No. 17/ 2013/ B2B Travel Magazine
Credit: DepositPhotos.com/ ÂŠ Yuri Arcurs
Voice of Romanian Travel Professionals
en-detail eventS: itb, ttr , etravel conference
Globetrotter on the Silk road- dr. PetrebalaĹž trendS in national medical touriSm market market Profile: Switzerland
the future of the travel aGent beGinS... todaY!
"e best way to predict the future is to invent it", computer expert Alan Kay once said. Nothing more true but what do you do if the future takes you by surprise as it seems to happen sometimes in the modern travel market? How well can you adjust yourself to the new demands of your customers to remain a successful travel agent? e world is changing faster and faster, and a bit of history is necessary to understand the context in order to anticipate the trends. We should rather go back in time 20 years ago when travel agent used to work on confidential commissions, well preserved secrets between the service provider and travel agents. Here and there the situation is maintained in Romania because secrecy continues to be trendy. However, the landscape changes slowly. Internet and online software enable new generations of customers to book directly from suppliers saving time and money. e method allows a greater control and customization unavailable on traditional channels. A journey does not mean anymore a chain of destinations but the depth of discovering destination X or Y, while the boundary between business travel and leisure increasingly blurs. Social media and the free exchange of information change the unidirectional transaction type, and the agency becoms an aggregator of information and a facilitator of relationships. Hence, the travel agent - customer balance changes: the interaction is influenced by cooperation which makes both of them partners to a successfull experience. e scenario that the travel agent could become a little robot with headphones on - concurrently taking dozens of online calls, dealing with face to face meetings and fiercely typing correspondence - already passed away. Today's customer needs empathy and experience from its travel consultant, rather than cold and formal eﬃciency. How would a Gen Y or Z customer choose his travel agent in the future? Selection, trust and expertise! What could the travel agent do in response ? To specialize in terms of tourism and technology, to identify new segments of customers or insuﬃciently covered segments (e.g. women, youth, single) and to create for them appealing loyalty programs. If he will succeed to enrich their travel experience by identifying the familiar and the genuine, he will remain on the market and will be at the top. To keep his customers will not require more financial or human eﬀort but the innovation and communication. Like it or not, the future will belong to the creative and daring!
Anne-Mary Nechita Owner & CEO ANIMACTION HUB
“How would a Gen Y or Z customer choose his travel agent in the future? Selection, trust and expertise!”
. E . C .I.
4 romanian touriSm Should bet on m.i.c.e.
by Jamil Benabdallah Director Dentente – East Europe
Credit photo: DepositPhotos.com/ © дмитрий эрслер
omanian tourism is defined by strong seasonality and domination of business tourism over inbound. In other words, we can say that Romanian tourism is dominated by business flows. Naturally, this finding draws attention on tourism business as a subsector where foreign customers act, and where strategic intervention could bring positive results in the short run. Question is whether this area is properly capitalized in Romania, in the main destinations covered by this type of tourism (urban centers with economic development and foreign investments: Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj and so on). Statistics seem to say „No”. Indeed, variance of foreign tourists’ flow in the main economic centers of the country seem to fit almost perfectly with changes in the dynamics of economic and foreign direct investment. Business travelers - the bulk of foreign tourists, as I said come when the economic climate is favorable and leave as soon as diﬃculties arise. It's an absolutely free process where strategic inaction is felt by lack of countercyclical measures. Often it is claimed that two broad categories of measures could be taken: 1.Foundation of a/some bodies / institutions of Destination Management in the main business travel destinations of the country 2.Developement of MICE products and their promotion either through DMO-s websites or tailored and flexible voluntary structures/ associations. We will detail in a few words the two possible measures. e first one is the most important in the current situation of Bucharest and aims to create a Convention Bureau. MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conferencing, Exhibitions) tourism is the most able to grow and sustain business tourism flows. It capitalizes ex-
isting economic dynamics and creates around it a tourism oﬀer of professional meetings, incentives, conferences and fairs which slowly self-support and create an audience less addicted to fluctuations of the local economy. Business tourism also has two very important features with a leverage on tourism, in general, and on economy of a destination, in particular: business tourist expenditure budget is generally a generous one, while business trip leads to the discovery of a destination and the return with family for holiday (leisure). Moreover, MICE tourism allows young and local professionals to be acquainted with current trends in various fields and contact with top professionals in the field. MICE also represents an important lever for developing human resources of a destination. But these features must be activated by proper management. A Convention Bureau is an associative structure most suited to Romanian case by its neutrality. A Convention Bureau could be part of a public authority (department), a private association of private actors in the tourism industry, a publicprivate partnership. But which are the main arguments for a Convention Bureau? Here are a few: • MICE customers prefer interaction with an "one stop shop" • Represents the entire destination, not just the specific interests of companies or parts of industry • Supports the eﬀort to market the MICE products of the destination (bids and supports participation in tenders for MICE events) •Is a privileged interlocutor with local, national and international key public and private actors interested or involved in MICE • Performs research, analysis and statistics on the impact of promotion and event attendance on tourism.
In studies conducted abroad for a number of Destination Management Organizations, our company: o used an IT tool that compiles, structures and analyzes real-time data on flight bookings to Romania made through GDS (Global Distribution Systems) by 190,000 worldwide online or oﬄine travel agents. Qualitative analysis of raw distributions allows not only ex-post evaluation of events impact (including MICE) on attending a tourism destination, but also ex-ante analysis with corrective actions. o tracked the progress of perception of destination in real-time with appropriate tools such as e-reputation. Detente Consultants perform detailed analysis based on business intelligence software that collects and structures in cyberspace exchanges of opinions on a destination. Generated statistics allow extremely useful conclusions about the perception of MICE destinations and allow the development of highly eﬀective and eﬃcient strategies, marketing actions and tourism promotion. e second step is in fact an extension of the first one. It covers the activity of the Convention Bureau. In this framework specific products could be created (e.g. trainings for IT-like fields, car conferences, etc in Bucharest), and strategies to target source markets according to segmentation and local assets (infrastructure, equipments, capacity, prices, etc.) could be adopted. It is easy to see that Romanian business travel destinations lack the institutional participation to ensure not only power but also economic relevance of measures to promote MICE products. is is a sine qua non requirement for the development and stabilization of business tourism in Romania.
S S T T S N N E T E T N T E N N T O O C C CON
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TTR 2013... with goods& bads eTravel conference report Mystery Shopper 17
2013, Year of Portugal
Medical Tourism with Andrei Rﾄホvan Nacea Page 20
Credit photo: DepositPhotos.com/ ﾂｩ haveseen
ROMANIA thiS iS mY countrY!
ani macti o n h ub First Romanian winner at Sony World Photography Awards 2013 e World Photography Organisation (WPO) has recently announced the winners of "Sony World Photography Awards", in „Youth”, „Open” and „3D” categories. Romania was the first time one of the three winners in the "Youth" category due to Alecsandra Drăgoi - author of a wining photo in "Culture" section. Open to photographers until age 19, „Youth” competition seeks to discover the next generation of talented photographers rewarding the eﬀort of three of them each edition. e young photographer of the year will be selected among them and will be announced at "Sony World Photography Awards" Gala in London.
EDitorS trAvEl ADviSor MAGAZiNE Anne-Mary Nechita Senior Editor Animaction HUB
Dr. Petre Balaş Senior Editor Peter Express
"e long road to the Merry Cemetery" brings Săpânţa into focus A European funded project - "e long road to Merry Cemetery" - attracts more visitors at Săpânţa and recalls village traditions. It is managed by Peter Hurley, an Irishman fond of rural Romania. Hurley advises tourists to go to Sighetu Marmației by rail since this is "the most beautiful train ride in Europe". e idea to promote Săpânţa came soon after the projectmakers had noted that although the Merry Cemetery is one of the most visited places in Romania (about 20,000 people come here every year), tourists spend an average of 45 minutes in the village. On August 15, a festival will be organized in Săpânţa to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. On this occasion, Irish and Romanian musicians will perform an informal show to last about three hours. e festival will be interactive, the audience will connect with artisans and peasants from Săpânţa, will visit a sheep cot, and eat with shepherds. ADDrESS:
Successful Romanian on the global art market Adrian Ghenie, a Romanian painter age 36, has seen remarkable success in an auction organized by Sotheby's in London. He sold his "Dr. Mangele2 " painting for Euro 140,747, a four times more than the estimation of experts (Euro 35,000 – 46,000 ). e previous record of the young artist is the sale for Euro 52,764 of his painting "Study for beating the pies", sold by Tajani from Paris, in a charity auction. In 2011, two works by Ghenie were traded by major auction houses in London: "Station outside time" sold by Sotheby's for Euro 14,578, and "Pool" sold by Phillips de Pury for Euro 12,868. e artist was born in 1977 in Baia Mare. He graduated from the University of Arts in Cluj and founded with Mihai Pop, in 2005, Gallery Plan B extended to Berlin. Plan B had organized the Romanian Hall at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and opened a permanent exhibition space in Berlin in 2008. It was an unique event for a Romanian gallery abroad.
Str. Topliceanu nr. 8 Bl P37, Sc. 2, Et. 4, Ap. 41, Sector 5 (13 Septembrie Area) Bucharest, Romania tel: 004021.420.81.59 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.advisortravel.ro www.animaction-hub.com www.facebook.com/travel.Advisor.Magazine cont twitter: @travelAdvisorMa General Manager/ CEo: Anne-Mary Nechita
A Romanian age 18 - computer genius Ionuţ Alexandru Budişteanu age 18, from Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania, is a computer genius. He stunned the whole world, won hundreds of awards and managed to impress everyone. He is currently a student at Oltchim Technology High School, but recently attended the Taiwan International Science Fair where was ranked the third, and Intel Eco-Ukraine where was the second. Since he has received a USD 40,000 grant from the IEEE, he will study at a university in the United States after completion of the 12th grade. Ionuţ qualified also for the International Sustainable World (Engineering, Energy & Environment) Project Olympiad in Houston, Texas, and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona, both in May 2013. e project based on artificial intelligence that helps blind people "to see" using their tongue, and the autonomous car (selfdriving car) are some works of the young genius.
A Romanian contributed to the discovery of "God particle" Dr. Sorina Popescu manages one of the teams that discovered "God particle", the most important success of science in recent years. She workes for 12 years at the particles accelerator in Geneva where CMS experiment is carried out. is experiment allowed the discovery of Higgs boson. e Higgs boson named after Scottish physicist Peter Higgs and also called „God particle” is a hypothetical elementary particle from bosons family included in the mechanism that gives mass to other elementary particles. e Universe would have had nothing tangible without it. Search for a proof of its existence began in 1960 and lasted more than 50 years.
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org 0040.722.910.574 Advertising Department: Contact ANiMACtioN HUB Srl E-mail: email@example.com Mobile: 0040722. 910. 574 Contributors: Prof. Univ. Dr. Gabriela Ţigu, Dr. Mircea Drăghici, Alex Hampu, Cristian Pitulice, Dan Anghelescu, Paula Sichim Photos: Simion Buia, Adrian Tărăcilă, Dreamstime, Depositphoto
iSSN-l = 2069 – 7384
7 GLOBE TROTTER
by DR. PETRE BALAŞ
Rotonda What I've seen, What I’ve read, what I've heard, in my real and imaginary travels...
Diversity and peace. Chance or opportunity made for me to travel to three diﬀerent destinations from the same family of Salam aleikum, in the first part of this year. e same world surrounds us, but how much diversity of nature, pace of life and development of society! In early January, Hurghada from the Red Sea longed for peace, quiet ... and tourists, as well as Luxor, and Egypt in general. e endless unrests in the area removed also Tunisia from the tours, a tourism awarded destination in the last years. In March, I flew to Central Asia to Uzbekistan following an important part of the famous Silk Road, on the tracks of Tamerlane at Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, the last also capital of the great king. History marked not only his cruelty but also the multitude of architectural and religious buildings he left to posterity. I’ve returned to the area after 25 years. Beyond the persistence of certain sequels from the past I saw and felt the new, the vigor, the highlight of protected by UNESCO tourist attractions and the adequate infrastructure. I intend to go back and I highly recommend the destination, since there are many things to see and to discover. Finally, in early April I saw UAE, namely Dubai and Abu Dhabi emirate, at the annual ASTA meeting. ere the feeling was undoubtedly overwhelming: you can see the future in front of your eyes! Of course, I can compare Dubai with the emirate I visited seven and five years ago. Many investments with a cosmic aura announced then are already a reality: tens and hundreds of mega buildings – none of them the same, the 70 km – long highway with 6 +6 lanes on each direction crossing the heart of the metropolis, and the much admired subway. And how hard it is for other countries to get these investments!
