Chinese to drive Malaysia tourism

Travel and Tour World | May 15, 2019

Chinese tourists who have been the prime driver in terms of growth across Southeast Asia in the last decade will carry on supporting Malaysia’s tourism growth, says a Malaysian research house.Maybank Kim Eng explains in a report published last week that it anticipates more Chinese to visit Malaysia.As Chinese visitors spend more than others, the research house expects more inbound Chinese visitors in 2019 and will moderate the unfavorable effect of fewer Singaporean visitors on the Malaysian tourism industry.Even though Malaysia’s tourist arrivals went down 0.4 percent year-on-year in general to 25.83 million last year, Chinese inbound tourists surged 29 percent to 2.94 million.

Spotlight

The travel industry is evolving rapidly, and it's crucial for travel firms to adopt new technologies to keep up. Below are some of the top technologies travel agencies should invest in 2020 to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Spotlight

The travel industry is evolving rapidly, and it's crucial for travel firms to adopt new technologies to keep up. Below are some of the top technologies travel agencies should invest in 2020 to remain competitive in the marketplace.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Mastercard Launches Tourism Innovation Hub in Spain

Mastercard | January 21, 2022

Mastercard announced the establishment of a new Tourism Innovation Hub in Spain, with the support of the Spanish Government. The Hub, based in Madrid and which will open in the second quarter of 2022, will develop solutions to support a sustainable and inclusive recovery for the global tourism sector through innovation, research and collaboration across the ecosystem. The initiative was ratified today, at the FITUR International Tourism Fair, between Reyes Maroto, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, and Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard Europe.In 2019, travel and tourism represented 10.4% of global GDP but nearly halved to 5.5% in 2020 - similarly international visitors spent US$1,691.5 billion in 2019 and the amount dropped to US$517.6 billion in 20201. And according to its latest forecast, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that international tourist arrivals remained 70 to 75 percent below 2019 levels last year2. The impact also goes beyond GDP figures, with the industry playing a vital role in generating jobs and creating opportunities for micro and small businesses around the world. But despite the clear challenges, Mastercard data shows that there are opportunities for a robust recovery in the relatively near future. Many consumers are looking at how to spend their share of the extra US$5 trillion saved since the onset of COVID-193, and travel ranks second only to eating out as the out-of-home activity most missed during lockdowns4. There has been a clear willingness to travel that has been determined by pandemic-related restrictions. “There has been a multi-trillion dollar impact on the global tourism industry over the past couple of years, but Mastercard is committed to enabling innovation and ensuring that technology is harnessed for a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable recovery, The Tourism Innovation Hub will foster programs and build partnerships which will help the industry recover and drive more inclusive and sustainable tourism growth. Being located in Spain will allow us to leverage the expertise of a country intrinsically linked to tourism and the second most visited destination in the world." -Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard Europe. According to the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto: "The Spanish Government believes that now is the time for us to work together to build the future of our post-pandemic tourism model. We are going to stop measuring the success of the Spanish tourism model exclusively by the increase in the number of tourists - we must now go beyond this and focus on quality, profitability, innovation and sustainability, as well as social inclusion and territorial cohesion. There is no time to lose in taking up this challenge. And we all need to work together - the institutions and the private sector - strengthening our alliances and bringing other partners on board so that the Spanish tourism sector maintains its international leadership." UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili added: “Tourism’s future will be driven by new ideas, new business methods and through joined-up solutions to overcome challenges and fulfil our sector’s enormous potential. UNWTO warmly welcomed the creation of a new Tourism Innovation Hub and looks forward to working closely with Mastercard to harness the power of data and creativity to build a more inclusive and sustainable sector.” The Tourism Innovation Hub will act as a global platform for industry research, tourism strategy development and the co-creation of tailored products and solutions, through partnerships and initiatives such as: Thought Leadership: leveraging data insights and capturing target consumer insights to identify trends and inform policy decision-making. Development Center: co-creating new products and services, codifying best practices and serving as a platform to bring together public and private sector partners to innovate together. Labs As A Service: designing, developing and testing new products and platforms that deliver digital first, sustainable and inclusive solutions for the industry, which address common business and consumer priorities. Supporting the Global Tourism Industry. Mastercard’s trusted network and leading technology stands at the heart of the global tourism industry: Facilitating payments so tourists can spend safely, securely and easily when they travel abroad Enabling digital payments acceptance for small businesses to allow them to benefit from the tourism economy Working with travel agents, airlines, hospitality providers and many others across the ecosystem Building loyalty through engagement programs and Priceless Experiences, giving tourists tailored access to the best and most exciting opportunities when they explore or return to preferred destinations Partnering with tourism agencies to supporting businesses in the tourism industry and encouraging inbound tourism through digital vouchers and incentive schemes Providing data insights to governments and tourism agencies to identify trends and inform strategies, including through the Mastercard Economics Institute Insights Reports, as well as executing inbound tourism campaigns. Sustainable tourism will be a key focus, and there will be close collaboration between the Tourism Innovation Hub and Mastercard’s Sustainability Innovation Lab, to help empower governments, businesses and consumers to transform how they adapt and create new sustainable tourism innovations in destination, travel, accommodation, experience, rewards and incentives and other services. Alongside this, Mastercard is working with the UNWTO, headquartered in Madrid, across a range of initiatives. For example, last year the company supported the UNWTO SDGs Global Startup Competition, providing mentorship to innovative small businesses that are enabling sustainable and responsible tourism around the world. In Spain, Mastercard has a well-established track record of supporting the tourism industry, as part of the broader work with governments and cities around the world adapt their tourism strategies. In 2020, Mastercard's data intelligence tools helped the City Councils of Madrid and Barcelona identify how the flow of tourists were being impacted, helping them draw a roadmap to recover post-pandemic tourism. Additionally, in May last year, together with Turespaña, Mastercard announced the first Security Perception Index, which measures the level of confidence shown by visitors in Spain’s health-measures. The Tourism Innovation Hub becomes part of Mastercard's network of global centers of excellence around the world, including the Intelligence and Cyber Centre in Canada, the Fintech-Cyber Innovation Lab in Israel, the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Kenya, and the Sustainability Innovation Lab in Sweden, as well as Tech Hubs in Dublin and New York City. About Mastercard Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts Selects Talkdesk as Contact Center Solution Provider

