130K Filipino tourists expected to visit France this year

PTV News | April 29, 2019

The French government is seeking to attract at least 130,000 Filipino tourists to its numerous medieval towns and religious destinations by end of 2019.Morad Tayebi, Southeast Asian director for Atout-France, the European nation’s Development Tourism Agency, said Filipino tourists in France reached around 110,000 in 2018, 44 percent of whom travelled for religious purposes.“The good about Filipino market is they usually combine shopping, pilgrimage, cultural visits, even sports some times,” he told reporters“This year, hopefully, we reach 130,000 or maybe more.”Tayebi said Atout-France already organized familiarization trips for several Filipino travel agents to visit their key spiritual destinations.The Atout-France and its partners, Tourism Boards from Lourdes, Avignon, and Chartes, as well as French hotel chain The Original Hotels conducted their fourth visit to the Philippines to touch base with the media and travel sector focused on Catholic pilgrimages.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

TRAWICK INTERNATIONAL NAMED TOP TRAVEL INSURANCE PROVIDER OF 2021 BY SQUAREMOUTH

TRAWICK INTERNATIONAL | February 15, 2022

Trawick International (Trawick) has been named Top-Selling Travel Insurance Provider for 2021 by the popular travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth. The announcement cites total premium sold, number of policies sold, overall customer rating, and percent of negative reviews to sales as key indicators. In 2021, the top-selling Trawick plan on Squaremouth was Safe Travels Voyager, designed for travelers wanting the highest available benefit limits. Trawick has been ranked number one on Squaremouth's monthly Top-Selling Travel Insurance Providers - Ranked by Premium Sold list for 17 consecutive months, beginning September 2020 through January 2022. Previously, Trawick held the third spot on the annual list for 2020. "We are thrilled to top the 2021 Squaremouth list. The Trawick team is passionate about designing and offering travel insurance plans at competitive rates with the most sought-after coverage. Moving up from the third spot in 2020 to the top spot in 2021 indicates that travelers around the world trust Trawick to be there for them when they need it most, and for that, we are grateful." -Daryl Trawick, Founder and President, Trawick International Bailey Foster, Vice President of Trip Insurance, Trawick International, added, This is an exciting time for Trawick. Holding the top spot is not something we take for granted. We will keep innovating and improving our offerings to provide travelers with industry-leading products and services. We are thankful for our partnership with Squaremouth and to everyone who put their trust in us. In addition to Safe Travels Voyager, Trawick offers a diverse portfolio of international and domestic travel insurance plans. In 2021, more than 650,000 travelers enrolled in a Trawick plan. About Trawick International Trawick International has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for nearly 25 years. The Company offers a full suite of innovative travel, travel medical, and student insurance, as well as emergency assistance services. For more, visit www.trawickinternational.com. About Squaremouth Squaremouth.com has insured over two million travelers. Using Squaremouth's intuitive quoting and comparison engine, award-winning support team, and verified customer reviews, travelers can save time and money to find the best travel insurance policy for their trip. For more, visit www.squaremouth.com.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Travelers Want High-Tech, Low-Touch Hotel Stays Shows New Oracle Survey