“e divine poet of Romanian people”. I feel the need to read more and more some of Grigore Vieru’s poems, trully named e superlative poet beyond Prut River by Adrian Păunescu (Romanian poet).
is true Romanian unfairly left for the other world. I think it is hard to find another gigantic poet to paint so warmly and fragrantly the mother's face.
Margaret atcher and the thatcher-ism. It may seem incredible, but England of the 80s was anaesthetized by a sort of own statist and claiming socialism. Well, Margaret atcher defeated the obstinacy and the misogyny of politicians from her own party; took control of the government of one of the great powers of the world; and won the bet with liberalization of the economy changing fundamentally the British society. She removed the currency exchange control on outbound; gave up the monitoring of all prices; fought eﬀectively with inflation; cut taxes with the support of private sector; imposed outsourcing and denationalization; involved and co-interested workers, a successful strategy afterwards. She used successfully the media to implement new ideas. She defeated the powerful unions and their intangible leaders with patience and economic arguments. Finally, she stunned the world by winning brilliantly the war with Argentina for Falkland Islands (Malvinas)! She governed the England of the perfidious Albion for 11 years (!)! I admit, I was and I still am a fan of Margaret!
- No. 17/ 2013 -
TECHNOLOGY amadeuS and iaG SiGned new lonG-term content aGreement Amadeus, a leading technology partner for the global travel industry, has recently signed a new long-term content agreement with International Airlines Group (IAG), one of the world’s largest airline groups. e agreement, which covers British Airways, Iberia, and Iberia Express, allows Amadeus subscribers to continue to benefit from accessing the same level of fares, availability and functionality as previously. “Reaching a new content agreement with IAG has been a clear commercial priority for Amadeus for some time, in order to ensure that our subscribers can continue to access British Airways, Iberia and Iberia Express flights,” said Holger Taubmann, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Amadeus, adding that: “To this end we are delighted to have reached agreement with IAG and we look forward to continuing what has been a long and successful relationship for many more years to come”. According to Silvia Cairo, Head of Group Commercial Planning and Policy, International Airlines Group, “We are wholly committed to supporting the travel agency channel and we are pleased to have reached a multi-year agreement with Amadeus. We have a long standing relationship with Amadeus and look forward to working with Amadeus subscribers ever more closely together in the coming years”. Amadeus plays a critical role in the distribution space ensuring global reach to travel agencies across the world. Today 80% of Amadeus bookings worldwide are made on airlines with which Amadeus has a content agreement.
Credit photo: DepositPhotos.com/ © дмитрий эрслер
china airlines Group – amadeus: a long-term content agreement Recently, China Airlines Group and Amadeus have signed an extensive long-term content agreement. It oﬀers to Amadeus subscribers within Asia access to the same level of fares, availability and functionality as any other travel agent content channel. Outside of Asia, China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines have increased their content guarantee to Amadeus to the same fares, availability and functionality as both airlines distribute through their own websites, call centres and other travel agency content access channels. “Travel agencies are a key element of our sales strategy,” said Mr James Yu, Senior Vice President, President Oﬃce, China Airlines Group. “It is extremely important for us to provide the travel agency channel with access to the full range of fares, schedules and inventory from both China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines. is agreement reflects our commitment to this very important distribution channel.”
Forecasted passenger volumes for both airlines in 2012 are 13.3m of which 11.1m correspond to China Airlines.
Formed in January 2011, IAG is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and bmi. It is a Spanish registered company with shares traded on the London Stock Exchange and Spanish Stock Exchanges. e corporate head oﬃce for IAG is in London, UK.
Amadeus plays a critical role in the distribution space ensuring true global coverage with a 38.6% global market share of air travel agency sales. Today 80% of Amadeus bookings worldwide are made on airlines with which Amadeus has a content agreement. Furthermore, this agreement will strengthen the Amadeus travel agency oﬀering in Asia, providing them with an eﬀective and technologically advanced distribution partner.
International Airlines Group is one of the world's largest airline groups with 377 aircraft flying to 200 destinations and carrying more than 54 million passengers each year. It is the third largest group in Europe and the sixth largest in the world, based on revenue.
About China Airlines. China Airlines (CAL) with its fleet size of 72 aircrafts is the largest carrier in Taiwan carrying approximately 11 million passengers a year between its Taipei hub and 112 destinations in 28 countries and regions. It became one of the members of the SkyTeam Alliance since 2010.
TECHNOLOGY through amadeus, thalys expands distribution through the travel agency channel
amadeus : 2020 – an increase to over 1.36 billion passengers on long-distance rail traffic in europe According to a recent study from Amadeus, e Rail Journey to 2020, longdistance passenger traﬃc will increase by an estimated 21 % (2.2% annually) to reach over 1.36 billion by 2020, 238 million up compared to 2011 figures. e report focuses on the period 2011-2020, which will see the passenger rail industry in Europe impacted by an unprecedented combination of factors: some relating to structural change, others arising from opportunities created by infrastructural investments and technology. e report identifies that anticipated growth in passenger volume over the period 2011-2020 is driven by four key markets in particular: the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Germany. e report is based on authoritative data and best practice modelling techniques from a dedicated research team at Amadeus. Over 100 sources from rail companies, public and regulatory bodies were consulted and Amadeus built predictive models based on correlations between long distance rail share of total traﬃc, national population densities, rail densities, rail industry structure across countries and geography. „e Rail Journey to 2020” provides an overview of the European rail market today, and outlines six key trends that will shape the evolution of the passenger rail industry, and its relationships with other modal providers in the period to 2020. ese are: liberalisation; new market entrants; completion of new high-speed lines; new hubs; air-rail & rail-rail cooperation; railways’ costs. e report also outlines a baseline scenario, built around these trends, to size the business potential for passenger rail in 2020, and concludes with comments on how passenger rail operators can take advantage of the trends transforming the industry landscape.
Amadeus and alys, the international high-speed rail operator connecting Paris and Brussels with Germany and the Netherlands, announce a partnership agreement to distribute alys’ services through Amadeus’ global distribution system, starting in Germany. Users of Amadeus Selling Platform, Amadeus’ point of sale for travel agents, and Amadeus e-Travel Management, the company self-booking tool for corporate users, will have access to the full range of alys’ fares, including corporate negotiated fares, schedules and availability to eﬀectively compare alys high speed rail services with flights on specific routes. alys will be presented as a real alternative to air travel, giving the railway better market exposure, and ensuring that travellers have greater choice and transparency of options. alys will be available alongside airlines on selected routes in the Amadeus neutral booking display for travel agents and corporate bookers. Travellers will also benefit from additional advantages, such as the possibility of booking a complete ticketless train travel experience using alys Ticketless (TKL) – that permits to travel without a paper ticket – or collecting Miles on alys' loyalty programme eCard. e addition of alys into the Amadeus booking flow will permit travel agents to benefit from a more simple and faster booking process as well as from increased productivity and eﬃciency, thanks to automatic integration into the Amadeus Passenger Name Record (PNR ) and IATA’s Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP). is agreement is a step forward in alys’ strategy to expand its international distribution reach, to grasp new market segments such as corporations whilst improving distribution beyond traditional channels. Moreover, for the future it enables alys to develop interline agreements with airlines, allowing travel agents to combine a flight with a high-speed rail link on the same ticket or to combine rail and air services with hotel & car. On this occassion, Scheherazade Zekri-Chevallet, Chief Commercial and Marketing Oﬃcer, alys, declared “We are glad to work with Amadeus as our distribution partner for travel agencies and corporations. is agreement will allow us to compete with short-haul air travel, facilitating travel agents’ access to our public and corporate fares, and schedules whilst giving alys access to new revenue opportunities.” omas Drexler, Director of Amadeus Rail, commented: “With the addition of alys to Amadeus’ global distribution system, Amadeus continues to build the most complete and relevant rail oﬀering for the travel agency community. We are proud to have the only multi-channel rail-dedicated distribution platform that is helping railways to expand their international distribution.” About alys. alys is the red high-speed train which connects Brussels with Paris in 1 hour 22 minutes and Brussels with Cologne and Amsterdam in 1 hour 47 minutes and 1 hour 53 minutes. As of 29 August 2011, alys has three new German destinations: Düsseldorf, Duisburg and Essen. As of 30 October 2011 there is a daily connection between Brussels Midi, Brussels international airport and Paris Nord. alys is a member of Railteam, a collaborative venture between the most important European high-speed operators, CER (Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies) and UIC (Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer). About Amadeus Rail. Amadeus Rail is the business unit dedicated to serving the needs of railways around the world, connecting over 90 railways to a multi-channel sales network whilst also providing IT services. Amadeus Rail employs over 250 rail experts in five competence centres (Nice, Bad Homburg, Sydney, Toronto and Madrid).
MARKETING by Anne-Mary NECHITA
etravel conference 2013 report @ A controversial study @ Online is growing and is in trends @ „Future is data!” @ „Online is not another market, but another method" @ And yet ... hoteliers can give up to travel agents
Howard Johnson Hotel Bucharest hosted recently the most expected etravel conference in Romania, organized by Evensys. Travel Advisor magazine was one of the media partners. In terms of organization, the event was a success: 300 specialists from travel & online, 30 speakers (three of them invited from abroad), specialized press and tourism bloggers. e main goal of the conference was to introduce the best practices in travel industry setting online marketing strategies and online trade to improve sales and profits with minimal costs and eﬀorts. e first sessions of debates- "Trends and opportunities", "How to sell eﬀectively on the Internet" - were opened for all the attendants, while the last three seminars ran in the same time - "Direct response marketing", "Social Media & Mobile" and "Hotel Distribution" - allowed the audience to choose one of them according to diﬀerent business interests. e event focused, inter alia, on current aspects of internet marketing and online advertising, search marketing, social media and online brand reputation.
-66% sought online for travel information: 31% of them read online travel guides before deciding where to go, 30% asked for advise on social networks and 55% searched comment on forums; -28% bought accommodation online; while 23% transport (14% plane tickets, 13% public transport and 4% car rental services) -15% sought for promotions: 7% last minute, 7% early booking and 7% city break -13% bought tickets to museums/ concerts and other cultural events online; 11% bought full travel packages online; 6% bought travel insurance online. (More information can be found in the graphs below) Unfortunately, the study has raised many controversies from the specialists, the first challenger being Razvan Antoni, general manager Amadeus Romania, who claimed that "the figures can not be verified. IATA is the only one to tell you exactly the number of tickets sold in Romania (...) I do not trust all statistics, not even the ones provided by airports." @ Online is growing and is in trends
SESSION 1 @ A controversial study e opening was made by Daedalus Millward Brown and the results of "How Romanians spend their holidays" Survey. ey researched the buying habits of Romanians who traveled in 2012 in the country or abroad. e figures were got in January 2013, following online interviews with a random sample of 600 people, age 18 -55, from urban areas. Correlation analysis of the results showed the following: - 68% of Romanians traveled last year: 53% in Romania, 20% abroad; - among those 53%, mostly students, age 18-24, while among those 20% mostly people with high available income, falling in the category of 25 34 years old; - those travelling in Romania bought – meals/ restaurant (83.7%), accommodation (77.9%), tickets to museums/ concerts/ shows (59.8%), tickets for train and local public transportation (48.9 %), travel insurance (18.4%), plane tickets (14.2%), car rental services (8.8%), other services - ad hoc local trips, pools/ spa access and rentals (42.9%) - those travelling abroad bought - meals/ restaurant (95%), accommodation (80.8%), tickets to museums/ concerts/ shows (73.3%), tickets for train and local public transportation (60.8%), travel insurance (66.7%), plane tickets (61.7%), car rental services (21.7%), other services - access to facilities included (sauna, fitness, massage), travel guides, local trips, boat/ ship trips (45.8%) -those travelling in Romania purchased tickets – only directly from providers (71.3%), both directly and from a travel agency (18.7%), only from a travel agency (4.5%), have not used any of these services (5.4%) - those travelling abroad purchased tickets - both directly and from a travel agency (46.7%), only directly from providers (41.7%), only from a travel agency (10%) ave not used any of these services (1.7%) -those who buy holidays prefer to buy face 2 face (70.5% - Romania, 69.8%, abroad), by phone (33.9% - Romania, 13.2% - abroad), online (29.2% - Romania, 50% - abroad)
Razvan Antoni’s opinion was shared by most of speakers. Javier Garcia del Valle, Happy Tours’ leader, stressed that "figures are irrelevant. e trend is really important. Does the online market in Romania develop? Is the Internet penetration increasing in the country? Are these increases observed in urban or in rural areas? (...) Beyond the numbers, we can say that we see a clear development of the online sales of services". Alin Burcea, president of Paralela 45, - the most entertaining speaker without whose presence the debate would have probably be on the verge of monotony - drew three conclusions: 1.We have to take Internet into account 2. Undoubtedly the number of online holiday buyers grows. Facebook does not help travel agencies to get more customers, but it is good as a reference 3.e customers are better prepared and desperately seeking for promotions, while the early booking spreads tremendously Dragoș Anastasiu, President of Eurolines & TUI Travel Center, dotted the i’s by noting that "the whole equation lacks the customer’s feeling of trust in travel agency, a feeling that has changed tremendously. Trust no longer exists. (...) e trend of going directly to providers and buying tickets from them is related to the feeling of confidence." Since speakers slipped into self-promotion at a certain time slightly deviating from the announced theme, Editor of Travel Advisor has requested their opinion on the usefulness of Daedalus study and statistics in general, an area of expertise where Romania had shortcomingsthe in the last 20 years. Responses were many. Some of them were, unfortunately, parallel to the question, but the most interesting came from Philipp Brinkmann, founder and CEO TravelPlanet24. According to Brinkmann "studies like this are useful, statistics & data are extremely important. e problem is how to combine data to get more accurate results " Răzvan Antoni ended the serious part of the debate concluding that "online is based on mentality and confidence. Unfortunately, we have drawbacks to both of them in Romania. Distrust and juggle are national sports!"
