Tourism start-ups focus on innovation and sustainability

Travel Daily Media | January 13, 2020

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in association with Globalia, a tourism group in Spain and Latin America, has selected the finalists of the 2nd Global Tourism Startup Competition. This is an initiative the two entities have been working on since 2018 when its first edition was held. In the competition’s first two editions, Wakalua, the global tourism innovation hub has received proposals of nearly 5,000 startups from 150 countries. The countries with the highest number of projects submitted have been Spain, followed by India, US, Portugal, Nigeria and Colombia.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Nobu Hospitality Continues Strategic European Expansion with Announcement of Nobu Hotel Madrid

Nobu Hospitality | May 25, 2022

Nobu Hospitality, the leading luxury lifestyle and iconic hotel and dining brand, announces its fifth Spanish hotel and restaurant in the elegant capital city of MadridCentrally positioned in the heart of the Spanish capital's Cortes District, Nobu Hotel Madrid will see the transformation of an existing office building, located at 26 Calle Alcalá, between Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol. The hotel will offer a tri-level Nobu restaurant and bar, an expansive rooftop bar, and a lounge with views over the skyline together with a state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa. The restaurant will be reimagined by the renowned Californian architectural/design group, Studio PCH, led by Severine Tatangelo. Studio PCH has designed multiple Nobu properties including the highly acclaimed Nobu Malibu and the Nobu Hotel San Sebastián, opening in 2023. Nobu Hospitality is entering into a long-term agreement with Millenium Hospitality Real Estate SOCIMI ("MHRE") to develop Nobu Hotel Madrid, their second project following the recent announcement of Nobu Hotel and Restaurant San Sebastián. MHRE has an impressive collection of five-star hotels spread throughout Spain and Portugal. "We are absolutely thrilled to finally launch in the magnificent city of Madrid. A bustling mecca of art, culture, and cuisine, the Spanish capital is an important destination for us. This will be our fifth hotel in Spain, and we look forward to further expanding our Spanish footprint to create a truly memorable hospitality experience for local residents as well as our international Nobu guests." -Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer Nobu Hospitality Javier Illán Plaza, President, and CEO of Millenium Hospitality Real Estate comments, I'm so pleased to be announcing our second project with Nobu Hospitality, and the launch of Nobu Hotel Madrid. We are so proud to continue our great relationship with such a successful luxury international brand and bring to the City of Madrid the Nobu experience and the exciting restaurant and rooftop bar which we're sure will be well received by local residents and travellers alike. Adding to Nobu Hospitality's European portfolio, the launch of Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Madrid marks the brand's 11th hotel in the European continent, with properties in London, Barcelona, Ibiza, Marbella, Warsaw with Rome, San Sebastián, Santorini, Hamburg also in development

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HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Marriott International Signs Agreement With Sunwing Travel Group to Debut Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun

