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European Tourism Ministers meet in Croatia to advance development, innovation and partnerships

Innovation, partnerships and managing rising tourist numbers have been top of the agenda at the 64th Meeting of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for Europe, held in Zagreb, Croatia this week (27-30 May).
Croatia was unanimously chosen to host the annual meeting of the tourism ministers of UNWTO Member States in Europe. The country is one of the region’s tourism destinations, welcoming 20 million international arrivals in 2018, a 6.7% increase on the previous year. A strong partner of UNWTO, the country is home to the Zagreb Sustainable Tourism Observatory, part of the global UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories.

The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 40 Member States, a record level of high-level participation for the Regional Commission for Europe. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to thank him for Croatia’s commitment to sustainable tourism. Mr Pololikashvili also met with Ms. Marija Pejcinovic Buric, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and with Croatia’s Minister of Tourism, Gari Capelli, for high-level discussions on destination management and sustainability.

“It is so encouraging to see not just so many ministers joining us here in Zagreb, but to also witness the genuine enthusiasm our European Member States have for managing tourism and harnessing it as a driver of sustainable development,” Mr Pololikashvili says. “Regional and international cooperation are vital to face up to the challenges linked to tourist numbers, especially in urban areas. This week’s meeting in Zagreb proves the desire to make tourism a force for good.”

Croatia’s Minister of Tourism, Gari Capelli, added: “Croatia is extremely proud and honoured to be hosting this meeting. Tourism is an engine for many innovative and developmental processes, a creative force for new jobs and a tool for the protection of natural and cultural heritage. This is a great opportunity to jointly guide trends and policies in the right direction. I am confident that together we will continue finding the right answers to all open questions and consolidate the path of responsible, sustainable and ethical tourism.”

In the context of the ministerial meeting, public and private sectors gathered for a special Workshop on Growth, Innovation and Partnerships. UNWTO Affiliate Members including Amadeus, ICCA, Niantic and Google, presented products aimed at improving tourism management and sustainability.

Furthermore, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili met with Davor Suker, President of the Croatian Football Federation, to discuss the opportunities presented by the growing market for sports tourism.

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Côte d’Ivoire seeks African Development Bank’s support for $5.8 billion tourism plan

Ivorian Minister of Tourism Siandou Fofana on 25 April 2019 presented a strategy document aimed at making Côte d’Ivoire Africa’s fifth biggest tourism destination from 2025 to the African Development Bank, and sought its support to implement the plan.

The document entitled “Sublime Côte d’Ivoire”, was presented to the Bank’s Vice-President responsible for Private sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Pierre Guislain, at the headquarters in Abidjan.

“We have come to share this new vision for Côte d’Ivoire with the Bank and to secure your help and financial support. We need your help to pool resources to carry this project out,” Minister Fofana said, adding that the strategy will rest on nine new flagship projects and would require a $5.8 billion investment.

“One of these is the ‘Abidjan Business City’, which will be a central point for holding conventions in Côte d’Ivoire. We do not currently have a conference centre and we do not have a hall with the capacity to accommodate 5,000 people. There is, therefore, a need to move quickly in that regard,” he said.

“We will also have a ‘beautiful beach for all’, with a 550-km coastline that has yet to be exploited. In addition, we will build a 100-hectare leisure park to be a place of entertainment for the sub-region, and develop press trips and seven flagship tourist areas,” Fofana added.

Projects envisaged under the strategy include strengthening of the tourism code, establishing additional tourist attractions with a land reserve of 6,000 hectares, the creation of a bank of tourism-sector projects and redesigning of a tourism ‘one-stop shop’. The government also plans to strengthen security and health care, develop the aviation sector and increase airport passenger flow to three million, and train and certify 230,000 sector professionals.

“All this will drive employment and our intention is to create 375,000 new jobs. From 2025, we plan to welcome four to five million tourists, (there were 3.08 million in 2016 and 3.47 million in 2017), to make this sector the fourth economic pillar of the country and to make Côte d’Ivoire the fifth biggest tourism power on the continent and the joint leader in African business tourism,” said Fofana.

Bank Vice-President Guislain commended Côte d’Ivoire’s “progress” in the tourism sector, saying it was essential for investors.

He briefed the delegation on the Bank’s financing instruments for the public and private sectors, highlighting the existence of private investment funds and the Bank’s priority focus on supporting bankable projects for partners with sufficient financial capacity.

“We are glad to have been visited by you and to have learnt about your strategy. This is important. Business tourism needs to be consolidated and your ambitions are good. The African Development Bank has a strong partnership with Côte d’Ivoire, the host country of our headquarters. The Bank finances many infrastructure projects (energy and roads) that are essential to the development of tourism. We also financed the expansion of Air Côte d’Ivoire, whose development is essential for tourism to flourish in the country,” Guislain said.

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Heathrow ‘delighted’ with judicial review outcome

Commenting on today’s High Court ruling on the expansion judicial review claims, a Heathrow spokesperson said:

“We are delighted with today’s ruling which is a further demonstration that the debate on Heathrow expansion has been had and won, not only in Parliament, but in the courts also. We are getting on with delivering the once-in-a-generation project that will connect Britain to global growth, providing thousands of new jobs and an economic boost for this country and its future generations.”

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Frankfurt Airport lays cornerstone for future Terminal 3

Fraport AG laid the cornerstone for Frankfurt Airport’s new Terminal 3, one of Europe’s largest privately financed infrastructure projects. Numerous guests and construction workers attended the ceremony, which marked the start of above-ground construction. To remind future generations of this milestone, a group of participants filled and bricked in a time capsule. They included Dr. Thomas Schäfer, Minister of Finance of the German state of Hesse, and architect Prof. Christoph Mäckler, as well as Fraport AG’s executive board chairman, Dr. Stefan Schulte, and its supervisory board chairman, Karlheinz Weimar. During periods of peak activity, up to 5,000 construction workers a day and around 75 tower cranes will be deployed at the Terminal 3 construction site.

During the ceremony, Fraport CEO Schulte stated: “We are building the future with Terminal 3―for Frankfurt Airport, the entire Rhine-Main region and far beyond. By employing state-of-the-art technology and intelligent processes to create an outstanding passenger experience, we are meeting the promise inherent in our slogan, ‘Gute Reise! We make it happen’. With the new terminal, we are adding sufficient capacity for about 21 million more travelers annually by the year 2023. Frankfurt is already an international leader in terms of connectivity. No other aviation hub in the world offers more destinations to business or leisure travelers than Frankfurt Airport. And Terminal 3 will further strengthen Germany’s most important gateway to the world.”

Finance Minister Schäfer said: “Today we aren’t just laying the cornerstone for a new airport building. We are also establishing the basis for more jobs, more opportunities, and greater economic vitality. The construction of Terminal 3 is an important step for strengthening the airport’s competitiveness and therefore also that of the state of Hesse as a center of economic activity. Over the next few years, Fraport AG will invest up to four billion euros in the project. This has the potential to create many new jobs while increasing the importance of Frankfurt Airport as Germany’s largest place of employment. But even though the airport is the powerhouse of Hesse’s economy, this doesn’t mean that it has free rein. The state government will continue to insist that the aviation industry uphold its strong commitment to reducing noise and environmental burdens.”

Terminal 3’s Pier G, with capacity for up to five million passengers, will be completed by 2021 in the southern part of Frankfurt Airport. This modern facility will later be integrated into Terminal 3’s premium product. The plans call for the main terminal building, along with Piers H and J, to be completed in 2023. As a result, the airport will then be able to handle up to 21 million more passengers than now. There will be an option to later add a Pier K, thus increasing the new terminal’s total capacity to 25 million air travelers.

Fraport supervisory board chairman Weimar added: “Frankfurt Airport is a premium air traffic hub. This is obvious from the growing number of travelers wishing to fly from and via Frankfurt. In view of the buoyant growth in passenger volumes, it is high time to enlarge our capacity. So it’s good news that one pier can be completed ahead of the rest. Pier G will begin operating and providing additional capacity as early as 2021. This leaves no doubt that we were right to opt for an architectural design that could be flexibly adjusted as required.”

Architect Christoph Mäckler explained the terminal’s design as follows: “What passengers want before and after flying is, more than anything else, rest and relaxation. This was an essential leitmotif for designing Terminal 3, alongside maximizing the technical and functional flexibility of the building complex. The light-flooded interior spaces feature high-quality materials in warm natural hues to evoke a pleasant ambiance that invites passengers to relax and stay a while. In this respect, the new terminal will be the first of a new generation worldwide.”

