder identifies top 10 trends for traveling in 2022. The founder of Toronto-based, global tour operator G Adventures, Bruce Poon Sip, says the trends clearly reveal the pandemic has produced a more conscious traveler and have presented the operators with a huge opportunity for change. G Adventures’ top 10 predictions for 2022 travel are as follows:
1. Community tourism is the solution to responsible travel.
2. Travelers care most about supporting local people.
3. “Workations” increase in popularity.
4. Hostels will make a big comeback.
5. Travelers want to disconnect from their devices.
6. Travelers will have a bit more cash to splash.
7. The staycation is over – travelers want to go further afield.
8. Lockdown life has led to a desire to be more active.
9. Travelers are prioritizing their wellbeing and mental health.
10. Revenge travel is out, reconnection travel is in.
More detail on G Adventures Top 10 is here.
● Four travel trends in 2022: While the travel industry has recovered most of their losses for 2020, it is anticipated that travel will continue to rise. With many travel brands offering assistance packages and preparing for all unexpected challenges associated with the pandemic, many people feel physically and financially safe to travel again. As the population continues to use social media influencers for travel advice, people feel more equipped to plan their own getaways. Keep your eyes peeled to see what destinations become popular throughout the coming year.
The four trends:
1. Traveling workers will continue to increase.
2. Travel regulations will continue to be tight.
3. People will visit new places.
4. Active vacations will increase in popularity.
Click here to read the complete article with commentary.
● Here are the Top 9 reasons your U.S. visa may be denied. Why 9 reasons? INBOUND doesn’t know. But from Travel Daily News International, we have this: “As much as people love to blame the United States’ immigration system for visa denials, we have to state that sometimes the fault is on the applicant’s part.
We often see applicants who can’t even answer questions correctly during a visa interview. I mean, how do you convince an embassy official of your intentions when you can’t even put them in words?”
The Top 9 reasons your US visa may be denied
1. Making silly mistakes
2. Not doing adequate research
3. Not applying for the right visa
4. Falsified information
5. Incorrect information
6. Incomplete document submission
7. Overly confident during a visa interview
8. Saying too much
9. Accent barrier
Click here to read the complete article.
● From Roll Call, a Washington, D.C. insider publication, we have this on the problem with visas: “Limited appointment availability in major cities across the globe, particularly in India, prevents foreign professionals and students with valid statuses but expired visa stamps from renewing their visas abroad and returning from short trips to their lives in the U.S.” For the complete article, read here.
Connect Travel’s 2022 RTO Summit Series
The Connect Travel RTO Summit series was created in 2003 and has been tested, improved by hundreds of North American travel suppliers and receptive tour operator buyers who cover all the major and developing international markets.
Connect Travel hosts the buyers and bring them together under one roof, so you spend less to meet with the people who need to know you. Here is a breakdown of this season’s RTO Summit and related events.
● Each RTO Summit program opens with a “Staying Connected” Education Series,a full day of international inbound trends, market intelligence, and panels that feature tour operators talking about their business, offering fresh insights on their booking trends–all designed to make the next day’s appointments most productive.
● One-on-one scheduled appointment sessions on day two take place in an intimate environment, where attendance is limited to buyer/seller ratio of 1 to 1.8—the best in the industry.
● Register now to reserve your place at the RTO Summit West on March 22-23 at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City. Details here.
● By the time you read this, it is probable that the RTO Summit East/ February 28-March 2 in New York City could be a sellout. Details here. Also, co-located with this event are the Connect Travel Marketplace Summit (Details here) and Connect NYC (for meeting planners) for NYC Travel Week in partnership with NYC & Co. All events will take place atthe Westin New York at Times Square.
● More information to come on the RTO Summit South. Specific dates and agenda details are TBA/TBC. More info here.
HODGE PODGE: Appointments, Openings & Changes
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. has promoted Deana Ivey as its president as the organization restructures its top leadership. Butch Spyridon remains CEO of the organization. Ivey has been with the bureau since 1997, previously serving as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Said Kevin Lavender, chairman of the board of directors for the CVC: “Butch continues to excel as a leader, putting Nashville in a position to reach record-breaking visitation and convention numbers and exceed expectations–from hosting the 2019 NFL Draft to being on the shortlist to host FIFA World Cup in 2026. The city is fortunate to have Butch and Deana leading the hospitality industry.”
Jane Cunningham has joined Destinations International as director of European engagement. She starts her new job on January 24, 2022. Residing in Stockholm, Sweden, she will be responsible for overseeing and developing a long-term engagement strategy for European destination organizations. Most recently, Cunningham was director of community engagement at BestCities Global Alliance.
