Survey Finds Americans Cautiously Optimistic About Traveling Again

AAA Travel | October 15, 2020

A recent survey found that while Americans are making vacation plans for the rest of 2020, many are being cautiously optimistic about traveling again. AAA Travel’s study found that 67 percent of adults in the United States planning a vacation before the end of the year have reported report some degree of uncertainty about whether the trip will come to fruition or not.

Spotlight

The first edition of the White Paper contained new StB goals: airline products, customer information, hassle-free experience - and new StB projects, including New Distribution Capability. The 2012 edition proposed a vision of the perfect trip in 2020. This vision included elements which are on track, like the transparency of product attributes.


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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

EVmatch Announces New EV Charging Platform to Expand EV Travel Options at Vacation Rentals

EVmatch | July 18, 2022

Electric vehicle (EV) charging software and technology provider, EVmatch, announced its rollout of a vacation rental EV charging software service to expand EV charging options for travelers. Vacation rental EV charging is an amenity that is becoming increasingly attractive for a growing number of travelers. In fact, according to Newsweek, 500,000 Airbnb guests searched for "EV chargers" in host listings in the second half of 2021 alone. Additionally, a recent survey of nearly 1,600 EV charger customers conducted by Enel X found that a staggering 81% of respondents stated that access to Level 2 EV charging influences their travel plans.With summer road tripping in full swing, EVmatch is thrilled to announce its recent release of an EV charging software management platform designed specifically for vacation and short-term rental owners. The software solution allows property owners to easily install a Level 2 charging station, which adds about 25 miles of range per hour, and charge their guests for usage. The flexible software platform also allows property owners to list their charging stations on EVmatch's nationwide public network when their rentals are not in use. The software is compatible with the Enel X JuiceBox and the Wallbox Pulsar Plus and offers a reservation system, automatic payments processing, and remote control of charging equipment. "We are proud that this vacation rental product supports EV drivers to fully embrace an electric lifestyle and advances sustainability within the hospitality industry," -Heather Hochrein, Founder and CEO of EVmatch. Early EV adopters often recall the challenges of road tripping in an EV. Family trips and vacations were often stressful, requiring extensive planning, range calculations, and searching for outlets at hotels and guest homes. Luckily, this is all quickly changing due to massive investments in fast charging stations along highways through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and the buildout of Level 2 destination charging stations at lodging destinations and vacation rentals. EVmatch is committed to increasing EV adoption by making charging easy, reliable, and accessible. EVmatch operates a nationwide peer-to-peer EV charging network, enabling individuals and business owners to rent private charging stations, earning money and supporting their communities. Learn more and download the app at www.evmatch.com

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Alipay+ Partners with Leading Asian E-Wallets to Promote Cashless Travel in South Korea

Alipay+ | September 27, 2022

Leading mobile payment providers across Asia announced today an integration of Alipay+ cross-border digital payment solutions in South Korea in an effort to jointly promote cashless travel in the country.Users of e-wallets including AlipayHK, GCash (the Philippines), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), and TrueMoney (Thailand) are able to pay at over 120,000 merchants using their local mobile payment apps when traveling in South Korea. The collaboration marks the first time for leading mobile payment providers from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong to extend the availability of their services in South Korea through Alipay+. The initial phase of the merchant roll-out covers major tourist activities including payments for taxi, duty free shops, convenience stores, and food and beverage chains. Introduced by Ant Group, Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and better serve regional and global consumers through simple technical adaption. Commenting on the collaboration, Danny Chung, General Manager of Ant Group Korea, Australia and New Zealand, said: “It is our pleasure to connect merchants in Korea with a variety of mobile payment methods, enabling Asian tourists to pay with convenience and simplicity in Korea using their preferred home e-wallets.” As the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is Rethinking Tourism, Alipay+ has been striving to achieve the same goal by supporting a cashless and smart travel experience. Through innovation and digitalization, we hope Alipay+ can play its role in the transformation of tourism towards a crucial pillar of development.” The partnership between Alipay+ and Asia’s e-wallet leaders comes as international travel across Asia continues to rebound. In early September, South Korea lifted the requirement for pre-travel Covid-19 tests for inbound travelers, following a decision to remove all quarantine requirements for foreign arrivals regardless of vaccination status. “With South Korea being one of the most popular destinations of Filipinos, we are delighted that our customers will be able to maximize their GCash app during their travels. This collaboration with Alipay+ provides our users the convenience they need to easily transact and manage their expenses with GCash, This innovative partnership aligns with our vision of financial inclusion and is a huge step towards building a cashless ecosystem, worldwide.” -Martha Sazon, President and CEO Mynt, which operates GCash, Venetia Lee, General Manager, AlipayHK and Alipay Greater China International Business, Ant Group, said, "It is our pleasure to announce the connection to South Korea, a popular tourist destination for Hong Kong people. AlipayHK aims to provide our users with one-stop lifestyle services, including not only local but also cross-border payments for those who love traveling. With AlipayHK already being accepted by the vast majority of merchants in Japan, Chinese mainland and Macao through Alipay+, we expect our service to expand to more destinations, enabling AlipayHK users to travel everywhere with one app using their own e-wallet." Mr. Koravut Pavitpok, Head of Commercial of TrueMoney Co., Ltd. said, South Korea has long been one of the top tourist destinations among Thais for its fascinating history, a wonderful culture and amazing food. Before the pandemic, more than half of a million of Thais travel to the country each year. And since the borders re-opened, Thai tourists have become the second highest visitors to South Korea. As international travel is on the up again, our partnership with Alipay+ has allowed TrueMoney Wallet to expand our service territory and provide more convenient and safer cross-border cashless payment to our users. South Korea’s long-term popularity as a destination for travel, shopping, and k-pop makes it a top choice for international tourists as travel in Asia revitalizes. According to statistics by Korea Tourism Organization, over 800,000 foreign tourists visited South Korea during the first half of this year, representing an increase of 92.8% compared to the same period last year. Tourists from ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, topped the inbound arrivals to South Korea, accounting for 30.3% of the total. As the usage of mobile payments by international travelers and the number of travelers from Southeast Asia continues to rise, the retail industry in Korea is adopting various mobile payment methods particularly through partnership with Alipay+. For instance, Lotte Duty Free and convenient store brand GS25 have signed partnership agreements with Alipay+ to make shopping experience more convenient for international consumers. About Alipay+ Alipay+ offers unified global mobile payment and marketing solutions that connect merchants with multiple e-wallets and payment methods from different countries and regions by collaborating with global partners. Consumers can conveniently use their preferred local payment methods while transacting seamlessly in a different market and be able to enjoy marketing offers by the merchants through Alipay+. Alipay+ is developed by Ant Group, the owner and operator of Alipay, one of the world’s leading digital open platforms.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Avolar Travel partners with ZentrumHub to Build a Hotel Booking Platform

