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Meridian Club Members’ Edition 2012

WTM Business The exclusive magazine for Meridian Club members

BUYERS BE THERE! We celebrate Meridian Club’s 21st

ON YOUR BIKE? The adventure market is growing up


Finding the method in the madness


Does Events Travel mean business?


Why social media can’t be ignored LEBRATING CE







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INDUSTRY NEWS 17/10/2012 09:45


L ive t he co m plete exp erience o f 2014 F IFA Wo r l d Cu p a nd R i o 2016 Olymp ic an d Paralymp ic G am es.

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WELCOME Dear Meridian Club member

Dear Meridian Club member Through the pages of WTM Business, I would like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome you to World Travel Market 2012, which celebrates Meridian Club’s 21st birthday! I am aware that for many of you, maintaining a consistent and profitable business during these challenging times is a difficult task. That’s the reason why first and foremost this year, World Travel Market is concentrating on helping every sector to conduct business and maximise performance. WTM 2011 saw more than 8,000 Meridian Club members attend the event, helping the show to generate a record £1,653 million in industry deals – a 16 per cent increase on WTM 2010’s £1,425 million. This year we expect to increase the amount of business generated further still. There are a number of networking sessions this year including, not one but two speed networking sessions on Monday and Thursday to help you identify new and valuable contacts for effective business in 2013. We are bringing you the most respected and successful industry CEOs of major international travel brands, giving you a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to stay competitive. They include, for example, Micky Arison, CEO of the Carnival Corporation, Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet and Wolfgang Neumann, soon to take over as the President and CEO of The Rezidor Group. We also think that travel businesses can learn a great deal from successful business leaders outside the industry. We are, therefore, introducing you to some impressive, high-flying executives behind such household names as Burger King and the European frozen food company Birds Eye, as well as a director of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s largest and most successful international advertising agencies. There’s also the latest business intelligence, insight and expert opinion to help you keep track of trends and developments. This includes a programme spotlighting the world’s super powerhouse countries as well as the highlylucrative sports tourism sector. This year WTM Business is more membership focused with more interviews, Q&As, discussions, tips and opinions than ever before. We are constantly trying to improve our communication with members and would like to hear your views and feedback on Meridian Club on what we can be doing better. May I wish you an enjoyable and productive week of business at World Travel Market 2012. I Fiona Jeffery OBE Chairman, World Travel Market

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Contents 40








INDUSTRY AND MERIDIAN CLUB NEWS 17 Latest Industry News 23 World Travel Market Diary 28 WTM Think Tanks Round-up 30 Roundtable Industry Debate 32 Meridian Club – Happy 21st 35 A Guide to Speed Networking FEATURES 40 The Economy As Europe decides to stay home and save its money, plenty of emerging economies are looking to increase their market share in travel and tourism. 46 Crisis Management A crisis has the potential to damage or promote business for a company – the outcome could be dependent on how well prepared it is to manage the situation.

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53 Adventure Tourism In demographic terms, adventure tourism is becoming as wide-ranging as its potential destinations, so why is this billion-dollar sector so ill-defined? 58 UNWTO Address UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai points out that, when it comes to preserving our environment, some responsibility must rest with the consumer. 64 Sustainable Tourism The Travel Foundation’s Sue Hurdle has good news for cash-strapped travel businesses – profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. 71 Aviation Industry John Strickland looks at the development of the airline industry in Africa – a huge

continent with equally huge potential for tourism as well as aviation. 75 Travel Technology Paul Richer of Genesys, looks at the history of Electronic Travel Distribution and considers its implications for businesses selling travel in today’s market. 81 Cruise Industry With wide-ranging, innovative products and a growing range of destination choices, cruising is on the crest of a wave, as CLIA’s Christine Duffy explains. 86 London’s Olympic Legacy for Tourism The starting gun was fired with London 2012, says Ken Robinson, CBE – now government action is needed if Britain is to realise its Olympic tourism legacy.


Managing Editor Michael Hayes Art Director Simon Marriott Accounts Controller Martin Reece


Operations Director Alexander Collis Project Services Lewis Sherman David Cross Qam Raza Ali Syed Taj Oberoi Leo Salvitti Anthony Nouri Alex David Production Manager Fiona Smith Digital / Web Production Sam Raza

WTM BUSINESS 2012 IS PUBLISHED BY INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ORGANISATION LTD FOR AND ON BEHALF OF REED TRAVEL EXHIBITIONS. INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ORGANISATION 1 BRIDGE LANE, LONDON NW11 0EA, UK 91 Health and Wellbeing Tourism Travel sellers must shed the limiting view that wellness travel centres on pampering spa treatments, says Camille Hoheb of Wellness Tourism Worldwide. 94 Hospitality Industry The Sri Lankan government has set ambitious targets for tourist arrivals. Philippe Rossiter discusses ramifications from a human resources perspective. 98 MICE and Business Travel Ian Whiteling looks at how developing economies are introducing some stiff venue and destination competition to the meetings and events landscape.

consumers an authentic insight into the culture and customs of a destination. 110 Social Media in the Travel Industry Stacey Santos and Oliver Gradwell combine to deliver a comprehensive round up of innovations that will be driving travel and tourism in the coming years. 122 LGBT Tourism As the global visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community increases, the discussion of its economic impact continues to gather momentum.

TEL: +44 (0)208 731 0344 FAX: +44 (0)208 731 0345 CORPORATE@IMOBUSINESS.COM All material in WTM Business is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission of the publishers and Reed Travel Exhibitions. Colour transparencies and photographs submitted for publication are sent at the owners’ risk and while every care is taken, neither the publishers nor their agents accept liability for loss or damage however caused. The publishers and Reed Travel Exhibitions can accept no liability whatsoever of nature arising out of nor in connection with the contents of this publication. Opinions expressed within the articles are not necessarily those of International Media Organisation Ltd nor Reed Travel Exhibitions and any issue arising there from should be taken up directly with the contributor. World Travel Market and WTM trademarks are owned and protected by Elsevier Properties SA and Reed Exhibitions Limited used such trademarks under licence.

102 Luxury Tourism WTM Business examines a shift in the luxury market towards trips offering

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DECISIONMAKERS.TV is the site the travel industry is visiting right now to get a deeper understanding of what major companies in the travel commercial arena are all about. We are asking their senior executives why they make the decisions they make, how they got to the top and what their plans are for the future. It’s a wonderful insight into the mindset of the people who make our industry tick – and the many senior figures we have met with have been incredibly generous with their time as well as surprising us with their frank and honest approach. In fact, these are traits we regularly find in this industry that perhaps other markets could learn from. Speaking of learning, there is real food for thought in these interviews, and not just for travel insiders; our politicians, for example, would do well to watch some of these videos – although they may be alarmed to see that these industry leaders are not pulling their punches. The site is growing fast as we steadily work our way through the great and the good in travel and tourism, picking their brains on issues that really matter to the industry and uncovering the trends and innovations they are seeing on the horizon.

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These are the big personalities within leading travel brands, and big personalities tend to transmit through – and potentially transform – the whole ethos of an organisation. With this in mind, what we are getting on is a fascinating glimpse into the future of our industry. came about in response to a call from our WTM audiences to give them more and more regular content. Yet, as we’ve seen, this weekly video series has also given many senior executives the opportunity to offer their perspective and insight for the benefit of the marketplace – and get some burning issues off their chests. Now, with the capacity to reach over 150,000 people on a regular basis, we have the perfect platform in On the site today, you’ll find a host of renowned figures from our industry, including Paul Simmons, UK Director at easyJet, Denis Wormwell, CEO of Shearings Group, Derek Jones, UK MD of Kuoni, John Hays, owner of Hays Travel and Peter Dennis, chairman of TTI. Oh, and look out for David Burling, MD of TUI UK and Peter Shanks, President of Cunard Line – their interviews will be going live soon. I If you’d like to feature on Decision Makers TV or sponsor the show, please contact us.










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Making the most of your opportunities at




Okay, let’s start with an obvious question. What is Meridian Club all about? WTM Meridian Club, the leading global business network: making contacts, concluding deals, is the buyers club for the global travel industry’s senior buyers. 70 per cent of Meridian Club members will come from a tour operator/travel agent or wholesaler background; however, this is not exclusive as some travel buyers fall outside this category. An example is an IT manager within a hotel group looking to purchase technology (reservation systems) Meridian Club, the original global buyers club for the travel industry was formed in 1989. This year at WTM we will celebrate 21 years of facilitating the travel industry’s business deals. Meridian Club has an average global membership of more than 13,000 members, consistently attracting top-quality buyers and has the reputation for generating genuine business leads, via international and regional senior level buyers and decision makers. How do people qualify for membership? WTM continues to focus on improving the quality of Meridian Club buyers at the event. Meridian Club membership is reserved for senior travel industry professionals with direct purchasing power and all potential buyers will undergo a stringent assessment process to ensure the right buyers are Meridian Club members. All applications are closely reviewed upon registration.

“WTM is a firm believer in putting people face-toface to facilitate conversation to help close those all important business deals. At WTM 2011, 78 per cent of companies sourced new business and WTM Speed Networking and other Meridian Club networking events played an instrumental role” Raj Thakkar, WTM

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What networking opportunities are open to Meridian Club members? There is a whole portfolio of business and networking opportunities across the four days of WTM, starting with WTM Speed Networking before the exhibition opens on Monday, November 5. Last year 208 buyers and 411 exhibitors started negotiations at WTM Speed Networking. There is also a luxury pre-scheduled networking event – A taste of ILTM, where 40 luxury buyers meet 40 luxury exhibitors to conduct 20 minute pre-scheduled meetings. On the second evening there is an informal networking reception for buyers and exhibitors to discuss deals. A WTM Meridian Club 21st Anniversary Reception for buyers and exhibitors takes place on the Wednesday evening. On the final morning there is the Networking Breakfast followed by, new for WTM 2012, a final speed networking opportunity for buyers and exhibitors to further discuss business. How does Speed Networking work – and how do I know if it’s right for me? Think about Speed Dating in a business context. The format allows for buyers and exhibitors to meet for five-minute mini-meetings to discover whether they have similar business interests that they would like to pursue during the remaining four days of WTM, or indeed, beyond WTM. Meridian Club members stay seated, while the exhibitors rotate in a sequential process to a buyer after each five-minute exchange. The room is arranged according to the region the buyer is interested in purchasing from. The regions are then divided further into sub regions. Exhibitors are given a delegate list of buyers in advance of the session in order to plan their time during the hour. Is it right for you? Why not attend and see. What we can say is that over the last few years we’ve had fantastic feedback from buyers that have attended the session. Many wish to attend again. So is Speed Networking about quantity over quality? The idea is quantity initially, followed by quality. A typical scenario is you meet 15 suppliers within an hour and walk away with 10/15 business cards. Out of the short-listed companies, you may decide to meet with 7/8. Once you have met with the suppliers, you may find compatibility with 3/4 suppliers, who in turn, become dedicated business partners. How is success measured? WTM 2011 saw more than 8,000 Meridian Club members attend the event helping the show to generate a record £1,653 million in industry deals – a 16 per cent increase on WTM 2010’s £1,425 million. Speed Networking and other Meridian Club networking played an instrumental role in this. As mentioned previously, many buyers return to attend the Speed Networking sessions. Recently we received a fantastic quote from Daniel Evans, Head of Contacting at Secret Escapes. He said: "WTM Speed Networking was probably the best use of an hour I've ever had at WTM! Lots of suppliers in one room and several good deals have been struck because of it" What other benefits are there for me as a Merdian Club member? There are a number of free benefits for members. Firstly, there are the two dedicated Merdian Club lounges – one in the North Hall and the other in the South hall. The lounges, with internet access, have open and closed meeting rooms for members to hold meetings with clients away from the bustling show floor. Free hospitality, refreshments and massage facilities is also available. Meridian Club members also receive a complimentary welcome pack including the WTM Catalogue. Year-round Meridian Club benefits also include annual discounts on trade conferences, opportunities to attend Meridian Club Think Tank events on key issues within the industry. I

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TRINIDAD & TOBAGO AS we see London’s Excel converted back from exceptional sporting arena to the more familiar home of World Travel Market, the twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago keep the focus on sports by making this year’s focus the development of sports tourism and key festivals and events. Leading his team out into the WTM arena is recently appointed tourism minister, the Honourable Stephen Cadiz, available alongside the tourism and private sector delegates to promote his islands as world-class event hosts. Meetings and press conferences will be held on the stand (CA330) to showcase the international launch of the Tobago Jazz Experience and to highlight the many virtues of Trinidad & Tobago as a sports tourism destination. Home of the Queen’s Park Oval, the largest cricket stadium in the Caribbean, Trinidad offers a plethora of opportunities for schools and clubs to visit on cricket tours throughout the year, as well as hosting key international and regional matches that will draw a global crowd. West Indies cricketing legend, Brian

Lara, will be on the stand during WTM to talk about the power of sport as a driver of tourism opportunity. Sister island, Tobago, will also be presenting the annual Tobago Cycling Classic. Covered this year by ESPN, the October event attracts cyclists from all over the world. Trinidad & Tobago has also benefitted this year from the London 2012 Olympics, seeing the national flag flying high thanks to the supreme achievements of young athlete Keshorn Walcott. At 19 years he became the youngest ever javelin winner in the history of the Games, putting his island home on the international map. Walcott will be joining the T&T delegation at WTM for the first time and will be on the stand throughout the event to talk to agents, operators and journalists. Other WTM events include a press reception on the stand on Monday afternoon, and sponsorship of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Street Party on Wednesday, featuring a characteristic Trinidad Carnival and Tobago Heritage Festival procession. Travel agents are invited to come onto the stand for destination training and to an exclusive VIP party on Wednesday night.

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VIRGIN LOSES A HIGH FLIER TO GTMC The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has revealed its new chief executive will be Paul Wait, Virgin Atlantic’s current general manager for sales.


Welcome to the Cheap Seats Huge Slump in First and Business Class Passenger Numbers European carriers must prepare for losses of around £750million, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Firms are increasingly booking their executives into economy seats, or asking them to travel by low-cost carrier, in an effort to reduce their travel expenditure. Although the continuing economic crisis is being blamed for the shift away from first and business class seats, IATA believes a combination of factors is at play, including heavy taxation, high fuel prices and insufficient capacity at a number of important airports. Airlines based in continental Europe are suffering particular hardships, due to the eurozone crisis, but in its statement IATA also appeared to be joining with the calls to the British Government to add capacity to Heathrow Airport and to scrap the controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax. In its statement, IATA noted: “Not only is the economy weak with the eurozone crisis, Europe has some very unfriendly conditions for doing business—onerous regulations, high taxes, insufficient capacity at many key airports and an air traffic management system badly in need of modernization.”

Wait’s decision to move on comes less than a month after another senior figure, chief executive Steve Ridgway, announced he will be parting company with Virgin Atlantic next year. The new role will see Wait heading up the UK’s leading professional body for airlines, hotel companies, rail, car rental and technology providers, and accounting for over 80 per cent of UK expenditure on managed business travel. GTMC chairman Ajaya Sodha said of Wait’s imminent arrival: “Paul brings many years of experience in the business travel sector and already knows the GTMC, its members and partners well.” She continued: “It’s vital the GTMC has a strong communicator with a strategic outlook and extensive contacts in every facet of businss travel, and we feel Paul has this in abundance.” Wait, who spent 28 years with American Express before his 13 years with Virgin Atlanti, will replace Anne Godfrey, who left GTMC in July. He said: “I’m delighted and excited to have been given the opportunity to represent and lead the GTMC – an association renowned for its resilience, professionalism and ability to evolve in one of the most vibrant and dynamic industries.” He continued: “I plan to build on the momentum the GTMC has established – particularly in being the voice of business travel in Westminster.” PreviWait spent 28 years with American Express before his 13 years with Virgin Atlantic.

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Cruise Bookings Recover Following Concordia Disaster TRAVEL agents in North America are reporting increased bookings for cruise holidays, according to a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) survey. Some 64 per cent of the 300 surveyed agents said they expected numbers for 2012 to exceed those of the previous year. In January this year, millions around the world saw the Costa Concordia languishing off the Italian coast in an incident that ended with the loss of 32 lives and questions being asked about the safety of passengers on board cruise ships. Christine Duffy, president and chief executive of CLIA, said:

Kiwi cruising is ‘rolled gold’

CRUISE NZ has estimated that 208,000 passengers will visit New Zealand this summer, spending $132 million while ashore. Speaking at a Tourism Industry Association conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry called cruising a “rolled gold opportunity for New Zealand”. Her comments followed news that the cruise industry in the region is growing at over 20 per cent a year.

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"People generally understand the tragic Concordia incident was an extraordinary event,” adding: “I believe travellers recognise that cruising is one of the safest, affordable and enjoyable vacation experiences available today." Prior to the accident, CLIA had reported that bookings in the last three months of 2011 were up almost 13 per cent, compared with the same period the previous year. In the three months after the accident, bookings reportedly rose just 7.2 per cent. Yet, as early as the beginning of summer, bookings in North America began to return, although in Europe, numbers are still poor.

Highs and Lows to Come for Aviation Industry THE International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) forecast for the global aviation industry has been raised from US$3billion to $4.1 billion for this year. In its quarterly report, IATA laid out its reasons for the more optimistic outlook, which include improved figures for the second quarter and favourable policies in the eurozone. “Oil prices have eased, as supply increases from Saudi Arabia and the United States,” suggests the report, which goes on to say “eurozone anxieties remain but the ECB’s ( European Central Bank) conditional promise to buy the debt of Spain and other troubled governments is a major step towards stabilization.” Speaking at a press briefing in Singapore, IATA Director General and Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler said airline consolidation was having a positive effect on operating profits. He said: “Even six years ago, generating a profit with oil at US$110 per barrel for Brent would have been unthinkable. The industry has reshaped itself to cope by investing in new fleets, adopting more efficient processes, carefully managing capacity and consolidating.” Although Tyler said IATA anticipates growth of around 5.3 per cent in the passenger market by the end of 2012 – a slight increase on the forecast made in June – he pointed out that net profit margins were down to 0.6 per cent, from 1.4 per cent last year. The IATA report forecasts an overall loss for European airlines of US$1.2billion, with profit for airlines in the Asia Pacific region of $2.3billion.


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Water: something many of us take for granted. Whether it’s filling the kettle for a morning brew, enjoying a relaxing bubble bath or watering the flowerbeds on a hot summer’s day, we always expect it to be there. But it is worth considering that for over 783 million people in the world, access to clean, safe water does not exist. Indeed, in rural areas of developing nations, the only water source for drinking water is usually a contaminated shallow well or mud-hole - used by both animals and humans. An even more shocking fact, however, is that one innocent child dies every 20 seconds as a result of water borne diseases. But it’s not all bad news. Just a Drop - which was launched at World Travel Market - has made it its mission to actively reduce the numbers of people without access to clean water. The charity has come a long way since 1998, when the charity’s founder, Fiona Jeffery OBE, learnt that just £1 can deliver clean water to a child for up to 10 years. In fact last year alone, it carried out 19 projects in nine destinations including: Afghanistan, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia - supporting approximately 100,000 people. Just a Drop works with local partners - at a grassroots level - to provide a local, clean water supply to some of the poorest communities in the world. It supports the construction of wells, boreholes, pipelines, hand pumps and latrines as well as striving to improve health and sanitation education by running WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) programmes alongside its projects. Support. The charity has a strong ethos of working in close partnership with corporate partners and where possible, will match supporters with specific projects to ensure that they see the tangible difference their funds have made. Whether your workplace wants to sponsor a project, choose Just a Drop as your Charity of the Year, or as a beneficiary of an event, please do get in touch to discuss how Just a Drop and your organisation can work together.