Fraport Ausbau Süd GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fraport AG, is responsible for managing, supervising and monitoring the construction project. The approved budget amounts to between 3.5 and four billion euros, Fraport’s largest single investment at Frankfurt Airport. Some 500 individual contracts are being awarded for a wide variety of tasks, which is benefitting a large number of small and midsized construction companies, including in the Frankfurt region.

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Hard Rock International announces Hard Rock Hotel Bangalore

With a portfolio spanning across 75 countries, including 27 unique hotel properties with 37 projects in different phases of development, Hard Rock International continues intensifying its international presence with the announcement of Hard Rock Hotel Bangalore, slated to open in Fall 2020. Joining Hard Rock Hotel Goa, the second Hard Rock Hotel in India will be located in the bustling city of Bangalore, known as the Silicon Valley of India.

“The city of Bangalore is full of culture and beauty and is the perfect location for our second property in India,” said Todd Hricko, senior vice president and head of global hotel development for Hard Rock International. “We are pleased to work with Convention Hotels India Private Limited who share in our vision, integrity and dedication to quality.”

Hard Rock Hotel Bangalore will feature Hard Rock’s signature musical design, highlighting the roots of the local culture with one-of-a-kind memorabilia placed throughout the 210-room hotel. The property, which will be licensed by Hard Rock International and managed by Convention Hotels India Private Limited, will also feature an array of signature brand offerings.

“We are so excited to be a part of bringing the Hard Rock brand to Bangalore,” said Prataap Wadhwa, managing director of Convention Hotels India Private Limited. “This project will provide an economically invigorating addition to the area, creating new jobs and catering to the IT professionals in the city.”

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Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda: Top 10 improved world travel destinations

Three Eastern African nations have emerged among the top ten fastest-growing destinations for tourism in the world.

The 2019 annual report compiled by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that Ethiopia is the fastest-growing travel destination in the world with Rwanda in sixth place and Uganda holding a twelfth position on the list.

Ethiopia’s tourism sector grew by a staggering 48.6 percent in 2018, making up 9.4 percent of the economy and creating 2.2 million jobs. Over 8 percent of Ethiopia’s total workforce now works in tourism.

Rwanda also saw growth rates of 13.8 percent and Uganda 11.3 percent, with all 3 showing the pull of East Africa both in terms of its wildlife, history, and beaches, the Nation Media Group reported from Nairobi.

Kenya also saw a big growth in 2018  at 5.6 percent  which had created 1.46 million jobs and made up 8.8 percent of the total annual economy.

Kenya stands as the leading tourist hub in Eastern Africa, taking an advantage of its rich wildlife, historical sites, and beaches on the Indian Ocean coast and improved tourist services, mostly hotels and air transport facilities.

In its annual analysis quantifying the global economic and employment impact of travel and tourism in 185 countries and 25 regions, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s research reveals that the sector accounted for 10.4 percent of global GDP and 319 million jobs, or 10 percent of total employment in 2018.

It adds that travel and tourism’s growth in 2019 is expected “to remain resilient” despite a slowing global economy.

“Our forecasts point to a 3.6 percent expansion for travel and tourism, faster than an expected global economy growth of 2.9 percent in 2019,” the report says.

It adds that one in 5 of all new jobs were created by travel and tourism over the past 5 years showing the growing importance of the sector to the global economy.

Travel and tourism GDP grew by 5.6 percent in 2018, significantly above the African economic growth rate of 3.2 percent.

This places Africa as the second fastest-growing region in 2018, behind only Asia-Pacific.

Such growth is partly explained by North Africa’s rebound from security crises as well as the development and implementation of policies that stimulate travel promotion.

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19 more hotels with 3000 rooms to be added to Marriott Hotels in Middle East and Africa

Marriott International expects to add 19 new properties and more than 3,000 rooms to its  Middle East and Africa portfolio in 2019.  Underpinning a strong demand for its diverse brands, the new additions are in line with the company’s expansion plans to add more than 100 new properties and nearly 26,000 rooms across the region by the end of 2023.  Marriott estimates its development pipeline through 2023 represents up to $8 billion of investment from property owners and is expected to generate over 20,000 new jobs across the region.

“Our growth across the Middle East and Africa is fuelled by a strong demand for our diverse range of well-established brands, each offering different attributes that cater to this region’s ever changing and evolving marketplace,” said Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “This region continues to present us with opportunities to further grow and enhance our portfolio across new and established markets.  While the majority of our growth will be through new-builds, we are seeing an increasing number of conversion opportunities, especially in the luxury space.”

Year-to-date, the company has opened five new properties in the region and is expected to add 14 more – bringing its portfolio across the Middle East and Africa to nearly 270 properties and over 60,000 rooms – by the end of the year.

Unwavering Demand for Luxury Brands that offer Unrivalled Experiences

The company is poised to expand its luxury footprint in the region by more than 70 percent by the end of 2023, with more than 25 luxury properties under development.   The company expects to grow its luxury portfolio in 2019 with seven anticipated openings across four brands:

  • With the recent opening of W Dubai – The Palm and the anticipated openings of W Muscat and W Yas Island, W Hotels should double its portfolio in the region.
  • St. Regis anticipates debuting in Jordan and Egypt with the openings of The St. Regis Amman and The St. Regis Cairo.
  • The iconic North Island is expected to of world-renowned hotels and resorts.
  • JW Marriott anticipates marking its entry into Oman with the opening of the JW Marriott Muscat Convention Center.

Substantial Growth across Premium Brands

The growth of Marriott’s premium brands remains steady across the region with more than 30 hotels expected to be added to the portfolio by the end of 2023. By the end of 2019, the company expects to have added four new hotels under its premium portfolio for the region:

  • The Autograph Collection anticipates marking its debut in Kenya with the addition of Sankara Nairobi.
  • Marriott Hotels and Marriott Executive Apartments strengthened its presence in Saudi Arabia with the recent openings in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh.  Marriott Executive Apartments is also expected to open a new property in Madinah later this year.
  • Marriott Hotels is also planning to open its second property in Algeria, in the capital city of Algiers

In addition to the openings in 2019, Marriott is also focused on the transformation journey of Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, the company’s most global brand.  In the region, Sheraton Jeddah Hotel and Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai are currently undergoing renovations that represent the brand’s vision for the future.

Regional Demand for Select-Service Hotels Continues to Fuel Growth

Currently representing over 40 percent of the company’s development pipeline through 2023, select-serve brands continue their rapid growth trajectory across the Middle East and Africa.  Building on the momentum from 2018 – with ten properties added across the region, including four Aloft hotels in the UAE – the company expects to add seven new properties by the end of this year:

  • Four Points by Sheraton anticipates expanding its portfolio with a total of four openings in 2019.The brand recently opened properties in in Sharjah (UAE) and Setif (Algeria) and is on-track to open two more properties this year including, Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salaam New Africa in Tanzania and Four Points by Sheraton Lahore in Pakistan.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott expects to make its debut in Algeria with the opening of Residence Inn by Marriott Algiers
  • Protea Hotels by Marriott plans to expand the brand in Uganda with the opening of Protea Hotel by Marriott Naguru Skyz.
  • Element Hotels is set to launch its first property in Africa with the opening of Element Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
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Marriott has a 2020 vision when it comes to expansion in Asia

From the 15th Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia, Marriott International  today announced its continued expansion plans in Asia-Pacific with its 2020 vision — an aggressive target to have 1000 hotels open by the end of 2020. This vision also could create up to 50,000 more job opportunities for the region. In 2019 alone, the company expects to add close to 100 new hotels or close to 20,000 rooms in the region, with several brand debuts in AustraliaHong KongThe PhilippinesNepal and India. Marriott International’s portfolio in Asia Pacific currently encompasses over 710 properties in 23 countries and territories, operating under 23 of the company’s 30 global brands.

“The breadth and depth of Marriott International’s footprint means that we are able to offer travelers opportunities to experience more destinations, brands and experiences, especially through Marriott BonvoyTM, our industry-leading travel program,” said Craig S. Smith, President and Managing Director, Marriott International Asia Pacific.

“As important as our size is our commitment to deliver seamless and quality experiences for our guests at on-brand properties. Today’s traveler demands authentic, personalized and transformative experiences, whether for work or for pleasure, as a way of broadening their individual horizons and achieving a deeper understanding of the world. As the world’s leading hospitality company, it is in our DNA to strive to be part of our guests’ favorite moments and memories. We are dedicated to Marriott International remaining Asia Pacific’s favorite travel company.”

