Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife has taken the pool party concept to a new level with the launch of 'Lagoon Party'; a series of events featuring renowned international DJs, acrobatic performances, live musical entertainment and tropical vibes around its huge man-made lagoon located next to the hotel on the edge of the island's south-west coast.

Set to the rhythm of live music by the likes of Eric Morillo, Harry Romero, Sebastian Gamboa, Rudimental, Nervo and Roger Sánchez, as well as saxophonists and percussionists, each Lagoon Party offers ten hours of non-stop fun on alternate Saturdays throughout the summer until October.

After premiering in style earlier this summer, bringing together an average of 2,500 people who gathered to party to live sets by Eric Morillo, Harry Romero and Rudimental among others, Lagoon Party returns on 18 August with Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill, and promises to keep surprising party-goers with new performances and musical sessions every other Saturday until 27 October.

In addition to the live sets by some of today's hottest DJs, guests can expect dancers, live music, floating bars with refreshing cocktails and delicious food at The Beach Club and Munchies Surf Bar at each event.  For an even more exclusive experience, there are three VIP areas that can be booked in advance, including three private Jacuzzis next to the lagoon and a dedicated space on the Hard Rock beach, where a special food and drinks menu will be offered.

Birmingham Airport has been named the most family friendly airport in the UK and Ireland. Netflights.com has awarded Birmingham Airport this accolade after working with some expert parenting bloggers to measure 20 airports on their travel experience for families.

Netflights.com polled 2,000 British travellers on their habits and experiences of using airports with children. Birmingham Airport was crowned the most family friendly airport coming out on top with 80% of its flights leaving on time in June 2018, designated baby changing areas, express security lanes, free water fountains and free Wi-Fi all adding up to a positive travel experience for families.

Paul Hopkinson, Marketing Director at Netflights: “We are delighted that Birmingham has ranked so highly against other airports in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands for its family friendliness. Its central location, free drinking water, free Wi-Fi, play areas and punctual flights meant it scored very highly and is a good option for those travelling with children this summer.”

Stuart Haseley-Neirup, Head of Customer Experience at Birmingham Airport said: “We are delighted at being named the most family-friendly Airport.  We put the passenger at the heart of everything we do, meaning we tailor the airport experience to the needs of all of our 13m passengers that travel through whether they are on business, leisure or as a family.”

As part of the family-friendly brand initiative, Birmingham Airport launched the new look SkyZone area on Monday 23rd of July to coincide with the start of the school holidays. The Airport’s interactive and educational children’s play area located after security can be found at gate 55. SkyZone is easily accessible for all families bringing a fun and engaging experience for all children pre-flight.

Over the next week Birmingham Airport will be introducing a new child focused initiative at security. Each child will be greeted and awarded with a Zoom sticker. The stickers bearing the Birmingham Airport Mascot, Zoom, will make the security experience for children less daunting and less stress free for the parents too!

To ease travel through the Airport, Birmingham Airport, offers a range of special assistance initiatives, one being for passengers travelling with a hidden disability. If a passenger has a hidden disability and feel they need additional support or recognition in key areas, then the Airport’s special assistance provider will provide passengers with a lanyard which discreetly identifies them to Airport staff.

Birmingham Airport is continually evolving its customer service experience and has recently spent over £14.5m investing in its facilities for passengers.  These new facilities included a new security preparation area which includes a family friendly channel.  The Airport will continue to keep the customer experience for travelling families a priority with a designated Head of Customer Experience on site to ensure the Airport grows and evolves with its passengers.

The family run Northern Lights Resort & Spa, located in the picturesque Yukon River Valley, is building three new extravagantly appointed Aurora Glass Chalets for the 2018-19 winter season. The chalets are purposely built with the ultimate Aurora viewing experience in mind, however, they will be available for year-round use.

Aurora viewing packages in the chalets can now be booked for 1 December 2018 onwards and a minimum of a three nights stay is required. The Aurora Glass Chalets can also be booked for Bed & Breakfast accommodation in the summer season from June to August 2019.