Oracle | June 02, 2022

A new study by Oracle Hospitality and Skift shows that 95% of people plan to travel in the next six months – with 29% taking an epic 'revenge travel' trip – however, many want to eliminate the 'touch' from the high touch industry they once knew. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of travelers want to use their mobile device to manage their hotel experience, including checking in and out, paying, ordering food, and more. This is good news for hoteliers looking to tech to manage through the staffing shortage without hurting guest engagement and service. Over the next few years, travelers are also looking to personalize their journey even more by picking their exact room and floor and paying for only the amenities they want – and even wanting to pre-screen properties in the metaverse (68%). Moreover, 74% are interested in hotels using AI to better tailor services and offers, such as room pricing or food suggestions and discounts. Nearly 40% of hotel executives see this 'unbundled' model as the future of hotel revenue management. "The pandemic has established technology's role in the guest and associate journey, and the industry is never going back, Whether a hotel organization has two properties or 2,000, guests are looking for the highly digital, self-service experience they have come to expect in other parts of their lives, from banking to ordering food. For hoteliers to meet these demands, especially with constrained property staffing, they need systems that will enable them to quickly adapt, 'plug in' new services, and better and more efficiently serve a diverse group of travelers." -Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. The "Hospitality in 2025: Automated, Intelligent… and More Personal" study surveyed 5,266 consumers and 633 hotel executives across the world in the spring of 2022 to better understand how guest expectations have changed and how hotels are adapting. Consumers and executives were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, and Mexico. Check-out the report at: https://bit.ly/3MPgGXa. Travelers want people to 'get away' while on their getaway Two years of restrictions created a pent-up desire to travel, with 29% of people planning a larger, pricier "revenge travel" trip. But the pandemic has also left jetsetters feeling antisocial with many desiring contactless and self-service technology: 92% of travelers don't miss being around other people while staying on a hotel property. 73% agree that they're more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology to minimize contact with the staff and other guests. 38% want a fully self-service model, with staff only available upon request. 39% want to order room service from their phone or a chatbot. 49% are also looking for contactless payments (only 5% want to pay in crypto). Staff remains slim, tech is helping The labor shortage remains a top issue in the hotel industry, but hoteliers are working hard to onboard new tech to ease the strain on guests and staff: 65% of hoteliers said incorporating new technologies for staff best describes their strategy to weather labor shortages and attract new talent. 96% are investing in contactless technology, with 62% noting "a fully contactless experience" is likely to be the most widely adopted tech in the industry in the next three years. 54% added that their highest priority is to adopt tech that improves or eliminates the need for the front desk experience between now and 2025. Travelers are mixed on how patient they are willing to be in this transition: 39% said they want a fully contactless experience for all basic hotel transactions (check-in/out, food & beverage, room keys, etc.). 34% said a staff shortage, and resulting slow service, would be their #1 deterrent to rebooking a hotel. However, just 23% noted that a lack of daily room cleaning is an issue, showing consumers have accepted (and 17% welcomed!) that this pre-pandemic mainstay is never coming back. People looking for the comfort of home, even when away from home Whether ordering room service or signing onto Netflix, travelers want the ease and convenience of home while traveling: 45% said on-demand entertainment access that seamlessly connects to their personal streaming or gaming accounts is their #1 must-have during their stay. Likewise, 45% of hotel executives said this in-room entertainment set-up is what they're most likely to implement by 2025. 77% of travelers are interested in using automated messaging or chatbots for customer service requests at hotels. 43% want voice-activated controls for all amenities in their rooms (lights, curtains, door locks, etc.). 25% want room controls that auto-adjust temperature, lighting, and even digital art based on pre-shared preferences. A la carte-based hotel pricing Consumers are interested in a hotel model that lets them pay for just what they use. Hoteliers, in tandem, are looking at new service models that upsell everything from amenities to adventures: 81% of hoteliers expect a big service model shift between now and 2025. 49% strongly agreed that "special amenities and upgrades" are critical to their revenue strategy. 36% predict that the future of hotel revenue management will be underpinned by unbundling room rates, like a "basic economy" vs. "economy plus" model on airlines. For travelers: 87% said they would be likely to book a hotel that allowed them to pay only for amenities that they use. 54% are willing to pay more to choose their view; 38% to choose their room; 37% to check in early/check out late; 33% to use the spa, wellness, or fitness services; 32% to choose their room floor; and more. About Oracle Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at oracle.com.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Rêv & Visit Mexico Establish Payments & Loyalty Innovations Partnership Focused On Strengthening Cross Border Travel Engagement