ChinaIndia and Southeast Asia as Marriott International’s Growth Drivers in the Region

Marriott International is well positioned to capitalize on global travel trends in ChinaIndia, and Indonesia, three of the world’s four most populated nations.

China continues to be the strongest growth driver for Marriott International in Asia Pacific, with more than 300 hotels in the pipeline. This accounts for more than 50 percent of the company’s pipeline in Asia Pacific. This year alone, Marriott International targets to open more than 30 hotels in China, including the first JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in China, the 515-room JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong featuring 6 food and beverage outlets; and the first Renaissance Hotel in the Fujian province with the planned opening of Renaissance Xiamen Resort & Spa in the fourth quarter of 2019. Outside of mainland China, the St. Regis brand is set to debut with the opening of St. Regis Hong Kong located in the historic Wanchai district.

With its recent 100th Marriott International hotel milestone celebrated in 2018, India continues to be the company’s second fastest growth engine in Asia Pacific with more than 50 properties in the pipeline. Marriott expects to reach more than 30,000 rooms open in India by end 2023. Given India’s robust economy and rising middle class, the country continues to present exciting growth opportunities, leveraging strong demand for Marriott’s select-service brands and growing demand for its upper upscale and luxury portfolios. The company expects to debut the Tribute Portfolio brand in India, with the opening of Port Muziris, Kochi, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel slated for the second quarter of 2019.

At the recent ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Tourism Forum, the ASEAN National Tourism Organizations revealed their collective efforts to marketing initiatives to inspire travel to Southeast Asia. Marriot International is poised to welcome these travelers, with over 140 signed hotels in its Southeast Asia pipeline, with Indonesia leading growth, meeting the growing demands of travel and tourism. In the Philippines, the company expects to more than triple its hotel portfolio by 2023. Sheraton, Marriott International’s most global brand, recently debuted in the country with the opening of Sheraton Manila Hotel. 

Marriott International continues its growth momentum in the Pacific region, with 50 hotels anticipated to be open by 2020. Australia should see several brand debuts in coming years, including The Luxury Collection and The Ritz-Carlton. The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, expects to open in Hobart in late 2019, and the 205-room The Ritz-Carlton Perth is slated to open in June 2019.  Element Hotels, Marriott International’s eco-conscious brand, is expected to debut in Australia with the opening of Element Melbourne Richmond in Q3 this year.

Marriott International Eyes New Destinations in Asia Pacific with Marriott BonvoyTM

Earlier this year, Marriott introduced Marriott BonvoyTM  — Marriott International’s travel program replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®(SPG).  With Marriott BonvoyTM, travelers can experience the company’s newly introduced Asia Pacific website featuring rich experiential and user-generated content and offering inspiration for the next adventure in Asia Pacific. The company continues to focus on bringing new hotels to unchartered destinations sought out by our guests, with Marriott International’s first foray into Myanmar planned for 2020 with the opening of Sheraton Yangon Hotel.

As the Company Expands, Culture Remains a Bedrock For Success

Marriott International’s Asia Pacific vision could create up to approximately 50,000 new job opportunities in Asia Pacificby the end of 2020. Travel and tourism provide opportunities for experienced people or those new to the hospitality industry.  Research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) highlighted that 1 in 5 new jobs created globally are attributable to travel and tourism.

As the company continues to grow, this also means that there is an increased opportunity for our associates to develop their careers and thereby improve their livelihoods. This is another way that Marriott International takes care of its associates. With a culture that empowers associates to live their best lives — putting people first has been the company’s core value since Marriott was founded more than 90 years ago. Marriott has built its business on taking care of its associates, who in turn take care of our guests. The company believes that creating a diverse and inclusive environment strengthens culture and community and drives competitiveness. Marriott International has won Aon Hewitt’s best employer for five consecutive years in Asia Pacific.

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A solution for Climate Change? What about a Clean Energy Dividend?

I believe there is an extremely simple way to whip climate change and I plan to set it out below.  It’s wonderful to see children all over the world marching today for such an important cause and they are absolutely right that if we don’t implement ideas immediately then their lives and their children’s lives are going to be imperiled.

These are the words by Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Airlines.

Many people working on this subject believe the world needs a carbon tax on dirty fuels – coal and oil – to solve the problem. However, the problem with a carbon tax is that it has so far been impossible to impose without governments falling. The Australian government tried to bring one in and they were kicked out – the new government cancelled it. In November 2018, the state of Washington voted against a carbon tax for the second time in two years.

Carbon taxes are of course well-intentioned. But others are skeptical that they will raise enough resources to tackle the problem, or if the money will actually even be spent on the issue. So aside from being unpopular with the companies, carbon taxes are also often unpopular with the public and unpopular with governments. There are really no winners – except ultimately the globe and the environment

So I would like to propose the following: a Clean Energy Dividend.”

The Virgin Group founder went on to add important points around why companies around the world should support this dividend adding:

“Every company in the world should accept a Clean Energy Dividend to be imposed on the fossil fuel they use and the carbon emissions they cause. The dividend could be the equivalent percentage that a carbon tax would have been, and based on cutting pollution at the rate the climate science shows is necessary. However, unlike a carbon tax, that money wouldn’t disappear into government coffers but would be used specifically to be invested in generating clean energy through wind farms and solar panels, as well as the development of more low carbon fuels and other breakthrough technologies. The companies, through those investments, can get that money back, plus dividends (it would be wise to have some independent governance to make absolutely certain that all companies comply with this remit.)

The good news about this approach is that:

  1. Clean energy will have literally billions poured into it over the next few years – enough money to switch the world from dirty to clean energy. This is important because what climate change initiatives are still lacking at the moment is a major investment.
  2. Companies investing in this money should be happy because the investments they make should be secure ones. 
  3. Millions of new jobs will be created through a climate change revolution.
  4. The public should be happy because although some fuel prices might increase in the short-term, the competition from clean fuel will rapidly drive prices of both dirty and clean fuel down very quickly and they will stay down forever.
  5. Governments should be happy because the lower fuel prices will result in a great boost to the economy. Lower fuel prices are politically attractive and politicians will also be able to say that by implementing this, they have made a major move towards getting on top of climate change.

This is a win-win all-round. It’s a win for companies, a win for the people who work in them, a win for the public, a win for creating new jobs, win for governments, and most importantly of all a win for our beautiful globe.”

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WTTC: Greek tourism sector growing over three times faster than wider economy

In 2018, the Greek Travel & Tourism sector grew at a rate of 6.9% – over three and a half times the pace of its wider national economy, which grew by 2.0%.

The sector represents 20.6% of Greek GDP compared to the global average of 10.4%. This means that one in every five Euros spent in Greece last year came from the Travel & Tourism sector, worth €37.5bn (USD $44.6bn).

Meanwhile, one quarter of all employment in Greece is based in Travel & Tourism – equivalent to 988.6k jobs. In 2019, this figure is forecast to surpass one million for the first time since WTTC records began.

Even at the height of economic performance before the financial crisis, Greece still employed less people in Travel & Tourism than they did in 2018 (934.5k in 2006), indicating that not only has the sector economy recovered but it is now outperforming its previous peaks.

The same is true for GDP contribution, which has never before amounted to 20% of total GDP.

These figures come from the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector. The research, conducted for almost 30 years by WTTC, which represents the global private sector of Travel & Tourism, shows that in 2018 the Greek sector:

• Outpaced the EU’s regional Travel & Tourism growth rate of 2.4%. Both the EU and Greece’s wider economies grew at a rate of 2.0%, but the Greek travel sector leapt ahead of regional averages.

• Benefitted from €18.5bn international visitor spend, representing 27.9% of total exports.

• Two-thirds of inbound Greek travel spend came from international visitors (66%), and one-third from domestic travel (34%).

• Was driven by leisure spending, which comprised 94% of tourist spend compared to 6% for business.

WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara remarked, “We are hugely impressed by the Greek growth rate, and the government strategies that have spurred it on. Travel & Tourism has had a huge role to play in driving Greek economic recovery, and is a chief employer of people. Greece is an exemplary case study of how valuable an asset Travel & Tourism can be when the government prioritises the sector.”

The Minister of Tourism of the Hellenic Republic, Elena Kountoura remarked: “Our long-term tourism strategy that we implement since 2015 led to outstanding results in Greece’s tourism growth, and supported profoundly the Greek economy in the most difficult years of the crisis. We achieved our target in creating thousands of new jobs, new business activity, new sources of income, and in mobilizing new tourism investments.