Profile of romanian holidaY conSumer by Daedalus Millward Brown
MARKETING SESSION 2 @ „Future is data!” VisitBritain began Session 2 with presentation of their online marketing campaign during the Olympics, campaign managed by a small team of 12 professionals. Philip Taylor, Head of Digital VisitBritain, detailed the digital marketing mix used in key markets and introduced the main advantages of the destination - country life, culture and traditions, sports, music, gastronomy and nature - revealing that about 28 million pounds were spend last year to promote the UK both online and oﬄine. Philipp Brinkmann, TravelPlanet24, directed the discussion to the opportunities created by data collection. His presentation launched a new concept "Big Data, Big Opportunities", and listed among the benefits of data: 1. a deeper understanding of business dynamics 2.a new perspective on day to day operations 3. deliver accurate answers 4. automate and optimize the decision making 5. reduce IT costs An interesting example used in his report: 4,000,000 searches/ day, 2,778 searches/ minute, 46 searches/ second are achieved on Google. ese searches mean around 3PB of data and need about 375 servers for storage. Considering this huge volume, we subscribe to the speaker words: "Future is data!" Kasper Hove, International Online Marketing Manager Momondo A / S, presented their interesting meta-search engine and oﬀered some practical advice for those who want to have an eﬀective website. Moreover, his advice: "Test, test, test!" applies eﬀectively in any field. Two other presentations followed. Unfortunately, I failed to attend the first one, by Travelport, and felt bad to attend the second one, by Zumzi. Any further comment is superfluous.
SESSION 3 - HOTEL DISTRIBUTION @ „Online is not another market, but another method” From the wide range of seminars, I chose "Hotel Distribution" to discover if the fears of travel agents that lose their customers, who are attracted by lower prices oﬀered at the Front Oﬃce or on websites of hotels, are confirmed or not. I had to discover that these fears are not necessarily consistent, since keeping price parity across all channels of distribution has been a rule required by headquarters for any hotel of a chain. However, not all hotels in Romania belong to a chain, not all professional follow a certain ethics, and there are exceptions that may confirm these fears. Generalization, however, does not apply, the side slips being rather peculiar. Hereto is what was discussed in this panel: Bogdan Stanciu, Owner and General Manager Bit Soft, introduced the theme and the speakers following with his presentation – "Online Hotel Distribution Channels ". According to him, "Online is not another market, but another method. (...) In the '90s, if somebody wanted a ticket, used to go to Nova Travel. Nowadays, I do not know if someone goes to a travel agency for a plane ticket. Nowadays customer is the same as 20 years ago, only the tool has changed." Currently, the main online distribution channels from hospitality are: own website and GDS (Sabre, Amadeus, Travelport), the latter with 670,000 terminals in travel agencies around the world, covering 98% of worldwide agencies. ere are also alternative distribution systems ADS, such as Expedia (most popular in the U.S.), Booking.com (most popular in Europe), Agoda (most popular in Asia), Priceline, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Lastminute.com; and OTA (Online Travel Agencies), such as WebBooking Expert (foreign, but made by Romanians), Travel Booster, eJuniper, Codegen. Regarding the importance of websites - in a Top 2011 of Google Searches, the main positions were dominated by: 1. Expedia (21,669,000; down 4% from 2010); 2. Priceline (16,443,000, up 10% from 2010); 3. Groupe SNCF (9,330,000, up 2%); 4. TUI Group (8,587,000, up 2%); 5. Ryanair (7,509,000, down 12%). In hotel industry the top is dominated by: 1. Expedia; 2. Hotels.com; 3. Travelocity; 4.
Google; 5. Priceline. e figures speak for themselves about the eﬀectiveness of the channel. However, when the customer has to decide to book a hotel or another, the most important features to take into account are: - price - 81% Business; 90% Leisure - hotel website – 55% Business; 58% Leisure - promotions – 51% Business; 57% Leisure - available options – 49% Business; 50% Leisure - online reviews– 39% Business; 50% Leisure - virtual tours and photos – 32% Business; 42% Leisure - loyalty programs – 58% Business; 33% Leisure However, only a few hoteliers invest in loyalty programs and prefer to pay fees to sites such as Booking.com, on the Romanian market up with 20% in 2012. "B2B Distribution Strategies" were presented by Iulian Beiu, Contracts Manager Romania and Moldova Republic , Hotelbeds, a wholesaler member of TUI Travel PLC that incorporates more than 55,000 hotels in 147 countries and has a turnover of Euro 2, 3 billion. He said that distribution channels should be adapted to each type of hotels and explained the business model of a wholesaler: global presence, technology and distribution. Eﬀective collaboration in this chain involves a well developed concept of "rate mix", the hotel being forced to follow a correct pricing for each distribution channel. Contrary to all appearances, working with a wholesaler does not mean low costs for hotel, but high costs, while the discounts seriously aﬀect the ADR (Average Daily Rate). Currently, Hotelbeds (Eu. East), Miki Travel (Asia), GTA (Eu. West) Tourico (Israel), Travco (UK) and Special Tours (Greece) are wholesalers in Romania. @ And yet ... hoteliers can give up to travel agents An interesting debate on the relationship Hotel - wholesalers - tour operator/ travel agency was initiated by Cornelia Bădiţă, Revenue Manager, Capital Plaza Hotel. It was based on the idea that "Some wholesalers do not comply with the 25% commission, and have very low rates." e negociation problem was arising. Hotelbeds representative blamed some tour operators for keeping prices down, and forcing wholesalers to return to renegotiation with hotels. In the same order of ideas, Ştefan Balaur, Operational Manager, Continental Hotels, considered the relationship with travel agencies as a delicate one. ey "do not always meet the agreed rates, and the client is the only one to lose. We have a binding agreement with a travel agency, but they come and force me to give them a lower rate argueing that the wholesaler gave them a low rate. So that I lose twice – in front of wholesaler, and in front of travel agency”, said Continental Hotels’ Manager. In response, a solution was suggested by Hotelbeds: the hotelier may give up to travel agents at any time. According to Hotelbeds representative, "travel agents have access to certain systems with lower rates, and try to negotiate. Today, everyone negotiates. e hotelier may, preferentially, exclude certain travel agents from negotiations, if he desires". However, giving up to travel agencies or tour operators was not recommended, unless extremely serious conflict, each hotelier being free to take decisions on his property. A series of discussions on pricing, maintaining price parity on diﬀerent channels, low performance policies of some wholesalers (eg GTA), free sales vs allotment, methods of working with consortia (Amex, Carson Wagonlit, BTI, Radius, JTB , TUI and Dertour) and distribution through hotel own website followed. Regarding the latter issue, Bogdan Stanciu considered that hoteliers should have control over customers through better use of their websites. e last presentations - „Online reviews are changing travel” by Melania Kantor, Revenue Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Bucharest, and "Distribution Channel" by Corina Boronea, General Manager YieldPlanet Romania - extremely interesting for specialists - were played fast due to time constraints. Among the conclusions, we must note that: - it's common sense to respond to customers’ feedback left by reviews - it is intelligent to use revinate.com and application TrustYou - tools for analyzing feedbacks by hoteliers - the channel manager is a "cost eﬃcient" platform between OTA, own website and travel agencies
audit and electionS - 2013 anat between hoPeS and realitieS e recent Audit and Elections Assembly of National Association of Travel Agencies from Romania (ANAT) occasioned - beyond the presented, especially „in pink”, written reports - a partial X-ray of the guild’s situation. Willy-nilly, a questionable practice of the recent years continued - to avoid the analysis and debates on President’s and Board of Directors’ work - by voting everything since the beginning (!). e activity report and the other materials were presented in a strange and unjustified hurry counterproductive to the Association, argueing that materials were sent in advance. Undoubtedly, Corina Martin’s double term (April 2009 - March 2013) meant an undeniable eﬀort - hers and of BD’s – to achieve the committed goals with enough significant results. Famous was the mainly and permanently focus on image and on concluding many partnerships. At the same time, a weaker connection between ANAT and its members with their important issues exacerbated by economic crisis and lack of solutions (insolvencies, jugglers, relations with insurance companies, relationship with the Ministry etc.) - was experienced in this term. ere was felt, not only once, the empty running sense! In direct connection to this was also the decrease by 200 of ANAT’s number of members. A worrying situation for the association, it was superficially treated being totally absent in the debates. However, it would be a huge mistake to blame only the crisis! Needed comebacks, and unjustified continuations. A serious revision of the Statute is required! We consider Lucia Morariu’s comeback to the position of President – a charismatic personality, organized, hardworking, energy catalyst – as necessary, since guild’s expectations from her and BD are higher in the context
ASSOCIATIONS of budgetary restrictions, when the much needed support from authorities will be increasingly diﬃcult to obtain. Speaking of the new Board, we have to mention some other comebacks justified by past performance - Mălin Mălineanu, Mircea Vladu, Herman Rosner -, and some unjustified continuations with long expected confirmation! In this context, a serious revision of the Statute is required! Among other things, to limit the number of terms for members of BD. If it is possible for the President, why should not be the same for Board of Directors? Also, to ensure freshness and stimulate innovation, and to remove the senators. e provisions for elections in ANAT regions should be improved, since the appointment of the management has got to be done by a pen signature, without assembly, without debates. And these people – according to the present Statute - go directly to BD or even to BEX (Executive Oﬃce)! Lack of consistent procedures determined the existence of some unacceptable babbles during the „central” elections: the existence of two sets of forms, the possibility to vote also during the vote counting etc. Last but not least, I would highlight a visible stagnation in Bucharest-Ilfov organization, with half of ANAT members, which, for several years, is far from the reasonable expectations of its members! Bravo Cluj, bravo Constanta! Honor for them! But the "leaders" from Bucharest can no longer propose a valuable President for the guild? Let's hope that the new and young President of Region will better race the heavy engines in this term...
