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Sources for information shown in this section are generally the companies or associations concerned, and may not be marked. Other sources marked. Travel Business Analyst is marked 'TBA'. Reports on many of these topics in our Travel Business Analyst newsletters, Net Value (NV), People-in-Travel (PinT) monthly-reports, blogs (Foxtrots, Trottings), social and business media (Facebook, Linked In) contain some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Airlines in Asia Pacific
21 July 2017
January-May seat sales (groups for all): Air China NA; Cathay flat; China Eastern +2%; China Southern +11%; Japan (intl only) +3%; Singapore +6%.
  Notes (on notable details):
-Cathay. Not good; is Dragon or Pacific the slow one?
-China Eastern. Some (so far) unexplained figures, but extremely-slow for a China airline;
-China Southern. International +7%, which is slow for this airline;
-Japan. Total +4%, which is good for this airline;
-Singapore. Its counts are starting to look right. The main airline slow (on falling capacity, so ok), but the other airlines good – Silk +9%. Scoot and Tiger now combined; total +12%, probably hiding big fall at Tiger, big growth at Scoot, as Scoot effectively eats Tiger to survive. No ‘Save The Tiger’ in Singapore.

World hotel results
20 July 2017
The April hotel-track in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows occupancy growth in points: World +2.8; AsPac +3.4; Europe +5.8; US -0.6. Previous month: World +2.4; AsPac +6.9; Europe +0.8; US -0.5.

Index, travel stocks
19 July 2017
The May ‘TBA-100 Index’ of travel stock prices, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: World 223; AsPac 100; Europe 187; US 382. (Base: Dec 06.)

Index, airline stocks worldwide
18 July 2017
The May ‘TBA-100 Index’ of airline stock prices worldwide – which we have just started - in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows 180. Previous month 169. (Base: December 2004 or when first listed.)

Travel business updates
17 July 2017
-STR reports Q2 US hotel occupancy 69.5% +0.5%, average room rate US$127.43 +2.2%. June 73.4% +0.7%, US$129.12 +2.1%.
-US 2016 visitors 75.6mn -2%, overseas 49.7mn -2%. December 6.0mn -5%, 3.0mn -4%.
-Cathay Pacific group Jan-Jun seats sold 17.2mn -0.5%, June 2.81mn -2.1%.

Norwegian Air Shuttle
14 July 2017
The Economist gets it wrong; Norwegian would if it could. See http://wp.me/pTv9-l1

Travel business updates
13 July 2017
-Air-France/KLM June seat sales 7.53mn +8.2%, first-half 40.3mn +4.4%.
-Finnair first-half seat sales 5.67mn +7.5%.
-ICAG (AerLingus British Iberia Vueling, plus) June seat sales 9.75mn +3.2%, first-half 48.8mn +4.6%. Airlines NA.
-ICAG first-half RPKs +4.3%; AerLingus +13.9%, British +1.9%, Iberia +6.7%, Vueling +6.5%.
-IATA reports airline Jan-Jun share prices +20%, Jul-Jun +44%. Our TBA-100 Airline Index on airline stock prices worldwide, started 2000, was at 189 end-June.
-SAS June seat sales 2.86mn +4.3%.
-Southwest June seat sales 11.6mn +4.6%, Jan-Jun 63.5mn +4.2%.
-STR reports June US hotels occupancy -1% to +1%, average room rate +1-3%.
-ARC reports for June US travel agencies: air tickets sold US$7.6bn +3%, Electronic Miscellaneous Document sales US$6.2mn +75%, average US roundtrip air ticket US$503 -1%, passenger trips 22.3mn +3%, EMD transactions 88.5k +83%.
-WTO reports* January-April visitor arrivals 369mn +6.0%.
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Indices, Travel Stocks
12 July 2017
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in June for US hotel companies was 4093 -2.4% (over previous month).
  The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for June, in the current editions of our Travel Business Analyst newsletters, shows: World 228, AsPac 111, Eur 187, US 386.
  The ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in June, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 145.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at January 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014.

Hotel-room pipeline
11 July 2017
We calculate, from STR data (nee Smith Travel Research), for June, the number of hotel rooms in the pipeline has grown: World +8.4%, US +11.6%, AsPac +6.2%, Eur +17.5%.

Airlines in Europe
10 July 2017
January-May seat sales (RPKs for British; our estimates for Ryan): Air France+Hop +1%; British +2%; Easyjet +10%; Lufthansa +6%; Ryanair +13%.
  Notes (on notable details; on whole-group for Air France, British (=ICAG), Lufthansa):
-Air France – great growth for its Transavia, +23%, and still 90% seat factor;
-Easyjet - growth at 10%, and seat factor at 92%; nice;
-ICAG – British is the slow mover, and Vueling’s growth down to single figures, +8%, and slowing; watch that;
-Lufthansa – has it got it right? Lufthansa traffic hardly changed but its Eurowings (which in our categorisation is a low-cost-airline) going fast, +22%; now the group needs to add a real no-frills-airline;
-Ryanair – wow; +13% at 92% seat factor; on track to overtake Southwest in three months to become world’s largest no-frills-airline.

Net-Value Travel-Tech-Stocks Index
7 July 2017
Our ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in June, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 145; previous month 141. (Base: Dec 2014 or when first listed.) A surprising four falls – albeit not by much, 1-3%. Newcomer Trivago +24%, which puts its price exactly double its listing-price last December .

Seat sales by world’s top-3 no-frills-airlines
6 July 2017
Our calculation of seats sold by world’s top no-frills-airlines (in each of 3 regions) in April, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: Ryanair +14.1%; Southwest +7.3%. For Air Asia Q1 only +10.8%; other Q1s Ryanair +12.8%; Southwest +3.3%.

Travel business updates
5 July 2017
-IATA reports May worldwide RPKs +7.7% .
-US October visitors 6.6mn, down fractionally (5000 visitors). Jan-Oct 63.9mn -1.8%.

Travel Stocks
4 July 2017
Travel stocks (US, AsPac, Eur) in June. Airlines: biggest growth, AirFrance-KLM +24%; biggest fall, Hawaiian -7%. Hotels: Mandarin O +37%, Marriott -7%. Tech: Trivago +24%, eDreams -3%. Others: HNA +18%, EuroTunnel -11%.
  Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, AirFrance-KLM +30%; biggest fall, Air Asia -11%. Hotels: Marriott +13%, Jinjiang -4%. Tech: Expedia +7%, LastMinute -7%. Others: ILG +14%, Hertz -40%.
  TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 228, AsPac 111, Eur 187, US 386. Index previous month: World 223, AsPac 100, Eur 187, US 382.
  NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 145; previous month 141.
  Stockmarkets. Biggest growth, Taipei +4%; biggest fall Madrid -4%. Previous month: Korea +6%, Australia -4%.
  Info via Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s newsletters.

Travel business updates
26 June 2017
-STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports May US hotel occupancy 67.8% +1.5%, average room rate US$126.63 +2.0%.
-Greece’s DMO reports: April airport arrivals +28.7%; April Athens airport arrivals +23.4%; March visitors -0.2%; March visitor spend -7.8%.
-Trump Bump*. April visitor spend US$13.0bn +2%, fares received by US airlines from international visitors US$3.2bn -0.5%. The value of the US dollar has grown over the past few months, which would generally produce a growth in the amount a visitor spends.
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Seat sales by Europe’s big-3 airline groups
25 June 2017
Our calculation of seats sold by the big-3 airline groups in Europe in April, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows for AF+KL+A5+HV +5.5%, BA+EI+IB+VY +10.3%, LH+LX+OS+EW+SN +24.8% (sic).

Index, travel stocks
18 June 2017
The April ‘TBA-100 Index’ of travel stock prices, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: World 215; AsPac 99; Europe 175; US 371. (Base: Dec 06.)

Travel business updates
16 June 2017
-Southwest May RPKs +3.4%.
-STR (nee Smith Travel Research) forecasts US hotels 2017 occupancy 65.3% -0.3%, average room rate US$127.13 +2.5%.
-ARC (Airlines Reporting Corp) reports May air ticket sales US$8.3bn +7%, average US roundtrip ticket US$506 +1.0%.
-IATA reports world airline May share prices +7.8%.
-Global Hotel Alliance now counts 10mn in its loyalty program; no data on active share. It says membership is growing 250k monthly, which would be currently 2.5% monthly.
  GHA members have 550 hotels, 35 brands. Better-known include Anantara, Corinthia, Doyle, Kempinski, Marco Polo, Omni, Outrigger, Pan Pacific.

Hotel-room pipeline
15 June 2017
We calculate, from STR data (nee Smith Travel Research), for May, the number of hotel rooms in the pipeline has grown: World +8.1%, US +13.8%, AsPac +3.8%, Eur +15.3%.

Indices, Travel Stocks
14 June 2017
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in May for US hotel companies was 4193 +6.6% (over previous month).
  The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for May, in the current editions of our Travel Business Analyst newsletters, shows: World 223, AsPac 100, Eur 187, US 382.
  The ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in May, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 141.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at January 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014.

Meetings* 2016
13 June 2017
ICCA* compares ranking by participants with ranking by meetings of association meetings in 2016 – but not with 2015 rankings. And there is other information not available to non-ICCA members – which prevents full analysis.
  Be-that-as-it-may, ICCA reports top-5 participants:
-Vienna, 2nd in meeting numbers, 1st in participants.
-Seoul 10th 2nd.
-Barcelona 3rd 3rd.
-Copenhagen 14th 4th.
-London 5th 5th.
-Paris, 1st in meetings, 7th in participants.
-US 1st 1st.
-Germany 2nd 2nd.
-UK 3rd 3rd.
-Italy 6th 4th.
-Spain 5th 5th.
-A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-ICCA was initially an abbreviation for the International Congress and Conventions Association. Then it used ICCA as a name, which it described as The International Meetings Association. It has now reverted to almost the same – ICCA, International Congress and Convention Association.

Market Monitor, June
12 June 2017
An extract from the Market Monitor in current issues of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter – which also includes monthly growth data for principal travel companies in the three regions. Percentage change unless noted otherwise. E=estimate, P=provisional, TBA=Travel Business Analyst.
[] World airport passengers: 2017: Feb +3.5; Jan +7.7. 2016: Dec +10.3. ACI.
[] World air traffic, RPKs: 2017: Mar +6.8; Feb +4.8; Jan +9.6. IATA.
[] World hotel occupancy, pts: 2016: Dec +1.8; Nov +1.8; Oct -1.3. TBA.
[] World hotel rooms planned: 2017: Mar +3.5; Feb +3.1; Jan +5.3. STR/TBA.
[] World travel stocks index, on 100: 2017: Apr 215; Mar 204; Feb 200. TBA.
[] World visitor arrivals: 2016: Dec +5.1; Nov +5.3; Oct +4.3. WTO.

[] AsPac airlines seat sales: 2017: Jan +7.8. 2016: Dec +6.3; Nov +3.8. AAPA.
[] AsPac airport passengers: 2017: Feb +9.0; Jan +11.5. 2016: Dec +9.4. ACI.
[] AsPac air traffic, RPKs: 2017: Mar +10.7; Feb +6.3; Jan +14.3. IATA.
[] AsPac hotel occupancy, pts: 2016: Dec +1.9; Nov +2.1; Oct -1.0. TBA.
[] AsPac hotel rooms planned: 2017: Mar -1.6; Feb -3.2; Jan +2.2. STR TBA.
[] AsPac outbound travel, estimate: 2016: Dec +4.4; Nov +3.7; Oct +2.5. TBA.
[] AsPac travel stocks index, on 100: 2017: Apr 99; Mar 95; Feb 89. TBA.
[] AsPac visitor arrivals: 2016: Dec +6.4; Nov +6.1; Oct +6.7. WTO.

[] Europe airlines seat sales: 2017: Mar +6.9; Feb +5.4; Jan +8.7. TBA.
[] Europe airport passengers, intl: 2017: Feb +5.2; Jan +9.0. 2016: Dec +13.1. ACI.
[] Europe air traffic, RPKs: 2017: Mar +6.0; Feb +6.3; 2017: Jan +8.4. IATA.
[] Europe hotel occupancy, pts: 2016: Dec +3.5; Nov +2.1; Oct -2.3. TBA.
[] Europe hotel rooms planned: 2017: Mar -0.7; Feb -1.3; Jan -2.2. STR TBA.
[] Europe travel stocks index, on 100: 2017: Apr 175; Mar 165; Feb 157. TBA.
[] Europe visitor arrivals: 2016: Dec +3.2; Nov +3.9; Oct +2.6. WTO.

[] US air international passengers: 2017: Feb +14.4; Jan -9.9. gov.
[] US hotel occupancy, %: 2017: Mar +2.6; Feb -0.5. Smith.
[] US hotel rooms planned: 2017: Mar +14.4; Feb +16.3. STR.
[] US resident departures, overseas: 2016: Nov -0.1; Oct +3.8.
[] US travel agency sales: 2017: Feb -2.4; Jan +5.6. ARC.
[] US travel stocks index, on 100: 2017: Apr 371; Mar 352. TBA.
[] US visitor arrivals: 2016: Aug -2.3; Jul -2.3.

Travel Traffic Index, Asia Pacific
9 June 2017
Our Asia Pacific ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current Asia Pacific edition of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Mar +7E; Feb +5.3P; Jan +7.9. 2016: Dec +7.5; Nov +5.2; Oct +5.0; Sep +6.2; Aug +4.2; Jul +8.2; Jun +6.4; May +4.0; Apr +7.0. (Percentage change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

Travel Traffic Index, Europe
8 June 2017
Our Europe ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current Europe edition of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Mar +4E; Feb +3.0P; Jan +8.4. 2016: Dec +7.8; Nov +7.1; Oct +4.5; Sep +5.1; Aug -0.6; Jul +1.4; Jun +2.1; May +1.9; Apr +1.9. (Percentage change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

Travel Traffic Index, world
7 June 2017
Our world ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Mar +5E; Feb +4.0P; Jan +6.5. 2016: Dec +6.7; Nov +5.7; Oct +4.1; Sep +5.4; Aug +2.3; Jul +3.9; Jun +4.1; May +2.7; Apr +3.5. (Percentage change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

Net-Value Travel-Tech-Stocks Index
6 June 2017
Our ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in June, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 141; previous month 137. (Base: Dec 2014 or when first listed.) Edreams and Lastminute fall, Priceline is stable (should be better), newcomer Trivago +7% (should be better).

Travel Traffic Index, US
4 June 2017
Our US ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Mar +2E; Feb +2.6P; Jan +1.6. 2016: Dec +3.1; Nov +3.2; Oct +1.7; Sep +3.6; Aug +2.2; Jul +0.8; Jun +3.1; May +1.6; Apr +1.1. (Percentage change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

Asia Pacific outbound
2 June 2017
Our calculation of AsPac resident departures for latest-month February, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows +11.0%; previous month +11.4%.
  Of the bigger markets: weak – Australia, China (our estimates), Hong Kong, Singapore; doing well – India (our estimates), Japan, Korea.
  Remember this is compared with February 2016, which was a Lunar New Year month; LNY was in January this year.

Travel Stocks
1 June 2017
Travel stocks (US, AsPac, Eur) in May. Airlines: biggest growth, AirFrance-KLM +30%; biggest fall, Air Asia -11%. Hotels: Marriott +13%, Jinjiang -4%. Tech: Expedia +7%, LastMinute -7%. Others: ILG +14%, Hertz -40%.
  Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Hawaiian +17%; biggest fall, China East -11%. Hotels: Wyndham +14%, Dusit -3%. Tech: Trivago +37%, LastMinute -2%. Others: ILG +13%, Hertz -6%.
  TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 223, AsPac 100, Eur 187, US 382. Index previous month: World 215, AsPac 99, Eur 175, US 371.
  NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 141; previous month 137.
  Stockmarkets. Biggest growth, Korea +6%; biggest fall Australia -4%. Previous month: Istanbul +6%, London -2%.
  Info via Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s newsletters.

Travel business updates
31 May 2017
-IATA reports April airline RPKs +10.7%. Details: Asia Pacific +10.7% (sic), Europe +14.0%, Middle East, +10.8%, North America +6.7%. Domestic +7.7%, Australia -2.1%, Brazil +3.0%, China +12.7%, India +15.3%, Japan +6.6%, Russia +16.7%, US +4.7%.
-STR reports Middle East April hotel occupancy 75.7% +7.3%, average room rate US$176.60 +2.8%.
-STR reports United Arab Emirates April hotel occupancy 83.5% +7.2%, average room rate US$192 (D705.32) +6.3%.
-US 6.5mn visitors September flat. Top-5: Canada +2.8% (YTD -9%), Mexico +10.4% (+6%), UK -10.1% (-5%), Japan -8.9% (-5%), China +4.7% (+13%).
-US 2016 visitor spend, selected (by source) details: China (No 1) US$34.8bn +15%, Canada (2) -13%.