Blue Diamond Resorts | May 23, 2022

With a dynamic and growing selection of all-inclusive experiences across the Caribbean and Latin America, Marriott International, Inc. announced the signing of Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to join its growing all-inclusive portfolio. Expected to open in late 2022, Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun is owned and managed by Blue Diamond Resorts and will join the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, which includes close to 30 immersive getaways in 8 locations across the Caribbean and Latin America. We are thrilled to continue working with Blue Diamond Resorts & Hotels to add another exciting all-inclusive resort to the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean and Latin America, Marriott International. “The Autograph Collection Hotels brand champions individuality with each hotel being a product of passion, making this brand an exceptional fit for this significant project and the other 20 Blue Diamond Resorts that have joined the collection. Set to debut in late 2022, the 1,049-room Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun will bring an exciting new all-inclusive resort and waterpark to one of the world’s most vibrant vacation destinations. Additionally, the resort is expected to offer encapsulating experiences through its distinct personality including a theater, bowling alley, unique water attractions, and immersive culinary encounters at a dozen on-property restaurants and nine bars all amidst stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. “We are excited for Royalton Splash Riviera Cancun to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand, Today’s announcement reinforces Blue Diamond’s position as one of the fastest growing hotel chains in the Caribbean.” -Jordi Pelfort, President, Hotels and Resorts of Sunwing Travel Group Redefining and elevating the segment, All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy brings together several of Marriott International’s iconic brands, unsurpassed operational expertise, and the over 164 million Marriott Bonvoy members, creating exciting new opportunities for guests. Marriott International entered the all-inclusive space in 2019 with the acquisition of Elegant Hotels’ seven hotels in Barbados. In 2021, the company announced a long-term agreement with Sunwing Travel Group’s hotel division, Blue Diamond Resorts, to add 20 hotels into the portfolio, moving Marriott International into the top 10 of global all-inclusive players. Current all-inclusive resort locations include Antigua, Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, and St Lucia. Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 8,000 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 139 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram. About All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy Encompassing eight leading brands, All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy is Marriott International’s all-inclusive platform, offering unparalleled amenities, diverse culinary options, and endless experiences for all ages, and tailored for each brand. The growing portfolio of close to 30 immersive getaways in spectacular destinations include The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa in Costa Rica and Royalton Antigua, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort & Casino. All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit marriottbonvoy.com. About Autograph Collection® Hotels Autograph Collection Hotels advocates for the original, championing the individuality of each of its over 260 independent hotels located in the most desirable destinations across 44 countries and territories. Each hotel is a product of passion, inspired by a clear vision, soul, and story that makes it individual and special: Exactly Like Nothing Else. Hand-selected for their inherent craft and distinct perspectives on design and hospitality, Autograph Collection properties offer rich immersive moments that leave a lasting imprint. For more information, please visit www.autographhotels.com, and explore on social via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to be inspired by immersive moments that are #ExactlyLikeNothingElse. Autograph Collection is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy®, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit marriottbonvoy.com. About Blue Diamond Resorts Since its inception in 2011, Blue Diamond Resorts has curated an impressive portfolio encompassing 45 properties, exceeding 15,000 rooms in ten countries. Taking a proactive approach to differentiating brands under each market’s demands, the resort management company caters to a range of budgets and interests from adult-only elegant getaways to fun-filled family vacations. Award-winning, All-In Luxury® Royalton Luxury Resorts offers signature amenities including All-In Connectivity™, modern Sports Event Guarantee™ and in-suite wellness elements. Royalton Luxury Resorts’ adults-only sub-brands include Hideaway at Royalton, an adults-only experience with exclusive dining and preferred accommodations, plus the stylish lifestyle resorts where you can Party Your Way, Royalton CHIC, located in the Caribbean’s best beachfront locales. In Jamaica, Grand Lido Negril provides those over 21 with an upscale and luxurious naturist vacation along with a secluded shore for the utmost privacy. Memories Resorts & Spa offers a vacation designed to impress the entire family, while Starfish Resorts provides amazing value for customers in convenient locations. Planet Hollywood Hotels and Resorts invites guests to Vacation Like A Star™ with an engaging and interactive experience, plus famous pop culture items from iconic movies, music and sports. Mystique by Royalton, a boutique-style resort collection, offers personalized vacations in strikingly beautiful locals full of endless adventures. To learn more about Blue Diamond Resorts, please visit www.bluediamondresorts.com

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Backroads Announces 2022 Travel Trends and Gears Up for Busiest Year Ever

