Hospitality Industry Welcomes New Standards of Carbon Measurement

The hospitality industry now has a standardised approach to measuring carbon footprints.

The new procedure has been put together by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in collaboration with UK-based, InterContinental Hotels Group.

The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) Working Group, which has been launched recently, and which includes hotel members within the ITP and WTTC, is offering a global standardised approach for the hospitality industry and its customers.

David Jerome, the senior vice president of corporate responsibility for InterContinental Hotels Group, said, ‘As an industry, we’ve standardised our practices around how hotels calculate carbon emissions, making it easier for our guests and corporate clients to understand the environmental impact of their hotel stays.’

The procedure, developed in 2011, has been tested in different hotels of various sizes, and in diverse geographical locations, to refine the process.

InterContinental Hotels will be using the new methodology to construct a carbon calculator into Green Engage, an online sustainability tool that is designed to enable the group’s hotels to measure, administer and lessen their environmental impacts.

The calculator will allow around 2,000 hotels using Green Engage to offer their customers information on the carbon footprint per occupied room, and the carbon footprint of meetings and events.

Earlier, the chief executive officer of InterContinental Hotels, Richard Solomons, said in a statement on the company website, ‘As the world’s largest hotel group1 we understand that the role of hotels in society goes beyond selling hotel rooms. We must act responsibly and build trust in our brands.

Building trust and being a responsible business are fundamental. Our size and scale give us a big responsibility. The great news is that doing the right thing strengthens our reputation and reinforces trust in our brands. It shows, for instance, that we’re listening to our stakeholders. A growing number of our guests want to make sustainable choices and lots of our corporate clients want proof of our green credentials.’



Generator Hostels Offers Complimentary Food with Accommodation in Europe

Generator Hostels, a company that operates hostels in Europe, has launched a sale of its accommodation for the month of July 2012.

The company is offering its guests complimentary food for all bookings made in July 2012, subject to the travel being completed by December 28, 2012.

Accommodation is available at its hostel properties in London (England), Dublin (Ireland), Berlin (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Venice (Italy). The company is also in the process of opening a new property in Barcelona, Spain.

At the Generator Hostel Berlin, the offer is for a complimentary hot salted pretzel, on twin and eight bed dorm rooms, with room rates commencing at EUR16 per person, per night.

The Copenhagen Generator Hostel accommodation is offering a Danish pastry with a cup of tea or coffee, on booking twin and six-bed dorm rooms, with rates commencing from EUR26.23 per person, per night.

The London Generator is offering a complimentary London pie or pasty on booking twin, quad and four-bed dorms rooms, for rates commencing at EUR23.54 per person, per night.

The Dublin Generator Hostel is offering a complimentary pint of Guinness and a packet of Tayto crisps on booking six-bed dorm rooms, with prices commencing from EUR9.60 per person, per night.

The Generator Venice Hostel accommodation is offering complimentary pasta on booking sixteen bed dorm rooms, with rates commencing from EUR22 per person, per night.

All the hostels offer a late night bar, social events, an Internet cafe, lounge areas and interaction with like-minded guests in the hostel’s public spaces.


Air Travel Will Not Replace Online Communication, Says Study

Social media may be changing the way people communicate, but it will certainly not replace air travel, a verdict that comes as a relief to Airbus, an aircraft manufacturer.

A survey conducted by the company, for which around 1.75 million respondents were questioned, revealed that in the future people will still be keen to travel by air, and meeting with others physically will not be replaced by online communications.

By 2050, around 63 percent of people worldwide will be flying more than they are doing currently, according to the survey results. While 60 percent of respondents do not think that social media will replace physical meetings between people, around 40 percent of respondents feel that air travel is now becoming quite stressful, and round 96 percent demand sustainable or ‘eco-efficient’ air travel.

Charles Champion, the executive vice president of engineering, at Airbus, said, ‘Aviation is the real World Wide Web. The results of the survey show that there is nothing better than face-to-face contact. The world is woven together by a web of flights that creates ever-expanding social and economic networks: 57 million jobs, 35 per cent of world trade, and USD2.2 trillion in global GDP.

Since we launched the ‘Future by Airbus’, we have engaged with people in 192 countries in a dialogue about the future of air travel. This resulted in our revolutionary Airbus Concept Plane and Cabin, which offer a glimpse into some of the innovations that could meet evolving passenger trends and environmental considerations. It’s clear that people are really excited about the future of sustainable flight and we want them to be part of shaping that future.’


IAG Announces Decrease in Premium Travel on Eve of Olympics

The Olympics may see a drop in premium travellers visiting the UK, said the UK-based airline holding company, International Airlines Group (IAG).

