Delaying Restart of International Travel Will Cost UK Economy £27 billion

Delaying Restart of International Travel Will Cost UK Economy £27 billion

London, United Kingdom, March 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned that nearly £27 billion will be lost from the UK economy if the government delays restarting international travel until May 17.

The date was set by Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he unveiled the highly anticipated roadmap out of lockdown earlier this week.

According to the government’s roadmap, two households will be able to mix outdoors from March 29 and WTTC believes this should signal the restart of safe international travel.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Press Releases here.

Resuming international travel by just seven weeks earlier, to coincide the Easter holiday break, could save struggling Travel & Tourism businesses up and down the country and provide a much-needed economic boost to the economy.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, fears delaying the revival of international travel for another seven weeks, will hasten the further slide into collapse of a sector which contributes £200 billion annually to the UK economy, and is responsible for almost four million jobs.

The loss of almost £27 billion represents a damaging daily drain to the UK economy of more than £550 million, which can be counted in lost jobs and failed businesses up and down the country.

While WTTC applauds the government’s highly successful vaccine rollout, the global tourism body has called upon the Prime Minister to give greater clarity about what May 17 will look like, so that Travel & Tourism businesses can prepare for the restart and consumers book with confidence.

WTTC has consistently argued that international travel can safely resume with a comprehensive, coordinated international regime for testing upon departure and arrival for travellers.

Testing should be in place alongside the global vaccine rollout, enhanced health and hygiene protocols, and mostly importantly, mandatory mask wearing, which experts say can cut down transmission of the virus by more than 80%, to safely revive international travel. Additionally, the introduction of digital health passes or certificates will support the recovery.

These measures should render unhelpful and counterproductive blanket quarantines completely unnecessary and remove the need for haphazard and confusing air corridors, which further saps the confidence to travel.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, said: “While the UK government’s announcement that international travel could resume on May 17 gives us grounds for optimism, it will come as cold comfort to struggling SMEs and Travel & Tourism businesses up and down the country.

“Our economic modelling shows the brutal impact the £27 billion loss could have, caused by delaying the restart of international travel by just seven weeks.

“It would be far less economically damaging to invest in testing and biometric technology which could safely reopen the doors to travel and save the millions of jobs at risk.

“In the same way widespread community testing is being provided through rapid test kits twice a week to pupils and anyone in their household or support bubbles, so extensive testing will also permit the safe restart of international travel.

“But every day we delay will see many more cash-strapped businesses join the growing list of companies which have already disappeared due to the demise of international travel. Nor should we forget the human cost and the terrible suffering of so many people whose very livelihoods have been left in ruins due to the sector’s virtual collapse.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Press Releases here.

“We have to guard against vaccines as a requirement to travel which would discriminate against less advanced countries and younger travellers, or those who simply can’t or choose not to be vaccinated.

“Furthermore, mask wearing should not be a choice; it has been proven to provide the highest level of protection against transmission of the virus. This, combined with a comprehensive testing regime, enhanced health and hygiene protocols, digital passes and the global rollout of vaccines will allow the safe restart of international travel.”

Rethinking Tourism at ITB Berlin Now Convention

Rethinking Tourism at ITB Berlin Now Convention

Berlin, Germany, March 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / More than 200 leading international speakers representing airlines, the hotel and cruise industries as well as organisers will talk about the future of the tourism industry – Focus on marketing, destinations and sustainable travel at the global travel industry’s largest think tank – ITB CSR DAY is now a Sustainable Tourism Track – Full programme details and tickets for the virtual show are available online now

The global travel industry’s largest think tank is also attracting leading opinion-formers and visionary minds to its virtual edition. In this challenging year, the programme of the ITB Berlin NOW Convention features experienced industry figures who will discuss their views on the industry’s future with participants in the event. From 9 to 12 March 2021, under this year’s heading ’Rethink, Regenerate, Restart – Tourism for a Better Normal’, more than 200 leading speakers from the international travel industry will be having their say. Among the more than 30 CEOs are Luuc Elzinga, CEO of Tiqets, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines, Travis Pittmann, co-founder and CEO of TourRadar, Merja Taipaleenmäki, CEO of Citynomadi Ltd, Jan Sadowsky, CEO of Green Tiny Houses, and Brad Weber, president and CEO of Gray Line Wordwide, to name but a few. Speakers from around the world from not- so-familiar brands and backgrounds will offer food for thought and an alternative focus with their commitment and clever ideas. Visitors to the virtual edition can choose between sessions on key topics such as destinations, sustainable travel, marketing and travel sales and will benefit from wide-ranging and constructive input on the latest developments in the travel industry. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket. Full details of the programme of the ITB Berlin NOW Convention are available online.

