Tag Archive for: Booking

Destination Triage! Visit West unveils new service for Bath and Bristol

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Visit West, the official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, has launched a new service to encourage and retain travel trade business in the region.

Visit West’s experienced team identified a potential gap in the logistical planning for international and domestic group and independent travel visits through the travel trade for summer 2022. The booking window for international visits is shorter than ever with markets that are traditionally many months in planning now being just a few weeks.

This shorter lead time, matched with increased demand to book via a travel agent and staff changes at many tourism businesses, tour operators and Destination Management Companies (DMCs), means that there could be gaps in known contacts, with the potential for inbound business being lost from the region if opportunities are not being serviced efficiently and effectively.

Jon Chamberlain, Head of Marketing for Visit West said: “We have the local knowledge and contacts that can help the travel trade and make their lives easier whilst also helping retain or increase the business within our region – a win, win scenario. Across the West of England, of the total number of staying trips in 2019, approximately 24% were international. However, international trips generated 43% of all visitor nights and 40% of all visitor spend, so it is vital that we do all we can to help the recovery of this market.”

The new ‘Destination Triage’ service will help connect the travel trade with live availability within the region. A simple enquiry email can be quickly and easily distributed amongst local businesses who may be able to fill their inventory at shorter notice than is usual with a travel trade booking, and therefore ensure the business stays in the destination.

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Two in three Brits plan to take at least one holiday this year

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Two thirds (67%) of Brits are planning at least one holiday in 2022, despite the rising cost of living squeezing household finances. One quarter (25%) of Brits planning a holiday intend to travel in August, according to new research from comparethemarket.com.

However, recent travel disruption appears to have made holidaymakers more cautious. Over a third (36%) are more likely to take out travel insurance following the disruption. Thousands faced train, ferry, and fight cancellations over Easter, as the travel industry continued to reopen following Covid-19 closures.

Single-trip premiums are the most popular form of travel insurance, used by over two fifths (44%) of Brits. Just over a fifth (23%) of Brits use multi-trip insurance, taking out one policy to cover multiple holidays. Concerningly, over half (54%) of those with multi-trip insurance allowed their policy to lapse during the pandemic, leaving many uninsured as the travel industry reopens.

Despite recent travel disruption, almost one third (32%) of Brits planning a holiday in 2022 will not take out any travel insurance. These uninsured travellers risk losing money if something goes wrong during their holiday. For example, medical costs can run into thousands of pounds if you need treatment or evacuation abroad.

Whilst holidays remain popular for most, others are having to cut down on the frequency of their holidays as the cost-of-living rises. Over a quarter (26%) have not booked a holiday for 2022 and have no plans to do so. comparethemarket.com’s latest Household Financial Confidence Tracker found that many households are cutting back on discretionary spending due to rising prices. Over half (54%) are cutting back on eating out, whilst others are spending less on clothes (48%) and holidays (44%).

Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com, said: “Despite price rises, two-thirds of us are planning a well-deserved break after a tough few years. However, you risk unforeseen costs if something goes wrong on holiday and you have no travel insurance in place – a money worry many of us can do without right now. If you think you have multi-trip insurance, it’s a good idea to double-check your policy with your provider, as many policies will have lapsed during the pandemic.”

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Aer Lingus partnership with top local graffiti artist Qubek flies off the wall in Manchester

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Aer Lingus has teamed up with top local graffiti artist Qubek to create a massive new eye-catching street art mural showcasing the airline’s transatlantic Manchester routes. The dazzling 49ft wide by 38ft high mural appears emblazoned across a building in Manchester’s Thomas Street in the heart of the city’s creative district.

Designed over four days by Manchester-based Qubek – one of the region’s best-known street artists specialising in large scale murals and graffiti – it brought to life the airlines’ colourful northern flight network through a high impact interpretation of the carrier’s US and Caribbean destinations.

Aer Lingus successfully launched transatlantic services from Manchester Airport in October 2021, connecting the North of England directly to the US and Caribbean. The airline also operates direct non-stop flights to New York JFK, Orlando, Florida and Barbados.

