Kenya is witnessing twice as many tourists from China now

Travel and Tour World | May 02, 2019

Kenya is witnessing twice as many tourists from China as it used to few years ago with increasing bilateral ties between the two countries.At least 230,500 Chinese nationals visited Kenya, spending nights in various hotels in different parts of the country in 2018.The number is a significant surge from 192,300 in 2017 and 131,900 in 2016, as per Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data.China contributed the largest number of visitors coming to Kenya from Asia in 2018, with India contributing 167,200, Japan 48,200 and Middle East 54,700.Last year, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) launched a video campaign targeting the Chinese outbound tourists in Beijing.The video sought to create awareness on Kenya’s tourism products and was hosted on Chinese popular social media sites like WeChat, Weibo and Youku.According to KTB chief executive Betty Radier, a majority of Chinese tourists have been visiting Kenya between July and September to see the wildebeest migration.

Spotlight

Discover Machu Picchu and Cusco on a Tailor Made journey with Abercrombie & Kent, alongside the country's finest travel guides. Catch the sun rising over Huayna Picchu as the morning mist parts to reveal Machu Picchu. Then, explore this pre-Columbian fortress and other sites in the Sacred Valley with a former resident archaeologist. Witness indigenous rituals and meet Andean artisans to gain an understanding of Peru's deep cultural roots. For the ultimate experience, you may even choose to travel to the Incan citadel aboard the elegant Hiram Bingham train.


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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Welcomes Six New Members, Offering Discerning Travelers Unique Experiences Across the U.S