On 9 March 2021 the speakers at the ITB Future Track will be casting their eyes to the future. Interviews with leading CEOs from every walk of the industry – including a morning keynote interview with Richard Holden, vice president, Product Management, Google – will give an up-to-the-minute and qualified view of the challenges the tourism industry is having to confront during the coronavirus pandemic. High-ranking representatives of Emirates, Air France KLM and Ryanair will have their say on the situation in the airline industry. The CEOs of the TUI Group and DER Touristik Group will each explain how tour operators can successfully emerge the crisis. Leading figures representing Hyatt, Accor and Deutsche Hospitality will outline solutions for the hotel industry. The CEOs of MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and TUI Cruises will talk about the trends and challenges in the cruise market. Representatives of the Lufthansa Group will talk about aviation topics concerning the international tourism industry.

Liisa Kokkarinen, Sustainable Arctic Destination, Sustainable Travel Finland manager, Visit Finland, will talk about the comprhensive steps Finland is undertaking to become a carbon-neutral destination by 2035. Nick Careen, senior vice president, Airport Passenger Cargo and Security (APCS) IATA, Harry Sommer, CEO NCL, the Hon. Harry Theoharis, tourism minister of Greece, Virginia Messina, managing director of the WTTC, and Jose Filipe Torres, CEO of Bloom Consulting will discuss the political conditions, industry initiatives and health situation needed to help restart business after Covid-19.

Concepts and strategies for restarting business

On 10 March 2021 leading speakers at the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track will talk about the major shifts in the package tour market. In a keynote interview Nathan Blecharzyk, co-founder of Airbnb, CSO and chairman, Airbnb China, will talk about the future of his company in the face of current shifts in the tourism industry. Fabian Eberle, director of CZP Chalet Zermatt Peak, Dr. med. Jeffry Mc Cutchan, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and anxiety researcher, Erik Nissen Johansen, creative director and founder of Stylt Trampoli AB, and Jenny Southan, editor and founder of Globetrender, will examine changing attitudes in the luxury travel market and how hotel concepts can take the customer desire for attention and personal safety into account.

Together with Miguel Flecha, a VR expert from Accenture, Mateusz Mierzwinski, CEO and founder of LocalBini, Vladimir Varnavskii, founder and CEO of Vresorts, and Olaf Schlieper, innovation manager of the German National Tourism Board, will examine how VR applications can be used to promote destinations and attractions. In reply to three questions in nine minutes, Max C. Luscher, CEO Central & Northern Europe B&B Hotels will present an outlook for the budget hotel industy.

Also on 10 March 2021, a number of sessions in partnership with the German Business Travel Association (VDR) will examine how business travel can be restarted in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic. After a welcome speech by VDR general manager Hans-Ingo Biehl, the Business Travel programme will kick off with a discussion under the heading ’Business Travel: REthink, REbuild, RElevance – the Future of Meetings & Events’, which will look at the prospects for new business models, technology trends and their ramifications.

On 11 March 2021 at the ITB Destination Track, Matthias Beyer, managing director of mascontour GmbH, will explain why destination management must focus on resilience in the future. At the ITB Resilience Roundtable, Kenya’s Minister of Tourism and Wildlife the Hon. Najib Balala, Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the WTTC, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations the Hon. Staša Košarac, and Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, will talk about measures that have already been introduced, those being planned as well as their potential impact. Norbert Kettner, managing director of the Vienna Tourist Board and Miguel Angel Sanz Castedo, director general of Tourspain, will explain what has to be done to make sure tourism at a prime incoming destination like Vienna can successfully get back into gear. Participants in the discussion round including Otar Berishvili, Collective Development director of the Adjara Group, Nick Erkomaishvili, director and CEO of Explore Georgia, and John Wurderman, director of the Winery ’Peasant’s Tears’, can find out more about Georgia’s vibrant culture, from the mountain peaks to the Black Sea coast. In an interview, Patrick Andrae, co-founder and CEO of HomeToGo, will explain why he expects the holiday apartment market will continue to boom this year. Laura Meyer, CEO of Hotelplan, will highlight new destination trends and the prospects for the major source markets.

On 12 March 2021 at the ITB Berlin MICE Track presented by the Association of Event Organisers (VDVO), leading MICE industry representatives will have their say. The focus of the MICE Track at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention will be on what the new normal will look like in the meetings and events industry. Bernd Fritzges, CEO of the VDVO and Daniel Steinbichler, CEO of weframe AG, will present the ’Push’21 initiative – the next step towards better meetings’. The project not only aims to help overcome the challenges facing the events industry due to massive pandemic-related turnover losses, but to also positively shape ongoing digitalisation and the accompanying changes in event formats, for the future benefit of everyone in the market.

