UNWTO Calling for Responsible Restart of Tourism

UNWTO | June 23, 2020

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is once again calling on governments across the globe to restart tourism in a responsible way as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a loss of about $195 billion in international tourism receipts over the first four months of 2020.
Fortunately, the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer shows that the industry is beginning to come back in some places, including destinations in the Northern Hemisphere.

Spotlight

Despite significant advances throughout travel and tourism, many aspects of international travel remain encumbered by manual processes that are susceptible to fraud. For many years, aspiring voices from government and industry have advocated a vision of better travel experiences. A vision where outdated paper-based processes are replaced by modern digital processes that include strong identity assurance; and where passengers can travel from anywhere to anywhere
using just their Digital Identity1 But as both the travel and tourism sectors – and the technology that underpins them – have been transformed, it is important for governments to
begin developing their own strategies to deliver safe, secure and seamless travel for all international travelers, regardless of their mode of transport.

Spotlight

Despite significant advances throughout travel and tourism, many aspects of international travel remain encumbered by manual processes that are susceptible to fraud. For many years, aspiring voices from government and industry have advocated a vision of better travel experiences. A vision where outdated paper-based processes are replaced by modern digital processes that include strong identity assurance; and where passengers can travel from anywhere to anywhere
using just their Digital Identity1 But as both the travel and tourism sectors – and the technology that underpins them – have been transformed, it is important for governments to
begin developing their own strategies to deliver safe, secure and seamless travel for all international travelers, regardless of their mode of transport.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Mid-Century Modern Style and Sensibility of Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts Arrive on Fifth Avenue, with Second Hotel in New York City

Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts | December 21, 2022

Nostalgic nods to the glamourous era of travel set in the iconic, cosmopolitan allure of New York City's most well-known avenue. Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts – part of Marriott Bonvoy's® portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands – introduces its newest outpost in New York City with the opening of Le Méridien New York, Fifth Avenue. Taking cues from the European-born brand's mid-century modern design aesthetic, the chic hotel is a 21-story architectural masterpiece featuring 165 beautifully styled guest rooms and 17 apartment-style residences for longer stays. "Le Méridien has always inspired travelers to explore the world in style and savor the good life through the lens of its European spirit, and what better city to continue this legacy than in Manhattan, with our second hotel in the destination,As we continue to celebrate the brand's momentous 50th anniversary this year, we're delighted to expand on our global footprint and bring a distinct stay experience and chic signature programs to creative-minded travelers visiting New York City." -Jennifer Connell, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts and Vice President, Distinctive Premium Brands, Marriott International. Designed by Gene Kaufman Architect, the hotel's light-colored masonry façade and grid of windows with dark railings blend traditional elements with a modern flair. The timeless chic interiors, designed by Paul Vega and Vennie Lau of New Jersey-based design studio VLDG, pay homage to the neighborhood that was dominated by the textile mercantile trade in the 20th century. Bold geometric patterns, contrasting colors, and textured fabrics are woven into the hotel's design scheme and infused with iconic New York City cultural elements and modern, mid-century design details. Signature design details include curated artwork throughout the lobby, including a luminous acrylic wall sculpture, a textile column that merges units of color and patchwork to create a patterned field, and a scale map printed on wood acoustic walls. Within the New York-inspired guest rooms, design takes shape with the brand's signature mid-century modernism along with custom murals that depict a map of Manhattan, with connecting waterways. Featuring a color palette with shades of grey and blue with pink accents for a cohesive aesthetic, the rooms – six of which have walk-out terraces – include the Le Méridien signature bed, MALIN+GOETZ bath products, 4K smart TVs, an elevated desk inspired by higher surfaces used by creative individuals, and more. Serving as a focal point of the hotel's public spaces, the Le Méridien Hub is a gathering place and modern reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby, serving custom-brewed, barista-crafted coffee beverages during the day and sparkling cocktails in the evening at the signature Latitude/Longitude Bar. The property's all-day ristorante, Allora, specializes in seasonally inspired, regional Italian aperitivi and fare including its signature Miller's Wife Pasta. Additional amenities and services include a complimentary 24-hour health club with Life Fitness equipment, in-room dining, and more. Located on Fifth Avenue between West 30th and West 31st, the new hotel is near some of the city's most notable sights including Empire State and Flatiron buildings, NoMad district, Herald Square, and not to forget, the famed Fifth Avenue shopping, and many more must-see, can't-miss attractions. Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts participates in Marriott Bonvoy, the award-winning travel program from Marriott International. Marriott Bonvoy Members will earn points for their stay at the new hotel, and at other properties across Marriott Bonvoy's portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, as well as through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. With the Marriott Bonvoy app, members enjoy a level of personalization and a contactless experience that allows them to travel with peace of mind. To explore further and make a reservation, please visit www.Marriott.com/en-us/Hotels/NYCCMU-Le-Meridien-New-York-Fifth-Avenue. About Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts Born in 1960's Paris during an era of glamorous travel, Le Méridien® Hotels & Resorts continues to celebrate cultures around the world through the distinctly European spirit of savoring the good life. With over 110 hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries and territories, spanning from Maldives to Monaco and from Santa Monica to Sichuan, Le Méridien's engaging mid-century designed spaces coupled with chic signature programs put a playful twist on art, coffee, sparkling cocktails, summer, family, and inspire creative-minded travelers to explore the world in style. For more information, please visit www.lemeridien.com, and stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Le Méridien is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy®, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit www.MarriottBonvoy.com. About Marriott Bonvoy Marriott Bonvoy's® extraordinary portfolio offers renowned hospitality in the most memorable destinations in the world, with 30 brands that are tailored to every type of journey. Members can earn points for stays at hotels and resorts, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, and through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments™, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques®. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit www.MarriottBonvoy.com