The new chalets are a magical way to experience the wintry star-filled sky and the Northern Lights, while lying comfortably in a warm bed. The large floor-to- ceiling wrap-around windows open to the Northern Sky, directly in front of the queen size bed.

All the chalets are designed for double occupancy with a queen bed, cosy recliner chairs behind the floor-to-ceiling windows, in-floor heating and an elegant fireplace, a small kitchenette, and beautifully appointed bathroom with tiled walk-in shower.

Just a few steps away from the chalets are the resort's other services including a spa, an outdoor jacuzzi, lounge, bar and dining room and other catering services. Northern Lights Resort & Spa also has four cosy and traditional log cabins, all with the same comfort and amenities as the new glass chalets.

Dubai welcomed a record 8.10 million international overnight tourists during the first six months of 2018, representing a consistent increase on the same period last year. Figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) have confirmed the continued success of the emirate’s tourism sector, which at the end of 2017 was worth AED109 billion a year. A destination of choice for a number of global markets, Dubai is on track for projected growth into the second half of 2018.

Top source markets continued to witness stable year-on-year performances in the first half of 2018, with India, KSA and the UK retaining their top three positions when compared to the same period last year. India again brought in the highest number of international guests, once again crossing the 1-million-mark over a six-month period, up by three per cent year-on-year. KSA and the UK retained their spots as the second and third largest feeder markets respectively, with the former rallying to a slight increase and remaining as the highest traffic driver from the GCC region. China ended the first half of 2018 in fourth place, continuing its upward trajectory by nine per cent to deliver 453,000 tourists. Meanwhile, Russia topped the growth charts with a stellar 74 per cent increase over H1 2017, delivering 405,000 visitors to jump five positions within the top ten source markets. Both markets continued to benefit from added ease of travel access following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities for Chinese and Russian citizens in late 2016 and early 2017 respectively.

The first half of 2018 also witnessed increased contributions from the USA and Germany, standing strong at seventh and eighth positions with 327,000 and 302,000 visitors respectively. This affirmed the successful delivery of a diversified market strategy, activating multi-pronged efforts to prioritise maintenance of continued strong appeal to travellers from key source geographies, and increasing advocacy by focusing on targeted improvements to the tourism pillars that appeal most to these audiences.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, commented: “The first six months of 2018 have both generated and sustained a steady performance, supporting strong growth across our global feeder markets. Attracting 8.10 million visitors during the first half of 2018 stands us in good stead as we accelerate momentum towards our visionary aspiration of becoming the most visited city in the world. The varied offering of Dubai’s tourism proposition has steadily evolved, prudently yet actively responding to market demand, and increasing the emirate’s attractiveness among target visitor segments across our key markets. As such, we have strategically deployed partnerships to ensure we continue to stay relevant and front of mind to both first-time and repeat visitors, while simultaneously creating a steady stream of Dubai ambassadors. Organically expanding the outreach and impact of this authentic advocacy for the city, our integrated networks across digital, social and mobile-led platforms reflect the future-centric mandate of the 10X initiative introduced in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to embrace innovation and ensure Dubai stays 10 years ahead of any global city.”

From a regional perspective, Western Europe contributed 21 per cent of the overnight visitor volumes, maintaining its position from the same period last year as the largest source of visitors. With double digit percentage increases in visitor numbers in three of the top twenty source markets, France, Italy and Germany witnessed strong increases of 18 per cent, 11 per cent and 12 percent respectively; a key indicator of successful destination marketing efforts aimed at driving consideration from a wider yet highly targeted spectrum of European traveller segments.

