Category Archives: Global

Kuala Lampur to attract 16 mil tourists by 2025


The Kuala Lumpur Tourism Master Plan 2015-2025 aims to attract 16 million tourists and RM79 billion in revenue by 2025. Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said the target was set based on the increasing number of tourist arrivals and receipts for the past 10 years.

“In 2004, there were 7 million tourists visiting Kuala Lumpur and the number kept increasing with 9 million tourist arrivals recorded in 2013. As for tourist receipts, there is a gradual increase from RM7.3 billion in 2004 to RM18.6 billion in 2013. “Kuala Lumpur has also received international accolades, among others, 4th shopping destination in 2013 and is one of the seven wonders cities in the world.

“As a local government, City Hall was given the mandate of monitoring and promoting the various tourist attractions including art galleries, museums, parks and this master plan serves as a strategic blueprint to achieve these targets,” said Phesal.

Officiating the plan, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urged both the public and private sectors to cooperate in achieving the targets set for the master plan.

The plan is implemented based on the five key growth opportunities, namely, to fully capture demand for distinct multi-cultural experiences; strengthen premier shopping destination position; establish Kuala Lumpur as a nature and adventure tourism destination; enhance position as the preferred destination for MICE, education and medical tourism; and ensure provision of world-class infrastructure and tourism products that are well maintained.



Kuoni Group has announced their exit from the tour operating business


While ranking in the ‘top five tour operators’ in Europe, Kuoni group has put its tour operating business up for sale, covering operations in Switzerland, UK, Benelux, Hong Kong/China, India and Scandinavia. New owners are expected to be found in 2015.

The move affects 3, 800 employees in total. Holidays booked will not be impacted, with Kuoni saying ‘all units will continue to deliver their expert services to the accustomed standards of quality and reliability’.

Kuoni Travel UK said it is ‘very much business as usual’ at the company and its current management team will remain with the firm.

Kuoni Group said: “Kuoni ranks among the top five tour operators in Europe and has a well-established presence in Hong Kong and India. In spite of this position, Kuoni’s outbound business faces increasing challenges from changing market conditions. In consideration of the fundamental changes in the industry and the unique position of Kuoni Group as a leading service provider to the global travel industry, the board of directors and group executive board have decided to focus the company’s resources on those core activities in which Kuoni already enjoys a leading market position with attractive prospects. Kuoni has therefore decided to exit the tour operating businesses.”

The Swiss group has announced it will have a new set-up structured under its core business of Global Travel Distribution (GTD), Global Travel Services (GTS) and VFS Global moving forward, which represents 60% of its consolidated turnover.

To maximise growth the firm will focus on markets with long-term growth potential such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Preliminary numbers show Kuoni saw a 2.8% drop in consolidated turnover in its 2014 financial year to CHF5.5 billion. Its outbound business in the Nordics declined by 14.1% to CHF844m, while the outbound Europe/Asia sector fell 5% to CHF1.3bn. Turnover in DMS fell 12.6%, while the VFS Global arm grew 11.3%.

Kuoni Group employs approximately 8,000 people and generated CHF3.4 billion turnover in 2014. Its full year results expect GBP85m in EBIT with a net result of CHF66m.



India to lure Chinese

India China

The Indian government is expected to announce a program to attract Chinese tourists to India in ‘Visit India Year 2015′ in China, said a senior official. “The ministry of tourism will soon make a detailed announcement in this regard. In China the promotion would be called ‘Visit India Year 2015′. In India it will be called ‘Visit China Year 2016′,” Shoeb Samad, regional director (south) India Tourism said.

As part of the tourism promotion program between the two countries, a team of Chinese television crews would soon visit Chennai, Pondicherry and Kerala to shoot interesting travel spots, he said.

During his Indian visit last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced 2015 as the “Visit India year” in China and 2016 as “Visit China Year” in India.