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection | February 01, 2022

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection ("Curator") is kicking off the New Year by welcoming six new members to its growing portfolio of independent hotels and resorts. Spanning California, Vermont, Colorado, and Hawaii, these destinations offer unique experiences with nature as a backdrop, allowing guests to align mind, body, and spirit. "We are thrilled to jumpstart the New Year by welcoming these members to our growing portfolio of more than 85 hotels and resorts, The addition of these hotels, along with our first dining experience member, the Napa Valley Wine Train, is a testament to our offerings. We are proud to have these members in our collection as they all provide travelers with experiences that are shaping the new age of travel." -said Jennifer Barnwell, President of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Curator is following up an immensely successful year by representing more than hotels and resorts. With the addition of the Napa Valley Wine Train, the collection creates a space for all independents in the hospitality industry who have distinct and unique offerings that travelers crave. "As a founding member of Curator with eighteen properties in the collection, we have experienced firsthand the incredible value and many benefits that it provides for independents,We are thrilled to be adding The Napa Valley Wine Train to Curator so it can also benefit from best-in-class technology and services, as well as the ability to tap into Curator's vendor expertise and negotiating power." -Jake Donoghue, CEO of Noble House Hotels & Resorts. The newest members of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection include: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa (La Jolla, California) - Solo travelers, couples, and friends seeking an escape to reconnect will enjoy Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. This hacienda-style resort is located between San Diego's seaside villages of La Jolla and Del Mar. It features 10 acres of beautiful green gardens, quiet courtyards, warm fireplaces, and world-class amenities. Guests can also experience the flavors of the West Coast at the hotel's dining venues, from breakfast delights at Greenfinch Restaurant & Bar to coastal-inspired dishes at Mustangs & Burros. Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa is managed by Noble House Hotels & Resorts. Gateway Canyons Resort (Gateway, Colorado) - Colorado's Gateway Canyons Resort is where luxury and adventure travel meet. Gateway Canyons offers breathtaking views of the high-desert landscape and is located right in the heart of red rock country, where endless outdoor adventures like off-road touring, horseback riding and mountain biking await travelers. The Resort is managed by Noble House Hotels & Resorts. Napa Valley Wine Train (Napa, California) - Travelers are invited to sip, savor, and enjoy an elegant, 36-mile roundtrip train ride through California's Wine Country. This vintage wine train has been operating since 1864 and features everything from gourmet meals to tours with sweeping views of Napa Valley; there are even hidden gems not located on traditional maps. Managed by Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Napa Valley Wine Train also offers hotel and train packages for travelers wanting to extend their stay. Maui Beach Hotel (Kahului, Hawaii) - Experience the beauty of Maui on the shores of Kahului Bay at Maui Beach Hotel. Located just five minutes away from the Kahului Airport, the hotel is at the heart of Maui. It gives travelers access to top attractions, including Iao Valley, Wailuku and the infamous Road to Hana. Travelers who choose Maui Beach Hotel are in for an unmatched and rejuvenating cultural experience. Springboard Hospitality Group manages Maui Beach Hotel. Villa Florence (San Francisco, California) - Welcoming travelers since 1908, Villa Florence is urban elegance nestled in the heart of the sights and sounds of San Francisco. Attractions like Union Square, The Embarcadero, Chinatown, and Museum of Modern Art are within walking distance of the hotel - perfect for travelers looking to explore a new destination. Spire Hospitality manages Villa Florence. Topnotch Resort (Stowe, Vermont) - Travelers seeking an 'off the grid' escape will enjoy Topnotch Resort's exclusive location nestled in New England's Green Mountains. This luxurious resort and spa offers suites, resort homes, a Topnotch Tennis Academy, custom spa treatments and a casual dining experience that encourages guests to create memories together. Nature lovers will also enjoy the great outdoors with activities like fishing for trout in the Lamoille River or riding a horse-drawn sleigh through Vermont's countryside. Spire Hospitality manages the Resort. For more information on Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, visit www.CuratorHotelsandResorts.com. About Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Curator Hotel & Resort Collection is a distinct collection of hand-selected small brands and independent lifestyle hotels and resorts, founded by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and a group of industry-leading hotel operators. Curator provides lifestyle hotels the platform to come together and tap into cost saving agreements, new products, services and technologies, and benchmarking reports while allowing their members the freedom to retain what makes their hotels unique. In addition to Pebblebrook, the founding members of Curator include Davidson Hospitality Group, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Provenance, Sage Hospitality Group, Springboard Hospitality, and Viceroy Hotels & Resorts. For more information, visit www.curatorhotelsandresorts.com and follow us at @CuratorHotelCollection. About Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. Built upon a philosophy that emphasizes location, distinction, and soul, Noble House Hotels & Resorts dedicates itself to creating and managing exceptional properties that celebrate their local communities and the adventures to be had within them. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington and continually growing, the Noble House portfolio features a luxury and upper upscale portfolio of 24 distinct and visually captivating hotel properties; over 66 restaurants, bars, and lounges; the Napa Valley Wine Train; and a collection of spas, marinas, and private residences throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. A range of beachfront resorts spanning California and Florida; luxury retreats in Jackson Hole, WY, British Columbia, and Colorado; and award-winning urban hotels in Seattle and San Francisco comprise the diverse collection. Centered within destinations worthy of every bucket list and layered with unique amenities that inspire adventure, the curated collection of one-of-a-kind hotels, resorts, and adventures are known for creating unforgettable travel experiences. For more information, visit www.noblehousehotels.com or call Noble House Hotels & Resorts at 877.NOBLE.TRIP. About Pebblebrook Hotel Trust Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE: PEB) is a publicly traded real estate investment trust ("REIT") and the largest owner of urban and resort lifestyle hotels and resorts in the United States. The Company owns 53 hotels and resorts, totaling approximately 13,200 guest rooms across 15 urban and resort markets. For more information, visit www.pebblebrookhotels.com and follow us at @PebblebrookPEB. About Spire Hospitality Spire Hospitality is a nationally recognized third-party hotel management company specializing in creating value for our hotel investors while delivering exceptional guest experiences and providing an outstanding place to work. The Irving, TX-based company's diverse portfolio of properties includes unique independent hotels and highly respected brands, including Marriott, Hilton and IHG. Spire is part of the AWH Partners family, which also includes AWH Development, a full-service real estate development company headquartered in New York. With more than 35 years of hotel operating experience, Spire is committed to preserving, protecting, and enhancing hotel real estate value.For more information, visit www.spirehotels.com. About Springboard Hospitality For more than 30 years, Springboard Hospitality, previously known as OLS Hotels & Resorts, has transformed people, properties, and communities as a leader in the hospitality industry managing and developing innovative boutique and branded properties throughout the U.S. With dual offices in Honolulu and Los Angeles, Springboard operates more than 38 properties across 10 states. Led by technology entrepreneur Ben Rafter, Springboard specializes in using analytics and technology with its Hospitality Intelligence (H.I.) to ensure properties are optimizing return on investment. The company offers a full spectrum of hotel services with expertise in creative management, marketing, sales, revenue management, food and beverage and more. The Springboard Hospitality team is committed to going above and beyond with high-touch, personalized service in every aspect of its operations, from its interactions with guests to its relationships with owners. For more information, visit www.springboardhospitality.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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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Placemakr Announces New Pop-Up Hotel in Virginia