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The charity is also looking for regular donors to allow it to plan ahead and ensure that it can continue its life saving work long into the future. “Water is the essence of life…” says Colonel John Blashford-Snell, Hon President of Just a Drop; “…without clean water, life is an endless struggle, with it, almost anything is possible. Just a Drop literally breathes new life and gives hope to communities where there was none.”  To find out more about Just a Drop, please visit: or email:


Our mission is to reduce child mortality by delivering clean, safe water where it is needed most. So, when you next turn on the tap… Just Think. Just a Drop. £2 a month could provide a child with clean, safe water for life. To donate, please visit Registered Charity No: 1100505


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The Secret Diary of…


Q: How do you plan for WTM?

A: We’ve got a team of about ten contracts managers who will be attending the event. We all pre-register around six to eight weeks beforehand, with a view to spending as much time doing business during the main four days as we can. Once we’re all signed up, we start planning our meetings – all of our guys deal with different parts of the world or different products. Although we will certainly see some existing clients at the show, just to say hi and catch up, we’re predominantly at WTM looking for new suppliers – and to have them all under one roof on our doorstep is an opportunity not to be missed. Once I’ve registered, I can go to the myWTM account management area to search suppliers and set up appointments. It’s an essential tool, and an opportunity to have a good look at the full list of exhibitors. It would be even more useful, though, if the exhibitors would clearly define their area of business in the space allocated. With it being such a huge show, it’s really important that the people you make appointments with are actually interested in doing business with you. That’s why exhibitors need to make sure their information is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. Putting it simply, if you want relevant buyers to come to you, you have to ensure that, if you’re a hotel, you don’t

tick the box that says tour operator.

Q: Do you use the myWTM app?

A: Last year I downloaded the app to my mobile, but I don’t think I made the best use of it. This year it looks like there are some interesting new innovations and I’m definitely going to use it for planning while at the show. The seminar and events programme are all in there, and you can select the ones you want to see and add them to your calendar. Obviously, most people will have their own mobile calendar, and they might think they don’t need another

With it being such a huge show, it’s really important that the people you make appointments with are actually interested in doing business with you. That’s why exhibitors need to make sure their information is as comprehensive and accurate as possible

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It’s based on a first-come-first-served system in which the buyers have a little stand and exhibitors come up to the conference room to meet them. There are no pre-planned appointments, it’s a case of having a quick chat and moving on when the chime sounds.

just for WTM, but in fact, a separate calendar specifically for the show means you don’t have to share potentially private data. I think it’s pretty simple – you go through the doors at WTM, open your WTM app and use that diary for the duration of the show.

Q: Once at the show, what’s your first priority?

A: The first day for me is Monday, and that opens with the Speed Networking session. It’s really important to be organized here as, for me, this is a key business day. Last year, I went to the Speed Networking session, which was really useful. There was just one session last year, on the Monday morning [this year there are two: Monday morning and Thursday afternoon]. It’s based on a first-come-first-served system in which the buyers have a little stand and exhibitors come up to the conference room to meet them. There are no pre-planned appointments, it’s a case of having a quick chat and moving on when the chime sounds. In other words, it turns the concept of the main show on its head. I probably met 40 or 50 people in that hour last year, and picked up an incredible number of business cards – it was really useful and

It’s a big exhibition hall and if you end up with a meeting at one end of the hall and your next at the other end, you’ll firstly miss meetings and secondly be absolutely knackered.

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it unquestionably translated into business for us. Following the Speed Networking, I’ll organize my diary for the rest of the day – probably fitting in some follow-up meetings with people who hve shown interest at the Speed Networking session. For me, it’s important to be there on a Monday, when it’s a little quieter and people are fresher and perhaps more engaged than later on.

Q: How do you spend the rest of your time at WTM?

A: Pretty much all of my meetings will be pre-planned. I’ll have organized most of my WTM time well in advance, and if I’ve planned it right I can expect to have 30-minute meetings with suppliers for almost every half-hour slot available in my diary. And if I have a gap, I’ll visit stands and say ‘Hi, what can we do for you?’ Basically, a bit of cold-calling.

Q: If you had one piece of advice for a first-time visitor to WTM, what would it be?

A: Do your utmost to get your meetings as close to each other, physically, as possible. It’s a big exhibition hall and if you end up with a meeting at one end of the hall and your next at the other end, you’ll firstly miss meetings and secondly be absolutely knackered. This will be my seventh or eighth WTM and I would definitely advise someone attending for the first time to go to the pub in the evening. That might sound a bit flippant, but it’s another great networking opportunity – and you’ll also probably need a drink.

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IN the past 12 months, WTM’s Meridian Club brought industry professionals together in London on three occasions, to discuss issues such as travel distribution, the hotels sector, corporate travel and Africa. White paper reports are produced after each Think Tank and the following pages contain extracts from recent events. How the Think Tanks work Meridian Club Think Tanks provide the framework for organised debate on the future of travel and tourism. The aim is to create an instrument for identifying, discussing and appraising influential developments and trends. Attendees comprise Meridian Club Members, suppliers and industry experts, and Think Tanks provide the ideal platform for dialogue within the industry. African specialists prepared for social media Social media could destroy the mystery of Africa but specialists will thrive as a result, according to a panel of senior African tourism businesses at the latest Think Tank, which took place on Tuesday, July 10. Senior buyers with responsibility for Africa met in central London under Chatham House rules, ensuring that all guests’ comments were unattributed. Tour operators, agents, sports tourism and online businesses were represented. A recurring point was that technology is playing a disruptive role in the African inbound market with more suppliers considering direct sales. Travellers have access to a wealth of information, putting pressure on specialist tour operators and agents to offer truly personalized service and product, at a competitive price. One upmarket operator explained that the vast majority of new business referrals for its business were sourced

online, with a big investment in natural and paid search marketing delivering top-end clients. The full impact of social media will come in two or three years, it was said. The “mystery of Africa” is under threat but the specialists insisted that experience of the product was vital in converting leads. Opinions were divided over the commoditisation of Africa, based on the possible impact of new low-cost carriers. Travellers would find it easier to dynamically package a trip to Africa with a better domestic network, while the luxury operators were looking forward to moving their high-paying guests around more efficiently. Elsewhere, concerns were expressed over a reduction in the number of direct flights between the UK and Africa. Airlines’ marketing and PR of their African destinations has a direct benefit to the entire region and its brand. UK airlines could lose out as Gulf-based carriers add capacity to Africa. Some guests noted that they are marketing stopovers at their hubs to create packages to Africa. Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman World Travel Market Fiona Jeffery, said: “The first Think Tank dedicated to Africa gave us an even deeper insight into the needs of buyers and suppliers. “The specifics of Africa as an inbound destination are many, and we will ensure that WTM 2012’s Africa programme reflects global and local trends.” Independent analysis of exhibitors in the Africa region at WTM

Independent analysis of exhibitors in the Africa region at WTM 2011 found that contracts signed on site or resulting from follow-up meetings accounted for business worth £152m.

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2011 found that contracts signed on site or resulting from follow-up meetings accounted for business worth £152m. Business Travellers Have Power Over Corporate Policy A dozen senior corporate travel executives, representing all sectors of the industry, attended a Think Tank to discuss the possible ramifications of unmanaged business travel become the norm over the next five years, as businesses find it increasingly easy to get better deals online. A number of related topics were covered, many of which looked beyond the current economic crisis and considered the medium term future for business travel. The comment that unmanaged business travel would become prevalent over the next five years came as part of the discussion about technology. Unmanaged business travel would allow corporate travellers to book trips within a defined budget, rather than restrict them to using preferred suppliers. One delegate observed that the US federal government was starting to adopt this approach. Others at the table agreed that many blue-chip organisations were looking into this. Meridian Club member guests agreed travellers have so much choice and access to fares that it is unrealistic to restrict their choice. Furthermore, negotiated corporate rates for hotels, cars and airlines were often more expensive than the spot rates available online. However, it was felt travel budgets could increase as a result, as business travellers would be tempted to spend the maximum

permitted and fund any overspend themselves in return for a better on-the-road experience. Social media within a corporate travel context was also raised, with the consensus being that it was currently more useful for aggregating data rather than for sales or marketing. Concerns were raised about how business travellers were using social media. Guests knew of businesses disciplining staff for comments made on social media about suppliers. An “IT policy,” which outlined how staff could engage with social media as part of their employment contract, could address this issue, although some felt that potential employees might consider this as too invasive into their personal life. Away from technology, many guests were critical of the government’s steadfast refusal to rethink APD, arguing that the net result of the tax was negative in the long run by impacting the competitiveness of UK plc. Coupled with ongoing concerns about airport capacity and poor internal transport infrastructure, many guests knew of big multinationals which had or were planning to quit the UK, with the Netherlands emerging as the relocation destination of choice. With 2012 shaping up to be even more challenging, one supplier told peers to hold their nerve and not price themselves out of what little profit there is. Adding value through service delivery and product innovations would help maintain current price levels. 

WTM Business 2012 I 29


Lean times to chew


ON the biggest issue currently facing the industry… Mark van Iersel, Executive Director of Marketing and Partner Recruitment, with GlobalStar Travel Management, says: “Within both the leisure travel and business travel sectors, global economic uncertainty is still one of the biggest issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. It is human nature to fear uncertainly and in turn, fear acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the prophecy leading to further crisis. For the leisure sector, this has a negative impact, but for the business travel sector, we have seen a positive impact with uncertainty driving further consolidation as companies look to manage the situation and drive deeper savings.” Uday K Dholakia, Brand Ambassador for Birmingham Airport, had a more UK-oriented issue in mind. He believes: “The lack of choice of direct connectivity to the wider UK must have an impact on the UK economy. By funnelling the majority of overseas tourism through London, many simply stay in the South East. This is a tragedy for our wider tourism industry as arguably, some of the most attractive parts of the UK do not receive the visitor volumes that they should.”

is now more about opportunity than threat. Uday is more circumspect, saying: “The Government needs to define aviation strategy and use the huge spare capacity at airports outside the South East, not throw even more capacity at Heathrow. “Air Passenger Duty also continues to cause concern for the UK aviation sector and Birmingham Airport has argued for some time that APD has a disproportionate impact on the regions. They have a lower percentage of business travellers and inbound tourists than the London airports and have been hit hard by the economic downturn. By reducing the APD it would support economic growth and the rebalancing of the UK economy.”

On the biggest issue facing their own sector... Andreas Schürrle, Managing Partner with business development consultants DonnellySpire, points to an article declaring that, in 2011, Germany’s tourism industry achieved ist best results for ten years, in terms of sales revenue and numbers of participants. He says: “2012 numbers are equally as good, especially the packaged tours operators claim it’s even better given the record low unemployment rate and the very high consumer confidence and spending resulting from this.” It would seem that from Andreas’ perspective, the crisis

Air Passenger Duty also continues to cause concern for the UK aviation sector and Birmingham Airport has argued for some time that APD has a disproportionate impact on the regions

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On adjustments their companies have had to make, following the global economic crisis... Mark says: “Both leisure travel and business travel as an industry are fast to adapt to any form of crisis, be it economic crisis, volcanic ash crisis, terrorism or SARS but to quote Darwin, it is not the biggest but the most


Our thanks to... adaptive who will survive. As mentioned earlier, within the business travel sector we have seen a positive impact with uncertainty and crisis driving more companies to manage their spend more creatively this has enables us to grow as we prove our value as a travel management company.” Continuing in a positive vein, Andreas says: “Given the increased interest in entering the German market as one of the last flourishing travel markets DonnellySpire had to hire more business development experts and opened a London office in early 2012.” Uday admits that rationalistion has taken place to ensure continued efficiency, but maintains: “During this time we have continued to invest in our facilities to ensure that we are in a strong position to meet demand when growth returned, and provide a world-class gateway to the UK.” On whether his government is doing enough to help the industry and the businesses within it... Andreas is in no doubt. “No. On the one hand the German government lowered the VAT rate for hotel accommodations from 19 per cent to seven per cent that has mainly helped to increase margins for the hotel owners. On the other hand an air traffic tax was introduced in 2011 which has only added complexity and cost to all players, including the administration. All experts and studies, including those funded by the federal government agree that this tax costs more than it delivers – however; there are no signs of it being abandoned in the foreseeable future.” On changes they foresee occurring within their sector over the next 12 months... Mark says: “Over the next 12 months the industry will have to continue to innovate, focusing on a traveller-centric approach to ensure traveller buy-in, whilst delivering savings to the corporate. To stay ahead of the game we have launched VirtualStar to support demand management programmes and SecureStar to support those travellers who are frontline building the business. From a traveller perspective, this increases their wellbeing and security. From a corporate perspective, this reduces cost, addresses

 Mark van Iersel Executive Director of Marketing and Partner Recruitment, with GlobalStar Travel Management  Uday K Dholakia Brand Ambassador for Birmingham Airport

 Andreas Schürrle Managing Partner with business development consultants DonnellySpire ...Meridian Club members who took part in this article, and apologies for only being able to publish an abridged version of the discussion.

Corporate Social responsibility, reduces time out of the office and supports employee productivity.” Andreas believes: “The large air carrier systems (Lufthansa, British Airways) are poised to turn their European networks profitable again. Either they will achieve this in 2013 or they’ll have to withdraw from that field completely, leaving it to the easyJets and Ryanairs, in order to use all their strengths to fight problem two, which is the role of the Gulf carriers. In Vienna and Prague they already are the dominant players. Is Lufthansa going to be able to defend her role at the secondary German airports, like Düsseldorf, Hamburg or Stuttgart? And if travellers can no longer use Lufthansa for longhaul routes to Asia and Australia and start to collect significant amount of loyalty miles or points with Emirates, Etihad etc, how is this going to affect their future booking preferences on short-haul flights?” Uday says: “Hopefully the ghost of Heathrow’s third runway will be laid to rest. We can then develop a clear aviation strategy, with a more equitable solution to demand, which spreads the benefits across the UK. Additionally, a paradigm shift at the heart of the government that regional tourism is real and generates a significant GDP in the regions.” 

WTM Business 2012 I 31

MERIDIAN CLUB / 21ST ANNIVERSARY World Travel Market 1992 saw the creation and implementation of the first unique international buyer’s club, WTM Meridian Club. 1992 was also the year that WTM moved from Olympia to Earls Court due to its increasing popularity and need for more floor space. It later moved to London’s largest exhibition venue, ExCeL, London in 2002.

WTM Meridian Club attracted almost 7,000 (6,907) members in its first year.

Almost 230,000 (229,803) visitors have entered the doors to WTM as Meridian Club members over the past 20 years.

World Travel Market 2011 generated £1,653,729,318 million of deals, which was an impressive 16 per cent increase on the 2010 figure (£1,425 million). This was generated either through contracts signed at the event or from negotiations with Meridian Club members, which will lead to deals before WTM 2012.





WTM 2010 had previously seen a 25 per cent increase on WTM 2009’s figure of £1,139 million worth of business deals generated.

In the first year of Meridian Club, the opening day of the event was reserved for Meridian Club members. This exclusivity restricted the attendance, but allowed these key buyers the opportunity and the time to sit quietly and have quality time with exhibitors with whom they wished to do business.

The meridian club initiative was so successful that after four years of the “buyers’ only” first day, it was expanded to the first two days in 1996.

Tom Nutley, WTM Exhibition Director (1985 to 1992), introduced the Meridian Club initiative and shortly after was made Chairman of Reed Travel Exhibitions. Tom Nutley explains: “Creating this club for the buyers allowed us to differentiate between the visitors who wished to have serious on-site meetings and those visitors who were primarily seeking information.” Today WTM Meridian Club runs a number of events during World Travel Market, providing a platform for its members to meet, network and discuss business opportunities. No longer aimed at just the first two days of the event, Meridian Club members are encouraged to attend throughout the exhibition.




WTM’s Meridian Club is World Travel Market’s business club for senior travel industry buyers, who have direct responsibility for purchasing products. This year, to celebrate our 21 years of unlocking business and connecting travel professionals, we have collected 21 facts that you may or may not know about 32 I WTM Business 2012






MERIDIAN CLUB / 21ST ANNIVERSARY The events include Speed Networking, which gives Meridian Club members the ideal opportunity to meet Exhibitors through a series of short and targeted meetings with the objective of arranging further meetings and potentially concluding a deal before the end of the event. Speed Networking, launched in 2009, started off as five sessions – based around the regions of the exhibition floor - throughout the first day. Last year WTM overhauled the Speed Networking session, holding it in one room before the exhibition opened, giving even more time for buyers and exhibitors to conclude deals. This proved to be extremely successful.




115 countries are represented by the buyers in WTM Meridian Club.

Six out of ten Meridian Club attendees (57 per cent) attend WTM with a budget of almost £315,000 ($500,000).

WTM Business is the official magazine for the influential Meridian Club; this is published every year for World Travel Market.




2002 saw the most Meridian Club members attend WTM, with a whopping 13,267 members. Meridian Club was introduced to fellow Reed Travel Exhibitions event Arabian Travel Market ten years ago. This is now known as the ATM Buyers’ Club and works similarly to WTM Meridian Club.

the The Meridian Meridian Club lounges Club. have been located in various areas of the exhibition hall over the past 21 years. Since 2009, the exhibition floor has hosted the exclusive lounges, which facilitate meetings and offer free hospitality and refreshments.

Meridian Club members are eligible to receive up to a total of £1,217 in free benefits as part of Meridian Club.

In 2010 WTM launched a series of Think Tanks, specifically for Meridian Club Buyers, which took place throughout the year helping to bring the industry together and discuss the issues affecting their business.


This year for the Meridian Club’s 21st Anniversary celebration, an exclusive party will be taking place in the Meridian Club lounge.



Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chairman World Travel Market was Marketing Director at the time Meridian Club was launched back in 1992 and responsible for making the buyer’s club a success. Jeffery explains: “It was a risk, but intended to improve the quality of visitor attending the show and encourage more effective business by creating a more business-focused environment. “Over the years the Meridian Club initiative has paid off and we still have Meridian Club buyers identified at the event coming to do business and appreciating the services offered. “This year we have a great opportunity to celebrate the last 21 years of doing business and anticipate the biggest and best WTM yet.”




WTM Business 2012 I 33

Live the Grand Life in Malta at the Grand Hotel Excelsior o live a life that is full of grand experiences and grand sensations. To travel, to explore and discover new influences. Set in a tranquil area near the Historical Capital,Valletta and enjoying stunning views of the Marsamxett Harbour, the Grand Hotel Excelsior will fill your senses with the pleasures of fine hospitality. To experience the Grand life, call us on (+356) 2125 0520 or book directly on now.