Avolar Travel | August 30, 2022

ZentrumHub, a PaaS-based travel technology company has announced its collaboration with Avolartravel.com, a leading travel agency in the North American region. This partnership will enable Avolartravel to launch its hotel booking platform in less than two weeks. ZentrumHub's Universal hotel booking API uses cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to streamline the hotel booking process seamlessly. With this new partnership, travellers can book their hotel accommodations with ease and confidence. Additionally, Avolartravel.com will leverage the white-label UI solution to reduce the time to go live in the market. Speaking on the collaboration, Maria Elena Martell, Founder & CEO, of Avolartravel.com said, This collaboration will allow us to offer our customers a seamless and convenient way to book hotels, whether they're looking for the best deals or the perfect location. The platform is renowned for its cutting-edge technology, and we are confident that this partnership will add immense value in enhancing our customer experience. We are excited about the opportunities this opens up and look forward to scaling greater heights in the segment with this partnership. "We are thrilled to work with Avolartravel.com, a leading travel agency in North America. Combining our cutting-edge solutions and Avolartravel's experienced team, we are sure to redefine the travel experience for customers and give AvolarTravel an edge over its competitors. We look forward to fostering meaningful relationships in the coming future." -Mrigendra Mittal, Director of Sales, ZentrumHub About Avolartravel.com Avolartravel is an online travel agency that provides a broad suite of travel products, including airline tickets, travel packages, accommodation bookings and other travel products.Our mission is to provide a user-friendly experience for our users to find, compare, plan and easily purchase travel services and products from over 300 airlines, more than 520,000 accommodation options and approximately 240 destination services and activities. About ZentrumHub ZentrumHub is a PaaS-based unified API that provides access to all your hotel suppliers with a single integration. Launched in 2021, ZentrumHub was founded on a vision to provide an all-inclusive database to travel aggregators and become the fastest hotel API in the world.

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Meliá Hotels International and Falcon’s Beyond Announce Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá

