Ethiopia records highest tourism growth, reveals World Travel and Tourism Council

Devdiscourse | April 16, 2019

The World Travel and Tourism Council's (WTTC) annual review ranks Ethiopia top-scoring country in the world in tourism growth in 2018.The east African country saw the highest tourism growth in the world (48.6%), surpassing the global average growth rate of 3.9 percent and the African average of 5.6 percent. The Council stated that during the period, the sector supported 2.2 million jobs and contributed USD 7.4 billion to Ethiopia's economy, an increase of USD 2.2 billion on 2017.

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For organisations with employees travelling for work, sending travellers off without a travel policy is putting the cart before the horse. The guardrails that a travel policy provides ensure that your travellers can make better decisions more efficiently — and helps the organisation as a whole stay on track. The best travel poli


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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Collinson Group Uses Freshworks to Modernize its Customer Experience and Adapt to New Travel Requirements

collinson group | March 29, 2022

Freshworks Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH), a software company empowering the people who power business, announced that its customer Collinson Group, a UK travel experiences and insurance company, is using Freshdesk™ to react to fast-changing business and travel requirements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, servicing a 50% surge in new enquiries. Following the introduction of new travel requirements, Collinson Group pivoted its medical assistance division to offer COVID-19 testing at partner airports and clinics in the UK, USA and APAC regions, setting up facilities in just three weeks. Using Freshdesk, Collinson introduced chatbot-first support and automation into its customer communications to help manage the 50% surge in traffic and queries. The company set up over 120 automated workflows including email triage, automated ticket type routing, and chat bot self-service. Help articles were created to enable the global operation to manage backlogs effectively, run as efficiently as possible, and share work across customer service locations and teams. The Freshdesk ticketing dashboard also helped Collinson to better track customer interactions across disparate communications channels. Using Freshdesk, customer service agents can now view metrics on contact resolution, total time to service, and subject matter of enquiries, and track and respond proactively if a particular subject keeps arising in communications. As a result, Collinson now handles an average of 1,200 testing-related customer enquiries per day, rising to a daily peak of around 10,000 new tickets per day in 2021, 24/7 across multiple global testing locations and service customer teams in English and Indonesian languages. Speaking about the quick deployment, Sacha Puffett, Group Customer Service Director at Collinson Group said, "The Freshdesk implementation has helped to consolidate our customer communications, while ensuring that omnichannel sits at the heart of our strategy. For the first time, we have a unified view of customer interactions in nearly real time, meaning we can see trends emerging and work to mitigate issues quickly. It’s a win-win situation that’s more efficient for both the customer and us.” “Our work with Collinson Group, supported by AWS, enabled its rapid transition during a tumultuous year for the travel industry, The flexibility Freshdesk provided significantly reduced the time taken for major operational pivots, from weeks to days. Freshworks’ omnichannel engagement solution helps agents quickly resolve customer enquiries at a stressful time for travellers, providing visibility to leading companies in the travel industry across channels such as chat, email, and voice through a single unified interface.” -John Crossan, Vice President & General Manager of Europe at Freshworks Ms. Puffett added, "The project manager and technical subject matter expert from Freshworks’ onboarding team were very supportive of our changing needs. Thanks to their guidance, we were able to launch the first iteration of Freshdesk within just three weeks, which was just sensational." In 2019, Freshworks also helped Collinson pivot its business practices to ensure customer service levels were maintained. Through the work with Freshworks and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Collinson Group equipped customer service agents to work from home and migrated 120 phone lines to Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use, highly scalable, and cost-effective omnichannel cloud contact center solution. The migration was completed within a couple of weeks, and it included training time for call centre agents, which can often take months. About Collinson Group Collinson is a global leader in customer benefits and loyalty. We deliver exceptional travel, assistance and insurance products that differentiate value propositions, and loyalty solutions that win deeper, more valuable customer relationships.Our customer benefits products include the original and market-leading airport experiences programme, Priority Pass, as well as travel insurance, identity assistance, flight delay, international health and travel risk management solutions. Our loyalty expertise uniquely combines strategy, award-winning technology and programme management to create greater engagement and experiences for our clients’ customers.For over 30 years, we’ve been chosen by the world’s leading payment networks, 1,400+ banks, 90+ airlines and 20+ hotel groups to craft customer experiences that win competitive edge. This enables them to acquire, engage and retain the most profitable, but most demanding customers. Our clients include Air France KLM, American Express, Cathay Pacific, Chase, Hackett, Mastercard, RSA, Sephora, UnionPay, Vhi and Visa. About Freshworks Freshworks Inc., (NASDAQ: FRSH) makes business software people love to use. Purpose-built for IT, customer support, sales and marketing teams, our products empower the people who power business. Freshworks is fast to onboard, priced affordably, built to delight, yet powerful enough to deliver critical business outcomes. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freshworks operates around the world to serve more than 56,000 customers including Bridgestone, Chargebee, DeliveryHero, ITV, Klarna, Multichoice, OfficeMax, TaylorMade and Vice Media. For the freshest company news visit www.freshworks.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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FEATURES AND ADVICE

