UK Government to Probe Environmental Cost of Tourism

Skift | July 19, 2019

The UK parliaments Environmental Audit Committee will launch an inquiry into the cost of tourism to the environment, it announced Thursday.The announcement mentioned various consequences of overtourism, including carbon emissions, resource degradation, the decline of cultural sites, and negative effects on the housing market. It specifically called out the impact of aviation as a priority of the inquiry, noting that it intends to seek views on travel choices to inform the Government’s forthcoming aviation strategy to 2050.Chair of the committee, Mary Creagh, member of parliament, said the recent cruise ship collision in Venice as well as local protests in highly-impacted cities like Barcelona has put the issue of overtourism in the spotlight. Though it was not mentioned, this years Extinction Rebellion protests in the UK put climate change in the public and media consciousness much more than in recent years.

Spotlight

Paired with changing workforce dynamics, contact centers are coping with issues such as economic uncertainty, customer vulnerability, an increase in global compliance regulations and ongoing pandemic-related disruptions —
from the supply chain to employee health concerns. A perfect storm of external factors have led to higher interaction volumes and more complex customer conversations.

Spotlight

Paired with changing workforce dynamics, contact centers are coping with issues such as economic uncertainty, customer vulnerability, an increase in global compliance regulations and ongoing pandemic-related disruptions —
from the supply chain to employee health concerns. A perfect storm of external factors have led to higher interaction volumes and more complex customer conversations.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Alaska Airlines launches first U.S. electronic bag tag program

Alaska Airlines | December 01, 2022

Alaska Airlines became the first U.S. airline to launch an electronic bag tag program, which enables guests to tag their luggage through the airline's mobile app before they even reach the airport. This week, 2,500 Alaska Mileage Plan members will begin receiving their electronic bag tag. Those elite status members included in the first wave of the program are guests who have traveled in the last 12 months, checked-in at least one bag and were among the first to register to use the device."The last thing our guests want to do is stand in line," said Charu Jain, senior vice-president of merchandising and innovation for Alaska. "With the addition of the Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag, our guests can complete almost all of their check-in tasks – from the comfort of their home, at work or on the way to catching their flight." The three-by-five-inch devices are updated with a guest's flight information through the Alaska Airlines mobile app during check-in; essentially allowing travelers to head straight to the bag drop area once they arrive at the airport. The Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag is estimated to reduce the time guests spend in airport lobbies by about 40%, including reducing lines and the use of paper bag tags. In addition to the device's impressive lifespan and durability (Alaska Airlines employees tested it by running it over with a truck), the devices don't require charging or batteries. "We've tested our electronic bag tags on countless flights across the country, including international routes where Alaska Airlines flies, and the devices have performed exactly as they're meant to," said Jain. "We'll collect feedback from our first wave of users before the devices become available to purchase to all our guests early next year." The Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag will be available for purchase to all guests starting in 2023 and will operate on all Alaska Airlines marketed flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines. Along with the hardware, the software for the device is provided by BAGTAG, a Dutch company that is a pioneer in the field of baggage technology solutions. "Alaska Airlines is an excellent example of a carrier on a mission to improve all aspects of their passenger's experience, This vision is leading their choices for innovation such as electronic bag tags and we are very proud to assist them in this project." -Jaspar Quak, BAGTAG managing director Click here to check out how the Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag works and join the notification list when the devices become available for purchase. About BAGTAG BAGTAG was founded in 2014 in the Netherlands, with the purpose of introducing the world's first flexible and secure electronic bag tag solution. Having developed in close cooperation with the world's leading airlines, the company launched its hardware solution in 2018 and is now leading the market for electronic bag tags. About Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines and our regional partners serve more than 120 destinations across the United States, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico. We emphasize low fares and award-winning customer service. Alaska is a member of the oneworld global alliance. With the alliance and our additional airline partners, our guests can travel to more than 900 destinations on more than 20 airlines while earning and redeeming miles on flights to locations around the world. Learn more about Alaska at news.alaskaair.com and follow @alaskaairnews for latest news. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Hotel Payment Software Platform Selfbook Announces a Strategic Investment from Amex Ventures