On 12 March 2021 at the ITB Sustainability Track, which this year replaces the ITB CSR-in-Tourism Day, the agenda will focus entirely on sustainable travel, climate protection and social responsibility. Roger Dow, president & CEO of USTravel, will look at the potential future impact of the US government’s new climate policies and on the recovery and transformation of the travel industry. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has launched a comprehensive programme with the aim of creating a more resilient and sustainable tourism environment. The measures target 16 countries which have been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis and which represent important destinations for the German travel market. Following a welcome speech by Norbert Barthle, Parlamentiary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Anna Spenceley, an international tourism expert, Volker Adams, head of Policies/Foreign Tourism at the DRV, and Petra Thomas, managing director of forum anders reisen, will report on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in developing and threshold countries and the consequences for the German travel market.

In his keynote speech Jürgen May, managing director of 2bdifferent, will examine whether virtual events are generally more climate-friendly than in-person meetings and will explain the sustainability aspects that need to be taken into account. Euromonitor’s Sustainable Travel Index is the first sustainable travel and tourism ranking that lists 99 countries. Caroline Bremner, head of Travel Research Euromonitor, will present the leading destinations at an ITB Deep Dive Session. To obtain a list of the leading countries in the white paper directly after the lecture advance registration is required here. At an interactive panel discussion Prof. Dr. Harald Zeiss, chairman of Futouris, will invite visitors to the ITB Berlin NOW Convention to discuss what innovative strategies must be undertaken to make tourism more sustainable.

In addition to the ITB Sustainability Track, the Best Practice Responsible Tourism Track will also examine critical issues. A discussion will take place on the topic of racism and discrimination in the tourism industry with a view to finding solutions, as well as on how tourism concepts can be set up that actively involve local residents. In an interview, Portugal’s State Secretary for Tourism Rita Marques will talk about her country’s long-term recovery efforts and a climate event scheduled for May this year entitled ’A World for Travel – Evora Forum’. The panel discussion organised by ITC SheTrades will talk about female empowerment and gender equality when society rebuilds after the coronavirus crisis. Other track highlights include the launch of the 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Competition, the TO DO Award, including the Human Rights Award presented by Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V., and the Celebrating Her Award of the International Institute for Peace (IIPT), which honours outstanding women in tourism.

About ITB Berlin NOW and the ITB Berlin NOW Convention
ITB Berlin NOW will take place from Tuesday, 9 to Friday, 12 March for trade visitors only and as an entirely virtual event. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. As part of ITB Berlin NOW, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind, will also take place as a virtual event. The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is the co-host, Mascontour Track is the sponsor of the ITB Future Track, Google and Lufthansa are track sponsors of the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the ITB Sustainability Track partner, SIO AG is the track sponsor of the eTravel DATA TALKS and Studiosus is the session sponsor. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket.

A Sweet Escape to Pattaya Thailand

A Sweet Escape to Pattaya

Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand, March 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / An African-inspired conceptual resort, The Gems Mining Pool Villas Pattaya launches a Sweet Escape promotion with a 30% off on the best available rate including breakfast. Other benefits include complimentary mini-bar beverages, welcome fruit and drinks, early check in at 10 AM and late check out until 4 PM on weekdays and 15% discount on in-villa dining.

The Gems Mining Pool Villas Pattaya offers a new getaway promotion with 30% off on the best available rate.

Situated in Pattaya, Chonburi, The Gems Mining Pool Villas Pattaya consists of 77 keys and categorized in five room types including Topaz Jacuzzi (93 SQM.), Emerald One-Bedroom Pool Villa (100 SQM), Sapphire Two-Bedroom Pool Villa (140 SQM), Ruby Three-Bedroom Pool Villa (270 SQM.) and The Legacy Conceptual Residence with five bedrooms (1,500 SQM) which is expected to open in Q2/2021. The resort boasts of a luxury African gems mining concept with a touch of Safari. Each room and villa is spacious and equipped with five-star amenities.

The nightly rate starts from 2,859 Baht for Topaz Jacuzzi, 4,218 for Emerald One-Bedroom Pool Villa, 8,527 Baht for Sapphire Two-Bedroom Pool Villa and 12,836 Baht for Ruby Three-Bedroom Pool Villa. Book a two-night stay or more and receive a complimentary afternoon tea set or a 30-minute massage per person. The promotion allows free date change at least one day prior to arrival.

Reservations can be made from now until 31 March 2021 for stays between now and 30 June 2021. Enter promo code SWEET and book online.

Harnessing the Power of Culture and Creativity in Tourism Recovery

Harnessing the Power of Culture and Creativity in Tourism Recovery

Madrid, Spain, February 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The shared values and close ties between tourism and culture stakeholders means both sectors can work together to ensure inclusive access to heritage, as countries around the world recover from the pandemic. In recognition of this mutually reinforcing relationship, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and UNESCO have collaborated to produce a set of new guidelines focusing on the responsible restart of cultural tourism.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Announcements here.

UNWTO invited the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to contribute to the UNWTO Inclusive Recovery Guide, Issue 2: Cultural Tourism. This is the second set of guidelines relating to the socio-cultural impacts of COVID-19 issued by UNWTO and will continue to be revised, as the situation evolves.