With our growth plan for the next day, we intend to maintain Greece’s strong momentum in  tourism and maximize its benefits for the local communities across Greece, acknowledging tourism’s immense value as  a major driving force for employment,  economic and social prosperity.”


About the World Travel & Tourism Council

WTTC is the body which represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally. Members consist of CEOs of the world’s Travel & Tourism companies, destinations, and industry organisations engaging with Travel & Tourism.

WTTC has a history of 25 years of research to quantify the economic impact of the sector in 185 countries. Travel & Tourism is a key driver for investment and economic growth globally. The sector contributes US$8.8 trillion or 10.4% of global GDP, and accounts for 319 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet.

For over 25 years, WTTC has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses, who bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making and raise awareness of the importance of the secto

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European Union and Qatar finally signed a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA)

The European Commission and the State of Qatar initialed today an aviation agreement, the first such agreement between the EU and a partner from the Gulf region.

The agreement will upgrade the rules and standards for flights between Qatar and the EU, and will set a new global benchmark by committing to strong, fair competition mechanisms, and including provisions not normally covered by bilateral air transport agreements, such as social or environmental matters.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “We delivered! Qatar was the first partner with whom we launched negotiations following our adoption of the Aviation Strategy for Europe – now it is also the first one to cross the finish line! More than that – the agreement sets out ambitious standards for fair competition, transparency or social issues. It will provide a level playing field and raise the bar globally for air transport agreements. This is a major upgrade compared to the existing framework, and our joint contribution to making aviation more sustainable!

Going far beyond traffic rights, the EU-Qatar agreement will provide a single set of rules, high standards and a platform for future cooperation on a wide range of aviation issues, such as safety, security or air traffic management. The agreement also commits both parties to improve social and labour policies – an achievement which existing agreements between Qatar and individual EU Member States have not provided so far.

In particular, the agreement includes the following elements:

  • A gradual market opening over a period of five years to those EU Member States which have not yet fully liberalized direct connections for passengers: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
  • Provisions on fair competition with strong enforcement mechanisms to avoid distortions of competition and abuses negatively affecting the operations of EU airlines in the EU or in third countries.
  • Transparency provisions in line with international reporting and accounting standards to ensure obligations are fully respected.
  • Provisions on social matters committing the Parties to improve social and labour policies.
  • A forum for meetings addressing all issues, and any potential differences at an early stage, plus mechanisms to quickly resolve any disputes.
  • Provisions facilitating business transactions, including the removal of existing obligations for EU airlines to work through a local sponsor.

The agreement will benefit all stakeholders by improving connectivity through a fair and transparent competitive environment, and create strong foundations for a long-term aviation relationship.

According to an independent economic study undertaken on behalf of the Commission, the agreement, with its robust fair competition provisions, could generate economic benefits of nearly €3 billion over the period 2019-2025 and create around 2000 new jobs by 2025.

The European Commission negotiated the agreement on behalf of the European Member States as part of its Aviation Strategy for Europe – a milestone initiative to give a new boost to European aviation and provide business opportunities. The negotiations were successfully concluded on 5 February 2019.

Next steps

Following today’s initialling, both parties will prepare the signature of the agreement following their respective internal procedures. The agreement will enter into force once both internal procedures will be finalised.


Qatar is a close aviation partner for the European Union, with more than 7 million passengers travelling between the EU and Qatar per year under the existing 27 bilateral air transport agreements with EU Member States. While direct flights between most EU Member States and Qatar have already been liberalised by those bilateral agreements, none of them include provisions on fair competition and other elements, such as social issues, that the Commission considers essential elements of a modern aviation agreement.

In 2016, the European Commission therefore obtained authorisation from the Council to negotiate an EU-level aviation agreement with Qatar. Since September 2016, the negotiators have met for five formal rounds of negotiations, in the presence of observers from EU Member States and stakeholders.

This agreement is part of the EU’s concerted efforts to ensure open, fair competition and high standards for global aviation, in line with the ambitious external agenda put forward with the Aviation Strategy for Europe. Parallel negotiations with ASEAN are at an advanced stage, and negotiations are also ongoing with Turkey. The Commission also has a negotiating mandate for aviation agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Oman. EU negotiations with Ukraine, Armenia and Tunisia have been finalised and the agreements are pending signature.

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Travel & Tourism continues strong growth above global GDP

The global Travel & Tourism sector grew at 3.9% to contribute a record $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy in 2018. For the eighth consecutive year, this was above the growth rate of world GDP.

This is according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual research into the economic impact and social importance of the sector. The research conducted over the last 25 years by WTTC, which represents the global private sector of Travel & Tourism, shows that Travel & Tourism in 2018:

  • Contributed $8.8 trillion to the global economy
  • Grew faster than the global economy for the eighth successive year (3.9% for Travel & Tourism versus 3.2% for global GDP)
  • Generated 10.4% of all global economic activity
  • Contributed 319 million jobs, representing one in ten of all jobs globally
  • Is responsible for one in five of all new jobs created in the world over the last five years
  • Is the second-fastest growing sector in the world, ahead of Healthcare (+3.1%); Information Technology (+1.7%) and Financial Services (+1.7%) behind only Manufacturing, which grew by 4%
  • Increased its share of leisure spending to 78.5% (from 77.5% in 2017) meaning 21.5% (22.5% in 2017) of spending was on business
  • Increased its share of spending from international tourists 28.8%, up from 27.3% in 2017. This means that 71.2% of spending comes from domestic tourists.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “2018 was another year of strong growth for the global Travel & Tourism sector reinforcing its role as a driver of economic growth and job creation. For the eighth consecutive year, our sector outpaced growth in the wider global economy and we recorded the second-highest growth of any major sector in the world.

“In 2018, Travel & Tourism generated $8.8 trillion and supported 319 million jobs across the world. Yet again, this proves the power of Travel & Tourism as a tool for governments to generate prosperity while creating jobs which particularly support women, youth and other, often marginalised groups of society. In fact, Travel & Tourism now accounts for one in five of all new jobs created worldwide and is forecast to contribute 100 million new jobs globally over the next ten years, accounting for 421 million jobs by 2029.”

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First Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Monrovia means good news for Liberia tourism

A franchise agreement with Marriott International was signed today for the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Liberia. Located in the capital city, Monrovia. The hotel is due to become the first internationally branded hotel in the country upon opening in 2020 and will be managed by Aleph Hospitality under the Four Points by Sheraton brand.

The landmark property is situated in the city’s central business district, adjacent to the United Nations mission and in close proximity to a number of government organisations and commercial offices.

It will offer 111 guest rooms.

The opening of the hotel will play a vital role in helping to realize the country’s tourism strategy, which aims to deliver 15 million international visitors by 2023.

“With President Weah announcing plans just last month to greatly simplify the visa entry system and look to develop a national tourism board to drive inbound visitor numbers, Liberia looks set to significantly grow its share of voice in the African tourism industry,” commented Bani Haddad, Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality.  “The increasing number of international guests will bring with them a strong demand for international quality accommodation and we greatly look forward to managing the operations of the hotel to world-class standards and making the Four Points by Sheraton Monrovia the destination of choice in the city.”

Expected to create over 100 new jobs when open, the hotel, which is owned by Sea Suites Hotel LLC, will be operated by Aleph Hospitality under a third-party management model. This model, ubiquitous in the U.S. and European hotel industries but in its infancy in Africa, is proven to deliver superior value for the owner through a combination of the benefits afforded by an international brand married with a highly-focused and personalised management approach aligned to the interests of the owner.

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Iberostar announces 7 new hotel openings in 2019

Last year proved crucial in the consolidation of Iberostar’s positioning strategy, with the hotel chain making major progress in this area. Iberostar Group’s turnover for 2018 surpassed 3 billion dollars, a nine percent increase compared to 2017. The company also created 4,000 new jobs around the world. This increase came in addition to the hotel division’s excellent performance and double figure growth of its travel businesses.

Iberostar Group is also moving forward with its “Wave of Change” movement, with significant milestone achievements in all 3 of its key areas of action: reducing plastic consumption; promoting responsible consumption of seafood; and improving coastal health.  The “Wave of Change” movement has positioned Iberostar as a leader in the industry of responsible tourism thanks to its ambitious sustainable management strategies.


Following the opening of 13 hotels in 2018, Iberostar looks forward to adding 7 new properties in Spain (Majorca and Madrid), Portugal (Lagos), Italy (Rome), Tunisia (Monastir and Sousse) and Turkey (Istanbul). The hotel chain will include 1,500 rooms in three new destinations to a portfolio that could expand over the course of 2019. This year will also be crucial for the consolidation of operations currently underway in Los Cabos and Litibu (Mexico) and advancements in other destinations such as Montenegro, Aruba, Albania and Cuba.

