Azerbaijan receives over 1.1 million international tourists in first five months

Travel And Tour World | June 25, 2019

Azerbaijan is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for international tourists. The number of foreign tourists and stateless persons from 108 countries visiting Azerbaijan made up 1.1 million in the first five months of this year. According to the State Statistical Committee, this is 3.7 percent more than in the same period of 2018.As for the origin countries, there is around 28.5 percent of the tourists came from Russia, 26 percent – Georgia, 10.9 percent – Turkey, 7.7 percent – Iran, 3 percent – the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1.9 percent each – Ukraine and India, 1.6 percent each – the UK and Turkmenistan, 1.2 percent each – Pakistan and Iraq, 14.4 percent – other countries, and 0.1 percent accounted for stateless persons.

Spotlight

The UK is lagging behind its European neighbours when it comes to attracting Chinese tourists. The latest figures show that while France welcomes over 1 million visitors from China per year. The UK only receives 358,000 applications. More importantly, for London’s independent luxury hoteliers, while many of these visitors do have money to spend, they are doing so on goods rather than accommodation. When it comes to hotels, they prefer to stay in three- or four-star properties they are familiar with rather than splashing out on high-end independent hotels.


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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Sabre SafePoint adds travel restriction tracking capability

Sabre | January 13, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, announces the expansion of SafePoint, a travel risk management product, to include global travel restriction tracking. Whilst the solution is not limited to a singular event, it provides information regarding the spread of COVID 19 and new variants as well as destination entry restrictions imposed by countries including masks, vaccinations, health documentation and quarantine requirements. SafePoint monitors world events in near real-time, 24/7. It utilizes hundreds of data sources for events and restrictions that may impact travel arrangements and/or traveler safety. It helps Sabre's travel agencies and corporate customers make more informed decisions and enhance the safety of their travelers by alerting them to restrictions that may impact their itinerary. Travelers will then be able to use the information to take action at any stage of their trip. the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been signs of recovery in the travel industry. Sabre is committed to support this safe return of travel by providing our customers solutions that allow duty-of-care and traveler safety now and into the future. "As travel rebounds, we believe a duty-of-care and crisis alerting solution is imperative to any travel business, especially in a world where travel advisories can change rapidly. SafePoint is designed to keep travelers and corporate travel managers apprised of critical events in a fast-moving world, We are delighted to work with customers to provide them duty-of-care products to better service their travelers". -Saunvit Pandya, Senior Director of Product Management, Sabre In the current travel landscape, having instant access to travel restriction information is critical to making the right travel-related decisions. Sabre's SafePoint provides us timely information to help us better serve our customers. It is a trusted source of information from a trusted partner," said Anna McGurk, Operations Director, Norad Travel UK.While travel has been significantly impacted by About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com.

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Oman Air transforms staff travel with IBS Software partnership