Make cultural tourism relevant in the recovery

The publication draws on the insights and expertise of the two UN agencies to analyse the impact of the pandemic on their respective sectors. This includes how lost revenues are severely impacting communities, heritage sites, cultural events, spaces and institutions, while also weakening destinations’ competitiveness and market differentiation. The guidelines on cultural tourism also stress the need for support from policymakers to ensure the relevance of culture in the emergency and contingency planning within tourism destinations.

Cooperation for a better future

Alongside the new guidelines, UNWTO is urging the cultural tourism sector to create participatory governance structures, bringing together artists, creators, tourism and culture professionals, the private sector and local communities, for an open dialogue, data exchange and real-time solutions. The document also advocates for better urban–rural connections so as to ensure the benefits of both culture and tourism are enjoyed as widely as possible.

As a result of the pandemic, 90% of countries introduced total or partial closures of their World Heritage sites. In many cases, sites of special significance to humanity were closed to the public for the first time in decades. At the same time, the pandemic highlighted the relevance of both tourism and culture. The sudden fall in tourist arrivals has been felt across the globe, while millions of people have turned to virtual cultural experiences for comfort and inspiration.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Announcements here.

The release of the guidelines comes within the context of the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021, a UN initiative designed to recognize how different manifestations of culture, including cultural tourism, can contribute to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

250 Destinations Worldwide Benefit Now from WTTC Safe Travels Stamp

250 Destinations Worldwide Benefit Now from WTTC Safe Travels Stamp

London, United Kingdom, February 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Following its launch in May last year, the highly popular Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has now been awarded to a remarkable 250 destinations around the world.

WTTC, which has continually been at the forefront in leading the private sector in the efforts to rebuild global consumer confidence and encourage the return of Safe Travels, made history when it launched the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp, just eight months ago.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Press Releases here.

The stamp, developed to help restore confidence in travellers and aims to revive the global Travel & Tourism sector which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is now being used by many more major countries with Honduras, Belize and Malawi, the latest destinations to join the ever-growing list.

VisitBritain, the tourism agency representing one of the world’s most popular destinations, has also now been recognised through the ground-breaking stamp.

The now globally recognised stamp enables both business and leisure travellers to distinguish destinations around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so they can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

This pioneering move by WTTC also received the backing of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the launch of global protocols to recover the Travel & Tourism sector has been embraced by over 200 CEO’s including some of the world’s major tourism groups.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “We are delighted to see our Safe Travels Stamp is still growing at a rapid rate and is being adopted by destinations from all corners of the world.

“Reaching this incredible milestone, with 250 destinations around the world now proudly holding our Safe Travels stamp, is testimony to the hard work which has been put in to make the stamp work for both destinations and holidaymakers. 

“As the global vaccine rollout picks up pace and with the restrictions expected to be relaxed over the coming weeks, we believe the stamp will prove a key component of destination recovery and restoring consumer confidence.

“The success of the stamp shows the importance of global coordination to help rebuild and revive the international Travel & Tourism sector. Destinations with the stamp will benefit from travellers being able to recognise the destinations which have adopted the global protocols, encouraging the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world. 

“We are finally beginning to step into the new normal of a post-COVID world, and we are proud to be leading the way for globally coordinated efforts in recovery.”

Sally Balcombe, VisitBritain CEO said: “We are delighted that businesses certified to We’re Good To Go can also automatically register for WTTC’s global Safe Travels stamp, recognising the standard of protocols and processes we have in place in the UK. This is also testament to the hard work and commitment of tens of thousands of businesses right across the country who have adapted and innovated to safely meet new ways of working and are already ‘good to go’.”

Honourable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Fiji said: “Getting such an endorsement for the work we have done on the Care Fiji Commitment program is truly remarkable for a small country like Fiji. This world class health and safety programme gives visitors confidence to travel to Fiji when the borders reopen.”

Honourable Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations, Belize said: “Belize is delighted to be recognised through the WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp. Following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, my country’s highest priority has been, and remains the health and safety of our guests. Within this context, we have implemented extensive health and safety protocols as part of a Gold Standard Recognition Program for accommodations, tour operators and other industry partners.”

Hailemariam Desalegn, Chairman, Ethiopian Tourism Board, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia said: “We are extremely honoured to be issued the Safe Travels stamp by WTTC and commend it for this important initiative. This decision reflects Ethiopia’s commitment to maintain the standard safe travel protocols and procedures as we reopen our doors to tourism and international visitors. With the aim of ensuring safety of workers and visitors we will continue to work closely with tour operators, hotels and regional destination marketing organisations to maintain these standards.” 

Read all the latest WTTC News and Press Releases here.

The protocols were designed following guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and taking best practices from WTTC’s Members into account.

According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), made a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generated one in four of all new jobs.