Asia Pacific inbound
30 May 2017
Our calculation of AsPac visitor arrivals for latest-month February, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows +9.9%; previous month +11.5%.
  Of the bigger destinations, doing well: Hong Kong, India, Macau, Vietnam. Weak or in trouble: Singapore, Taiwan.
  Remember this is compared with February 2016, which was a Lunar New Year month; LNY was in January this year.

Seat sales by world’s top-3 no-frills-airlines
29 May 2017
Our calculation of seats sold by world’s top no-frills-airlines (in each of 3 regions) in March, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: Ryanair +10.6%; Southwest +3.2%. For Air Asia Q1 only +10.8%; other Q1s Ryanair +12.8%; Southwest +3.3%.

Seat sales by Europe’s big-3 airline groups
26 May 2017
Our calculation of seats sold by the big-3 airline groups in Europe in March, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows for AF+KL+A5+HV +5.0%, BA+EI+IB+VY +3.4%, LH+LX+OS+EW+SN +13.9% (sic) .

World hotel results
25 May 2017
The February hotel-track in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows occupancy growth in points: World +2.4; AsPac +6.9; Europe +0.8; US -0.5. Previous month: World +1.2; AsPac -0.6; Europe +4.1; US +0.1.

Airport passengers in Europe
24 May 2017
Our calculation of passenger throughput at ‘low-fare airports’ in Europe for January/February, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, derived from ANNA data, shows: +9.3% (all airports +9.0%). Previous period: +9.3% (all airports +7.5%).

Airlines in Asia Pacific
23 May 2017
March seat sales (groups for all): Air China +8.2%; Cathay -3.7%; China Eastern +9.6%; China Southern +10.1%; Japan (intl only) +1.4%; Singapore +2.9%.

US travel business updates
19 May 2017
-ARC reports April air ticket sales by US travel agencies US$7.8bn +1.3%.
-March visitor spend US$21.0bn on travel to, and visitor-related activities in, the US. Change NA; we believe this was a fall.
-Q1 visitor spend US$63.0bn +2% on travel to, and visitor-related activities in, the US.
-STR reports April hotel occupancy 67.5% -0.7%, average room rate US$126.26 +2.4%.

Index, travel stocks
18 May 2017
The March ‘TBA-100 Index’ of travel stock prices, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: World 204; AsPac 95; Europe 165; US 352. (Base: Dec 06.)

Hotel-room pipeline
17 May 2017
We calculate, from STR data (nee Smith Travel Research), for April, the number of hotel rooms in the pipeline has grown: World +8.5%, US +14.7%, AsPac +3.8%, Eur +15.3%.

April: Airlines in Europe
12 May 2017
January-April seat sales (RPKs for British; our estimates for Ryan): Air France+Hop +1%; British +2%; Easyjet +10%; Lufthansa +5%; Ryanair +13%.
  Notes (on notable details; on whole-group for Air France, British, Lufthansa): Air France group +6% thanks to +8% at KLM and +29% at Transavia; British, faster at all others in ICAG - +27% AerLingus, +6% Iberia, +12% Vueling; Lufthansa, faster at all others – Eurowings +21%, Brussels more but that’s Dead Cat Bounce from terrorist drop in start-2016; Ryanair stunning 95% seat factor, but remember no-frills-airlines include no-shows in that count.

Indices, Travel Stocks
11 May 2017
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in April for US hotel companies was 3932 +1.4% (over previous month).
  The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for April, in the current editions of our Travel Business Analyst newsletters, shows: World 215, AsPac 99, Eur 175, US 371.
  The ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in April, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 137.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at January 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014.

Travel business updates
10 May 2017
-Air Asia group Q1 seats sold*. AA India 0.84mn +57%, AA Indonesia 1.53mn -4%, AA Malaysia 6.85mn +6%, AA Philippines 1.15mn +19%, AA Thailand 4.85mn +11%, AAX 1.40mn +33%. We calculate total at 16.8mn +11% (AA shows 15.2mn +9% excluding AAX).
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-IATA reports April worldwide airline share prices +2.5%. 
-ICCA reports* that Paris regained the No1 spot for corporate meetings in 2016. This is hard to comprehend in marketing terms, not least because of the city’s fall in visitors in 2016. ICCA offers no comment.
  Others in the top-5 (2015 position): Vienna (4), Barcelona (3), Berlin (1), London (5).
  In destinations, the US remained top. Others: Germany (2), UK (3), France (5), Spain (4).
*See the Travel Business Analyst newsletter for a full report on this topic, including 5-year-aggregate totals, which the industry tells us is better for analysis. And so does ICCA – although it still produces one-year-only totals, and analyses those.
-Southwest April RPKs +8.4%.
-World Travel Market London reports that India’s purchase of named-country status (named ‘Premier Partnership’) “has led to double-digit growth” in visitor arrivals*. The only data that WTML gave was +16% in one month, January, compared with +7% in January 2016.
  Few professionals would use data for one month to prove such a statement – particularly when that month includes Lunar New Year traffic this year, but did not in 2016.
  Our Q1 totals show +13.4% this year, compared with +10.0% 2016.
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Travel Traffic Index, Asia Pacific
9 May 2017
Our Asia Pacific ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current Asia Pacific edition of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Feb +5E; Jan +7.9P. 2016: Dec +7.5; Nov +5.2; Oct +5.0; Sep +6.2; Aug +4.2; Jul +8.2; Jun +6.4; May +4.0; Apr +7.0; Mar +6.4. (%age change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

Travel Traffic Index, Europe
8 May 2017
Our Europe ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current Europe edition of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Feb +3E; Jan +8.4P. 2016: Dec +7.8; Nov +7.1; Oct +4.5; Sep +5.1; Aug -0.6; Jul +1.4; Jun +2.1; May +1.9; Apr +1.9; Mar +8.8.. (%age change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

IATA reports Q1
5 May 2017
IATA reports* Q1 airline RPKs +6.8% from ASKs +6.1% producing seat factor +0.5pt to 80.4%.
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Travel Traffic Index, world
4 May 2017
Our world ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2017: Feb +4E; Jan +6.5P. 2016: Dec +6.7; Nov +5.7; Oct +4.1; Sep +5.4; Aug +2.3; Jul +3.9; Jun +4.1; May +2.7; Apr +3.5; Mar +6.4. (%age change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

Net-Value Travel-Tech-Stocks Index
3 May 2017
Our ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in April, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 137; previous month 127. (Base: Dec 2014 or when first listed.) Only one falls – Lastminute – but newcomer Trivago +37%.

Travel Stocks
2 May 2017
Travel stocks (US, AsPac, Eur) in April. Airlines: biggest growth, Hawaiian +17%; biggest fall, China East -11%. Hotels: Wyndham +14%, Dusit -3%. Tech: Trivago +37%, LastMinute -2%. Others: ILG +13%, Hertz -6%.
  Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Jet AW +18%; biggest fall, Norwegian -10%. Hotels: Wynn +19%, Jinjiang -7%. Tech: Trivago +11%, eDreams -8%. Others: Fraport +12%, HNA -27%.
  TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 215, AsPac 99, Eur 175, US 371. Index previous month: World 200, AsPac 89, Eur 157, US 354.
  NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 137; previous month 127.
  Stockmarkets. Biggest growth, Istanbul +6%; biggest fall London -2%. Previous month: Madrid +9%, Oslo -0.4%.
  Info via Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s newsletters.

Travel business updates
28 April 2017
-Cathay Dragon and Pacific March seats sold 2.85mn -3.7%
-STR reports Q1 Middle East hotel occupancy 70.5% -1.4%, average room rate US$173.06 -6.8%.
-WTTC forecasts 2027 business travel market US$1.2tn +3.7% AAGR 2017-27.
-WTTC forecasts Asia Pacific business travel market + 6.2% AAGR 2017-27 (China + 9.5%, India +7.2%).
-Dubai airports. Q1 passengers handled – DXB 22.5mn +7.4%, DWC 334k +29.5%.
-Dubai airport March passengers handled – 7.51mn +3.8%.

Seat sales by world’s top-3 no-frills-airlines
27 April 2017
Our calculation of seats sold by world’s top no-frills-airlines (in each of 3 regions) in February, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: Ryanair +10.8%; Southwest +1.2%. For Air Asia Q4 ’16 only +9.4%; other Q4s Ryanair +13.3%; Southwest +6.3%.

Seat sales by Europe’s big-3 airline groups
26 April 2017
Our calculation of seats sold by the big-3 airline groups in Europe in December, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows for AF+KL+A5+HV +2.9%, BA+EI+IB+VY +2.7%, LH+LX+OS+EW+SN +12.3% (sic) .

World hotel results
21 April 2017
The January hotel-track in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows occupancy growth in points: World +1.2; AsPac -0.6; Europe +4.1; US +0.1. Previous month: World +1.8; AsPac +1.8; Europe +3.6; US -0.1.

US travel business updates
19 April 2017
-Hotel Q1 occupancy 61.1% +0.9%, average room rate US$124.27 +2.5%. Source: STR.
-Hotel March occupancy 68.0% +2.6%, average room rate US$127.79 +2.4%. Source: STR.
-2016 spending on travel +2.3%; 2015 was +4.7%.
-Q4 spending on travel -3.3%; Q3 was +3.7%.
-January and February visitors spent US$42.1bn +3% on travel to, and visitor-related activities within the US.

Index, travel stocks
18 April 2017
The February ‘TBA-100 Index’ of travel stock prices, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows: World 200; AsPac 89; Europe 157; US 354. (Base: Dec 06.)

Indices, Travel Stocks
14 April 2017
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in March for US hotel companies was 3876 +3.3% (over previous month).
  The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for March, in the current editions of our Travel Business Analyst newsletters, shows: World 204, AsPac 95, Eur 165, US 352.
  The ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in March, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 127.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at January 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014.

Other posts
13 April 2017
Of the four leading presidential candidates in France, two say they will leave the European Union. In our field (aviation), Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon should be asked:
-How will MLP or JLM break up Air France and KLM? (This must be done immediately because AF will not be in the EU and KL will, so France will be able to negotiate only with the EU, not individual nations in the EU.)
-After cancelling Ryanair’s 36 routes from France to destinations other than those to its home-base Ireland, will AF be authorised to take the routes over?
-In the EU, airlines can set fares they want. Will the new government immediately set fares to profitable levels for AF?
-How much notice will be given to Easyjet to stop its domestic-France routes such as Nice-Paris?
-Will Air France be authorised immediately to increase its fares on domestic routes to previous pre-competition levels – to around-€150 one-way instead of the current about- €35?

Travel business updates
12 April 2017
-IATA reports March worldwide airline share prices -1.5%.
-STR reports March Dubai hotels capacity +6.0%, occupancy 86.3% -1.3%, average room rate US$206 (D756.21) -9.8%.
-STR reports March Middle East hotel pipeline 153,298 rooms +1.1% in 546 hotels (change NA).

Hotel-room pipeline
11 April 2017
We calculate, from STR data (nee Smith Travel Research), for March, the number of hotel rooms in the pipeline has grown: World +3.5%, US +14.4%, AsPac -1.6%, Eur -0.7%.

Slowdown for Etihad
10 April 2017
Seat sales in 2016 were 18.5mn +6%. But capacity, in ASKs, was +9%, compared with +8% for its traffic, in RPKs. Although this is only a slight mis-match, it is significant for an airline that has long boasted its capability of continued fast expansion.

Net-Value Travel-Tech-Stocks Index
7 April 2017
Our ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in March, in the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 127; previous month 125. (Base: Dec 2014 or when first listed.) Three fall - eDreams, Lastminute, Travelport.

Travel Traffic Index, world
6 April 2017
Our world ‘TBA Travel Industry Index’ in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows monthly traffic growth of: 2016: Dec +6E; Nov +5.2P; Oct +4.7; Sep +6.0; Aug +2.8; Jul +4.7; Jun +4.2; May +2.9; Apr +3.4; Mar +6.1; Feb +7.7; Jan +6.2. (%age change over previous year. E=estimate, P=provisional.)

AsPac visitors
5 April 2017
PATA reports AsPac 2016 visitors 595mn +3.4% .
  A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter  contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Other posts
24 March 2017
-How to save Air Malta. https://medium.com/@tbaoffice/knites-to-save-air-malta-c981a52d986c

WTM miscounts; business falls
3 February 2017
WTM London has released data showing its 2016 event will generate £2.8bn in ‘travel industry deals’. That is +12.0% on WTM 2015.
  WTM’s practice of quoting in UK pounds is an imprecise measure without an exchange rate, and particularly so when that currency has been falling since the UK’s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union.
  We presume researchers for the UK-centric WTM (despite its international event) would ask for the figures in UK pounds, and so they would not know what exchange rate respondees were using.
  For the record, Oanda rates show that the US$ exchange rate at the time of its 2015 event would have meant business worth US$3.76bn, but only US$3.48bn for its 2016 event.
  In other words, business at WTM 2016 fell about 7%.
  There is also confusion over its attendance counts. WTM first reported 49,275 participants, which our data indicated was a 1.5% fall. Publicly at the time, it presented that as an “impressive” 50,000, despite the fall. Now it says there were 51,406 participants – which would mean 2.8% growth.
  Unfortunately for WTM, that makes its business-done measure worse. We calculate:
-Averaging business done per-participant results in US$68. That’s a fall of 9.9% over WTM 2015.
-Generally, WTM refers more to its WTM Buyers’ Club (WBC), whose membership grew 8.9% over 2015-6.
-But averaging business done per-WBC member results in US$351, a sizeable 15.0% fall.
  If WTM is hiding the bad news (as it has done before), this might be better than not knowing its business is falling.

Asean@50; unhappy birthday?
23 January 2017
The reclusive Asean travel secretariat (ATS) has reiterated its 2017 visitor target for the 10 Asean destinations at 121mn. Yet the figures it has published indicate that it expects slower growth in this celebratory year than in the ‘normal’ year 2016.
  We’ll explain:
  The forecast is related to what is named ‘Asean@50’ (A50). This is a so-called (non-funded) promotional campaign this year to encourage greater visitation into the 10 Asean destinations – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Asean political association.
  We believe few travellers are motivated by political birthdays. In 2015, the visitor element of Singapore’s 50th-year independence/foundation celebrations was a flop. Arrivals growth that year was just 1%; something which no-one now mentions. Ironically, A50 was officially launched in Singapore, indicating that nothing has been learned from Singapore’s birthday failure.
  One year ago, ATS released data that would mean visitor totals for the 10 destinations in 2015 totalled 92.3mn. Since then, ATS has changed that total to 109mn and now to 108mn.
  We estimate that there was strong growth in visitors in 2016 – probably 8.5%, even though that was below the 12.8% forecast that we calculated after adding up DMO forecasts at the start of 2016.
  That +8.5% would put the 2016 Asean visitor total at 117mn – based on ATS’s restated 2015 total of 108mn. From there to the targetted 121mn this year would mean 3.2% growth this year. We have seen no commentary that this means, in effect, that ATS forecasts slower growth this A50 year than in 2016, a ‘normal’ year.
A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information and analysis.

Brussels’ recovery
13 January 2017
Brussels’ CTO says the visitor business is “visibly starting to recover” following the terrorist attacks last March . However, the only data the CTO provides to support its statement is that hotels in the city reported 85% occupancy New Year’s Eve.
  It puts this 20% higher than 2015. An increase of this size is generally unlikely (statistically) unless there are special circumstances – positive or negative.
  Indeed, our own data shows whole-month December 2015 hotel occupancy was -19pts on the previous year, mostly due to serious terrorist attacks in November 2015. Although those attacks were in Paris, many of the perpetrators came from Brussels.
  However, airport traffic counts – which the CTO did not show - are more encouraging. Our review of data (from ANNA) shows passenger throughput at the city’s 2nd airport, Charleroi, was +8% in 2016. At the main airport , at Zaventem, where one of the two March attacks took place, was about -7%, but growing in the last two months of the year.