DR. PETRE BAlAş
ttr 2013 with...
pring of 2013 began with a flurry of promotional events as befits a year that succeeds the “End of the World”. Moreover, everything was under the sign of the flurry, the endless succession of seminars, presentations, round tables, cocktails and others of this kind confirming indeed that the world begins to change. Unfortunately, things seem to have not changed as rapidly at Romexpo. e 29th edition of the Romanian Tourism Fair (TTR), held between March 14 and March 17, 2013, was dominated by traditional confusion regarding the organization of booths and their complete inventory. e press, for instance, was put against the wall from the first day. It is no joke, even if it look like one. e organizers have placed in C6 Hall (where all media booths were gathered) a high wall to divide the space preventing visitors to find the booths of media companies. ings have been fixed the next day, when booths were moved to C1 Hall. It was a place in the attic where for the oxygen was easy to reach, but not as easy for the visitors. Obviously, the move was also not without adventures, the booth of Romanian Press Club,
representative of FIJET in Romania (where Travel Advisor received its readers courtesy to the Secretary General of this club), staying without brand inscription almost half of the fair time (2 days).e same fate had some travel agencies that lacked pieces of contracted furniture, so that, willy-nilly, we all went over the inconvenients and kept going with the fair flow. e first two days, in fact the busiest, I spent meeting potential partners, observing trends and opportunities, notable appearances and disappearances, while the last two days I met readers at the booth. I had the chance to make a fair impression about the fair, and if I’ll have to pick now a combination of words to better describe the last edition of TTR, “Battle of the Heavyweights” would be probably the best choice. Tourists have been "nudged" in line for "1 Euro holiday", for "ultra" or "turbo early booking" oﬀers, last minute inventions to catch new customers. While tour operators have shown their "muscles" in the impressive size, appealing colors and design of their booths, in the increased number and cuteness of their hostesses, in the
sometimes loud music, and, not least, in glamorous post-fair events, all set for the same day and at very similar hours. Christian Tour, Happy Tour, Eximtur, Paralela 45, Kusadasi, Perfect Tour, TUI – Eurolines seemed to have actually moved their entire team at Romexpo, followed closely by the newly established (reestablished) Alibaba, which competed them successfully in the size of the booth. Speaking about loud and extravagant, not necessarily in a pejorative sense, Mamaia Resort left behind all possible competitors. Medusa - Corina Martin, former president of ANAT, and Ulysses - Radu Mazare, mayor of Constanta, accompanied by Fashion TV characters did not succeed maybe to reveal the local particularities of Romania, but at least they showed to visitors we are still alive, we can move, we have local color, even if not always inspired chosen and promoted. But when it comes to creativity, any sin should be forgiven. However, Happy-sor and cartoon characters from Christian Tour rambled the halls of Romexpo and left to children - and to those with a child soul - a sweet memory about the life at the tourism fair.
GoodS and badS
A sign of appreciation should be given to professional events, at this edition more and better organized than ever. e first was “Brand and the online sale, the secret of increase in tourism online sales”, Paralela 45’s conference, held on March 13, a day before the fair, whose goal was not only to promote agency’s image, but to launch a new application for online sale on Iphone (Ipad/smartphone), as well as online payment application. e first day of the fair started with an interesting seminar by J'Info Tours, speaker being Melvin Bocher, blogger from Traveldudes.org. e introduction of Linked2Media followed, a project co-funded by European Union within FP7-SME-2011, and then "Vanessa – a PERFECT colleague" by Perfect Tour. A success was also Iaşi County presentation attended by a number of personalities from Romanian cultural life such as actor Ion Caramitru, writer Dan Lungu, Beatrice Rancea, manager of Iaşi Romanian National Opera, Ioan Holban, manager of „Luceafărul” Children and Youth eatre, poet Emil Brumaru and many others. e booth was inaugurated by Cristian Adomniței, Iaşi County Council President, who has
defined the concept around Iaşi TTR participation and the fact that it "included both tradition, history, monumentalism and youth, energy, future, our slogan being <Iaşi, always young> ". Another interesting event was the raﬄe for tourism press at Malta Travel booth, a prefatory for „Traveler as a job " presentation by blogger Cezar Dumitru, to be hosted on March 23, at Bastilia library tearoom. e second day was marked by General Assembly of ANAT (National Association of Travel Agencies from Romania), when Corina Martin had cede the Presidency of the association to Eximtur’s Lucia Morariu. Elections pressure was fully felt between the booths - pros and cons being thrown left and right according to aﬃliation of the opinionist to a side or another. Encouraging was the strong presence at "Development of health resorts in the context of relations between investors and authorities" seminar held on the same day by OPTBR (e Organization of Spa Owners in Romania). Sad was only the reason behind the suddenly increased interest in the fate of Romanian health tourism – the attendance at the event of Minister Maria Grapini.
ere have been several other successful events which we could talk about another time. In brief, despite its goods or bads, TTR2013 engaged the visitors. It was diﬀerent, maybe in a twisted way, but certainly diﬀerent. In figures, current edition of TTR meant 275 exhibitors, around 30,000 visitors, and over 12 million euro sold packages (according to representatives of ANAT). In a few words, TTR 2013 was defined by: - 15,000 sqm. exhibition surface; - 275 exhibitors, 180 from Romania and 75 from abroad; - 12 promotional organizations and institutions from various regions of Romania such as Maramureș, Iași, Suceava, Dâmboviţa, Tulcea, Buzău, Alba, Hunedoara, Black Sea, Amara, Băile Herculane, Prahova, Brașov, Bucovina, Sighișoara, Sibiu, Râșnov, Gorj, Danube Delta. - 8 foreign oﬃcial oﬃces from Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia, Tunisia, Cyprus, Moldova Republic, Greece Tourism Regional Authority - over 30,000 visitors in four days of fair (March 14 to 17, 2013) What else to say about TTR2013? We look, of course, for the 30th edition!
witzerland is a tourist destination for over two hundred years. First to discover it were the British alpinists who conquered Jungfrau and Finsteraarhorn peaks, in 1811 and 1812. e fame of the country was due to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and to Johanna Spyri’ Heidi - a novel to inspire not less than 20 film productions. All these, along with good reputation of banks, jewelry and watches, with yodels and traditional horns appeal, with fascination of countless customs and traditions have survived to today giving the unique value of Swiss travel experience. omas Cook and Lunn Travel were the first to organize tours in Switzerland in the nineteenth century. Pretty much in the same period Romanians discovered Switzerland, because trip to less explored places was sleek. Historian Nicolae Iorga claimed to be one of the first Romanians to reach the heights of Swiss Alps. Later, destination Switzerland became popular among rich Romanians and began to record higher tourist traﬃc. Tourist traﬃc in 2012: falls and their reasons However, the number of Romanian tourists arrivals in Switzerland went down by 1.5% in 2012 compared to 2011, from 30,523 to 30,079 people, while the average duration of their stay went down to 2.7 days. e overnights of these tourists fell by 7.6% last year to 2011, from 86,785 to 80,182 people. Romanians were mostly attracted by Zurich region, by Graubünden Romans canton (on the border between Italy, Austria and Lichtenstein) and by French canton of Valais. e main reasons for these preferences were tourist attractions, proximity to the rest of Central Europe and a good infrastructure. Generally speaking, the balance of overnights in Swiss hotels had a deficit of 2% in 2012, compared to 2011 (-720,000 overnights), 34.8 million overnights being recorded. Even the overnights of Swiss loyal customers were down
by 0.4% (-62,000 overnights), 15,690,035 overnight stays being observed. e foreign guests marked 19.1 million overnights, meaning a decrease of 3.3% (658,000 overnights) in the overnights of European tourists facing the decline in the Euro zone. A decline of 583,000 overnight stays (-11%) was noticed from Germany, the number one supplier of foreign tourists for Switzerland. However, increase was recorded from China (+23.4%/ 835,699 overnights) Gulf countries (23.9%/ 518,838 overnights), Russia (+9.3%/ 561,490 overnights) and South Asia (+13.8%/ 352,616 overnights). Overall, the number of arrivals increased by 0.4%, the average duration of stay shrunk to 2.1 days (2011: 2.2 days), while the generated revenue depended on variations in currency exchange. e average duration of stay was 2 days (as in 2011) for domestic tourists, but it fell to 2.2 days for foreign tourists (2.3 in 2011). e longest duration of stay was observed in Graubünden - 2.9 days -, while Fribourg recorded the shortest duration 1.7 days. e deepest falls were observed in March and June, summer being not the most important period for Swiss tourism. However, it is interesting to note that these falls were counterbalanced by increases during the winter season. Hospitality: an ever changing landscape For an overview of the hospitality market in Switzerland a return in time is required, to the 1950s, when the destination was in the top 5 worldwide due to heavy tourist traﬃc. e numerous accommodation structures built since, in the most picturesque areas of the country, have been severely aﬀected by globalization. eir budgets are incompatible with massive promotion required by modern marketing. In 2011, 4,967 hotels and hostels were registered in Switzerland providing a total of 128,000 rooms, while in 2012 other 36 properties were in various stages of construction.
market Profile: Switzerland
RESEARCH 14% of these structures are located in Grisons, 12% in Valais and Eastern Switzerland, 11% in Central Switzerland and 9% in Bernese Oberland.Challenges were automatically reflected by rates, the ADR (average daily rate), for instance, increasing by an average of 50 Euro from 2007 to 2011. From the accommodation perspective, the most expensive destination remains Geneva, followed by Zurich and Bern. is trend aﬀected revenue from tourism, the contribution of tourism to GDP dropping by 0.5% over the past five years. And this is not just good news for Switzerland. Since Swiss Law does not allow the acquisition of properties by non-residents, the chance for the volume of investments in the hospitality industry to grow spectacularly is limited. us, according to the Swiss Federal Oﬃce for Statistics, the number of registered hotels fell by 10% between 2001 and 2012, while the number of rooms rose by 2.7% (an average of 51 beds/ hotel), a trend revealing a significant resize in the surface assigned to a room. On that account, it is not a surprize that 60% of the hotels are not classified, according to Swiss Hospitality Association, and only 11% of hotels are aﬃliated to a reputable chain, 8.4% being classified at 4 stars, and 1.7% at 5 stars. Profile of Romanian tourist in Switzerland He prefers quality 4 and 5 stars hotels, and is not very cautious with costs. However, he wants the best value money can buy. He is educated and prefers to combine mountain and ski with urban/ cultural / educational experiences. He informs himslef about destination before choosing it,
while the average budget he spends in winter in Switzerland, as extra, is somewhere between 10001500 euro. Future and its trends According to Jürg Schmid, manager of Schweiz Tourismus, future marketing eﬀorts of the national tourism oﬃce will "focus on nearby markets with substantial volumes of customers and massive presence, while we will direct our commitment to remote markets , certainly with rapid growth. " Switzerland intends to gain a significant market share by focusing on Brazil, China, the Gulf States, India, Korea, Russia and South-East Asia, through additional routes, marketing country's top objectives in less known regions, promoting individual or single-destination trips (for example, trips only Switzerland). Switzerland puts high hopes on China to reach 2 million overnights from Chinese tourists by 2022, according to Jürg Schmid. Moreover, such a traﬃc would position China on the 3rd place in the top of tourists’ suppliers to Switzerland, after Switzerland and Germany, but ahead of the United States, Britain and France. "ere is no simple recipe to successfully meet the challenges. Nevertheless, there are two key ingredients: investment in quality and eﬀective involvement in meeting the needs of guests", said the manager of SchweizTourismus. Strategic objectives set by Switzerland to 2022: - reinforcement of leisure tourism alongside tourism promotion of alpine areas and rural toursim, launching also "Outdoor. Swiss made" campaign;
- diversification of travel programs to create a new demand exclusively focused on Swiss market; - if a Swiss tourism product is expensive, then it should be worth the invested money; to be diﬀerent and of high quality. Switzerland could never be marketed through price as an accessible destination, but could convince tourists that expensive means, in fact, of great value; - support for Swiss tour operators in their struggle to cut production costs; - support for the Swiss hotels to build a good reputation by creating "e friendliest hotel in Switzerland" Award. It will be granted for the first time in Bern on May 28, 2013, on the occasion of the XVIth edition of Schweizer Ferientags, the Swiss Tourism Fair. Schweiz Tourismus launched - for the first time for a national tourism authority - an application TrustYou (www.trustyou.com/?lang=de), which collects information from over 250 websites and aggregates tourists reviews on Swiss hotels. us, complete transparency is provided, and a good reputation for the destination. In order to boost business travel, Schweiz Tourismus launched also a product called "Inspirational Hotels" to allow corporate customers to choose their perfect destination for business in Switzerland. At the time this article is printed, April 2013, Schweiz Tourismus released already, the "Outdoor. Swiss made" to promote over 60,000 marked hiking trails, combined with over 30,000 km of hiking trails, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing and roller skating. What impact will it have on long-term on the growth of tourist traﬃc we will see in the months to come.