The bespoke graffiti expression represents the excitement of travel, with Qubek celebrating the Irish carrier’s direct Manchester routes to New York, Orlando and Barbados, by blending different cultures to highlight why the destinations are so popular with UK tourists. Highly distinctive works from Russ Meehan (aka Qubek), can be found right across the city, including on many walls and boardings around Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

His ‘Mancunian Bees’ artworks have grabbed people’s attention across the city for the last few years along with his giant tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, making him a creative figurehead for uniting the Northern community.

Susanne Carberry, Aer Lingus Chief Customer Officer, said: “Manchester is home to a vibrant art scene and through this collaboration with Qubek, one of the region’s most renowned artists, we wanted to showcase our long-haul routes operating from Manchester to the local community in a fun and engaging way. Since the commencement of our direct transatlantic flights from Manchester nearly a year ago, we have seen great demand for our services to New York, Orlando and Barbados.”

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Sentosa harnesses solar energy with installation of solar panels at 18 sites

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Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) are embarking on a large-scale deployment of photovoltaic cells to harness solar energy across Sentosa island’s premises from June 2022.

Comprising the installation of solar panels at a new batch of 18 sites across the resort island, the deployment marks the first major renewable energy milestone under the refreshed Sustainable Sentosa strategic roadmap launched in September 2021. SDC is also studying other sources of renewable energy, including tidal energy and waste-to-energy generators as part of long-term strategies to achieve carbon neutrality, and targets to power 10% of the island’s electricity usage through onsite renewable energy by 2030.

As part of the deployment, SDC is launching a tender for the installation of photovoltaic cells, marking the first time that rooftops with varying tenures are being consolidated into a single tender in Singapore. Under this tender, tenure refers to the duration that each rooftop is available for photovoltaic cell installations, based on considerations such as development and renovation plans for each building.

Locations were selected after taking into account the availability of sufficient sunlight and an unobstructed guest experience. Separately, RWS will also begin the installation of new photovoltaic cells this month at 11 sites on its premises including Universal Studios Singapore and Hard Rock Hotel Singapore’s rooftops.

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9 alternative American adventures

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With tourists set to return in droves to the major hubs, forgo old favourites and go off the beaten path with these nine alternative destinations.

Wide-open spaces in Yosemite’s Tuolumne County

Experience Yosemite National Park without the crowds in Tuolumne, the park’s northern gateway. Over half of Yosemite is in Tuolumne County, which also includes authentic California Gold Country and the incredible High Sierra. Only two and half hours east of San Francisco, Tuolumne is an easy addition to any California itinerary. Visitors can enjoy endless outdoor recreation such as hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting and even skiing in the winter.

Feel both adrenaline and Zen in Palisades Tahoe

This summer, feel both adrenaline and Zen in Palisades Tahoe, one of California’s best mountain destinations. New for the season is the Tahoe Via Ferrata, where thrill-seekers can explore the resort’s most iconic rock face, The Tram Face, which towers directly above the base area and boasts breathtaking views. Every Wednesday evening from 6 July until 31 August, Palisades Tahoe will also hold a free, outdoor yoga series, guaranteed to leave yogis feeling well and truly Zen.

Discover nature lover’s paradise Shasta Cascade

California’s northeast corner, often overlooked by some other more known regions, is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with safe to explore volcanoes, hushed forests and trout-filled rivers. This is the place for blue-ribbon fishing, houseboats anchored in cool lakes, countless campgrounds and inviting trails for hiking and mountain biking. All this, plus friendly towns like Chico and Chester and rural farms in fertile lands near the Upper Sacramento River. Redding, the region’s largest city, makes a good base, with riverfront trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and elegant Sundial Bridge, designed by well-known Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Explore the diverse landscapes of Florida’s Paradise Coast

Situated along 30 miles of coastline, Florida’s Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades – offers the perfect alternative to bustling city life in nearby Miami. Visitors looking for an unforgettable beach holiday can enjoy all that and more in the region. Visitors can enjoy an impressive selection of restaurants and boutique stores in the sought-after city of Naples, some of the world’s best beaches in the idyllic fishing village of Marco Island, as well as thrilling adventures by swamp tour in Everglades National Park.