Qantas v EEQ (Emirates Etihad Qatar)
12 December 2016
Qantas changes the Gulf’s game. See http://wp.me/pTv9-k4

Scoot = Tiger
8 December 2016
We thought of it first. See http://wp.me/pTv9-k0

We Were Right!
11 November 2016
We have had a good couple-of-months - in vindication.
1. Frequently, since 2007, we have been saying that the Air Berlin businessmodel was wrong, suggesting simplification. In September 2016, the airline announced it was downsizing (about 40%), moving some of its leisure operations into a new company, and more, to change what it called its “complicated business model”. (There is still more to do, however.)
2. In 2015 we formalised our 7-year-old strategy for bigger airline groups. One section proposed expanding Hop, an Air France subsidiary, into a low-cost subsidiary to operate certain flights (short medium long) instead of AF and its associate KLM. In November 2016, the AF-KLM group said it planned to establish a low-cost subsidiary in 2017 to operate certain Asia and Atlantic flights instead of the two.
3. In April 2016 we said the reported plan by Alitalia to buy 49% of Air Malta would not happen. In October 2016, it was announced that the sale would not take place.
4. When Scoot was established in 2011 we said it should not have been, and Tiger expanded instead. This plan was dismissed by the owner of both, the Singapore Airlines group (SAG), end-2013. In November 2016, SAG said Tiger would operate under Scoot’s name starting 2017.
  For those interested in more:
-What full-service-airlines need to do to survive. See 
-We’ve been reporting Air Berlin’s problems since 2006. See http://wp.me/pTv9-jJ
-AirFrance-KLM new subsidiary; we thought of it first. See http://wp.me/pTv9-jW
-Scoot = Tiger. We thought of it first. See http://wp.me/pTv9-k0
-How to save Air Malta and others. See http://wp.me/pTv9-jB 
-Alitalia to buy into Air Malta? See http://wp.me/pTv9-it
-Analysing Alitalia’s 2015 results. See http://wp.me/pTv9-in

Other posts
4 November 2016
-AirFrance-KLM new subsidiary; we thought of it first. See http://wp.me/pTv9-jW
-What full-service-airlines need to do to survive. See
-Tracking UK inbound/outbound travel; in the fog. See http://wp.me/pTv9-jU

Air Berlin surprise
5 October 2016
Why did it take so long to see the problems? We’ve been reporting them since 2006. PAGPFT. On http://wp.me/pTv9-jJ

Visitors – France v Spain v US, EuroTunnel miscounts
30 August 2016
Visitors – France v Spain v US
In our ongoing tracking of visitor trends, we expect changes this year – in 2015 in order was France, US, Spain. That’s visitors; in spend top-3 were US, China, Spain – Spain half China’s total, China half US’s total.
  This year France on track to count 84mn, US 77mn, Spain 75mn. However, we think these statistical trends will change, and all-2016 will show around 77mn for all three.
  (We’re working primarily on WTO data, with other indicators from DMOs.)
EuroTunnel miscounts
EuroTunnel has (re)started* some monthly counts. From July – a tough month to analyse because of the UK’s Brexit vote the month before, and a shocking terrorist attack in Nice that month.
  Nevertheless, ET does not try very hard:
-It notes +6.6% in cars-transported that month, describing this the highest since July 1998. Our records indicate July 1996 was higher than 1998.
-It does not note the -7.9% in buses-transported. We, and we presume investors in ET, would appreciate some comment on this. For instance, we guess 65-70% of ET’s bus traffic is UK-originating. That would make this segment more susceptible to the fall that month in the value of the UK currency. But it could be more related to the Nice attacks, as around half of UK-originating tour-bus traffic includes the south of France.
-Train traffic is weak, falling in both Q1 and Q2 – so hardly related to Brexit or the Nice attacks – albeit Q1 would have been damaged by the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
*The company appears to have forgotten it reported monthly until 1998. However, it has not restarted this for Eurostar; they are still provided quarterly.

July; airlines in Europe
29 August 2016
July was a tumultuous month for the travel business – coup attempt in Turkey, serious terrorist attack in Nice, France. And the month following the UK decision to leave the European Union, within two years in theory.
  Some WYSKs then (What You Should Know), in alphabetical order:
-Air France seat sales -4%, slower than its -1% YTD. But its Transavia no-frills-airline +23%, +20% YTD.
-British does not publish its seat sales. We estimate +4%, +3% YTD.
-Easyjet +7%, faster than its +6% YTD. Note around 50% of EJ’s traffic does not touch the UK (as an aside, that’s the half that is at risk when UK leaves EU).
-Norwegian, maybe 25-30% of its traffic UK related, +9%, slower than its +13% YTD.
-Ryanair, 12 bases in UK (at risk after Brexit), but probably similar to EJ – about 50% of its traffic outside UK. +11%, slower than its +16% YTD.
-Turkish -1%, slower than its +4% YTD. This is a substantial turndown; same month in 2015 was +23%, +11% YTD.
Some of these percentage-change figures are calculations by Travel Business Analyst on airline-supplied base data.

Travel and terror
12 August 2016
France’s fall
Reports in France talk of ‘official’ figures saying August visitor arrivals have fallen 10% as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in the destination. Our comments:
1. Although the source of those ‘official’ figures is not specified, these are probably not official figures – simply because they are not available this quickly, in most destinations and certainly in France. (France’s DMO has given only Q1 data to WTO.)
  Thus they must be either ‘initial estimates’ or forecasts for August.
2. A 10% fall would not be bad as could have been expected.
  The most-reported recent attack was Nice, on July 14, just four weeks ago. Given the seriousness of that attack – over 80 killed – and the shocking method (a truck driving through crowds), we believe a fall in visitation of 25% could be expected in the four weeks following the attack.
3. However, visual observations indicate the fall is greater than either 10% or 25%.
  Yet perhaps something else is happening:
-Certainly, some travellers are changing destinations, but are those that do not change destination changing their intra-destination activity?
-Ie, not the Tour Eiffel but the (excellent) Musee de Quai Branly?
–Or continuing to visit the Tour but staying for a shorter time, and not drinking coffee in a nearby pavement cafe? That would change the number of visitors ‘seen’, even if the actual number was unchanged.
IPK/ITB report
Research company IPK International has completed a report for the ITB Berlin exhibition on travel and terror. (IPKI + ITBB = II.)
 Some findings*:
-Forecast 2016 outbound travel +3%, from Europe +2%.
-‘Nearly-half’ of travellers are ‘changing their travel behaviour’.
-‘The threat of terrorism influences the travel behaviour of 40%’ of travellers.
-15% will avoid travelling internationally this year and spend their holidays in their own country.
-25% plan to continue travelling abroad, but only to places they perceive safe.
-Destinations rated least safe were those where there have already been ‘attacks or unrest in the past’ – II put Egypt, Israel, Turkey worst (least safe).
-II say some destinations can expect ‘massive losses’. II add other destinations, in order given (worst first) - Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Israel.
-II name other destinations that have ‘good growth prospects’, but do not enumerate the potential – in order, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia, Switzerland.
*There are some extraordinary contradictions in II’s report. A report in the Asia Pacific and Europe editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains critical comment on this report.

No Hope Malaysia Airlines?
4 August 2016
Malaysia Airlines now looks unsaveable. As we said a year ago, one rehabilitating move should have been to change its name. Although we are aware that this was not the only solution, it would have been an important one.
  In fact, the airline’s government owners made a worthless similar move. They changed the airline’s name to MAB from MAS - Malaysian Airlines Berhad from Malaysian Airline System. That prompted us to ask if this was no more than ‘BS’.
  We estimate that the airline’s YTD international seat sales are down almost 30% - two years after the airline’s twin tragedies. This is not getting better - all-2015 was -24%. The airline is now half the size it was in 2014!
  And we don’t think this is something the new new CEO – whose expertise is engineering – can fix. The first step, for something drastic, must be that name change.
  This month the airline should change its name to ‘Air Malaysia’. And starting September make a big marketing splash (new colours, new uniforms, etc; yes, next month). The content is less important than the ‘new’ and the flash splash.
  Air Malaysia should take off its tie (personified with the new CEO; who does not know that the CEOs of bright airlines are forbidden to wear ties). And become the bright new airline of Southeast Asia.
  Can Malaysia Airlines save itself?

UK +30%?!
29 July 2016
US-based Tourico Holidays* forecasts 30% growth in UK hotel roomnights this second-half. Other findings:
-TH has sold 250,000 roomnights in the UK this year – led by 12% growth from the US. Overall growth not given, devaluing relevance of 250k total.
-From China (4% of TH’s UK market) daily reservations doubled since the UK referendum on leaving the EU (‘Brexit’) in late-June. Same from Germany (6%). No totals given, devaluing relevance of ‘doubled’ comment.
-Manchester forward bookings have grown 60% since the Brexit vote. No totals given, devaluing relevance of 60% growth.
A report in our newsletter on this topic includes so many critical comments that Tourico’s statements could be labelled “rubbish” at worst, or “dangerously misleading” at best.

*A tour wholesaler that sells more to other (smaller or local or regional) tour wholesalers rather than retailers (travel agencies) as the past definition of ‘tour wholesaler’. TH has 4900 customers.

France, Turkey, UK
26 July 2016
STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports Q2 hotel results in three destinations in the news:
-France occupancy 68.2% -5.5%, average room rate US$153.81 (€138.43) -7.5%. (June, Euro-2016 football competition, 75.1% -5.5%, US$174.59 (€157.13) -5.3%.)
-Turkey 51.0% -23.9%, US$89.42 (L271.85) -17.2%.
-UK 78.9% -0.7%, US$140.17 (£89.71) +1.7%.

Terror in France
25 July 2016
Visitor trends following terrorist attacks in France
Figures appear to indicate that the terrorist attacks in France (Nov 15, Jul 16) caused a hotel occupancy fall of 18-22%, see table. But we estimate this fall went closer to 25% in the week post-attacks.
  We also believe these results are representative of the overall fall in visitation to the two destinations – with related falls in other locations.
  From a business viewpoint, Nice was worse in that the attack came during the city’s peak period – July, August. The Paris attack came in one of the three slowest months for the city - November, January, February.
  Damage does not seem to be longterm. Paris airport passengers fell 2% in November, -3% December, but was back to growth in January. Brussels - which suffered attacks in March, one of which was at the airport, which was then closed a few days – airport passengers were -29% March, -46% April, but only -8% in May, -6% June.
Notes: Source shows Paris results in day of attack, Nov 13, but we believe results would be unaffected by the attacks that evening. Source does not show results for third day after attacks, as it does for Nice; thus our ‘NA’.

Hotel results following terrorist attacks in France





Jul 15


Jul 16


Jul 17

















Nov 14


Nov 15


Nov 16















Notes: See text. Rates are before tax. ARR = average room rate, Occ = occupancy. *Converted at US$1 to €0.90. ┼Nice (Promenade des Anglais; Thu Jul 14) 68 hotels/8400 rooms; Paris (Bataclan and others; Fri Nov 13) 250/32,000. ╪Over same weekday, year earlier. Source: MKG, Hospitality On.

First-half at two more Airline Groups
13 July 2016
Monday, first-half for LAG, the Lufthansa airline group. Tuesday, some ‘challengers’ (Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Easyjet, Eurowings, Norwegian, Ryanair, Transavia, Vueling, Wizz). Today, Europe’s two other big AGs (airline groups) - AKAG (Air France, KLM, plus) and IAG (British, Iberia, plus).
-KL is doing well - first-half seat sales +7%.
-AF -1%. As this includes its regional airline Hop, that -1% is worse than it might look. That said, analysis is twisted by terrorist attacks in Paris last November and in Brussels this March. Whereas Paris damaged results, Brussels may have improved them (diversion from Brussels airport).
-But events at AF and in France makes AF business prospects harder – with an AF strike and two air traffic control strikes this year.
-Asia Pacific is bad for AF-KL, pulling the total down.
-Paris is a big leisure attraction for many AsPac travellers, particularly the two biggest markets – China and Korea – as well as Japan. And the continual bad news from France – terrorism, strikes, street riots – will damage potential.
-AKAG’s no-frills-airline Transavia is doing well. See report yesterday.
IAG (International Consolidated Airlines Group, sic).
-Looking good. Now not much smaller than LAG, Lufthansa airline group – 10%. And a better mix. LAG has three full-service-airlines and one unworkable mixup (Eurowings). IAG has two FSAs, one no-frills-airline (Vueling). Plus a hybrid (Aer Lingus), not quite unworkable as Eurowings, but not yet clear what IAG will do with it. Something must be done with AL although it is currently doing well - see report yesterday.
-IAG is around +10% intraEurope (when many others find the region slow), and perhaps +12% on Asia Pacific.
-Iberia is performing better than British, as Spain pulls out of its economic slowdown.
-Danger ahead, of course, following UK voters’ bad EU-exit decision. At best, we believe IAG’s growth will vanish with all-2016 counts. If there is growth, it will be thanks to Iberia and Vueling.

Europe’s ‘other’ airlines: first-half winners and losers
12 July 2016
Yesterday, first-half for LAG, the Lufthansa airline group. Today, some ‘challengers’. Tomorrow Europe’s two other big AGs (airline groups), AKAG (Air France, KLM, plus) IAG (British, Iberia, plus).
Be impressed.
-Those seat factors of the two leading NFAs (no-frills-airlines) – 93% first-half at Ryanair, 92% at Easyjet.
-Growth at Ryanair - +17% at Ryan H1, albeit slowing (ok, but still +12% in June).
-Norwegian good +14% growth, seat factor at a sustainable 88%. But its future growth threatened by Brexit; complicated, but see earlier posts.
-Wizz. Close to entering the big league – which we put at 25mn seats sold annually. But perhaps not this year; 23-24mn all-2016?
Be worried.
-Air Berlin still down, at -6% H1. May be easing but seat factor, at 82%, is bleedingly low for the hybrid operation. Owner Etihad has shown no capability of turning this around (apart from saying it is); not a good sign for its other big charge, the lossmaking Alitalia.
Happy children.
-IAG does not publish all the measures we track. But we believe its Aer Lingus is growing at around twice the pace it was pre-IAG. About +10% H1.
-But AL is still small; less than half the size of IAG’s Vueling. And V is still growing fast – probably +18% H1.
-But seat factors of both need to be improved – 79% and 81% H1.
-Sshh! Are AF-KLM doing with Transavia which AF unions said they could not – grow T into a Vueling-type airline? And pulling AF out of trouble (KL is ok)? T is still small – under half the size of V – but its +19% H1 is unheard of at AF, whose calculators we thought stopped at +5%. T already represents 13% of the AF-KL group total.
-We find it hard to categorise LAG’s Eurowings – hybrid, ie part-NFA, low-cost-airline, full-service-airline. For that reason, we think its businessplan will need to be rewritten (although this hybrid-EW is already a rewrite!). In the meantime, EW traffic looks good! +7% H1, but some traffic measures up 25% (because it is expanding on some longer-haul routes). Careful though, its seat factor is an unsustainable 77%. We are not sure what it should be, given EW’s hybrid status; 85%?

LAGging behind; the Lufthansa group
11 July 2016
Does LAG (the Lufthansa airline group) recognise its problems? In the first half, growth was weak for each of its full-service-airlines – Austrian +2% in seat sales, Lufthansa -1%, Swiss flat.
  Worse is that for each airline the latest month was even worse.
  And Eurowings, another LAG subsidiary, is not yet clearly pulling LAG out of slow growth. True, seat sales were +7% YTD, but also slower in the latest month.
  And if EW’s 7% looks good, it is mainly just when compared with LAG’s FSAs. Yet as a hybrid – part FSA, low-cost-airline, no-frills-airline – and recently-strengthened with new routes, missions, EW should be growing faster. We think at least +10% YTD.