Copyright by: Switzerland tourism - By-line: swiss-image.ch/Stefan Hunziker
Globetrotter on the Silk Road/ Uzbekistan
oN tHE FootStEPS oF FASCiNAtiNG An exceptional itinerary from where I just returned:
Bucharest - Taskent – Khiva – Buhara –
Fascination of this cosmic personality - known as TAMERLAN - swinging between the raw warrior who made tabula rasa whole cities mercilessly killing the conquered population, and the great supporter of arts, architecture and literature-, excites even
About journey. After more than 4,000 km of comfortable flight via Istanbul - just fly with Boeing or Airbus? - , you reach Tashkent, former Soviet Central Asia. Uzbeks’ Capital - the heart of Central Asia - is today surprisingly green with wide streets and boulevards and plenty of commercials rather Westerner with many modern buildings, attractive parks and tourism objectives. If you have with you a professional guide – as it was mine! -, the feeling that you actually stepped with the right legg into Salam Aleikum world is complete! I also remember the Old City with well maintained mosques and madrasas. Outside the subway - also renewed and, more recently, guarded - it was hard for me to recognize Tashkent with toneless blocks I have left behind 25 years ago. At that moment I have visited four countries in the region. And I preserve beautifull memories about unique historical and cultural objectives I visited. All monuments in Uzbekistan have custodians, and local handicraftsmen are placed in their vicinity to produce various items for sale. I had to choose between road and rail, and coach was the best option, since I had used the railway previously. It was both a pragmatic and an eﬃcient choice, even if in some areas roads did not excel in quality. It is worth to mention the quasi-military order of the railways: trains with large wagons on fully Superlite way, with conductors to each wagon; fences around the entire network including the stations;
impressive buildings with a control system similar to the one in the airports. By choosing the coach, I reduced the discomfort of transfers to/ from the rail station, the bureaucracy and the routine checks, with the advantage of flexible visitation schedule according to weather.
First super-objective: the ancient Khiva. We covered more than 1,100 km from Tashkent in only 1 h 20', in the modern Airbus of Uzbek Air flying from Urgench, plus a 30 minutes transfer by minibus. We had a full day of tours to newly renovated objectives trade, architecture, irrigation systems in the desert, ceramics, arts, state organization, harems - accompanied by Saida, our excellent guide. We also socialized with locals peeking into a world of fabulous privacy. e city, with a history begining in the 6th century, consists of two parts: the Outer City, protected by a wall with 11 gates, and the Inner City, built in the 10th century. ere are over 250 historic monuments so that I mention Sheik Mukhtar-Vali Complex, Djuma Mosque etc.
tiMUr lENK AND HiS DYNAStY
by DR. PETRE BALAŞ
Samarkand – Shakhrizab (Timur ) – Taskent – Bucharest
today those eager to unravel the mysteries of glorious times that marked the history of mankind. His dynasty – his known bloodline- covers a period of nearly three centuries (1336-1605).
Other targets of the journey - the famous Bukhara, Samarkand, Shahrizab – that we visited onboard of a new and modern Midi Hager Bus, made in Australia. Board attendants were Rihana, Surat, others - always hardworking and competent.
Samarkand (Samarqand), founded in 700 BC, key point on th Silk Road between China and the West, became the capital of the vast empire of Timur / Tamerlan in the 14th century (UNESCO site since 2001). Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Registan, the ancient center of the city oftenly sought by visitors, Mausoleum of the Emperor, Gur-el-Amir, Samarkand Observatory, built by astronomer Ulugh Beg, the famous grandson of Timur, who has also built three madrasas, are just a few monuments to visit. Shakhrisab, UNESCO site, is a place 50 km away of Samarkand, famous as birthplace of Timur; Ak-Saray Palace and Jahongir Mausoleum, the 14th-15th centuries, are impressive to visit.
Buhara (Buxoro), founded in 600 BC, one of the first centers of world civilization, located on the famous Silk Road; its historic center was declared UNESCO site. Po-i-Kalan Complex consisting of a mosque, minaret and madrasa, Samani Mausoleum, and Bukhara Fortress could be visited among others. Term of „madrasa” usually means an Islamic religious school, university, college or secondary school attached to a mosque, or even a part of it. In some madrasas spaces to accommodate students could be found. Most residents are of Persian/ Tajik origin; until 1920 a large Hebrew community was in the area, but they emigrated to Israel and the U.S. during the Soviet regime.
Souqs from Taskent, Samarkand, Buhara etc.– are famous, wellorganized, clean, with a huge range of products. ey are part of the city life for hundreds of years. We noticed the wealth of fruits and vegetables as well as handicrafts – and have to mention the famous dried fruits sold in attractive light packages.
EXCLUSIVE trendS in national medical touriSm market - interview with Andrei răzvan Nacea, managing director Seytour international Corporation -
-Dear Răzvan, since Romanian medical system is near collapse, more and more patients try to find a medical solution to hospitals abroad. I assume that you agree with this statement. Which trends were noticed in recent years ( 2012 – 2013) on the outbound medical tourism? -It is sad, but true. Any Romanian has the right to receive at least decent health care, but it seems that every day Romanian medical system receives a hit felt directly by all Romanian patients. We have never denigrated the image of Romanian system. On the contrary. I have praised all over the world the doctors from Romania, which unfortunately do not have the necessary equipment and logistics. Furthermore, we promote hospitals and clinics in Romania for foreign patients. It is true that each forest has its own dead wood, but I do not think we should generalize. e system is sick, but if we put salt on the wound and we only point fingers waiting for everything to be self resolved, we do more harm. Since I travel seven months/ year I can say that Romania is suﬀering from a terrible image in civilized countries, an image that has deteriorated in recent years. e media does its job and brings out what is wrong. It's not a bad thing, but often we overreac, foreign press takes over the information, and then we wonder why foreigners do not come to visit our country. Now, returning to your question, as ANAT spokesman for health tourism I can not give you the oﬃcial figures for this year, yet. But I can tell you that - during January - April 2013 - there was an increase in requests for investigations and interventions abroad, compared to the same period last year. Romania loses more ground in terms of confidence in health services due to recent malpractice and medical fraud events. In fact, the Romanian medical system is a shaky house that stands to fall on innocent people. We have patched here and there, we gave a paint, but is vulnerable. It is well known that is much harder and cost you more to renovate a badly built house than to make a new one. ere are so many initiatives. We have even master plans to save the situation. But they will take time and will bring higher costs to the state budget.
- What average duration requires this type of stay and how big could be the related average costs? -is year we found out that we take less care of stays, of medical vacations, and more of detailed scheduling and planning complex interventions for people who do not think about vacation and relaxation, but how to get healthy. Now, I answer to this interview from Istanbul, where I am with 2 kids who will enter the surgery for aortic aneurysm, complex interventions that could not be executed in Romania. In the begining of our activity, we received many requests for surgery in Austria, which was a brand due to the president of the country. Now, however, more and more choose Istanbul. Just 50 minutes of flight and you are welcomed at the airport by a Romanian translator. You are transferred to the hotel and clinic where you benefit of top medical services and have accommodation provided (both for patients and caregivers). You are seen by a Professor Doctor of Medicine at prices well below Austria and Germany. We collaborate only with hospitals and doctors that put the patient's interest first. Most of the patients are discharged within 2-3 days after complex interventions (cancers, tumors, transplants). us hospital costs are significantly reduced and the patient goes home on his own feet after 3-4 days. A cataract surgery in Hungary, in a state hospital where patient is operated by the head of department (University Professor), costs about Euro 800. Accommodation (own suite), meals, permanent medical assistance and Romanian translator are included in this amount. e surgery uses high quality American crystalline. -Which are the most common diseases of those who use medical tourism? -Congenital malformations, trauma after crashes, cataracts, astigmatism, cancers, tumors. Applications are of all kinds and, unfortunately, many are serious. I want very much to live the day when Romanians will really go for medical tourism and will have a culture of medical examinations. Now I live only the day when most of the patients come to us too late,
by Anne-Mary NECHITA
“ … Romanian medical system is a shaky house that stands to fall on innocent people”
ANDrEi răZvAN NACEA, MANAGiNG DirECtor SEYtoUr iNtErNAtioNAl CorPorAtioN
and very little could be done. -Summing up the above, the experts in global tourism try for some time to define the profile of medical tourism consumer. More or less successful, of course. If we try to define Romanian medical tourism consumer, which elements should we take into account?
people reading the above words, an inbound element as well. Why foreign patients come to Romania? Which disease are treated here? Has our country any competitive advantage over other destinations? -As long as there is „tourism” after the word „medical”, there will be both incoming and outgoing components, although it does not sound very academic or very medical. Foreign patients still come to Romania despite
-Sick, coming late to investigations and does not have a culture of regular medical check ups. -e world's most requests for this type of tourism are geared to India, ailand and the United States, says the "Medical Tourism Climate Survey 2013" study conducted by International Medical Travel Journal. Which are the main medical tourism destinations Romanians require? -Hungary, Turkey, Austria, Germany, Israel. In that order. -Which criteria use Romanians when have to choose between a clinic or another, between a doctor or another? -We always try to inform Romanian patients when choosing medical services abroad. erefore, the company has highly trained consultants and a whole team of "advisors" doctors. e decision to treat yourself abroad is not an easy one, and it should be considered together with a consultant who knows what he speaks, which is backed by a great team of doctors and well inspected facilities and the credentials for that medical institution. ere is always an assumed risk in each medical procedure. Our goal is to minimize the risks by working only with accredited hospitals and clinics and with certified medical professionals providing the highest standards in healthcare. - "Commission for Quality in Medical Centers" is a project announced on your website http://www.turism-medical.eu. What does it mean? How did the idea appeared? And currently what phase is the project in? -It is true. We announced this project about four years ago when we launched the medical tourism department at Seytour. Maybe you should let your readers know that behind this department stood the ambition and the crazy willingness of our management to not allow other Romanian to go through the troubles we went. I will not go into details, but I can tell you that for years I stayed in various hospitals in the country and abroad, public or private owned institutions, and not because I wanted to visit hospitals to start a business or launch a new market. I do not want anyone to go through what I went with my family. And today we are here to be sure of that. It is sad to say, but we speak from experience. And if I recommend something or one of our consultants does, we know very well what we mean. To work with a medical institution, it must pass through some filters of verification very well implemented by our team. To recommended a medical tourism package or an investigation is not the same as recommending a week in an exotic destination. We have launched a unique franchise for medical tourism and educational advice, but we did not marketed very much this franchise because we did not want to become a tour operator with commercial spaces full of salesmen, but agency with a team of highly skilled consultants and trainers. Training for the two departments takes time, and the new agency can not open the door until there are consultants. We do not need agents to sell, but people to understand that the interest of patients and children you send abroad for investigations/ surgeries/ education comes first. -Medical tourism in Romania involves, as strange as it may seem to some
everything that is going on. But they visit us for dental tourism, eye investigations and treatments and cosmetic/ plastic surgery. As long as they will continue to pay here about 40% of the prices in their home countries, they will continue to come. But we speak about medical tourism: we have the medical side, where we can boast about our extraordinary dentists, famous ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons, but we also need the tourim, meaning three magical words: safety, infrastructure and services. Here we still stay bad. More things need to be done, and following the recent international studies, it appears that safety and trust is the main reason why only a few visit us. One expensive leaf does not make a spring... - How would you define in facts and figures the medical tourism market in Romania?
EXCLUSIVE -According to Insight Market Research Solutions "medical tourism market in Romania amounts to USD 250 million being dominated by spa and wellness services, and could double by 2014 if the public and private sectors will be more involved in development of the infrastructure and in promotion. Market is expected to reach USD 500 million by 2014, and 500,000 tourists ".
-Seytour Medical Tourism is a pioneer on this niche in Romania. You managed to expand your network of travel agents - either with own eﬀorts or through a franchise system. What message you want to convey to travel agencies interested in purchasing a Seytour franchise? Which are the steps they need to follow to become a long-term partner of Seytour? -We have not reinvented the wheel and we have not found a new business. We are successful in what we do because we have a team of consultants that treat very professional a request and try to put themselves into the person's skin: how would you want to be treated when you have a medical problem, what kind of information do you need, how fast do you need them, what to expect from someone who wants to gain my trust to let my child's education on his hand, and how well prepared should he be, which are the benefits for me when consulting ends?