With Dubai now attracting even more diverse audiences, Dubai Tourism is continuing to innovate and customise marketing-promotions delivery backed by strong insights-driven analytics and most ‘time and audience’ relevant touchpoints within the travel decision ecosystem. This spans a myriad spectrum from the most recent success of the multi-award-winning #BeMyGuest campaign working with celebrity ambassadors to target a diaspora audience which drove over 100 million video views in just 8-weeks; to strategic market specific agreements with leading Chinese digital and technology giants to further penetrate and raise consideration for Dubai as the travel destination of choice for China. Such market and segment specific initiatives supported by strong network of trade partners in-country and amplified through content partnerships in key markets to deliver consistent, credible and relevant messaging has been the focal feature of Dubai’s 360 integrated marketing approach that has continued to yield results through the first half of 2018.

Other levers enabling future growth include the recent introduction of the stopover visa, whereby transit passengers are exempt from all entry fees for the first forty-eight hours of their stay. Additionally, future visa regulation changes will offer an added benefit for travellers to the UAE over summer, exempting dependents aged 18 years or below from visa fees – a move that is expected to boost tourist numbers even further. Additionally, Dubai’s cruise industry continued to play a pivotal role in contributing to the emirate’s tourism sector, with Dubai strengthening its appeal as the favoured destination amongst international cruise lines and cruise tourists, forecasting a season that expects to drive more visitation. To actively support this segment, Dubai has taken critically enabling steps for hassle-free access and egress visas with the recent multi-entry UAE visit visa exclusively for cruise tourists from over 50 countries.

“The resounding support we receive from our government, public and private sector both in Dubai and across the globe, is testament to the confidence that we collectively share in the inherent strength, appeal and long-term sustainability of Dubai’s tourism proposition and our ability to deliver exponentially superior traveller experiences to the widest range of audiences. This collaboration is fundamental to our success, and together we remain dedicated to continuing to drive record numbers of visitors to Dubai, consequently increasing the tourism sector’s impact on the emirate’s economy. Looking ahead to the second half of 2018, and additional areas of growth for the tourism sector, the recent move to implement a value added tax (VAT) refund mechanism for tourists will also ensure the industry’s competitiveness globally and drive further growth in its GDP contribution to Dubai,” concluded Almarri.

Kenya’s tourism industry has undergone challenges such as the uncertainty surrounding the political landscape in 2017. Yet, its resilient performance has been impactfully felt on the Kenyan economy, directly contributing Ksh. 294.6 billion (USD 2.9 billion), which is approximately 3.7% of the GDP in 2017. By the end of 2018, the contribution is expected to rise by 5.2% to Ksh. 310.1 billion and to Ksh. 515 billion by 2028. In a hospitality report by Jumia Travel, Kenya earned 1.2 billion US Dollars from tourism expenditures last year, up from approximately 989 million US Dollars in 2016; a 20% increase. This, as international arrivals to Kenya reached 1.4 million as compared to 1.3 million in the previous year, representing an increase of 9.8%.

Image by Sergey Novikov

Some of the economic drivers that highly contributed to the stability included enhanced security in the country, infrastructural developments like The Standard Gauge Railway, a steady macroeconomic environment, improved budgetary allocations by the government, and increased air connectivity within Africa. Serena Hotels’ Regional Sales and Marketing Director Rosemary Mugambi, applauds the government’s strides in enhancing the industry in the areas mentioned below.

More diverse tourism products

Kenya’s core tourism resources are beach and safari products. It can be noted from the National Tourism Blueprint, that the government has identified existing gaps and is now set to do much more in identifying new opportunities that should allow the opening of a wider scale of diverse tourism products, addressing needs within existing products and developing new ones. It should be expected that in addition to market research to identify best practices and products, there will be closer partnerships with the private sector and other stakeholders to ensure long term sustainability and alignment of tourism products with market needs.

Tourism Marketing

Recently, countries like Rwanda, and traditionally South Africa have noticeably upped their tourism marketing strategies to maintain and increase market share in the international tourism market. Whilst Kenya’s reputation as a top African tourist destination has always managed to place the country as a leader in the industry, it is imperative that marketing campaigns for destination Kenya be more innovative to capture the imagination of travelers across different segments; from the niche market to the more budget conscious. Adequate marketing funds also need be availed consistently.