Oman Air & IBS Software | May 16, 2022

Oman Air has partnered with IBS Software to fully digitalize its staff travel program, delivering a highly configurable, self-service platform for employees to book and manage complex leisure travel, annual leave travel and duty travel policies.Award-winning Oman Air overhauled its on-premise legacy system with IBS Software's SaaS-based iFly Staff platform to enable self-service for its employees to easily manage their travel needs. The system has also significantly extended usability, allowing users access via any browser or any Android or iOS device, replacing the legacy desktop-only service. iFly Staff now handles all Oman Air active and retired employee's ID travel, supplementary ticketing, and annual leave ticketing, as well as the staff ticketing of partner companies TRANSOM Catering, TRANSOM Handling and TRANSOM SATS Cargo. The platform's highly configurable business rules engine means Oman Air gains the ability to dynamically update its policies, create and roll out new policies and processes, thus reducing the lead-time to implement policy changes. This has resulted in significant gains on operational efficiency over the last six months since the system went live. "Our partnership with IBS Software has transformed the staff travel experience, simplifying processes to make it far easier for our employees to manage their personal and corporate travel, Navigating the intricacies of constantly updating travel policies represents a major win for the whole airline – from both an employee satisfaction and operational efficiency perspective." -Dr. Khalid Al Zadjali, Senior Vice President Digital, Oman Air The new staff travel system comes as part of Oman Air's ongoing efforts to enhance the benefits and facilities presented to employees, said Hilal Al Siyabi, Senior Vice President, People, Oman Air. "Self-service and mobile capabilities have significantly improved our employees' travel experience while reducing the workload associated with providing facilities. "It has been a privilege to work with the teams at Oman Air, who are constantly striving to deliver new, innovative services to staff and passengers alike, Fully digitalizing processes has allowed them the ability to not only provide superior staff travel functionality and ease of use for users, but also considerably improve Oman Air's internal operations. We're also proud that the deployment of iFly Staff was managed remotely due to Covid-19 travel restrictions." -Vijay Chakravarthy, Vice President and Head of Staff Travel, IBS Software About IBS Software IBS Software is a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, managing mission-critical operations for customers in the aviation, tour & cruise and hospitality industries. IBS Software's solutions for the aviation industry cover fleet & crew operations, aircraft maintenance, passenger services, loyalty programs, staff travel and air-cargo management. IBS Software also runs a real time B2B and B2C distribution platform providing hotel room inventory, rates and availability to a global network of hospitality companies and channels. For the tour and cruise industry, IBS provides a comprehensive, customer-centric, digital platform that covers onshore, online and on-board solutions. IBS Software is a Blackstone portfolio company and operates from 15 offices across the world. Further information can be found at https://www.ibsplc.com/. About Oman Air Oman Air (WY), the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, began its operations in 1993. Initially founded to serve key domestic routes, it has since undergone rapid growth and is today recognized as a major international carrier connecting cities around the world to Oman's spectacular natural beauty, captivating charm and genuine openness. A Five-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating from Skytrax and two consecutive (2021 and 2022) Five-Star Major Airline Ratings from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) are among its many industry accolades. The airline has played a vital role in transforming Muscat into an important traffic hub in the Middle East, supporting adjacent commercial, industrial and tourism activities. With a fleet comprising ultra-modern, fuel-efficient aircraft that feature luxuriously appointed interiors, Oman Air is renowned for its exceptional products and services, both in the air and on the ground, and for the signature Omani hospitality available to guests on every flight. Ongoing investments in new technologies, innovative products and enhanced guest services have solidified its position as a premium, multi-award-winning airline of outstanding repute. Both Oman Air and Oman Air Holidays proudly display the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for best practices relating to standardized global health and hygiene protocols.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Smart approach to travel retailing puts Sabre on IATA's Airline Retailing Maturity index

Sabre Corporation | May 17, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, has been recognized as a system provider for both airlines and travel sellers in the International Air Transport Association's (IATA's) Airline Retailing Maturity (ARM) index. This recognition is a testament to Sabre's focus on developing scalable capabilities to power more personalized travel retailing that benefits the travel ecosystem. "Airline retailing means placing the customer at the center of the air travel shop/order/pay ecosystem. We are excited to see Sabre's strong alignment with this vision as a recognized System Provider in the ARM index" -Yanik Hoyles, IATA's Director Distribution Designed to assess the maturity of industry players in the journey to airline retailing, the ARM index replaces the previous IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) and ONE Order certifications and expands the scope of the program beyond technical standards to recognize the benefits of value chain collaboration and value creation. Introduced in November 2021, the program is built on three pillars: Capabilities Verification to measure the technical abilities for shop, order, pay, settle, account, and set up; Partnerships Deployment to determine the scalability of NDC-enabled offers across the value chain; and Value Capture Compass to track potential value captured along the retail transformation journey. "We are very proud of Sabre's inclusion in the ARM index and we wholeheartedly welcome IATA's move toward a more layered and multi-faceted view of airline retailing From its early days, we've approached NDC as a technical basis to deliver a more personalized traveler experience. We named our program "Beyond NDC" to signal a focus not only on ticking boxes on a technical capability checklist, but also on a longer-term retailing vision. Sitting at the crossroads of travel, we seek to listen to our customers on both the supply and demand sides of our travel marketplace, integrate their feedback, and innovate across our portfolio so that our products scale end-to-end, not just for individual players in the ecosystem." -Kathy Morgan, Vice President, Channel Delivery, Sabre Travel Solutions. Sabre has a busy NDC roadmap laid out for the remainder of 2022 to continue to advance our capabilities. Dynamic air pricing for NDC offers will become available with the recently launched Air Price IQ ™ product within the Sabre Retail Intelligence suite, enabling airlines to optimize offers in real-time with leading machine learning and data analytics capabilities. Support for exchanges will be added to the current cancel, void and refund capabilities, providing robust servicing functionality. Radixx, which provides solutions for low-cost carrier airlines, is expected to also become certified under the ARM index later this year as an airline IT provider. Sabre is in discussions with more than 25 leading airlines about selling their NDC offers through its marketplace. In addition to Singapore Airlines and Qantas – which combined are active in 50 countries and are starting to roll out their NDC content across North and South America – Sabre is actively engaged many other airlines. NDC offers from these airlines will be available in the coming months through Sabre's Offer and Order APIs, agency point of sale, Sabre Red 360, and online booking tool, GetThere. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Leisure Hotels & Resorts Selects Stayntouch to Deploy its Flexible Cloud-Native PMS Across 4 Upscale Independent Properties

