Author Archives: Breaking Travel News

Gatwick to launch new biometrics trial alongside easyJet

Gatwick Airport has today announced the UK’s first trial of end-to-end biometrics - where personal data collected at the airport’s self-service bag drops will be recognised by new automated self-boarding gates - simplifying and speeding up the process for passengers and reducing the risk of human error. The trial is being run in partnership with easyJet - Gatwick’s biggest airline - and the new self-boarding technology will identify each passenger and verify that their passport, face and boarding card all match - a process which takes less than 20 seconds. Passengers who wish to take part in the trial but who are travelling without luggage (i.e. do not need to use self-service bag drop) will be able to have their data collected at the entrance to the boarding gate room. The trial will be the first and most extensive of its kind in the UK and will run for at least three months so that around 10,000 passengers take part on the 43 Gatwick routes.  This range should allow the airport to gather enough meaningful information to be able to spot trends and adapt the technology to ensure the optimum experience for passengers. ADVERTISEMENTGatwick will be looking at how long each interaction takes, what this means for queue times, how it simplifies the passenger journey, how passengers interact with the technology, and how intuitive the process is.  The faster, more efficient process also has the potential to improve aircraft departure times. Once all the data is gathered, the technology will be adapted and adjusted before taking the idea forward for airport-wide implementation. The boarding process has traditionally been handled by airline staff, but can now be automated with this unique technology, reducing queue times and freeing up airline staff to assist those who need it most. Gatwick has an ambition to reduce queue time and put passengers in charge of their time at the airport.  Investment in technologies which automate the passenger processing part of travelling through an airport will help the airport to manage the ever-increasing numbers who choose to fly from Gatwick. Gatwick Airport chief operating officer, Chris Woodroofe, said: “Gatwick prides itself on providing innovative solutions to enhance the passenger experience at every touch point.  “With the rate of growth we have experienced, it is essential we are able to find more efficient ways of processing passengers through the airport safely and securely.  “Self-boarding technology is the obvious next piece in the jigsaw following extensive investment in our automated check-in and security processing areas. “I’m excited to see this trial come to life with easyJet’s passengers.  “Together we are at the forefront of providing technological solutions that enhance the passenger journey.” The boarding process is the final part of the automated journey to be developed, and it follows Gatwick’s implementation of innovative self-service bag drop technology three years ago, and the opening of the largest self-service bag drop facility in the world in 2015.  Five airlines are currently using this self-service bag drop technology at Gatwick with excellent passenger feedback, and a further five airlines due to adopt the technology soon. Older Jet Airways to launch Manchester-Mumbai connection in November Let's block ads! (Why?)

Jet Airways to launch Manchester-Mumbai connection in November

Jet Airways will launch the first non-stop service between Manchester and Mumbai on November 5th. Further strengthening its flight offering in the United Kingdom and Jet Airways’ commitment to opening up travel to India for UK business and leisure travellers, the service will operate four days a week including Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Manchester will become the 66th addition to the Jet Airways network and its 21st international destination. With the introduction of the new flight - the carrier’s fifth non-stop service to/from the UK, Jet Airways will also become the largest carrier between Mumbai and the UK. The launch of this new service will provide seamless connectivity to nearly 35 domestic destinations to and from India which include Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhuj, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Nagpur, Rajkot, Raipur, Udaipur, via the airline’s HUB, Mumbai.ADVERTISEMENTSimilarly, quick connections to beyond points on Jet Airways’ international network such as Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dhaka and Kathmandu, will now be available. The new service will complement the carrier’s existing three daily, non-stop services between London Heathrow and Mumbai, and once a day service between London Heathrow and Delhi. The launch of the new route comes one year after the airline launched three new international services last year to Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, from Amsterdam, Paris and London respectively. Vinay Dube, chief executive, Jet Airways said: “We are extremely pleased to begin a new chapter in our decade-long relationship with the United Kingdom. “The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our global footprint, as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to and from the United Kingdom for our guests with the four days a week, non-stop service. “With the new flight, Jet Airways will have over 8,000 seats on offer every week, making it increasingly convenient for both business and leisure travellers to travel between the UK and India. This will deepen both commerce and tourism ties between the two countries.” The flight, 9W 129 will depart from Manchester Terminal 2 at 09:35 and arrive in Mumbai’s Terminal 2 at 00:40. Return flights from Mumbai will leave at 02:30 and arrive in Manchester at 07:55. Older Illinois visitor numbers hit record high Newer Gatwick to launch new biometrics trial alongside easyJet Let's block ads! (Why?)