Malaysia Airlines. Thoughtless statements from new CEO.
8 July 2016
We expect company leaders to say anodyne things when they are appointed. But we look for indicators nevertheless – somewhat like reading-between-the-lines/China-watching.
  But we are disappointed with statements from Peter Bellew*, new CEO of Malaysia Airlines (MA). We found few indicators, and not anodyne comments but almost puerile.
  Here are some (may be paraphrased):
PB soundbite: “I am sure it will be a road to recovery with many interesting turns.”
Comment: Means he does not know what will happen. Although that might be true, that is not what he should be saying.
PB soundbite: “...great progress in the last 10 months with many turnaround initiatives working.”
Comment: Means some turnaround initiatives are not working.
PB soundbite: “We will stop doing things that lose money.”
Comment: Ah, if only life were that simple. So no more new routes (which, generally, lose money initially)? No more free food on board, say, because free food loses money?
PB soundbite: “We will start new routes to new unserved Asean destinations.”
Comment: First, verbosity: ‘start’ or ‘new’ is superfluous; so is 2nd ‘new’; so is ‘unserved’ (the airline cannot operate a new route to a destination already served).
  But wait a minute. Doesn’t PB say (above) that nothing would be done that loses money? Are we to believe then, that all these destinations (no number, so this could just be two destinations) will make profits from Day 1?
PB soundbite: “We will operate some leisure flights from KLIA2 [KL’s budget-airlines terminal] in 2017.”
Comment: Same as above about doing nothing that loses money. The other comment is that leisure routes (if that’s what PB means) are more risky financially than multi-traffic ones, and usually seasonal. That said, PB gave no numbers, and as he said ‘flights’, this could mean just one leisure route from KLIA2, and more than once-weekly frequency. All cost savings will be passed on to passengers in lower fares; good news for passengers, but also means that it will not help MA’s profitability.
PB soundbite: “Profit seen in the last quarter shows that the financial gap between revenue and cost has significantly closed.”
Comment: PB may have ‘seen’ the profit, but we haven’t; MA keeps this information confidential. A ‘gap’ between revenue and cost, depending on what the figures are, is what we would call a ‘profit’ or ‘loss’. In addition, the gap cannot be ‘significantly closed’; it is either closed (ie breakeven or profit) or not (loss).
  Earlier, MA said it was ‘marginally profitable’ in Q1 but added some unclear caveats, and so that profitability could be no more than creative book-keeping. See also WYSKs below.
*What You Should Know:
-MA’s Q1 revenue fell a jaw-dropping 22% (to what we don’t know), but the fact that capacity (ASKs) fell further, -30%, is relatively good news. But reflect; the airline is almost one-third smaller than it was in 2015, when it also downsized.
-MA’s previous CEO Christoph Mueller, who resigned after less than a year in the job, is now leaving this month, rather than in September as he said when announcing his resignation. Important only in that it shows MA company statements have reduced credibility.
-We understand Mueller is moving to the Gulf to either Emirates or Etihad (or one of its seven associate airlines). He is known at Etihad, which at one time owned part of Aer Lingus (then CEO, Mueller) before being bought by IAG (mainly British and Iberia). This would threaten credibility on the official ‘personal-reasons’ for leaving MA. In fact, we understood he left for professional reasons – not being able to do at MA what he wanted to do.
-Much is made of PB’s time at Ryanair (nine years; 4 jobs), the world’s 2nd-largest no-frills-airline. But:
   -Most of his time there was in flight operations, as was his first job (from end-2015) at MA.
   -He had an unexplained one year as head of S&M (albeit under the current head of marketing, Kenny Jacobs, for most of that time) – which seemed well outside his professional competence.
   -Two months after he left S&M, Ryanair’s extraordinary traffic pickup started - two years of monthly 20-30% growths. The airline is now 25% bigger than it was when PB moved out of S&M. He might want to claim credit for starting that (this is a CV after all), but there are no indications that he was responsible in any way. We would credit Jacobs more than anyone else, and Michael O'Leary, head of the airline. Jacobs joined from a supermarket retailer strong in marketing, Tesco.

IATA on Brexit
4 July 2016
IATA has issued a report on the implications for UK air traffic following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. (This summary contains only the topics that we generally track, and thus might not reflect IATA’s complete report.)
  Findings include:
-Air passengers UK 2015: overseas trips by UK residents 53.9mn; arrivals in the UK by non-residents 26.2mn.
-UK government estimates Brexit impact on UK outbound -5.6%, on UK inbound +2.8% to +4.0%. Net -1.7% to -2.9%.
-Air passenger growth reduced by 1.0-1.5pts yearly over the “near term” – probably to 2020.
-The EU accounts for 49% of passengers from the UK and 54% of scheduled commercial flights.
-Capacity (in ASKs) of selected EU airlines, UK-EU as a share of their total (and thus at risk of losing) – Ryanair 36%, Norwegian 10% (excludes its UK to non-EU points, all at risk).
-Capacity (in ASKs) of Easyjet, intra-EU capacity as a share of its total (and thus at risk of losing) – 24%. Excludes those such as Switzerland - where EJ has a base – which is outside the EU but which pays to access the EU market (including aviation).

Travel stocks – Europe special review, all-world standard review
1 July 2016
This report is divided into two – Europe special review, and our standard monthly review.

1. Europe special review
An immediate reaction to the UK’s vote to leave the EU – so-called Brexit – has been stock prices, and the value of the UK currency. We are not qualified to comment, or track, currency movements.
  And our special review of stock prices here is entirely within the travel business. And not our usual full coverage of Asia Pacific, Europe, US.

A. End-June prices over end-May.
-Airlines were hit much harder – -23%, compared with -9% for hotels and -10% for Others.
-Although we think the no-frills-airlines Easyjet, Norwegian, Ryanair are most under threat, the market thinks otherwise – or thinks differently. IAG (Aer Lingus, British, Iberia, Vueling) was -31% in London and -37% in Madrid!
  A separate report in the Travel Business Analyst newsletter shows 36% of Ryanair’s capacity is UK-EU (and which could be lost), and 10% of Norwegian’s capacity (excludes its UK to non-EU points, also at risk). Plus Easyjet’s intra-EU capacity (also at risk) is 24% (excludes Switzerland - where EJ has a base – which is outside the EU but which pays to access the EU market).
-Least hit airline was Turkish, -8%, although that is a sad irony given the terrorist attack on Istanbul’s main airport two days ago.
-Among hotels, biggest fall was at NH -17%, although most of this is probably a result of that company’s disarray - following the move of some shareholders last month to fire its chairman and CEO.
-Among others, Eurotunnel – whose routes London-Brussels/Paris look vulnerable – was -18%. That looks slight when compared with the hit for airlines.
-But the biggest ‘Others’ fall was -24% for Frankfurt-quoted TUI – because one of the company’s subsidiaries is a big UK tour operator, Thomson. Perhaps TUI now regrets its move in 2014 to absorb its UK-quoted TUI Travel into the parent TUI AG.

B. End-June over end-2015.
Much worse:
-Airlines -27% against hotels -14%, Others -13%.
-Biggest falls -39% at IAG, -38% at Easyjet. (IAG Madrid was -47%!)
-InterContinental is the only one of the hotel groups we track that was ahead, +4%.
-Among Others, Thomas Cook was down 48%. Perhaps investors do not know TC is German-owned, and has most (65%?) of its business outside the UK.
-But also hit was TUI, -39%, for the reasons given above.
-A winner was Kuoni, +31%. It must be extra pleased it sold off its UK (and other) tour operations in 2015.
-Tech companies (see our Net Value Travel Tech index, below) also were relatively untouched (-4%, and -6% end-Jun over end-May).


2. World standard review
The following is our standard monthly report.
  Note that changes in this section are, as usual, based on a comparison with previous-month prices, not end-2015. And that this is a worldwide report, not just Europe.
  Travel stocks (US, AsPac, Eur) in June. Airlines: biggest growth, Thai AW +34%; biggest fall, IAG -31%. Hotels: Dusit +41%, NH Hoteles -17%. Others: Hertz +14%, TUI -26%.
  Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Thai AW +24%; biggest fall, Air China -13%. Hotels: NH Hoteles +9%, Wynn R -24%. Others: Avis +15%, T Cook -13%.
  TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 155, AsPac 86, Eur 107, US 274. Index previous month: WW 165, AsPac 87, Eur 126, US 281.
  NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 104; previous month 109.
  Stockmarkets. Biggest growth, London +4%; biggest fall, Dublin -13%. Previous month: India +4%; Istanbul -9%.
  Info via Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s newsletters.

End-June closing prices of travel company stocks, Europe







Air France-KLM






IAG London



IAG Madrid



































Mill & Cop
































Thomas Cook






Notes: *May not be full formal name. ┼Over end-May. ╪Over end-2015. Source: stockmarkets, Net Value, Travel Business Analyst.


SAG in May - Singapore Airlines Group
30 June 2016
Middling Month of May. Seat sales at parent airline SIA grew 4% over Jan-May. That may not look impressive, but it is better than earlier years - -1% for the same period in 2015, flat 2014, +3% 2013.
  However, there are a number of items that should be on SAG’s ‘To Fix’ list:
-Tiger seat sales flat in the month although +3% YTD (our estimate). This is bad for an NFA*. But the reason is known – SAG is growing Scoot at the expense of Tiger.
-Seat factors; not easy to read these, but here goes:
   -At SAG it is 76% +1pt YTD (our estimate).
   -For an FSA* that would be fair, although it should be on 80%.
   -But that 76% incorporates SFs of two NFAs……which would make 76% bad……but with Silk, operating hard-to-fill routes as a regional FSA, it makes the SAG total, once again, ‘fair’.
   -One day, SAG will accept market realities and either make Silk an LCA*, or shut the airline down and operate its flights under the SIA brand, and/or with one of its NFAs.
   -Scoot’s fast growth (see below) hides its low seat factor – 82% YTD. It needs at least 85% and aiming for 90%.
   -Tiger is also at 82%. Same comments as for Scoot, but given Tiger’s business circumstances (an artificially-restricted operation) these results are fair. As an established NFA they should be higher, but those operational limitations change the situation.
  The good news:
-Silk +12%; good for a mature airline.
-Scoot +50%. Good, even for an NFA, but to be interpreted against Tiger’s emasculation to give Scoot its growth, see above.
*Notes: FSA = full-service-airline. LCA = low-cost-airline. NFA = no-frills-airline. See earlier posts for our definitions for these three types of airline.

Russia inbound loss
21 June 2016
Not only is outbound travel from Russia falling. The same is happening for inbound travel, including of course, the all-important visitor spend.
  Based on Q1 indicators, visitors to Russia will spend only US$6.3bn over all-2016. That would put Russia on a level with, say, Norway, or below Hungary.
  In addition, that figure would be about half Russia’s peak, in 2013.
  (We have worked on data from the World Tourism Organization for these findings.)

Emirates, Etihad WYSKs.
15 June 2016
Some surprises, almost shocks, in their latest financial years, some of which you may not have noted:
-Its revenue fell! By 4%.
-But it sold more seats – so we calculate its RASK (revenue per available seat kilometre) fell a jaw-dropping 15%.
-Also sold more seats, many more - +19%.
-But its capacity grew faster, so its RASK also fell, albeit only -1%.
-So is Etihad close to Emirates’ size! No way! Only 31%, so just a small airline despite its motley collection of seven associate/subsidiary airlines around the world.

Shortcomings at Trip Advisor, AirBnB.
14 June 2016
Trottings = Trip Jottings from The Fox.
Trip Advisor would allow me to change my phone number only if I accessed my listing. And they would send the keycode to access my listing to my phone number. Yes, to the number that was no longer working.
  I explained this Catch-22 to TA. They suggested I call them. I replied they should call me, as they had caused the problem.
  I then received a reply saying that they had tried to call me, but could not reach me, so the number I gave them must be wrong. They suggested again that I call them, and gave me a number to do this.
  I replied my phone number I gave them was not wrong, and asked when did they call, and please give me a time when they could call again. Also, I queried their number for me to call them – was the first number ‘1’ the local area code (in this case, Paris), or a country-code, Canada or the US. And could they give numbers instead of letters for the rest of the number because my phone had numbers only; no letters.
  They replied. No response on explanations for the phone number (apart from repeating it), and nothing at all on recalling me. Just an “understanding of” my concern, and to assuage that concern, they suspended my account with them!
  The moral of this message is that TA needs to look seriously at its call-centre operation. This one (judging from the names) is in India.
  Meanwhile, for those who followed earlier my AirBnB fraud, still no response from ABB.
  To recap, ABB took a commission on a booking where the host advertised something he did not have and which I needed (in this case, off-street car parking).
  When I discovered the problem, I cancelled my booking. My would-be ABB host refunded my payment. But ABB not only kept its commission money, it has never responded to my messages, and continues to allow this false advertising to continue.
  I accept that neither of these are big issues for these two big companies. But both show a shortcoming in their service, which they should not be too big to resolve.

Asean’s Faultlines, Asia Pacific inbound/outbound, Singapore’s Good News.
13 June 2016
Asean’s Faultlines, by Murray Bailey
3500-word critique entitled Asean’s Faultlines – includes a section What To Do. On https://tbaoffice.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/aseans-faultlines-by-murray-bailey/
Asia Pacific inbound
Our calculation of AsPac visitor arrivals for latest-month February, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows +11.3%. Unusually, many destinations reported growth at around that rate – even not too bad for Hong Kong, Macau (where we exclude travel from China residents).
Asia Pacific outbound
Our calculation of AsPac resident departures for latest-month March, in the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, shows +10.0%. Boosted by return to growth from China (our estimates) +5%, Japan’s return to growth +3%, Korea +18%.
Singapore: Good News!
It seems we have written just bad news about Singapore for the last few times. (Although we excuse ourselves as the DMO itself and many others did not seem to see the problems.)
  Now, finally, some good news.
  Government data we have (not from the DMO; its figures are a little later and a little different) indicate that Q1 visitors grew at 14%. That warrants a word we (over)use often – stunning.
  Although this needs some contextual observation (Q1 was flat in 2014 and -6% in 2015), it is good nevertheless, and above the Q1 totals in those two years.
  Our other comments revert to type – negative.
  We remarked at the start of this year - when the DMO forecast 0-3% growth for the year - that that seemed unduly pessimistic. That would have put the 2016 visitor total at 15.2-15.7mn. The total is now on track to reach 17.3mn. If the DMO were a private body, its CEO would have to explain how its forecast now looks so wrong weeks after its pessimistic forecast. And in a private company, he (for the CEO is a man) might even be fired.
  However, we presume that everyone will keep their jobs at the DMO, and will even boast how well things are going, and isn’t the DMO clever? When you hear this, remember another comment we made at the time.
  The DMO said when 2015 arrivals grew 2%, that “attested to Singapore's on-going appeal as a vibrant leisure destination”. We remarked, “A 2% growth does that?”. How will it describe a 14% growth?

Little Japan, Giant Korea
10 June 2016
Outbound travel from Japan has shown monthly growths this year, after two years of slowing. This has led many observers to assume that the market is solidly back as Asia’s second-largest outbound market after China.
  Many missed the change in early-2015 when Korea (with a population less than half Japan’s – 50mn, 127mn) overtook Japan in terms of outbound market size. We signalled it (plus the fact that it came three months before we expected) but many missed it altogether.
  Well, catch this.
  On current trends, Korea’s outbound market will become 50% bigger than Japan’s over the next 12 months! That would be 24mn compared with 16mn.
  A caveat, however - as usual. Although we think Korea will continue to grow strongly, growth will probably slow a little, and Japan will probably continue to pick up. So that could mean 22-23mn for Korea against as much as 19mn for Japan.
  But that 50% difference looks likely to be achieved with all-year 2017 totals.

Visitors: Spain overtakes France
6 June 2016
On current trends, Spain is on track to count 77.7mn visitors this year, and France also 77.7mn. A fractional difference would keep France just ahead.
  In fact, we believe current trends will not be maintained, with Spain’s growth strong but not as strong as now, and France gradually reversing its downward trend. That would indicate Spain possibly touching 75mn, and France about 80-85mn.
  Still, these trendings should be something of a shock – so long has France languidly claimed to be the world’s No1 visitor destination.
  And it still looks likely that in 2017 our heading will be correct.