Creating a Contactless Travel Experience: Ottonomy Launches First Fully Autonomous Delivery Robots at CVG Airport

Ottonomy Inc. | December 17, 2021

Ottonomy announces that Ottobots, a fleet of fully autonomous delivery robots for food and retail, are now available at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). This is the first autonomous robotic delivery of food, beverage and lifestyle products in an airport environment.Officially launched for the holiday travel season, passengers are now able to order contactless delivery directly to their location in Concourse B of the airport, delivered by an autonomous robot. Customers can select grab and go, beverage and travel items sold at select retail stores operated by Paradies Lagardere via orderatcvg.com on mobile devices. Customers receive status updates on their phone and a unique QR code, which can be scanned by the robot's top camera to open the secure compartment and retrieve their items. The entire delivery experience is contactless and fully autonomous, a first in the industry. "At CVG, we are redefining the travel experience by combining talent and tech to deliver innovative solutions,We've built a culture of innovation at the airport and are excited to partner with Ottonomy to test and advance this technology in a live, airport environment." -Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, CVG Airport The original pilot of Ottobots at CVG started running in late 2020. The partners gathered feedback from participating passengers including details on the experience, cost and desire to have autonomous delivery in airports. These live robot deliveries will gather additional research to further develop the program and user experience. Ritukar Vijay, Co-Founder and CEO of Ottonomy Inc, said, This launch is a testament to CVG's commitment to innovation and customer experience. We are able to provide a safe and secure experience through our Ottobots, executing automated contactless deliveries of food and beverage and retail products. COVID-19 has changed the way we all interact and relate to travel, making contactless delivery even more relevant and essential. Ottobots navigate autonomously through crowds and unpredictable environments using Ottonomy's proprietary Contextual Mobility navigation tech. The overall system is highly scalable and flexible utilizing a comprehensive suite of cloud tools that manages a fleet of robots deployed throughout different areas of an airport. To learn more about Ottonomy's Ottobots you can visit the website: https://ottonomy.io/ or download assets from the Ottonomy Press Kit. About Ottonomy Inc: Ottonomy is a deep tech startup, providing contactless deliveries using fully autonomous robots. Its primary focus is on helping retailers and restaurants automate indoor and outdoor contactless deliveries. Ottonomy was recognized as among the top 50 robotics companies worldwide in 2021 by Robotics Business Review and has won the Mobility Startup Award given by Plug & Play Accelerator and the Sustainability Product of the Year Award given by the Business Intelligence Group. The company is backed by Connetic Ventures and angel investors. For more information on Ottonomy, please visit ottonomy.io. About CVG Airport: CVG Airport welcomed more than 9.1 million passengers in 2019, serving a record number of local passengers. As the airport recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it still offers the most nonstop destinations and the lowest average airfares in the Cincinnati region. CVG is diversified in both passenger and cargo operations with an annual economic impact of $6.8 billion. It is the 7th largest cargo airport in North America – home to Amazon Air's primary U.S. Hub and DHL Express Global Superhub. Learn more at CVGairport.com.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Xeni Partners with Techspian for Its Web 3.0 Travel Ecosystem

Xeni | March 16, 2022

Xeni is modern infrastructure for travel built using blockchain. The platform allows clients to launch their own web-based travel agency with a custom booking engine, traveler interface, CRM, and payment settlement engine. It offers smaller travel resellers full control over their commissions and an online experience that is currently only available to the largest organizations. Through their partnership, Xeni will leverage Techspian’s travel technology and industry experience as they build their Web 3.0 travel ecosystem. “We are very pleased with this agreement. Xeni’s solutions and Techspian’s travel technology expertise put together enables us to set a new standard for our cooperation and deliver a unique offering for travel retailers and wholesalers across the globe, Furthermore, this partnership underscores our belief that future growth in the industry will come from companies that continually invest in improving the user experience.” -Sameer Lodha, CEO & Co-founder of Techspian. Rachel Obenshain, President & Co-founder of Xeni, said, Travel platform development is complex and requires a great deal of technical and industry knowledge. By leveraging Techspian’s travel domain expertise, we can build an ecosystem that democratizes access to reselling travel online. About Xeni The travel technology business Xeni, Inc. is based in New York City. Founders: Sachin Narode and Rachel Obenshain About Techspian Techspian, is a global IT service provider proficient in building software solutions using emerging technologies like AI and Data Science. Their software development efforts provide a seamless customer experience through its four center of excellence – Platform Engineering, Mobility, AI/ML Development, and Cloud Services. As a part of a software service offering, Techspian continues to share guidance, insights, and best practices with their readers via blogs, case studies, and webinars. Visit www.techspian.com to learn more.

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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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Spotlight

For organisations with employees travelling for work, sending travellers off without a travel policy is putting the cart before the horse. The guardrails that a travel policy provides ensure that your travellers can make better decisions more efficiently — and helps the organisation as a whole stay on track. The best travel poli

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