Illinois visitor numbers hit record high

Visitors to Illinois hit an all-time high in 2017, government Bruce Rauner announced earlier. Nearly 114 million people travelled to the state last year to ‘Enjoy Illinois’ and give a $1.1 billion boost to the state’s economy. Last year’s visitor totals were 1.4 per cent higher than 2016, which also was a record year. Travellers came from all over the world for business (17 per cent) and pleasure (83 per cent). In the past ten years, travellers visiting Illinois increased by more than 22 million, and tourism has become one of the state’s most important industries. ADVERTISEMENTThe Illinois tourism industry supported 335,500 jobs in 2017, an increase of 18,600 jobs since 2015. Visitors spent a whopping $39.5 billion in Illinois in 2017, according to the US Travel Association. That’s an increase of $1.1 billion or three per cent from 2016. Visitor outlays for goods and services generated $2.95 billion in state and local tax revenue, up $75 million from 2016. Tourist spending saves the average Illinois household over $1,300 in taxes each year. “Tourism is a critical part of our economy,” Rauner said. “There is so much to see and do in our state. It is gratifying to know that so many people come here each year to experience what we have to offer. “My hat is off to DCEO and the department of tourism for getting the word out with the ‘Up for Amazing’ campaign. “It is paying off smartly for our businesses and our tax rolls.” Older Raventós appointed Costa Rica minister of tourism Newer Jet Airways to launch Manchester-Mumbai connection in November Let's block ads! (Why?)

Raventós appointed Costa Rica minister of tourism

The newly elected president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, has chosen María Amalia Revelo Raventós as the country’s new tourism minister. She replaces Mauricio Ventura as head of the department. Raventós holds a master’s degree in business administration from the prestigious INCAE Business School and a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Costa Rica. She boasts over 40 years’ experience in the country’s tourism sector, where she has held a number of positions of high responsibility in both the public and private sectors. She was deputy manager and marketing director at the Costa Rican Tourism Board, where she developed and implemented key marketing strategies to promote the tourism industry in Costa Rica.ADVERTISEMENTAmong her priorities as tourism minister are the promotion of medium-sized and small companies; the development of new local destinations and products, with a special focus on culture and gastronomy; and the strengthening of the joint work between the public and private sectors. Sustainability will be a cross axis in all her actions in the ministry. Just before the appointment, Raventós held the position of commercial director at Aeris Holding, where she was in charge of developing new flight routes and attracting airlines to Juan Santamaría International Airport (San José) and Daniel Oduber Quirós Aiport (Liberia). Older Europcar sees losses widen in first quarter Newer Illinois visitor numbers hit record high Let's block ads! (Why?)