The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association board of directors has announced Tony Karwowski as the new CEO of the association. A 20-year resident of the North Lake Tahoe region, Karwowski has, for the past five years, been a part of Northstar California Resort’s senior leadership team, serving as director of base area operations. Previously, Karwowski was transportation manager at Northstar Resort.
American Express Global Business Travel has appointed Rachel Tonge as UK vice-president & general manager. Tonge has been with the company for five years, most recently as director of strategic transformation, and will oversee UK operations and customer relationships in her new role. Prior to joining American Express, Tonge served for more than four-and-a-half years as a management consultant at Accenture.
Daniel Earle has been named director of global industry sales for Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos. A veteran of more than 20 years in the travel and tourism industry, Earle will report to Danielle Babilino, senior vice president of global sales and marketing. In his most recent role as director of sales and revenue management for Performance Hospitality Management, he oversaw the commercial teams to include sales, catering and revenue management for six owned and managed hotels.
Eleonora Penna is joining Hotel Trader as director – supplier partnerships. Most recently, she held the role of area manager, New York City, for Hotelbeds. Previously, she worked for nearly five years with Tourico Holidays, which was acquired by Hotelbeds.
Scott Peacock has returned to promoting the state of North Carolina with his appointment as director of tourism marketing at Visit North Carolina/Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Peacock joins from Bandwidth, a well-known communications platform. Previously, he served tenures with Visit North Carolina and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Angela Westerfield has named as the new vice president of marketing and communications and Visit Savannah. An accomplished integrated marketing and sales professional with experience promoting major attractions and tourism, she has served in roles that include brand management, sales, promotions, and digital marketing. She worked for 17 years with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in Orlando, Florida. She has been involved in the marketing industry organizations for many years, including IAAPA (Global Association for the Attractions Industry) and others.
Scott Schult has joined Visit Music City (Nashville) as chief marketing officer. A veteran of more than two decades in the travel and tourism industry, Schult was with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for 12 years and was director of marketing for Visit St. Pete Clearwater for nearly 10 years.
Maria Henson is the new director of market research & insights at Visit Orlando. Maria is an 11-year veteran of Visit Orlando with over 20 years’ experience in the field. She was once senior research analyst at the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Orlando). She also served for a number of years as corporate manager, consumer research, at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
JetBlue has named Dave Clark as its head of revenue and planning. In his new role, Clark will oversee JetBlue’s network strategy, operational planning and analysis, and sales and revenue management. In addition, he will oversee JetBlue’s airline partnership portfolio–including the Northeast Alliance with American Airlines–as well as operational engineering and manpower planning. He will report to Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer. Since joining JetBlue in May 2009, Clark has lead teams across JetBlue’s commercial organization. Since February 2017, Clark has served as vice president, sales and revenue management.
Alison McKay has been named acting vice president, destination management at Destination British Columbia. In her new position, Alison will oversee Destination BC’s destination management programs, with a focus on supporting the revitalization of a strong and sustainable tourism sector. McKay joined Destination BC in 2006 as a member of the research department. During her 16-year tenure, she has taken on progressively senior roles, most recently as director of destination & industry development.
Chris Jennings has resigned his post as executive director of Discover New England. While its board of directors conducts a nationwide search for a new director, the board said that Maine-based Marshall Communications—a contractor for the organization since 2013—”will keep the lights on.” Jennings was selected for the position in March 2020. Previously, he served as director of special projects for the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and as president of the Mystic Coast & Country Travel Industry Association, as well as tourism director of the states of Missouri and New Hampshire.
The Points Guy, well-known as an authority on maximizing travel using points and miles earned through loyalty programs and credit cards, has named Anka Twum-Baah senior vice president, customer loyalty and content. Twum-Baah brings 20 years of experience to the position. Her roles include that of senior director, Microsoft Audience & Product Marketing, general manager of consumer payments for Amazon.
Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning has been appointed as manager, public relations—trade at Universal Orlando Resort. He joins the company from Hospitality Narratives, an Orlando firm he founded and which he operated for several years. Previously, he was public relations manager—Disney Signature Experiences, and a public relations account executive/public relations manager at Visit Florida for eight years.
Cody Chomiak has taken on a new position as vice president of marketing at Travel Manitoba where, he says, he will be “helping to promote Manitoba to the world!” He joins the DMO from Bandwango, where he spent most of a year as vice president of industry engagement. Previously, he was director of marketing for Tourism Winnipeg, where he spent more than a decade.