Promotion of Domestic Tourism

Domestic tourism has taken off exponentially in the last few years, generating 62% of direct travel & tourism GDP in 2017 as foreign spending contributed 38% according to the hospitality report. Concerted efforts by both government and the private sector to increase the local tourism numbers at times when international tourist figures went down have paid off handsomely; and all players stand to be lauded for the hard work. The unified brand of #TembeaKenya through the Kenya Tourism Board has certainly helped build awareness especially within the counties – a good initiative that must continue to receive the necessary support. Much remains to be done to educate Kenyans on their country as a travel destination, and in continually positioning Nairobi as a regional hub. The resultant benefit is Kenya being a ‘must go to’ destination for both corporate and leisure travel from the region and beyond within the continent.

Protection of Tourism Resources

The conservation of valuable resources like wildlife is paramount. It is commendable that the elephant population in areas like the Tsavo National Park has increased significantly following efforts to contain poaching and management of human-wildlife conflict by the Kenya Wildlife Service. A park which previously had become almost forgotten is now slowly coming back to life as a viable tourism area. This is just one example of success stories that are not told enough for rightful gain.

However, the unfortunate death of 11 rhinos (the eleventh was found dead on the morning of Monday the 6th Aug) during a translocation from Nairobi and Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East; is an example of occurrences that hurt the sector and which should not happen in future. Ultimately, the government must play the role of ensuring that the right policies and regulations are in place and adhered to and provides the enabling environment. The industry must also play by the right rules and procedures in developing the industry to ensure Kenya maintains and grows its slice of the cake in the market. It is all about partnerships.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the governments and air navigation service providers of Europe to address the region’s airspace bottlenecks, as new data revealed that delays so far this year have more than doubled compared to 2017.

“We are in the summer season in Europe. Travelers want to get to their holidays on time. And too many will be disappointed because of air traffic delays. We should be making progress, but delays are double those of last year. There is no quick fix for this year. But the needed solutions are well-known. With the correct investment and planning by governments and ANSPs we can, and must, make next year better,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Data from Eurocontrol shows that in the first half of 2018, Air Traffic Management (ATM) delays more than doubled to 47,000 minutes per day, 133% more than in the same period last year. Most of these delays are caused by staffing and capacity shortages as well as other causes such as weather delays and disruptive events such as strikes. The average delay for flights delayed by air traffic control limitations reached 20 minutes in July, with the longest delay reaching 337 minutes.

Staffing and Infrastructure Investment

As airlines add flights to new destinations and expand their offer to meet the expectations of travelers, air traffic in Europe is on the rise, creating greater demands on the continent’s airspace. Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) manage each State’s airspace and charge overflight fees for the services they provide. As flight numbers have increased, so has their revenue. Eurocontrol calculates that European ANSPs have made an average 9.6% EBIT in recent years.

Unfortunately, key ANSPs in Europe have not made needed investments in their businesses, preferring instead to make super-normal profits. The largest service providers have either under-invested in staff or use outdated employment practices, which don’t deploy staff when and where they’re most needed, resulting in unnecessary delays for passengers. Many European ANSPs have also failed to make planned technology investments intended to increase capacity.

IATA is calling on the European Commission, Member States and ANSPs to take urgent action with the following four-point plan:

Modernize the infrastructure and implement the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) something airlines are already paying for.

Reform outdated work practices so that staff are deployed when they’re required; and, where justified, recruit additional staff.

Empower the European Network Manager to plan and configure the network to meet the demands of air travelers.

Strengthen the Performance and Charging Scheme so that ANSPs not delivering agreed capacity are subject to meaningful penalties.

“The impact of ATC delays ripple throughout the economy. At a time when Europe’s competitiveness urgently needs to be improved, increasing ATM delays is totally unacceptable. Travelers are fed-up. Change must start now,” said de Juniac.