Europcar sees losses widen in first quarter

Europcar has reported a loss of €21 million for the first quarter of 2018. The figure compares to a loss of €6 million for the same period last year. Revenue at the car rental giant was €556 million for the first three months of the financial year, up 28 per cent at constant exchange rates. Caroline Parot, chief executive, Europcar Group: “Europcar Group is pursuing and accelerating its transformation as a global provider of mobility services. “Our aim is to become the preferred mobility service company for our customers, offering an attractive alternative to vehicle ownership with a wide range of services ranging from vehicle rentals to chauffeur-services, as well as vehicle-sharing and peer-to-peer rental services.”ADVERTISEMENTShe added: “During the first quarter of 2018, the Group delivered strong revenue growth of 28 per cent as a result of solid momentum within our recently acquired companies, but also within our historical perimeter. “Hence, the company’s organic revenue reached 3.9 per cent in the first quarter of the year, mainly driven by the leisure and low-cost segments.” Adjusted corporate EBITDA at Europcar was impacted by the integration of Goldcar, which as expected significantly increases the seasonality of the group’s profitability generation, as well as a negative mix effect generated by the strong growth of the low cost and the trucks business units. There was also an increase in digital transformational costs. Parot continued: “As a result, we confirm all of our targets for 2018 in terms of revenue, adjusted Corporate EBITDA and operating free cash flow conversion. “In that context of strong confidence in the group’s future prospects, we have decided to launch a tactical share buyback programme, which is consistent with our cash allocation strategy, at a point in time that we find appropriate.” Older Orlando sets new benchmark in United States travel Newer Raventós appointed Costa Rica minister of tourism Let's block ads! (Why?)

Phillips to lead Blue Waters, Resort & Spa in Antigua

Blue Waters, Resort & Spa in Antigua has announced the appointment of Kevin Phillips as its new general manager. Originally from Barbados and with extensive Caribbean experience, Phillips joins Blue Waters from Carlisle Bay Resort, also in Antigua, where he was resort manager. He brings a wealth of experience, particularly in food and beverage management, from previous luxury Caribbean resorts including Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands and Sandy Lane, Barbados. Phillips will oversee the operational side of the resort, working in conjunction with Gary Randall, managing director of Blue Waters. Commenting on his new appointment, Phillips said: “Over the duration of my career, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s finest brands and leading hotels. ADVERTISEMENT“I have always had a passion for Antigua and so when I was presented with the opportunity to join the team at Blue Waters, I recognised this was going to be an opportunity of a lifetime. “I am very excited about this new challenge and welcome the opportunity to extend my experience with Blue Waters, a truly world-class resort.” Older Craig David celebrates launch of Marella Explorer Newer Bartlett calls for sustainable tourism roadmap in Asia Let's block ads! (Why?)