TravelZoo’s bizarre research on Brexit
3 June 2016
Should we call it TravelZoology - a new obscure-extreme discipline with travellers as the animals? That’s the word we have created for bizarre research findings by Travelzoo, a sort-of travel-deals platform.
Travelzoo’s heading: ‘European Tourists to the UK Could Drop by a Third Following Brexit’
Ours: ‘Visitors in the UK from Europe likely to grow 5% faster if UK leaves EU’
Travelzoo (TZ) says 33% of travellers from Italy and Spain, 30% from Germany, and 24% from France, would be “less inclined to travel to the UK” if the UK votes Out.
  This finding is simply not believable. After November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, arrivals fell around 20%. Does TZ believe an Out vote would cause a bigger fall over a longer period?
  Also, what’s the problem? The UK is not in Schengen’s passport-free zone, so an Out vote would not change those travel logistics. Visas for the UK are not required by any EU market, and that is not likely to change after Out.
  But what is already happening, and which could get worse, is a fall in the UK’s currency. However, that would make the UK a lower-cost destination! Thus our guess is that arrivals in the UK could increase 5% above existing growth rates if the pound fell 10-15% - some forecast a 20% fall over a year after Out.
  TZ’s findings:
-£4.1bn a year in “international tourist spending” would be lost. We convert that to US$6.0bn and apply that to WTO’s US$42.4bn in 2015 – meaning a 14% share.
-40% of TZ’s clients in EU markets outside the UK “worry that Brexit could make UK holidays more expensive”. We think the opposite, as noted above.
-“Respondents from some nations – notably France – believe that leaving the EU could make the UK a safer destination for holidays.” Eh? How many respondents, and from which markets? Why do those people think holidays would be safer? (An answer to that could be valuable market information on how would-be travellers are misguided.)
-10% of travellers from Canada and 12% from the US would be less likely to go to a non-EU UK. Why? As an aside, some Outers believe a non-EU UK would become closer to non-EU nations (not a given, but some think that), so why would those North American travellers be avoiding the UK and embracing their new non-EU friend?
-Meanwhile, holidays for British tourists in “Europe” - TZ has forgotten that the UK is in Europe, but we presume it means continental Europe - could become more costly “if the sentiment expressed by some of our neighbours in France and Spain becomes more widespread”. 40% of clients from those markets “feel it would be fair to impose higher fees, such as a hiked city tax, on British visitors, if the UK votes Out”.
  We know of few ‘city taxes’, although there are hotel taxes. Despite that crushingly-high 40%, we believe this is another farcical finding, and would have almost zero chance of being passed by the relevant administrations.
-28% of UK travellers are concerned that an Out could lead to more costly holidays for them, while 56% are worried that Out would reduce the ease and flexibility with which British nationals can currently travel inside the EU.
  That is another serious misunderstanding – there are no controls in those 26 European (not all EU) destinations that are part of Schengen, including some that pay for special links with the EU, such as Norway and Switzerland.
  Other UK traveller concerns:
-25% believe that the price of holiday insurance would go up, and 20% worry that their holiday protection cover would be impacted if they were no longer entitled to a European Health Insurance Card. Finally something that is likely to be true. But surely Outers realise that they would no longer have the benefits that EU membership brings?
-24% believe that mobile roaming charges will increase if Britain is no longer governed by EU roaming “regulations”. We believe a better noun would be “liberalisation”, but as above, no EU and therefore all EU rules, the good and bad, can go.
-22% worry that UK beaches could become more polluted without strict regulations enforced by the EU. We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. We guess 10% of visitors have visited a UK beach, and probably fewer stayed on it in what could be considered beach apparel. So that 22% would have yet another reason to stay away from a UK beach, and be forced to wait until their next Mediterranean holiday.
-“10% of British people admit they have taken the impact of Brexit into consideration when planning their holiday.” We have no idea what this means.
-Of those wanting Out, 61% would be willing to pay more for their holidays. That’s what many people say. Of course it depends on how much more, and if those travellers knew what the extra cost was. If 10% higher, we reckon that 61% would fall to 1%.
  As noted, we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Although those surveyed were just Travelzoo clients/customers/members, many findings are still laughable. Worse, a university (Bournemouth) extrapolated some of TZ’s findings, but instead of making them more believable, took them further from reality.
  Back to the Zoo.

Hotel Properties hides data
31 May 2016
Pity the poor investor in Singapore’s Hotel Properties Ltd. Its latest financial report still gives zero information on results at its hotels and resorts.
  For instance, are its Maldives resorts suffering? One of its Bali hotels is being refurbished; how will that reflect on earnings?
  Perhaps a bigger surprise is that its local stock exchange - Singapore Exchange - lets HPL get away with this. Is SE not worried about its own reputation, or is HPL’s institutional backing too powerful?
  In one phrase, HPL wrote of a resort’s results being “affected” by certain specific events. We are surprised investors and SE accept such nonsense.
  We are quite categorical. HPL is hoodwinking the investor by hiding key operating information (minimum needed are occupancy, average room rate, and revpar by hotel/resort). And SE is allowing this obfuscation.
  (For the record, its revenue fell 10% to US$106mn in Q1. Your guess is as good as ours as to what losses were registered ours. Its stock price is down 8% so far this year, so perhaps investors have got the message.)

Destination Singapore; what’s wrong?
27 May 2016
An excerpt from our monthly Travel Business Analyst newsletter.
Singapore’s DMO, the Singapore Tourism Board, appears to be like those politicians in power – denying what is obvious to almost everyone else. The danger is that until there is recognition that something is wrong, less will be done to try to correct it.
  That visitor arrivals in 2015 grew only 0.9% is bad enough, but visitor spend fell more, 6.8%. We extrapolate those, to find that spend-per-visitor fell 7.6% to US$1072 (at US$1 to S$1.35), but because length-of-stay fell 2.4%, spend PVPD (per-visitor-per-day) fell less, by 5.3% to US$297.
  The DMO notes that leisure arrivals grew 2%, “attesting to Singapore's on-going appeal as a vibrant leisure destination”. A 2% growth does that? We estimate AsPac’s total outbound travel grew 9% in 2015, so Singapore’s +2% might indicate to us that ‘Singapore’s appeal as a leisure destination fades’.
  Also like politicians, the DMO ignores what it does not like, or cannot explain. For instance, the DMO was proud of the US$15mn it spent on promoting Singapore’s celebration of 50 years as an independent country in 2015.
  As we noted at the time: ‘National pride has resulted in marketers thinking there is a sizeable number of non-Singaporeans that want to celebrate Singapore’s birthday by visiting it.’ Judging by the 2015 visitor numbers, we were right. And the fact that the DMO says nothing supports that sentiment.
  (Unfortunately, we need to add that our comments are related to the travel business implications of Singapore’s birthday, and not to the actual celebration, which, of course, was wholly justified.)
  The question, then, is what is not working?
  For us, Singapore has: a big recent growth in (good) new visitor products (including one, the Marina Bay Sands, that we put in the motivational-iconic category alongside Angkor Wat, Shwedagon Pagoda, etc); acceptable stability in exchange rates; no serious visitor-threatening negative incidents; sizeable government support for destination promotion and for those companies involved in visitor promotion; a near-world-No1 local airline; a surfeit of no-frills-airlines based in town; the world’s best airport; and reasonable visitor product prices.
  We see a number of problems to solve, and we hope the DMO does as well. Most obvious, and shocking, is that three of the top-5 market sources fell in 2015 - Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia. Interestingly, the DMO does not break out market differences in visitor spend, and so it is not easy to determine if there are some markets that need more attention than others do.
  Other comments:
[] AAGR (annual average growth rate). This decade, AAGR has been almost 5%, well above 2015 growth. And thus for most of our selected markets, AAGR is above 2015 results – not a good sign. Above in 2015 compared with AAGR were China, Germany, India, Korea, UK, US.
[] Share. China has doubled its share since 2000, which is the reason AsPac’s share has grown, thus pushing Americas down from 6% to 4%, and Europe from 15% to 11%. But before dismissing those non-AsPac markets, note that all four in our list grew faster in 2015 than their AAGR.
[] Singapore-v-Total Market. Japan still bad, and that fall was slightly worse than the overall Japan outbound total, -4.1%. But the 22% growth for China was better – we estimate total China outbound was around +18%. For Korea, the STB needs to work harder – total outbound Korea was +20%. Likewise for India – we estimate total India outbound was +13% - and for the US +7%. (We do not have outbound travel data or estimates for all markets shown.)

Questions on Alitalia buying into Air Malta
23 May 2016
Alitalia to buy into Air Malta?
-Alitalia (AL) and Air Malta (AM) have signed an agreement where AL may buy 49% of AM. (Apparently; no photos, no date, no place, no announced signatories.)
-51% of AL is owned by CAI. Biggest shareholders in CAI-ergo-AL are Intesa Sanpaolo, a bank, 21%; Poste Italiane 19%; Uni Credit, a (troubled) bank 13%. Other notables: Benetton 7%; Pirelli (now China owned) 3%. Air France-KLM bought 25% but after staying out of various capital injections for AL, their share is now down to 7%. The other 49% is owned by Abu Dhabi’s state-owned airline, Etihad. Almost 100% of AM is owned by the Malta state.
  Some comments:
-Usually, when an announcement is made about one company buying another, if friendly, all involved are full of praise for everything. New head of AL, Cramer Ball, seemed a bit churlish saying, in effect, ‘we will look at the books and then decide if we will go ahead’. Does this mean that the buying announcement came sooner than expected (was it about to be leaked?), or does AL need to think about the reaction of the European Commission, or something else?
-AM’s statement, via the state’s minister (of ‘tourism’) responsible for AM was similarly downbeat. Both AL and AM have been losing money for a long time, but both say they will make profits in 2017; there are no clear indications that this will happen.
Malta said there would be no job losses at AM. Ok, he didn’t put a time on it (so they could fire people in 2017), but that is one of the major problems at AM – too many staff and too many on easy terms/too-high pay. The same problem, ironically, as at AL. As we once said about AL, if the CEO cannot fire half the staff, and re-motivate those left (or maybe fire 100% and rehire 50%?), then it will be hard to ever make consistent profits. (To make short-term profits in most companies is easy.)
European Commission.
We see no problem with this. However, Italy has run rings around the EC on state bailouts for AL, so the EC may be awkward. There is a precedent of the EC being awkward. It once stopped Ryanair buying Aer Lingus because it said Ireland needs competing airlines. It ignored the fact that in the European Union, there is competition everywhere.
-How can AL help AM? And/or what does AL bring? We are lost. We can see no advantage to AM. Malta’s minister talks of linking into the networks of AL and Etihad. That is good for whom – Malta residents travelling out? Visitors? There are already so many options for travellers at good prices. And particularly as far as Etihad is concerned; it has a vibrant local (Gulf) competitor in Emirates, which is 3-times its size.
-What does AM bring to AL? Not much. AM is not a profitable airline (and its business prospects are threatened-maybe-destroyed by no-frills-airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair, Vueling moving onto AM’s routes, and more). Traffic feed? Surely AM’s home market is too small? Connections? But to where – AM does not have an extensive network, and nothing on Malta’s geographical position as a point on the way to North Africa , although at present this is a moribund area for air traffic development.
-Buying price; we believe AM might be worth US$500mn, so US$250mn for 50%. Coincidentally, that is close to the amount that AL lost in 2015.
-Where would the money coming from? AL and AM are both losing money. Alitalia says it will return to profitability in 2017. Good luck; not only is a target and therefore not a certainty, but it will not be easy in any case.
-Okay, this is where the actual cash will come from* (ie from the gullible ruler of Abu Dhabi, Etihad’s owner). But why does it want AM? Again, we can see no strong positive, although the same could be said about Etihad’s other investments in Europe, in Air Serbia, Darwin (from Switzerland, despite that name) and, before, Aer Lingus.
-Would AM be turned into an Etihad Regional airline? If that is the case , will AM turn into a feeder airline for EU routes with bases outside Malta? That cannot be done with Air Serbia, which is non-EU. It could with Darwin, but Switzerland has proposed some law changes that could end unrestricted flights Switzerland-EU.
*Etihad owns 49% of AL (a share limited to under-50% to ensure that it does not run into problems with the European Commission; 50% and more would mean Alitalia is not a European Union airline). And AL would own 49% of AM. It could take a bigger share , near 100%, and AM would still not lose its EU status.

Shouting some shocks: Virgin, Fly Be, Wizz.
20 May 2016
Virgin on trouble
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
  Figures we have seen on Virgin Atlantic (the airline does not publish them) indicate all is not going well. OK, they are bad.
  For all-year 2015 we have a 3% fall in seat sales to 5.8mn following a particularly-bad December - -14%.
  But this year has started worse. We have Q1 seat sales at -7%. The 1.1mn total that represents compares with 1.2mn sold in 2015, and the peak of 1.3mn in 2014 - which was a 4% growth on 2013.
  We are not saying VA is not long for this world. (That’s an improvement as we said they would collapse within two years after they were established - 30 years ago.)
  But will owners Branson and Delta clash? Branson was able to deal easily with his previous supporter, Singapore Airlines, but Delta may be harder to fool.
Fly Be, or not-to-be?
But if you are looking for doom in the UK, then look at Fly Be. True, its seat sales were +1% in Q1 (ie better than VA’s -7%), but its seat factor was a disastrous 66%. We reckon the airline needs at least 14pts more than that.
  We propose that FB management (that’s Fly Be, not Mr Zuckerberg) campaign strongly for Brexit. If the UK makes the wrong decision and quits the EU, FB can take over some of the many UK-EU routes that Ryanair will likely be forced to abandon.
Wizzing ahead
Ready for another? Wizz - Hungary-based but think East Europe - is on track to overtake (sorry, wiz past) Air Berlin in 2017.
  Poor Air Berlin. It is tumbling faster - -7% YTD, -8% latest month. And that change would follow on from the ignominy of being overtaken this Q1 by Nano-Norway’s Norwegian.

Analysing Alitalia’s 2015 results
6 May 2016
Alitalia’s heading: ‘On track for profitability by 2017; reports strong 2015 performance.’
Ours: ‘Alitalia revenue and traffic fall again; can it make 2017 profits target?’
2015 seemed to be another year of operational weakening at Alitalia. ‘Seemed’ because the company does not publish all the data every year.
  We normally look at seat sales, and when we look at finance, at revenue and operating profit (not net, which can be more easily manipulated). So:
-Alitalia’s peak year for seat sales (including Air One) seems to have been 2007, with 31.5mn.
-The company does not reveal growth in 2015 (and did not report 2014 data) – just the figure. That was 22.1mn, thus a shocking 29.9% fall against 2007 – an average annual 4.3% fall.
-Revenue. We have US$3.99bn (at US$1 to €0.90) for 2012 – no full-year since then. In 2015 US$3.68bn -7.8%, an average annual 2.7% fall.
-Operating profit. No data.
-From our file data, Alitalia’s revenue in 2012 calculates to US$165 per seat sold. In 2015 it was better, US$167, a 1.2% growth, so 0.4% average annual growth.
-Other. It provides other data, but without comparative information, most are essentially worthless. Such as US$262mn from ‘codeshare revenue’. Of course Alitalia indicates that this is good, but with no comparative or other data, how can we know? Its load factor (not further defined, but we have assumed RTK over ATK, not RPK over ASK) looks worryingly low, at 76.2%. We would have thought it needs at least 10-points higher. That said, it is actually an improvement on the latest data we have, for 2006, of 65.7%!

Asean’s Faultlines
29 April 2016
We have nitpicked Asean’s ‘travel management’ over a few years, but now feel that there is a need for a more-thorough critique.
  We have reverted to the base – that the Asean travel secretariat exists to promote visitation into the 10 Asean destinations. In other words, a business function, not a political one.
  We have compiled a 3500-word critique, which is due to be loaded on this website and other internet outlets. We list here the ‘Table of Contents’.
-Asean’s Faultlines
-Asean Tourism Strategic Plan
-Single Destination; ‘Mutual Recognition’
-Human Resources
-Quality Tourism
-Promoting Asean Tourism
-Developing Asean Tourism Product
-Asean Tourism Forum
-What Asean Needs To Do
-Asean’s Special Friends
-Asean plus China Japan Korea
-Asean plus India

Norwegian overtakes Air Berlin, but beware Brexit
23 April 2016
This Q1 Norwegian from nano Norway overtook Air Berlin from giant Germany in terms of seat sales. There’s more....
  AB – which has been proudly saying that it is Germany’s No2 after Lufthansa - is substantially owned, and driven, by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad. So for AB to slip ranking like this is, well, like a slap.
  Then there’s Norwegian, who has managed to find rules that allow it to fly such obscure routes, for a European-based airline, as from the US into France’s Caribbean colonies!
  And from the UK to the US.
  Which is why Norwegian must beware Brexit.
  Norway is not a member of the European Union but pays for access to the EU market through various trade agreements - one of which covers airline services. In effect, Norwegian can act almost entirely in the same way as an EU-owned airline. Which explains how Norwegian can also fly UK-US (Norway is specifically mentioned/included in the EU/US bilateral air agreement).
  But if the UK votes the wrong way and exits the EU, we think Norwegian will be kicked off those UK-US routes. Unless, and what would be cruel irony, a non-EU UK also agrees to pay for access to the EU market (which it will probably need to for economic reasons), and thus lets its airlines continue to operate within the EU.
  (The Europe edition of our monthly Travel Business Analyst newsletter has a report this month on Brexit. It includes reporting the good-and-bad news for UK-based Easyjet and EU-based Ryanair. Not quite what you might think.)

