Τετάρτη, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2018

RewardExpert releases its 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecast





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NEW YORK, N.Y. - The spring travel season is peppered with many occasions to travel, from spring break to Easter to Memorial Day. To help travelers avoid travel hiccups, RewardExpert - a free service that helps travelers take full advantage of credit card points and travel rewards - released the findings of its 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecast determining which airlines, airports and dates are most likely to experience delays between March and May 2018.
“When the first signs of spring pop up after the long cold winter months, Americans across the country start chomping at the bit to get away,” says RewardExpert’s CEO and co-founder Roman Shteyn.“Whether it’s a beach escape, a family gathering, or a special occasion, no one wants to get held up on their way to their destination. This forecast breaks down which dates, airports and airlines to avoid in order to get to where you’re going in a timely fashion. ”
Key findings of the 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecast are:
  • March is by far the most treacherous month for spring travel. Six of the ten days with the worst average on-time performance, busiest airports and most crowded flights, fall at some point during the month. Avoid flying on March 1st, 12th or 13th, which are historically among the worst days for travel this season, and are expected to be worse this year.
  • If you’re planning to visit family for Easter or Passover, travel early if you can. Easter Sunday and the first day of Passover, as well as the day before, are more likely than most to feature delays and airport hassles.
  • Newark’s Liberty International Airport has the worst overall track record for delayed flights, with an average of only 76.84% of flights departing or arriving on-time. Likely suspects, San Francisco, LaGuardiaJFK, and Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports all return to grace the bottom tier of the ranking.
  • Spring break wreaks havoc on flights to and from Florida during March and April. Expect delayed flights and planes full of college students at all major Florida airports. Southwest Florida Airport in Fort Myers is the least busy airport in May, but handles nearly twice as many flights per day in March than it does in May.
  • JetBlue has the worst on-time performance overall, coming in dead last, and appears to bear the brunt of the onslaught of Spring Break travelers. The other budget carriers, Southwest andFrontier, unsurprisingly take second and third place for most delayed flights overall.
“The spring travel season can be rather unpredictable, especially as compared to travel during the weeks before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are many more occasions to travel and they tend to fall on different dates every year, like Easter and Passover. Plus, each school has its own week scheduled for spring break,” says Shteyn. “With so many variations in the season, we wanted to provide travelers with a comprehensive forecast of travel patterns. In order to do so, we analyzed five years’ worth of data from the Department of Transportation for every day from March 1st through May 31st, to forecast delays and crowds for each day.”

Carnival Fascination Resumes Year-Round Service from San Juan Following Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock






Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Carnival Fascination Resumes Year-Round Service from San Juan Following Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock


MIAMI  –  Carnival Fascination resumed its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean departures from San Juan this past Sunday, following an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts.
On its San Juan-based program, Carnival Fascination departs every Sunday on week-long voyages visiting five tropical destinations: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, each of which is home to world-class beaches, centuries-old historical sites, unique and exciting shoreside experiences and array of shopping and dining opportunities.
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“We’re delighted that the Carnival Fascination has returned to year-round sailing from San Juan better than ever with a wide range of great new dining, beverage and retail options for our guests to enjoy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who noted that prior to the dry dock the ship was chartered by FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.
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The new spaces include:
·       Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
·       RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red. 
·       BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
·       BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
·       Cherry on Top:  The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
·       Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
·       Bonsai Sushi Express:  the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These complement Carnival Fascination’s popular onboard features like a luxurious 12,000-square-foot health and wellness center, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and an array of entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games. 
The ship’s family-friendly options include the Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, along with fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups – Camp Ocean (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) and a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide.  
For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Northwest Florida looking to build eco tourism for revenue



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Northwest Florida is teaming up to maintain ecological balances and with that it Florida is planning to boost the eco tourism for the tourism revenue.

The management of Northwest Florida counties is bordering the Apalachicola and Choctawhatchee Rivers to make a regional tourism destination.
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Visit Panama City Beach President Dan Rowe and Destination Panama City President Jennifer Vigil will be representing Bay County on the RiverWay South board.

The mission of the management of Northwest Florida is to encourage the sustainable economic development by promoting the natural, cultural, and recreational resources within nearby river basins.

Officials say working together will help to bring people to parts of the state they’ve never seen before.