Craig David celebrates launch of Marella Explorer

Multi-platinum selling and award-winning recording artist Craig David has dazzled employees, suppliers and media at an exclusive ceremony to celebrate the launch of Marella Cruises’ newest ship, Marella Explorer, in Palma, Majorca. Davis surprised guests with a set from his world-renowned DJ show TS5, playing many of his much-loved hits including ‘Fill Me In’ and ‘7 Days’ as well as ‘I Know You’, the latest smash hit from his new album ‘The Time Is Now’. Following a rebrand in 2017, the launch of Marella Explorer was an opportunity to showcase a more modern Marella Cruises. The live show creative theme, ‘energy and light’, provided a fitting canvas to express the new phase of Marella Cruises’ journey. Pioneering technology was used to create a show-stopping christening ceremony. The glittering production featured mappable versatube lights and LED wristbands to create a dazzling light universe across the whole top deck, making the audience part of the visual canvas to highlight the importance of the Marella Cruises crew. The guests’ wristbands activated during David’s performance, changing colour to the beat of the music, while floating pool lights and lasers heightened the futuristic display. As the countdown began to officially launch Marella Explorer, ten special team members - each representing a different part of the ship – held a beam of light that released the champagne bottle to christen the ship. Finally, a spectacular display of fireworks lit up the sky to close the show as Craig finished his set, leaving guests to continue celebrating into the night. The hour-long spectacular was the brainchild of Black Skull Creative’s Dan Shipton, Ross Nicholson and Jay Revell, who together have produced high profile shows for artists such as Dua Lipa, Paloma Faith and Ellie Goulding. David commented: “It was great celebrating the launch and performing on the Marella Explorer in Palma tonight. I loved surprising the crowd, the atmosphere was electric.  “With my TS5 Pool Party at Ibiza Rocks kicking off from early July this has been the perfect warm up to what is going to be a Summer to remember in the Balearics. “What a time to be alive!” Marella Explorer sets off on her maiden voyage tomorrow Marella Explorer offers even more choice, space and flexibility to customers with two new cabin types, a family balcony cabin which sleeps up to five and a balcony cabin that offers more external space; ten restaurants with new premium dining options and 12 brand new entertainment shows. Alongside all of these exciting new additions are a team of 830 Marella Cruises staff who will continue offering Marella Cruises’ renowned friendliest service at sea. Managing director of Marella Cruises, Chris Hackney, said: “The launch of Marella Explorer marks an exciting time for us as she is the first ship to officially launch under the Marella Cruises name, so it was an honour to have Craig David join us in celebrating such a fantastic night. “The crowd went wild during his performance. “Marella Explorer marks the next step in the continued modernisation and growth of the Marella Cruises fleet.  “We pride ourselves on continuing to offer more ships, new destinations and fantastic service and the futuristic feel of this evening has given a real glimpse of how we are continuing to look to the ahead.” Marella Explorer will set sail on her maiden customer voyage on Saturday May 19th, visiting a variety of ports in the Mediterranean for destinations such as Villefranche, Barcelona and Naples. TUI’s fleet currently comprises 16 cruise ships. TUI Group’s cruise subsidiaries TUI Cruises, Marella and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will take delivery of additional new ships in 2018, 2019 and 2023 in order to further expand their market position. Last week, TUI Group’s board also gave the green light for the construction of another expedition cruise ship for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will shortly start the planning and negotiation process for a further Hanseatic class ship. Older Marriott Moments expanded to help guests find local experiences Newer Phillips to lead Blue Waters, Resort & Spa in Antigua Let's block ads! (Why?)

Marriott Moments expanded to help guests find local experiences

Marriott is rolling out local-area expert recommendations, bespoke categories, and hand-curated lists of things to do on the substantially expanded Marriott Moments to help all travellers and locals discover experiences that speak to their passions. This summer, Marriott has tapped into the company’s global network of thousands of local-area experts including its hotel associates, as well as global partners and celebrities to recommend their favourite sites to see and must-do activities. Throughout Marriott Moments, expert recommendations from hotel general managers, chefs and mixologists, luminary partners chefs Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Stephanie Izard, as well as actress Lea Michele, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and sports broadcaster Michele Tafoya will be featured, with more local area expertise from Marriott hotel associates to be added regularly. As a complement to the recommendations, Marriott Moments will offer bespoke categories based on passion points, types of travel companions, and personality traits including “Pop-Culture Vulture,” “Exhaust Your Kids and Be the Family Hero,” and “Young, Broke & Fabulous.” All recommendations and categories will feature hand-curated lists of the best things to do from around the world, available for purchase with any major credit card. Additionally, as an answer to the age-old question “what should we do now,” Marriott has brought the ability to find and book experiences to Facebook Messenger. ADVERTISEMENTNow, in addition to visiting the website directly, anyone can chat with Marriott Rewards or SPG on Facebook Messenger to get location-based recommendations of close-by Marriott Moments they can purchase on their phone. “Travel is made up of the places you stay, the activities you do, and the people you meet. “With 6,500 hotels located around the world, Marriott is now helping travellers get more out of their trips,” said Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer, Marriott International. “Now, with the expansion of Marriott Moments to everyone, whether they are a guest of ours or not, we are building a global culture of adventure seekers who can pursue their passions.” Further personalising travel experiences, Marriott Moments has added several new partnerships, including a partnership with Eatwith, an online community to find and book culinary experiences with locals in 130+ countries. From an elegant dinner party in a New York loft, to an authentic feast with a Roman family, to a gourmet pastry class in Paris, Eatwith’s experiences with hand-selected hosts are bringing people together through food and enabling travellers to immerse themselves in local cultures. Older InterContinental Sofia takes brand into Bulgaria for first time Let's block ads! (Why?)