Ryanair overtakes Europe's top-3 groups
14 April 2016
The IAG* group pushed the AFK* group into No3 place this Q1 among FSAs*. The three are now a similar size – LG* sold 800k more seats (+4% to 22.3mn), IAG 3600k +10% 20.4mn, AFK 900k +5% 19.9mn.
  But there is a big shadow over them all, in the shape of a B737. In this Q1, all those giant multi-airline groups were actually smaller than a single airline – Ryanair of course. Ryan has been the largest NFA* in Europe by far for a few years (Easyjet was about the same size until 2001), and the largest airline of all types 10 years later.
  In Q1 2015, Ryan was bigger than IAG, but smaller than AFK and LG. But this Q1, Ryan sold 4900k more seats, growing 27% to 23.4mn!
*Notes: AFK = primarily Air France, Hop, KLM, Transavia. FSA = full-service-airline. IAG = International Consolidated Airlines Group (sic) – primarily Aer Lingus, British, Iberia, Vueling. LG = Lufthansa Group, primarily Austrian, Eurowings, Lufthansa, Swiss. NFA = no-frills-airline.

Ryanair v Southwest
11 April 2016
At Q1 growth rates, Ryanair’s much-faster growth will still not be enough to catch Southwest this year and become the world’s biggest NFA (no-frills-airline). Ryan will be 10mn seats sold short - 109.5mn compared with 119.5mn. But seems likely for around June 2017.

Brexit; what will change for the travel business?
8 April 2016
Flying out of the window. What will happen in the travel business if the referendum on the UK staying in the European Union goes the wrong way, and the UK leaves?
  We make some observations on what that might mean - on access UK-EU/EU-UK for travellers; on Easyjet, Ryanair, other airlines; and others.
  (We add that although there are some laws/rules – such as flights within the EU, flights from EU markets to the US, etc – that does not mean that everything will automatically follow those rules. There is always room for negotiation, and room for horse-trading – “I’ll do this if you do that”. There is also a lot that is not ‘written’ – because no country has ever exited from the EU.)
  (We also note that the UK-leavers assume, almost promise, that they will get a better deal with the EU than they have now. We think they will be wrong, almost entirely, and some of our points are shown below. We also think that the EU will not do the UK any favours – if only because it does not want other countries to decide they would be better outside the EU.)
  (Also, whatever those in the UK think, the UK is a small country/market when compared to a giant EU. National pride is not enough to ensure economic well-being.)
Access to-and-from the UK
We think that for travellers this would be easier, because ironically, the UK-outside-EU will probably have to follow Schengen free-movement rules. We base this on the belief that if the UK wants a trade pact with the EU - which is likely - it will have to accept certain rules in exchange.
  Non-EU Norway and Switzerland (plus Iceland, Liechtenstein) already do this – accept Schengen immigration rules in part-exchange for trade access to the EU.
  (Ironically, the UK-leavers are using unwanted immigration from the EU into the UK as one of their reasons to exit. Unless the post-exit government is ready to lose a big part of the UK’s export market, thus damage the economy, it will have to accept Schengen or a Schengen-fudge.)
  A Schengen-like deal on immigration would likely mean many more visitors for the UK from the world’s biggest (or 2nd-biggest, depending on how you count) outbound market – China. At present, travellers from China need one visa to visit 26 countries in Europe (plus three microstates) and a 2nd visa to visit just the UK. Unsurprisingly, many do not bother with a UK visa, and so the UK loses out. We estimate that with Schengen, the UK’s visitor count from China would double in 15 months, treble in 24 months.
As a UK airline, there is a fair chance it will lose its rights to fly within the EU, or at least some of them, and from EU markets to non-EU. That could mean shut down for its Geneva base, for instance. Switzerland could allow Easyjet to continue operate there (according to EU laws), but the EU might not let EJ – as a non-EU airline – fly into EU airports from Geneva.
  Likewise, those EJ routes such as France-Germany, Italy-Malta, France-Morocco might be stopped.
  If that is bad, the possible outcome for Ryanair could be good for EJ – see next.
As an EU-based airline, Ireland’s Ryanair would seem to be in a strong position. It could even take up many of those routes and bases – such as Geneva – that EJ might be forced to stop.
  However, Ryan has a big operation in the UK, flying to many EU areas from its 16 UK bases. If the EU stops these, Ryan could lose 20% of its traffic overnight – and travellers would lose access to the airline’s low fares. (It has a 16% share in the UK - between the top-3, Ryan, EJ, British.)
  But just as Ryan might be able to take over EJ’s EU routes and hubs, then EJ might be able to take over Ryan’s UK-based routes into the EU – a giant boost for EJ.
Other airlines
-IAG (comprising Aer Lingus, British, Iberia, Vueling) might need to make some adjustments, but with a UK-based airline, British, as well as EU-based Aer Lingus, Iberia, Vueling, it should not have difficulty. For instance, ownership of its Open Skies (an airline, despite that strange name) operation Paris-US could be switched to one of its EU-based airlines.
-Norwegian. Trouble. Even though a non-EU airline, as noted above, it is included in some EU agreements. One is aviation. Norway, as a member of the European Economic Area, participates in many EU agreements, including free movement (although it pays a fee for that free movement!) of labour and goods. The US/EU aviation agreement specifically included Norway. This sometimes has surprising results – for instance, Norwegian flies US to the France’s Caribbean colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
  But almost certainly, the US would take this opportunity to try again to stop Norwegian’s operations from the UK to the US.
We do not think operations such as Eurostar would be affected, although given the attitude of France’s anti-world unions, this is possible. But some less-prominent operations (such as France’s state-owned rail company SNCF’s intra-UK operations) might be threatened.

Europe's top-3 airlines same size?
31 March 2016
Europe’s top-3 FSA* groups are getting closer together – in size, that is. Part of the reason is changed consolidation – such as Transavia into Air France-KLM, Aer Lingus into IAG*, Eurowings into Lufthansa Group.
  In the first two months, AFK sold 12mn seats, IAG 13mn, LG 14mn. Changes? IAG on track to overtake LG in 2017. Possibly this year if LG continues to have pilot problems protesting at expansion of the fast-growing Eurowings – growing +12% compared with Lufthansa’s +3%.
*Full-service-airlines. *International Consolidated Airlines Group (sic) – Aer Lingus, British, Iberia, Vueling.

TinT rides again! Truth-in-Travel: ITB Berlin mis-counts
28 March 2016
Back in November we rewrote the headline the organisers wrote to review their World Travel Market travel exhibition in London. It said “WTM London Again Attracts 50,000 Participants”. We gave data to show our point, and rewrote the headline to “WTM London attendance falls 2%”.
  Sadly, we have had to do the same for ITB Berlin travel exhibition, staged earlier this month. The organisers wrote “Fully-booked exhibition halls, more trade visitors than ever before, and record sales”. Our heading would read “Flat exhibitor count, business, and public attendance, and sizeable fall in media attendance”.
  The biggest positive was for the ITB Convention segment of ITBB. Not only did attendance grow 13% but we calculate that the share of trade visitors also did – from 20% in 2015 to 22% in 2016. This achievement is partially devalued, however, by the fact that ITBC attendance for ITBB attendants is free.
  Our reasons for the headline rewrite:
[] The ITBB exhibitor count fell this year, even if only 1%.
[] We augment ITBB’s financial data (on business conducted at ITBB), even if we never quite believe that total figure (the question to attendees is something similar to “how much business did you conduct at the exhibition?”). Business-conducted-per-trade-visitor was flat (+0.1%), although business-conducted-per-exhibitor grew 5.5% - partly because the exhibitor count fell.
[] Public attendance appears to have reached a ceiling – 60,000 (precisely) has been reported for the past four years.
[] ITBB’s media count has fallen substantially. We do not have annual data, but this year it is 33% below what we have as its peak – 8000 in 2008. Is this related to a general fall in the number of media outlets (and/or their profitability), or a fall in the importance of attending ITBB, or ITBB’s ending of its support for many journalists?
  Our other TinTs:
[] ITBB has always claimed that visitor arrivals increase for ‘partner countries’ after their year. Latest data: Indonesia grew 6.8% in the year it was partner country, +3.3% after. Maldives, which finished its year with the March ITBB, +7.1% in 2014, +2.4% in 2015.
[] When Messe Berlin launched its second attempt at staging an ITB in Asia (in Singapore in 2008; the first, in Hong Kong, was stopped in 1999), an MB senior director told us that China had wanted ITBA to be based in Beijing, not Singapore. But MB chose Singapore because of all advantages - such as no-visa access for most attendees, absence of interference (accepting Taiwan etc), freedom in choosing names on conference badges (yes, China sets rules on this!). we presume MB’s decision to launch ITB China* in Shanghai from 2017 means that it believes the revenue potential is now more important that those other concerns – which are still there.
*In partnership with Travel Daily China, a publisher. ITB’s first venture in Asia was also with a publisher partner.

France’s failing, Japan rising
25 March 2016
France’s failing
If you want proof that France’s visitor business is not doing as well as all those administering the industry think, take the top-5 visitor destinations:
-Since 2000 France has added 9mn visitors, US 27mn, Spain 22mn, China 26mn, Italy 20mn.
-Since 2010, France +7mn, US +18mn, Spain +16mn, China +1mn (sic), Italy +7mn.
  (We’ve based this on WTO data.)
Japan rising
Outbound travel from Japan grew 3% in January. If that does not seem impressive, note that it is only the third month in 25 that it has not fallen. And in those other months it was +0.3% and +1.2% - and so +3.3% feels boomy.
  And then there are arrivals - +52%! But that’s not the fastest in recent times; that was +64%. The lowest monthly growth in the past 25 has been +17%.

China outbound travel shock
11 March 2016
Our estimates indicate that outbound travel from China grew only 5.55% in 2015. That is one of the weakest years since we started tracking China’s outbound market in 1990.
  There was a fractional fall in 1994, and possibly growth of just 3% in 1998. (The uncertainty is caused by a restatement of figures by China’s DMO.) Since 2000, growth has been in double-digits.
  But, like Houston, we have a problem.
  Our tracking includes the quasi-domestic travel into Hong Kong and Macau. Because these numbers are so big (nearing 50mn into HK), a change there can cause sizeable change to the overall totals.
  And there have been sizeable changes. Hong Kong residents have expressed in some ways their unhappiness with visitors from the mainland. And Macau has been hit by China’s now-lengthy campaign against corruption. Even if the gambling money being spent in Macau was not corruptly earned, many travellers and would-be travellers are simply ‘laying-low’ – to reduce the risk of attracting attention.
  As a result, Hong Kong counted 1.4mn fewer visitors from China in 2015 and Macau 0.8mn fewer. That almost equals the additional 2.5mn visitors from China that Japan counted. Overall, then, growth in three of the top-5 destinations-from-China was neutralised. (Of the others, Thailand was +70%, Taiwan +5%.)
  Because of all this, we are now reviewing our policy of including Hong Kong and Macau in our totals – as much of this travel is even ‘less’ than excursion travel. For many it is the same as travelling from one city to another in the same country.

wow – ow – ouch – oh
9 March 2016
China’s airlines – wow
Although it was a Lunar New Year month (compared with non-LNY in 2015), growth in seat sales for China’s big-3 is impressive nevertheless.
  In January on international routes (by size), China Southern was +29%, Air China +43% (!), China Eastern +30%.
  (Numbers: 1.14mn 1.10mn 0.88mn.)
Macau - ow
We follow Macau’s RCT (Rolling Chip Turnover; can be considered as money spent on gambling).
  We have just seen the 2015 results for IKGH, a company operating certain high-rollers rooms in four casinos in Macau.
  Its RCT in 2015 fell an enormous 61%, and it is not getting much better – Q4 RCT was down 57% and Jan-Feb this year -44%. (Dollar amounts are not relevant in this report – but for those interested, the figures were US$6.4bn in 2015, and US$1.2bn in Q4.)
  If those results are an indicator for all-Macau, will Las Vegas take back its title as the world’s biggest gambling centre?
Malaysia Airlines – ouch
I estimate that Malaysia Airlines’ international seat sales fell even further in 2015, possibly to under 10mn. Was it only two years earlier in 2013 that its count soared passed that 10mn with 30% growth?
  Unsurprisingly, traffic fell in 2014 after it lost two aircraft, but it is surprising that monthly traffic is still falling.
  We thought there would be a Dead Cat Bounce for the last three months of 2015. Not only did that not happen, by a long way, but also the fall seems to have been greater – down around 25% in Q4.
  Of course, these falls are not entirely the result of those two 2014 tragedies. There is still hard competition from the Air Asia group (although AA is not doing as well as it was). And Malaysia’s current governmental turmoil and currency fall may be slowing traffic in and out of the country – possibly more business- than leisure-travel.
  Also, we think MA should have changed its name last year (it did, but from its formal abbreviation MAS to MAB; most did not notice). At least to Air Malaysia.
  Those aforementioned political spats may be reducing the pressure on MA to explain and reverse its continued fall. But expect political demands for a return to better times to happen soon – however unrealistic. In the next 4-6 months?
Virgin Australia – oh
It was not supposed to be like this.
  When Virgin Australia launched, it started fortuitously - its big would-be rival, Ansett, shut down the following year, in 2001. It continued to go well until, encouraged by an adoring crowd, it started international flights. Some are still there, but international expansion was not as easy as it seemed to think.
  Then Qantas launched Jetstar in Australia, and VA felt the competition heat more warmly. Worse, Singapore Airlines (which actually got burned badly in the Ansett collapse – but let’s not bring that up again) cheekily started a Tiger Air division in Australia.
  That went sort-of reasonably, until the authorities shut it down temporarily in 2011 for safety reasons. 18 months later Singapore Airlines – which left the impression it did not know what it was doing with Tiger, in Australia and Asia – sold the Australia company to VA.
  VA smugly said it was pleased to get back into the no-frills-airline business. Smug because its original businessplan was for a no-frills-airline (even though that did not fit the overall Virgin strategy). When Ansett collapsed, Virgin steadily ditched the NFA model.
  So here we are with 2015 results – our counts from Virgin data, because it has a different financial year.
  Seat sales down for Virgin international and down for Virgin domestic Australia. Ironically, only Tiger grew, and that because it can be considered a newish airline that had lost its direction, and is now under more-determined direction.
  VA’s total count is down. If this continues, watch for another change in direction soon – from CEO change to change in strategy on domestic, international and Tiger. Will Tiger’s name go?
  (Numbers: domestic -3%, international -2%, Tiger +9%; overall -1%.)

Air Asia - not so good as it says
19 February 2016
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information and analysis.
AAG (the Air Asia Group) has managed to report Q4 and all-2015 operating results for Air Asia X giving only seat factors and percentage change in capacity. In addition, it describes the 83% seat factor for AAX as “healthy”. That level would worry us sick; we believe AAX needs high-80s if not above-90%.
  AAG gives no data for Thai AAX, and traffic for Indonesia AAX is added to the AA total – because it lists IAAX as operating flights for IAA! However, that does not stop AAG from commenting on IAAX, in AAX reports, as though it were separate from IAA.
  Selected counts, seat sales only.
-Total +9.0%.
-Falls for Indonesia division (-16.9%, and -21.6% if IAAX not included) and AAX (-14.6%; for Malaysia division only; no data released for Thailand AAX).
-India good (+324%) because new operation and 4Qs in 2015 compared with 3Qs in 2014.
-Original Malaysia division still doing well - +9.6%.
-Thai also doing well. It is now 61% the size of the Malaysia division. It was 66% in 2010 but then fell to as low as 48% with some bad years for Thailand over 2010-14.