Iberostar Group remains firmly committed to its plans to reposition and expand its hotel portfolio. In recent years, the company has invested more than 570 million dollars and will continue until 2022 with further investments already allocated to Europe and the Americas. As result of these major investment efforts, all of the chain’s hotels are now in the 4- and 5-star categories, and over 70 percent of them have been recently renovated.


Launched in 2017 to play an active role in defining a more responsible tourism model, the ‘Wave of Change’ movement continued to move forward in 2018 in all 3 key areas: reducing plastic consumption, promoting responsible consumption of seafood, and improving coastal health. The Group has also proposed a series of new sustainable goals for 2019.

  1. Single-use plastics: In 2018, Iberostar Group was:
    • the first hotel chain to eliminate all single-use plastics from its hotel rooms in Spain and its corporate headquarter offices in Mallorca. With this initiative, Iberostar has effectively reduced plastic consumption by 300 tons a year and has replaced 7 million items made of single-use plastics with natural or biodegradable alternatives. The chain has also installed more than 50,000 post-consumer dispensers containing top quality BIO cosmetics.
    • a pioneer in replacing the traditional polyester used for its uniforms with a material made entirely from recycled plastic. With these new uniforms, the company is contributing to the removal of around 470,000 plastic bottles from the oceans and landfills, as well as eliminating the use of 28,000 meters of the traditional, more contaminating polyester.
    • the driver for a compost plant at one of its hotels in Spain to produce garden fertilizer.

In 2019, the chain will eliminate single-use plastics from the rooms of its entire hotel portfolio, and by 2020, it will have also been completely removed these items from all areas of its hotels.

  1. Responsible consumption of seafood: In 2018, Iberostar Group:
    • redesigned its restaurant menus, eliminating the most sensitive species and promoting the use of local and seasonal fish.
    • was the first hotel chain in southern Europe to be awarded the MSC Chain of Custody certificate.
    • set up programs for ongoing employee training and guest communication actions in order to promote responsible consumption.

In 2019, the company will receive guidance from NGOs to assess the risks, responsibility and sustainability of its procurement policy. The objective is to include products on its menus that will not harm species’ evolution, their living conditions or longevity. The chain will also explore new ways of ensuring the responsible consumption of local fish.

  1. Coastal health: In 2018, Iberostar Group:
    • embarked on a coral reef research project and created its first coral breeding ground in Dominican Republic.
    • set up the Iberostar del Mar Chair to promote research on marine ecology in collaboration with the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB).

In 2019, the company plans to create a second coral breeding ground in the Caribbean and launch a project for the restoration of mangroves in Dominican Republic. Iberostar will also promote an educational awareness program and grant 10 scholarships to encourage the creation of new research teams.

As Iberostar expands its offerings around the word, the hotel chain also continues its awareness-raising initiatives, like Star Camp, beach and sea clean-up activities and other leisure programs for all its guests, employees and stakeholders.

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Government of Canada invests $1 million in Charlevoix region tourism

The tourism sector is a major economic driver across Canada. It helps ensure sustainable growth and creates good jobs for middle-class families, both in urban centers like Montréal as well as in smaller communities such as La Malbaie.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced that the municipality of La Malbaie would receive a $1,000,000 non-repayable contribution from the Government of Canada to set up an activity centre (Le Havre) on the shore of the St. Lawrence River. The creation of this four-season public-gathering space will involve the construction of a central court and a multi purpose building, as well as landscaping work.

CED has awarded a $500,000 contribution for the construction of a multi-purpose building, which will include reception areas, sanitation services, rooms to be made available to local organizations and the general public, a multi-purpose room that can seat approximately 150 people, and an outdoor stage with seating for up to 2,500 spectators.

Heritage Canada has provided $500,000 for the creation of an arts presentation space, which will enhance the cultural experience. The Charlevoix region will thus be able to take greater advantage of tourism opportunities and will enjoy better access to high-quality shows.

With the help of government funding, and thanks to projects such as the municipality of La Malbaie project, Canadians and visitors to Canada will be able to benefit from a lively meeting place during festivals and special events.

The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CED, and the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. It was made during Minister Joly’s cross-Canada tour, at which she is speaking with local tourism and travel industry experts. The goal of the roundtable discussions, which began in November, is to identify opportunities for maximizing Canada’s tourism potential.


“Our government recognizes that tourism acts as a catalyst in all regions of the country, including La Malbaie, by creating good jobs for middle-class families. We know that, by working together, we will be able to take full advantage of the enormous economic potential of this key sector of our economy, and that this will lead to the creation of new economic opportunities and new jobs for the middle class.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“CED’s financial support will allow the municipality of La Malbaie to grow and further showcase the attractions of the Charlevoix region, which in turn will help bring even more visitors to the region. Through this support, the Government of Canada is reaffirming its commitment to promote Quebec’s tourism regions, which has a positive impact on the local economy.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister responsible for CED

“We are pleased to be involved in a project that will provide the population of La Malbaie and people throughout the Charlevoix region with new, high-quality infrastructure for the performing arts. Our government aims to establish optimal conditions in Canada’s regions to ensure that all Canadians have access to the works of our talented creators.”

– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“CED’s funding for the construction of a multi-purpose building will help increase the number of visitors to the region and foster their retention, while at the same enhancing the visibility and notoriety of both the municipality of La Malbaie and the Charlevoix region as a whole.”

– Mayor of La Malbaie, Michel Couturier

Quick facts

• Tourism accounts for 2% of Canada’s gross domestic product.
• Tourism supports 1.8 million jobs across the country.
• The tourism sector directly supports more jobs than the oil and gas, mining, agriculture, automotive manufacturing and aerospace sectors combined.
• During the first 10 months of 2018, Canada welcomed a record 18.6 million international tourists, up 1.2% compared with the same period in 2017.

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Contour Airlines nearly doubles the size of its regional jet fleet

Contour Airlines announced today that it has completed the acquisition of five additional Embraer ERJ-135 regional jets, bringing its ERJ fleet size to 11, and the total number of aircraft operated by Contour to 25. The new aircraft will be deployed into Contour’s growing route network across the country.

“2018 was a transformative year for Contour,” said Matt Chaifetz, Chief Executive Officer. “Our network grew from four to fourteen cities in less than twelve months. The response to Contour’s distinctive combination of a premium product, reliable service, and low fares has been overwhelming, and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our nearly 400 team members. We are incredibly excited about the additional opportunities that these new aircraft present for further profitable growth.”

The transaction coincides with the recent announcement that Contour has been awarded the contract to provide Alternate Essential Air Service between Fort Leonard Wood and St. Louis, MO. Fort Leonard Wood is the seventh community supported by the Essential Air Service program to select Contour as its recommended air service provider. Once service begins this February, Contour’s network will include a total of sixteen cities nationwide.

The additional aircraft will enable Contour to retire its fleet of Jetstream 31/32 turboprop aircraft and transition its Tupelo, MS to Nashville route, Contour’s last remaining Jetstream operation, to jet service effective April 1, 2019. In total, the company expects over 100 new jobs, including approximately 50 pilot positions, to be created as its new aircraft enter service.

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50 million visitors: Los Angeles celebrates record milestone

Los Angeles reached a historic milestone in 2018, welcoming 50 million visitors for the first time ever and accomplishing the destination’s ambitious tourism goal two years early. The new record is 1.5 million visitors higher than 2017’s total – a 3.1 percent increase – marking the eighth-consecutive year of tourism growth for Los Angeles. City leaders and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. made the celebratory announcement using a hologram created by Los Angeles-based VNTANA, the leading provider of premium mixed reality experiences, at a special gathering of L.A.’s tourism and hospitality community.

“Los Angeles is a place where everyone is welcome, and tourism strengthens our diversity, grows our economy, and supports good-paying jobs for families across our city,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Surpassing 50 million annual visitors two years ahead of schedule is the latest milestone in our ongoing work to bring Los Angeles to the world, and the world to Los Angeles.”

In surpassing 50 million total visitors, Los Angeles set new tourism records for domestic and international visitation, hosting an estimated 42.5 million domestic visitors (3 percent increase) and 7.5 million international visitors (3.6 percent increase).