Leisure Hotels & Resorts | February 03, 2022

Stayntouch, a global leader in guest-centric cloud hotel property management systems (PMS) and contactless technology, announced a partnership with Leisure Hotels & Resorts, a leading comprehensive hospitality management company that specializes in upscale destination markets and unique independent brands. Stayntouch will now deliver their flexible PMS solution to four of Leisure Hotels' Midwest and Mountain properties, totaling 469 rooms.Representing a combined 175 years of hospitality experience, Leisure Hotels & Resorts is a proven leader in hospitality management, with 24 hotels, resorts and restaurants currently under management. Prior to Stayntouch, Leisure deployed a traditional desktop-based PMS, which was difficult to use and tied staff to the front desk. Leisure chose Stayntouch because they needed a flexible platform that delivered a digital welcome experience for guests, as well as an intuitive and mobile user interface to streamline operations and allow staff to engage guests anywhere on property. Our previous platform was constrained by a lack of flexibility and we are pleased to add Stayntouch, which provides us flexibility, ease-of-use, and mobile accessibility," said Chrissy Marz, General Manager at Leisure Hotels & Resorts. "The PMS integrated seamlessly with our CRS, and the mobile design allows our guests to check-in using their smartphone, while delivering remote access to our staff both on and off property. Stayntouch's intuitive interface is also a major asset: We have a diverse team that includes people who are new to the business, as well as veteran hoteliers who spent their entire career with older systems. The fact that we can train everyone on a new module within a few hours allows our staff to execute across the board and maintain an elevated standard of service. "Leisure Hotels & Resorts embodies a culture of impeccable service and guest focus that compliments the core values of Stayntouch and drives our offerings. We are delighted to partner with Leisure Hotels to deliver technology solutions that unburden hotel staff and reimagine the guest experience. We're happy that our PMS is able to amplify the service experience across Leisure Hotels by streamlining employee training, facilitating seamless on and off-property management and enhancing the guest welcome and departure experience." -Michael Heflin, Chief Revenue Officer at Stayntouch About Leisure Hotels & Resorts Leisure Hotels & Resorts is an all encompassing hospitality management company; from hotel and resort management to distressed assets, homeowners associations, development, and restaurant management. We offer comprehensive management services for independent resort operations, proven management success across the country for major franchised hotel operations, professional receivership and OREO management services, specialized food & beverage management strategies, and guidance surrounding sophisticated EB-5 programs. We also leverage our extensive history in working with ownership groups that fund lodging operations along with our experience with a variety of outdoor recreation options, and the latest experiences with specialized RV resorts and glamping opportunities, to bring more value and success to our managed properties. About Stayntouch Stayntouch provides a cloud-native, guest-centric, and fully mobile hotel property management system (PMS) and over 1100+ integrations, enabling hotels to raise service levels, drive revenues, reduce costs, and ultimately captivate their guests. Backed by a team of professionals with deep roots in the hospitality industry, Stayntouch is a trusted partner to many forward-thinking hotels and resorts, including the TWA Hotel, First Hotels, Conscious Hotels, Margaritaville, Valencia Hotel Group, and Modus Hotels. Stayntouch is also a preferred PMS partner to some of the leading independent hotel collections around the world including; Design Hotels, an Independent Marriott Brand, and Curator Hotel & Resort Collection.

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Spotlight

The UK is lagging behind its European neighbours when it comes to attracting Chinese tourists. The latest figures show that while France welcomes over 1 million visitors from China per year. The UK only receives 358,000 applications. More importantly, for London’s independent luxury hoteliers, while many of these visitors do have money to spend, they are doing so on goods rather than accommodation. When it comes to hotels, they prefer to stay in three- or four-star properties they are familiar with rather than splashing out on high-end independent hotels.

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