According to Samad, Chinese are upmarket tourists and high spenders. He said India is an interesting destination for Chinese as there are several Buddhist pilgrimage centers as well as other places of tourist interest. Samad said plans were there to train travel and tour agents in Chinese language so that business can be done with ease.

The program will give a big push to the tourist flow between the two countries. Around 750,000 Indians travel to China every year while around 250,000 Chinese travel to India.

Qantas airline named the safest on the planet


Australia’s national airline has been named the safest on the planet after a year when the world was captivated by a series of air tragedies and mysteries. With a ‘fatality free record’ in the jet era, Qantas scored top marks out of nearly 450 carriers monitored by aviation safety review website

The Australian-based website ranked the rest of its top ten in alphabetical order, with British Airways, Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways, and Lufthansa finding a place on the list.Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Taiwan’s EVA Air, Finnair and Singapore Airlines rounded out the top ten.No major US legacy carrier managed to break into the top ten. However Alaska Airlines and JetBlue were included in a ranking of the world’s safest budget carriers. singled out Qantas as the world’s safest airline because it ‘has amassed an extraordinary record of firsts in aviation safety and operations’ over its 94-year history and ‘is now accepted as the world’s most experienced airline’.
It said Qantas has been a leader in a number of areas, including the development of the flight data recorder and using satellite technology for automatic landings and real-time monitoring of its aircraft engines also identified its ten safest budget airlines, with two British carriers – Luton-based Monarch Airlines and Manchester-based Thomas Cook – cracking the list. Of 449 airlines which were included in the study, 149 achieved the website’s seven-star safety ranking and almost 50 had just three stars or less. Five airlines – Agni Air, Kam Air, Nepal Airlines, Scat and Tara Air- found themselves at the bottom of the list with just one star each.

Despite high-profile incidents in 2014 the report insists air travel is the safest method of transportation. The world’s airlines carried a record 3.3 billion passengers on 27 million flights.


China is number one source of international tourists

Chinese tourists

Both in numbers and spending, the number one source of international tourists is China, whose people spent $165 billion on travel in 2013. In the league tables of the continents, Europe holds the number one spot with 563 million visitors, 29 million more than in 2012.

The most attractive region was Southern and Mediterranean Europe, which welcomed 201 million international visitors in 2013. The world’s number one destination was France, the world’s favorite holiday spot for most of the post-war period, drawing 85 million international visitors in 2013.

In second place, and a long way behind, is the United States , with 69.8 million visitors, followed by Spain, China and Italy. After China, Thailand is Asia’s best performer, with 26.5 million arrivals in 2013, an increase of almost 20 percent on the previous year, making it the meteor of world tourism that year.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, in 2013 the global tourism industry accounted for 9 percent of world GDP and one in every 11 jobs. In that year international tourism numbers grew by 6 percent to 1.087 billion, predicted to increase to 1.8 billion by 2030.

In 2013, Asia and the Pacific recorded 6 percent growth in tourism numbers, the strongest of any continent, followed by Europe and Africa. Visitor numbers to the Americas grew by 3 percent, with no growth in the Middle East.

Over the next two decades international tourism to emerging destinations is predicted to increase at twice the rate of well-established destinations.

India wants to receive 1% of international arrivals

Indian tourism





The Indian government has set a target of welcoming 1% of global tourist arrivals by next year. Speaking at a workshop in New Delhi, the country’s Minister of Tourism & Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, said that a “multi-pronged strategy is being worked out” to achieve this goal.

This will include the government’s previous-stated aims of improving the “cleanliness, hospitality and safety aspects” of India’s tourism industry, as well as driving greater cooperation between the tourism, culture and aviation sectors.

In addition, five themed tourism circuits will be developed by the Ministry, based on religions or regions. A total investment of INR5 billion (US$79 million) has been earmarked for the development of the Buddhist, Ganga, Krishna, Northeast and Kerala circuits, while Dr Sharma added that plans to develop India’s cruise and wildlife tourism sectors are also being prepared.