Placemakr | May 12, 2022

Placemakr, a tech-enabled hospitality platform and operator, announced the launch of its newest pop-up location under the Placemakr brand - WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria. In partnership with Stonebridge, this unique pop-up will allow guests to experience hotel amenities and services, while staying in fully furnished, spacious apartments equipped with full kitchens, spacious living rooms, bedrooms with walk-in closets, and more. WhyHotel by Placemakr's pop-ups combine the best of home and hospitality to meet the evolving needs of residents and guests alike; effectively creating a new real estate asset class for blended living. Located at 2455 Mandeville Lane in Alexandria, VA, guests will be able to begin to book stays at the end of May. WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria is located in Carlyle Crossing, a 1.7 million square foot neighborhood created by Stonebridge. The property itself includes modern apartments with the largest range of amenities in all of Alexandria, including two roof decks, a 3-acre private elevated terrace, a rooftop pool, two state-of-the-art fitness centers, co-working space, a demonstration kitchen and a stage for TED-style talks. Future guests will be able to enjoy on-site retail offerings anchored by a Wegmans Food Market, set to open later this month. WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria will have 120 units available at the luxury apartment building, Dylan. Additionally, Bozzuto will have residential leasing opportunities at the luxury apartment buildings Easton, Dylan and Reese. The Carlyle Crossing neighborhood offers unparalleled access for travelers to the Capital Beltway, Eisenhower Metro Station, Amtrak line and the regional train station at King Street Station. The immediate neighborhood features 5.7 million square feet of existing office space, with an additional 2 million feet to be added. "The future of hospitality and home is flexible. Our unique model bridges the hotel and apartment world, creating an offering more valuable than either product alone, Our guests at WhyHotel by Placemakr, Alexandria will get to stay in fully furnished apartments while having access to the best services found in hospitality. We're linking these two industries to provide a greater experience for our guests and residents." -Jason Fudin, CEO and Co-founder of Placemakr The expansion to Alexandria, VA is the latest property to open under the new Placemakr brand - with additional properties planned to open this spring and summer. Following the company's recent funding round, the company is pursuing aggressive growth into new geographic locations in partnership with organizations dedicated to innovating the multifamily and hospitality industry. Their model includes pop-up partnerships, property management agreements, and real estate acquisitions. "At Stonebridge, we focus on creating transformative mixed-use developments in the Washington area and we see Placemakr as the perfect partner in expanding our offerings in Carlyle Crossing, Placemakr will add to our vision for a dynamic living environment embedded into a neighborhood rich with shopping and working opportunities to create the ideal destination for travelers coming for business or leisure." -Marvin Poole, Director at Stonebridge. Placemakr looks forward to announcing additional properties throughout the remainder of 2022. For more information, please visit placemakr.com. About Placemakr Placemakr is a flexible hospitality living platform, property manager, and real estate investor. Its tech-enabled operating platform allows the company to blur the line between hospitality and home, delivering the best experiences of both in a single building. Placemakr's curated spaces in hand-picked neighborhoods allow its guests and residents the flexibility to stay for a night, a year, or anywhere in-between. Visit placemakr.com to learn more. About Stonebridge Stonebridge is a real estate development and investment firm focused on creating exceptional places in the Greater Washington area. Their portfolio includes several of the region's most successful mixed-use projects: premier properties that realize the broad benefits of transit-oriented development and enhance communities with integrated office, retail, residential, and hotel space. Complex in nature due to their urban locations, these developments reflect their vision for dynamic living, working, and shopping environments as well as their commitment to sustainable planning and design, including proximity to mass transportation. Stonebridge's comprehensive expertise in real estate acquisition, finance, land entitlement, development, and investment management enables them to navigate risks inherent in real estate while implementing innovative strategies to transform neighborhoods and generate lasting value.