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SPEED NETWORKING It’s Like Dating, But It’s Strictly Business


WTM Speed Networking WTM Speed Networking events are a not-to-bemissed initiative helping travel buyers and suppliers meet, network and discuss business opportunities. WTM is a firm believer in putting people face-to-face to facilitate direct conversation, helping close all-important business deals. At WTM 2011, 78 per cent of companies sourced new business and a record £1,653 million in travel industry deals were generated - speed networking and other Meridian Club networking events played an instrumental role in this. How does WTM Speed Networking work? Speed Networking allows for buyers and exhibitors to meet for five-minute meetings to discover if they have similar business interests to pursue during the four days of the event. Buyers remain seated while exhibitors move from buyer to buyer after each five-minute slot. The room is divided according to the regions buyers are interested in purchasing from. Exhibitors are handed a “guide to buyers” in advance so that they have a detailed understanding of buyers needs. In 2011, 204 buyers and 411 exhibitors participated representing 28 countries. When is WTM Speed Networking? New for 2012 there will now be two Speed Networking sessions during World Travel Market. Kicking off the event after the success of 2011 will be our Monday Speed Networking session

"I met 37 people in one hour through the WTM Speed Networking session. I discovered not only new products but also opportunities I would never have thought of." Dorine Naeye, Managing Director, DN Travel and Events, Belgium

to help ensure you start your event in the best possible position. There will also be a Thursday Speed Networking session giving you that final opportunity to network and ensure your business opportunities extend beyond the event. Monday, 5 November 09:00 - 10:00, Platinum Suites 1, 3 and 4. Thursday, 8 November 10:00 - 11:00, Meridian Club Lounge How successful is WTM Speed Networking? “WTM Speed Networking sessions allow participants to decide beforehand which specific buyers they would like to meet, automatically increasing the likelihood of successful interactions. Our session put us in touch with eight quality leads and I would definitely recommend this format as the way to go about introductions!"

“WTM Speed Networking sessions allow participants to decide beforehand which specific buyers they would like to meet, automatically increasing the likelihood of successful interactions. Our session put us in touch with eight quality leads and I would definitely recommend this format as the way to go about introductions!” Rob Haten, Sales & Marketing Director, Tamrich Tours, South Africa

WTM Business 2012 I 35



THROUGHOUT 2012, the focus of the Israel Government Tourist Office has been on promoting a unique collection of Israel holidays, known as The Hidden Gems. Within a country that is small in size, visitors can find a whole host of activities to suit every age. From swimming with the dolphins in Eilat to sky diving in the Negev Desert, sipping coffee at a trendy café in Tel Aviv or wine tasting in the Galilee, Israel offers far more than meets the eye. A journey to Israel is a unique opportunity for discovery, and the Hidden Gems allow each visitor to craft a travel experience that speaks to their interests, curiosity and personal history. For example, those with an interest in gastronomy can explore the varied tastes of Israel, sharing a simple Bedouin meal in the desert, or savoring the cuisine at some of the top restaurants in trendy Tel Aviv. Culture vultures will find themselves at home amid the Bauhaus architecture of the White City, exploring the artist village of Safed or being swept away by the Israel Opera performing at the foot of the ancient mountain fortress of Masada. While many are aware of the rich heritage and cultural importance of Israel and the capital city Jerusalem, home to the three monotheistic world religions, the country is equally suited to those looking for a more high energy holiday.

36 I WTM Business 2012

Adventurers can hike, cycle, quad bike or climb through the lush northern regions or through the Negev desert in the south Adventurers can hike, cycle, quad bike or climb through the lush northern regions or through the Negev desert in the south and enjoy a whole host of water sports in Eilat and the Sea of Galilee. For urban adventurers, few cities in the world have a nightlife as eclectic and electric as late-night Tel Aviv. IGTO’s achievements for the year have been underlined by the successful launch of the Hidden Gems trilogy, a collection of books released in conjunction with tour operator partners to inspire creative holiday ideas for potential visitors to the country. The first book was launched at last year’s World Travel Market, with the second and third volumes following in May and June 2012. Following the success and popular demand for all three books, the IGTO have recently published the volumes online at For 2013 and beyond, IGTO plans to build on the success of the Hidden Gems and continue to promote Israel as an exciting and vibrant holiday destination. 



ECONOMIC winners and losers


CLAIMING around 50 per cent of all international arrivals, Europe is easily the biggest market for tourism. There has nonetheless been a marked decrease in its performance, due of course to the global economic crisis. Across the continent, cash-strapped tourists are staying at home and with the spectre of a double-dip recession – and even the possibility of a eurozone break-up – it’s hardly surprising that tourism analysts Euromonitor offer a best case scenario for the region of “a 0.7 per cent contraction in real GDP in 2012, due to recessions in its Mediterranean members, followed by a mild expansion of 0.8 per cent in 2013.” Figures from 2009 show how Europe’s losses contrast sharply with the MENA region’s gains as – aided by significant growth in air capacity and the expansion of airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways – the region saw arrivals grow by 2.7 per cent. The UK has historically led the charge into the UAE, which is regarded as the most advanced tourist market in the region. Now, however, new markets such as Angola are seeing significant traveller growth into the country – a sign that the balance of tourism power in this part of the world may also be shifting away from Europe. Either way, the UAE seems to have the formula for success. Shehab Gargash, CEO of the UAE-based investment management company, Daman Investments, said: “We had expressed cautious optimism in our 2011 report. The continuation of the turnaround proves the strong footing of the UAE economy. The UAE has emerged as haven of stability despite political, economic and social upheaval in the region.”

40 I WTM Business 2012

Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar are also among the MENA region countries enjoying rapid expansion of their respective touristic offerings. Saudi Arabia, for example, is becoming a real force in the hospitality market, and is aiming for an increase in its room stock of more than 60 per cent over the forecast period of 2010 to 2015. Another shining light in terms of both economic and tourism expansion is the Asia-Pacific region, which saw strong growth in the first five months of this year. That said, the growth is declining, an inevitable result of the general global economic malaise. Speaking of those long-suffering European markets, there have been more promising reports from many of the eurozone’s pre-eminent tourism hotspots, which are once again attracting significant trade. This inbound tourism, however, does not reflect a return to spending for Europeans, but rather demonstrates the significant spending power of consumers from destinations such as China, Brazil and Russia.

Saudi Arabia, for example, is becoming a real force in the hospitality market, and is aiming for an increase in its room stock of more than 60 per cent over the forecast period of 2010 to 2015.


WTM Business 2012 I 41


Nicolas Lefebvre, chief executive of SETE, the company that operates the Eiffel Tower in Paris, reported that the attraction had more visitors from Brazil last year than from Germany. In Sicily, the number of hotel stays by overseas tourists in July and August of this year leapt by around 12 per cent, offsetting the five per cent fall in the number of Italians holidaying there. Similarly, figures from the Spanish government show that the country welcomed a record 7.7 million foreign tourists in July – bettering last year’s performance by 4.4 per cent. And in France, a 2.2 per cent growth in the number of nights foreign visitors stayed balanced a fall of around 2.8 per cent in domestic holidaymakers. In the UK, notwithstanding the inbound surge that accompanied the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, the industry is less likely to benefit from long-haul arrivals – especially in the case of the fast-growing Chinese outbound market. Figures suggest that somewhere between 25 and 50 per cent more Chinese tourists make their way to France than to Britain, largely as a result of more complicated – and more costly – visa requirements. Adam Marshall, of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "If individual tourists and Chinese companies can secure more flexible

Schengen visas at a lower cost [the visa required for mainland Europe], the sad reality is that many companies here in Britain could lose substantial business.” Marshall continued: "Ministers say they want Britain to be open for business. They need to ensure that the visa regime doesn't undermine the goal of increased exports, tourism, and trade." The USA has also suffered a decline in tourism in recent years, which could be laid at the door of its border controls. According to Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, however, things are improving with the country as a whole enjoying more than two years of month-on-month growth. Blank points to an eight per cent (over US$1 billion) rise in international visitor spend in May, compared with the same period last year, hailing tourism as a “high-growth bright spot in our economy.” The travel markets of Europe will hope that tourism can help kickstart the world’s largest economy, but with the Federal Reserve recently lowering its growth forecast to just two per cent – and initiating another round of quantitative easing – Europe may have to wait a little longer for a US bounce-back. While we wait, the Chinese outbound travel market continues to

WTM Business 2012 I 43


Member’s view

grow and undoubtedly has the capacity to transform the fortunes of businesses in the West. In 2011, there were a little over 70 million outbound passengers from China – a rise of almost 23 per cent from the previous year. Staggeringly, the figure is forecast to rise to 100 million by 2015. Along with solid growth in GDP and per capita income comes a strong yuan, giving Chinese tourists serious buying power in both eurozone and US destinations. Some countries have taken steps to ensure some of that buying comes their way, relaxing visa policies or simplifying the visa application process. Some have questioned the wisdom of this, asking why any government would put inbound tourism ahead of national security. Unquestionably it demonstrates the power of tourism as an economic driver. UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai recently summed it up nicely, saying: “Tourism is one of the few economic sectors in the world growing strongly, driving economic progress in developing and developed countries alike and, most importantly, creating much needed jobs.” 

44 I WTM Business 2012

 Greece...crisis or opportunity? Greece... What comes into our minds when we listen to this word? Probably, it is the same for all of us... economic crisis, corruption, unbridled fun, eurozone, the euro and so many other things which have little to do with the real Greece. Yes, many problems do exist, along with stunning beaches, marvellous islands, deep blue sky, shining sun and so many other things that tend to be forgotten. The truth is that Greece’s economy, over the years, has been largely dependent on tourism. This and the fact that the state left the tourism industry to ‘go with the flow’ resulted in islands full of ‘to let’ properties; properties without real standards, offered by people who had no idea about the tourism industry – and unwilling to learn. People who were basically looking for easy money. On the other hand, huge resorts were built, full of services and high standards, which made islands more attractive to high-class tourists, but also very expensive and needing to be full. We as travel agents should rebrand and reconsider Greece, in terms of selling it without fear to our customers; in terms of promoting a place which can be as exotic as Fiji, Mauritius or the Maldives islands, as mysterious as Egypt, Peru or China, as romantic as Paris, as historical as Rome. Greece is the heaven right next door for Europeans; no need for long, tiring flights. It is a country that you can visit for a long weekend or an extended vacation. Now Greeks must take this chance to give the right services for the right price; to remember Xenios Zeus and show their guests what this means. For me, Greece is a place of unparalleled beauty, with beautiful people who, for the last few years have been lost behind profits and numbers. Now they must seize an opportunity. Ioanna Kallimachou Director, Travel and More

WEE ARE W ARE THE T HE N NEW EW IIMAGINED MAGINED THE THE FUTURE FUTURE SECURED SECURED W i th a n With name ame tthat hat m mirrors ir ror s our our past, past, we we have have set set out out o on n a Our aim jjourney our ney ttowards owards tthe he ffuture. uture. O ur a im iiss tto o build build our our rreputation e p u t ati o n hospitality world beyond creating iin n tthe he h o s p i t a li t y w orld and and b eyond by by c reating timeless tim e l e s s masterpieces with our passion We m a s te r p i e c e s w i th o ur p as sion ffor or perfection. pe r fe e c ti o n. W e pride pride ourselves with decades off iiconic and o u r s e l ve s w i th d e cade s o conic achievements a c h i e ve m e n t s a nd we we

continuously c ontinuously evaluate evaluate investment inve stment opportunities opp p or tunitie s tto o ttake ake our our even higher. hotels sstature t a tu re e ve n h ighe r. With With a portfolio por t folio of of iconic ic onic h otels supported s u p p o r te d by nurturing ourr b y prestigious pre stigious partners, par tne r s, we we believe believe that, that, by by n ur turing ou llocal ocal roots, roots, we we reap reap tthe he fruits fruits of of our our global global expansion. ex p a n s i o n .

CR Ring ing R Road, oad, PO PO Box Box 2977 2977 Doha, Doha, State State of of Qatar Q at a r +974 7777 4427 0707 T+ 974 4423 4 423 7 777 F +974 +974 4 427 0 707 nfo@katarahospitalit k atarahospit s alit




WTM Business would like to thank Dr Dirk Glaesser, Coordinator of the Risk and Crisis Management Programme at the UNWTO, for allowing us to use abridged extracts from his book, Crisis Management In The Tourist Industry.

SOME might argue that horrific events such as the September 11 terrorist attack on the US in 2001, or the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, cannot feasibly be accounted for within a crisis management plan. After all, who could have predicted or anticipated the scale of these tragic scenarios, or the effect they would have on the millions around the world saw them playing out on their television screens? That said, there is no question that companies with plans already in place for dealing with crises were in a superior position to limit the damage to their own businesses and – harsh though it may sound – to take advantage of the damage done to their rivals. As Dr Dirk Glaesser points out early in his book Crisis Management In The Tourism Industry, “The Chinese equivalent for the word crisis is ‘Weiji’. It is formed from the first letter of danger ‘Weixian’ and opportunity ‘Jihui’. This composition of the word clearly reflects the real characteristics of a crisis.” Immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center, many Americans became too fearful to contemplate air travel. At the same time, the rail network almost keeled over under the weight of the opportunity that presented itself. Not so fortunate were international tourists who still wanted to spend time in the US, as homeland security went into overdrive, and gaining entry to the country became onerous and costly.

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The attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States changed the security environment dramatically. The government of the U.S. introduced measures so far unknown, both in quality and quantity. Among these was the introduction of new visa policies and new passports including biometrical data. Some countries were required to undergo more rigorous security controls than others. This differentiated treatment created problems. As from January 5, 2004, Brazilians entering the U.S. were required to provide fingerprints and photos and had to accept a more thorough security check than the other travelers. This not only led to queuing and longer delays. Brazilians also saw how citizens from other countries were passing through the immigration lines without undergoing the same procedures. The political reaction did not take long. In a tit-for-tat move Brazil decided, on account of human dignity and the right to reciprocity, to implement the same controls on U.S. visitors to Brazil: digital track check, photo, fingerprints, even the payment of a visa of US$ 100 (the same amount as the U.S. was charging Brazilians). At the same time, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry officially addressed the U.S. government and requested that Brazil should be taken off the list of countries subject to the additional security measures. Following talks, the situation normalized. However, the case of Brazil illustrates well how tourism, one of the world’s biggest economic activities, is increasingly becoming a tool of foreign policy.

Of course, there was worldwide sympathy for those caught up in what soon become known as 9/11 – not withstanding the fact that 372 foreign nationals lost their lives. At the same time, there was doubtless a sense among overseas consumers that travelling to the USA, and specifically to New York, was no longer safe. The result was a major downturn for tourism in the city.

Japanese tourists are normally known and aimed for because of their high spending habits. When it comes to negative events however, tourists from Japan are considered as one of the most sensitive national segments. H.I.S., a Japanese tour operator with headquarters in Tokyo and 171 offices nationwide, faced the challenge after the attacks of September 11 in a way so far unknown. Rather than cancelling all its activities in the United States, H.I.S. launched shortly after the attacks a product that can be best described as ‘Solidarity Trips’ and labelled it with the slogan ‘We love New York’. This new product was fully aimed at supporting the tourism industry in New York City by continuing the visits to the city rather than staying away. In addition, H.I.S. showed its solidarity with the families of the victims and conveyed to its customers that five per cent of all income generated by these Solidarity Trips would be donated to NYC ex-Mayor Giuliani’s Twin Towers Fund. [The Soldarity Trips proved a great success] not only in commercial terms but also in showing that tourism is a form of expressing emotions.

As we have seen, the ramifications of a dramatic event – be it natural or manmade – can lead to exaggerated perceptions of the risks of travelling to specific destinations or by specific modes of transport. This is especially true in the case of viruses, such as Avian Flu and SARS, which first appeared in Asia a decade ago. At one point, scientists urged world governments to prepare for a pandemic of the deadly H5N1 strain of Avian Flu, causing worldwide anxiety and the potential for huge losses for many industries, including tourism.

The Chinese equivalent for the word crisis is ‘Weiji’. It is formed from the first letter of danger ‘Weixian’ and opportunity ‘Jihui’. This composition of the word clearly reflects the real characteristics of a crisis WTM Business 2012 I 47


After the first detection of SARS and the Avian Flu in 2003, the world was alerted to how fast infectious diseases could spread. As the World Health Organization alert was kept high, Visit Scotland, the national tourism organization for Scotland, started to look into the consequences of a possible spread of the Avian Flu on its local tourism industry. The scenario technique was used to understand how future changes could impact on Scottish tourism. After reviewing existing literature, Visit Scotland staff and a research team followed an 8-step approach.


After the first detection of SARS and the Avian Flu in 2003, the world was alerted to how fast infectious diseases could spread


Step 1: A review of the existing scenario. Step 2: A brain storming session, aimed at drafting storylines for ‘it’s out there’ and ‘it’s here’ scenarios. Step 3: Calculating the economic impact of both scenarios on tourism in Scotland and the UK. Step 4: The Scottish Executive gave its feedback to the research team to help refine the scenarios. Step 5: Major stakeholders from the UK tourism industry were invited for workshops. Step 6: Stakeholders were divided into two groups for half-day workshops, having previously seen relevant scenario literature. Step 7: The scenarios were then evaluated for reality and validity and the comments used to improve them further. Step 8: Based on the research, concrete priorities for actions and steps to best prepare Visit Scotland and the tourism sector for the Avian Flu were formulated.

In so many areas of business, the axiom is that to achieve the greatest reward, one must take the biggest risks. In tourism terms this very often translates as larger margins being achieved in immature markets, many of which may be less socio-politically stable than, say, Western Europe or North America. An example of a crisis management plan based on this premise is seen with Kempinski Hotels.

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Traditionally the group was strongly dependent on the German market, which contributed until recent times with 90 per cent of the company’s profits. To reduce this dependency and to minimize its exposure to crisis, the company took the strategic decision to diversify systematically. In the first place the company now aims at geographical distribution of its activities. Interestingly, this does not always lead to classical destinations but also to areas which have been classed as risky. The company seeks a good mix of risks and revenues. While hotels in traditional destinations such as London, Madrid and Paris are constantly suffering from low margins, hotels in Mali and Chad have high occupancy rates and revenues. Still the aim is that four out of five hotels are located in areas with little risk. However, every fifth hotel is allowed to be a financial risk if above average revenues are produced. Diversification across the different possible future crises is also carried out through the types of hotels. City hotels have proved to be more crisis resistant than holiday resorts. Consequently, a mix of 60 per cent city hotels to 30 resorts and 10 per cent airport and congress hotels is the future goal of the company.

Although while developing the product of beach holidays as a new product area, Egypt did not explicitly consider it under the aspect of strategic crisis management. The later consequences proved that these decisions had positive results seeing it from the point of view of strategic crisis management. The various terrorist attacks of 1992/1993 led to a negative overall image of Egypt. However, consumers in the various source markets did not perceive the beach destinations ‘Sinai’ and ‘Red Sea’ related to this image. This strategically unplanned separation of the two products, independent from each other as far as image was concerned, was quickly recognised and used by the destinations and tour operators alike.

Of course, when talking about crises – be they manmade or delivered by Mother Nature – the ‘management’ element is never going to be total. Along with Mother Nature, for example, will come Lady Luck…

An element of a crisis that one would imagine being first on the ‘management’ list, but seems nevertheless too often overlooked, is the effect on the consumers directly and indirectly involved. As Dr Glaesser makes clear: “Care Teams are one of the most important functions of crisis coping for an organization. It’s the interface to the client and the relatives and therefore one of the key functions that also determines whether or not the crisis management efforts will be seen as successful.” 