Rêv | January 07, 2022

Rêv Worldwide, Inc. (“Rêv”), a global payments & loyalty product innovations company, and Visit Mexico, Mexico’s official tourism marketing agency, announced a multi-year strategic partnership aimed at fostering cross border tourism by leveraging innovative digital products and services that facilitate engagement, convenience and value for the travel sector.With the introduction of the X World Wallet, a multi-currency debit account accessible by downloading a mobile app, linked to physical and digital Visa cards, and integrated loyalty program, Rêv and Visit Mexico take a first step in offering a suite of products and services with a mission to promote tourism activity for one of the world’s most important travel corridors. The X World Wallet, now available nationwide, puts in the hands of its users a powerful tool that facilitates international transactions, discounts on travel bookings, and a points based loyalty program that helps maximize value for the user. While there are a variety of branded and co-branded credit products targeting the travel market, the availability of a mobile-first debit product that combines payments, foreign currency exchange, loyalty, and bookings is part of a recent wave of innovation that is giving consumers an alternative from credit cards with application requirements, high annual fees, interest rates and restrictive loyalty programs. “We are proud to be working side by side with Visit Mexico to put our technology to work so that travelers can access relevant and hassle free tools to facilitate their journey,” -Bertrand Sosa, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Rêv Worldwide. Given continued pandemic impacts globally across the travel industry, consumers and industry players alike are seeing how digital solutions play an even more important role in helping to reduce friction as well as open the opportunity to enhance key aspects of the travel experience. While the pandemic has decimated the travel industry globally, Mexico is one of the few countries who kept air travel open throughout the challenging times. The World Tourism Organization (WHO) estimates Mexico was the third most-visited country in the world in 2020. “As we continue to establish Mexico as the best destination for travelers from around the world, we are excited to collaborate with Rêv on the development of useful products that help us connect with travelers and help make their travel experience better - beginning with making it easier, cheaper and safer for Americans to transact in our country,” -Carlos Gonzalez Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer, Visit Mexico. In a recent report citing travel recovery trends, Ryan Felipe, Visa’s Head of North America Cross Border Business noted, “Travelers continue to seek digital-first experiences throughout their journeys – from planning and booking to paying for dining and shopping while on the road. This provides an opportunity for financial service providers and businesses to drive increased engagement with their customers via trigger-based offers and messaging to drive loyalty. The X World Wallet offers users access to person-to-person payment transfers, tap-and-go purchase convenience, virtual and digital pay card functionalities, block/unblock account security features, and an integrated support platform to automatically contribute to climate change initiatives. The no credit check, low fees, no application reloadable X World Wallet™ Visa Debit cards available on the X account are issued by Texas First Bank, pursuant to a license by Visa Inc., and subject to cardholder Terms & Conditions. There are no offline or online purchase transaction fees, or foreign conversion fees when using the X World Wallet Visa card(s). Standard ATM fees and applicable FX rates do apply. For more information on the X World Wallet, visit xworldwallet.com. Rêv and Visit Mexico are also collaborating on making available the X World Wallet in Mexico in early 2022 so Mexicans traveling abroad may also enjoy the benefits US tourists have access to now. About Rêv Rêv is a fintech company, founded by prepaid debit industry pioneers Roy Sosa and Bertrand Sosa, dedicated to delivering innovative payment experiences to consumers worldwide. Its solutions are powered by the company’s proprietary multi-currency and multi-language payments processing platform. With vast experience developing payment industry innovations, Rêv is focused on the general, international banking & travel sectors. Rêv has partnered with companies across the globe to launch products in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. Learn more at revworldwide.com. About Visit Mexico Visit Mexico, the official brand under which Mexico’s Tourism Board has promoted domestic and international travel within-and-to Mexico for years, is now a private-government collaboration operating as the official marketing agency in charge of developing tourism campaigns, partnerships, and innovative operating models to further tourism activity for the country around the world. For more information visit visitmexico.com.