Global sports icon, career Laker superstar and storyteller Kobe Bryant delivered a jaw-dropping moment via a life-size interactive hologram, sharing a congratulatory message and proclaiming L.A. as the sports capital of the world. In collaboration with VNTANA, L.A. Tourism debuted a mixed reality experience with Mr. Bryant for meeting professionals at PCMA Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh in early January. L.A. Tourism will work with VNTANA to produce additional activations throughout the year to bring the L.A. visitor experience to life using immersive technology.

“The 50 million milestone was set in 2013 as a north star goal for the tourism industry, but our unwavering focus on its significant community impact and tangible economic benefits seamlessly transformed it into a civic rallying cry for all of Los Angeles,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “Thank you to our city leadership and hospitality partners for their endless support and ongoing investments that have cemented tourism in L.A. as a powerful driver of economic growth.”

In 2018, Los Angeles’ meetings and convention business enjoyed a strong year as the city hosted 25 citywide conventions that generated more than 284,000 hotel room nights. Notable citywides included American Academy of Neurology, which set record show attendance with over 36,000 room nights actualized; the inaugural Mobile World Congress Los Angeles, which yielded more than 17,000 room nights; and E3 Expo, which had a 14 percent increase in room nights year-over-year at 32,000-plus. L.A. Tourism’s self-contained sales team generated a record year with a 20 percent year-over-year increase and more than 276,000 room nights booked for meetings and events in 2018.”

After a slight decrease in 2017, visitation from Mexico in 2018 scored its highest total ever with 1.8 million visitors, a 4 percent increase. China recorded an all-time high 1.2 million visitors, making Los Angeles the number one ranked U.S. city for Chinese travelers (6.9 percent increase, the largest net gain among all international markets). Other international markets recording their highest visitation totals ever in 2018 include: Canada with 780,000 (4.5 percent increase); U.K. with 382,000 (3 percent increase); Japan with 349,000 (2.5 percent increase); Scandinavia with 190,000 (3.9 percent increase); and India with 130,000 (5.1 percent increase).

L.A.’s tourism growth can be attributed to several factors including a 3.6 percent increase in international seat capacity at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); nearly 2,000 new rooms added to the destination’s hotel inventory; L.A.’s growing reputation as a hot culinary and cultural destination; as well as L.A. Tourism’s latest global campaign, ‘L.A. Loves’ which extended and amplified a message of welcome and hospitality following the acclaimed ‘Everyone is Welcome’ initiative.

Last year, tourism supported an average of more than 547,000 jobs in the Leisure & Hospitality sector, one of the largest in L.A. County. Of the 11 major super sectors in the County, the Leisure & Hospitality sector in 2018 generated the largest year-over year increase in new jobs with 22,996 (4.4 percent increase).

A record 30.1 million hotel room nights (room demand) were sold countywide, a 2.4 percent increase. Estimates show visitors are expected to generate at least $288 million dollars in transient occupancy tax collections for the City of Los Angeles in 2018, a record. These dollars are used to fund local fire, police as well as cultural and recreational services.

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Tokyo to Perth, soon non stop on All Nippon Airways

Perth Airport has welcomed today’s announcement by All Nippon Airways (ANA) that they will launch a new daily direct flight between Tokyo Narita and Perth on 1 September 2019.

Perth Airport Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brown said working in partnership with tourism, businesses, exporters, and the Government to create new opportunities for Western Australia – the Team WA approach – has resulted in this exciting announcement.

‘Providing a direct link between Japan and Western Australia will benefit the entire economy. It means more inbound tourists to WA and more business opportunities for our exporters.

‘According to Tourism Research Australia, despite not currently having a direct service, Japan has become Perth’s ninth largest international visitor market with 28,700 Japanese visitors arriving into WA each year and spending $60 million.

‘It is also estimated that just one new daily international direct service has the potential to create more than 600 new jobs in the WA economy,’ Mr Brown said.

The introduction of the new service makes Perth only the second Australian city served by ANA, showing the airline’s commitment to the Western Australian tourism industry.

‘Perth Airport looks forward to developing a strong partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA) to ensure this route is a success for both the airline and Western Australia.

The airline will operate daily services between Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Perth (PER) on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner which has a total of 184 seats including 32 business class seats, 14 premium economy seats and 138 economy seats.

ANA’s new daily Tokyo Narita – Perth service will depart Tokyo at 1110hrs to arrive in Perth at 2015hrs. The aircraft will then depart from Perth at 2145hrs, to arrive in Tokyo at 0825hrs

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Courtyard Burlington, Ontario: Innovative design and flexible space

In Canada Courtyard by Marriott Hotel has opened its doors in Burlington, Ontario and ready to serve you. Featuring an innovative lobby space as well as Courtyard’s latest contemporary room design, the new hotel provides flexibility and choices that allow guests to optimize and elevate their travel experience. Located at 1110 Burloak Drive, the 135-room hotel will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned by Burlington Hotels Group Inc. and managed by Burloak Hospitality Management Ltd. Both of Burlington, Ontario.

Adjacent to the Burlington Convention Centre, the Courtyard Burlington is located 40 minutes from downtown Toronto and offers guests convenient access Canada’s Wonderland, Niagara Falls, Burlington Botanical Gardens and the scenic waterfalls of Hamilton. Rates begin at $169 per night.

Courtyard constantly researches trends and evolves to meet the changing needs of its guests. The latest room design offers hybrid zones for working, sleeping, relaxing and getting ready. Indirect lighting and a neutral, tone-on-tone color palette makes for a soothing and calm environment.

“From day one, Courtyard has prided itself as a brand that listens to business travelers,” said Janis Milham, senior vice president and global brand leader, Classic Select Brands. “Today’s technology has changed how people travel. Our guests want a room that has purpose and flexibility that enables a seamless transition between relaxing and working. Courtyard is designed to offer them a relaxing and functional space to work the way they want to, when they want to.”

The new room design is intuitive and thoughtful, offering flexible yet comfortable spaces that enable technology. Upon arrival, guests can store bags on the “Luggage Drop” and plug personal devices into the “Tech Drop” ledge for seamless technology integration.

Signature furniture and architectural elements replace traditional art in the new guestroom. The “LoungeAround” sofa offers a pop of color and a comfortable area for relaxing or for working. The new design also features a light desk on wheels, allowing guests to work from anywhere in the room.

An upgraded, more spacious layout creates an enhanced bathroom experience. A “Shower Nook” housing shampoos and towels, makes amenities accessible without having to leave the shower.

The Courtyard Burlington features the brand’s latest lobby design, where guests can enjoy an open and modern environment outside of their rooms. The newly designed Bistro is the epicenter of the lobby, which fosters social connections and collaboration with more flexible and informal seating options. The Bistro offers guests a wide variety of “made to order” breakfast, lunch and dinner items, “grab and go” options, and also features an array of specialty cocktails, beer and wine for guests to unwind at the end of the day.

Frank Vismeg, Managing Director for Burlington Hotels Group and Burloak Hospitality Management Ltd., who is overseeing the hotel operations, has extensive international experience with Hilton Hotels, Sheraton and InterContinental Hotels Group, and a strong network of relationships with government, industry and service organizations. The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel will bring new jobs and guests to our city, which is good for our local economy and good for Burlington.”

The construction of the hotel was developed by TriAxis Construction Limited, a well-respected construction management firm with over 25 years of experience and expertise in the industry.

“As Development and Construction Manager for the hotel, our professional and committed team has ensured that every aspect of the hotel was built to the highest quality and with utmost attention to detail, to meet or exceed the highest standards set by Marriott,” said Domenic Fuda, President of TriAxis Construction Limited and an equity partner in Burlington Hotels Group Inc.

“With this exciting Courtyard by Marriott project, we will be offering one of the world’s leading hotel brands to the Burlington, Oakville and QEW corridor, consisting of upscale facilities, impeccable accommodations, excellent culinary experiences, and professional and friendly service with a European flair,” said Sandra Stewart-Fearnside, General Manager.

“We are very proud to be the first to bring the very successful Courtyard by Marriott brand to the Burlington/Oakville area and to finally meet the extraordinary demand for a first-rate hotel next to the Burlington Convention Centre,” said Jack Moreira, Owner of Burlington Convention Centre.

Throughout the hotel, guests can connect with ample electrical outlets. The business library features a separate computer stations dedicated solely to printing airline boarding passes and checking flight status.

Green has been Courtyard’s signature color since Marriott launched the brand 30 years ago. Now it is even greener with the introduction of a guest recycling program for the environment. Receptacles for paper, glass, plastic and metal are conveniently located by side exits.