Backroads | December 28, 2021

Backroads, the leader in active travel, announced their forecast for top travel destinations in 2022 based on advance bookings and inquiries. Europe is at the top of many travelers’ lists next year, with huge demand for trips in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece and Iceland. Many newcomers to active travel are booking adventures already, especially easygoing Dolce Tempo tours, and e-bikes are continuing to become more popular with guests of all ages. Backroads is anticipating that most of their North American trips will sell out once again, in line with the 2021 trend of strong interest in US National Parks and luxurious domestic adventures. As this eventful year comes to a close, Backroads is finishing strong and poised to have their biggest year ever in 2022. Backroads’ 2021 year-end highlights include: Backroads had its best year of all time in the US in 2021. Domestic bookings were up 45% compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic benchmark year, and virtually all US departures sold out. The number of first-time travelers with Backroads nearly doubled over 2019, as people incorporated their newfound passions for walking, hiking and biking into their vacations. Top-selling trips in 2021 included Canyonlands, Yellowstone, Maine, San Juan Islands, Alaska, California Wine Country, Hawaii, Santa Barbara & Ojai, Crater Lake, Vermont and Yosemite in the US, and Croatia, Iceland, Greece, France, Portugal and Spain in Europe. Luxury experiences close to home saw a surge in popularity. Backroads' new Aspen tour (which includes three nights at the iconic Hotel Jerome) sold out immediately, as did the company’s Newfoundland adventure, which features lodging at the famed Fogo Island Inn, and its California Wine Country Walking trip with lodging at luxurious hideaways Montage and Solage. Popular with travelers around the world were Backroads' Dolce Tempo tours. These easygoing walking, multi-adventure and e-biking trips completely sold out in 2021 and are booking quickly in 2022. Adventure travel featuring invigorating activity in wide-open, natural spaces was hugely popular with travelers of all types, including families, couples and solo travelers. Based on advance guest booking and inquiries, Backroads is anticipating the following trends for 2022: More than 30% of guests on multi-adventure and biking trips will opt for e-bikes, which are custom-built for Backroads and included in the trip price. Europe will continue to see pent-up demand manifesting in sky-high bookings, with all the European countries that opened early and were popular in 2021 seeing strong traveler interest. Top-selling countries include Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece and Iceland. North America, which had its biggest year ever in 2021, will continue to be popular with travelers looking to stick close to home. US National Park trips will again completely sell out. Demand for travel in all parts of Canada from Banff to Newfoundland is skyrocketing. Family travel is up across all family segments: Teens & Kids, Older Teens & 20s and 20s & Beyond. Bookings for easygoing Dolce Tempo adventures will maintain their threefold increase compared to 2021, as travelers of all fitness levels look to spend active time outdoors. Active River Cruises will book up quickly with Bordeaux, Danube and Portugal’s Douro leading the way. Working in active, outdoor travel continues to appeal, with more than 450 Backroads Trip Leaders and Field Staff returning next season for a 90% retention rate. The company expects to hire close to another 350 additional Trip Leaders from 6,000 applicants for jobs in 2022. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our two years of operating trips during the pandemic, it’s that things change rapidly, Spring, summer, and fall are a long time away when it comes to COVID-19. We’re monitoring government responses to the latest surge and keeping a close eye on border reopenings and local policies.” -Tom Hale, Backroads Founder and President. Regardless of what happens this winter, 2022 is shaping up to be an incredible year for adventure travel. Based on what we saw in the summer 2021 season, we expect travel in Europe to come back strong, with France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia topping the list of travelers everywhere,” said Hale. “People are eager to get back out exploring, and active travel is the way they want to go. Whether it’s on a bike or an e-bike, hiking or walking, with family, friends or solo, we anticipate next year to be Backroads' biggest year ever.”     About Backroads      Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has been a leading innovator in active and adventure travel for over 40 years. The company offers biking, walking & hiking and multi-adventure tours, small ship active cruises, private trips and family trips designed for three distinct age groups: Teens & Kids (typically 9-16), Older Teens & 20s (17+) and 20s & Beyond (adult kids through their late 20s). Backroads hosts thousands of guests each year—75% of whom are repeat guests or referrals from past guests—in hundreds of locations across the globe. For more information, please visit backroads.com, or call 800-462-2848.For more Backroads information, visit: backroads.com

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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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