All these questions were carefully studied by us. We already have experience behind. We have a great international team and an extraordinary communication with partners with whom we have managed to build a safer future for Romanians looking for an alternative to medical and educational system here. But I am a convinced optimist and I want my children to live in Romania, a country I am proud of everywhere I go. All our children – because we treat those who have gone to study abroad as our own children - are advised and counseled by a team (which has many years of study and work abroad) to go back and change things here for the better. And thank God, there are many things to be changed for the better. In fact, Romania is a challenge and requires well-trained people to meet the challenges here. Seytour Medical Tourism & Seytour Educational Group Franchise was very well designed to meet patients’/ people's needs first, people who need consulting services in two crucial areas: health and education. Training is a special one, permanent and oﬀered by an international team. We believe that the first 6 months after the opening are months of preparation and investment. We want to grow together as a team, so for the first 6 months the monthly franchise fee is zero. We are only interested in long-run partners. We want to build strong partnerships with people who want to innovate in a complex market where reliability and professionalism should always be at its peak. You can not aﬀord to make mistakes, and if they do occur, they must be corrected immediately and eﬀectively. erefore, training for franchisees is complex and on three diﬀerent departments: travel & events, medical tourism and educational consultancy. - What other news brings 2013 for the agency you represent and for medical tourism in general? - An article revealing that "until October 25, 2013, the EU Member State in which the patient is insured is responsible for reimbursement of the insured person, providing that the treatment received is included among the reimbursable health services in his national law" was recently published. In other words, Casa de Asigurări (the Insurance House) received an ultimatum. It remains to be seen what will happen in the meantime, and how will act the "national law" in favor of Romanian citizens. If the directive will really work for citizens, more people will probably go abroad than now. But it will be a challenge for Romanian medical system. I think it's time a filter to be implemented, and the Romanian medical system to be put on perfusion and treated as it deserves, because the system is also sick, not only Romanians. In fact here is the problem ... And I still want to think I live in a country where Romanians deserve and it's their right to be healthy, and the system able to treat us at European standards, because we entered Europe not only in theory. at is why we have launched at Seytour "Health and Education are rights for all, not privileges" campaign. is year we have again big and ambition projects. Seytour team is growing year by year, but our external partners have remained the same. We do not sell hundreds of destinations, hospitals or educational institutions, and we recommend only those we know personally, those who have been carefully selected and checked. Soon we will launch a unique product in Romania, especially designed for corporations, and we continue to expand internationally. Too many things I can not tell you, because we still work on it, but we continue to innovate in the market, and support those who need us. We welcome all those who need professional consulting services in tourism & events, medical tourism, Swiss hotel management consulting, and always try to exceed the expectations.
EVENT Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
itb berlin 2013 exotic & GrandioSe
lot of opinions were lately released on successes and failures from ITB Berlin 2013, organized between March 6 to March 10, 2013, by Messe Berlin GmbH. Much has been written about how our authorities were uninterested in the eﬀective promotion of Romania, as if this was a novelty and not something that we got acquainted with for more than 20 years. No word on what does it mean to truly participate in the largest tourism fair in continental Europe where all the relevant authorities and industry gather, and where, if you are not present, it is almost considered that you do not exist; no word about fair news and organized events. In the following we will present a diﬀerent kind of ITB, an ITB where professionals have exceeded their limits through innovation and communication. Around the World in... 5 Days If we will have to choose from Romanian vocabulary only three words to describe the atmosphere of the 47th edition of ITB Berlin I would stop at: colorful, exotic and daring. ose 160,000 square meters in 26 halls were flooded by refined and stylish decors which allowed to each of those 10,086 exhibitors from 188 countries to express both uniqueness and aﬃliation to a national brand. Guest of honor, Indonesia - the largest archipelago country and the most populated Muslim country in the world -, was in the eyes of everybody both at the inaugural show and also during the fair. Over 120 Indonesians exhibitors have welcomed visitors with traditional Indonesian coﬀee, local culinary delights and extravagant performances of music, dance and color, a refinement that the words hardly could express it. Visitors who accepted the challenge to wear Balinese costumes, for example, received free tickets to ITB, in the first weekend day. Indonesia, along with Azerbaijan, closed also ITB Berlin 2013, 300 dancers, musicians and artists of various specializations from Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Papua, Jakarta and Java performing with great virtuosity in the suggestively called Festival Delphi. South Sudan – attending ITB for the first time - was also noticed because of culture and lifestyle illustrated by subtle objects made by artisans and craftsmen.Interesting were also the booth of Yemen and Libya, countries returned to ITB Berlin 2013 after an absence of several years. Danube was presented in all its glory from March 6 to
10, seven of the eight riparian countries - Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Moldova - hosting outstanding cultural events. On paper were eight countries, but unfortunately, Romania did not get involved, losing a great promotional opportunity. Europ handled the things, as usual, without Romania. ere were large debates on "Destination Danube - from a political vision to real opportunities for tourism". And a raﬄe was organized for public and buyers, "a cruise on the Danube" being the reward for the winner, holder of a symbolic "Passport to the Danube". For public and professionals alike, the project was a success: bold, funny, creative! A lot of eﬀervescence to Section Pro e possibility to book travel packages directly from travel agencies was an absolute premiere at ITB, an occurrance forgotten by many commentators, 64 tour operators oﬀering from ski packages to cruises, from travel to Vietnam , for example, to safaris. And more than Euro 6 billion in sales were registered at this edition. Perhaps this is an „old” news for Romanian tourism fairs visitors, but for ITB was a novelty stressing out that despite all positive press statements German tourism also faces specific diﬃculties of the period. Other elements that diﬀerentiate the German fair from Romanian counterparts - the first three days are opened for professionals, since 2004 ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations being included in ITB Berlin. It brings together the most important leaders in the tourism industry. e last two days are for reserved for public. Hosted buyers from all over the world are invited by organizers to diﬀerent events and post events, while accredited media - over 6,000 travel journalists and 250 bloggers (from 80 countries) – have the VIP status. 420 speakers, half of them from Germany, have provided information and shared experiences in tourism, politics and society. Good practices in tourism, sustainable tourism, tourism for Muslims, changes in the coaches market and technology as major trend were topics on the agenda for those 200 workshops from ITB 2013. Convention program was clear, concise, and available to all the info point ready to provide further information. Exhibitors did not face any logistics problem, an army of assistants being all time available to help them.
EVENT itb berlin 2013 –
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Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations was divided into specific areas of interest - the world of books, business travel, cruises, cultural tourism, technology, hospitality, e-travel world, adventure and responsible tourism, travel services on mobile, training & employement , trends & events, wellness, youth and - something quite spicy and taboo for us - gay & lesbian travel. eme days were also established - ITB Future Day, ITB Hospitality Day, ITB Marketing and Distribution Day, ITB CSR Day, ITB Destination Days – who did not actually meant calendar days as we perceive them, but a segmentation on themes of each of those three days opened for professionals. Special sections were dedicated to Business Travel Days, an excellent networking opportunity due to two special shows - "Home of Business Travel by ITB & VDR" (VDR - German Business Travel Association) in Hall 7.1a - and - ITB Corporate MICE Lounge by HSMA "in Hall 8.1 – concluded by ITB Berlin Business Travel Forum. From 170,000 visitors to ITB Berlin, 113,000 were professionals interested, according to Christian Goeke, COO Messe Berlin, "to gain a representative and up-to-the-minute overview of the travel industry's entire value chain (...)ey will find growth and niche markets, find information on exploring new markets and ideas for innovative sales strategies". In this respect, a growth of 3-4% in global tourist traﬃc (compared to more than 1 billion tourists reported by UNWTO in 2012) is expected for 2013. e bigger revenues will come from China and Russia , the world's leading suppliers of tourists. Pulse and impulse through travel technology 150 exhibitors (25 countries) from those more than 10,000 were specialized in travel technology, IT services and innovative solutions, ITB presenting the widest range of technology products for travel in the world. Priority topics for them were - the risks and opportunities of social media and mobile networks, eﬃcient travel through eTravel, navigation and mobile travel guides, trends and opportunities in maintaining a constant increase in the number of tourists. For the first time at ITB, eTravel World program was extended by one day, until March 9, including a series of workshops, held on two alternative stages, during which over 50 papers were presented. In-
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
EVENT exotic & GrandioSe
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
Copyright © Messe Berlin GmbH
ternational bloggers came to limelight being invited to attend numerous panel discussions and a networking meeting with exhibitors from the adventure, luxury and family travel - on March 7 and 8. Travel Technology Convention 2013, held on March 6, belonged entirely to PhoCusWright Inc., and was closed up by PhoCusWright New Media Summit, on March 7, both opened for public free of charge. Convention was held in the form of presentations and roundtables, the event's opening monologue being uttered by PhoCusWright Founder Philip C. Wolf. A roundtable on start-ups in tourism and case studies - "Five minutes of fame" – followed. Interesting was a panel moderated by Mona Faraj, a PhoCusWright analyst, having at the background the Amadeus co-sponsored white paper “Middle East Online Travel Overview” by PhoCusWright, which revealed that online bookings grew by one third last year in this region. Among attendants, representatives from the e-commerce side of Marriott International, Cleartrip Travel Services and Google. Since I wrote about Amadeus, presence of this company at ITB Berlin was a success, over 115 meetings taking place in Amadeus Meeting Lounge. Amadeus Germany’s presentations of Amadeus Event Management and Amadeus Social Media Suites, CHECKMYTRIP Premium application, and Amadeus Rail Agent Track - brought for it a nomination at "Best Exhibitor Award" (BEA), category Travel Technology & Media. And yet ... the crisis was felt at ITB Despite the eﬀervescence which embraced Berlin for five days, and promotion of niche tourism, especially gay, at the International Tourism Fair things were not so... pink. e flow of visitors was aﬀected by the crisis from Euro zone. e number of those from Spain, Italy and Greece was down by 1.7%, while less fam trips and post parties were organized. Somehow, the loss was balanced by the larger number of buyers from USA, Middle East and Africa, so that overall the total number of visitors was stable and similar to last year, but signs of concern about European situation continued and continues to persist. About Romania booth... ... crisis on all the line. But, of the dead, nothing unless good!
AVIATION 2013, Year of PortuGal - Since June, tAP Portugal will have six weekly flights to lisbon -
and friendly people, who know very well to keep traditions. e archipelago is divided into three groups of islands: Western group (Flores and Corvo), Central group (Graciosa, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial) and Eastern group (Sao Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas). Gardens and parks with lush vegetation on these islands should not to be omitted from any tour. On the island of Terceira we visited a rural property - Quinta do Martelo - where I felt like at home, in... Transylvania. Nothing modern had to be found on this Quinta aside from tourists’ cars. Azores have also an association of rural tourism with 58 members, who own over 100 properties with 700 beds in eight islands.
In the end of February I attended the Lisbon Tourism Fair BTL - invited by Portuguese airline TAP - and Portugal Bureau of Tourism – travelling with 20 travel agents, journalists and bloggers from Romania. Well, I could not notice that Romanian team was the largest among the hosted buyers. 10% from the entire group was Romanian due to the eﬀorts of Simona Metea, sales manager, TAP Portugal Romania. Portugal has recently become a destination increasingly demanded and promoted on the Romanian market. Tens of thousands of Romanian tourists travel to Portugal every year, but the current increase is due to Portuguese airline entry on the Romanian market in the middle of last year. According to Simona Metea if winter program has three weekly flights Bucharest - Lisbon and return , the summer program (starting in June) will have six weekly flights. We recall that TAP’s load factor was... 90% in the first three months of activity (July-September 2012). Most of Romanians choose today city breaks to Lisbon combined with local tours to Sintra, Cascais, Estoril, Fatima (the famous monastery where Virgin Mary’ advent occurred).
