● In the UK, the head of Kuoni has said the company has had to “shift” its salaries to attract more people to the company, after the Covid pandemic forced many workers to leave the sector. Managing director Derek Jones discussed the struggles facing recruitment in the industry in a Travel Weekly webcast. For more information, read the complete article here.
● British Airways parent IAG is aiming to increase the number of women in senior roles throughout the group to 40 percent over the next three years. Previously, the company set its sights on a goal of a one-third (33 percent) increase by 2025.) It achieved that last year, however, and the goal was set for a higher figure. “We have made great progress increasing female representation in recent years as part of a robust approach to diversity and inclusion,” said IAG chief executive Luis Gallego. “Having achieved our previous target for 2025 in 2021, we are extending our ambition to 40 percent of senior management roles [being] held by women in the same timeframe.”
● Yankee Leisure Group rebrands. For its 50th Anniversary, the company has rebranded from Yankee Leisure Group to Railbookers Group to continue its growth and evolution as the largest FIT rail vacation provider worldwide. One factor that helps Railbookers stand out is its status as a 100 percent virtual company and has been for two years. It used the global pandemic to recreate itself and not be constrained by having physical offices and being able to add new staff members remotely to its incredible team. Today it has staff in 5 countries and 26 different U.S. States, all remote and, as the company said in a news release, “We are stronger than ever.” For more information, visit railbookersgroup.com.
● OAG says there is enough seat capacity to serve as base for continued recovery: An OAG update last week had the following to say: “Global capacity continues to hold above 82 million seats this week and this is now the fourth consecutive week when the industry has supplied more than 80 million suggesting a solid platform for future airline capacity growth over the summer season. In the same week in 2019, there were some 106 million seats on sale, so capacity remains some 23 percent below what was once considered the normal level of airline capacity; things are of course improving and more country markets are open as travel restrictions ease in destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates.” Read the complete item here.
● The Westjet Group has bought Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations from Stephen Hunter and TUI, who maintain their Blue Diamond hotel company and their receptive Nexus, sources from the group revealed to the trade publication REPORTUR.us. Westjet is based in Calgary and has been owned by Onex since 2009 after paying 3.5 billion Canadian dollars, while Sunwing, based in Toronto, was founded in 2002 by Colin Hunter, father of the current CEO. TUI owns 49 percent. The tour operator business will be based in Toronto, with the airlines in Calgary; Alexis von Hoensbroech will continue as CEO of WestJet, which employs 8,490 people and has 180 aircraft. Sunwing has 2,400 employees and a fleet that has reached 40 airplanes. Westjet is the second largest airline in its country after Air Canada, which has its own division for vacations, as well as Transat, based in Montreal and is well-known in in Europe. Click here for more on this story.
● The Travel Corporation (TTC) has reorganized its tour brands into one division, TTC Tour Brands, which will become a single source for sales, marketing and operating of the corporation’s individual tour operators, including Trafalgar and its other brands. The company has such well-known tour operators as Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations and Adventure World Travel—all now all part of TTC Tour Brands. The new division was made to make it easier for travel advisors to work with the individual brands. TTC Tour Brands will be led by Gavin Tollman, who takes on the role as the new division’s CEO. The division will be split into five global sales and marketing regions. The United States and Canada will become the new North America sales and marketing region, no longer split into two different regions. Others include the Oceania, Asia and Africa regions. Click here for more information.
● The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association has announced that American Express Travel is its first global partner in the financial services sector. The collaboration aligns one of the world’s most recognizable travel brands with the organization. For the past 18 years, American Express has scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, a ranking that takes into account the company’s policies and practices that support LGBTQ+ inclusion. American Express is also a member of Open for Business, a coalition of global companies making the economic and business case for LGBTQ+ inclusion around the world. The company released its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report in 2021, which documents its progress on DE&I commitments and initiatives as part of its $1 Billion DE&I Action Plan. For more details, click here.
● NYC Landmark Theatre Named after Actor James Earl Jones. In addition to his many acting roles and credits, along with his voiceover work (the voice of Darth Vader no less) and a stage career of more than six decades, James Earl Jones is the name of a theatre in NYC and becomes, per force, a destination for travelers to the city to see and visit. The Shubert Organization, Inc., recently announced that the 110-year-old Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street) will become the James Earl Jones Theatre, in recognition of Mr. Jones’s “lifetime of immense contributions to Broadway and the entire artistic community.” Jones’s Broadway career began in 1957, and in 1958 he played his first role at the Cort Theatre in Sunrise at Campobello. “The Shubert Organization is so incredibly honored to put James—an icon in the theatre community, the Black community, and the American community—forever in Broadway’s lights,” said Robert E. Wankel, Shubert CEO and board chair. “That James deserves to have his name immortalized on Broadway is without question.” Click here for the complete news release.