Newsletter 39 -

3rd November 2015
Photo: St James Club - Elite Island Resorts

Antiguan Dream

With lush views and clear water, Antigua is a prototypical island paradise. However, it also has a unique culture all its own

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Minister of Tourism the Hon. Asot Michael lauds the commencement exercise of the 2015 Class of the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute.
It was an auspicious occasion last Thursday; the passing out of over 80 students as the 2015 graduating class of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotel Training Institute (ABHTI). Tourism Minister the Hon. Asot Michael saw the organization and execution of the ceremony held at the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort as first class and commends the Board and Faculty of the Institution on a job well done.
“I must commend the ABHTI Graduating class of 2015 on the exceptional level of passes achieved in the various programs offered at the institution. The commencement exercise signified the dedication and commitment of the Board and Faculty and I must commend them as well on a job well done,” stated Minister Michael. Full story here...
Seaborne Marketing team visits Antigua
In preparation for their December launch of direct flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico a sales and marketing team from Seaborne Airlines led by Director of Business Development Hector Montanez visited the island last week. They met with travel agents from across the island at the AHTA office on Wednesday and made site inspections at several properties.
Agents have a blast in Montreal
In the run up to the Salon International de Tourism et Voyages the ABTA Canadian office invited 70 agents to a fun filled evening at the Restaurant l'Autre Version in old Montreal. With the support of Air Canada Vacations and Travelbrands the agents were given a presentation of the destination by Marie Walker and Tameka Wharton who then entertained the audience with her singing. To read more click here
New to our Statistics page this week are:
Full Air Arrival figures for June, July & August 2015
JetBlue CEO: Airline inclined to serve Caribbean destinations with lower taxes
Robin Hayes, President & CEO of JetBlue Airways and keynote speaker at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC), held last week in Curacao, stunned his audience with a message to which few had paid much attention before. Hayes stated: “At JetBlue, we are very much thinking about the relative tax burden on our customers as we allocate capacity.”
For countries that rely heavily on the air transportation of visitors for up to 70% of their GDP, few tourism planners in the Caribbean have ever considered examining their relative position within the region concerning taxes on airline tickets. Hayes pointed out that in the region “between U.S. and foreign (Caribbean) taxes and fees, travellers can easily be hit with an extra US$150 on top of their airfare.”

Ticket taxes and charges are based on direct flights originating from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, quoted from sample rates found on with St. Thomas taxes reflecting travel via Puerto Rico.

To read full CHTA press release click here
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) launched its UK and European Travel Industry Trends & Insight Report 2015 at WTM yesterday, produced in conjunction with the travel trade publication, TTG.
For the second year running the CTO has produced this report to give members and wider travel industry partners a unique insight into the key issues affecting the industry and a snapshot on developments within the Caribbean itself.
It was launched by CTO chairman Richard Sealy before an audience that included ministers and directors of tourism from the Caribbean, as well as key industry representatives attending World Travel Market (WTM).
Carol Hay, director of the Caribbean Tourism Organization said: “We are delighted to have produced this report once again and hope our partners, members and ministers find it a useful tool, particularly during the next few days at World Travel Market.  Overall the picture for the Caribbean is a positive one, with an increase in visitor arrivals in the past year, however we need to be aware of universal issues that are affecting the travel industry as a whole such as currency exchange, oil prices and of course safety.”
To see the full report, click here
CTO's State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) was recently held in Curacao. To watch videos of the speakers on the CTO's Youtube Channel click the image above.
Skift Take: One of the most fascinating and open interviews from an industry CMO you will hear: Airbnb, the brand story so far, and its hopes on becoming a super brand.

TripAdvisor CEO on What Instant Booking Means to Its Future
Skift Take: From hotel reviews, to pop-up advertising, metasearch, restaurants and now hotel bookings, TripAdvisor has gone through many incarnations. CEO Stephen Kaufer has driven many of the changes and plans to be around for quite some time longer to seize on a huge opportunity ahead
Expedia’s Answer to TripAdvisor-Priceline Deal? Direct Hotel Booking on Trivago
Skift Take: Expedia is concerned that's booking partnership with TripAdvisor will hurt Expedia traffic from TripAdvisor. Expedia's answer for now is Trivago taking hotel bookings.

Airbnb Is the Next Big Hotel Distribution Channel
Could hotel bookings be added to the Airbnb mix?
For years, analysts have been talking about the disruptive impact of Airbnb’s alternative lodging solution to the hotel industry, but we think they are missing the point.
History Lesson is one of the world’s largest retailers today, mentioned in the same breath as Walmart, Target, and every other retail giant.  Often, these companies are compared to Amazon instead of the other way around.  For the past decade, we take it for granted that “you can find it on Amazon,” but this was not originally the case.  In 1995, Amazon was launched as a bookstore.  They were evaluated as a bookstore and measured on the number of books offered and sold.  They were a disruptive threat to Barnes & Noble, Borders (remember them?), Hastings, and other regional and national giants in the space.  While there is no doubt that the book business was turned on its head by Amazon, this pales in comparison to the larger impact of the company on the broader retail market.
Like Amazon, Airbnb is being measured by the breadth of its inventory.  The site lists more rooms for sale than any of the largest hotel companies.  Booking data is not known, but site traffic now rivals that of Expedia and surpasses that of most of the big brands.
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