Selfbook | December 09, 2022

Selfbook, a unique, comprehensive hotel payment software platform bringing direct bookings and modern payment technology to hotels worldwide, announced a strategic investment from Amex Ventures. The investment follows a $40 million Series A and A+ round led by Tiger GlobalThis announcement highlights Selfbook’s continuous growth within the hospitality space. As it continues to broaden its reach in the travel industry, Selfbook looks forward to working with American Express following this investment. Selfbook enables hotels to offer guests a seamless, one-step checkout experience directly on their websites while elevating the user experience and streamlining the payment process for hotels, which can increase conversion and boost revenue. Selfbook also groups multiple services, such as restaurant reservations, spa appointments and activities, into a single payment flow to easily drive upsells. “The American Express brand is synonymous with global travel and payment security, and we are thrilled to have Amex Ventures be part of our investor base, As hotels around the world continue to use Selfbook to offer a guest-first booking experience and secure payments, the investment from American Express will help us deepen our global presence and provide even more effective payment tools for our partners.” -Khalid Meniri, Co-Founder and CEO of Selfbook We are constantly on the lookout for innovative technologies that enhance and elevate the travel and payments experience,” said Margaret Lim, Managing Director of Amex Ventures. “We believe Selfbook is driving hotel bookings and payments into the future with their elegant checkout experience, intuitive user interface, and robust support for modern payment methods preferred by guests through a unified platform that seamlessly integrates with existing hospitality software. About Selfbook Uniquely positioned at the intersection of fintech and hospitality, Selfbook revolutionizes hotel bookings and payments from the inside out. Working in tandem with hotels’ existing technology systems, Selfbook enhances what matters most to hotels, including direct conversion, revenue, cash flow control, and security. Built by a team of hospitality veterans, Selfbook’s products provide a refreshingly effortless user experience for guests and hoteliers alike. Selfbook is committed to empowering hotels worldwide with modern e-commerce solutions tailor-made for our industry.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Trip.com shows how transatlantic travel has taken off

Trip.com | November 14, 2022

Booking data from international one-stop travel service provider, Trip.com, shows how transatlantic travel has taken off in the last year. In the year since the US re-opened its borders to international global travellers, Trip.com has seen a travel boom, when comparing booking stats from October 2021 to October 2022. US hotel bookings made by British travellers have increased by 382% during the 12 months, while European hotel bookings by US travellers have increased by 111%. Meanwhile, flight bookings from Europe to the US have increased by 67%, indicating the enduring appeal of the US, despite the pandemic, as well as revived demand for long-haul travel. "The US has bounced back to resume its place as one of the most popular destinations for UK travellers according to analysis of Trip.com data" -Andy Washington, Trip.com Group EMEA General Manager Despite the drop in the value of the pound compared to the US dollar, America continues to attract Brits in large numbers eager to explore North America and reunite with friends and families. Rich Sun, Trip.com Group General Manager for the Americas, said: "Americans have once again returned to Europe, as evidenced by Trip.com data which shows a 111% surge in European hotel bookings from the US. European destinations have become attractive for US holidaymakers and business travellers looking to cash-in on favourable exchange rates. In addition to the jump in flight bookings, the average booking value of flights from Europe to the US has increased by 20% since October 2021. Regarding routes from Europe to the US, New York was a top-performing destination, with flights from London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, and Barcelona ranked as the top five, and Manchester-New York as the sixth most popular booked flight route between Europe and the US. Over a third of travellers booking flights from Europe to the US came from the UK (39%), followed by Spain in second place (17%), Italy in third place (14%), followed in fourth place by France (12%) and Germany in fifth (11%). The most popular US cities for European flyers were New York, followed by Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando. On average, each month in the last year has seen an 18% rise in Brits booking US hotels. New York was the most popular city for booking British travellers, followed by Las Vegas in second place, Los Angeles in third, Orlando in fourth and Miami in fifth position. The average booking value of Americans on European hotels has increased by nearly a quarter (23%) in the last year. The UK was the most popular European country for hotel and flight bookings by US travellers. Paris was the most popular European destination for hotel bookings by US travellers, followed by London and Rome. About Trip.com Trip.com is an international one-stop travel service provider, available in 20 languages across 27 countries and regions in 31 local currencies and sites. Trip.com has an extensive hotel and flight network consisting of more than 1.2 million hotels and flights from over 480 airlines covering 2,600 airports in 200 countries and regions around the globe. Trip.com's world-class 24/7 multilingual customer service as well as additional centres in Edinburgh, Tokyo and Seoul, help to 'create the best travel experience' for its millions of customers worldwide. To book your next trip, visit trip.com

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