Technology is Accelerating Travel Industry’s Recovery ITB

Technology is Accelerating Travel Industry’s Recovery ITB

Berlin, Germany, February 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / International Travel Technology exhibitors are presenting innovations at ITB Berlin NOW – Latest surveys and views on the targeted use of digital solutions in the travel industry – Startups offer tips at START UP NOW – Virtual cafés provide a forum for meeting and exchanging ideas – The programme of events is online now at

Updates about the travel sector and the latest travel technology here.

During the coronavirus pandemic the use of smart technologies in the tourism industry has risen sharply. Chatbots for instance have helped to deal with the high volume of cancellations and rebookings. AI, smart interfaces and dynamic pricing have also become very important. At ITB Berlin NOW the Travel Technology segment will provide an overview of fascinating developments, useful innovations and the latest surveys. The new format START UP NOW is where the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show will let successful startups have their say and share valuable experiences and tips. At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the CEOsof international business leaders will offer their views on the future of travel technology. The themed virtual cafés, which are open all day, are where users can meet new contacts.

More than 100 tech companies have already registered for this entirely virtual edition. Among those represented on their own Brand Card this year are Amadeus, bd4travel, Cendyn and Sabre. Companies offering tech solutions for the hotel industry include Apaleo, Cloudbeds, Duetto, HQplus, hotelbird, Infor, Oracle and Suitepad. Among those taking part for the first time are Travelledger, Kaptio, MeTripping and Unififi.

Digital solutions for safe travel

ITB Berlin NOW Convention is examining key digitalisation topics and new trends. On Tuesday, 9th of March 2021, Lukas C.C. Hempel, CEO and co-founder of Bookingkit, Luuc Elzinga, founder and president of Tiqets, Claudio Bellinzona of TUI Musement, Ilaria D’Uva of D’Uva and Christian Gross of HochschwarzwaldTourismus GmbH will discuss what the new normal after COVID will be like for travel sales. On the same day Patrick Mendes, CCO of Accor, will take a look at the future of the global hospitality industry, the importance of digitalisation and other economic developments. In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, customer confidence and health safety are becoming more and more important for travellers. Monika Wiederhold, Global Program Lead, Safe Travel Ecosystems, EVP Airlines Central and Eastern Europe of the Amadeus IT Group SA, will take a look at how the latest digital processes and solutions can contribute to safe travel.

In a keynote interview on Wednesday, 10th of March 2021, Richard Holden, vice president, Product Management at Google, will provide information on digitalisation trends in the travel industry. In their respective keynote speeches, Vinzenz Pflanz, president of Corporate Sales Sixt Se, and Florian von Klier, senior director of Global Innovations & Solutions Sixt Se, will make the case for quicker innovation and digitalisation in the mobility sector and for greater safety in business travel. David Peller, managing director of Travel and Hospitality Amazon Web Services, will highlight the potential of cloud services for the global travel industry and how they can improve the customer experience. At ITB Outlook, Sean O Neill of Skift will present the latest travel trends for 2025.

Startups share their knowledge

On Thursday, 11th of March 2021, at two eTravel DATA TALKS sponsored by SIO AG and featuring bd4Travel and WBE Travel, the focus will be on the growing importance of data in the travel industry. Kicking off the event, Phocuswright will present the latest Technology Report. Afterwards, Michael Docherty, head of Data Partnerships Skyscanner, will show how access to predictive real-time data can offer travel companies a way out of the coronavirus crisis. At the second eTravel DATA TALK, Christian Warneck, vice president, Airlines Solutions, Central & Eastern Europe at Amadeus Germany, James Adams, chief commercial officer of Sixtand Anthony Hunt, vice president, Product & Strategy of the Shiji Group, will discuss the importance of data in the context of the frictionless travel experience. This talk featuring representatives from different travel and booking segments is a first for the convention. Ben Messner, sales manager of SIO AG, will talk about the big reset that will impact the software industry in general and in particular the travel technology.

The new START UP NOW format lets users at ITB Berlin NOW find out more about the progress and experience of successful startups in the international travel industry. International startups will talk about investors, sustainable travel and current business challenges. Among those taking part will be representatives of Citynomadi, Gopassport Australia, Greentinyhouses, MyCabin, Smartguide and Social BnB.

Updates about the travel sector and the latest travel technology here.

For those who want to exchange ideas and knowledge with other users and exhibitors the place to meet is the themed virtual cafés at ITB Berlin NOW. The Travel Tech & Startup Café sponsored by Visit Greece is where users can talk about their visions for the future and meet like-minded visitors. Every day at 5 p.m., Verband Internet Reisevertrieb e.V. (VIR) is organising a happy hour where everyone can meet. On Thursday, the focus will be on financing and investment. At the Investors Special, founders can meet representatives of NEXT Floor GmbH, the Howzat ennea Group and Falkensteiner Ventures AG among others in order to network and meet new contacts. The TTA Café sponsored by Malaysia for tour and activity organisers is where to look for the right platforms and booking technologies in this segment. The Hospitality Café sponsored by Infor is where visitors will find a meeting corner, moderated by, for discussing hospitality tech.