The various terrorist attacks of 1992/1993 led to a negative overall image of Egypt. However, consumers in the various source markets did not perceive the beach destinations ‘Sinai’ and ‘Red Sea’ related to this image

Seminar information The seminar #travelfail - Crisis management and social media, will take place on Thursday, November 8, at this year’s World Travel Market. For more information on WTM’s events programme, visit

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This is good news for the travel industry: not just for companies marketing their products direct to the consumer, but also for the business-tobusiness sector. Many people continue to rely on the experience and advice of travel agents and tour operators; experts who are aware of how the global environment is impacting different parts of the world. These businesses in turn rely on wholesale and distribution companies to find quality alternatives in destinations both familiar and off the beaten track, helping them shield clients – the travelling public – from risks in these turbulent times. Kuoni’s acquisition of GTA in 2011 was a strategic move to further secure its position as one of the world’s leading providers of online business-to-business travel services. Combining Kuoni Destination Management with GTA, Kuoni Global Travel Services was born later that year. Although it takes a new name, it is backed by the heritage, reputation and stability of two companies that together have been in the business of travel for more than a century. Within Global Travel Services, separate business units support sharply focused strategies addressing group (through Kuoni Group Travel Experts) and fully independent travel (FIT), alongside travel for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. Already well-regarded in the industry GTA, the brand for FIT, has evolved in the face of increasing competition. It has also evolved in recognition that consumers – and the businesses that serve their travel needs – are seeking new experiences in emerging destinations,

that they have ever-higher expectations of quality and value-formoney, that they want stability and reliability when they book. GTA’s new look, although an evolution in the way we present ourselves worldwide, continues to set us apart in a crowded marketplace. It re-states our intent to strengthen our already powerful proposition wherever we are in the world. Behind the new look and logo, the best of GTA and Kuoni Destination Management remains. United, we remain a world leader in the provision of ground travel and the power behind some of the biggest and best in the industry. With even more staff – 3,200 in 86 offices – we have one of the greatest travel networks on the planet, ensuring we can command, and pass on, competitive rates from the world’s best brands and negotiate flexible terms. Powering global travel – and providing the best value and service experience while we do – GTA easily connects travel suppliers and travel sellers worldwide. Technology is at the core of our business, processing over 21,000 bookings every day and saving our partners time and money 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whether it’s our HTML booking engines or XML interfaces, partner sites or extranets, systems to support payment processes or itinerary management, or major projects to transform the way we do business, our fast and intuitive technology helps our customers serve their customers better. Tens of thousands of travel businesses choose us to access a portfolio of accommodation, tour guides and transfer services, unique experiences, city tours, excursions, attraction tickets and restaurants from 45,000 suppliers in 185 countries and in more than 25 languages online. Our partners also benefit from the talent and

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expertise of exceptional leaders who know this business inside and out. Staff put their knowledge of the world’s travellers and global booking trends to work for customers, applying their experience to make it work best for local markets and local business needs. With so much choice today it can be difficult to know what’s best for business. With so much change and uncertainty in the world, minimising risk is increasingly important. With so little time, travel businesses want to be sure that the decisions they make are

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sound. Powering global travel – helping them achieve all this and efficiently delivering what they need when they need it – is what GTA is all about. Connect with us today on stand GV 500 Chief Executive Officer, GTA and Kuoni Global Travel Services





THE Adventure Travel Development Index (ATDI) defines adventure travel as 1: interaction with nature, 2: interaction with culture and 3: a physical activity – with at least two out of the three required within the same trip if the ‘adventure travel’ box is to be ticked. WikiEducator, on the other hand, says adventure travel is ‘…a type of niche tourism involving exploration or travel to remote areas, where the traveller should expect the unexpected’. Clearly, an element of adventure travelling involves leaving the safe, well-travelled path in order to find oneself in unfamiliar surroundings and seek out unfamiliar experiences. Some would question the need to define ‘adventure tourism’ at all as a sub-sector of tourism, but this travel option – already worth billions, and growing very fast – offers benefits for those taking part that your average holiday simply cannot match. For example, various studies indicate that adventure travellers – due to their extensive outdoor activities – experience health benefits, including reduced instance of heart disease and ADHD to name but two, as well as greater confidence and improved recall in later life. In demographic terms, adventure tourism is becoming as wide-ranging as its potential destinations, but it is an ill-defined sector. The over-50s, who currently account for more than half of all tourism spending, are a significant group in the adventure market. Women travelling alone are also becoming recognised as an important segment. In fact, according to recent research published by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), there is currently a 50/50 ratio of male to female adventure travellers. Furthermore, around 40 per cent are aged between 30

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and 41, with 19 per cent aged between 50 and 74 – and this age group is most likely to book through a tour operator (63 per cent). A recent GWU study found the average age of an adventurous traveller to be 36, with the average spend per trip standing at US$400 to US$800, not including flights and gear. Interviews with 850 tourists from the Americas and Europe revealed that the nations with the highest numbers of adrenalin-thrill seekers are Argentina, Brazil, US, the UK, Germany and Spain. Many destinations – including some of the above – have been slow to recognise the potential for pushing the adventure tourism angle in their promotional material. The UK, for example, has no definitive figures for either the size or the value of its own adventure tourism market. Yet data provided by the United Kingdom Tourism Survey (UKTS) suggests that more than ten per cent of UK holidays include an adventurous element. For Scotland the figure is 15 per cent and for Wales 17 per cent. In 2010, a joint study by GWU, Xola Consulting and ATTA, reported that 26 per cent of all travellers engage in adventure activities while on holiday. At that time, the adventure tourism industry was valued at a cool US$89 billion, with a staggering estimated annual growth rate of 17 per cent. With stats like this it’s hardly surprising that politicians have started to prick up their ears. In 2010, for example, Mexican President Felipe Calderon stated: “Mexico needs to become the champion of adventure travel…” And recently, New Zealand, Greenland and Norway began repositioning their own tourism offerings with a much heavier slant towards adventure travellers. The iExplore portal, which was founded in 1999 in the US, was snapped up by travel giant TUI in 2007, and is now attracting one million unique visitors a month, seeking adventure and experiential travel ideas and advice. Clearly, the major players in the market have cottoned on to the potential to generate new business through the adventure tourism sell. Yes this upsurge of new interest has not so far led to the demise of small adventure tourism companies. In fact, it seems likely that innovative, adaptable, niche organisations will continue to attract those looking for unique experiences. Late last year, ATTA’s Shannon Stowell said: "We did a survey this year of more

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Interviews with 850 tourists from the Americas and Europe revealed that the nations with the highest numbers of adrenalin-thrill seekers are Argentina, Brazil, US, the UK, Germany and Spain.


thereby benefiting local communities and the environment. As opposed to being a subjective list of ‘worthy’ candidate destinations for the adventurous, however, the ATDI operates a much more formal and scientific marking system, with clearly defined indicators. This provides stakeholders from destinations with an interest in attracting adventure travellers an opportunity to focus on specific indicators in order to raise their ATDI score, while simultaneously creating a more sustainable tourism environment. A joint initiative of The George Washington University in Washington DC, The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and analysts Vital Wave Consulting, the ATDI is calculated through a combination of expert survey data and quantitative data gathered from international indices. The data is assembled within ten ‘pillars of competitiveness’, which aim to help destinations create or enhance their adventure markets.

ATDI’s TEN PILLARS OF COMPETITIVENESS 1. Sustainable Development Policy High environmental performance and low unemployment create a favourable climate for sustainable development. Government policies are also an important factor, as they go towards the safeguarding of a destination’s heritage, cultural and natural resources.

than 100 tourist boards. We asked how many of them recognised adventure tourism as a stand-alone sector within tourism in their destination. Before 2007, less than half did. Today, 85 per cent recognise adventure tourism as a stand-alone sub-sector." With growth of the industry, however, comes the move towards increased professionalism and the necessity for improved standards of health and safety. In destinations around the world, adventure tourism companies are now seeing the necessity for them to improve their business practices and also limit their impact on the environment. As for travel agents, they are turning more and more to something called the Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI) to assist their thrill-seeking clients… THE ADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEX (ATDI) In the three years since its inception, the ATDI has provided the industry with an ever-more refined system of ranking countries based on principles of sustainable adventure tourism. The index works in support of organisations whose aim is to promote the adventure tourism sector in a sustainable manner,

2. Safety and Security With respect to safety, the ATDI numerical benchmarks gauge how safe it is to travel in a country. The Safety Pillar is made up of two indicators: 1. The Corruption Perceptions Index, and 2. Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Warnings. Another aspect of this pillar is gauging how safe it is to undertake adventurous activities, such as mountaineering (are there a system for mountain rescue?) and scuba diving (are there hyperbaric chambers nearby?). 3. Health Destinations offering easy access to healthcare will tick another important box for adventure travellers. This pillar is made up of two indicators from the World Health Organization: 1. Hospital beds (per 1000 people), and 2. Physicians (per 1000 people). 4. Natural Resources For adventure travellers, destinations with well-managed natural resources will find favour and therefore prove sustainable. This pillar is predominantly made up of four indicators: 1. Urban concentration, 2.Population density, 3. Kilometres of coastline, and 4. Ratio of coast to total area. 5. Cultural Resources This pillar is made up of two indicators and an expert opinion

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The index works in support of organisations whose aim is to promote the adventure tourism sector in a sustainable manner, thereby benefiting local communities and the environment.

question: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 2. Protected Area as a % of Total Land. It is also important for adventure travellers that they have an opportunity to learn about and explore new cultures, as well as their natural surroundings. For this reason, they will approve of destinations that encourage local people to preserve and honour their culture and customs.

forgiving of a destination’s lack of hard infrastructure (ie roads, airports, lodging facilities, etc), they generally have a greater need for soft infrastructure (ie trail maps, information on heritage and culture, etc) than other tourists. A survey of industry experts provides the indicator for this pillar.

6. Adventure Activity Resources From birdwatching to white-water rafting, caving to paragliding, a destination will fare well in this arena if it offers a range of opportunities for taking part in nature-based adventure pursuits. This pillar has two indicators: 1. Protected species, and 2. Forests, grasslands and drylands.

10. Image A destination’s image for both sustainability and adventure tourism will attract travellers for whom these things are important. Yet this aspect of a country’s marketing is easily manipulated and/or mismanaged. For this reason, industry experts have been surveyed to offer their views on destinations as adventure tourism destinations. 

7. Entrepreneurship Recognising that destinations in which new, small and adaptable businesses are thriving may well be fertile ground for entrepreneurial adventure travel operators, this pillar has the Index of Economic Freedom as its sole indicator. 8. Humanitarian Adventure travellers, seeking out destinations that can offer them authentic experiences, will often volunteer to assist with aid programmes abroad. For this reason the humanitarian pillar has the following indicators: 1. Happy Planet Index (HPI), 2. NGO density, and 3. NGO presence. 9. Tourism Infrastructure Whereas adventure travellers are likely to be more

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Seminar information A debate on Activity Tourism will take place on Tuesday, November 6, at this year’s World Travel Market.

For more information on the debate and WTM’s Responsible Tourism events programme, visit

Rio de Janeiro

L ive th e co m ple te exp erience o f 2014 F IFA Wo r l d Cu p and R i o 2016 Olymp ic an d Paralymp ic G am es.




IN1950, 25 million people crossed international borders as tourists. Among them were business travellers, a handful of adventurers and the very few that could afford to holiday abroad; nearly all of whom travelled from and to Europe and North America. In 2012, just one generation later, one billion tourists are on the move. In other words, between January and December 2012, the equivalent of one seventh of the world’s population will have crossed international borders as tourists. Four billion more will have been on trips within their national borders. People aren’t just travelling more; they’re travelling further. Destinations in the emerging and developing economies of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East currently receive nearly half of the world’s international tourist arrivals, many of which originate from source markets in these same regions. By 2015, these destinations will be receiving more tourists than advanced economy destinations. For a world undergoing economic strains, reaching one

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billion tourists is exciting news. Because behind this impressive number lies a roaring engine of economic growth, job creation and development. Few realise that tourism is a trillion-dollar sector, that it generates five per cent of global GDP, that one out of every 12 people worldwide are employed in tourism, or that tourism accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s trade in services. In some countries, tourism represents an astonishing 25 percent of GDP. Given its size and reach, tourism today is one of the world’s most promising drivers of growth, providing jobs and steady income, and lifting millions over the poverty line in many developing countries. Open Skies and Open Borders Reaching one billion is an exciting milestone, and one to be celebrated. But there are still millions more facing barriers to travel. These barriers are particularly acute in emerging economies – some of the world’s fastest growing tourism source markets. Existing barriers include, but are not limited to, restrictive air transport policies, unbalanced taxation on travel and burdensome entry formalities, notably visas and related entry


processes. Given the extraordinary technological advances of the past decade, it is particularly frustrating to see visas frequently taking months to process, often thousands of miles away from the traveller. These are not just barriers to travellers; they are a barrier to growth, putting a brake on tourism development and its capacity to generate jobs and capital at a critical time for the world’s economies. Now, more than ever, the world needs to restore growth, and tourism can be an effective path to that growth. A recent study by UNWTO and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) found that improving visa processes in G20 countries could boost their tourist numbers by an additional 122 million, generating an extra US$ 206 billion in tourism exports and creating over five million jobs through 2015. As countries begin to recognise tourism’s potential, commendable steps have been taken towards removing or simplifying barriers to travel. At the beginning of 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order to boost the economy and create jobs through tourism, all by easing visa processes. At its meeting in Mexico, the G20 Leaders, recognising for the first time the role of tourism in contributing to the economy and employment, committed to “work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth”. At the 2012 UNWTO & WTM Ministers’ Summit in November, the world’s Tourism Ministers and leading tourism experts will come together to discuss these achievements and determine what more remains to be done to advance travel facilitation. The Summit, focusing on “Open Borders and Open Skies: Breaking Barriers to

Travel”, represents a unique opportunity to set the wheels in motion for a more liberalised tourism sector. One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities 2012 will be remembered as the year we reached one billion tourists. According to UNWTO’s long-term forecast for international tourism, Tourism Towards 2030, this number will be up to 1.8 billion by 2030. If we can move towards open skies and open borders, this number could be bigger still, cementing tourism as one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economic sectors. Hundreds of millions, in advanced and advancing economies alike, will benefit. We should never forget, however, that one billion is also a serious responsibility. A responsibility to ensure sustainable and shared benefits for everyone involved in the sector: for workers, for local communities and for natural, social and cultural environments. In 2012, UNWTO is calling on the one billion tourists to make their actions count. We invite the industry to join. Our message is simple: every tourist is an opportunity. Imagine how much water and energy we could save if one billion tourists simply used their towels for more than a day. Imagine how many people would benefit if one billion tourists bought locally. Through open skies and open borders, millions more will come on board, making these opportunities endless.  Taleb Rifai is the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

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Rafidain Company for Travel and Tourism is the leading independent company in Iraq. It was established in 1990 and introduces comprehensive services to the clients from the Arab countries, Islamic nations and outside world. Over the years, they have arranged hundreds of group trips to Egypt, Lebanon, Dubai, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the company has participated in most of the commercial, touristic and industrial exhibitions, which have been held in the Arab and western countries, such as ITB Berlin, WTM and MITT, among others. As they are the general agent of Cham Wings Airlines, they have tour agents in Syria, Iran, Jordan, Bahrain, Emirates, Pakistan, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Canada, US, UK and France. This enables them to provide seats on most of the airways at any time. Every day, Rafidain Company for Travel and Tourism receives groups in all fields of tourism: religious, historical, luxurious and cultural tourism from different countries. There are 75 employees working for the company, which also has cooperation with many hotels in different Iraqi cities. Al-Rafidain participated in WTM 2010 and WTM 2011. Due to these two participations, Iraq has received groups from many different continents, such as Europe and Asia. This has helped Iraq restore tourist activity after many years of corruption. Tourists are also choosing Iraq as a destination because of the new services which the country has begun to provide. Because of Al-Rafidain participation in ITB Berlin since 2010, many German tourists want to visit Iraq nowadays. The German groups want to see how different it has become since the changes happened. What's more, Al-Rafidain also participated in MITT in Moscow. This exhibition helped the growth of Iraq tourism a lot because many tourists were interested in the archeological sites of Iraq. The company also visited Euroal Exhibition in Spain, and Rimini in Italy. The company is located in the holy city of Najaf, Al-Muthanna Road.

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Al-Rafidain Company in Najaf Services

Why Iraq Iraq is the land of prophecy, and the place of the beginnings of human thought. Iraq is also a bridge connectting three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa.. Iraq is the first cradle of civilisation; archeologists have agreed that the Iraqi Sumerians are the builders of the first civilisation in the history of mankind. In 3200 B.C. writing was invented by this first civilisation and it was later spread to different regions of the world. Thus, the first school was built on the lands of the Sumerians â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Iraq. The obelisks of the King Hammurabi are the first written laws in 1750 B.C. Also, Iraq is the land between the two rivers (Mesopotamia). The two great rivers, Tigris and Euphrates make Iraq one of the richest lands in terms of water and fertility. The rivers flow down from the northern part of Iraq to the south, where they meet in Basra to from Shatt al-Arab. The southern part of Iraq is rich in marshlands while icy mountains make up the north. Iraq ranks as the second most oil-rich country in the world, with its fields spread from the north to the south. Iraq has 6,000 discovered historical sites, and 12,000 undiscovered sites. Many of those sites are still in their original locations, unlike numerous moved sites in the other parts of the world. Religious sites are located in the holy cities, such as Najaf, Karbala, Kadhumiyah and Samara, while leisure sites, such as Dokan Lake, Ahmad Awa and the waterfalls, are mostly found in northern Iraq cities, like Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, and Duhok. Historical sites, such as Ziggurat, the remains of Ur, Iraqi Marshes, Ishtar Gate and many other sites, are found in the south, such as Simawa, Diwaniyah, Nasiyriah, Babylon, and Basra. Al-Rafidain company offers trips to all of these sites, with five-star hotel accommodation at most of the sites. In past, Iraq was portrayed as a place full of blood and bombs. Al-Rafidain company,

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1 - Receiving tourist groups and supplying all their needs through our specialised staff. 2 - Issuing air tickets to different countries. 3 - Hotel reservations all over the world. 4 - Arranging trips to Syria, Dubai and Iran. 5 - The programmes of pilgrimage and minor pilgrimage to Mecca, for all levels, offering competitive prices. 6 - The organisation of commercial, industrial, scientific and medical exhibitions throughout the world. 7 - Medical tourism services of all kinds, with secure reservations in the top hospitals throughout the world. Clients using this service are met at the airport with a medically-equipped car. 8 - Private car insurance, with or without a driver with newer types of cars. 9 - Translators who accompany the tourists as long as they are inside Iraq with well-known guides. 10 - Personal luggage packing and household items, completion of custom procedures and shipping to any country in the world.


which provides full travel services, and trying to clear this image of Iraq. We are sure that the result will be positive for us and for tourists.