InterContinental Sofia takes brand into Bulgaria for first time

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has brought modern luxury to Bulgaria with the opening of InterContinental Sofia. Sofia, an untapped destination for UK travellers, blends history and modernity with its scattering of domed churches and ottoman mosques intertwined with the sheen of new buildings and striking historic architecture. Steeped in historical charm, it offers travellers a cultural escape as well as the dynamism and energy of a city on the up. Marking the brand’s debut in Bulgaria but seventh opening in Eastern Europe, the hotel features 194 rooms, including 27 club rooms and 37 suites. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding city and its vibrant history, every touchpoint of the hotel’s interior is designed to deliver exceptional comfort while embodying the unique spirit of Sofia. ADVERTISEMENTFrom the statue of a girl blowing a dandelion that signifies hope and unity in the lobby, through to the rooms that mimic architectural influences of the 1960s, the design of the hotel truly signifies the unique spirit of Sofia throughout. Nestled in the centre of the city, guests have stunning views of some of the city’s local attractions including Bulgaria’s Parliament building, dating back to the 1880s. The Tsar Liberator Monument, a famous statue in honour of Russian Emperor Alexander II, and the gold-covered domes of the St Alexander Nevski Catherdral, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, are just moments from the hotel. Sofia is encased by vast parkland and sits at the foot of Vitosha mountain, the silhouette of which is visible throughout the city and is an inseparable part of Sofia’s landscape. Guests looking to enjoy some fresh mountain air, it is open year-round for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. All rooms and suites are fully equipped with a flat screen TV, couch to relax on and a large desk for those who are travelling on business. Home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, Bulgaria is fast becoming high on the agenda for travellers after a luxury escape. Rich in traditions and culture, travel to Eastern Europe is on the rise as guests look for unique experiences and unspoilt locations. The in-house concierge team at the hotel will be able to help guide guests about the fascinating sites of the city and unravel its colourful history and vibrant present. From top attractions and private guided tours, to the top dining experiences in Sofia, their local knowledge supersedes any guide book. Tom Rowntree, vice president, brand marketing, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, IHG, Europe, commented: “InterContinental has pioneered luxury travel for more than 70 years, through constant innovation and openings in emerging luxury destinations. “The world of luxury travel is evolving and we know our discerning guests want to explore new cities and cultures, including emerging travel hot-spots such as Bulgaria. “We are delighted to mark the InterContinental brand’s debut in Bulgaria with such a stunning hotel, and we’re sure our guests will be delighted with such a beautiful addition to our portfolio.” Older Khan appointed Americas vice president at Jet Airways Newer Marriott Moments expanded to help guests find local experiences Let's block ads! (Why?)

Khan appointed Americas vice president at Jet Airways

Jet Airways has appointed Athar Khan as its vice president for Americas to leverage the sales and distribution strength of its partners - Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and Air France KLM Royal Dutch Airlines - in order to increase high quality sales in North American markets. Khan joins Jet Airways after having spent over two successful decades with leading international carriers such as Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways and American Airlines.  He has held various leadership positions around the world and most recently, was director, financial services at Delta Air Lines. ADVERTISEMENTHe has also led several critical assignments including the establishment and integration of various joint venture projects, accelerating growth and performance of critical routes in home markets and leading corporate and agency sales across the globe. Welcoming his appointment, Marnix Fruitema, executive vice president, worldwide sales, Jet Airways, said: “We are delighted that Athar is joining our team. “Athar is a respected and passionate airline executive who will be reaching out to all our distribution partners to work closely together. “We wish him all the success and will offer him every support in strengthening our worldwide sales.” Jet Airways is India’s premier international airline operating flights to 65 destinations, including India and overseas. Older Virgin Atlantic to launch Heathrow-Las Vegas connection next year Newer InterContinental Sofia takes brand into Bulgaria for first time Let's block ads! (Why?)