Melia Hotels | August 24, 2022

Meliá Hotels International (“Meliá ”) (BME: MEL), one of the world’s leading leisure hotel companies operating more than 380 hotels throughout 40 countries, and its joint venture partner Falcon’s Beyond (“Falcon’s” or the “Company”), a global entertainment development company, announced today a new, leisure and entertainment-based resort brand, Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá. The resorts will be featured within world-class entertainment destinations, to be branded Falcon’s Beyond Destinations, being jointly developed by the two companies in prime leisure markets across the globe.Leveraging Meliá’s 66 years of expertise in travel and hospitality and Falcon’s extensive experience as a fully integrated entertainment development company, Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá will offer a unique “resortainment” hospitality experience that will seamlessly blend premium resort amenities with extraordinary entertainment experiences in a way that’s casual sophisticated fun for everyone. The resorts will provide direct access to vibrant and curated dining, shopping, and entertainment venues as part of a larger destination experience. We’ve built more than a decade-long business relationship with Meliá, beginning with our successful entertainment hospitality property in Mallorca, Spain. We are delighted now to be bringing a further enhanced version of that model to Punta Cana by year-end, With Falcon’s 22-year history creating story-driven entertainment and hospitality experiences for some of the world’s largest brands, we are leveraging all of our unique expertise and capabilities for Falcon’s Resorts by Melia to deliver an unprecedented vacation experience that goes beyond expectations. “Our partnership with Falcon’s is a tremendous opportunity to offer a distinctly different vacation experience from our competitors by incorporating immersive and interactive entertainment elements and technologies in the resort experience in ways it has never been done before,We are thrilled to debut our first Falcon’s Resort by Meliá in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, an exceptional location where we’ve been operating for over 30 years and have a robust network of resorts and loyal guest base.” -Vice Chairman and CEO of Meliá, Gabriel Escarrer The first of these new resorts, Falcon’s Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana, will be a multi-phase transformation of two existing Meliá properties in the Dominican Republic, Paradisus Grand Cana and The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, comprising a total of 622 rooms. Phase one, which is expected to open in December 2022 and begin accepting reservations in October, will be an all-inclusive resort with multiple high-end bars and restaurants, pools, swim-up suites, a water park, and a kids’ camp. Through the re-brand, the Paradisus Grand Cana resort will receive enhancements to the facilities, amenities, and experiences across the property, and will integrate a unique interactive platform that is expected to be announced soon. Phase two, the completion of the re-brand of The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, is expected in 2023. Falcon’s Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana will be one of three components of a new multi-faceted $350 million entertainment destination, Falcon’s Beyond Destination | Punta Cana, the first Falcon’s Beyond Destination to debut. The overall destination will also feature Katmandu Park | Punta Cana, a cutting-edge new theme park expected to open by late 2022 or early 2023, and Falcon’s Central | Punta Cana, a signature retail, dining, and entertainment district currently in development. As the first world-class theme park in the Caribbean, Katmandu Park will feature several patented, never-before-seen ride technologies, interactive storytelling, and captivating mega-park-level attractions. Falcon’s Central will connect guests with world-renowned brands through curated location-based entertainment venues, experiences, amenities, content, restaurants, shopping, and retailtainment. Both Katmandu Park and Falcon’s Central will be directly accessible to guests of Meliá’s vast network of area resorts and hotels, comprising 1,825 rooms, as well as to guests of hotels in Punta Cana’s Bavaro region — an additional 42,000 rooms — and to over 43,000 local residents within a 30-minute drive. Meliá and Falcon’s will develop multiple Falcon’s Beyond Destination locations across the globe in the upcoming years, including sites in Tenerife, Canary Islands, scheduled to open in 2024, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, scheduled to open in 2025, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, whose opening date will be announced in the future. The unveiling of Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá follows other recent transformative news from Falcon’s Beyond. On July 12, Falcon’s Beyond announced plans to become a publicly listed company on Nasdaq through a definitive merger agreement with FAST Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: FZT), a special purpose acquisition company founded by Doug Jacob and headed by Sandy Beall. Upon the closing of the transaction, the new combined company will be named “Falcon’s Beyond Global, Inc.” and is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “FBYD.” More information about the transaction can be found in the Investor Relations section of Falcon’s website. About Falcon’s Beyond Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Falcon's Beyond is a fully integrated, top-tier experiential entertainment development enterprise focusing on a 360° IP Expander model. The Company brings its own proprietary and partner IPs to global markets through owned and operated theme parks, resorts, attractions, patented technologies, feature films, episodic series, consumer products, licensing, and beyond. The Company has won numerous design awards and provided design services in 27 countries around the world, turning imagined worlds into reality. About Meliá Hotels International Founded in 1956 in Mallorca (Spain), Meliá Hotels International operates more than 380 hotels (portfolio and pipeline) throughout more than 40 countries, under the brands Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts, Paradisus by Meliá, ME by Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, The Meliá Collection, INNSiDE by Meliá and Sol by Meliá, plus a wide portfolio of affiliated hotels under the “Affiliated by Meliá” network. The Group is one of the leading companies in resort hotels worldwide, while also leveraging its experience to consolidate the growing segment of the leisure-inspired urban market. Its commitment to responsible tourism has led the Group to become the most sustainable hotel company in Spain and Europe, according to the last S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (Silver Medal 2022). It also has ranked seventh in the Wall Street Journal's list of the 100 most sustainably managed companies in the world (and the leading travel company) and is the only Spanish travel company included in the list of “Europe’s Climate Leaders 2021” by Financial Times. Meliá Hotels International is also included in the IBEX 35 Spanish stock market. For more information, visit www.meliahotelsinternational.com.Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of the registration statement, the proxy statement/prospectus and all other relevant documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC by FAST II or Falcon’s Beyond through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. The documents filed by FAST II with the SEC also may be obtained free of charge upon written request to 109 Old Branchville Road Ridgefield, CT 06877. The documents filed by Falcon’s Beyond with the SEC may also be obtained free of charge upon written request to 6996 Piazza Grande Avenue, Suite 301, Orlando, FL 32835.

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Spotlight

The first edition of the White Paper contained new StB goals: airline products, customer information, hassle-free experience - and new StB projects, including New Distribution Capability. The 2012 edition proposed a vision of the perfect trip in 2020. This vision included elements which are on track, like the transparency of product attributes.

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