On the coast, there are travel oﬀers for Algarve (southern Portugal) while the Island of Madeira is also among Romanians preferences. But Portugal has much more to oﬀer. Famous Porto is located in the North, a wine region that, according to oﬃcial authorities, received last year between 2,000 and 3,000 Romanians fond of cultural and wine tourism. Most tourists who choose Portugal come from France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Japan, but Romania will also increase in the years to follow. e Archipelago of the Azores is a destination that will be more promoted on the Romanian market: nine volcanic islands in the middle of Atlantic Ocean, 1,500 km from Lisbon. I attended a BTL Lisbon post-tour on two islands of Azores: Terceira and Sao Miguel. I flew with SATA Azores airline, a TAP partner. Azores are volcanic islands, stretching over an area of ... 1,000 kilometers. e total area of Azores economic region with ocean included is 420,000 square kilometers, more than Romania. Pretty much, if not ... enormous. e population is about 250,000 inhabitants. e islands are full of vegetation, flowers, and inhabited by humble
Another important Portuguese destination is the archipelago of Madeira better known by Romanian tourists, which received a million tourists and 600,000 cruise tourists last year. e main island is a demanded MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Congresses & Events) destination that hosted eight international congresses last year, and 14 in 2011. Madeira maximum capacity for events is 2,400 beds. Maybe is a reason behind the fact that TAP and Portuguese National Tourism Oﬃce decided to declare 2013 as the "Year of Portugal" for Romania. Taking into account both the development of new flights and the oﬀers of travel agencies, it may be true...
.I. M E C.
how to make moneY from m.i.c.e. by Radu Cimponeriu
few days an article published in one of the most important MICE websites of the industry caught my attention. A dry article, full of figures, without any tags, with a shocking title: "e delegates spent 40 billion pounds in the UK, according to an impact survey." Everyone knows the UK is mother and father of MICE industry, but to find out that a European country succeeds to account a plus in the middle of economic crisis (the report refers to 2011) -, an amount two times higher than the borrowings of Romania from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) is an information to cause health problems... And it's not just that. e simple fact that an impact survey was especially released for the events industry - for the first time in the UK! - is a barometer of the importance given to the field and of the seriousness in treating MICE activities. e consortium who has initiated and led that survey consists of some of the most important players on the international MICE market, while its actual implementation was carried out by the prestigious International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) under Leeds Metropolitan University. Funding was in charge of sponsors and operators in the field, who were able to invest USD 250,000 to conduct the study and publish the results. What I found quite remarkable was the purpose behind this endeavor. e representative of one of the companies involved said shortly before the presentation of partial results during Confex 2013 London, an international exhibition in the field: "We constantly fought to prove the value of meetings and events as well and their contribution to the UK economy. is study will give us a much stronger measure of this sector impact and will help us to find more support among government, destinations and operators, both for future investment and in the process of attracting new events". Some relevant figures: more than 1.3 million events attended by 116.1 million people and held in 10,127 locations throughout the UK. Many other important statistical information about the structure of events, duration, seasonality, etc. are also included. I allow myself to dwell a little on three aspects, the first financial, the second of a strategic nature and the third revealing a certain type of professional behavior. Costs taken into account per participant include
all types of quantifiable spendings (accommodation, meals, access fee - which includes the costs of organization - international and domestic transport, attendance to tourism programs or social events, sponsorships). Contiguous individual spendings (shopping, visits to museums and other targets outside of organized programs, etc) are not included. ose nearly 40 billion pounds spent by participants in the events are structured as follows: 21.3 billion come from British participants, 10.8 billion was spent by foreign participants and 7.7 billion by participants’ companions. If about the amount coming from the Brits we can say that, somehow, it was taken from a pocket and put into another (but a significant part went to government in the form of taxes), the things are diﬀerent when discussing amounts from foreign participants and their companions. Here we have a significant amount (probably around 14 billion pounds if we take into account some of companions) that ENTERED the British national economy after delegates from other countries attended events in the UK. at is more than the aggregated budgets for 2013 of Education, Labor, Health, Defense, Interior and Administration ministries from Romania. It is not a comparison, it is just a reality. Sad for us. And we talk about 2011 a preOlympic year with a good part of London under the siege of builders and modernization. I look with great interest for the results of 2012 survey which will include revenues from the Olympics... e second issue I would like to raise is the structure of "customers", those generating the events. Statistically, it is as follows: 81% of all events were organized for corporate segment, 6.3% for associative, 5.2% for non - profit organizations and only 4% for government authorities and other public institutions. Without daring again - a comparison and keeping the proportions of MICE phenomenon (both in size and scope of understanding), I can not stop noticing - even in the absence of a similar survey for MICE market in Romania - that the above percentages are inside out in our country. Public institutions, especially through EU funding, are major client causing events. e most important international meetings organized in Romania were generated or attracted by various government institutions. e few exceptions merely confirm the rule. In such cases, a large part of participants’ expenses are borne by the state budget. I' m not saying this is bad, quite the contrary, since it generates a circulation of money in
the economy - with the appropriate return on budget - and that they are added substantial amounts that paid for services directly by participants. I am only worried that for years MICE business in Romania, on international events segment is therefore a repercussive activity, not one strategically organized as it should be. Attracting important meetings, participation with competitive oﬀers in international tenders are the engine of any eﬃcient MICE activity. Unacquaintance with elementary mechanisms in the field, carelessness, inconsequent interests or lack of professionalism in addressing opportunities led, over the years, at loosing many occasions and chokeing the few initiatives of some enthusiasts. It is good to be realistic: we can not achieve the level of performance mentioned in the first part of this article. But this does not mean we can not do much more than we do now. And perhaps the starting point should be a serious research on the field to know exactly where we are... is leads me to the third point I wanted to emphasize. e impact survey conducted in the UK could be achieved both due to methods and methodology adopted by authors and the professional, prompt and very open response of those more than 3,600 people asked to provide data on events in which organization they were involved in a way or another. 15 years ago I have had the opportunity to coordinate an attempt to achieve a similar survey on Romanian MICE market, under the umbrella of the newly founded (at that time) Romanian Convention Bureau. Perhaps it is useless to mention that it was a voluntary action and there was no funding. But this is not the most important. We, the few enthusiasts who worked on the project, were very happy that finally managed to have about 150 respondents, and an approximate mirror of the general features at that time describing Romanian MICE market. I have often asked myself - then and later – where comes from the massive reluctance to provide information about past events. I have also wondered why some actors in the field overassess their contribution to the organization of some meetings. I found some answers to both questions. I would like to confront them with your answers, answers of those with patience to read these lines and to whom I address this invitation. Pending receipt of your replies, I am convinced that not only Brits can make money from MICE, but we also can. Hardly, but we can...
U.S. Correspondence from Simon Buia
miami beach - whY not? Miami and Miami Beach are perhaps the most exotic places in the United States, while Florida is the Paradise on Earth! Warm weather all year round made it also the ideal place for retired people from the U.S. and Canada who bought houses or apartments at acceptable prices (until recently). In the meantime, prices went up, tax on oceanfront buildings tripled. Despite all these, tourists fleeing the winter cold between October and the end of March find here a place in the sun at honorable prices. East Coast is bathed by the Atlantic. West Coast is washed by the Gulf of Mexico. Numberless nature reserves - full of rare birds and subtropical vegetation, pristine lakes where many fish and/ or swim, attractive cities such as Miami to South, Jacksonville to North East, Orlando in the centre make Florida an absolutely recommended destination, especially in winter months. I should also mention the vast, clean, and guarded by police beaches where you could feel very, very good. I arrived in Miami with Air Berlin via Dusseldorf. From the airport I took a bus to Miami Beach paying a 2 USD ticket. In 70 minutes I have reached the booked hotel, Tropics, on Collins Avenue, which I do not I recommend. e plane ticket cost me Euro 160 for Bucharest – Dusseldorf - Bucharest and Euro 469 for Dusseldorf -Miami - Dusseldorf. I spent seven weeks in Florida, and a full moon in Miami and Miami Beach. Many do not know, but Miami is the modern city, full of life and business, while Miami Beach is a phalanx of the city to the Atlantic Ocean, actually linked by two broad bridges. People relax cycle, jog, swim, surf, and party all night long in Miami Beach. All in all, they feel good. A large gay community is located in the city having "their" hotels and bars, but where access is allowed also or heterosexuals without discrimination. Miami Beach is dominated by a few high hotels - not very high and not too many -, and small buildings where locals live surrounded by palm trees and other exotic plants. Calm, peace and respect on the streets. As a pedestrian, you do not hear a horn, and nobody assaults you even if crossing the street on red
light. Accommodation in hotels is not necessarily expensive if you stay longer. I made a mistake by booking on booking.com and paying for two weeks the amount „displayed” on the monitor because reaching the spot I found much cheaper to call the hotel and ask for the "Weekly rates". Americans are used to pay the rent weekly, not monthly as we do. Hence, if you stay a full week you pay with 20-30% less than if you stay and pay 7 days... For instance, I have paid 89 USD/ night the hotel for two weeks, when my booking.com had cost me 1,246 USD/ two weeks. If
library, Bass Museum of Art is located housing paintings by famous European authors, and contemporary art. Access fee is 8 USD/adult, while for kids up to 6 yo is free. What could you do in the evenings? Well, you could walk through the stunning buildings in the Art Deco district. Florida is also known as "e American Riviera and Art Deco Playground." Over 800 historic buildings from the 1920s, 30 and 40, containing an impressive variety of styles - make the delight of any evening walk and photographic snapshot. Of course, they are just as interesting at the daytime, but in the evening the commercials of hotels are lighted.
After this walk, I recommend a promenade on the generous Lincoln Road. It is full of restaurants. I was happy to discover NEXXT, a Mexican restaurant where for a dinner & a drink I had to pay only 30 USD, tips included. If you are fond of shopping, take the bus from Miami Beach (Public Transport) for 2 USD and go to Aventura Mall, where you can linger the whole day through dozens of shops ... Copyright: www.Simion Buia.ro Miami Beach is, after all, a special place due to excesses! e I would have call the hotel , it would have cost cars look like "in the movies" - tuned, big, old, me only 900 USD/ two weeks because "the but superbly reconditioned, or new and huge; weekly rate" was 450 USD. Another important men are almost all packages of muscles as the detail: state tax is added to all prices, and it is models from the bodybuilding magazines. And 13% in Florida. is tax does not appear in the restaurants try to draw customers through live total amount from booking.com, so pay atten- music or typical "American" shows with stage and males/ females dancing madly on devilish tion! You do not have to have a bunch of rhythms. ere are also "soft" places for late Romoney to feel good in Miami Beach. Young peo- mantics who do not enjoy the noise and where ple can be accommodated in Hostels, in the so- somebody plays the piano eventualy. I end up this material written in South called dormitory with kitchen, shower, hot water, comfortable beds. And all for only 20 Beach with the proposal to visit Biltmore Hotel, USD/ day. I lived in a Miami Beach Hostel, too. in Miami - Coral Gables. It was built in 1926 by I enjoyed the shade of the inner garden at mid- Joyn Bowman, as a small architectural masterday; the nearby Publics store, the size of Car- piece. e price for a standard room begins with refour, where I provided myself with food to 315 USD / night. e hotel had the largest cook in the fully equipped and clean kitchen of swimming pool in the world, and hosted among the hostel; and the free WiFi to chat with FB others famous guests such as Judy Garland, Babe friends. ere is a not very large but a quite Ok Ruth and Al Capone. At that time, Johnny bookstore in Miami Beach: Public Library. In- Weissmuller, world champion from Timisoara, side, you can read a book or check your emails Romania, later discovered and turned into movie - away from the midday heat and blessed by the character "Tarzan", was hotel swimming instrucpleasant air conditioning - since a few computers tor. with free WIFI are available. In the vicinity of the
Copyright: www.Simion Buia.ro
Copyright: www.Simion Buia.ro
mYSterY ShoPPer Mystery Shoppers visited two agencies in Bucharest and selected an online site chosen by a random search ON Google, selection criteria being the "A summer 2013 stay in Bodrum."
Goal Mystery Shoppers required a 7-night stay in Bodrum, Turkey, for two people - mother and son. Budget around Euro 1,500.
