After tough trek, all-women travel firm enjoys the view

livemint | June 02, 2019

Despite the stark cold desert topography with jagged peaks, Ladakh’s elemental beauty is almost meditative for travellers. White-washed monasteries sit atop peaks, with colourful fluttering prayer flags and spinning wheels around them sending out good vibes and blessings through the wind. But travelling in Ladakh is nothing short of an endurance test with oxygen-starved days and the discovery of new muscles that ache climbing up hillsides. This is the inspiring and challenging land where Thinlas Chorol, 37, founder of the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Co. (LWTC), grew up.

Spotlight

The travel and tourism industry is booming. During 2017, the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, international tourist arrivals grew by 7% to reach a total of 1.326 billion. This total far exceeds the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s 2010-2020 long-term projections of 3.8% growth per year.1 In January 2018, UNWTO projected a 4-5% increase for 2018;2 during the first four months of 2018, growth was 6%, already surpassing expectations.3 In addition, UNWTO provides rough estimates that apart from the 1.3 billion international trips, there are another 5-6 billion domestic trips. 4 What factors are responsible for this growth? The range of causes that have been identified include, but are not limited to, a growing middle class, emerging new travel markets, improved connectivity, and travel options to fit a wide range of budgets. The World Travel & Tourism Council reports that in 2017, the travel and tourism sector accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and 313 million jobs, or 9.9% of total employment.5 At its best, the travel industry provides critical economic, environmental, and sociocultural value. But in recent years, the question for an increasing number of destinations has become, “How much is too much of a good thing?” At the same time, under-touristed and emerging destinations are vying for their piece of the pie. How do we sustainably and equitably distribute the benefits so that destinations on both ends of the spectrum can thrive? When considering these questions, it is helpful to understand the following terms.

Spotlight

The travel and tourism industry is booming. During 2017, the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, international tourist arrivals grew by 7% to reach a total of 1.326 billion. This total far exceeds the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s 2010-2020 long-term projections of 3.8% growth per year.1 In January 2018, UNWTO projected a 4-5% increase for 2018;2 during the first four months of 2018, growth was 6%, already surpassing expectations.3 In addition, UNWTO provides rough estimates that apart from the 1.3 billion international trips, there are another 5-6 billion domestic trips. 4 What factors are responsible for this growth? The range of causes that have been identified include, but are not limited to, a growing middle class, emerging new travel markets, improved connectivity, and travel options to fit a wide range of budgets. The World Travel & Tourism Council reports that in 2017, the travel and tourism sector accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and 313 million jobs, or 9.9% of total employment.5 At its best, the travel industry provides critical economic, environmental, and sociocultural value. But in recent years, the question for an increasing number of destinations has become, “How much is too much of a good thing?” At the same time, under-touristed and emerging destinations are vying for their piece of the pie. How do we sustainably and equitably distribute the benefits so that destinations on both ends of the spectrum can thrive? When considering these questions, it is helpful to understand the following terms.

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Motorsport Tickets acquires Travel Destinations as it broadens its tickets and experiences business

Motorsport Network | October 13, 2020

Motorsport Tickets, which is part of Motorsport Network, the digital market leader in motorsport and automotive with a 56 million-strong monthly audience of global racing and automotive fans, has acquired Travel Destinations Ltd, the UK's leading tour operator for sports car and historical motorsport events. The announcement broadens Motorsport Tickets' reach in tickets and travel business, accelerating a defined specialism within the motorsport space. Travel Destinations, established in 1996, is a specialist motorsport event accommodation solutions provider, including a breadth of historical races and club car tours. They provide the best accommodation solutions for their customers, delivering a variety of on-site camping and accommodation options. As an official ticket agent of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the only sports car tour operator to be a member of both ABTA and ATOL, they show their expertise in providing customers with unforgettable expert experiences and peace of mind throughout their international product offerings. Along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, these offerings include: Nurburgring 24 hours, Rolex 24 at Daytona, Bathurst 12 Hour, Monaco Classic, and a breadth of Car Club tours for a variety of iconic brands including the MG Owners' Club, Jaguar Enthusiasts and Morgan Sports Car Club.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Noble Announces Pioneering Strategic Partnership with Host Hotels & Resorts