The six-story hotel features a heated indoor saltwater pool, a fitness centre and guest laundry, and offers 1,800 square feet of meeting space to accommodate functions of up to 120 people. The hotel is adjacent by a heated and covered walkway to the Burlington Convention Centre that features an additional 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting space accommodating up to 1,200 guests. or Call: 1.888.236.2427

About Courtyard by Marriott

Courtyard by Marriott offers a refreshing environment that helps guests stay connected, productive and balanced.

Courtyard by Marriott offers a refreshing environment that helps guests stay connected, productive and balanced. Intuitive services and design accommodate guests’ needs for choice and control. With more than 1,100 locations in over 50 countries and territories, Courtyard is proud to participate in the company’s award-winning loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG). The programs, operating under one set of unparalleled benefits, enable members to earn points toward free hotel stays, achieve Elite status faster than ever, and seamlessly book or redeem points for stays throughout our loyalty portfolio of 29 brands and more than 6,700 participating hotels in 129 countries & territories. To enroll for free or for more information about the programs, visit For more information or reservations, visit, become a fan on Facebook or folloourtyardHotels on Twitter and Instagram

In Paris another Courtyard by Marriott opened bringing new design to the French Capital.

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PATA Youth Symposium inspires the next generation

The PATA Youth Symposium, hosted by the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and the Alumni Association of UiTM Students’ Representative Council (PIMPIN) in collaboration with the PATA Malaysia Chapter, Tourism Malaysia and Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark, took place on September 12, 2018 on the first day of PATA Travel Mart 2018 with the theme ‘Inspiring Tourism Leaders of Tomorrow’.

Organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Human Capital Development Committee, the highly successful event welcomed 210 local and international students from 17 universities with participants coming from Bangladesh, Canada, Nepal, Philippines and Singapore.

In his opening remarks, Dato’ Haji Azizan Noordin, CEO, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), said, “Thank you for all the support from PIMPIN, the PATA Malaysia Chapter, Tourism Malaysia and Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark to be able to welcome 210 students from 17 universities from Malaysia and worldwide. On behalf of LADA, I humbly welcome everyone to the PATA Youth Symposium on the first day of PTM, which is one the of most important and long-lasting travel trade events. Thank you also to PATA for the opportunity to Langkawi to host of this significant event.”

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “One of the biggest achievements of PATA is the activities we have organised for students in the region. Through these activities, they can learn from us and we can learn from them about the future of our industry. I take inspiration from them and see great hope for the future potential to make the world the better place. The youth of today are great source of inspiration for us all.”

During the opening ceremony the Honourable YB Tuan Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, also thanked the hosts and added, “Student should be well prepared to lead the tourism industry. A great way for overseas students to gain further experience in the industry is to try a Malaysian homestay programme and immerse themselves in the Malaysian culture. I wish everybody great success for today’s event.”

The programme was developed with guidance from Dr. Markus Schuckert, Chairman of the PATA Human Capital Development Committee and Assistant Professor at the School of Hotel & Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In his address to the students and delegates, Dr. Schuckert said, “The PATA Youth Symposium aims to provide students participants that opportunity to be inspired and to create networks within the industry.”

The keynote address on ‘Inspiring Stories: Bringing Concepts to Reality’ was delivered by Ms. Kartini Ariffin, Co-Founder of Dbilique, Malaysia, who told the participants, “Set goals that are meaningful and purposeful. Practice this. Dream hard, wish big, and chase your dream. It can’t be done by anyone else. Nobody will do it for you.”

Professor Martin Barth, President and CEO of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne, provided a second keynote address on “Inspiring Connections: Linking Interests for success in the tourism industry” where he stated, “What you learn today might not be important tomorrow to sustain and be relevant in the industry. Try to do internship, to connect, to sell yourself, to build up network, to write interesting academic papers relevant to the industry and learn as many languages as possible.”

The third keynoted address was delivered by Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, Executive Dean, Faculty of Hospitality, Food and Leisure Management, Taylor’s University and President, ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA).

“We are in the fourth industrial revolution focusing on automation, AI, and machine learning. Many jobs will be replaced by machines. As the next generation of tourism professionals, you need to be prepared to learn skills that cannot replaced by robots, being employable rather than just being employed,” added Dr. Ragavan.

During the ‘Inspiring Leadership: Groom and Grow into an Industry Leadership Role?’ panel discussion, the participants heard from Rika Jean-François, Commissioner, ITB Corporate Social Responsibility, Competence Centre, Travel & Logistics, ITB Berlin, and Dmitri Cooray, Manager Operations, Jetwing Hotels, Sri Lanka. The speakers noted that the travel and tourism industry is in the business of people, networking and peer to peer work. They also noted that a good leader needed to have confidence, learn from their mistakes, gather tasks and responsibilities with both hands, and be able to adjust to the rapid growth of the industry. Most importantly, they told the student delegates that in order to change the perception of the industry towards young graduates, they need to be persistent but respectful.

During the event, Mr. Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire, Thailand spoke about the ‘First Global Essay competition on How Travel and Tourism can Contribute
to the UN SDGs’.

The symposium also featured an interactive roundtable discussion on ‘What inspires you to contribute toward a successful tourism industry?’.

In addition, PATA Young Tourism Professional Ambassador, Ms. JC Wong, provided participants information on ‘The PATA D.N.A. – Empowering you for your future’.

Ms Wong emphasized that 64.5million new jobs could be created by year 2028 in the Asia Pacific region. The leaders of tomorrow should get themselves exposed, connected and involved with industry leaders in their early age to empower them for their future career development. More importantly, striking their dream career. She shared a list of PATA Youth Activation initiatives for student delegates to kickstart their journey, including internships, sponsorships and workshops.

In recent years the PATA Human Capital Development Committee has organised successful educational events at various institutions including UCSI University Sarawak Campus (April 2010), Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) (September 2010), Beijing International Studies University (April 2011), Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur (April 2012), Lyceum of the Philippines University, Manila (September 2012), Thammasat University, Bangkok (April 2013), Chengdu Polytechnic, Huayuan Campus, China (September 2013), Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai Campus, China (May 2014), Royal University of Phnom Penh (September 2014), Sichuan Tourism School, Chengdu (April 2015), Christ University, Bangalore (September 2015), University of Guam, USA (May 2016), President University, BSD-Serpong (September 2016), Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (May 2017), Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) (September 2017), and Gangneung-Wonju National University, Korea (ROK) (May 2018).

Guam Travel News

Micronesia accepting proposals for 5-star eco-lodge resort in Pohnpei

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have been trying for a long time to become a bigger player in the travel and tourism industry, but with lack of air connectivity and lack of hotel infrastructure, the region has been deprived of a sizeable industry to speak of. Right now the only airlines serving the region is United, and as a monopoly, it charges very high airfares, because it can.

Despite its limitations, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently held its Annual Summit on Guam this past May, and PATA’s Micronesia Tri-Annual Meeting is set to take place from August 15-18 in Pohnpei. PATA’s Annual Summit was the first real opportunity for the FSM to develop a project that could actually bring in much-needed tourism dollars to the country. Having a large 5-star hotel on Pohnpei will open up opportunities for competition with other hotels in Micronesia as well as open up the possibility of other airlines scheduling flights to the area, which will create competitive airfares.

This host to the nation’s capital has much to offer the visiting nature lover, explorer and hiker. Pohnpei is the largest and tallest island in the FSM. The island provides great outdoor activities for tourists, including spectacular waterfalls, rich mangrove forests, and speaking diving. A short boat trip can be made to two neighboring atolls, Ant and Pakin, that exude the aura of paradise unspoiled. And for the curious, there is still much to be learned about the mysterious Nan Madol ruins, called the Venice of the Pacific – a manmade city with ocean-filled channels that once housed a thriving, royal civilization whose remnants of an ancient Pohnpeian civilization are still being studied and explored.

The Pohnpei State Government (PSG) is requesting proposals from qualified service providers for a Feasibility Study for a proposed world-class, 5-star, up to 200-room, eco-friendly resort hotel, with beach frontage, built to international standards, located on the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. The objective of this resort hotel is to attract high-end, international visitors that will come to Pohnpei mainly to enjoy the natural beauty of its many impressive waterfalls and explore the ancient ruins of Nan Madol, nominated for designation as a UN World Heritage site. This resort’s proposed location(s) can be government or privately-owned land with clear title, existing, and/or reclaimed. Environmental concerns, e.g., minimal disturbance to the islands unique resources and mangroves that surround Pohnpei are important parts of this study.