iberostar hotels & resorts | March 25, 2022

Talkdesk®, Inc., a worldwide customer experience leader for customer-obsessed businesses, has been selected as the contact center solution provider by Palma-based tourism icon Iberostar Hotels & Resorts. Talkdesk facilitated Iberostar's transition from on-premises to virtual call center operations. Additionally, Talkdesk assists a prominent travel and tourism company in its cloud migration. Iberostar Hotels & Resorts was able to construct a single virtual reservation center using Talkdesk CX CloudTM, an end-to-end customer experience solution. Advanced routing capabilities aided their agents in managing variable call volumes, and their agents' strong connection with SalesforceTM enabled them to give a more personalized experience to each visitor. The Talkdesk technology-enabled Iberostar Hotel & Resorts agents to continue providing the company's industry-leading customer service regardless of their location. Lucía Rubio, contact centers and CX online director, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, said, "With the Talkdesk solution, no matter where our agents are working, they have the tools they need to make guests feel valued and welcomed in every interaction." "With a modernized virtual contact center solution, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts empowers their agents to support the kind of holiday experience guests deserve, from the very first contact onwards. Talkdesk is proud to partner with them in achieving their customer experience goals." -Kieran King, chief customer officer, Talkdesk

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Zurich offers enhanced Business Travel Accident insurance in COVID era

Zurich | October 12, 2020

Zurich North America is introducing an enhanced Business Travel Accident Insurance solution that can help employers protect their employees in a world facing increasingly complex risks, underscored by a year of COVID-19, civil unrest and record-setting wildfires. Zurich's next-generation business travel accident solution offers customizable coverages that include emergency overseas medical care, medical and security evacuation and repatriation, and travel inconvenience. The solution's 24/7 travel assistance service offers an app that includes destination intelligence, itinerary information, travel alerts and access to emergency services for covered employees.

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