David McKenna has been appointed as the new president and CEO of Vancouver-based Rocky Mountaineer, the luxury train company. Prior to joining Rocky Mountaineer, McKenna was president at the Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit where he led notable tourism expansion and acquisition projects in the Canadian Rockies. He currently serves as the board chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Sarah Ryan has joined Protected Trust Services, returning to travel after a 15-month departure from the tourism industry working for an estate agency. Ryan joins Protected Trust Services as the company’s newest BDM, with the group targeting significant growth this year as agents and operators assess their financial protection arrangements in light of the challenges posed over the past two years by the Covid crisis. Ryan, who started her career as a travel agent, has held business development roles at The Global Travel Group, Rogers Hospitality, WebBeds and Advantage Travel Partnership
After almost 10 years, Tony Wong has left his position as senior sales manager at the 360 CHICAGO observation deck to join Big Bus Tours as head of sales, America. Prior to his role at 360 Chicago, Wong was event coordinator at The Ivy Room at Tee Studios in Chicago.
After nearly a year after returning to Visit Savannah following a pandemic-related hiatus and working with the organization’s convention sales team, Mindy Shea Frazier is back on the tourism side of things as director of international sales. She first joined Visit Savannah in 2006.
Lucimar Reis, a widely-known veteran of the travel and tourism in Brazil who has served tenures at United Airlines and CVC Corp, has joined P2D Travel, a startup less than a year old, as chief sourcing officer. She’ll be focused on managing purchases, relationships and negotiations with the main suppliers and service providers. According to published reports, the company has already surpassed the mark of eight thousand partners and is present in Brazil, Portugal and, now, in Mexico.
Also in Brazil, another industry veteran, Paulo Pimentel, has been named commercial director at online travel agency Hurb. Pimentel, who joins the company from Rio de Janeiro-based operator, Soul Traveler, where was director of competitive intelligence for seven years, previously worked for Hurb from 2012 to 2014.
APT’s head of sales, Jessica Shelton-Agar, is leaving the river cruise and touring specialist next month. She joined the group in 2012, taking a brief break to serve as sales manager at AMZCRO, and became national sales manager, then head of sales. Still owned and controlled by the McGreary family, the ATP group turns 95 this year, and sells product all over the world. Shelton-Agar, who is leaving the company in February, plans to emigrate to the Middle East.
Rezdy, a leading global online booking and distribution platform, has appointed Joe Robinson as head of channel management. Prior to his appointment, he spent his career in the experience industry with most recent roles in reservation technology, as chief growth officer at RocketRez and as vice president of revenue for Redeam. Robinson was also senior vice president at Big Bus Tours, where he spent more than four-and-a-half years. In operation for more than a decade, Rezdy is now in more than 130 countries.
From SearchWide Global:
—The Tennessee Hospitality Association is looking for an executive director. More details here.
—The South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau is seeking a new CVB director. More details here.
—Visit Seattle is searching for a new president and CEO. More details here.
—The Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau is seeking a new chief financial officer. More details here.
—Destinations International is looking for a manager of meetings and events. More details here.
—Visit El Paso is searching for a director of marketing and communications. More details here.
—The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for the position of vice president. More details here.
—A world-wide hospitality group is looking for an executive director of hotel sales & marketing a position that would be based in San Francisco, Toronto or remotely. More details here.
—Visit Greater Palm Springs has an opening for a vice president of sales. More details here.
—Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County is looking for a director of marketing & communications. More details here.
—Visit Denver is seeking to hire a new vice president of tourism. More details here.
—The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau has an opening for a director of marketing. More details here.
—There is an opening for the position of president & CEO at Visit Fort Wayne. More details here.
—Destinations International is searching for a vice president of equity, diversity & inclusion. More details here.
—The City of Tacoma has an opening for a director of venue & events. More details here.
—Visit Dana Point is looking for an executive director. More details here.
—Discover The Palm Beaches is searching for a director of events, tradeshow & strategic sales partnerships. More details here.
—Freeman is searching for a vice president, national graphics. 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
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.
—Visit Detroit has an opening for a director of communications. More details here.
—The Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company is searching for a director of public affairs. More details here.
—Travel Oregon is looking for a destination development program manager. Salary $75,400 to $86,707 a year. More details here.
—Amazon Web Services is searching for a head of travel & hospitality industry marketing. Located in Seattle. 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.
—The City of Virginia Beach has an opening for a convention and tourism representative. More details here.
—Las Vegas Outdoor Adventures is looking for an outdoor tour guide; salary is $100,000-$120,000. More details here.
—There is an opening for a sports tourism assistant at the City of Myrtle Beach. 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.
Have a job to offer in the travel and tourism industry? Let us know and we’ll post your notice—no cost to you. Email [email protected]