Experience wine country without the crowds in SLO CAL, California

Home to three award-winning wine regions, SLO CAL is the perfect destination for wine lovers looking for a more intimate wine-tasting experience, with many small, family-friendly wineries located across the rolling hills. Located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the scenic roads in Paso Robles make it an ideal spot for cyclists to enjoy the very best of wine country. Visitors can explore at a leisurely pace with Central Coast Outdoors, which offers half-day or full-day cycle tours to a number of Paso Robles wineries.

Swap San Francisco for Sacramento, California

Beat the crowds in San Francisco and head to Sacramento, America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. The city is buzzing with things to taste, see and savour. Travellers can pick their pleasures with delicious farm-fresh restaurants, plentiful farmers markets, home-grown breweries, colourful street murals, Gold Rush-era family attractions, or a sunset walk along the river. Located in the Central Valley, which produces half of the fruits and vegetables grown in the US, Sacramento takes farm-to-table dining to a whole new level. Farmers markets can be found all over, as well as restaurants priding themselves on locally sourced specialties from cheap eats to Michelin-starred gems. In addition to exquisite food and drink options, Sacramento has a world of culture and heritage to offer. Stroll down its raised wooden sidewalks, passing by 19th-century buildings, horse-drawn carriages and rustic country stores and antique shops.

Experience Pittsburgh by bike or hike

A world-class path for all kinds of adventurers, The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) in Pittsburgh encourages every type of outdoor recreation from lovers of cycling to runners and hikers. The 150-mile route winds through valleys, snakes around mountains and plays witness to some of the most beautiful scenery in the USA. Pittsburgh is the perfect spot for launching or concluding a journey along the GAP, with opportunities to explore the city’s Downtown and South Side. Travellers can indulge in culture at the Andy Warhol Museum or experience the city’s ever-growing craft scene.

Hike Seattle’s Mount Rainier in Washington State

Seattle is bordered by two mountain ranges, the Cascades to the east and Olympics to the west, and anchoring the city in the far south is Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier makes up Mount Rainier National Park and evokes wonder and adventure in all those who visit. At 14,410 ft, the mountain has over 130 trail options and around 60 accommodation options for overnight visitors. Boasting spectacular colours each season, visitors can choose to take a scenic Mount Rainier gondola or hike to the tallest peaks and soak in the magnificent views. www.visitseattle.org

Explore Colorado’s lesser-known national park

One of the lesser-visited out of the four Colorado national parks, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is perfect for travellers looking to explore unbeaten paths and make the most of the wilderness. Standing at 2,250 feet tall and located in the western part of the state, Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of nature’s greatest creations. All-year-round travellers can experience hiking, rock climbing and kayaking. The park boasts numerous accommodation options from lodges, to bed and breakfasts and for the adventurous, camping.

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Have suitcase, will travel: New research from Travelport highlights excitement to travel in 2022

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Travelport has revealed a new survey that highlighted excitement to travel in 2022. In a study commissioned by Travelport and conducted by Toluna Research, thousands of respondents from seven different countries said they’d even be willing to give up some of their favourite things for six months or longer in order to travel.  

  • 71% of respondents would forgo concerts 
  • 64% would stop buying new clothes 
  • 63% would give up spa treatments 
  • 60% would skip the cinema 
  • 53% would give up playing sports 
  • 36% would stop dining at restaurants 

“While the last two+ years have been a significant challenge, the global travel industry recovered more than 50% of its gross activity by the end of 2021,” said Jen Catto, chief marketing officer for  Travelport. “Should this trend continue along the same trajectory, it could reach 85% recovery by the end of this year. The pent-up desire to travel is strong. Our latest survey findings clearly demonstrate this,  highlighting how many indulgences people are willing to sacrifice in order to travel again.” 

However, not every aspect of the travel experience received the same level of enthusiasm. A notable experience gap emerged between the high degree of enjoyment respondents get from going on holiday and the frustration they experienced when booking that very same trip. 