Phocuswright wrong on Spain
15 February 2016
US-based Phocuswright now researches not just online – where it became the world’s best – but all travel. Here, it is running into common problems of mis-interpretation and mis-definitions.
  For instance, it says Spain is “now the third-most visited...destination”, then amplifies that “its total travel market is projected to climb 7% to reach [US$26bn, at US$1 to €0.90] by 2017”.
  Our comments:
-Amplifying “visits” into a destination with a dollar figure makes little sense to travel professionals.
-“Total travel market” sounds like that – the total travel market, which would include outbound and domestic travel, and perhaps indirect revenues as well. But “visits” sounds like just the inbound market.
-We do not have our own data, but based on WTO data, inbound and outbound ‘revenue’ in Spain in 2015 was around US$72bn – almost three-times PCW’s total, excluding domestic travel and indirect revenue. Even inbound alone would be about US$56bn. Should PCW give some guidance when its figure is so different?
-“Now” indicates there has been a change. Yet Spain has been No3 in visitor counts after France (top) and US for the past 20 years.
-‘By 2017’ actually means 2016, this year, but we believe PCW means ‘in 2017’.
-PCW should know that revenue-per-traveller is probably a better measurement – one visitor staying one day and spending US$100 is less valuable that one staying 30 days and spending US$2500. On that measure, for those ‘top-3’ destinations, we calculate that each visitor in France spends US$685, in the US US$2363, in Spain US$1001. Look wider, and there are quirks – Macau, thanks to gambling (a legitimate visitor spend), gets US$3479 per visitor.
  If PCW wants to match its reputation in online research in overall travel research, it needs to learn more, fast.

Singapore Airlines Group - SAGging
10 February 2016
2015 was not a stellar year for the Singapore Airlines Group. Are results bad enough that changes will be made?
  The obvious change is to merge Tiger and Scoot (Toot-toot!?); there is no need for SAG to have two no-frills-airlines. Less obvious is to make Silk a low-cost-airline, in effect a lower-cost clone of the parent airline, which includes operating medium- and long-haul routes.
  Seat sales in 2015 on the parent airline were flat. At Silk they were better; +7%, although we think growth should be better. Scoot is the star performer, with about +21%. But that’s illusory because SAG has taken routes from Tiger to give to Scoot – with the result that Tiger was -4%.

New accounts - Air France, Alitalia, Eurowings, KLM, Lufthansa
9 February 2016
Two big airline groups in Europe have changed the operational data they publish, starting January. Perhaps surprisingly, the result is an improvement for transparency. A third, Alitalia, remains obscure.
Air France and KLM split!
Sorry, we mean split their figures; they are still (an unhappy?) one.
For some time we have complained that the two produced only combined data. Using other data, it appeared that KL was growing faster and that AF was in more trouble that those combined totals indicated.
  Today we have only January figures, and given the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, not too much should be read into the counts. For the record, though, seat sales on AF were -0.6% and those on KL +8.2%.
  Perhaps more interesting is relative size. KL is 57% the size of AF (including Hop, excluding Transavia). The last year for which we have separated data – 2011 – KL was 49% the size of AF.
The Lufthansa group reveals Eurowings.
We are not sure how to interpret Eurowings data. The airline is such a jumble of types (FSA/LCA/NFA [full-service/low-cost/no-frills airline], charter, summer-sun, full-year, etc).
  Perhaps a key figure is its (big) size. In seat sales it is 25% the size of Lufthansa, 90% the size of Swiss, and 50% bigger than Austrian!
  In ASKs and RPKs it is not so impressive comparatively, but its growth is - +35% and +49%. That is because EW is now operating longhaul as well. We doubt profits will show such growth.
Alitalia hides.
Despite being partly state-owned*, Alitalia still publishes no operational data. The latest information on its website is from 2013.
  Its secrecy will be supported by 49%-owner Etihad, and the other 51% owners probably also prefer that weak results are not made public. We expect data will start to be published when traffic starts to grow.
-Actually owned by nominally private interests under the CAI umbrella, but all close to the state.
-See 8 February 2016 for definitions for different types of airlines – FSA, LCA, NFA.

Etihad to take over Air Malta? Joining the debate.
8 February 2016
In June 2014, we gave our advice on what state-owned Air Malta needed to do to survive. With speculation that Etihad┼ is about to buy 49%, our comments are relevant again.
  These are Air Malta’s choices, in no particular order:
1. No change.
  We are reminded of that well-known phrase in The Leopard – “for things to remain the same, things will have to change”. Slightly different for AM in that most things that affect the airline are changing.
  AM is a small airline surrounded by NFAs* in the (real) open-skies of the European Union. In this business environment it is hard for AM to make profits as an FSA*; in fact, it is probably not possible.
  Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline (of all types), in particular, is entering AM’s only space – Malta. Not only will this continue, but Ryan will open more routes to/from Malta, and be joined by at least Easyjet. And possibly also by Vueling, which is becoming more like a Europe-wide NFA, and not just a Spain-based part of the IAG group (Aer Lingus, British, Iberia).
  In the past one option would have been for AM to get government support - subsidies. Broadly, this is no longer possible in the EU, although some airlines – such as Alitalia – seem to get around the rules. But Italy is a big country, Malta is not, and so the EU can more easily force Malta to follow the rules. As it did with Cyprus Airways, now shut down.
2. Transform into an LCA*.
  As the definitions at the end of this report indicate, an LCA can work best (perhaps only) when the airline has an FSA parent. But even if AM can lower its costs, so lower its fares, those fares will still likely be higher than those of NFAs. And travellers – despite what they might say to researchers about wanting ‘comfort’, will buy a no-frills fare to save even $20.
  So, transform into an NFA? See next.
3. NFA. Another route is for Air Malta to become an NFA, such as Ireland’s Aer Lingus. Not the hybrid way – such as Air Berlin, which operates as FSA, NFA, and charter airline - and interestingly is 29% owned by Etihad.
  AL has had the toughest task – the same homebase as the strongest NFA in Europe, Ryanair. In profits, AL has not done well (losing US$106mn in 2014, but now part of the IAG Group). In traffic, AL’s 2014 seat sales grew 2% compared with Ryan’s 6%, and in 2015 about +4% compared with Ryan’s +17%.
  But if AM does try to become a NFA, it will still face competition from at least Ryan on many of its routes (Ryan avoids NFA competition when it can). In which case, AM will lose because Ryan has a more powerful sales machine.
4. Link up with a bigger airline. The disadvantage is that the bigger partner would likely decide many of the operational patterns.
  If that bigger airline is Etihad, we are not sure 1, what is the advantage for AM, and 2, what advantage will Etihad get for its 49%? There is a presumption that Etihad brings operational efficiency-ergo-profits to its new associates. So far, however, this is not the case. Air Berlin is still losing traffic, India’s Jet Airways is up and down, Australia’s Virgin Australia is finding business tough.
  Perhaps the closest to AM to follow is Air Seychelles - also based on a small island group and driven by leisure traffic - and owned 40% by Etihad since 2012. AS has been profitable for three years 2012-4 - US$3.2mn +6.7% in 2014. It sold 412k seats in 2014 and about 20% more in 2015.
  AM cannot feed much traffic into Etihad, because its main market (Malta) is too small. But given the AS example, AM would certainly start a route to Abu Dhabi; AM stopped its own Dubai route in 2001, in September, although the 9/11 attacks in the US were not the reason.
5. Another option is for AM to become something-like a mini-Emirates. Just as Dubai is an inter-regional hub, so then Malta could become an intra-regional hub. This way, it would operate flights Lyon-Cairo, Manchester-Tripoli, Barcelona-Amman, Prague-Marrakech, Madrid-Cyprus. All via Malta on Air Malta. Start slowly and build up.
  We have some track record on this. During a long-ago conversation with the late Maurice Flanagan, founding CEO of Emirates, we suggested that he should make the airline a one-stop-shop between secondary points in Europe into Asia. We have no idea if that was already the plan for his airline, or whether he more-or-less implemented my idea.

Etihad calls itself the airline of the UAE. It is not; it is the airline of Abu Dhabi, one (albeit the richest) emirate in the 7-emirate UAE. In the same way, and despite its name, Emirates is not UAE’s airline, but Dubai’s.

-FSA = full-service-airline. Offering first/business/economy, travel agency bookings, meals/bookings/baggage/cancellations included, etc. As its name indicates – full service.
-LCA = low-cost-airline. (Not a no-frills-airline; see next.) An FSA but with lower operating costs - cheaper longer-hours flight-deck crew, younger/new longer-hours cabin crew, tighter cost control (twinned 3-star hotel rooms, for instance), fewer fare types, which may have first and business cabins, and which allows bookings through travel agencies etc. If relevant, usually similar to the parent airline, but a different name, and competition against parent airline allowed.
-NFA = no-frills-airline. We believe that among the many essential elements that make a successful NFA are: market freedom in terms of routes and aircraft choice; single aircraft type; where relevant, competition against parent airline allowed; fares that are extremely low when booked at least three months in advance, say US$25; one fare at one time (no wholesale rates, travel agency commissions, etc); no refunds; no service frills; single economy-class cabin; no seat selection; two toilets for 150-seat aircraft; 25-minute turnaround time; cabin crew do daytime cabin cleaning; name and flight change charged at least US$25 each; no trade shows; plenty of consumer advertising and promotion; and much more.

ATF-2016 review
25 January 2016
Reports on the 10 destinations of Asean, collected from the ATF-2016 last week in Manila, Philippines.
1. Asean = Association of Southeast Asian Nations, BR = Brunei, BU = Myanmar, CN = China, ID = Indonesia, IN = India, KH = Cambodia, KR = Korea, LA = Laos, MY = Malaysia, PH = Philippines, SG = Singapore, TH = Thailand, VN = Vietnam.
2. Different reports on these are published in the Europe edition of the travel Business Analyst newsletter, the Net Value and People-in-Travel monthly-reports, and on the Foxtrots blog, Trottings blog. The reports here are more product-related.
-Visitor arrivals. The DMO (destination marketing organisation) puts 2015 total at “just over” 10mn, of which 45% were from Asean. This looks incorrect.
-Now said to be visa-free for 15 countries; although some sources give 90 countries. Target is 120 countries this year.
-The DMO says its marketing budget is 3-times higher this year; actual not given.
-Marketing theme to stay as Wonderful Indonesia. The DMO says this was No47 in one travel branding rating; below IN, JP, SG, but above Hong Kong, KR, MY, TH. There are a number of surprises in that unsourced list.
-Revoked a requirement for yachts to get approval to enter the destination. Expects US$500m from 5000 yachts in 2019. No comparative data given.
-Revoked regulation that prevented cruisers from travelling between some different ports in ID. These include ports for Bali, Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya.
-Plans to build airports in 15 cities, improve/extend runways in 27 airports, renovate 13 passenger terminals, build marinas.
-After terrorist attack in January in Jakarta, DMO has listed phased response. But as it asserts there were ‘zero’ cancellations, its statements lack credibility.
-PATA due to hold its travel mart in Jakarta this September. ID’s DMO may try to merge the Travel Indonesia mart into PATA’s mart.
-An Asean tourism strategic plan introduced for 2016-25. We plan to publish our review in our March newsletter next month but the strategy reads like a restatement of what is presumed to have been existing – and not something new.
-By 2025 GDP contribution of Asean’s visitor business “could” grow from 12% to 15%.
-Visitor spend “could” grow from US$877 to US$1500. That would be an AAGR (annual average growth rate) of 6.1% over the nine years.
-Grow length-of-stay from 6.3 nights to 8 – that would be an AAGR of 3.1%, and would thus help that planned growth in spend.
-Politics. There is an Asean+3 (CN, JP, KR) cooperation agreement, but a separate one for IN. It has never been clear why IN is not part of the three. Also the travel part of Asean will not even discuss the possibility of other markets or destinations (such as Hong Kong, Macau, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Timor) joining its association under ‘Asean-plus’.
-Estimates 2015 visitor arrivals at 98.8mn +7.3%. Says intraAsean represented a 42% share. It notes this share unchanged, not apparently realising that this infers failure for its earlier strategy to grow intraAsean’s share. Earlier in the conference, Asean representatives put the share at 46-48%.
-Plans to launch a program, Visit Asean 50, at the ITB Berlin exhibition in March.

ATF-2016 review
22 January 2016
Reports on the 10 destinations of Asean, collected from the ATF-2016 in Manila, Philippines.
1. Asean = Association of Southeast Asian Nations, BR = Brunei, BU = Myanmar, CN = China, ID = Indonesia, IN = India, KH = Cambodia, KR = Korea, LA = Laos, MY = Malaysia, PH = Philippines, SG = Singapore, TH = Thailand, VN = Vietnam.
2. Different reports on these are published in the Europe edition of the travel Business Analyst newsletter, the Net Value and People-in-Travel monthly-reports, and on the Foxtrots blog, Trottings blog. The reports here are more product-related.
-Visitor arrivals. By air: 200,989 all-2014; 105,789 Jan-Jun 2015; growth not given.
-The Asma hotel changed its name to Parkview in 2015.
-Where it cannot grow non-islamic visitors, it has tried to adjust the packages for other markets.
-Building a 30km Temburong bridge, linking Temburong and Brunei-Muarua. Should cut to 20mins, a journey which currently takes 90mins by land or 30mins by boat; should be ready in 2019.
-The 607m first phase of the Sungai Brunei bridge due to open mid-2016.
-Some border times open longer, from 2200 now to 0000, easing links to/from Sarawak.
-‘Asean for Asean’:
  -Introduced A4A to promote intraAsean tourism – although this has actually been a longterm strategy. There is no separate budget for this activity. IntraAsean share of arrivals in the 10 destinations put at 46-48%.
  -Each destination to choose its theme to promote in Asean markets – for instance, ID has chosen health and wellness, SG cruise. Choices seem arbitrary, although it is clearly not easy to promote one theme for nine markets, of which many have great differences.
  -Have already been joint fam trips – ID/MY/SG/TH, TH/VN. And SG is producing a monthly Asean cruise e-newsletter. Some websites also include something on other destinations – on ID PH in the case of MY’s website.
  -There is a stunning lack of clarity in this program. Nominally to promote intra-Asean travel, the authorities also show plans for promotional activity in Europe and the US.
-13% AAGR over 2013-15 in cruise passengers.
-Visas. Most still claim to be visa-free for all Asean nationals, but this is incorrect. MY, for instance, requires visas from BU nationals; it hopes to change this in “about one year”.
-Visitor arrivals. 2015 29.9mn +20%. Counts 10,000 cruise passengers/year, which is small; improved facilities in Phuket should be ready this year.
-2015 visitor revenue US$45bn (at US$1 to B32) +23%. Forecasts US$48.8bn for this year. That would be +8.3%. When we noted that, given the push on luxury, that looked low, the DMO said it could be 10%. This, unfortunately, makes the forecasting look like a game.
-New design for its ‘Amazing Thailand’ logo.
-New video, promoting luxury travel, with a puzzling title – ‘Life is Luck, Make It’. And also ‘Where Life Rules Everything’. In 2015 it was ‘Discover Thainess’, which was more of a cultural emphasis.
-The DMO’s promotion focus from this year will be to make TH a “Quality Leisure Destination” - measured by visitor spend, length of stay. It says it will need to provide a “quality” tourism product, and will do this by “[upgrading its] tourism management efforts systemwide”. We do not see how ‘product’ and ‘management’ can be connected to provide the desired result.
-The government is currently highly politicised, and the DMO matches this, leading it to emphasise that “tourism is good for rural areas and SMEs”, but omitting to say it is also good for cities and big companies.
-As well as luxury, other targets are medical tourism, anti-ageing, female travellers with shopping, spa, etc. As with many DMOs, its ‘focus’ includes nearly everything, and thus are no longer a ‘focus’.
-The DMO wants to boost domestic tourism (by Thais, not the substantial and good-spend foreign residents). Details are vague – “we plan to launch various measures and promotional campaigns through cooperation with related organisations, the private sector, and airlines”. Until this is clarified we cannot judge if the program will achieve its objectives.
-The DMO is also doing more to encourage visitors in Thailand to visit BU LA KH VN. It has started with a 5-day road-tour for TH and KH, including using new cross-border highways.
-This year, TTM (the travel trade exhibition for TH) will be opened for other Asean destinations to promote their products. Also, it will be held outside Bangkok for the first time, in Chiangmai.