Here are some of the sites which we take our tourists to see Ishtar Gate: The eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon, the gate was constructed in about 575 B.C. by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. The current gate was built during Saddam's era, but the original one is located in Berlin Museum. To



the inside part of the gate, there is "the lion of Babylon". It is one of the archeological sites in Babylon, which was built in 600 B.C. to show how the Babylonian army was strong and brave. Ur: The ancient city of Sumerians, located in Southern Iraq, it was the capital city in 2900 B.C. Also, Ur is the place where the prophet Abraham was born, so this makes it a very important religious site. In addition, inside this city, there is a temple called "Ziggurat". Ziggurat was built by King UrNammu, who dedicated the great ziggurat of Ur in honour of Nanna/SĂŽn, in approximately the 21st century B.C. during the Third Dynasty of Ur. The massive step pyramid measures 210 feet (64m) in length, 150 feet (46m) in width and over 100 feet (30m) in height. The height, however, is speculative, as only the foundations of the Sumerian ziggurat have survived. Iraqi Marshes: Located in Dhi-Qar, the marshes are large lakes, which get water from the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates. It is said that the marshes are good sources for agriculture within the area. Also, it is thought that the marshes location was called the "Eden Paradise". Historical and archeological scientists indicate that this area was the starting point for the Sumerian civilisation to grow. The biggest of the marshes is Hammar, which is considered as the main source for feeding the people around it due to the fact that it has a variety of fish, as well as being a good place for rice and sugarcane to be grown. The marshes were dried during the era of Saddam. However, the current government started many projects to develop the marshes, and tried to return it to its old position. Hatra: Hatra is an ancient city, 80km from Mosul. Known for the amazing well, it was equal to Rome at that time. A water heating system was even found at that time. Hatra was ruled by queens, showing men and women were equal at that time. Hatra was an important location because it was like an intersection for the Cham, Hejaz, and Persian roads, so many trade caravans stopped there. The symbol of the city was a "Falcon" because it refers to strength and braveness.

There are many beautiful sites in Iraq, making it an important country for historians and tourists to visit. The most important characteristic is that Iraq has many historical sites that are unique to it, making Iraq a mustvisit country. In total, Iraq has more than 18,000 religious, historical and archeological sites.

Basra: It is the second main city in Iraq. Basra is a very rich city because it has an abundance of oil. Also, it is considered as the meeting point for the two great rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, to create Shatt-Arab. It is also the only city in Iraq which faces the Arab Gulf. Basra's harbour is an important port for Iraq to receive foreign goods. There is also a special tree called "Adam tree". It is thought that it has been alive since Adam planted it. In the old city of Basra, historic houses can be found, built from wooden structure full of ornaments. 

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I know what you’re thinking, “This is another article telling me why sustainability is important and that I need to worry about the environment and ‘be good’. Don’t you understand that my company is having a tough time at the moment and I don’t have the time or money to worry about all this CSR stuff.” I’m here to share the good news: profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, and those businesses that consider the wider environmental and social issues that can and do affect their present and future operations are those best-placed for growth and long-term success. As the UK’s Minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose MP, pointed out at the Travel Foundation annual meeting in June, the travel industry “can do

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well, by doing good; good for the bottom line as well as the environment...” He, like many others in the industry, has no doubt that sustainable tourism should be mainstream. Mr Penrose’s comments are borne out by recent research from Harvard University showing that companies which adopted environmental, social and governance policies in the Nineties have outperformed those that didn't. Data from the Institute of Business Ethics demonstrates that the same is true in the UK. Their survey of companies from the FTSE 350 found that companies which had an implemented code of business ethics performed better financially in comparison to those without. A follow up to this report concluded that companies that go further and provide ethics training do better still: “the long-run analysis… showed a significantly greater positive relationship


A survey of FTSE 350 companies found that those which had an implemented code of business ethics performed better financially in comparison to those without.

between provision of training for business ethics… and financial performance compared to those which only disclosed ethical values and their financial performance.” Let’s be clear here: this is not a discussion about altruism, charity or demonstrating good corporate social and environmental responsibility. Although all admirable pursuits, we’re talking about sustainability as a route to resilience and protecting profitability, meeting emerging customer and employee requirements and protecting product quality. It will take some doing and maintaining momentum may be one of the biggest challenges we face. With the world’s green economy worth £3,000 billion annually and forecast to grow by a quarter over the next five years, outpacing overall growth, the question businesses have to ask themselves is whether they are ready to evolve and capitalise on this opportunity and desire for more socially and environmentally friendly choices. Regardless, in an age of openness and accountability, customers will also come to expect travel companies to build sustainability into their product offer, while those wanting to recruit, retain and motivate quality employees will need to demonstrate stewardship and long-term thinking, to ensure tourism remains a career path worth following. Customer-driven sustainability Whatever your current business priorities and challenges, sustainability can offer the answer. It also raises interesting questions and solutions for the future. Take for example the UK retailer Marks & Spencer. It’s now five years since the company launched its Plan A initiative and it reports good progress. However, rather than being too selfcongratulatory, it is quick to recognise its efforts are “merely a rehearsal for the sustainability challenge that lies ahead”. Marks & Spencer’s head of sustainable business, Mike Barry, who contributes a foreword to Survival of the Fittest, also notes that societal trust in traditional institutions is reaching new lows. While the rise of social media can claim responsibility for rising scrutiny, its power goes beyond admonishment and has seen customers start putting the onus on businesses to behave more like NGOs, looking to them to address the societal and environmental concerns not only over which they have direct control, but also influence. Companies that are proactive in these areas, rather

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shying away from potential risks or simply meeting minimum requirements, are grabbing hold of the opportunities to get ahead; driving policy change to help them deliver their own sustainability commitments and paving the way to long-term success. Unilever - a company which has made its own bold commitments with its Sustainable Living Plan, which aims to double profits while halving environmental impact, is taking this to new levels, and is quoted to be refocusing its communications capability around a single aim of demonstrating its belief in the need for sustainable growth. The business aims to persuade its peers and global governments to take action on issues it believes critical to the delivery of its plan, including climate policy, public health policy and recycling and waste policy, as it recognises that hitting its targets is a feat it cannot achieve alone. Similarly, ABTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Travelife sustainability programme has seen rival tour operators working together to promote an international standard for the supply chain. This proactive approach may help the industry avoid the need for future regulation in this area and meet any legislative requirements that may come along head-on.

However, since the launch of the Tourism 2023 vision three years ago, which at the time was backed by The Travel Foundation, Forum for the Future, ABTA and seven major tourism companies, concern has been growing that current economic pressures could threaten progress in moving sustainability into the mainstream business agenda. We must work together to keep up momentum on this and celebrate and learn from successes in the sustainability arena. In order to share some of these stories, and inspire the tourism industry to consider its stance on sustainability, set ambitious targets and work together to meet the environmental, economic and social challenges ahead, the Travel Foundation has launched a new white paper, co-developed with Forum for the Future. Survival of the Fittest: Sustainable Tourism Means Business, is a call to action for the whole tourism industry - travel retailers, tour operators, hoteliers, attractions, airlines and destination governments alike - to think about what they can do to become more sustainable. It aims to help businesses of all sizes to understand that safeguarding the future of the tourism industry means creating a profitable, energy-efficient industry that protects beautiful natural

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landscapes and the resources we take for granted; attracting and retaining motivated, knowledgeable staff with high job satisfaction; providing sustainable holidays that our customers love and that generate benefits for destinations. The fact is that businesses will be increasingly forced to leave their comfort zones and asked to act as custodians for the environments and communities in which they operate. Unlike governments, which have so far been unable to develop a coherent global approach towards a sustainable future, businesses have a unique outlook and ability to work across borders with relative ease, putting them in a unique position; nowhere more perhaps than the tourism sector. United in good practice Authorities and tourist boards too must be part of the discussion. Joint public/private approaches make sense in tackling issues such as volatile fuel costs, social and political upheaval in holiday heartlands and water scarcity, which affect both bottom lines of businesses and GDP of countries. By working collaboratively, appropriate responses can be developed; ones that sees a long-lasting and sustainable future, where tourism becomes the solution to problems and an agent of development. Perhaps the tourism industry can learn from the soap manufacturers that worked successfully with global health organisations and local and national governments in Central America in the late Nineties to promote hand washing and prevent diarrhoea-related infant mortality. This not only helped to solve a serious problem, but had a clear business case. What might a tourism version look like? Perhaps the provision of community-based training, or engagement with local

schools and colleges to ensure the future availability of qualified, motivated employees in destination for the future? If some of this resonates with you personally, consider what this means to your organisation, seek out new ways of working and new collaborations and, critically, become part of the conversation so your voice can be heard. Sustainable tourism isn’t exclusive; it’s not just for small operators or PLCs seeking to demonstrate good CSR; it’s about more than just yurts, ‘staycations’ or cycling holidays. Sustainable tourism is simply about good practice, whatever the product, thinking ahead and improving quality. Protecting the resources the industry depends on to ensure companies can continue selling holidays and destinations continue to thrive, long into the future is a message I’m sure everyone can get behind. Let’s work together towards a profitable and more sustainable future for tourism. The Travel Foundation offers free tools, support and practical advice on integrating sustainability via its website: where you can also download a free copy of the Survival of the Fittest white paper.  If you have an example of sustainable tourism success, the Travel Foundation would like to hear from you and use your stories to inspire others to take action. Please get in touch via

Seminar information World Responsible Tourism Day is on Wednesday, November 7. However, the Responsible Tourism seminar programme runs from Tuesday, November 6, to Thursday, November 8. For more information on WTM’s WRTD events programme, visit

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Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest river cruise line From sampling the vineyards of Bordeaux, on a 5 or 7 day cruise, to cruising the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Danube and the Black Sea, or exploring the Douro and Guadalquivir and Po Rivers, CroisiEurope epitomises the heart and soul of river cruising. Offering fine cuisine, French and regional wines, beautiful sightseeings both optional and included, CroisiEurope, steals you away for so much less, but still includes so much. From a family dream and the launch of our first ship 36 years ago, CroisiEurope remains a French family owned company, with 28 ships now cruising through the incredible waterways of Europe. CroisiEurope offers a revolution in river cruising - accessible and affordable cruising options for the discerning traveller. We have made a deliberate marketing and ideological choice to make cruising as accessible as possible without compromising quality and appealing to couples, families and single travellers. CroisiEurope also offers exceptional coastal cruising options in the Adriatic or around the Canaries, on board an intimate cruise ship accommodating just 200 pax. Our cruises are as much about culture, cuisine, landscape and local experiences as the ship itself.

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Continental lift

HIGH FLIERS target Africa


THE vast African continent has a population of over one billion people. Yet it is the last to be given any serious air coverage. One might argue that the majority of Africans have never travelled by air, but that argument would overlook the fact that Africa has a fast-growing middle class with disposable income. No doubt this group also boasts a healthy distaste for lengthy overland journeys, borne of notoriously bad road surfaces and a rail network that is less integrated and more disintegrated. All in all, prospects for a low-cost airline could be excellent. Furthermore, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that air traffic will grow annually by around 5.6 per cent over the next five years, well ahead of the growth of around 4.8 per cent forecast for air traffic on a worldwide basis. It also expects passenger numbers to rise to around 150 million by 2030 – more than double the figure measured in 2010. It is hugely important for the continued socio-economic development of the continent that African airlines work together with their respective governments, as well as other travel and tourism stakeholders, to ensure this opportunity is not lost. Of course, there is enormous competition on intercontinental routes; the best growth opportunities for African airlines would seem to lie in African regional and domestic routes. To date, these routes have not been well served, and the aircraft used have often been less than fit for purpose. That said, there are now a number of airlines on the continent with big plans – not just to take advantage of a bright future, but also to seize the opportunity today that has been thrown up by the global economic crisis. One such carrier is Ethiopian Airlines, which recently became the first outside of Japan to purchase a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In fact, in spite of the economic downturn, Ethiopian airlines has an impressive business record, with annual growth of between 20 and 30 per cent over the past seven years, and a strategic plan for further growth, which will take its passenger tally to 18 million by 2025.

In fact, in spite of the economic downturn, Ethiopian airlines has an impressive business record, with annual growth of between 20 and 30 per cent over the past seven years, and a strategic plan for further growth, which will take its passenger tally to 18 million by 2025

WTM Business 2012 I 71


Proposing a very different approach-the low cost business model, FastJet is also set to enter Africa’s aviation fray. This eagerly awaited no-frills carrier, backed by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-loannou, is now set to be a major player on the continent. Commencing services by the end of the year, FastJet is majority-owned by the Lonrho Group, which has been operating the budget carrier Fly540 since 2006. The new airline will initially operate from Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola – but there is already talk of further expansion within Africa. Ed Winter, chief executive of FastJet, said: “These four countries are currently experiencing great GDP growth, along with oil and gas discoveries and developments.”

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He added: "We believe that the time is absolutely right to change Fly540 into a much bigger airline based on the low-cost model which has been successful in every other part of the world.” FastJet aims to build a fleet of 40 aircraft and carry some 12 million passengers a year, with the promise of fares as low as US$15 to $20, when tickets are booked well in advance. If FastJet comes close to these figures, the airline is set to shake up not only African air travel but all travel on the continent, given the historic difficulties of road and rail travel across such vast distances. Closer to home, the future doesn’t look quite so bright for European aviation – with fuel prices, taxation and capacity all major headaches for industry leaders.


WTM 2012 Events Programme Talk Business with Carolyn McCall OBE  November 8, 12pm to 12.45pm As part of the WTM Talk Business Series, John Strickland talks with Carolyn McCall OBE, CEO of easyJet about life in the airline industry since she joined over two years ago. What have been the toughest challenges she's faced, how has she steered the company to increased profitability and changed its customer focus? This and more make this a must attend session! Chair: John Strickland, Director, JLS Consulting Location: AF750 - Meridian Club Lounge (North Hall)

Ironically, a third runway at Heathrow would go some way to easing both the noise and pollution problems for local residents, in that the need for keeping aircraft in holding patterns over the airport would be greatly reduced.

The European Commission recently made noises to the effect that its carbon emissions fees could be suspended – largely in the face of a potential trade war with the USA and China. With Beijing already blocking purchases of some European aircraft – a move that is causing great consternation at Airbus – decisions and agreements will have to be made quickly to avoid huge losses. That said, the Chinese recently timed the purchase of 50 Airbus A320s, to coincide with the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the larger Airbus aircraft is blacklisted in protest at the EU’s environmental tax. In the UK, airlines have other issues to contend with – such as the government’s controversial APD (Air Passenger Duty) and the coalition’s continuing resolution to deny increased capacity at Heathrow and other airports in the southeast of the country. Industry insiders claim the government has failed to properly get to grips with the real issues, and is ignoring the serious economic ramifications of stifling growth. The noise pollution argument, they say, does not hold water, with modern aircraft now much quieter than previous models. They are also more fuel-efficient, answering the environmental argument. Ironically, a third runway at Heathrow would go some way to easing both the noise and pollution problems for local residents, in that the need for keeping aircraft in holding patterns over the airport would be greatly reduced. At a recent gathering of industry leaders, BA’s Chief Executive Keith Williams said: “The goals of more capacity and connectivity are not the demands of the aviation industry. They are the demands of our society’s ambition to sustain a decent standard of living for every citizen in decades to come, when Western countries will cease to enjoy the in-built economic advantages over the rest of the world which came so easily in the last century.” 

WTM Business 2012 I 73

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THE travel industry has traditionally been at the forefront of technology, embracing the latest developments to improve efficiency by making cost savings and improve the effectiveness of distribution, so allowing us to sell more product in more sophisticated ways. ETD started with the introduction by American Airlines of Sabre (Semi-Automatic Business-Related Environment), the first Global Distribution System (GDS) or airline computer reservation system (CRS) as it was called then. With Sabre, travel agents were able to book flights on a computer terminal, so saving American Airlines a fortune in having to man a call centre. The system took over all booking functions in 1964. Other US airlines launched their own CRSs but it was not until the 1970s that airline CRSs adopted the neutral stance we know today, whereby the availability displays do not favour any particular airline. Seeing the success of the GDSs, the major hotel chains and car rental providers sought to build their own CRSs. A major coup was the development by the hotel chains of THISCO (The Hotel Industry Switching Company) that connected the hotel CRSs to the GDSs. This was in December 1988. At that time, 16 of the largest hotel chains in the world agreed to contribute $100,000 each in order to fund the start-up. With car rental also joining the party, the GDSs could now offer the booking of a complete trip of flights, accommodation and car rental. This was great for corporate travel as business travellers are generally happy to stay in a hotel owned by a major chain and have a

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prevalence to rent cars in order to move from meeting to meeting. However, the GDSs did little for the leisure travel market of tour operators with their charter flights, contracted accommodation and transfers, all packaged together. The spur to tour operators developing their own breed of CRS was one of necessity. The UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest tour operator, International Leisure Group, operated its call centre from a large warehouse. As all tour operators did, holiday inventory was held on massive wall charts. Call centre staff would mark holidays off as they were sold. As ILG grew, it had to brick-up the windows of the warehouse in order to provide more space for wall charts. Eventually, when wall space was running out, ILG had to develop a tour operator reservation system. Into the 1980s, with the tour operators developing their own CRSs and companies like Autofile (now Anite) making off-the-shelf tour operator systems available, leisure travel distribution now had the foundations to go electronic. In the UK, Thomson Holidays launched its viewdata system, giving travel agents direct computer terminal access to its booking system. This was supported by a massive training and equipping programme, to ensure that travel agents had viewdata terminals and knew how to use them. Thomson then shut down its booking call centre, so the only way agents could book their holidays was online. Many other tour operators followed onto viewdata. In Europe, a similar route was taken with the launch of the Amadeus START and SMART leisure travel booking networks. And that is how it stayed until the advent of the Internet. One could immediately see that the Internet


Business Size


Business Focus







would cause strategic shifts in the make-up of the travel industry. Travel is an electronic product at the point of sale, so lends itself perfectly to electronic distribution. With the Internet breaking down geographic barriers, travel companies could reach out across the world, directly into consumers’ homes. It was clear that this would cause the travel market to polarise. To illustrate this point, take a look at the matrix (Figure 1). Imagine we divide the travel market into businesses large and small and business focus niche and broad. You will see that in the world of electronic travel distribution, the future belongs to two types of business:  1. Global players with massive marketing budgets that can afford to build brand power. They can sell all types of travel product because consumers will search them out by name.  2. Smaller niche businesses that are very specialist such as activity holiday operators, destination specialists, cruise specialists and so on. They will rank highly in the search engines because of their specialist expertise. The middle ground becomes no-go territory. Across the years, this prediction has largely been borne out and many travel agents have had to re-position themselves from generalists to specialists. Then there are the big travel companies with brand power such as TUI, Expedia, Thomas Cook, who are able to sell a wide range of products. There is no room in the market for second-rate businesses. Social media has seen to that. The launch of TripAdvisor in February 2000 showed the power of peer reviews. Here is a business that, at a high level, is no more complex than allowing consumers to share their thoughts with each other on hotels. Clearly this is appreciated by consumers. TripAdvisor has grown to encompass over 75 million reviews and opinions and has 56 million unique visitors per month. With the launch of Facebook, Twitter and other social communication mediums, if a business is doing a good job, consumers will hear about it. Social media spreads the word. Savvy travel businesses are harnessing this to propel their promotion. This is not just promotion to new customers via

their existing customers’ recommendations, but it is also helping to maintain communication with existing customers to keep them coming back. Your business needs to be having a ‘conversation’ with your customers. You need to relate to them. Who does this best? Smaller businesses. So perhaps social media has come to the smaller businesses’ rescue and will turn the tide away from massive, multi-national travel corporations towards niche players to which consumers can better relate. What is the distribution ramification of this? More direct sell, less reliance on intermediaries. The advent of mobile smart phones and unlimited data contracts have brought us to the ‘Martini era’ – Consumers expect access to the information they want anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Consumers have all the information they need at their fingertips. They will research their holidays ad nauseum. What’s the outcome? Travel agents will not be the experts on your particular holiday, you will be. You will have spent more time researching your holiday than any travel agent could possibly have time for. So where next? We can extrapolate from where we are today. Consumers are taking each others’ advice. This peer-to-peer interaction has resulted in us seeing the launch of the first peer-to-peer travel businesses; concerns such as Airbnb that allows consumers to hire out their accommodations to other consumers, so bypassing the traditional accommodation sector, and Victor – The Private Jetshare Community that is using technology to allow executive jet users to sell spare seats on their flights. 4G, ultra-high speed mobile internet is rolling out in the USA and is being trialled in the UK. This will be perfect for viewing video. You would imagine that as consumers become more familiar with viewing video they will expect more and more to be available to them. I think this could have real ramifications for the travel industry. If there is a thirst for video content then there is going to be a real cost to the travel industry of providing this. Authoring good quality video is a far more expensive exercise than taking still photographs.

