The latest round-up of news from Wednesday's World Travel Market
- Quito Tourism is promoting its new tourism projects and offerings at Ecuador's stand: LA380 in the Americas Pavilion. The destination is implementing several projects with high economic impact developed by the municipality, such as the new airport Mariscal Sucre, Quito's Metro, the new Convention Centre, Industrial Parks as well as the Historical Center Revitalisation Programme. For details see www.quito.com.ec
- The View from The Shard is offering 10% for group bookings of 15 people or more until March 31, 2014.
- Hotelbeds announced more than 20% sales growth forecast for 2013 and its future plans at WTM. They included a €1.8billion forecast in sales for 2013; MEAPAC (Middle East and Asia Pacific) remains the fastest growing region for the company as a destination and source market, with Thailand as the best-selling destination; Spain remains the best-selling destination in Europe; and for the Americas, the USA is the top destination for customers, with Brazil as the fastest growing destination for 2013 up 55%.
- Big Bus Tours Ltd. has created one unifying global brand, Big Bus Tours, following the merger of The Big Bus Company and Les Cars Rouges in 2011. The new brand roll out is expected to be fully complete by the first quarter of next year. The company will represent the merged operations of Les Cars Rouges, Open Top Sightseeing Tours and Big Bus Tours and reports that it has seen rapid growth in the last two months with new operations recently launched in Vienna and Istanbul.
- The inaugural The Travel Technology Show at WTM put the spotlight on social media and mobile trends as well as how online penetration continues apace for some destinations. A session on how Facebook is now in every stage of the travel process, from dreaming and planning to experiencing and reflecting - with a senior exec from the social network drew a large audience. A panel organised by Travel Bloggers Unite came out firmly in favour of the impact of bloggers in the booking funnel, with bloggers having a positive effect on many stages of the booking cycle, according to experts on the panel. Mobile was also a theme of the show with Gary Morrison, Expedia’s retail boss, leading a session on the opportunities it creates and a further highlight was news that Germany is set to become Europe’s biggest online travel market within the next five years according to a new report.
- Kenya is to be part of a new joint visa scheme with Uganda and Rwanda which will take effect on January 1, 2014. The introduction of the new cross-border visa was officially announced at WTM. At present, tourists travelling between the neighbouring East African countries must obtain a separate visa for each nation, therefore Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are partnering in order to simplify travel arrangements for holidaymakers, as well as creating a new brand for the whole region in turn opening up opportunities for joint marketing campaigns.
- VisitEngland has announced that according to the Great Britain Tourism Survey the number of domestic overnight holiday trips was up by 9% in Great Britain and 9% in England during July this year compared to the same time last year, with visitors spending £1.8billion over the month.
- World Travel Market 2013 is predicted to boost the London economy by more than £160million. The event attracts around 50,000 of the global travel and tourism industry’s most senior executives, who come to London every year to profile the hottest travel destinations. It is estimated that business deals worth more than £2billion will be triggered by the event, while more than £160million will be pumped into the economy through money spent on hotels, restaurants, flights and other discretionary spend by those visiting the capital.