The resort will act as an “anchor enterprise,” stimulating additional international airline service; increased consumption of local food and beverages; increased taxi, sport fishing, surfing, dive, tour operator services, and handicraft sales; as well as increased bookings at the other hotels on the island as a result of its international marketing campaign. In particular, this resort will raise the total number of available hotel rooms in Pohnpei from 250 to approximately 450, thus positioning Pohnpei to attract small to medium international Pacific conferences. As such, this resort hotel will also contain a multi-purpose conference/meeting room/exhibition facility capable of accommodating up to 500 individuals. It will also have appropriate restaurants/bars as well as all other facilities typical of a five-star facility. In particular, the resort will deploy state-of-the-art green energy and water supply technology, so as to serve as a model, as well as an additional tourist attraction for the Pacific hospitality sector.

As a generator of at least 50 direct jobs, the resort hotel complex will create another estimated 250 indirect positions in the local companies that provide services to the hotel and its clients. The total of new jobs will support, by a multiplier of 10 individuals per family, a total of 3,000 citizens of Pohnpei, or almost 10 percent of the current population of the island.

This resort property will primarily serve, in short, as a magnet for the growing number of eco-tourists in the 50-plus age demographic that have the time and financial resources to visit an ecologically-attractive tropical island in the Pacific.

Proposals must be received electronically via email by the Office of Economic Affairs, Pohnpei FM 96941 no later than August 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm. All proposals received must be clearly marked: PSG/OEA, POHNPEI PROJECT “Feasibility Study, Five Star Eco-Lodge Resort” and addressed to:

Mr. Romeo Walter
Acting Administrator
Office of Economic Affairs
Pompei State Governemnt
Kolonia, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Federated States of Micronesia
Email: [email protected]

Copies must also be submitted to:

Clara Halvorsen
Office of Tourism
Pohnpei State Government
Email: [email protected]

Marshall Ferrin
Aid Coordination Specialist
Pohnpei State Government
Email: [email protected]

Travel News

UK hotels and restaurants can deliver 300,000 new jobs

LONDON, England – The British Hospitality Association (BHA) launches the industry’s agenda for growth on Thursday 7 March. The Report titled The Agenda for 300,000 New Jobs provides the latest research showing how the hospitality and tourism industry is fuelling jobs growth in Britain, how it has moved up to 5th place overall in the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rankings, but that it is at the bottom of this league table on price competitiveness. The Report indicates that 300,000 new jobs are possible by 2020 if government and industry work together. The key findings of the British Hospitality Association’s Report are:

How hotels, restaurants and caterers are fuelling jobs growth:

Hospitality and tourism now accounts for over 10% of the UK’s workforce and is the 4th largest employing industry in the UK, its growth significantly outpacing the rest of the economy
The industry generated over one quarter of all new jobs created since 2010 – (153,000 jobs) and is uniquely placed to generate new jobs for the 18-24 age group
Where these jobs are located across the UK – by parliamentary constituency:

Scotland and Wales have the highest percentage of people employed in hospitality businesses (9.2% each) and Northern Ireland has the lowest percentage (7.3%)
Westmoreland and Lonsdale (in The Lake District) is the parliamentary constituency with the highest percentage of people working in hospitality
Three London Boroughs (Kensington, Westminster North and Chelsea and Fulham) are also in the top 20 parliamentary constituencies which have the highest percentage of people working in hospitality
How the UK is performing compared to the rest of the world:

The BHA has had exclusive access to World Economic Forum research into Travel and Tourism Competitiveness. These key findings are:

The UK has improved its overall world travel and tourism ranking and moved from 11th position in 2009 to 5th in 2013
As a holiday destination, Britain is perceived as too expensive for many international travellers and businesses looking to travel to the UK – it is at the very bottom of the price competitiveness ranking at 138 out of 140 countries.
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “We present a clear choice for the Government and the hospitality industry. Either we are content with a ‘steady as she goes’ approach or we jointly pilot a path for a more ambitious strategy. Growth will be hard to maintain because of international competition and the weak economy. If we do something about this now then the prize is considerable – 300,000 new jobs in Britain.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The British service sector is worldbeating and one of many jewels in our crown. Millions of guests were welcomed to London 2012 and received the gold standard in hospitality. Through tough economic times, the industry has stood firm, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing vital tourism to the UK. Jobs and growth are my number one priority, and I thoroughly welcome the ambition shown by the BHA to create nearly 300,000 jobs in the hospitality sector by 2020.”

Simon Vincent, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide, said: “We welcome this report by the British Hospitality Association. The hospitality industry is the UK’s fifth largest sector, worth well in excess of £100bn a year, and as such it needs to be viewed by the Government as an export industry. Government and industry working together is essential to increasing our global competitiveness in areas such as visa reform, infrastructure development and investment in young people to ensure the UK remains best in class. With over 100 hotels in the UK and 23 in the pipeline, Hilton Worldwide looks forward to working with Government to drive forward the necessary reforms to ensure the industry realises its potential.”

Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO, said: “We have been campaigning for sometime now, for Government to treat our industry as a serious business sector. As the UK’s fourth largest employing industry, we have the power to create real career opportunities across the country. However we cannot unleash the true potential of our industry until the Government moves tourism higher up its agenda and aligns all of its departments to work together with one cohesive tourism strategy.

“We have a real opportunity within our grasp, to create new jobs, upskill Britain, grow our industry and help our economy to recover. This is something very few industries can say at present, therefore I would urge the Government to take immediate action and seize this golden opportunity that is being presented to them.”

Guam Travel News

Russia travel agents excited about Guam USA

TUMON, Guam – A Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) delegation, led by Senator Tina Rose Muña Barnes, conducted separate Guam Destination Workshops and introduced Guam, CNMI and the region of Micronesia to all major Russia media outlets and travel agents in the Russian Far East cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. GVB Marketing Manager, Pilar Laguaña, noted that the attendance at the Product Seminars greatly exceeded GVB’s expectations and the bureau is extremely excited and encouraged by the incredible and positive response shown by travel agents and media representatives from these cities. Joining GVB at its presentation were United, Korean Air, Guam Troika Tours, Russia Guam Tours, and Edge Realty.

US Consul General in Vladivostok, Sylvia Curran, said: “We greatly appreciate the Guam Visitors Bureau coming to Khabarovsk and Vladivostok to promote tourism to Guam. We have already received excellent feedback on the seminars. Increased tourism links between Russia and the US will only strengthen the ties between our countries.”

GVB also took part in market familiarization tours in both cities and intends to forge relationships with as many Russia travel agents and media to strengthen Guam’s brand awareness within the Russia leisure travel market. With a combined population of over 1.3 million residents in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, the Russia travel market is an undeniable opportunity for GVB to grow and diversify Guam’s tourism base. GVB General Manager, Joann Camacho, pointed out that with the approval of the Russia visa waiver, close geographic proximity from Russia’s Far Eastern region to Guam, as well as convenient air service provided, the island is sure to gain noticeable increase of visitor arrivals quickly from this new market source.

The workshops wrapped up GVB’s 10-day visit in Russia that included a 4-day trade exhibit and promotion at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition and the launch of the official Guam Russian language website ( ), a key component of GVB’s aggressive marketing efforts to promote Guam as a warm, safe, clean, family-oriented, tropical destination that is easily accessible from the Russian Far East. GVB’s Russia marketing plans include hiring the services of a full-time marketing representative in Russia to promote and market Guam in a sustained effort to make the island an important destination in the Russian leisure travel market.

This February was the first full month that Russians could travel to Guam visa free since the US Department of Homeland Security granted parole authority for Russia starting January 15, 2012. Visa waiver for Russia and China has been a top priority for the Calvo administration. “We’re pleased to see a major increase in visitor arrivals from Russia thanks to [the] visa waiver,” said Governor Eddie Calvo, “While the numbers in terms of volume are not that large, the Russian visitors stay longer and spend more, which really boosts our local economy, creating new jobs and opportunities for our people. We’ll continue to develop this new market while we continue to push for China visa waiver.”

PHOTO: Guam Visitor Bureau’s (GVB) delegation headed by Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes (center) with GVB Marketing Officer II-Gina Kono, Guam Troika Tours – Katya Akatieva Sablan, Russia Guam Tours – Ioulia Safer, US Consul for Political and Economical Affairs – Elizabeth M. MacDonald, GVB Marketing Manager – Pilar Laguana, United Country Manager Sales (Russia) – Denis Zyuzin, Edge Realty Associate Broker – Christopher Guerrero, and Principal Broker – Alfredo Bustamante welcomes travel agents and media from Vladivostok to the bureau’s Guam Product Seminar held on March 28, 2012.