WTM Business 2012 I 77


Travel Tech Seminars Of course, you might think that video won’t take off on mobiles because of their limited screen sizes. However, there are already one or two mobile handsets that have built-in projectors such as the Samsung Galaxy Beam, allowing you to share videos by projecting then on a convenient wall. Then there are wireless technologies such as Apple Airplay that allows music to be streamed to other devices. Imagine a development of this that allows video to be streamed. Imagine a time when mobile devices are smarter than today’s, have great battery life, have 4G connectivity, can stream video. You will no longer need a TV, just a dumb screen that takes a wifi feed from your mobile. Your mobile device will have all the intelligence and connectivity you need to render services such as Freeview, Sky or Virgin Media obsolete. In this high bandwidth, connected future, there will be several major issues.  For differentiated products such as hotel accommodation, there will be the cost of authoring the high-quality video content necessary to show your product in its best light, not to mention the need to maintain the highest product standards, otherwise poor peer-to-peer consumer reviews will simply kill your business.  For commodity products such as flights and car rental, there will be the issue of evolving a sufficiently distinct service differentiation, so that your commodity products stand out from you competitors. This is not easily achieved as any distinctly new services can just be replicated by competitors.  As now, brand strength will remain tremendously important. If you can exert enough brand power that consumers come straight to you to buy product you are, by default, keeping your customers away from your competitors.  And what of agents and middlemen? They may continue to add value through content aggregation (the one-stop shop) or specialisation, being experts in their particular niche, but it just has to be that in an increasingly connected world, consumers will tend more and more to buy direct. Over the next few years we are in for exciting times. Stay alert and be prepared to evolve your business to take full advantage of the changing shape of electronic travel distribution.  Paul Richer is Senior Partner of Genesys – The Travel Technology Consultancy. Genesys works with travel companies on technology related issues such as website audits and system procurement projects. Find out more at

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Genesys has organised this year’s Technology and Online Travel Seminar Programme for WTM. The five free-toattend seminars cover the subjects of the search engines, online content, social media, mobile and latest technology trends.

Member’s view ... On Technology & the Customer TRAVEL businesses are not using their customer data to the maximum, to drive customer relationships, product development and business growth. They have data on their customers, enquiries and bookings and so can derive tremendous benefits from analysing these vast amounts of data, uncovering hidden nuggets of opportunity, once they know how to go through it systematically and apply the effect on profitability. However many of them are not leveraging these opportunities that exist within their businesses. Knowing how often people travel, what destinations or types of travel different customers prefer is fundamental in programme planning, product development and in driving cross-selling or upselling opportunities. Being able to compose and analyse the combination of travel products that customers buy enables the travel marketer not only to determine how best to develop the business with those customers, but, by extrapolating this information, estimate the buying potential amongst the remainder of the customer base. Cross-sell and upsell opportunities can be maximised by making the right proposition in communications on the website or catalogue page or driving the pitch made by a telephone sales agent. Such models can be created without investment in analytical software and can be applied in rules-based workflow and business process, with the dynamics regularly reviewed and the model(s) enhanced. Those travel companies who do not grasp the opportunity to build profitable relationships with their customers through relevant communications and fail to apply profiling to new customer acquisition will find it difficult to continue in business.

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OUR industry is changing rapidly, driven most significantly by the globalisation of cruise line operations and deployments, destinations and itineraries. Seeking to develop untapped geographic markets and offer new cruise experiences for loyal, repeat customers, cruise lines are expanding throughout the world, often with new regional cruise companies, as is the case in Europe, the fastest growing cruise market by volume outside of the Americas. In recent years, several cruise lines have dramatically increased capacity in Europe, in some cases positioning ships there year-round for the first time. One indicator of this rapid globalisation is the breakdown over time of passengers by geographic origin. In 2000, 91 per cent of the 7.2 million passengers who cruised were from North America; in 2006, North Americans represented 83.9 per cent of the 12 million cruise passengers; in 2011, of the 16.3 million estimated cruise vacationers, North Americans represented 69 per cent, with 63.5 per cent coming from the U.S. These figures demonstrate the rapid growth of cruising as a new vacation choice for consumers around the world. The industry’s globalisation is also reflected in cruise ship and capacity deployment. In 2011, the top markets for cruises, according to research, were (by passenger bed days): the Caribbean; Mediterranean; Europe/Scandinavia; Alaska; the Bahamas; the West Coast of Mexico; Transatlantic; Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific; Trans Panama Canal; South America; and Hawaii. Changes in geographic deployment by member lines of CLIA from 2006-2011 also reveal much about a growing industry. Transatlantic cruise deployment, by bed day, grew by 111 per cent during this period; other major deployment changes included: Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific (101.2 per cent), South America (82 per cent), Europe/Scandinavia (25 per cent) and the Caribbean (13.5 per cent). I would highlight that we are seeing particularly strong growth throughout Europe and the

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Mediterranean, with European deployment up 25 per cent in the past five years and Mediterranean deployment up 100 per cent over the same time frame. The industry is also experiencing strong growth in exotic regions of the world, most notably Asia, where we continue to see robust market-wide growth, with the river cruise segment, in particular. Diverse and dynamic With an average annual growth of more than 7.5 per cent since 1980, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member lines alone have carried 225 million passengers since 1980 – 188 million from North America – at occupancy levels in excess of 100 per cent. In 2011, the CLIA fleet carried an estimated 16.3 million passengers. This impressive growth is driven in part by positive responses from consumers to the steady introduction of new products, particularly new ships. From 2000 through 2011, CLIA member lines introduced 143 new ships of all sizes, ranging from less than 100 passengers to more than 5,000. In 2011, 13 new ships joined the fleet with another 13 introduced in 2012. The newest arrivals this year reflect the diversity of interests to which cruises can cater to. They include several 3,000-plus passenger ships including Costa Cruises’ Fascinosa, the Celebrity Reflection, the MSC Divina and the Carnival Breeze; eight new river cruise vessels carrying less than 170 guests; two mid-sized newcomers, Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy and Oceania Cruises’ Riviera; and a 90-passenger oceangoing vessel M/V Tere Moana from Paul Gauguin Cruises. In the period 2012-2015, an additional 25 ships, representing an investment of more than USD $10 billion, will bring the total CLIA fleet to over 230 ships. Another pillar of the industry’s continued growth is offering outstanding value and extraordinary choices for cruise experiences across all price categories. There is simply no other type of vacation that offers more options to suit every taste, interest and budget. And there is not a more comfortable and


convenient way to explore some of the most wonderful places in the world. There are cruises of every length and price, and ships of every size, character and purpose. Our member lines offer adventure cruises to the Antarctic, coastal cruises of New England and Canada, and world cruises. One of the fastest growing segments of the industry is river cruising in Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Africa. River cruise operators that are CLIA members have launched 30 new ships since 2006, introduced larger staterooms and enhanced the cruise experience with new levels of luxury and greater variety of shipboard and onshore activities and amenities. Industry-wide, there is increased choice in shipboard experiences, from entertainment to new dining opportunities including, in some cases, a focus on local, sustainable sourcing of food. There are new shore excursions, including private tours and visits to local markets, restaurants and private homes. The choice of theme cruises, from classical or pop music festivals to in-depth explorations of regional wines and wellness programmes, continues to increase in popularity. Onboard amenities are being enhanced with a new generation of luxury spas and exclusive spa accommodations, full-scale waterparks, dedicated facilities and activities for children, teens and adults, and a range of enrichment programmes. In short, the cruise industry continues to move forward to offer the wide-ranging, innovative products and choices that have defined its success and earned the appreciation of millions of vacationers, resulting in one of the highest rates of repeat business in all of tourism. In a recent survey, our travel agent members reported that over 50 per cent were already selling more cruises than in 2011 and 64 per cent expected cruise booking volume over the course of 2012 to increase over the previous year. Sales growth potential was said to be strong across all price categories and types of cruises, including river voyages and shorter itinerary voyages. Meeting customer needs Globalisation of cruising requires stronger collaboration among cruise associations around the world. As the industry continues to expand, there is an increased need to promote and protect it before regulatory and legislative bodies, ensuring that the economic value of

the industry is fully understood and appreciated. At the same time, the industry must also focus on preparing the next generation of travel professionals to sell cruises while also educating the public about cruising, recognising new opportunities to promote the variety and choice that characterises this industry. Along these lines, CLIA recently launched its Specialty Cruise Collection, designed to showcase and support its cruise line members that offer ‘specialty’ products, whether they be river cruises, small ships, coastal cruises or other experiences. Members include AMA Waterways, American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Hurtigruten, Louis Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and Windstar Cruises. There is also potential to dramatically increase the volume of seagoing corporate events and incentives and has joined with leading organisations such as Meeting Professionals International (MPI) to develop educational and promotional programmes in this area.  Christine Duffy is President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

Seminar information Travel Weekly will be hosting Cruise debates on Tuesday, November 6 (3pm to 4pm in Platinum Suite 3 & 4), and Wednesday November 7 (12.30pm to 1.30pm in the South Gallery Rooms 21 & 22). For more information on WTM’s events programme, visit

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The Olympics:

WINNING the Tourism Benefits


THE London 2012 Olympics have been hailed by all as a stunning success by spectators, competitors, media and TV viewers around the world. Staging the Olympics is a massive national commitment: London’s cost even more than the £9billion budget when all the ancillary requirements are accounted for, almost unaffordable at any time, let alone just after the global economic meltdown, while public expenditure is being cut and people are losing their jobs. So the potential Legacy benefits are critical to justify the expense, and supposedly the most financially valuable is from tourism. Even before London won the bid in 2005, we were closely examining the tourism aspects of the Olympics. But facts about past Games were hard to come by. Host Cities Organising Committees always disband immediately after each Games, and Governments have no wish to accurately analyse the full costs of hosting the event. The IOC only know about ticket sales, not about spectators as tourists, or their patterns of origin, activity, attendance, spend and stay. Fired up by the success of winning the bid, official hype and exaggerated expectations followed, with politicians saying “the Olympics will bring one million extra visitors to Britain in 2012”. A detailed evaluation concluded that the London Games had the potential to be the most beneficial factor in UK Tourism for a generation…but that actual

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Olympics-related tourism in 2012 was likely to produce little or no net benefit. Olympics visitors are not additional to normal tourism volumes, but displace leisure and business tourists. Many locals also choose to find. So the potential for Tourism gain is longer term, if adequate promotional funds are invested to capitalise on the international media focus. The inbound boost to UK tourism could be worth £2billion over a few years. Leading up to the Games, the Torch Relay route was devised so as to pass within ten miles of 95 per cent of the UK population, so whilst this inspired local trip activity it is doubtful that any net tourism benefit was derived. And the public sector Cultural Olympiad provided many mutually competitive subsidised events

Over 90 per cent of tickets to Olympic events were sold to UK residents, most of whom lived within day trip distance from the relevant Olympic venues, so this didn’t generate much extra business for hotels


all around the country. It was unwelcome competition for the private sector and no stimulus for net tourism growth. Over 90 per cent of tickets to Olympic events were sold to UK residents, most of whom lived within day trip distance from the relevant Olympic venues, so this didn’t generate much extra business for hotels. The resulting day trip activity was instead of other leisure spending. During the Games much other leisure activity was on hold. London’s shops, restaurants, visitor attractions and theatres were spookily quiet while just a mile or two away, the Games venues were crowded. This was made worse by public messages asking non-Games visitors to stay away from London and relieve the anticipated pressure on public transport, which never amounted to much, partly due to good planning and extra services,

but also because of hyped expectations – but the immediate economic damage had been done. Because of the unavailability of hotel rooms in central London at Games time due to the IOC allocations, there was a massive drop in regular tour group inbound bookings around Games time. The UK is now so costly with APD, Visa changes and much higher VAT than our competitor destinations, that once dropped from a tour itinerary it could be difficult to reinstate, but this disruption was unavoidable. However, our analysis of past Games enabled us to be the first Host Nation to plan activities to counter the displacement and deterrent effects of the Games. The Government realised that extra efforts had to be made to bolster UK demand. Despite cutting the Tourist Boards funding and repeatedly saying “there is no more money”, they found £3million for a “stay at home” TV campaign by VisitEngland and VisitBritain benefited from the Government’s international image-building “Great” campaign, which showed aspects of Britain attractive to tourists. There is no doubt that the global media exposure of Britain and

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the media’s use of photogenic images to add character to their sports coverage, have created a great springboard for future success, VisitBritain and VisitLondon worked hard to provide resources to the media, smoothing their travels and serving them through a nonaccredited media centre for non-sports journalists in London during the Games. The decision to hold Olympic events in iconic venues and to take the road race events around landmark routes in London, inspired great enthusiasm from the media, and viewers. We always knew that we could be exemplary tourism hosts, because most of industry is professional, and Games-time spirit and the enthusiastic Volunteers who helped host the Games visitors, were a big hit with spectators, drawing much praise. Even the inevitable greedy actions of a few and minor shortcomings were not picked up much by the media. London Hotels had a very good Games despite the disruption to normal business and will probably go on to have a bumper year but when all the figures are in, it is likely that the net impact of the Olympic Games on the volume and value of tourism to Britain in 2012 will be negative. Our analysis before the Games has been proved right – the Tourism opportunity that they bring is for the future, not for the Games-time year. The foundations for the future have been firmly laid, and many potential visitors in the global audience are more inspired by what Britain has to offer, but what is needed to turn that awareness and motivation into action? The nation badly needs the economic growth that those extra visits could bring. But the Government maintains a costly Air Passenger Duty, high Value Added Tax and an off-putting and costly Visa regime, so we are uncompetitive too. The key to turning intentions into reality lies in marketing, a message that the Government has not yet accepted, having cut VisitBritains’s funding by two thirds since 2000 and with further reductions rumoured to be on the way. Winning demands commitment. The starting gun has been fired…action to gain Britain’s potential Olympic tourism legacy is needed now.  Ken Robinson CBE, is a member of the WTM Advisory Council, which plays a critical role in enabling WTM to anticipate industry developments and trends, by pulling together industry leaders from across the globe that reflect regional interests and those of our key stakeholders. The Advisory Council has also helped World Travel Market reflect on key strategic issues such as Apartheid, Responsible Tourism, 9/11 as well as helping shape the business effectiveness of the event.

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SEMINAR  The seminar Tourism and the Olympic Games 2012 – A Review, will take place on Monday, November 5, from 3pm to 4.30pm,while Optimising the Tourism Benefits of Major Events for Host Nations will take place on Wednesday, November 7, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm, at this year’s World Travel Market. For more information on WTM’s events programme, visit








Bahrain is proud roud to have been awarded ed the Capital of Arab Tourism m for 2013 - it’s now time to o explore our rich tapestry of Culture, ulture, Sports, Leisure and d Eco Tourism.

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A Destination for

All Seasons


The historic and immortal land of Dilmun, Bahrain is heir to an ancient civilisation and a rich cultural heritage, which has developed and flourished throughout its 5000 year history. Known as the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf due to its pearling past and economic standing within the region, today, it is home to a friendly and welcoming people – a plural society and multi-ethnic community, which has met the 21st Century with inspiring vigour. Its capital, Manama, was elected as the Capital of Arab Tourism 2013 – an Arab League initiative, designed to encourage inter-Arab tourism. For the year ahead, Bahrain’s dynamic Ministry of Culture has planned an exciting programme of activities befitting this worldclass destination moored in the Arabian Seas. Thus, 2013 will usher in a Cultural Spotlight from January until March, featuring star-studded international acts and emphasizing Bahrain’s heritage in a series of dedicated ventures.

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This will be followed by the season of Sporting Events that opens in April with the spectacular F1 Grand Prix. Sporting events in Bahrain will provide visitors with a special opportunity to partake in futuristic enterprises such as the Bahrain Airshow and the Endurance Races. Then, between July and September, the season of Leisure and Summer Fun will kick off with family-driven entertainment in the form of the Bahrain Summer Festival. Finally, towards the end of 2013, Think Green will furnish visitors with a new opportunity to explore the country’s ecology and habitat. An archipelago surrounded by water and underground freshwater springs, the country’s date palms and desert life – sandy beaches, calm waters, coral reefs and more – promise a relaxing and knowledge-driven learning experience. Whether it be cultural relief, sporting excitement, summer pleasure or eco-tourism, the Bahrain experience is certain to be unforgettable.





WELLNESS travel is one of the fastest growing tourism niches and is gaining in momentum and interest. Expected to grow over the next decade, there’s an every increasing number of countries that are promoting themselves as wellness destinations and in the United States, convention and visitor’s bureaus are also developing wellness travel initiatives. As individuals, families, communities, businesses and countries are experiencing over burdened health systems, simultaneously there is a worldwide increase in obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other chronic disease conditions. The focus now is on disease prevention and lifestyle management. This is a pivotal time for the tourism industry to reframe existing tourism products, natural assets, traditional healing rituals and other resources. The concept of wellness tourism centres around travelling to improve one’s health and sense of wellbeing, and encompasses a wide range of motivations, goals and activities. Wellness Tourism Worldwide espouses the notion that wellness travel is more than fitness and nutrition or spa treatments at a wonderful location. Physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and quality of the environment, safety and social responsibility all contribute to happiness and quality of life. It’s about taking control Being pro-active about one’s sense of wellbeing can take many forms – from reconnecting with partners, families and friends, rediscovering nature, reinvesting in oneself to seeking a spiritual

connection. Vacations offer unscheduled time to unwind and have conversations they might not normally have due to the frantic pace of daily commitments. Most people are looking to reduce stress in their lives. This seems to be the number one motivation for a wellness getaway. Hot springs have been used for thousands of years for relaxation, socialising and healing. Fast-forward to modern day and there are a number of retreats to facilitate weight loss, and there are a multitude of different activity types and existing tourism products that lend themselves well to the concept of wellness travel such as: ‰ Yoga, meditation and hiking retreats or holidays to reduce stress. ‰ Adventure travel for those interested in peak performance and physical challenge. ‰ Volun-tourism, eco-tours and cultural experiences invested in social engagement. ‰ Agri-tourism and farm to fork experiences for people interested in healthy lifestyles and sustainability. A misconception and limiting view for travel providers and travel sellers is that wellness travel centres around pampering spa treatments. Spas have a unique role in wellness travel in that they are complementary to many different types of tourism products (a foot or back massage after a mountain hike, bike or run). Spa vacations can be especially attractive if they offer nutrition, fitness, lifestyle coaching, meditation and other wellness services. Consumers feel less guilty partaking in a spa service if they believe ultimately it will help them achieve better health in some way. The economy has changed the way most people live their lives and how they choose to spend their money. It’s no longer about things and accumulation but about experiences and happiness.