Noble Investment Group | February 19, 2022

Noble Investment Group ("Noble"), a leading real estate investment management firm specializing in the upscale U.S. lodging sector, and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. ("Host"), a member of the S&P 500, the largest lodging real estate investment trust, and one of the most respected investors in luxury and upper-upscale hotels in the world, have formed a transformational strategic partnership to cultivate and expand innovative travel, leisure, and hospitality opportunities within Noble's real estate investment management and fund sponsorship platform.The partnership will combine Noble's operational expertise and development acumen with Host's scale, market insights, data analytics, and breadth of resources to cultivate and source differentiated investment strategies including property technology solutions, development, and alternative lodging. As announced by Host, they are making a $150.0 million capital commitment as a limited partner in an existing Noble investment vehicle and will provide Noble with exclusive first-look at select-service and extended-stay hotel opportunities sourced through Host's channels. Host is also making a minority investment in Noble's fee-based asset management business, independent from the Noble team's investment interests in their existing funds. "As we continue to expand our institutional investment management platform, this strategic partnership further augments Noble's ability to develop, source, and execute innovative growth strategies in travel, leisure, and hospitality," -Mit Shah, Noble's Chief Executive Officer. We are incredibly excited to invest with Noble, a leading private hospitality investment manager. In addition to operating through multiple cycles over three decades, we were particularly attracted to Noble's proven expertise in sourcing and executing scalable select-service and extended-stay hotel investment opportunities," said James F. Risoleo, Host President and Chief Executive Officer. "Host will benefit from both chain scale diversification and the ability to incubate and invest in future lodging-adjacent strategies. Both Host and Noble are deeply committed to corporate responsibility and operating with high business standards, principles, and integrity. Ranked among the world's most sustainable companies in S&P Global's Sustainability Yearbook, named one of America's Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek, and a recognized leader by Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI World and DJSI North America) and CDP, Host is dedicated to investing in industry leading ESG best practices and strategies. The majority of the Noble organization is comprised of women and minority leaders. Host is expected to provide thought leadership to Noble's ongoing environmental, social, and governance strategies. Noble Investment Group Founded in 1993, Noble is a leading real estate investment manager with a diverse team specializing in the upscale U.S. lodging sector. Through its institutional real estate funds, Noble has invested nearly $5 billion in communities throughout the country, adding value across cycles and creating thousands of jobs. As a signatory to the UNPRI. the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, and a fiduciary to foremost pensions plans, endowments, and foundations, Noble's endeavors help to preserve and grow its limited partners' capital, which assists in providing retirement benefits for our country's teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, other pensioners, and financial resources for students to attend college. For more information, please visit www.nobleinvestment.com Host Hotels & Resorts Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is an S&P 500 company and is the largest lodging real estate investment trust and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. The Company currently owns 75 properties in the United States and five properties internationally, totaling approximately 44,400 rooms. The Company also holds non-controlling interests in six domestic and one international joint venture.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Japan-based VoicePing Choses Vonage to Power Innovative Virtual Reality Travel Experience

Vonage | March 02, 2022

Vonage (Nasdaq: VG), a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation, announced that VoicePing has chosen the Vonage Video API to power innovative virtual reality (VR) travel experiences via its Dokodemo (Anywhere) Door Trip service. The service uses 360° photography and video, as well as VR goggles and a computer, to enable users to enjoy virtual travel as if they were there in real life. VoicePing is a Japan-based start-up company established in 2019 and focused on developing and providing intuitive, realistic virtual experiences, including virtual office environments. As demand for immersive digital experiences grows , the company is actively developing a variety of VR-related services through a capital and business alliance with MetaReal Corp. To provide a high-quality VR travel service, VoicePing needed to implement superior video calling capabilities quickly and seamlessly within their application and at scale. Using the Vonage Video API, VoicePing built a VR travel service that enables overwhelmingly realistic video playback, two-way voice communication, and automatic AI translation. At VoicePing, we are building solutions that empower people around the world to interact with anyone, anytime, anywhere, language-free, and enjoy their lives, work, and lifestyles through the use of the latest technology," said Mr. Kei Shimizu, VoicePing Project Manager. "We chose Vonage to develop the video function within our advanced VR experiences because Vonage provides high quality video and audio, is easily implemented and operated within our applications, and has global reach and scale to grow as user adoption grows around the world. "The pandemic has greatly restricted the ability to travel and experience new countries and cultures, and caused a major shift in the way we engage with one another. As more and more experiences become virtual, demand continues to increase for experiences that rival in-person interaction, Vonage is proud to enable innovative businesses VoicePing to build immersive, interactive virtual experiences around the world." -Amitha Pulijala, VP of Product, Platform Services, AI and Video, Vonage Virtual travelers can take advantage of Dokodemo Door Trip experiences through either GuideMeetup, which allows users to experience a trip while talking with a local guide in real time, alongside 360° VR images captured by the local guide, or by using the WorldRambler service, which enables users to freely tour each country without a local guide. A key feature of the GuideMeetup service driven by the Video API is that travelers are not only able to enjoy the visuals of a location, but can also have a real-time conversation and interaction with the local guide. In addition to Dokodemo Door Trip, VoicePing and MetaReal are developing a variety of VR services powered by the Vonage Video API, including Dokodemo Door Party, which creates a realistic karaoke experience; VR Therapy, which allows users to experience therapy in a virtual space; and VR Music, a live music distribution service. The Vonage Communications Platform has more than one million registered developers and offers a full suite of programmable voice, video, messaging, and email services to forward-thinking businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific market and worldwide. Through its partners, Vonage's platform is at the center of many notable transformational projects in the region, and a de facto for startups. About Vonage Vonage, (Nasdaq:VG) a global cloud communications leader, helps businesses accelerate their digital transformation. Vonage's Communications Platform is fully programmable and allows for the integration of Video, Voice, Chat, Messaging and Verification into existing products, workflows and systems. Vonage's fully programmable unified communications and contact center applications are built from the Vonage platform and enable companies to transform how they communicate and operate from the office or remotely - providing the flexibility required to create meaningful engagements. Vonage Holdings Corp. is headquartered in New Jersey, with offices throughout the United States, Europe, Israel and Asia. To follow Vonage on Twitter, please visit www.twitter.com/vonage. To become a fan on Facebook, go to facebook.com/vonage. To subscribe on YouTube, visit youtube.com/vonage.

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