About ITB Berlin NOW and the ITB Berlin NOW Convention
ITB Berlin NOW will take place from Tuesday, 9 to Friday, 12 March for trade visitors only and as an entirely virtual event. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. As part of ITB Berlin NOW, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind, will also take place as a virtual event. The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is the co-host, Mascontour Track is the sponsor of the ITB Future Track, Google and Lufthansa are track sponsors of the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the ITB Sustainability Track partner, SIO AG is the track sponsor of the eTravel DATA TALKS and Studiosus is the session sponsor. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket.

Thailand to Become Global Superyacht Destination

Thailand to Become Global Superyacht Destination

Bangkok, Thailand, February 25, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / At a meeting in Bangkok chaired by the new Minister of Finance, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, and attended by officials from both the Customs and Revenue departments, it was finally confirmed that foreign-flagged visiting superyachts will from now on be welcome to spend the winter seasons in Thai waters and offer their yachts for charter there without having to pay VAT on the value of the vessel.

The meeting marked the culmination of a six-year campaign to bring this all-important change in the local regulations, and thus finally enable a new “third destination” for the global fleet and a new “Superyacht Tourism“ industry to boost Thailand’s pandemic-challenged tourism economy.

The campaign started in earnest in 2015 when the then Minister of Transport was tasked by the Prime Minister with launching Thailand’s own Yacht Show. The show was conceived as a platform to promote the Kingdom as the Marina Hub of Asia and develop an important new yachting industry bringing in significant foreign investment for the benefit of all Thai people.

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, then Minister of Tourism and Sport, became a real champion for the cause, and her unflagging belief in this opportunity remains to this day, despite her having left politics two years ago. Minister Arkhom was the incumbent Minister of Transport who in 2016 signed the government decree authorising the so-called “superyacht charter license”, the first three of which were presented to foreign superyacht owners at a ceremony announcing the launch of the new Thailand Yacht Show. It has taken until today to finally agree on the official tax regulations surrounding this initiative, but it could not have come at a better time when Thailand desperately needs a new wave of high quality, high-spending tourists to arrive when we finally see the end of the pandemic – hopefully in time for next season.

The whole of the Thai yachting industry has worked together to finally arrive at this point, and TYBA Chairman Matthew Na Nagara and his team have been instrumental in ensuring that enough information and political persuasion has been given to all government departments and administrative organisations to push the initiative to a conclusion.

The Thailand Yacht Show itself will now become the centrepiece of a much wider Festival of Luxury Tourism, encompassing a showcase of private aviation at the new Phuket Private Jet Terminal, an international classic car Concours d’Elegance; a Wellness & Anti-Ageing Expo; a Collectible Art Show and many other luxury sectors that will attract increasing numbers of UHNW visitors to the beautiful island of Phuket over the next 10 post-covid years.

Whilst the headline news is a huge boost for the superyacht industry, bringing as it will new business for all parts of the ASEAN region right through to Australia and New Zealand, there will also be a massive “trickle-down” effect into every corner of the leisure boating industry and on-water lifestyle industries throughout the whole of Asia.

IATA: COVID-19 Cash Burn Continues

IATA: COVID-19 Cash Burn Continues

Geneva, Switzerland, February 26, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new analysis showing that the airline industry is expected to remain cash negative throughout 2021. Previous analysis (November 2020) indicated that airlines would turn cash positive in the fourth quarter of 2021. At the industry level, airlines are now not expected to be cash positive until 2022.

Estimates for cash burn in 2021 have ballooned to the $75 billion to $95 billion range from a previously anticipated $48 billion. The following factors play into this estimate:

  • Weak Start for 2021: It is already clear that the first half of 2021 will be worse than earlier anticipated.  This is because governments have tightened travel restrictions in response to new COVID-19 variants. Forward bookings for summer (July-August) are currently 78% below levels in February 2019 (comparisons to 2020 are distorted owing to COVID-19 impacts).
  • Optimistic Scenario: From this lower starting point for the year, an optimistic scenario would see travel restrictions gradually lifted once the vulnerable populations in developed economies have been vaccinated, but only in time to facilitate tepid demand over the peak summer travel season in the northern hemisphere. In this case 2021 demand would be 38% of 2019 levels. Airlines would burn through $75 billion of cash over the year. But cash burn of $7 billion in the fourth quarter would be significantly improved from an anticipated $33 billion cash burn in the first quarter.
  • Pessimistic Scenario: This scenario would see airlines burn through $95 billion over the year. There would be an improving trend from a $33 billion cash burn in the first quarter reducing to $16 billion in the fourth quarter. The driver of this scenario would be governments retaining significant travel restrictions through the peak northern summer travel season. In this case, 2021 demand would only be 33% of 2019 levels.

