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Thailand has been rated the second best long-haul destination in the 2013 Travel Trends Report issued by the UK tour operator Kuoni. It has also been rated amongst the Top Ten in other categories such as for Weddings, Honeymoons and for Singles.
Listing the top three selling destinations for 2013 as the Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the report says, "The fact that Thailand occupies the No 2 slot in our Top 10 Destinations is no surprise. The country offers holidays for everyone from captivating cities such as Bangkok with its floating markets to small island hideaways to languish in, overlaid with a friendly, open culture." It adds, “The world's austere economic outlook will drive a greater need for opportunities to escape the doom and gloom. The power of a holiday will not diminish and the allure of the Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka will continue." Kuoni has been undertaking the annual Travel Trends Report since 1980. Figures in the 2013 Report are based on statistics from booking patterns made between January to December 2012 for holidays during 2012 and 2013, actual passenger numbers, customer behaviour and feedback. The figures are based on holiday bookings made up until December 2012.
HeBS Digital, the industry’s leading full-service hotel digital marketing, website design and direct online channel strategy firm, today announces President & CEO Max Starkov will present during EyeforTravel’s Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel 2013 conference, to be held March 18-19 in San Francisco, CA. Starkov will present during the panel “Deep-Dive into The Very Latest Mobile Trends, Technologies and Traveler Behaviors.”
According to Starkov, President & CEO of HeBS Digital, “2013 will be the year of the three screens in hospitality: desktop, mobile and tablet. Google projects an overall increase in number of search queries by 24% in 2013, but search data differs dramatically across the three device categories. Searches from mobile devices will experience an increase of 68%, while searches from tablets will increase by more than 180%. Desktop searches will experience a decline of 4%. Not investing in your presence across the three screens will severely damage the hotel’s bottom line. In this multi-channel, multi-device world in which we live, hoteliers need to establish and maintain a presence on all three screens to succeed. Hoteliers that attend this conference will leave with a concrete action plan on how to reach travel consumers on the three screens.”
European travel performance exceeded expectations in 2012, with growth reported by the majority of both established and emerging destinations in Europe.
This came after a year of even stronger growth (+7% in 2011) and despite the persistent negative economic climate in the Eurozone. Long-haul demand for travel to European destinations remained robust and travel from some traditionally small emerging origin markets steadily gained importance. An increasing number of Europeans also opted for travel within the regional borders, consistent with observed behaviour in previous periods of economic weakness. Tourism remains one of the few economic sectors steadily growing in the fragile economies in Europe. Despite the persistence of a negative economic climate in the Eurozone, foreign visits to European destinations grew by a solid 4% in 2012. In line with worldwide trends, emerging destinations lead growth. Iceland (+20%), Lithuania (+12%) and Romania (+10%) topped the ranking with exceptional double-digit figures. Healthy growth is also reported by larger European destinations as Germany (+8%), Spain (+5%) and Austria (+5%).
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
After three years overseeing sales and marketing efforts for Starwood Caribbean, Jim Curtis has returned to The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa to take on the role of director of sales & marketing for the second time. With over 26 years of hospitality experience including 21 years with Starwood, Curtis will be responsible for continuing to drive occupancy at the Hollywood, FL resort by targeting groups of all sizes. In his previous role, Curtis also managed sales and marketing for The Westin St. John Resort & Villas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Earlier in his career, he held the same title at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Phoenix as well as at Sheraton hotels in Tuscon and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. Curtis began his Starwood career in 1991 at the Sheraton New Orleans.
Rollins College and The Olympia Companies announce the appointment of Deanne Gabel as general manager of The Alfond Inn, opening in Winter Park in August 2013. Gabel has experience in several facets of the hospitality industry. Most recently, Gabel was a senior vice president with Wyndham Worldwide’s Hospitality Division. She held several positions at Disney, most notably as general manager of the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, as well as the Disney Institute and Resort Villas. Prior to her Orlando residency, Gabel held positions with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, and Intercontinental Hotels.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
The Mori Trust Group plans to convert its Gotenyama Garden Hotel Laforet in the Shinagawa district to be rebranded the Tokyo Marriott Hotel in December, following an extensive renovation. The hotel, which will be closed until the renovations are completed, will continue to be managed by Mori Trust Hotels & Resorts Once rebranded, the hotel will be the third Marriott-brand hotel in Japan, joining hotels in Okinawa and Nagoya. A fourth is scheduled to open in Osaka in 2014. The Tokyo hotel will feature a restaurant, lounge and terrace overlooking the Gotenyama Garden, which is well known in Japan for its cherry blossom trees. Popular as a wedding destination, the hotel will include a new wedding chapel when it reopens.
Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island is the culmination of a five year project to create an architecturally compelling building that is at the forefront of global hotel and environmental design. Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island is set over 29 floors, with 138 individually styled rooms that capture the truly intriguing and dynamic environment in which it resides. Wrapping the building is a striking gold dragon, functioning as an “eco-screen” to counteract hot spots and solar gain, representing the future of environmental design in Hong Kong. The impressive rooftop, sure to be a much talked about destination in Hong Kong, features Skybar and a dramatic infinity glass bottomed pool from which can be seen the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai neighbourhood below.
Hilton Worldwide has signed a multi-unit management agreement with BG Group of Hotels to manage four hotels in Australia, marking the company's entry into the Northern Territory and the introduction of the DoubleTree by Hilton brand on the continent. The properties are currently being managed by IHG under the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands and are subject to conversion work. Once rebranded, the properties will join Hilton Worldwide’s existing portfolio of 15 hotels in Australasia and include:
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International Inc., has announced the scheduled opening in the middle of 2013 of The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin. Located in the heart of the former British concession and central business district, The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin is expected to form an iconic landmark when it opens, paying homage to the city's historical heritage and modern development. The soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton hotel with a grand neo-classical style facade was designed by the Tianjin Academy of Urban Planning and Design, with interiors created by luxury hospitality designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon. It houses 277 rooms, including 53 suites and reflects the cultural European heritage in the district.
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