UAE and KSA continue to lead GCC luxury hospitality market







·         The UAE has 73% of the region’s luxury properties, 61% of its luxury pipeline
·         Saudi Arabia to witness the sharpest rise in luxury hotel supply to 2022
·         Global luxury tourism and travel market, set to reach US$1.154 billion by 2022


The UAE will continue to lead the GCC’s luxury hospitality segment to 2022, with 73% of existing luxury hotel stock and 61% of the region’s current luxury pipeline located in the country, according to data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2018, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25.
The research demonstrates that luxury properties have increased three-fold in the GCC in just 10 years, with 95% of these properties operated by international management brands.
Despite taking the lead position, the UAE will face strong competition from Saudi Arabia, which is expected to witness the most significant increase in luxury hotel supply to 2022, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18% from 2018 onwards. Across the rest of the GCC, this figure stands at 10% in the UAE, 11% in Oman and Kuwait, and 9% in Bahrain.  
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “The opening of such iconic properties as Burj Al Arab in 1999 and Raffles Makkah Palace in 2010, changed the face of luxury tourism in the GCC, as well as the skylines of its major cities. The region may be working to attract a wider visitor mix, but its commitment to luxury hospitality and tourism will not take a back seat anytime soon.”
Historically, Saudi Arabia dominates CAGR trends, with luxury property development from 2013 – 2017 accounting for 11% of the Kingdom’s growth in supply, compared to 8% in the UAE, 7% in Kuwait, 6% in Oman and 5% in Bahrain.
In 2017, the UAE topped the table, with 35% of the year’s pipeline made up of luxury projects; most concentrated in Dubai. This compares to 14% of projects in Saudi Arabia, 20% in Kuwait, 19% in Bahrain and 11% in Oman.
Today, highlights of the GCC’s luxury hotel stock of 69,396 rooms include St. Regis; Palazzo Versace; Bulgari; Armani and Raffles. With such prominence, it is hardly surprising that luxury is a key sector represented at ATM 2018, with luxury hospitality for junior travellers being explored during the ATM Global Stage session – hosted by DOTWN.

Also exploring the trends at Arabian Travel Market this year, ILTM Arabia will run alongside the main exhibition on the first two days of ATM (22 – 23 April). More than 20 new ILTM exhibitors are confirmed to participate, including regional names such as Fairmont Quasar Istanbul and Rosewood Hotel Group UAE. While, international exhibitors include Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, Conrad Hotels and Resorts, Nobu Hospitality, The Golden Butler and Cannes Tourism Board.
Luxury spending in the region’s two largest source markets, China and India, is also on the rise, driven by the tandem increase in High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). And the GCC is home to 410,000 HNWIs, with 54,000 in Saudi Arabia and 48,000 in the UAE, so there will be no lack of visitors interested in these luxury brands at ATM this year.
According to the research, compiled by Allied Market Research and published by Colliers International, there are six opportunities for further development in the GCC’s luxury segment. These include the introduction of more boutique hotels of 80 keys or fewer, offering privacy and exclusivity; luxury resorts to cater to the high demand for wedding and honeymoon destinations; iconic properties in prime locations; and nature and heritage concepts such as eco-lodges and glamping. High quality wellness and spa properties and luxury cruises also feature on the list.
Press continued: “The GCC’s reputation for world-class hospitality, original concepts and leading F&B have secured its place as one of the world’s most important luxury tourism markets attracting guests from around the globe. The trends we are witnessing are supported by a number of global developments in luxury spending.”
The global luxury market – including travel – is set to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.5% to 2022, reaching values of $1.154 billion.
ATM – considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2017 event, including 2,661 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than $2.5 billion over the four days.
Celebrating its 25th year, ATM 2018 will build on the success of this year’s edition, with a host of seminar sessions looking back over the last 25 years and how the hospitality industry in the MENA region is expected to shape up over the next 25

Tags:UAE,Global luxury tourism and travel market,GCC,ATM

Bulgaria EU Presidency Offers Opportunity to Strengthen European Aviation Competitiveness





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Sofia – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for a renewed policy focus on strengthening Europe’s aviation competitiveness under the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the EU. There is an urgent need to strategically plan the capacity needed to accommodate growing demand for global connectivity, environmental improvements, and infrastructure cost regulation.

IATA is forecasting 6% expansion of demand for air travel in Europe in 2018. While that is healthy growth, European airlines still face some significant challenges. This was evidenced in recent bankruptcies among European carriers. And there is a clear gap in profitability when compared to carriers in North America which are expected to earn $16.67 per passenger carried this year. In contrast, European airlines are expected to earn a profit of $9.99 per passenger.

"Operating an airline in Europe is challenging. There are high costs and regulatory burdens. Infrastructure capacity is often not sufficient and the charges for using airports have doubled Europe-wide in the last decade. The Bulgarian government has put competitiveness and connectivity at the heart of the agenda for its Presidency of the EU. This will drive greater competitiveness and prosperity for European economies, but only if individual EU member states follow-through with the adoption of policies that promote aviation connectivity," said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President Europe, speaking at IATA’s Aviation Day Bulgaria, in Sofia.

These issues were acknowledged in the keynote speech from the Deputy Minister for Transport, Information Technology and Communications for Bulgaria, Velik Zancev.

"We believe that Europe's air transport should focus on mobilizing resources and efforts to modernize infrastructure, deploy new technologies and improve connectivity," said Deputy Minister Zancev, who also noted the economic benefits of coordination between the airline community, aviation stakeholders, and the regulatory authorities.