“With governments having tightening border restrictions, 2021 is shaping up to be a much tougher year than previously expected. Our best-case scenario sees airlines burning through $75 billion in cash this year. And it could be as bad as $95 billion. More emergency relief from governments will be needed. A functioning airline industry can eventually energize the economic recovery from COVID-19. But that won’t happen if there are massive failures before the crisis ends. If governments are unable to open their borders, we will need them to open their wallets with financial relief to keep airlines viable,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

With airlines now expected to burn cash throughout 2021 it is vital that governments and the industry are fully prepared to restart the moment governments agree that it is safe to re-open borders. That makes three initiatives critical:

  1. Planning: Preparing the industry to safely restart after a year or more of disruption will take careful planning and months of preparation. Governments can ensure that airlines are prepared to reconnect people and economies by working with industry to develop the benchmarks and plans that would enable an orderly and timely restart.

“The UK has set a good example. Earlier this week it laid out a structure for re-opening based on an improvement in the COVID-19 situation. This gives airlines a framework to plan the restart, even if it needs to be adjusted along the way. Other governments should take note as a best practice for working with industry,” said de Juniac.

  1. Health Credentials: It is becoming clear that vaccines and testing will play a role as the pandemic comes under control and economies ramp up, including the travel sector. The IATA Travel Pass will enable travelers to securely control their health data and share it with relevant authorities. A growing list of airlines—including Air New Zealand, Copa Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, RwandAir, and Singapore Airlines—have done or are committed to doing trials with IATA Travel Pass.

“Efficient digital management of health credentials is vital to restart. Manual processes will not be able to cope with volumes once the recovery begins. Digital solutions must be secure, work with existing systems, align with global standards and respect data privacy. In developing the IATA Travel Pass these are fully in focus. The IATA Travel App will help to set the bar very high for managing health credentials, protecting against fraud and enabling a convenient travel process. While there is choice in the market for solutions, there should be no compromise on the fundamentals, or we risk failing systems, disappointed governments and travelers, and a delayed restart,” said de Juniac.

  1. Global Standards: As vaccination programs and testing capacity expand, two developments have become critical—global standards to record tests and vaccines; and a plan to retrospectively record those who have already been vaccinated.

“Speed is critical. Fraudulent COVID-19 test results are already proving to be an issue. And as vaccine programs ramp up governments are using paper processes and differing digital standards to record who has been vaccinated. These are not the conditions needed to support a successful restart at scale when governments open borders. The WHO, ICAO, and OECD are working on standards, but each day without them means the challenge gets bigger. We need an early conclusion by competent authorities that the industry can plan around,” said de Juniac.

“Even as governments focus on managing the COVID-19 crisis, we must be thinking a step ahead to the plans, tools and standards needed to restart flying and energize the economic recovery from COVID-19. Working in partnership is nothing new for airlines or for governments. It’s how we have delivered safe, efficient, and reliable connectivity for decades. For a year it’s been lockdowns and restrictions as vaccines were developed and testing capacity expanded. The reason for all the pain that this has caused is to keep people safe and to eventually be able to retore their well-being and that of the economy. With good news on vaccines and growing testing capacity, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So, it’s the time to ask governments for their restart plan and to offer any support from industry that could help,” said de Juniac.

Switzerland and Morocco, a Promising Tourism Partnership

Switzerland and Morocco, a Promising Tourism Partnership

Lucerne, Switzerland, February 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The pandemic has the world firmly in its grasp. The tourism industry is under pressure too and needs to reinvent itself. It’s a challenge, but at the same time an opportunity to give tourism new impetus for the future. That’s why the World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL) is initiating a discussion about new approaches and actively promoting them. Morocco has been invited as the guest country. The nation is currently breaking new ground in tourism with diverse projects and with Switzerland’s support.

Morocco is an ambitious tourism destination, which is actively involved in the development of tourism. The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) will hold this year’s General Assembly in Marrakech in October. Before then, in spring, Morocco will be a major focus for tourism industry stakeholders and investors at the Tourism Innovation Festival. High-calibre delegates will participate in the hybrid event, amongst them Morocco’s Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui. In keeping with the event’s motto, «Moving Forward», she will offer the international audience a glimpse into Morocco’s vision of a sustainable tourism destination. A satellite event is to be held in Morocco at the same time, with Swiss involvement and broadcast online via livestream.

Morocco breaks new ground in tourism
Switzerland and Morocco maintain a close collaboration. Synergies are exploited, particularly in the field of tourism. Both countries are working hand in hand and championing sustainable tourism development. To this end, a development programme was launched with the foundation Swisscontact. Its aim is to improve conditions, particularly for young people and women in tourism-related sectors.

