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TTG Global: Travel news from around the world

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News from TTG sister publications in UK, Italy, Middle East, Czech Republic, Russia
TTG Czech
Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport will undergo major refurbishment to make the time passengers spend at the airport as pleasant as possible. The interiors of the airport´s both terminals will undergo significant changes, with the first change within the long-term plan being the construction of new Welcome Centre in Terminal 1 scheduled for next year. The airport´s management along with architects from Chapman Taylor International wants the terminals to reflect symbols of Prague and the Czech Republic to make passengers feel their holiday here begins as soon as they step out of the plane. The changes will also introduce walkthrough stores into the terminals. Outside areas will also be improved and a new parking system will be introduced throughout the airport.
Home of the first Pilsner and the first Budweiser, the Czech Republic is every beer lover´s favourite destination. Now, the famous Pilsner Urquell is slated to become part of Anheuser-Busch. Under a deal of Oct. 13, the US beer-maker agreed to acquire Pilsner´s owner SABMiller for $104 billion, but experts say the acquisition  will have no impact on Pilsner Urquell’s price or quality.
A total of 2,514,414 tourists arrived in Czech hotels in July and August, including 1,657,826 foreign visitors, an increase of 11 percent compared to the same period of previous year. The number of foreigners was up by 9 percent. According to the Minister of Regional Development Karla Šlechtová, the increase of foreign arrivals is partly due to the country´s ranking among the top ten safest destinations of the world by the Global Peace Index.
Nada Rybarova, Editor
TTG UK & Ireland
Significant new research released by Abta, the Travel Association, last month gives the UK travel trade several reasons to be cheerful.
There has been modest growth in the outbound market in the year-to-date, compared to last year, suggesting that neither terrorist attacks, the refugee crisis in Europe, nor economic uncertainty in Greece, have put British holidaymakers off their summer getaway. The peak summer season was ultimately very well sold, though many holidays were booked late.
According to the Holiday Habits Report 2015, UK holidaymakers are set to spend more money on their trips in 2016 than this year, and they are also likely to be more adventurous in their choice of destinations.
Interestingly, while the average number of annual holidays a British consumer takes each year has crept up, it is due to affluent travellers taking more breaks. There is actually an increasing proportion of the population not taking a holiday at all, which has been interpreted as a widening gap between the “haves” and “have-nots”.
The number of people booking with travel agents neither significantly rose or declined this year, but the statistics show that a consumer’s likelihood to use an agent for more complicated holiday bookings remains incredibly high. This suggests a bright future for those agents who can demonstrate knowledge and expertise – and continue to prove their worth.
Pippa Jacks, Editor
TTG MENA
The region recently saw the conclusion of The Hotel Show Dubai which welcomed over 600 hospitality industry suppliers as well as thousands of visitors, who convened for three days of million dollar business deals and new major partnerships.
The 2015 edition of The Hotel Show Dubai saw the presence of new countries to its International Village, with the introduction of Croatia, Finland, Indonesia and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, a number of key destinations in the MENA region can look forward to some major additions to their luxury hotel landscape in the coming years.
The Oberoi Group has announced plans to open two luxury hotels in Qatar set for completion in mid-2018: a 250-key property in the West Bay area of Doha and a 148-room serviced apartment building in Lusail, Doha. In Egypt, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is due to launch the W Hotels brand in 2020 with the opening of W Sharm El Sheikh and The Residences at W Sharm El Sheikh.
As airlines in the region continue to expand links around the world, both Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways are responding to passenger demands by increasing services to the US. Emirates Airline has launched its second daily service from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), while Etihad Airways is gearing up to introduce its Airbus A380 service on flights between Abu Dhabi and New York’s John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airport on November 23, 2015.
Natalie Hami, Senior Media Reporter
TTG Italy
An early autumn pretty lively for the Italian tourism. The period from mid-September to now has seen a succession of events that have generated some interest in the market. Beyond the b2b fair TTG meetings held last week in Rimini, where distribution and technological innovation have been at the centre of the scene, there were many issues on which focused the attention of the sector.
First, the operators of Italian travel seem to be particularly attentive to the operations that the big technology they set up: one for all, Google, which recently launched a flurry of initiatives to meet the tourism companies. Dale intentions of becoming an Ota tools Solutions agencies, the sector seems to be very receptive to every step of the big players in Mountain View.
As for the strictly Italian front, some of the news that shook the market focused on the Guarantee Fund, which will soon be replaced by travel insurance policies compulsory. A theme to which travel agencies and t.o. are really receptive, but which remains to be done clarity.
Another question rose to the headlines, the victory over parity rate, obtained from the hotels: one more tool to be able to compete on equal terms with the Ota.
Finally, the installation of the new ENIT, the National Agency of tourism: just at this time it took office the new board, and the entire industry awaits for the next steps in order to revival of the Italian brand.
As regards the companies in the sector, high attention was dedicated to news on the reorganization of Alpitour and Costa Cruises. But equally, the market has followed the events involving the closure of travel agencies network Liberi Tutti, as well as the suspension of sales ordered by the tour operator Phone & Go. While in the air transport, the carrier Blue Panorama, having survived in extremis from bankruptcy with a government decree, is still waiting to find her white knight.
Rita Pucci, Editor
TTG Russia
Aeroflot became the object of great attention of not just Russian but international media for the second time in two autumn months. As we got to known from the open letter distributed by the company’s press-office on October 1, it refused the offer to acquire the shares of Transaero – the second largest air carrier in Russia.
As is known, on September 3 on the Russian government directive Aeroflot board of directors approved the purchase of 75% plus 1 share of the airline for a symbolic 1 rouble. At the same time, the letter says, Transaero shareholders did not submit the offer to purchase its holding of shares.
Aeroflot’s decision about Transaero per se means a planned bankruptcy of the carrier. However only the creditors or the company itself may start the bankruptcy process. According to the Russian Minister for Transport Maxim Sokolov there are no claims of Transaero bankruptcy from the airline creditors yet however they will most likely come soon.
The case is that major airline creditors has not yet agreed on the debt rescheduling. According to preliminary estimate debt load of Transaero is 250 billion roubles: 150 billion for the aircrafts leasing, 20 billion of debts to the airports and fuelling companies. VTB Bank claims 12 billion roubles, Gazprombank – 7.9 billion.
For the time being Transaero continues operations under the supervision of Ministry for Transport and Federal Air Transport Agency, its license is not revoked yet but it is prohibited to sell tickets. They created a coordination headquarters under Aeroflot, and Federal Air Transport Agency is responsible for the current situation monitoring – first of all for cooperation with foreign aviation authorities.
As they noted in the Ministry for Transport they will do everything possible to carry passengers. Aeroflot General Manager Vitaly Saveliev guaranteed fulfillment of obligations to Transaero clients: either to provide the transportation or to refund the money spent for the tickets if the flights were cancelled. At first Aeroflot was going to carry the passengers with Transaero tickets on domestic flights until October 15 but then prolonged the term for domestic and international flights until December 15. According to Aeroflot information by that time 95% of Transaero passengers will be carried.
Maria Shankina, Editor-in-Chief

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