● IATA calls on governments to step up the relaxation of travel restrictions as COVID-19 continues to evolve from the pandemic to endemic stage. The International Air Transport Association has called for removing all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine, enabling quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result, removing travel bans, and accelerating the easing of travel restrictions in recognition that travelers pose no greater risk for COVID-19 spread than already exists in the general population. You’ll find more detail in a comprehensive, 1,260-word article in TravelDailyNews.
● ABA Marketplace tells us face-to-face, in-person trade shows still drive travel and tourism industry, even if virtual business is here to stay. According to ABA, it “made a triumphant return to live events” when it held its ABA’s Marketplace in Grapevine, Texas, Jan. 8-11.
ABA’s Marketplace by the Numbers:
—1600+ people attended the show.
—447 motorcoach and tour operators were in attendance
—133 motorcoach and tour operator delegates took appointments all week
—30 appointments on average were prescheduled for each seller
—Networking Floor offered 6 motorcoaches and 101 exhibitors
Click here for full recap of Marketplace activity.
● Brands don’t close the deal in China; key opinion leaders (KOLs) do. Data from the Jing Daily report, The Drop: Understanding Successful Brand Collaborations, shows that most luxury brands rely on influencer engagement for social media campaigns in China. For example, Bobbi Brown x Monopoly in Fall 2021 used KOLs to produce over 75 percent of the drop’s original promotional content on Weibo. So why aren’t brands following in Bottega Veneta’s footsteps by deleting Weibo. Read more here.
● Visit Tampa Bay is launching a Riverwalk Attraction Pass, a new program connecting local attractions near the Tampa Riverwalk. As the local ABC TV news outlet describes it: “Similar to the very successful CityPASS program, which includes some of Tampa Bay’s largest attractions on one inclusive ticket for a discounted price, the Riverwalk Attraction Pass brings together many attractions but also enables museums and centers that would have been traditionally excluded to be part of a holistic program.” Read the full news item here.
● MSC Group and Lufthansa Offer to Buy ITA Airways. From the Travel Market Report: “MSC Group, the largest container shipping line in the world and parent company of MSC Cruises, and Lufthansa are in the process of creating a partnership with the Italian Government to purchase ITA Airways, the carrier that was formerly Alitalia.” More details here.
● Rezdy’s CEO, Chris Atkin, has some predictions for the future of the experiences Industry. A sample: “QR codes had a rocky adoption but that has turned around in the last few years as people have been trained through COVID to use QR codes to travel, view menus, or demonstrate their vaccine status. Tomorrow’s travelers do not want paper vouchers but expect QR codes and e-tickets that can be stored in smartphone ‘wallets,’ the same as an airline boarding pass. It’s a must-have, not a nice-to-have, both for ease and hygiene reasons. Technology will power much of 2022 from discovery to entry of all experiences.” Read more here.
● Oh, to be married at sea. British-flagged carriers may soon be able to do so. Read more in this item published last week by Travel Weekly UK.
● Alabama Tourism Department announces a new, statewide attraction ticket program. The mobile ticket program is a new plan to allow travelers the opportunity to visit more attractions at a discounted rate. “All-in-One” attraction tickets will be sold directly to the public, tour operators and other distribution channels on the consumer – and tour operator – levels. 39 attractions representing six different ticket options are the first phase of the program rollout. Read more here.