Copyright: Ad Meskens
essentials : Budget : 1,500 Euro
an adult +1 child age 7
attention ! Purpose of our Mystery Shopper is not to defame or prize a travel agency or a particular travel agent, but to actually help the industry to improve their selling tech-
niques in the current increasingly fierce competition. In this regard, Travel Advisor magazine hires monthly, on a rotating basis, a team of Mystery Shoppers to simulate a real processes of booking. Data on their iden-
Destination : Bodrum
tity will not be revealed, but we can add that they are experienced Mystery Shoppers. e research consider first impression, kindness and travel agent’s interest, the actual sales process, if the agency oﬀer
meets the client's budget and if they oﬀer a bonus to persuade the customer to buy. Subsequently, Mystery Shoppers are asked their opinion on the services of agency / website and if they would choose it as a holiday provider in the real life.
d.t.S. travel aGencY
X First impression
X First impression
X First impression
V interest in Consulting
V interest in Consulting
V interest in Consulting
V Sales Process
V Sales Process
V Sales Process
V offer fits the Budget
V offer fits the Budget
V offer fits the Budget
this month: oﬄine vs online D.T.S. TRAVEL AGENCY
Str. Petre Ispirescu no. 2, Bucharest, Romania
Bdul I-G Duca No. 1-3, Bucharest, Romania
I easily found the entrance to the agency, but I
I found Maria Transport quite easy in Chirigi Square. Near the crossroad, in a courtyard with open gates I saw a bus and a few drivers around speaking Turkish language. I greeted them and asked how to get to Marina Travel. One of the drivers jumped quickly to help me and with a very natural politeness invited me to follow him in the travel oﬃce. e trave agent I met inside invited me to sit, while the driver rushed to bring me a cup of coﬀee and a glass of water, even if I did not request one. I talked to travel agent who explained to me that the real travel agency is located in Gara de Nord area, and that at Chirigi Square was only their transport oﬃce. However, she was nice to guide me with some information. I briefly explained to her what I was looking for, she asked me what kind of transport I was looking for, and immediately made some suggestions for me. Later, she told me some interesting things about Bodrum. At the end of the discussion – she handed me a card with contact details for Marina Travel where to continue the discussion with specialized travel agents, expressed her hope to be their customer and said to me a very friendly good-bye. On my way out, the Turkish driver opened the door for me and politely saluted. I discovered the travel agency in Bdul I. Duca extremely easy. And I was happy to see that the kindness and hospitality of Turkish people was to be find there as well. e travel agents from Marina Travel confirmed the oﬀer, and asked for my phone number to come back to me if they had more or better oﬀers. Finally, I was greeted very friendly and a travel agent accompanied me toward the exit.
e website design is simple, clean and information extremely readable. Social network icons appear in a superior menu, slightly to the right being displayed the traditional contact data. e main menu, inserted below, reveals destinations, oﬀers, photos and info about account creation. I went deeper into the site, searching an oﬀer to match my criteria and ... I found a list of holidays and a lot of hotels. When I accessed the desired pages I found the oﬀers accompanied by adestination miniguide, by a list of tourist objectives and pictures, and the detailed oﬀer. Since for each oﬀer a travel agency was assigned I looked for their profile and noticed that some could be contacted by chat (Yahoo Messenger) or through an application form. I chose Time Gate travel agency, and since no representative was online, I looked for another oﬀer, from eda Travel Management, to fit my budget. I contacted the agency on Yahoo Messenger and, to my surprise, I have got an immediate response. e information eda agent oﬀered matched my requirements. And additional resources - on selected hotels, the arrival airport, and Bodrum, in general - were indicated to me. e discussion ended on a friendly tone, the agent inviting me to re-contact him upon my decision.
was unpleasantly surprised to see a lot of banners indicating there a center to fill printer cartridges and a dentist oﬃce. I cautiously entered the building, and a spiral staircase was immediately opened in front of my eyes. I carefully climbed the stairs, and to the right I saw a door marked with „Dental Travel Services”. I walked shyly because I did not know if it was a door of a travel agency or a dentist oﬃce. Inside I saw two travel agents who invited me with goodhumor to „enter with courage, take a sit and get to the point”. I had the pleasant surprise to be welcomed with a smile and adviced with high interest. Two 5-star hotels in Bodrum meeting my criteria were kindly suggested to me. e travel agent introduced the agency website to me, and showed to me some photos of those hotels and prices for various periods. Subsequently, the agent wrote the names and the total price for those two hotels on a sticker, and handed the sticker to me accompanied by the agency card. She also invited me to contact the agency for any further information. In the end, I saluted the two agents and they answered politely.
winner of the month
marina travel (& marina tranSPort) This month's winner withstood the other competitors by a highly professional behavior. Our Mystery Shopper went happy out of this agency wishing to revisit it in real life due to the empathy towards customer needs, and hospitality proved by its employees. DTS and www.turistik.ro performed also good, both coming on the second position. The competition was nip and tuck, all agents acting in a professional manner. Sincere congratulations!
HotEl NEWS Leonardo Hotels took over 20 hotels in Germany A few days ago, Leonardo Hotels, part of the Israeli company Fattal Hotels, took over 20 hotels from Queens Moat Houses Holding GmbH Germany, located in Berlin, Munchen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Köln, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Wolfsburg, Mannheim, Hanovra, Baden-Baden, Aachen, Monchengladbach and Karlsruhe.15 among them were previously operated as Holiday Inn Hotels, 4 under Best Western Hotels and 1 under Queens Hotel. e new portfolio includes over 3,600 rooms, 28 bars, 29 restaurants and 154 conference rooms with a total surface of 9,675m². According to Daniel Roger, General Manager of Leonardo Hotels Europe, "With the take-over, we are now represented in 20 cities. is way, we can oﬀer our guests an expanded range at Leonardo’s usual high standard". An investment plan was defined for the new portfolio and is being implemented this year. e recent acquisition increases Fattal Hotels Group portfolio to 84 hotels, with over 16,000 rooms, 53 hotels and 8,449 rooms being located in Europe (Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary and Germany), and 31 hotels with 7,600 rooms in Israel. With the acquisition of QMH portfolio, Fattal Hotels manages 44 hotels in 20 cities in Germany. David Fattal, CEO Fattal Hotels / Leonardo Hotels claims the took over is not an ending point, "We want to continue to grow and negotiate projects in major European cities". In this context, the former Holiday Inn Düsseldorf City Centre-Konigsallee and former Best Western Queens Hotel Baden-Baden will be rebranded as Leonardo Royal Hotels. e reconstruction, necessary for this purpose, will follow designer Andreas Neudahm’s projects. Here is the list of those 20 properties, and the names they will be operated under: Berlin: Best Western Queens Hotel Berlin City West will be Leonardo Hotel Berlin City West Dusseldorf: Holiday Inn Dusseldorf City Centre-Konigsallee will be Leonardo Royal Hotel Dusseldorf Konigsallee: Holiday Inn Dusseldorf will be Leonardo Hotel Dusseldorf City Center Koln: Holiday Inn Koln - Am Stadtwald will be Leonardo Hotel Koln - Am Stadtwald Holiday Inn Koln-Bonn Airport will be Leonardo Hotel Koln Airport Hamburg: Best Western Queens Hotel Hamburg will beLeonardo Hotel Hamburg City Nord Heidelberg: Holiday Inn Heidelberg will be Leonardo Hotel Heidelberg Hannover: Queens Hotel Hannover will beLeonardo Hotel Hannover Holiday Inn Hannover Airport will be Leonardo Hotel Hannover Airport Baden-Baden: Best Western Queens Hotel Baden-Baden will be Leonardo Royal Hotel Baden-Baden Aachen: Holiday Inn Aachen will be Leonardo Hotel Aachen Karlsruhe: Best Western Queens Hotel Karlsruhe will be Leonardo Hotel Karlsruhe Mannheim: Holiday Inn Mannheim City Centre will be Leonardo Hotel Mannheim e following hotels will still be running under the brand Holiday Inn with aﬃnity to Leonardo Hotels: • Holiday Inn Munchen • Holiday Inn Dusseldorf Airport-Ratingen • Holiday Inn Frankfurt Airport North • Holiday Inn Frankfurt City-South Conference Centre • Holiday Inn Heidelberg-Walldorf • Holiday Inn Monchengladbach. Rezidor announced Park Inn Istanbul Ataturk Airport for 2014 e Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the most dynamic hotel companies worldwide and a member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, announced the very first Park Inn hotel in Turkey: e Park Inn Istanbul Ataturk Airport featuring 144 guest rooms, an all-day restaurant and a lobby bar is scheduled to open in Q1 2014. Furthermore, the hotel will be equipped with meeting facilities of almost 1,000m² including a ballroom of 600m², a wellness area and underground parking.. e Park Inn Istanbul Ataturk Airport ideally complements the existing Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel, Istanbul. It is located 5 km away from Ataturk International Airport, Turkey’s largest and Europe’s 6th busiest airport, serving over 45 million passengers annually. Park Inn will oﬀer shuttle services to and from the terminals and also provide easy connections to several business districts in the region and Istanbul’s largest fair site, CNR Expo. Park Inn is Rezidor’s mid-market full-service brand. It is currently being re-launched – the new brand concept will further enhance the attractiveness, commerciality and profitability of the brand. It aims to retain guests of Gen X (born between 1965 and 1981) and to attract and nurture the growing clientele of Gen Y (1982-1990) through a positive, personalized guest experience.
Amadeus Airlines Ancillary Services & Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) We are pleased to inform you about the launch of two new solutions Amadeus Airlines Ancillary Services (AAAS) and Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) on the market in Romania, since April 15, 2013. The launch of these solutions begins with Alitalia, Finnair and Montenegro Airlines. Progressively, other companies will follow.
What is an Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) ? Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) is an industry standard solution which enables travel agents to issue documents for travel related services. EMD will gradually replace MCO (Miscellaneous Charges Order) and MPD virtual IATA (Multiple Purpose Document). The migration deadline required by IATA is the end of 2013. After this date, VMCO and VMPD could not be used in BSP (Billing Settlement Plan) markets. Leader in the industry, Amadeus attaches great importance to technological development and renders aid to all its partners to make the transition as smooth as possible without business interruption. Amadeus is the first Global Distribution System that provides a complete EMD solution to travel agencies and is also the first GDS to gain IATA acceptance for EMD. EMD is the document responsible for Amadeus Ancillary Services solution allowing users a better management of passengers’ requirements and better services. There are available two types of documents (EMD): • EMD Standalone (EMD-S) : o can be used independently of a plane ticket and is issued for services such as car rental, lounge access. o this type of document will fully replace the MCO used at this time for residual values or to collect penalty fees (for reissuance, for instance). • EMD Associated (EMD-A): o is directly linked to an individual flight coupon, e.g. Excess Baggage, Meals, Special Seat etc. o status of both coupons (EMD and ET (Electronic Ticketing)) is synchronized. Distribution Channels • Amadeus EMD can be used both in cryptic interface (Command page) of Amadeus Selling Platform application and in the graphical one(GUI). • Amadeus EMD solution is integrated with Amadeus Agency Manager - TINA, Amadeus Ticket Changer and Amadeus Interface Record and can be used with Amadeus Ancillary Services solution. The main advantages of EMD • Standard single solution that replaces the automatic MCO, Amadeus Virtual MCO and IATA MPD and allows travel consultants to issue travel documents for services associated with travel; • Fully integrated into Amadeus system via Amadeus PNR, daily sales reports, and Amadeus Interface Record (A.I.R.) for mid-back office systems; • Provides real-time information throughout the lifetime of an EMD by communication with an EMD server (EMS server); • EMD is the document responsible for Amadeus Ancillary Services solution; • Same working steps as for V-MCO or MCO, which is translated into a minimal impact on current work pattern; • Compared with MCO, EMD provides enhanced functionality such as the interline between companies, documents with multiple coupons, association with an electronic ticket (ET).
For further information, please contact Amadeus Romania.
What are Ancillary Services ? Any additional/ optional service an airline offer and does not represent the "core" regarding transportation. In essence - Content! Amadeus Ancillary Services offers to travel agents the opportunity to provide (display, booking, pricing and payment) optional services (value added) in addition to the basic rate. This solution follows ATPCo standards regarding optional service pricing (known as "OC fees") and IATA standards for EMD (Electronic Miscellaneous Document). Amadeus Ancillary Services is a solution integrated in the selling platform that provides for travel agencies the opportunity to: • Increase parity in terms of ancillary services content offered through direct and online channels • Customize offers according to clients’ requirements consolidating your travel consultant role and improving customer service • Amadeus is the first provider of integrated selling solutions that offers quick and easy access to a catalog of ancillary services to be read before booking the service. Here are some examples of ancillary services: • Prepaid extra baggage voucher • Special bags • Seat selection • Unaccompanied Minor • Upgrade voucher • Meals • Parking voucher • Kennels, boxes • In flight entertainment • Lounge access To check which are the airlines and countries where AAAS solution is implemented, use transaction: FQNANC/CXR. AAAS benefits for travel agencies • Increased efficiency and generation of new revenue • Improvement of customer service and customers retention • Easy integration into the workflow of the agency