Furthermore, Morocco wants to advance tourism in its rural areas. Achieving this objective requires a lot of experience, but also young talents with innovative concepts. In this respect, WTFL offers exactly the right contacts and instruments. With its international platform for the exchange and evaluation of new ideas it has created the ideal framework for connecting young talents with the know-how of industry experts and investors.

Moving forward together
Morocco’s presence as the Guest Country at the Innovation Festival marks the beginning of a promising partnership. In order to intensify the discussion and advance innovations, further joint projects are already in the pipeline. WTFL will add the Moroccan Mohammed IV Polytechnic University to its international university network. Morocco will play an active role in the existing WTFL Think Tank and is planning to host an international Start-Up Innovation Camp in its own country.

At the «Innovation Festival» at the end of April leading personalities from the tourism industry and politics, as well as investors and start-ups will come together to discuss the brightest new approaches. World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL) has been connecting tourism industry experts for over 10 years and offers participants a unique platform for exchanging ideas. World Tourism Forum Lucerne is closely observing the pandemic situation and reserves the right to make changes to the date and programme.

World Tourism Forum Lucerne
Zentralstrasse 9, P.O. Box 4339
6002 Lucerne, Switzerland

Martin Barth, President & CEO
T: +41 41 228 99 82

Visit our festival website on

WorldHotels Elevates Asia Pacific Leadership Team

WorldHotels Elevates Asia Pacific Leadership Team

Phoenix, Arizona, United States, February 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / WorldHotels announced today that Olivier Berrivin has been appointed Managing Director of WorldHotels Asia Pacific (APAC). The region also sees company veterans Roland Jegge and Melissa Gan assume expanded responsibilities in their new roles as Senior Advisor and Chief Commercial Officer respectively. Olivier Berrivin Appointed Managing Director; Roland Jegge and Melissa Gan Assume New Responsibilities.

Berrivin has decades of experience in the hospitality industry and is a 4th generation hotelier who grew up in his family’s hotel business that included four properties. He has extensive industry experience having started his career with the Lucien Barrière Hotel Group in France and having held various positions with Accor Asia.

Berrivin joined BWH Hotel Group, WorldHotels’ parent company, in 2015 as Managing Director – Asia, and has played a pivotal role in dramatically growing the company’s presence with particular success in driving development of upscale brands across APAC. During his tenure with BWH Hotel Group, Berrivin has helped to grow the company’s presence, especially in the upscale and boutique segments. He also implemented several key initiatives to drive improved results to the regional hoteliers, including improved Revenue Management services, sales and marketing support, new architectural and design services, and additional training for upscale properties.

In his new role with WorldHotels, Berrivin will be responsible for all aspects of the operation of WorldHotels in the region and will focus his efforts on hotel development and growing brand awareness.

“I am delighted to welcome Olivier to our seasoned team of WorldHotels APAC leaders,” said David Kong, President and CEO of WorldHotels. “WorldHotels will benefit tremendously from Olivier’s extensive experience, deep industry relationships and proven leadership within the region. Olivier is joining a group of truly accomplished leaders who, together, will undoubtedly drive WorldHotels to even greater success in the years ahead.”

“I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead WorldHotels efforts in Asia Pacific,” says Berrivin. “The team in place has done a phenomenal job of serving our rich and diverse collection of hotels across the region. I look forward to working alongside my colleagues in APAC as we support our existing portfolio of hotels while also welcoming even more exceptional properties to WorldHotels in the future.”

In addition to Berrivin’s appointment, WorldHotels has further elevated its APAC senior leadership team with the expansion of responsibilities for Roland Jegge and Melissa Gan. Jegge will continue his 25-year tenure with WorldHotels as he migrates from his current role of President – APAC to become the Senior Advisor to the CEO of WorldHotels. Gan, who has been with the company since 2005, will assume increased responsibilities in the newly created role of WorldHotels Chief Commercial Officer APAC.

Under this experienced leadership team in Asia Pacific, WorldHotels will continue its focus on driving superior revenue to its hoteliers, expanding its portfolio of offerings in premier global destinations and providing exceptional travel experiences to its guests.

About WorldHotels Collection
Newly relaunched, the WorldHotels™ Collection delivers proven soft brand solutions for a curated global offering of over 300 of the finest independent hotels and resorts. Founded by hoteliers dedicated to the art of hospitality, only WorldHotels curates the best independent properties around the globe, each reflective of the locale by offering intuitive service, and a refined sense of character. WorldHotels’ proprietary ‘Start With Why’ philosophy helps each hotel identify their unique set of assets that distinguish and elevate their guest experience and revenue generation performance from the competition. Geared to both business and leisure travellers, the WorldHotels Collection is classified into four tiers allowing guests to select the offering that meets their needs: WorldHotels Luxury, WorldHotels Elite, WorldHotels Distinctive and WorldHotels Crafted Collection.