  • 43% of US respondents, the largest travel region, do not find booking travel enjoyable
  • 95% of that same group enjoy the experience of being on holiday 

Globally, travel was ranked as the number one most enjoyable activity, but when it came to shopping for travel, the industry dropped to the number four spot, trailing the worlds of clothing, restaurants and electronics. And this isn’t just a generational issue. A quarter of Gen Z respondents agreed on the complexity of searching, comparing and booking travel offers just isn’t fun. 

On average, travellers visit a whopping 38 different websites before booking their trip. Other industries have steamed ahead in terms of simplicity and innovation, evolving with their consumers’ sophisticated expectations, and shifting perceptions over time. Study respondents found the travel industry to be an outlier, perceiving it to be even less innovative than the finance industry

“Shopping for travel is complicated, which is why Travelport has made simplifying the complex travel ecosystem its mission,” continued Catto. “With demand for travel rebounding at its strongest pace since the pandemic began, it’s imperative the industry listens to its customers. Now is the time for us to fix travel retail, putting consumer convenience, digital experience, and breadth of choice above all. By  restoring clarity, confidence, and fun to travel shopping, we can grow trust, generate repeat business and  inspire true loyalty – the benchmark of successful modern retailing.”

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Confidence slowly returning to UK travel sector

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As the Covid-19 travel requirements come to an end, new research from ABTA reveals how people are planning to capitalise on their new-found freedoms. The findings show 57 per cent of people have a holiday abroad booked for the next 12 months, up from 44 per cent in October.

Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey remain firm favourites for UK holidaymakers heading overseas but ABTA’s analysis of people’s travel intentions this year – compared to pre-pandemic, reveals other destinations are climbing up the popularity list.

When comparing people’s travel intentions from 2019 to this year, the number of people planning to travel to Egypt is up by 87 per cent, followed by Malta (up 51 per cent), the United Arab Emirates (up 31 per cent), Portugal (up 30 per cent) and Mexico (up 26 per cent).

All these destinations promise sunshine, sandy beaches and a multitude of things to see and do, while also welcoming UK holiday makers with either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative Covid-19 test – or no vaccination or testing requirements at all as is the case in Mexico.

The removal of Covid-19 travel measures in the UK today follows the steady relaxation of testing requirements since the start of the year, making the process of heading off abroad much easier and cheaper. Now, passengers, whether vaccinated or not, will no longer need to take any tests on return to the UK or complete a Passenger Locator Form, so holidaymakers can enjoy every last moment of their long-awaited break.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive at ABTA, said: “It’s a landmark day for holidaymakers and the travel industry. From now on people can enjoy their holiday up to the last minute without having to think about any paperwork or tests on their return to the UK. While we’re not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, our research clearly shows that consumer confidence is returning, and things are looking up for the industry.”

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Re-imagining Cambodian luxury experience in Siem Reap

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As Cambodia re-opens for global tourism, Shinta Mani Hotels have rebranded their boutique luxury properties in Siem Reap to reimagine the Khmer experience for the luxury traveller.

Designed by acclaimed Architect and Designer, Bill Bensley, Shinta Mani Angkor and Bensley Collection Pool Villas are located in the leafy French Quarter of Siem Reap between the Royal Gardens and the Old Market area; just footsteps from the river and 15 minutes from the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Temples of Angkor Wat.

During the last two years, Siem Reap has undergone a transformation with significant infrastructure improvements to roads, footpaths and laying power lines underground, further beautifying the city.

Anthony Lark, Executive Director of HMD Asia, which owns and manages Shinta Mani Hotels said: “We have been busy reimagining the very best experiences at Angkor Wat’s temples and our favourite galleries, restaurants and cafés to explore in the old French Quarter of Siem Reap, which has been totally beautifully restored in the last year.”

There has never been a better time to visit Siem Reap, especially with flights now direct from Singapore, Bangkok and other regional destinations. The recent cancellation of the need to show a negative PCR test before arriving in Cambodia, elimination of the requirement for a rapid test upon arrival and with granting of Visa’s on Arrival, Cambodia is leading the region in getting back to normal, he added.

Initially opening with 39 rooms and 10 pool villas, a further 66 keys in the new Bayon Wing, named after the famous Temple, will open later in 2022. Guests in the Pool Villas have a private Bensley Butler.

