- January 23rd 2012
The big news in travel in the past week was the announcement of initiatives to improve travel and tourism in the US. The industry accounted for 7.5 million jobs in 2010 and 2.7% of GDP. Among the measures announced were the easing of restrictions for regular travelers who pass a background check, resulting in lower waiting times at airports, an increase in the number of countries from which visitors can enter without a visa and quicker processing for visitors from countries like China and Brazil. There will also be an interagency task force to develop a National Travel and Tourism Strategy. See the video below for more info:
Response from the industry has been largely positive, as a snapshot from Travel Market Report reveals. In particular, many felt that the industry was at last being respected as a major force in the US economy.
Sustainable Travel Finalists
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the finalists in the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognize sustainable travel initiatives industry wide. There are four categories: destination stewardship, global tourism business, conservation and community benefit. The finalists are
• Destination Røros, Norway
• Misool Eco Resort, Indonesia
• Tanabe City, Japan
Global Tourism Business
• Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, Singapore
• REI Adventures, USA
• Wilderness, South Africa
• Cheli & Peacock, Kenya
• Inkaterra Peru, Peru
• NamibRand Safaris: Wolwedans Collection, Namibia
• Saunders Hotel Group, USA
• Soria Moria Boutique Hotel, Cambodia
• The Thailand Community Tourism Based Institute, Thailand
The next stage of the 3-stage judging process includes on-site visits to the finalists. The winners will be recognized at WTTC’s global summit in Tokyo, Japan, to be held from 16-19 April.
No More Hidden Travel Fees
In other news, new protections for air passengers are about to come into force. These mean that when you book and pay for a ticket, that’s the price you should pay. Airlines will have to include fees and taxes in the price they are advertising (only the mandatory ones), and to disclose the costs of the optional extras. Once a flight is purchased, the price stays the same. (Full story on NewsNet5.)
- January 16th 2012
Top of the morning to you and here’s our weekly (ish) roundup of airport and airport parking news.
Off Airport Parking Research
First up, the results of some new research into airport parking, published on the UK’s Travel Daily UK blog. UK firm Looking4Parking has published research showing that 66% of those using airport parking firms save an hour on their journey. And a third of the 1,000 people polled also thought that a meet and greet service saved up to 2 hours. Convenience and cost were among the factors that led people to book with off airport parking firms. Find out more about the airport parking research here.
Looking Ahead to Terminal 4 – JFK Airport
In the New York Times last week, there was a sneak peek at changes happening at JFK’s new terminal 4, due for completion next year. According to the article by Christine Haughney, the structure is beginning to take place. The new terminal will automate baggage screening and speed up security. When completed passenger transfers between domestic and international flights are also expected to work more smoothly. Read more on the JFK expansion here.
Airline Administration Fees
It’s not just here in the US that we have a problem with ever increasing air travel fees. Saturday’s post on the Travel Rants blog saw Darren Cronian talking about administration fees on EasyJet, one of the UK’s low cost airlines. The cause of contention is a new GBP9 (approximately $13.50 at today’s exchange rates) applied to all debit card payments. This fee is more than 9 times the maximum fee charged by banks for debit card transactions. With new European legislation coming in to improve transparency for travelers, Cronian asks:
why is it that every time the government or European Union announces a new legislation, the airlines find somewhere around it, which ultimately costs the consumer money?
Radiation Tests for TSA Employees
We’ve been wondering about the effects of airport scanners for quite a while and the Transport Security Administration (TSA) has generally played down health concerns. However, according to an article in the LA Times, the TSA is planning to test its employees and check their radiation exposure. No tests yet for the scanners themselves or the passengers though.
Save on Airport Parking
Finally, to end today’s roundup, a piece of company news – our latest airport parking discount coupon. If you’re thinking of making airport parking reservations at (MDW) Chicago Midway Airport, (IND) Indianapolis Airport, (ALB) Albany Airport, (ORD) Chicago O’Hare Airport, (JFK) John F. Kennedy Airport or any of our more than 150 airport parking locations nationwide, you won’t want to miss this offer. Just book 2 days or more by January 31, 2012 using the promo code Happy12 and SAVE 10%*. This offer is valid for travel for the entire year.
- December 14th 2011
The holidays may be almost upon us, but there’s still plenty happening in the world of travel.