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Being pro-active about one’s sense of wellbeing can take many forms – from reconnecting with partners, families and friends, rediscovering nature, reinvesting in oneself to seeking a spiritual connection Research shows that vacations are good in general, but now there is a growing understanding from governments and employers that vacations can improve health, happiness and productivity. A change of scenery can often change one’s perspective – giving rise to transformations. It’s important for travel sellers and suppliers to fully understand the motivations, needs and emotional triggers of their clients. Each person has their own definition of what wellness means to them. It’s a consultative sell. Is the customer seeking to de-stress? Mitigate a specific health concern? Shed a few pounds? Or simply experience a new adventure? Having knowledge about wellness vacation options around the world is imperative. As with all travel selling, budgets and time constraints need to be identified. Generally speaking, individuals interested in exploring

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wellness travel options are health conscious and actively seek ways to maintain or improve their physical health and emotional wellbeing. Wellness travel appeals to a large demographic, from Baby Boomers to Generation Y (born in the 1980s or ‘90s). Where the customer is in their life stage is important to know and understand because the interests and needs of someone is their twenties or thirties is very different from someone in their forties – Baby Boomers are keenly interested in maintaining function and mobility. They also typically experience some level of pain related to arthritis and back, shoulder and knee issues and often seek alternative therapies and treatments such as Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, yoga and massage. Generation Y is prime for active vacations such as adventure travel and ecotravel. In terms of the resources available to better understand the wellness traveler, Wellness Tourism Worldwide can help businesses better understand how to profit from this booming market. Services surveys and reports, webinars and workshops, FAM and study tours, a speaker’s bureau and consulting services aimed at travel sellers and travel providers. n


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OVER the next decade the Asia Pacific region will overtake the Americas to become, after Europe, the world’s second largest tourism region as measured by arrivals, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the UNWTO. This coincides with the view held by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that despite gradual global economic growth since 2010, some key imbalances remain between developing and developed countries. In this regard, the former are largely reliant on exports, while the latter are more concerned with increasing domestic consumption. More significantly, however, the ILO sees the former as having a greater reliance on tourism for their economic wellbeing, while the developed economies see greater levels of saving as a key requirement, and almost by definition, less expenditure on travel. The Asia Pacific region is growing despite the impact of the global economic crisis. Nowhere is this more evident than in South Asia. Key to the region’s positive performance now is actions taken before the global downturn: building the necessary infrastructure and encouraging local and foreign investment. This continuing groundwork is set to propel the region ahead of other regions. Ambitious targets In Sri Lanka, which recorded the tenth highest GDP growth (8.3 per cent) in the world in 2011, we have a perfect example of this accelerating development. The highly ambitious government arrival targets underline the importance it attaches to tourism. Last year (2011) the island reported 800,000 arrivals and the government wants to reach 2.5 million by 2016. If this aspiration is to be met, Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industry faces major challenges in the next few years, largely related to the pace of change and expansion within the Asian tourism sector generally, and the availability of skilled labour. This last challenge is arguably the one which Sri Lanka most

needs to resolve fast. The growth predictions for world tourism employment are breathtaking. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) some 324 million jobs will be supported by the sector by 2021, compared to around 260 million currently. Sri Lanka is not immune from this trend, with the WTTC forecasting an eight per cent increase in tourism-related jobs over a similar period. To support this growth, the Sri Lankan population has also been rising steadily in recent years, with 25 per cent under the age of 14, and over 40 per cent below the age of 30, says the island’s Census and Statistics Department. On the face of it, therefore, there should be sufficient domestic labour available to meet the rising demand for tourism employment. There are, however, some key internal challenges, which create competition for this labour. Firstly, less than two per cent of jobs in Sri Lanka are in tourism. Although this might change over the next decade, other sectors such as agriculture & forestry (27 per cent), manufacturing (17 per cent) and retail (11 per cent) will continue to provide serious competition in the fight for talent. Perhaps more insidious is the impact of labour migration, a particular phenomenon, not only in Sri Lanka, but other parts of South Asia. Over 250,000 Sri Lankans move abroad each year for work, with nearly two million out of the country at any one time. This represents some 24 per cent of the country’s total labour force, and there is a certain irony that a large number are working in the hospitality and related industries, especially in the Middle East. While this exodus may have been explained in the past by Sri Lanka’s civil

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war, should not the new wave of stability and prosperity be encouraging people to remain at home? There is, however, an important economic driver at work here which the Sri Lankan Government is reluctant to upset. This migrant population remits some US$4 billion annually back to Sri Lanka, and this represents the most important source of foreign exchange for the country. By way of comparison, exports from the country to the USA in 2010 (its biggest external market) amounted to US$1.7 billion! Human resource challenges The hospitality industry is first and foremost a people-business, which requires a large pool of labour. The consequences of current and future hotel and tourism developments in the region will therefore result in an increasingly fierce competition for skills. Many countries have revealed plans to stay ahead of the competition in terms of product offerings and meeting the demands of human resource. According to the WTTC, six of the top ten countries which will have the most travel and tourism jobs in 2021 are from Asia: China (83.4 million), India (47.5 million), Indonesia (10.8 million), Thailand (6.7 million), Philippines (5.6 million) and Japan (4.5 million). Furthermore, it is expected that China alone will need an additional 1.6 million employees in the travel and tourism sector in the years up to 2017. In such a climate it is clear that Sri Lanka is likely to face a two-fold challenge. The wider regional demand for staff described above is creating increased direct competition, but, more worryingly, this may also aggravate the current migrant labour situation by attracting even more Sri Lankans away from their country. Finding managers to drive success Although finding the people who will staff the expansion of the hospitality sector in Asia is proving difficult, businesses will generally be able to recruit and train the vast number of people required at operational level. The serious challenge is to find enough managers, especially senior managers, to drive the businesses forward. Managers possess skill sets that typically require years of formal education and experience to acquire. Arguably, generic management is of limited use for the hospitality sector with its intense focus on service, thus managerial education has to be hospitality-specific. Within Sri Lanka this has been a particular problem due to the very limited training provision which has existed, with only one institution, the Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel & Tourism Management, delivering reasonable numbers of graduates. Encouragingly, a second training

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college, the Imperial Institute of Hospitality & Leisure opened in the summer of 2012 and is now offering internationally-recognised Institute of Hospitality management qualifications. High expectations The major challenge is the supply of senior managers with appropriate international experience. This is critical to the long-term prosperity of the industry in Sri Lanka if it is to provide truly international standards of excellent customer service. The limited exposure of many managers within Sri Lanka to such experience places them at a disadvantage to the very customers they will need to attract if the government’s tourist arrivals target is to be met and, more importantly, sustained. The expectations of these customers are high, and honed from a variety of other experiences around the world, and the Sri Lankan industry has accepted that a friendly smile is no longer a sufficient response to the provision of outstanding hospitality. As Anura Lokuhetty, chief executive of the luxury resort Serene Pavilions, comments, the Sri Lankan industry has to move away from what he calls “a mediocre is acceptable mentality”, and for managers to “take very serious note of the requirement to focus on attitude change”. Nevertheless, over the past couple of years there has been a welcome increase in the number of managers with global experience coming to Sri Lanka, many of whom are Sri Lankans returning home now that peace has returned. With their considerable influence, the goodwill and enthusiasm of the local industry and the support of the government, there is every expectation that the challenges faced can be overcome, leading to a vibrant and prosperous tourism economy for Sri Lanka. n Philippe Rossiter FIH is chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality

Seminar information Philippe Rossiter FIH, will be taking part in the panel discussion Risk Management on Tuesday, November 6, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm in the South Gallery Rooms 23 & 24. For more information on WTM’s events programme, visit




IF anyone was ever in any doubt about the motivational and inspirational power of events, they need look no further than the London 2012 Olympic Games. The multi-cultural inhabitants, of what is arguably one of the most cynical and self-deprecating cities in the world, were turned into emotional wrecks by the incredible feats and defeats of athletes from across the globe. Londoners, usually seen as a rather unsociable and reticent bunch, came out in their droves to attend the Games, while others flocked to the capital from the rest of the UK and beyond to create the bestattended Olympics in history, along with an electric atmosphere at every event. But just as London had to compete like an Olympic athlete to win the opportunity to hold the Games, so every destination the world over now has to fight more than ever to secure events. This heightened competition has been fuelled by the world’s developing economies entering the fray over recent years. Just as governments across Europe and the US had become complacent about their meetings and events industries, those among the developing nations were waking up to the economics of directing investment into attracting the higher-spending delegate and business traveller. And

the move has paid dividends, as cities from Seoul to Rio make giant leaps in their ability to attract and hold business and association events. Of course, the developing nations have not been hampered as much by the global economic downturn, but the effects of the financial crisis have been felt across the planet. In fact, so unpredictable has the global economy been over the last 12 months or so that Greenwich University’s Rob Davidson, who prepares an annual state-of-the-industry report for Reed Travel Exhibitions European Incentive Travel and Meetings Show, had to conduct several re-writes in the run up to the show in December 2011. “As I was writing my report during Autumn 2011, the economic situation was changing day-to-day,” he recalls. “There was a major contrast between the data that was released in early 2011 to that sent out towards the end of the year. The meetings and incentive travel industry went from a buoyant mood to a far more bleak outlook as turmoil in the Eurozone reverberated globally.” This was essentially because of the huge market Europe presents to the rest of the world. Little has changed within the Eurozone since, so a pall still hangs over the continent that is suppressing demand for meetings and events. But although the developing economies have experienced a fall in growth, they remain healthily positive, while Europe and the US are still teetering on the brink of negative growth. Consequently, countries across the Middle East and Asia have been pushing forward with aggressive growth strategies to

The meetings and incentive travel industry went from a buoyant mood to a far more bleak outlook as turmoil in the Eurozone reverberated globally.

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Sustainability is also becoming increasingly important, with meeting and event organisers more and more concerned over the carbon footprint they are generating

boost their meetings and events infrastructure – hotels, conference centres and exhibition centres. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have dominated this activity, with Brazil taking over from the UK as the world’s sixth biggest economy. However, a second tier of countries, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey, known as the MIST, have now taken over from the BRICS, becoming the four biggest emerging markets, and growing faster than their major rivals. According to Bloomberg, the MIST economies have more than doubled in size during the past decade, and they too are now becoming major meetings and events players. Of course, from the travel and meetings manager’s and buyer’s perspective, this is creating a broader choice, more flexibility and greater bargaining power. However, the demands on the buyer have become more intense over the last couple of years, not only due to the faltering global economy, but also because of a backlash against extravagance following the AIG scandal a couple of years ago and the recent GSA incident in the US, where the government was criticised for overspending on events. This has meant travel and meetings planners have tighter budgets, are looking for more value and need to deliver clear business benefits and a return on investment from all the events they hold, whether an association convention or incentive travel activity. Consequently, destinations in both the developing and developed world need to be aware of these criteria and the techniques by

which they can be delivered. One method is through mobile technology. Venues and destinations that are geared up to deliver meetings and business events that incorporate the latest mobile technology, including Wi-Fi and tailored apps, not only enable planners to deliver more engaging and effective meetings, but also allow delegates to stay productive and connected if necessary. What’s more, those that can accommodate virtual event technology offer organisers the chance to extend the reach of their meetings to delegates unable to attend, and so boost return on investment. In fact, many experts believe that hybrid events, which incorporate both live and virtual elements, will soon become the norm. Sustainability is also becoming increasingly important, with meeting and event organisers more and more concerned over the carbon footprint they are generating. Suppliers for London 2012 had to be certified to the British sustainable event standard BS 8901, while this has now been superseded by the new international standard ISO 20121, which was launched at the Games. Many organisers will be looking for compliance to this new standard. From a CSR perspective, there is also a major trend for meetings and event planners to look for ways of building a motivational

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The world is changing rapidly, but the future for the meetings and events industry looks bright. There seems to be no real fall in demand for meetings and events, simply greater emphasis on making them more effective and sustainable

element into their activities that gives something back to the local community of the destination in which they are based. In fact, incentive travel events are shifting away from more hospitality-oriented approaches toward those with both environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible objectives – and planners are finding them more effective in inspiring and motivating delegates as a result. A woman with her finger firmly on the pulse of this trend is sustainable event expert Fiona Pelham of Positive Impact. “If a client is going to come to you to hold an event, they are essentially trusting you with their brand,” she says. “And there are no brands out there now that are not concerned about sustainability, so it must be taken into account. More and more brands will be looking for their meetings planners to implement ISO 20121, and destinations and venues need to be ready for this. And of course, sustainability creates more effective events through the increased efficiency, and therefore increases cost savings.” MICE in a high technology world With so many options to choose from, not only is it tougher than ever for destinations to make an impact, but it’s also increasingly difficult from a time and cost perspective for meeting and event planners to be able to visit every possible location first hand. As a result, many destinations are turning to video and the Internet to provide planners with key insight into the facilities they offer. This is likely to result in the growth of Web channels like Meeting the World, which creates in-depth video guides to global travel and meetings destinations and then delivers them to an international travel and meetings buyer audience. This enables organisers to browse destinations and event ideas at their leisure, saving time and money. The world is changing rapidly, but the future for the meetings and events industry looks bright. There seems to be no real fall in demand for meetings and events, simply greater emphasis on making them more effective and sustainable. What’s more, the rapid rise of the developing nations does not only mean increased competition for meetings and events, but a growing market for them too. n Ian Whiteling is editor of global web channel Meeting the World (, which provides inspiration and insight for travel and meetings professionals.

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GLOBAL economic crisis or not, high-end or luxury tourism has continued on a path of growth that was only briefly arrested in 2009.

In a recent report for CBS, travel correspondent Peter Greenberg quoted statistics from Visa, revealing US cardholders put US$17 billion into the economy in the first half of this year – up seven per cent on the same period in 2011. Greenberg said: “With questionable job numbers and rising gas prices, it’s easy to write off travel and other leisure activities these days. But the numbers say otherwise.” He added: “We’re talking private islands in the South Pacific, villas in Europe, private jet and yacht trips, and let’s not forget outer space – lots of people are spending $200K to be the first on their block to go on Virgin Galactic’s suborbital space rides.” Greenberg’s statement seems to be supported by a study undertaken by analysts Boston Consulting Group (BCG), who found that sales of luxury experiences in the past year have grown 50 per cent faster than the demand for physical goods. BCG’s Jean-Marc Bellaiche believes the wealthy consumers who drove the luxury boom of the Nineties are now reaching retirement age, and are far more inclined to pay for experiential offerings. He also believes their children have similar priorities, saying: "Members of Generation Y tend to define themselves more by what they've done and experienced than by what they own.” Paying for travel instead of stuff is one thing, but there is no sense that moneyed travellers are abandoning their creature comforts. On the contrary, Starwood Hotels recently reported that elite membership in its Preferred Guest scheme has doubled over the past five years – and that spending was up 60 per cent on five years ago. No lack of spending then, but what luxury travellers do want now is value for money. Not that they need it – rather it has become a badge

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of honour, or even a kind of game, to secure luxury products at cut prices. Writing on the Luxury Society website, Karen Weiner Escalera of KWE Partners, says: “Gamification is becoming one of the hottest trends in world travel. Tour operators, hotels and airlines are successfully offering mystery weekend trips for loyal customers/fans by either a contest, auction or discount to unknown destinations with surprise itineraries. The secrecy adds an extra dimension of excitement to the travel experience.” While the super-rich are playing with travel experiences, those catering to the corporate traveller are largely wondering whether it’s game over, as business travel is still generally performing at well below its former levels. Although market insiders are sensing that corporate clients are easing up on their restrictive ticket policies, the last two years have seen percentage increases in uptake only in the low single digits. Of course, those at the very top of the corporate ladder are still travelling very nicely, and, as Starwood Chief Executive Officer Frits van Paasschen freely admits: “Our top two per cent of travellers are responsible for 30 per cent of our profit.” It is for this reason that Starwood instigated a programme in which a select group of preferred guests was presented with their own personal concierge, available to them 24 hours a day. The real coup for the preferred guests is that the concierge – or Ambassadors, as Starwood calls them – are available not just when they’re staying at a Starwood hotel, but anytime. So now

you’ll know when you’ve really made it… Luxury and leisure In terms of the leisure market, the challenge today, for those operating in this rarefied atmosphere, is understanding that the luxury traveller is not what he or she used to be, and adapting the offering accordingly. Although lounging around infinity pools is unlikely to go out of fashion, there is a distinct push from the market towards experiential travel, which offers an authentic insight into the culture and customs of a destination. There is also increasingly a desire to be as green as comfort will allow. Obviously, wealthy tourists are the heartbeat of the sector and frankly one would imagine there were fewer of those around these days, given the straitened times we live in. Yet, the rise of the well-heeled in countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil is forecast to benefit luxury travel operators for at least the next five years. Simon Mayle, Head of Marketing for the International Luxury Travel Market recently said: “The high-end travel industry is currently facing a huge opportunity with new customers, hotels and luxury experiences from emerging markets. Luxury travellers from across the globe are broadening their travel tastes, seeking new and authentic experiences.” With this in mind, many destinations that have historically looked to stalwart markets such as the USA and Europe for their luxury tourism revenue are

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now having to do an about-face and pitch their marketing campaigns at travellers from markets they may know far less about. Shifting the campaign focus, though, is only the beginning if markets are to successfully win over tourists from destinations such as China – which clearly has the biggest potential for growth over the next five-to-ten years. Attitudes must also change, and the tourism offerings themselves must be adapted if affluent visitors from Asia are to give new destinations their seal of approval. Confident of the fact that his accommodation giant of an employer has a handle on the situation, Bruce Ryde, a General Manager with InterContinental Hotels, said: “Everyone stands to benefit because the Chinese market is growing so fast.” There is no denying the logic here, with the Chinese outbound market set to become the world’s largest outbound market, with 70 million international trips last year, and strong continued growth forecast. Seeing the potential for looking this gift-horse in the mouth, however, former head of global operations at

InterContintal Hotels Group, Gary Rosen, said: “The most important thing the hotels need to be thinking about is understanding and tapping into the cultural differences, and ensuring they understand what’s important to Chinese travellers.” Many destinations around the world, with much to offer Chinese tourists, are sure to lose out in the coming years if they fail to adapt their strategic plan for tourism or underestimate the cultural differences that must be considered. In fact, many destinations, currently struggling under the weight of the economic crisis, are in no position to market themselves in any significant way to anyone. In the case of Mexico, economic issues pale into insignificance when compared with the social problems the country has been facing, with drug-related violence seemingly out of control in many states. In 2010, visitors from the US made up around 60 per cent of the total international visitors to Mexico, but as drug-war violence began to escalate, so American tourist numbers have declined, with many Statesiders electing for the safer – and cheaper – “staycation” option.

There is no denying the logic here, with the Chinese outbound market set to become the world’s largest outbound market, with 70 million international trips last year, and strong continued growth forecast.