"The fruitful cooperation of national stakeholders such as the Ministry of Transport Information Technology and Communications, the Civil Aviation Authority, and BULATSA, with IATA ensures that the Bulgarian aviation sector delivers its full potential. The economic contribution of aviation supports further spheres of the economy: tourism, cargo operations and greater exchange on political, cultural and social levels. Aviation also plays its part in sustainability to ensure environmental and noise impacts are addressed," said Deputy Minister Zancev.

Bulgaria occupies a strategically important position as the gateway from Europe to Turkey, and beyond to Asia. It is also a fast-growing market in its own right, with passenger numbers set to double over the next 20 years. This is a challenge for the country’s air traffic management, and Bulgaria’s air navigation service provider BULATSA.

In response, BULATSA and IATA have committed to work together and with all aviation stakeholders to deliver and implement a National Airspace Strategy in support of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative.
"Building a National Airspace Strategy is the central element for Bulgaria to ensure the country can cope with the future growth and traffic increase we expect in the coming decades. This commitment from Bulgaria is a strong message to the international community that Bulgaria is focused on maintaining the strategic importance of its airspace," said Deputy Minister Zancev.
"BULATSA’s cooperation with IATA to ensure airlines have the appropriate influence on the strategy will ensure that Bulgaria’s airspace is fit for the future. This will significantly benefit Bulgaria’s citizens and the economy," said Schvartzman.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto Opens








DESOTO Texas and MCLEAN, Va. - Home2 Suites by Hilton, part of Hilton's (NYSE: HLT) All Suites portfolio, announced today its newest property, Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto.  Designed for travelers who want to maintain their normal routine, the hotel features 97 suites and a range of value, tech-focused and eco-conscious amenities. Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto will help welcome the more than 20 million visitors to the Dallas-Fort Worth area annually*.

"Home2 Suites by Hilton provides ample space and a contemporary extended-stay experience for travelers visiting the area," said Jeff Livingston, general manager.  "We look forward to being a great new option offering convenience, comfort and, most importantly, added value to our guests."

Owned and managed by Seva Hospitality, Inc., Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto offers all-suite accommodations with fully equipped kitchens and modular furniture, providing guests the flexibility to customize their suite to their style and preference. The hotel also features complimentary Internet, inviting communal spaces, and trademark Home2 Suites amenities such as Spin2 Cycle, a combined laundry and fitness area, Home2 MKT for grab-and-go items, and the Inspired Table, a complimentary daily breakfast that includes more than 400 potential combinations. Guests can also enjoy an outdoor saline pool, fire pit and grill area. The property also offers over 7,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto is pet-friendly. 

Located at 1300 E. Centre Park Blvd., Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto offers guests convenient access to Downtown Dallas, Bishop Arts District, Deep Ellum, Arlington and Fair Park. Six Flags Over Texas, AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and American Airlines Center are also nearby.  
Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto participates in Hilton's award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi, as well as digital amenities that are available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app, where Honors members can check-in, choose their room, and access their room using a Digital Key. 

For more information or to make a reservation, visit Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas DeSoto or call 972-228-0400.
Read more about Home2 Suites by Hilton at www.home2suites.com and news.home2suites.com.


Vietnam sees a 30% increase in Indian visitors




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Nguyen Quy Phuong, the Director General of the Travel Industry Management Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, spoke about the growing volume of Indian arrivals to Vietnam in an interview recently.

Nguyen Quy Phuong spoke about the statistics on Indian arrivals in Vietnam in the recent past, “We have experienced a tremendous growth from the Indian market, around 85,000 Indians visited Vietnam last year, which is a 30% increase compared to the preceding year. Vietnam has extended e-visa for Indian nationals from January 2018 so Indian travellers are now eligible for a 30- day single entry electronic visa. We have also noticed that a major chunk of the Indian traffic to Vietnam now is business travel. The growth from here is likely to grow once we have direct flights from India to Vietnam. With direct connectivity, they need not spend long hours transiting at Bangkok or Singapore. We heard the Vietjet, a domestic carrier of Vietnam, is planning to start a direct flight from New Delhi to Ho Chi Minh City from March 2018; this is definitely going to boost Vietnam Tourism.”

VNAT recently organized road shows in New Delhi and Mumbai and has plans of road shows in other cities in the coming days.

Vietnam has 3,000 kms of coastline with pristine beaches and luxury resorts to cater to leisure travellers. From Ha Long in the North to the Southern Islands of PhuQuoc, with Da Nang at the Centre, the country has lots to offer in terms of exotic experiences.

Vietnam is widely known for its vast culture, beaches, eco tourism and city breaks. FITs, MICE, weddings, honeymooners, anti ageing spa treatment package, beach lovers package, family groups, golf tours, Vietnam rice terrace field tours, coffee plantation inspection, industrial visits, student groups, adventure and culinary etc. are being targeted now to attract more tourists.

Majority of travellers visit places like Hanoi, Ha long, Ho Chi Minh City and stay 7-8 days, spending 800- 900 USD per person on an average.