The company has reported that premium traffic for the month of June 2012 has increased by 5.3 percent compared to the preceding year, while non-premium traffic increased by 9.6 percent in June 2012, from the earlier month. The company has stated that, ‘Underlying market conditions remain unchanged from last month. As we had indicated earlier in the year there is likely to be some near-term softness in premium traffic due to the Olympic Games.’

The company, which is the parent company of British Airways, has reported an increase in revenue passenger kilometres of 8.9 percent in June 2012, compared to June 2011, and an increase of 5.9 percent on a like for like basis. The group capacity, which is measured by available seat kilometres, is also up by 5.8 percent in June 2012, compared to that in June 2011.

The company has reported that it ferried around 5 million passengers in June 2012, from its two airlines, British Airlines and Iberia, an increase of 11.6 percent, from that of 4.5 million in June 2011. Passenger traffic for the first six months of 2012 has increased by 3.7 percent, to 25.7 million, compared to the same period in 2011.

Earlier, Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, reported an additional 460,000 passengers in June 2012, with a load factor of 84 percent, and Easyjet, a UK-based airline, has reported an additional 480,000 passengers in June 2012.


New Sheraton Jiaozhou Hotel Opens in China

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, a subsidiary of US-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, has announced the opening of its new Sheraton Jiaozhou Hotel, located near Qingdao city, on the Shandong Peninsula Coast, in China’s eastern region.

The new hotel is owned by Qingdao Greentown Jiaozhou Bay Real Estate Development Company, and has 270 guest rooms, including 31 suites.

Hoyt Harper, the global brand leader for Sheraton Hotels, said, ‘Sheraton debuted in Beijing as the first international brand hotel in China and we are very excited that Sheraton Jiaozhou Hotel is the first international brand hotel in Jiaozhou. Sheraton’s impressive global pipeline is being fuelled by phenomenal demand in China with 12 new Sheraton hotels slated to open across this fast-growing market by year’s end driven by strong demand in second and third tier cities.’

The hotel lobby features the brand’s Link@Sheraton, experienced with Microsoft, a signature social hub for business travellers that offers immediate access to information and technology for work and leisure. The other amenities include lifestyle options such as new Sheraton Fitness programme by Core Performance for fitness lovers; the Shine Spa for Sheraton for relaxation; the Sheraton Club lounge offering complimentary food and beverages, and leisure facilities for Sheraton Club guests; as well as dining venues including the YUE Chinese Restaurant and Feast, the all day dining restaurant.

Bi Ming Guang, the assistant general manager of Qingdao Greentown Jiaozhou Bay Real Estate Development Company, said, ‘The opening of Sheraton Jiaozhou Hotel enhances the strategic positioning of the Jiaozhou New District.’


Twelve Airlines to Disclose Debit Card Charges Following OFT Recommendations

Twelve airlines flying from the UK have decided to include their debit card charges in their headline prices, following a recommendation from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a UK government department.

The new pricing policy will mean that the airlines will include their card charges, which will be displayed along with their headline prices, when visitors to online booking websites are searching for a flight.

The twelve airlines that will be offering this service are Aer Lingus, Bmibaby, Eastern Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, Jet2, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizzair.

Monarch Airlines scrapped their debit card charges totally in 2011, and Flybe followed suit from March 2012, and now the other airlines will be disclosing their debit card charges as guests commence their online flight bookings.

The OFT has reported that Eastern Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Wizzair, have already made changes to their existing pricing structures, others will be making those changes shortly.

Clive Maxwell, the chief executive officer for the OFT, said, ‘This is a great outcome for the millions of people who buy flights online. It is important that the cost presented when they search for a flight is realistic and that they are not surprised by extra charges. Otherwise it is harder for them to shop around for the best deal.

Because of our enforcement action, most airlines have already made their headline prices and other payment charges easier to understand by changing their systems and processes. The rest will complete changes in the coming months. We made it clear from the start that we would use all of our enforcement powers, including court action if necessary, but are pleased to have reached agreement with the airlines before court proceedings were required.’


London Deploys Its Army of Street Sweepers As Tourist Guides

The city of London is preparing its army of bin men and street sweepers to offer information to tourists that get lost in the city or are unable to locate a place of interest during the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games.

An estimated one million international visitors are expected to land in London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the city has been gearing up to offer an incident-free holiday to them all. Around 1,000 road sweepers and refuse collectors have been trained to offer directions and other tourist information to foreign visitors, in addition to their regular job responsibility of keeping the city clean.

Counsellor, Ed Argar, the UK cabinet member for city management and transport, said in an interview, ‘Our street sweepers and bin men are some of the friendliest faces in town. So much so, that as well as keeping the city clean, they often become the unofficial tour guides for London. This initiative will increase that engagement and make the millions of people expected this summer feel even more welcome.’