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM, COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

KAYAK and Affirm Team up to Help Travelers Book Now and Pay Later

KAYAK | January 27, 2023

KAYAK, the leading search engine for travel, recently announced that it has partnered with Affirm, a payment network, to make its payment operations flexible and to empower its travelers in the United States. According to KAYAK search data, flight prices are rising by about 40% per year. Despite increased flight prices, travelers are still searching for flight bookings in 2023. With Affirm, KAYAK is making it easier for travelers to plan and pay for their trips this year. Now, approved KAYAK travelers can split the cost of flights, hotels, car rentals, and car sharing over $150 into monthly payments by choosing Affirm when they check out. Thus, KAYAK can reach 15 million of Affirm's consumers and 245,000 merchants, including American Airlines, Priceline, Vrbo, Vacasa, and more thereby, enhancing its new reach, overall sales, repurchase rates, and average order value. Paul Jacobs, General Manager and Vice President of KAYAK North America, says, "It's good to have choices, especially in this economy. In addition to showing travelers all their options on KAYAK, Affirm gives travelers the ability to plan how they pay." (Source – Business Wire) Geoffrey Kott, Chief Revenue Officer at Affirm, remarks, "This past fall, Affirm's consumers increased purchases at airlines over seven times compared to the prior year, demonstrating higher consumer demand for payment flexibility when booking travel." He adds, "By partnering with KAYAK, we are able to bring consumers a flexible and transparent way to pay for travel, especially at a time when many are looking for ways to regain financial control and spending power amidst rising costs." (Source – Business Wire) About KAYAK: KAYAK is part of Booking Holdings Inc, one of the world's most prominent search engines for travel. It helps people find the vacation package, hotel, rental or shared car, and flights they want. The company enables travelers to search for the best flight deals and book with flexibility, as it's pretty reliable and completely free to use. With trip planning tools like a flight tracker, trip planner, and bag measure, KAYAK ensures that travelers' overall experience is more than just a flight search site!

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Priceline Forms Strategic Alliance with British Airways and Iberia

Priceline | January 02, 2023

Priceline, a leading online travel agency in North America, announced an NDC agreement with British Airways and Iberia, part of the International Airlines Group (IAG). Through the new distribution capability (NDC) partnership, Priceline customers will have access to the airline group's full fares and other services, such as choosing their seats and having their bags checked. Priceline is excited to expand its valued partnership with IAG. The company said that its new connections to British Airways and Iberia would help it fulfill its mission of giving customers the best travel deals, whether traveling within the United States or to another country. Iberia says the agreement with Priceline is a great chance to grow its partnership with one of the best travel agencies in North America through the NDC channel. Also, it will help the company reach a larger audience with Iberia's and British Airways products and the benefits of this model. British Airways is happy about this announcement with Priceline and the great work they do to ensure their customers can use the NDC content and features, such as more price points and better self-service features. Priceline's parent company, Booking Holdings, is also a part of the new strategic partnership. It includes Agoda, which continues to improve its flight and connected trip offerings in the Asia-Pacific region. About Priceline Booking Holdings' subsidiary Priceline is a well-known start-up that combines cutting-edge technology with a meaningful mission. It gives its customers quick and easy access to the best deals on hotel rooms, flights, rental cars, vacation packages, and cruises so they can be present for the most critical moments.

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