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Seminar information On Monday, November 5, in South Gallery Room 19-22, the session A Taste of ILTM at WTM is an by-invitation-only session brings together selected luxury market exhibitors and buyers. For more information on WTM’s events programme, visit

Yet, according to the Mexican authorities, international visitor numbers grew by 2.1 per cent in 2010, signalling strong growth in inbound tourism from destinations other than the US – predominantly Brazil, Russia and China. Yet, according to the Mexican authorities, international visitor numbers grew by 2.1 per cent in 2010, signalling strong growth in inbound tourism from destinations other than the US – predominantly Brazil, Russia and China. Mexico’s current campaign focuses on the somewhat gloomy foretelling of the Mayan calendar, which reaches its apocalyptic conclusion this year. There’s no denying that, as a call to action, it’s powerful, and this “last chance to see” scenario seems to be inspiring wealthy tourists from growth markets to pay a visit to the country’s significant archaeological sites. Whether or not the same trick will work again in 2013 is, as they say, in the lap of the gods. In Australia, the campaign to attract big-spending Chinese and Indian tourists is less of a seduction and more of a vice-like grip on the jugular. The Aussies are rolling out a ten-year plan aimed fairly single-mindedly at bringing wealthy middle-class Asian holidaymakers to the land down under. A bullish Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon said: “Australia is a five-star, must-see destination with some of the world’s best natural and man-made attractions.” Describing ways in which the campaign would highlight attractions such as luxury hotels, natural wonders and high-quality food and wine, he continued: “In the past our marketing has been far more generic and this will continue, but alongside a message of high

quality and unsurpassed natural beauty.” Australia’s geographic and economic position within the Asia Pacific region gives it a greater insight into the mindset and cultural preferences of the wealthy Asian middle classes, and, with a clear understanding of the technological capacity of the Chinese tourist, the campaign unveiled this year will significantly incorporate digital and online marketing. Dixon added: “I believe our current marketing… particularly in the digital and social media spaces, is working outstandingly well for the industry.” With a simple and succinct take on the emerging markets effect on luxury tourism, Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Geoffrey Kent, said: “The Brazilians love adventure and want elegance and style. They like to travel in big family groups so villas are perfect for them. Russian travellers like luxury but demand high-end concierge services, like private store openings, while Indians are very keen to experience all aspects of what European capitals have to offer.” n

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IT comes to something when the tourism industries of glamour destinations such as Mauritius and the Seychelles are feeling the pinch.

Yet, along with La Reunion, Madagascar and the less well-known islands of Mayotte and the Comoros, these idyllic Indian Ocean havens are now taking drastic action to increase their tourism market share. These countries have come together to form a new promotional brand with the intention of marketing themselves under one label – the Vanilla Islands. Alain St Ange, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, says: “Tourism remains a volatile industry and when coupled with the economic difficulties in some key European countries that have been traditional tourist source markets for many destinations, significant strategic decisions have had to be taken to ensure that new strategies be developed and new intelligent partnerships instigated.” “We all need to be proud of our region,” he continues, “and then push that region to ensure that the strengths and unique selling points of each of our islands are put forward in our bid to bring the Indian Ocean Islands to the minds of potential visitors. Together we are strong, and together we are not an island but part of a whole destination.”

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The idea, from a holidaymakers perspective is both simple and brilliant: why have just one island paradise when you could have two (at least)? Why not sunbathe on Mauritius before hopping over to the Seychelles for a wellness package or a luxury pampering session? Alternatively, one could explore the incredible wildlife and natural surroundings of Madagascar before travelling to La Reunion for a hiking trip to view Piton de la Fournaise – one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Yes, it makes perfect sense, but just how easy is it to island hop in the Indian Ocean – and make yourself at holiday home on more than one paradise retreat? If truth be told, until now it’s been pretty tricky. Some of the distances involved, for example, are not inconsiderable and, as most people who have visited the region will tell you, infrastructure even within an individual island isn’t the most sophisticated. The notion of a holidaymaker visiting multiple destinations would give most tour operators something of a headache. That said, the Vanilla Islands joint venture seems a shoe-in to win

favour among tour operators – as long as the requisite boxes can be ticked. For the concept to succeed to the mutual benefit of each stakeholder island, the four pillars on which the new brand promotion is based must be successfully initiated. They are: 1) The introduction of visa-free travel throughout the islands. 2) The extension and enhancement of a reliable transportation network between the islands. 3) The development of a system of close cooperation between tour operators, hotels, and authorities. 4) The evolution of a homogenous marketing strategy, focusing on the unique qualities of each of the Vanilla Islands while, at the same time, strengthening their joint identity. This is a big concept, but, as Mr St Ange says, given the current and protracted global economic crisis – and given that these islands depend so heavily on tourism – it simply has to work. Logic says it will, as alone each of these destinations already offers something very special for holidaymakers. n

AROUND THE ISLANDS : Reunion with its dramatic mountainous scenery, waterfalls and volcanic valleys – hikers prepared to drag themselves away from the beach are rewarded with incredible views over natural amphitheatres of rock

: Madagascar by far the largest of the Vanilla Islands – is home to some of the rarest and strangest creatures on earth. This is, of course, the home of the lemur – and there are over 70 species, including the mysterious aye-aye – but it also claims the elephant bird and a magnificent variety of flora and fauna.

: Seychelles The beaches of the Seychelles are legendary dreamscapes of white sand and unimaginably turquoise water. Adventurous holidaymakers, however, will discover so much more, for the Seychelles are also home to fascinating rainforest plants and an incredible variety of tropical birds.

: Mauritius Renowned as much for its resplendent hotels as for its dazzling beaches, Mauritius boasts a blend of influences from India, Africa, China, France and Britain, which have combined to draw tourists for years. Relatively few, though, have taken the opportunity to explore the island’s other brilliant attractions such as hiking, mountain climbing and diving.

: The Comoros The Comoros, along with Mayotte, being less well known than their illustrious neighbours, offer visitors a different pace of life, but are no less impressive. The Comoros are spicy and aromatic islands, producing some 65 per cent of the world’s perfume essence, and they equally intoxicate active visitors with volcanic hikes and a host of watersports. Mayotte boasts the world’s largest lagoon, often visited by humpback whales, and divers will not be disappointed, as this is turtle territory.

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© pic pictures ctures : Jonas Akhoun / Studio Lumière, Pierre Marchal

© Jonas Akhoun - Studio Lumière





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THE world is expected to witness one billion arrivals by the end of 2012, according to the World Tourism Organisation. Add to that 124 billion tweets, 91 billion

Facebook photos, 26 million TripAdvisor contributions and more mobile devices than there are people, and it’s easy to see why the relationship between travel and technology is closer than ever. As a result, travel and tourism marketing isn’t the one-sided method it used to be.

Consumer Trust In today’s connected world, user-generated content is the best form of marketing available. It’s affordable, it’s honest, it’s current and statistics show travellers trust other travellers more than traditional marketing. According to a 2012 Nielsen report, 92 per cent of global consumers say they trust earned media, such as word-ofmouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. The second most trusted form is online consumer reviews, at 70 per cent. At the other end of the spectrum are paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, which only 47 per cent of consumers say they trust. Why is this so? The reviews and recommendations come from those who not only experienced the destination firsthand, but also cared enough to write about it. They come from the heart, not a glossed-over corporate viewpoint. And while it’s true that fake reviews exist, consumers are savvy enough to question the integrity of reviews that are overly positive or negative. Despite the dramatic shift towards a more social form of advertising — and the numbers that back it up — the majority of ad dollars are still spent on traditional or paid media. You don’t have to put all of your eggs in the social media basket,

but don’t forget that it when it comes to tourism advertising — the medium matters as much as the message. Mobile Revolution In the days when mobile phones were only good for calling people, your carry-on contained a guidebook and an itinerary, not a smorgasbord of mobile devices. Now, 85 per cent of international travellers use their smartphones abroad, according to a Lab42 study. But they aren’t just using them to let their family know they’re still alive; they’re snapping photos, using maps, scoping out flight deals, booking hotels, finding the best places to eat, searching for the best attractions and yes, using social media. The same study found that while on vacation, 72 per cent of travellers post photos, 70 per cent check into Facebook and 46 per cent check into a location (like Facebook or foursquare). Plus, 30 per cent of travellers have used mobile apps to find hotel deals, 29 per cent have used mobile apps to find flight deals and 15 per cent have downloaded mobile apps specific to upcoming vacations. But the social frenzy doesn’t end there — once back on home turf, 76 per cent of travellers posted vacation photos to a social network and 55 per cent ‘Liked’ Facebook pages specific to their vacation. Smartphones make it easier still to instantly seize, record and relive every moment. When travellers hit up their mobile devices for information, they expect instant access to information at any time, in any location, on any handheld device. That means businesses have to be available to customers at every hour of the day, whether it’s through multiple social media channels or a simple, accessible version of their website that’s tailored to consumers on the go. Has your business realised the unlimited potential of mobile

In the days when mobile phones were only good for calling people, your carry-on contained a guidebook and an itinerary, not a smorgasbord of mobile devices. Now, 85 per cent of international travellers use their smartphones abroad, according to a Lab42 study

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travellers? Is your online presence set up to facilitate the nonstop flow of photos, videos, comments, reviews, shares and other tidbits that work together to show the world how awesome your business or destination truly is? Social Influence In the age of sharing, travellers are looking for a unique story to tell. Spent your vacation in an allinclusive bubble? Great. So did millions of others. Explored a remote island because a complete stranger on TripAdvisor told you it had better beaches, zero crime and fewer than a dozen tourists at any given time? Now there’s a story your friends will be talking about. Travellers naturally gravitate towards referrals and recommendations. They’re social creatures who want the most out of their trip and the most out of their money, and luckily, social media gives travellers the freedom to be flexible. Thanks to a tip from a stranger, a photo from a friend, a last-minute special, they’ll happily change their plans at a moment’s notice. In fact, World Travel Market found that of those who used social media to research their vacation, only 48 per cent stuck with their original travel plans. Thirty-three per cent changed their hotel, ten per cent switched resorts, eight per cent changed

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agent/operator/website, seven per cent holidayed in a different country and five per cent switched airlines. If you’ve ever followed a friend’s travel updates on Facebook or wistfully scanned last-minute flight deals on Twitter, you know just how powerful social media can be. These revealing social media posts tell the story of the destination, heighten emotional decisionmaking and create something tangible to need or want. One minute you’re admiring a photo of a far-flung destination, and the next you’re caught up in an exciting Googling vortex that inevitably ends with a credit card and a call to your boss. But that’s just the thing: social media, like travel, is fun. Travellers look forward to hopping online and extending the life of their vacation, whether it’s through weeks of social pre-planning or reliving the moments years after all is said and done. And businesses get to watch their company shed its physical boundaries and grow into an online destination where user-generated content is king. But best of all, it’s free. Who wouldn’t want be a part of that? n Stikky Media is a digital marketing agency based in Victoria, British Columbia, providing social media marketing, search engine optimisation and other digital marketing services to clients worldwide.


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How to Make

‘FRIENDS’ and Influence Business ‰


SOCIAL media is fundamentally changing consumer behaviour and now plays a significant role throughout the full travel life cycle. Customers are increasingly using the internet to research their holiday, to communicate their experiences whilst away and also to report back Where Is It Right Now Social media has amplified the effect of world-of-mouth marketing. The influence of TripAdvisor exemplifies this trend, with one in four British holidaymakers using the site before booking their next holiday.

Word-of-mouth marketing is effective because of the level of trust attached to personal recommendations. TripAdvisor has faced mounting criticism in the past regarding the legitimacy and accuracy of some reviews that are on the site. Review sites like TripAdvisor have had to battle allegations of hoteliers have posted fake, positive reviews of their properties. Whilst this can dilute the quality of reviews, it has also been nipped in the bud. The greatest threat to review sites is surely the erosion of authenticity and the dilution of trust caused by malicious and inaccurate reviews? Richard Gollin, a guesthouse owner in the Outer Hebrides is taking TripAdvisor to court over false reviews

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that he claims have damaged his business. The lack of ‘authenticity control’ on social media review sites needs to be addressed in the future. A survey of over 200 Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) by Sparkloft Media in 2011 provided some interesting results. DMOs felt that Facebook and Twitter were the most effective and active social media sites to use, and 83 per cent of those measured their social media activities. However most DMOs admitted to finding the networks hard to use in terms of measuring their direct impact on sales. Consumers are also turning to social sites like TripWolf and Travellerspoint to research their next trip. Usergenerated travel tips, combined with traditional travel writing from the likes of ‘Footprint’ have seen consumers increasingly flock to the TripWolf site. Where Is It Going In The Future? The future of travel social media will continue to be dominated by the use of mobile. Every day, there are more iPhones sold, than there are babies born. That’s an incredible piece of trivia, especially given that iPhones account for only around 25 per cent of the market; there are also Android and Windows devices. A PhoCusWright study suggested that in 2013 the number of bookings made via mobile were set to triple.

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In the US alone, the use of mobile to research travel has increased 51 per cent according to Google. Travellers who research their trip via mobile are seeing that their average hotel price is between 20 to 33 per cent cheaper. Mobile is also changing the way that travellers communicate their experiences abroad. Gone are the days when holidaymakers would make a quick phone call home from a public phone every couple of days. Now 85 per cent of travellers are using social media while they are abroad, with 70 per cent updating their Facebook friends with photos of their trip. Pre-trip, 15 per cent of users are also downloading apps specific to their upcoming destination. According to StrikeAd, travel marketers will find that, with the increase in the use of smartphones for research and the booking of travel, the targeted nature of mobile ads based on a user’s interests and their specific location, will prove to be particularly important. An eye for travel study found that 34 per cent of travel marketers are using mobile pre-purchase and 20 per cent post-purchase. More interesting though, is that 27 per cent use mobiles during travel. Expect this figure to rise as the benefits of social media during travel become apparent to more travel brands and destinations. Social media is also big business in b2b travel, with


This trend of using social media as a customer service tool is set to rise, especially for SMEs within travel. There is a plethora of social media monitoring tools that are free or cost very little.

84 per cent of businesses using smartphones for corporate travel. According to a report published by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, b2b travel managers are able to promote travel compliance, improve itinerary management and provide destination information via a selection of travel apps. Travel companies are also turning to social media for their customer service requirements. Social media offers the travel industry the ability to talk directly to the consumer quickly, on a more personal and direct level. According to Travel Online Partners, social media tools are communication tools that allow a company to deal with a customers question, query or complaint very swiftly. Complaints that arise offline are sure to raise their head online as well. This trend of using social media as a customer service tool is set to rise, especially for SMEs within travel. There is a plethora of social media monitoring tools that are free or cost very little. Delta Airlines are aiming to improve their reputation among air travel consumers and to do this they have employed ten staff to monitor Twitter 24 hours a day. They respond to the majority of tweets with speed and even though they may not always be able to offer the

answer the customer wants, at the very least they can show they are listening. Clearly, both the benefits and the potential pitfalls of social media are being scrutinised by the major players within the travel industry. Although those who have not been the quickest to embrace the development may curse the vagaries of social media, no one can deny that it is here to stay â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and potentially to drive the future development of travel and tourism. After a career spent solely in the travel industry, Oliver Gradwell founded Travel Bloggers Unite, a community of 1600+ members, connecting travel brands, destinations and PRs with the right travel bloggers for their brand. This is accomplished via a series of travel blogger conferences, engagement around WTM and bespoke consultancy services. n

Seminar information Oliver Gradwell, who compiled the Social Media sessions, will be a member of the panel at the seminar How To Measure Travel Blogger ROI, on Tuesday, November 6, at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Travel Market. For more information on the debate and WTMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Social Media events programme, visit

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NEWS articles often promote the idea of LGBT tourists as a commodity with a high disposable income (aka the “pink dollar”), and several companies tout data that examines the spending habits of gay travellers. For example, in December 2011, San Francisco-based firm Community Marketing Inc. released its 16th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Report. The report analyses poll responses from 6,648 US respondents who self-identify as LGBT and frequent gay websites, publications and events. Notably, they found an overall increase in LGBT travel after two years of recession-induced decreases, with gay/bisexual men taking an average of 3.9 trips and lesbian/bisexual women taking an average of 3.3 trips in the last 12 months. The largest segment of respondents fell in the mid-range price point for travel, followed by economy/budget and then luxury, however, the majority of replies in the economy/budget category indicated that this decision was based on the desire to take more trips rather than out of financial restrictions. Defining the market A 2011 travel survey conducted by Curve, the largest lesbian magazine in North America, drew approximately 1,000 respondents, with nearly 30 per cent indicating they spent more than $2,000 on their annual vacation. “Lesbian expenditure is sometimes included with the heterosexual

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female or gay male demographic rather than as a separate category; this contributes to poor visibility and an assumption that the lesbian market is non-existent,” said Curve Editor in Chief Merryn Johns. “In fact, studies show that lesbians are frequent travellers, they earn more than heterosexual women and they spend nearly as much as gay men when they travel.” While there is vital knowledge to be gained from this information, it should always be viewed as a kind of compass that points to directions in the marketplace rather than a comprehensive assessment of a community. LGBT people cannot be reduced to a stereotype. “There is no way to accurately enumerate LGBT economic impact,” CMI President Thomas Roth said. “Our methodology is to take five per cent of the whole US tourism industry. According to the US Department of Commerce, the travel and tourism industry generated more than $1.3 trillion in economic output in 2010. Based on this data and CMI sample demographics, we estimate that the annual economic impact of LGBT travellers is over $65 billion per year in the US alone.” To spot growth trends in the market, it’s helpful to examine the countries and states that host major LGBT events and also to keep an eye on the rapidly changing human rights laws around the world. Over the past two years, Sao Paulo Turismo has sponsored research on the impact of the city’s LGBT Pride event – with an estimated four million participants, it’s considered the largest gay event of its kind in


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5 tips for selling LGBT travel 1 Do Your Homework Be prepared to surprise your clients with LGBT information on gaywelcoming destinations they might not have considered like Florianopolis, Brazil, Stockholm or Sweden. Or wow them with new information on gay hotels and nightspots in a city they already love. Keeping abreast of positive global changes in LGBT rights and marriage laws is a good way to track trends; Argentina, for example, has seen a boost in its LGBT travel appeal thanks to its recent progressive same-sex marriage legislation.

2 Ensure Your Clients Are Treated With Respect Be aware of issues that are specific to gay travellers. It's not the best start to a romantic holiday for a gay couple to receive the news they've been given separate beds because the hotel thought they were “just friends”. Speak candidly with your suppliers and make sure that you’re working with businesses that will make LGBT travellers feel comfortable and offer packages with same-sex couples in mind. the world. Based on a 2011 survey of 1,664 attendees that examined spending habits and length of visit, the event is estimated to pump $206 million reals into the local economy; this figure is up from $188 million reals in 2010. In Curve’s travel poll, 76 per cent of the respondents said that a country’s LGBT rights record affected their decision to visit. The blossoming LGBT wedding market is a good barometer, as more countries and states legalise same-sex unions. The Independent Democratic Conference of the New York State Senate released a look at the economic impact of marriage equality on New York State in May 2011. The report projected that recognising gay marriage would create more than $310 million in increased revenue and economic activity for the state during the next three years. These examples are not intended to sum up LGBT people worldwide. However, there is no denying that LGBT travellers are a dynamic and influential sector within the tourism industry – one whose willingness to come out and be counted will continue to grow as society becomes more accepting and more legislation that promotes equality is passed. n

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3 Put Your Money (or Time) Where Your Marketing Is Ask yourself why you really want to market to the gay community. Don’t just slap a rainbow flag on your website as a symbol of gay friendliness; get involved with local LGBT charities and take the time to network with local LGBT business people.

4 Don’t Forget the “L” in LGBT Work with lesbian-specific magazines, blogs and websites rather than lumping your lesbian outreach in with marketing to gay men. Notable publications include: Curve (North America), DIVA (UK), L.Mag (Germany), La Dixieme Muse (France) and LOTL (Australia).

5 Join IGLTA The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association is the leading member-based global organisation dedicated to LGBT tourism. Joining the association, which has member businesses in more than 80 countries, provides educational, networking and marketing tools to help buyers connect with LGBT consumers and welcoming suppliers (

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WTM Business 2012  

Official World Travel Market 2012 Business magazine

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