Shinta Mani Angkor is a stylish 39 room boutique hotel with modern facilities and beautiful Khmer inspired interiors designed by Bill Bensley. The rooms feature exquisite images of Angkor and showcase modern, chic interiors. A sparkling 20-meter pool is nestled amongst lush tropical foliage.  Ten Bensley Collection Pool Villas each feature 156 sqm of space.


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AIME 2022 gets underway

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Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME), the leading meetings and conventions event in the Asia Pacific region, has opened its much-anticipated 2022 show. Kicking off the three-day event, the Knowledge Exchange connected delegates from all over the world for a day of innovative education and community building.

Speakers included Australia’s leading futurist, tech entrepreneur and growth hacker, Steve Sammartino, as well as Simon Griffiths co-founder and CEO of Who Gives A Crap and Australian broadcast journalist and former news anchor Mimi Kwa. Furthermore, as part of the show opening, AIME has launched new research revealing how the industry intends to spearhead recovery, as well as revive and thrive. The global survey, conducted with over 450 business events professionals, revealed 1-in-2 cite face-to-face meetings as the leading factor to boost business growth for the industry – with the lead reason being that it cements vital relationships (67%).

Interestingly, when it came to the most exciting opportunities for business events, over half of respondents (54%) cited creative events, followed by innovative technology (38%). Silke Calder, Event Director at AIME shares, “We are beyond thrilled to finally kick-off the 2022 event, after what has been one of the most challenging times ever for many industries around the world.

“This year, we are looking forward to driving more meaningful moments as we focus on our recovery and revival. We were also delighted to receive industry feedback from our survey that revealed 96% cite AIME as an important event for the industry’s recovery, with 68% of respondents citing it as critical.

“After listening to our community, we also found that over half of those attending AIME were most excited about networking and reconnecting. We cannot wait to catch-up with so many of you on the show floor, in what is sure to be one of our best events yet.”  

The 2022 show floor has already confirmed over 225 exhibitors from all over the Asia Pacific and abroad, with over 1,500 industry visitors expected to connect and conduct business over the next two days.

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Myanmar reopens to travellers

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Myanmar will reopen to international tourists on 17 April, the government announced after a two-year shut-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The junta’s announcement, however, lacked details on visa entry rules or the airlines intending to serve Yangon’s international airport.

Myanmar first closed the country in March 2022 to international tourists to tackle a surge in Covid-19 cases. However, since 1 February 2021, when a military coup swept aside the country’s legitimate government, Myanmar has descended into chaos and civil unrest, which has seen more than 1,600 civilians killed and an estimated 11,000 arrested and imprisoned.

The military junta announced that international tourists effective 17 April can enter the country, but official websites, including immigration and the country tourism ministry, have yet to clarify the visa requirements or whether the eVisa and visa-on-arrival facilities will be reinstated.

There are no details on which airlines will serve Yangon’s international airport that is currently open only to repatriation flights for Myanmar citizens and those entering the country on official business with the junta.

As of 17 April, entry will be limited to just fully vaccinated travellers who must undergo two PCR tests during a week-long quarantine in Yangon on arrival.

Airline booking websites that offered up to 30 foreign flights to Yangon daily from cities around Asia pre-Covid-19  flagged travel suspension notices for flights throughout April suggesting no commercial scheduled flights are in the pipeline.

It is too early to identify airlines that might consider flying to Yangon, with the exception of Myanmar Airways International, which continues to offer repatriation flights from Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur to Yangon. Thai Airways International flies ad hoc services from Bangkok.

Earlier in the year, Myanmar’s Ministry of Immigration posted a notice on its website that said the ban on international travel and the issue of visas would continue until 31 March 2022.

Even if Myanmar opens a visa-on-arrival or eVisa facility for international tourists, travel firms are not optimistic they will see any bookings. There are strong sentiments against visiting the country. Travellers will be wary of the security risks and are likely to support a boycott of the country. As long as a military junta that usurped power from a democratically appointed government runs the country travellers will go elsewhere.

(Source: AFP)

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