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COMMERCIAL TRAVEL

Despegar to Acquire 100% of Viajanet, an Online Travel Agency in Brazil

Despegar | May 09, 2022

Despegar.com, Corp. (NYSE: DESP) (“Despegar”), the leading online travel company in Latin America, announced that it has agreed to acquire TVLX Viagens e Turismo S.A (“Viajanet”), one of the leading online travel agencies in Brazil, for a total consideration of approximately US$15 million and subject to customary closing conditions. Under the terms of the agreement, 60% of the purchase price will be payable at closing, 20% in 24 months and the remaining 20% in 36 months.Viajanet recorded audited revenues of approximately US$30 million in 2019. During 2021, Viajanet’s online sales accounted for approximately 98% of total sales, with 88% of Gross Bookings originated in the B2C channel and the remainder via the B2B channel. In addition, 98% of Gross Bookings were within the Air segment of Brazil’s travel market, giving Despegar the opportunity to cross-sell its accommodation and other non-air product inventory to Viajanet’s existing customers. “The acquisition of Viajanet, our third in the last two years in Brazil, is another step in our regional consolidation strategy that will enable us to deploy more of Despegar’s higher-margin non-air inventory through a new brand and its customer base while bolstering our team in the country. We expect to capture other significant synergies by leveraging Despegar’s technology platform to enhance Viajanet’s conversion rates and performance marketing capabilities, among other benefits.” -Mr. Marcelo Grether, Chief M&A & New Business Officer of Despegar, Mr. Paulo Nascimento, Chief Executive Officer of Viajanet, added: We are thrilled to be joining the team at Despegar, a leading player in LatAm’s travel market. Becoming part of Despegar will give our customers access to a larger and more diverse inventory of travel products while also benefiting from the innovative technological capabilities behind its leading travel site. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2022. About Despegar.com Despegar is the leading online travel company in Latin America. For over two decades, it has revolutionized the tourism industry through technology. With its continuous commitment to the development of the sector, Despegar today is comprised of a consolidated Group that includes Best Day, Viajes Falabella and Koin, (the Company’s fintech business) in turn becoming one of the most relevant companies in the region and able to offer a tailor-made experience for more than 29 million customers. Despegar operates in 20 countries in the region, accompanying Latin Americans from the moment they dream of traveling until they share their memories. With the purpose of improving people's lives and transforming the shopping experience, it has developed alternative payment methods and financing, democratizing access to consumption and bringing Latin Americans closer to their next travel experience. Despegar is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DESP). For more information, please visit www.despegar.com.

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Spotlight

Discover Machu Picchu and Cusco on a Tailor Made journey with Abercrombie & Kent, alongside the country's finest travel guides. Catch the sun rising over Huayna Picchu as the morning mist parts to reveal Machu Picchu. Then, explore this pre-Columbian fortress and other sites in the Sacred Valley with a former resident archaeologist. Witness indigenous rituals and meet Andean artisans to gain an understanding of Peru's deep cultural roots. For the ultimate experience, you may even choose to travel to the Incan citadel aboard the elegant Hiram Bingham train.

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