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DESTINATION AND TOURISM

Wix Relaunches its Solution for Hotels - Now Powered by HotelRunner, Providing a Comprehensive Platform Built for the Hospitality Industry

HotelRunner | June 08, 2022

Wix.com Ltd. (NASDAQ: WIX), a leading global SaaS platform to create, manage and grow an online presence, announced the relaunch of its new solution for the hotel industry. Wix has partnered with HotelRunner, a complete platform tailored to support all accommodation businesses, to redevelop Wix Hotels. The new platform is a major improvement to the existing solution and includes a full suite of professional tools for every touchpoint needed to launch, manage, and grow a hospitality business of any size and maximize revenue.Wix's comprehensive online platform combined with HotelRunner's end-to-end travel technology provides the ability for users to create a website, manage their property, guests, bookings, and sales channels all from one platform. Whether running a bed and breakfast, boutique hotel, chain hotel, vacation rental, resort, or unique accommodation, business owners are equipped with the operational tools they need to efficiently run their business online and on premise. Benefits for users of Wix Hotels by HotelRunner include: Connect to leading online sales channels and travel agencies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Hotelbeds, and Airbnb, which can help increase revenues Receive direct reservations and secure payments from their website Manage rates and availability with user-friendly calendars on a single reliable platform to manage reservations and keep all inventory in sync while implementing complex pricing and revenue management strategies Real-time inventory updates on all sales channels Manage front desk operations including check-in and outs Manage policies and taxes, offer extras, promotions, deals, and coupons, engage with guests, and promote their property on sales channels via the channel manager "We are constantly improving our offering to provide business owners with a complete solution for any type of business, and we're thrilled to relaunch our hotel solution for the hospitality and tourism industry, As travel has begun to increase in the post-pandemic era, we're seeing a rise in the demand for digitalization in the hotel and hospitality industry and we're proud that we have developed a strong solution for these businesses and grow the addressable market. Wix has invested resources into building out the proper infrastructure to support privately owned businesses and large franchises, both for restaurants and hotels, and this new partnership with HotelRunner is another step in creating the go-to solution for businesses to efficiently manage their operations and grow." -Ronny Elkayam, SVP Mobile, App Market and Strategic Products at Wix. HotelRunner has been introducing innovations for more than a decade to build a bigger travel economy. Wix Hotels by HotelRunner has been developed by leveraging both companies' deep expertise in both travel and technology and positioning our award-winning platform, recognized globally by the leading travel industry players, as its foundation," said Ali Beklen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HotelRunner. "Our unique partnership with Wix will be the driving force that will take the hospitality and tourism industries to the next level by accelerating the digital transformation. Thousands of accommodation properties from all over the world will benefit from an affordable and comprehensive set of products, thanks to the new Wix Hotels by HotelRunner, added Arden Agopyan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HotelRunner. Wix Hotels by HotelRunner is in beta with a gradual rollout in English first and then to other languages. Existing users of the Wix Hotels solution will move to the new solution after the beta. To sign up for the beta version click here. About Wix.com Ltd. Wix is a leading platform to create, manage and grow a digital presence. What began as a website builder in 2006 is now a complete platform providing users with enterprise-grade performance, security and a reliable infrastructure. Offering a wide range of commerce and business solutions, advanced SEO and marketing tools, Wix enables users to have full ownership of their brand, their data and their relationships with their customers. With a focus on continuous innovation and delivery of new features and products, anyone can build a powerful digital presence to fulfill their dreams on Wix. About HotelRunner HotelRunner is a SaaS-enabled unified sales, operations, and distribution management platform and B2B network for accommodations, travel agencies, and payment providers. HotelRunner has thousands of accommodation and travel agency partners globally. HotelRunner is a Booking.com Premier Connectivity Partner, Expedia Elite Connectivity Partner, Airbnb Software Partner, Agoda Innovative Supplier, Oracle Gold, Hotelbeds, and Google Hotel Ads strategic partner.

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Spotlight

Myrtle Beach – This jewel in the string of seaside towns that make up the Grand Strand offers its own spin on South Carolina’s coastal charm. Follow along as we explore the area.

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