In 2013, India welcomed 6.97 million international tourists, representing 0.64% of the global total. But India’s rate of growth (+7.1% in the first 11 months of 2014) is outpacing the global average of approximately +4.7%.

Lufthansa to start scheduled flights to Maldives


German national carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG is to start scheduled flights to the Maldives from December 2015.

Plans to start the flights by Europe’s largest airline were revealed at a ceremony held at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport by Maldives Airports Company Limited’s  Managing Director  Ibrahim Saleem. He said  that Lufthansa will be operating flights to the Maldives starting from December 9 this year.

Aviation website reported that the flights are part of a “jump” network project by Lufthansa, with the Maldives, Mauritius, and Mexico the initial destinations.

Lufthansa airline is one of the top airlines in Europe. They have previously operated some charter flights to the Maldives, but this is the first time they will be starting scheduled flights, local media reported.

Over five hundred thousand  European tourists landed in the Maldives in 2014 – amounting to 47 percent of total tourist arrivals. The European airline with the most arrivals was Turkish Airlines followed by British Airways.


What will shape the UK travel industry in 2015?


Air Passenger Duty:

The long-running industry campaign against the much-loathed aviation tax has finally started to see some results from its tireless lobbying of government with major changes in the structure of APD coming into place from April 1.

Long-haul destinations, particularly the Caribbean, are benefiting from the abolition of long-haul bands C and D, meaning that all economy passengers travelling more than 2,000 miles will pay the band B rate of £71, instead of the previous charges of £85 (band C) or £97 (band D).

This change will be rapidly followed by the exemption from APD of all under-12s from May 1, which should significantly cut the costs of families flying to long-haul destinations such as Florida.

Airlines and tour operators are refunding passengers who had already booked flights for summer 2015 before the latest APD changes were announced by chancellor George Osborne in December, as well as adjusting their overall pricing for families taking holidays after May 1.

How much impact these changes in APD will have on overall airline ticket prices has yet to be seen. But combined with the dramatic fall in the price of oil in recent months, there should be plenty of downward pressure on UK airfares to all destinations.

General Election

The date of the next general election – May 7, 2015 – has been locked in place since the coalition government was formed in 2010. But given the state of recent opinion polls, it’s anybody’s guess which party or parties will end up forming the next government.

The biggest impact for the travel industry will be the new government’s view on airport expansion in the south-east.

Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission is due to give its final recommendation on whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick just weeks after the election in June.

Whatever the complexion of the government, this is one game of political football that is likely to last considerably longer than 90 minutes.

For the record, neither the Conservatives nor Labour has committed to implementing the commission’s recommendation. It will be interesting to see what they and the other parties say in their election manifestos about airport expansion or whether they just duck the issue.

In the meantime, the travel industry will have to deal with uncertainty in the market as a number of customers opt to await the results of the election before booking their breaks.

Tour operators

Major UK tour operators Tui, Thomas Cook and Monarch are all beginning significant new chapters in their long histories in 2015.

Tui Travel and Tui AG have finally merged to create what joint chief executive Peter Long calls “the world’s largest integrated leisure tourism business” with the increased ability to secure “a pipeline of more exclusive holidays for our customers”.

Thomas Cook is now under the management of industry veteran Peter Fankhauser following the departure of his predecessor Harriet Green, while Monarch will be finding its feet under the new ownership of investment firm Greybull Capital with a strategy that focuses entirely on scheduled leisure flights.

Both Tui and Cook have talked up their long-haul prospects from the UK which should also benefit from the changes to APD and the fall in the price of oil.

New cruise ships

This year promises to be another landmark one for the UK cruise industry with the launch of the biggest-ever ship built specifically for the British market – P&O’s £500 million Britannia, which will carry up to 3,650 passengers when it launches from Southampton in March.

Passengers seem to be excited about the ship – P&O set a new personal best for first-day sales when Britannia went on sale last year, outperforming the previous opening-day sales mark set by Ventura in 2007.