The street sweepers are currently being trained to improve their customer service skills, and will be asked to keep small maps to help out tourists that are in difficulties.

Jeremy Brinkworth, the head of business development at VisitEngland, said, ‘This is a great example of how England is pulling together to ensure all our visitors during this amazing year are given an outstanding welcome. We are sure that London’s road sweepers will help to form a great first impression for visitors from throughout the UK and overseas.’


Virtuoso Life Magazine Announces Travel Dreams Poll Results

Virtuoso, a US-based luxury travel network, has announced the results of its sixth annual Travel Dreams survey, which it recently conducted.

The poll was carried out to ascertain the latest dreams of modern day travellers, with responses given by the readers of travel magazine, Virtuoso Life.

The survey highlighted that the favourite travel dreams involve adventures on the seas, including going on a world cruise, calling on all seven continents, and sailing around the Mediterranean on a private yacht.

When it came to making the trip of a lifetime, the most favoured dream was a visit to the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean that is located close to the equator. The islands are famous for their habitat, and for a number of endemic species, which include tortoises and marine iguanas.

The survey also reported that Australia remains a favourite with tourists, and tops the list of Dream Destination criteria, followed by New Zealand, South Africa and French Polynesia. Australia also remains on the list as a Top Family Getaway, while Sydney, the Australian capital, heads the list for ‘Go-To Style and Design Capital’.

Elaine Srnka, the editorial director for Virtuoso Life, said, ‘Virtuoso travellers continue to blaze new trails, setting the standard for how and where those in-the-know will venture next. The ‘Travel Dreams’ results show us the destinations and products that are likely to be the most popular in the year ahead, allowing us to focus our editorial in a way that our readers will find more compelling.’


Radisson Blu Hotels Announces New Resort in Corsica

Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts, a part of Belgium-based The Rezidor Hotel Group, has announced a new Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, at Ajaccio Bay, in Corsica.

The 170-room property is located close to Porticcio and is on the Agosta Beach. It claims to be a resort with a panoramic view and up-rated customer service. This is the first of the Radisson Blu brand properties in Corsica, and it is owned by the Ollandini group.

All 170 rooms and suites at the first-class resort have amenities that include a Nespresso coffee machine and complimentary high-speed Internet access. The hotel says that it is dedicated to offering a great beach holiday to its guests, and its amenities include an outdoor pool with a children’s pool, and a 900 square metre wellness area, featuring an indoor pool, a hot tub, a fitness centre, and a spa with five treatment cabins.

Kurt Ritter, the president and chief executive officer of The Rezidor Hotel Group, said, ‘We are delighted to open this resort together with Jean-Marc Ollandini and his group. It further strengthens our successful, contemporary resort portfolio, and underlines the leading position of Radisson Blu as Europe’s largest upper upscale brand.’

The resort also has 400 square metres of flexible meeting space, which can host up to 250 delegates, and has the latest meeting technology.

In addition there is a tourist information centre and a shop for buying memorabilia, as well as a gourmet restaurant and two bars.


Travellers Enjoy Vacations even As Global Economies Slide

While most economies of the world are struggling to make headway against the gloom of recession, miraculously the travel industry appears to be on an upward trend, as global budgets for vacations continue to increase.

A survey, sponsored by the Wyndham Hotel Group, has recently polled around 5,600 adults residing in cities of the US, Brazil, Canada, China, and the UK. According to the survey, 70 percent of the respondents intend to spend a similar budget or more on vacationing in 2012, compared to their budget in 2011, with 35 percent intending to spend more than last year.

Around 66 percent of Chinese travellers and 52 percent of US travellers intend to travel on longer holidays this year, compared to last year, while 37 percent of US travellers, 36 percent of travellers from Canada, and 42 percent of Chinese travellers are planning a vacation with more expensive entertainment and excursion options.

The report also suggested that around 34 percent of travellers claimed to be members of hotel loyalty programmes, with 50 percent of Chinese travellers, 40 percent of US travellers, and 20 percent of UK travellers belonging to at least one hotel loyalty programme. Of the hotel loyalty programme members, around 62 percent claimed that their travel decisions are influenced by their loyalty programme memberships.

Visitors showed a preference for visits to theme parks, with around 43 percent of travellers voting for the parks, while 40 percent voted for shopping destinations, and 37 percent voted for adventure trips, such as mountain climbing and skiing.

Of the travellers that are looking to lower their travel expenditure this year, around 24 percent of them intend to give up their holiday entirely, while others want to cut down on dining out or going out with friends, instead of giving up their holidays completely.