STA Travel Goes Greener
To start our roundup, there’s the news that STA Travel, the global leader in travel for students and young adults, has joined forces with Sustainable Travel International (STI), making a commitment to green their business. By 2015, STA Travel aims to be certified under the Sustainable Tourism Eco-certified Program (STEP). “In making this commitment will believe we will generate real business benefits from increased efficiency and cost savings as well as building increased customer loyalty and employee engagement. By differentiating ourselves from a sustainability perspective we are demonstrating market leadership in a way which is totally aligned with the concerns of our customers and employees,” says STA Travel’s CEO Peter Linney.
US International Travel Stats
The US Department of Commerce has released figures on outbound air travel by US citizens for the first half of 2011. Some 47% of outbound international travel was to overseas markets, with Europe taking an 18% share (5.2 million visitors). About three million Americans visited the Caribbean (11%), while two million visited Asia (7%) and just over 1 million visited Central America (4%). Other major destinations included South America (3%), the Middle East (2%), Oceania (1%) and Africa (1%). The other 53% of outbound international travel was to North American markets, including Mexico (36%) and Canada (16%).
The US Travel Association has applauded the support by the Western Governors Council for USTA’s proposed reform of the visa system. The proposal includes:
- Setting a visa processing standard of two weeks and using visa fees to hire enough State Department personnel to focus only on processing travel visas while maintaining the same strict security standards;
- Introducing videoconferencing to conduct visa interviews in key markets;
- Expanding the Visa Waiver Program to new countries; and
- Granting Chinese travelers visas that are valid for at least five years versus the current one-year visa.
Research by USTA last year showed that many international travelers avoid the US because of difficulties with the visa system. In addition, since 2000, the country’s share of overseas arrivals has declined from 17% to 12.4%.
“During a time of high unemployment and slow economic growth, making some simple changes in our current visa system would create millions of U.S. jobs and billions in economic output,” says Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “We greatly appreciate the attention to visa reform and the support of the 22 U.S. governors the Western Governors Council represents.”
Tags: Travel News
- December 5th 2011
Happy Monday and welcome to another travel news roundup. Here are some of the travel stories that caught my eye recently.
More Spending, Fewer Jobs
First, a story in Travel Weekly highlights the results of a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. It shows that despite an increase in travel spending in 2010, indicating a recovering travel market, employment in the tourism industry fell by 1.4%, equivalent to 112,000 jobs. That’s after a significant 7.8% decline the previous year. In contrast, visitor number were up to a record 60 million, with spending up 12% over the previous year at $134.4 billion. Read the full story here.
Higher Fees for the Holidays
Air travelers are no strangers to rising travel costs and it looks like the trend will continue during the holidays. If you want more legroom or more comfortable seats, you could soon be paying more, says a report in the Seattle Times. American, Delta and others are providing these perks but charging more to those who want to book them. Delta’s new Economy Comfort seats, due t be added to the whole fleet by next summer, will cost between $19 and $99 extra. JetBlue offers more space for $10 (short haul) and American charges an extra $4 for window and aisle seats near the front. More details here.
American Modernizes Despite Bankruptcy Filing
- November 7th 2011
Here are some of the items that made the travel news recently.
Thanksgiving and Holiday Travel
In the travel news this week, it seems that travelers making plans for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season can expect full planes despite the expected drop in holiday passenger numbers. The Air Transport Association is predicting a 2% (approximately 400,000 people) reduction in the number of air travelers during the period. Don’t think that means more capacity, though. It means less. Airlines have cut seats to ensure full planes, a revenue boosting move to address tight margins. Best tip: book now or miss out altogether. FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney also warns that instead of looking for a good deal, holiday travelers will simply get a ‘better bad deal’. See also: Four Ways to Travel Lighter for the Holidays.
The Economist has released a report on the world’s top destinations with potential for medical travel. Although it doesn’t promote this kind of tourism,, France tops the list, followed by Mexico, which is actively developing this area and the US which, like others lower in the rankings, has a good level of specialist care and the right business environment for expansion. Many developing nations have also made it into the top 20 because of low costs and good medical expertise. The figures are part of a report titled Traveling for Health: The Potential for Medical Tourism which assesses healthcare costs, economic factors and healthcare system strength.
Travel to Cuba
Following the easing of Cuba travel restrictions, CNN reports that Marazul Travel, working with Delta Airlines, is providing direct charter flights to Havana from some US airports. Flights from Miami started last month, flights from JFK will start next week and there will be flights from Atlanta in December.