Arch-rival Royal Caribbean will also be making waves in the UK market when it launches the even bigger Anthem of the Seas from Southampton in April.



Coral reefs are an essential part of the earth’s ecosystem

coral reefs

This spring the National History Museum, London will be launching a major exhibition about coral reefs to highlight the plight of these vital marine organisms.

Home to 25% of all marine life, coral reefs are an essential part of the earth’s ecosystem and yet around one-quarter are already damaged beyond repair and another two-thirds are seriously under threat. That’s why for many governments and marine organisations worldwide, looking after our precious reefs is a major issue.

Successful reef restoration in Seychelles:

At Constance Lémuria the reef at Petite Anse Kerlan was damaged by the ocean-warming effects of El Niño back in 1998. In order to help the reef regenerate there has been a lot of work done  with Nature Seychelles on a pilot coral gardening project in which healthy coral is grown elsewhere and transplanted to the damaged reef.

In September last year, only three months after the coral was transplanted from where it had been grown off Cousin Island, the reef was declared 100% healthy by Nature Seychelles.

Coral growth and protection in Maldives:

In the Maldives work has been done along with Valmont and Water Solutions since 2011 to plant more than 250 coral fragments in two areas around Constance Halaveli which last year were reported to be thriving. As part of the project  constructing and submerging a dhoni shaped metal structure around which there is hope of an entire new reef growth.

Constance is also working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Maldives government in their vital work to protect the coral of the stunning Ari Atoll.

The importance of the world’s coral reefs

Regeneration work is important not only because the reefs are beautiful, vital ecosystems in their own right, closely tied to the local culture of the coastal regions where they’re found, but also because the WWF estimates that the world’s reefs generate around $30 billion a year in coastal protection, fisheries and tourism.

Modern science has yet to scratch the surface of these reefs as a source of medical advancement, more varied even than those of the world’s rainforests, but all of this rests on our generation doing what we can to keep the reefs healthy and safe.


German travel market holds its ground in a difficult environment

German tourists

The Germans bank on classical seadise travel destinations and fulfil themselves dreams in respect of long-haul trips: Greece, Tunisia, the Canary Islands as well as the Caribbean destinations Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico are the vacation countries of the Germans which record the highest growth rates this year. “No other country was able to grow stronger than Hellas – and this already for the second time in a row. This is a brilliant comeback”, the President of the German Travel Association, stated at the DRV Annual Convention in Abu Dhabi. The uptrend in the Caribbean has been attributable to modernised and new hotels, so that the wide choice and value-for-money ratio were convincing. Slight growth rates were also recorded by the German tour operators for Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Spain maintains its position as most popular foreign travel destination. Compared to the previous year, less travellers were attracted by Egypt and Thailand.

DRV President Fiebig stressed that the growth rates achieved are noteworthy, more particularly against the backdrop of numerous external factors and influences during this year. This included crises – such as in the Ukraine, Israel, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, the Ebola epidemics in Western Africa as well as the ISIS threats, but also strikes by pilots and locomotive engineers. Moreover, the Football World Cup made many citizens hesitate in their vacation booking. After the triumph of the German team, the extremely narrow time window of the summer holidays (corridor of 71 days) resulted in capacity bottlenecks at the airports, so that not all customers willing to travel were able to fly to their destination.

The fact that at the end of the day a positive result adorns the financial statements proves the strength of the tourism industry. “The travel industry has already survived many crises in the past and mastered them professionally. Apart from the crisis business year 2009, our industry has constantly grown.

High quality vacation trips recorded particularly strong increases amongst the bookings by travel agencies. According to the GfK market researchers, the upper price segments rose particularly strongly with a spending of more than EUR 3,000 per person. There was a more than 10% growth in that respect.

Particularly positive: for the first time since 2004 the number of high street travel agencies has again increased in Germany, by 100 to 9,829 travel agencies – i.e. around 1% more than last year. This includes 9,027 high street travel agencies with a tourism focus and 802 business travel centres.