ATF-2016 review
21 January 2016
Reports on the 10 destinations of Asean, collected from the ATF-2016 in Manila, Philippines.
1. Asean = Association of Southeast Asian Nations, BR = Brunei, BU = Myanmar, CN = China, ID = Indonesia, IN = India, KH = Cambodia, KR = Korea, LA = Laos, MY = Malaysia, PH = Philippines, SG = Singapore, TH = Thailand, VN = Vietnam.
2. Different reports on these are published in the Europe edition of the travel Business Analyst newsletter, the Net Value and People-in-Travel monthly-reports, and on the Foxtrots blog, Trottings blog. The reports here are more product-related.
-Visitor arrivals. 2015 4.8mn +6%. Now has 100,000 hotel rooms.
-Infrastructure is improving; has liberal aviation policy, visa-on-arrival, and eVisa. All border-crossing points now provide VoA.
-Aviation. Cambodian Airlines plans flights to the US. Phnom Penh airport being expanded to reach 2mn passenger capacity with a 3000m runaway; details and dates not given.
-Promotes key sales points as stability, harmony, lack of social conflicts. That might be challenged, but it shows how far the destination has moved since the Killing Fields of the 1970s.
-June’s Mekong Tourism Forum is due to be staged in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
-Visitor arrivals. 3.43mn Jan-Sep 2015, +13%; estimate 5mn for all-2015, which would be +20%.
-Has visa-on-arrival at 24 borders, even land borders. Also, visa validity extended from 15 days to one month.
-Now concentrating on ecotourism.
-Because of new direct flights Seoul-Vientiane, visitor arrivals from KR grew 93%. But the DMO has also said +39%; period not known.
-Visitor arrivals. Jan-Sep 2015: 19.1mn -7.6%. Top-5 markets were falling – SG -8%, ID -5%, CN -1%, TH -1%, BR -6%.
-Visitor arrivals in 2015 “not very good”, said DMO spokesperson. But this is a result of its longtime politically-charged policy to boost its visitor count above SG’s – by counting land arrivals from SG (SG does not do the same in the opposite direction). No longer is SG’s market is a boost; the fall from SG was 8.9%.
-Visitor spend. US$11.6bn (at US$1 to MR4.41) -1.3%.
-Has 4070 hotels and 262,000 rooms. Hotels due: in Kuala Lumpur St Regis this April, W 2017, Four Seasons 2017, Jumeirah in 2021, and St Regis Langkawi April.
-Has a few Asean-specific programs, such as Go Asean, Asean Tourism Packages, Asean Adventure Travel Booklet.
-Homestay accommodation, introduced in 1995, won WTO’s Ulysses prize for innovation in 2012.
-Theme parks. Nickelodeon opened in 2015 near Kuala Lumpur. Movie Animation Park Studios in Ipoh due this year. 20th Century Fox in Genting Highlands due 2017.
-Sports Tourism. F1 car race switched from April to October, to run two weeks after Singapore’s F1.
-Shopping. Special sales events in Mar, Jul-Aug, Nov-Jan. Spending on shopping grew 9%. New shopping centres include: Mitsui Outlet Park 6km from Kuala Lumpur airport, but no opening date yet; another, but 10km from airport, KL International Outlet, due July; Shore Shopping Gallery in Melaka, now open; Genting Premium Outlet due late-2016.
-Ground transport. 140kph high-speed rail KL-SG; construction due to start 2017 and finish in 2022. This is too far in the future to assume it will not be delayed.
-New flights in 2015. Air China, All Nippon, British Airways (restart), Rayani Air (to Langkawi), all into KL. Air France stopped, and even Emirates reduced.
-The DMO also has a problem with its budget because of the fall in the value of Malaysia’s currency. However, it will maintain its visitor-revenue forecast – even though it is based on the old exchange rate. It also says it is keeping its promotional plan. However, both these things must change given the size of the exchange-rate change (from around MR3.05 in 2014 to US$1, to around MR4.40 now); it is a futile to keep them unchanged.
-Visitor arrivals. 2015 4.68mn +52%; by air 1.31mn +15%. Opening for leisure tourism started in 2011.
-Now 1267 hotels with 49,584 rooms, of which about 5000 are in the capital Naypyidaw.
-Projects based on Tourism Master Plan, launched in 2013, funded by Norway and ADB.
-Program in relation to an application for Bagan’s 2000 pagodas to get on Unesco’s ‘world heritage’ list.
-It has 21 protected destinations for ecotourism. Visitor themes are heritage trails, cave tourism, eco/marine tourism.
-Naypyidaw, presently short of tourist attractions, will be the best destination in BU, says the DMO. It says some attractions will be added – those listed so far are minor, and it will be hard if not impossible for the capital to overtake Bagan, Mandalay, Yangon in the next 20 years.]
-DMO says it wants “value tourism, not mass tourism”. It also says that it has become more aware of the importance of the environment, and so it is looking at how to incorporate that into its plans.
-Now nationals of 100 countries can apply for eVisas. Also, the visa fee has been reduced from about US$40 to about US$25.
-A new government is due to take over this month, so almost certainly there will be some changes to the plans announced.
-Visitor arrivals. 2015 7.94mn visitors; only +0.2%, although AAGR over 10 years is a good 9.3%.
-Visa exemption now for 22 countries. The DMO wants no-visa to expand to other countries, such as CN IN Australia New Zealand.
-This year designated Visit Vietnam Year.
-Although VN already has two travel exhibitions* - one too many – a third has been started. *The privately-operation event in Ho Chi Minh City focuses on inbound tourism; the government-funded Hanoi event focuses on inbound and outbound; and the new event, in Danang in June, on beach tourism, and MICE.
-Vietnam Airlines.
  -In 2015 became privatised, with ANA its strategy partner. This may be a poor choice of partner – because ANA’s own strategy has changed a few times, including that for no-frills-airlines (it was a partner for Air Asia Japan).
  -Still state-influenced it seems, as it has ordered 14 A350s and 19 B787s. A private company is unlikely to buy two competitor aircraft types – with attendant additional costs for pilot training, spare parts, etc.
-The room count in Danang has grown from 8000 to 18,000 over five years. It counted 4.7mn visitors +23% (domestic and international, registered in hotels) in 2015.

ATF-2016 review
20 January 2016
Reports on the 10 destinations of Asean, collected from the ATF-2016 in Manila, Philippines.
1. Asean = Association of Southeast Asian Nations, BR = Brunei, BU = Myanmar, CN = China, ID = Indonesia, IN = India, KH = Cambodia, KR = Korea, LA = Laos, MY = Malaysia, PH = Philippines, SG = Singapore, TH = Thailand, VN = Vietnam.
2. Different reports on these are published in the Europe edition of the travel Business Analyst newsletter, the Net Value and People-in-Travel monthly-reports, and on the Foxtrots blog, Trottings blog. The reports here are more product-related.
-Visitor arrivals. 2015 5.36mn +10.9%. Cruise arrivals 69,802 +16.0% in 2015.
-New markets - looking at IN and Middle East. Looking at designating more outlets as halal-friendly.
-Visitor spend US$5.00bn, a disappointing +3.3%.
-10% of jobs are in the visitor business; we believe this is actually all-travel, not just inbound.
-Bohol. New Hennan and Be resorts opened in 2015. Panglao airport due 2017. Heritage walk.
-Palawan. Improved Puerto Princesa airport due 2018. Cebu airport has been privatised, and there are plans for a new terminal. Cebu Pacific plans Cebu-Los Angeles route, and Emirates Dubai-Cebu.
-Making comprehensive efforts to building and improving roads to destinations, expanding airports. For its four cruise terminals, it is now studying new requirements.
-Continues to work on congestion in Metro Manila, and although there have been improvements, it remains bad. Both the national government and MM provide funding for Manila.
-Visitor arrivals. With just one month to count, SG’s cautious DMO still estimated full-year 2015 total with a wide range - 15.1-15.5mn, which means a 0-3% growth (Jan-Nov was +0.4%). We venture 15.2mn +0.8%.
-Visitor spend estimate for 2015 US$18.5-18.9bn (at US$1 to S$1.27) +0-2%.
-Over next five years, 10,000 more hotel rooms are expected to open. New hotels in 2015: Aqueen Paya Lebar, Genting Jurong, Park Alexandra, South Beach, Vagabond. Due this year: Four Points, Holiday Inn Express Katong, Ibis Styles, Indigo, M Social, Patina.
-Campaigns etc:
  -Singapore Inside Out – on culture. Travelling showcase of contemporary creative talents and their works, to Beijing, London, New York, Singapore.
  -Golden Jubilee. US$15.7mn based on SG’s celebration of 50 years as an independent country*. National pride has resulted in marketers thinking there is a sizeable number of non-Singaporeans that want to celebrate SG’s birthday by visiting it. *Details are complicated but 50-years is not quite historically correct. Singapore became effectively independent in 1959, then part of Malaysia 1963-65, and then fully independent in 1965.
  -Others in 2015 for different markets: Australia (“Get lost and find the real Singapore”); CN (“New discoveries”; 3.8mn views); IN (“Memories that bind”); music campaign for PH (“See where the world is heading”; 1.2mn views); TH (“Experience many worlds in one place”); VN (“New fun is Singapore-Made”); worldwide (“Singapore Invites”; 700,000 website visits, 14,000 entries). No data on views where none shown.
  -A few trade groups have teamed up with the DMO for campaigns. US$27.6mn with Singapore’s airport group, two years. US$15.7mn with Singapore Airlines and the airport group, two years. With Trip Advisor; value and period not given. With the Royal Caribbean cruise company and the airport group; value and period not given, but expected to attract 170,000 visitors over 2015-8 spending US$78.7mn. A to-be-expected ‘partnership’ with the local convention management association and the exhibition and convention bureau.
  -DMO has signed multi-year partnership with some internet groups in CN - Alitrip, Tunio, Dianping, Mafengwo.
  -Two which the DMO lists, but which are more for local than overseas visitors. Hotel Productivity Centre; resource centre for hotels. ‘Keepers’, a ‘pop-up’ store on Orchard Road selling goods from 113 designers and artisans. 220,000 shoppers visited over 16 months. This count looks low and, of course, most were probably residents not visitors.
-New training and development programs for tourist guides.
-Also US$7.87mn ‘Step Up’ fund – to encourage companies to improve or increase their tourism offer for SG.
-TUI Cruises, the cruise division of Germany’s big tour operator, has made SG its cruise base.
  -The F1 car race brings in about US$118mn annually* in visitor revenue from the event. *Bizarrely the DMO excludes 2009 data because the figures were low! As it has not excluded the highest, we have recalculated the annual average to US$100mn, based on the overall visitor fall in 2009. On our data, this indicates around 100,000 visitors annually – which looks good.
  -A world tennis final ran in October.
  -Due this year: HSBC women golf tournament; HSBC rugby sevens.
-Culture: In 2015 it opened the Indian Heritage Centre, the renovated National Museum, the renovated Asian Civilisation Museum (phase two due next month), the renovated National Gallery. Due this year: Chinatown Heritage Centre.
-The Asia version of a surprisingly-popular TV program, MasterChef, is operating from SG.
-Airport. T4 is due to open in 2017 (16mn passenger capacity), and T5 planned for the mid-2020s – for 50mn passengers, almost as much as the current total. In 2015, we calculate the airport counted 55mn +2% passengers.
  -DMO says that 40% of visitors to Christmas Wonderland fair were from overseas.
  -Changi Jewel, big complex (including a hotel) in front of T1 at the airport. Due 2018.
-Mandai – what we call a city jungle, and what the DMO calls a conservation hub, educational and research attraction - expected to be ready in in phases from 2020.
-Plans for a Jurong Lake development, a new Central Business District, towards the southwest of the island. This obviously is more of interest to local residents but also business visitors.
  -DMO says SG is trying to do something about the haze – which must be damaging the visitor potential, ironically including from the market that is causing the problem, ID.
  -Strangely, SG has not copied many cities, including many in Asia, to encourage the use of bicycles. As a largely flat territory, this could be good for tourists. The DMO shows little interest in doing anything.

ATF 2016 in Manila
19 January 2016
ATF 2016 in Manila
The ATF Travex travel-exhibition-part of ATF 2016 is due to open tomorrow.
Registered are 2620 delegates – including 1000 exhibitors , 457 buyers , 175 media; 500 of buyers and media are paid-for by revenue from the exhibitors and some suppliers in Manila. The Philippines has 175 exhibitors.
  The 3-day Travex, due to end on January 22, has scheduled 70 official sessions. There are also 10 post-event tours (usually, ATFs have fewer than three) over 23-26th. Cost is US$150.
  The destination, which had a Visit Philippines Year for 2015, is repeating that this year with what it calls VPA (Visit the Philippines Again). It says VPY was a “huge success”; we estimate visitor growth in 2015 was 12%.

PAGPFT; France’s Cote D’Azur.
28 December 2015
PAGPFT (pronounced PAG-puffed); People Are Getting Paid For This.
  All the important people from the inbound travel business in France’s Cote D’Azur, and Air France-KLM, have just finished their get-together to relaunch promotion for the region. They told us they are focusing on four longhaul outbound markets: in alphabetical order, Brazil, China, Russia, US.
  Those clever people said they got the market data from their 2013/4 report on the inbound business into the region. We think that report shows figures for 2012.
  Is it really that hard to think that maybe business trends have changed since then? We don’t have all the data, but we think Brazil total outbound grew 13% in 2013, falling to +2% in 2014, but perhaps -28% this year. And Russia grew 25% in 2013, but then fell 6% in 2014, and as much as -30% this year. Singapore might now be a bigger market than Brazil!

Shouting for Ryanair, Travel outlook 2016
10 December 2015
Shouting for Ryanair
Surprisingly, Ryanair is not shouting out about its new achievement. The no-frills-airline’s seat sales grew 21% in November. Nothing greatly unusual in that – except that its growth-spurt started a year earlier. So that 21% is on top of its 22% growth in November 2014!
  That means it has grown almost 50% (actually 48%) over the past two years. Even more impressive is that this is from an airline that is already Europe’s largest.
  It is still smaller though than Southwest, the leading NFA in the US. All-2015 will be about 101mn seat sales for Ryanair, 118mn Southwest.
Travel outlook 2016
There has started to be more than a few negative tugs: economic slowdowns or worse (Brazil, China, Russia); islamic terrorism (Europe, Middle East, Africa); functional disarray in the Middle East (Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey); overwhelming immigration (into Europe); political dysfunction (fiercely partisan politics in the US, plus Carson, Trump).
  Some strong positive turns are needed: return of China to strong economic growth; India's promised boom to actually happen; Russia to reduce perceived belligerence; Brazil to overcome its economic (and now political also) negatives; US politics to become (relatively) sane again; at least one country in the Middle East to start clearly on the road to tolerance; into-Europe immigration numbers to become manageable (10s of 1000s instead of millions?).

Euromonitor Puerilities
7 December 2015
A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information and analysis on the data shown here.
Research company Euromonitor (EM) has listed what it calls “top emerging travel trends” (a misnomer) in the WTM Global Trends Report. We have criticised some EM reports and statements before, including its now-14-years of work for the GTR. But this latest list of blathers we find an insult to travel industry professionals in that most have little or no meaning:
  EM’s TETTs are:
The new American dream: work less, play hard.
“A growing number of American companies offer unlimited vacation time to create a happier, loyal and motivated staff, which will have an effect on travel bookings.”
We know of no company (in the US or anywhere) that pays staff and allows them not to do any work. But we do accept that such employees would likely spend some of their money and great amount of free time on travel.
Smart technology drives travel to UK’s secondary cities.
“Digitalisation and hi-tech solutions are redefining the tourist offerings of UK urban centres to boost travel outside of London, currently the jewel in the crown of UK tourism.”
Smart technology is also driving travel to London, and everywhere. But what, we wonder, does ‘digitalisation and hi-tech’ do, in this case, for such travel that it does not do for others?
‘Hipster Holidays’ revolutionise European city break.
“Young and hip travellers’ interest in alternative city areas opens new business opportunities and helps diversifying urban attractions in European cities struggling with excessive tourism.”
We tried to understand this, but failed. And we wonder which cities are struggling, and what, indeed, is ‘excessive tourism’.
Travel 3.0: the advent of smart travel.
“Smart technology is transforming the tourism industry with personalised services to create enjoyable experiences suited to a traveller’s individual preferences.”
Well, yes, but is this an ‘emerging trend’? We would think personalisation has been around for at least five if not 10 years. And in some cases, much longer; such as Thomas Cooks’ trips from the UK to the French Riviera in the 1850s.
Iran: the next travel hotspot.
“The recent sanction lift sparked a scramble to open Iran to international visitors, attracted by its ancient Persian history, 17 World Heritage Sites, as well as natural attractions.”
Well, visitor growth was 4% in 2014, but that was before an agreement on sanctions (and, EM, should know, they have not been lifted, but some may be lifted.) On a 5mn total, small numerical increases could produce big percentage growth – but all this hardly deserves such puerile descriptions as ‘hotspot’ and ‘scramble’. We would be surprised if the 2015 total reaches as much as 6mn.
We also wonder if EM wants us to note that there is a difference for potential travellers between Iran’s ‘ancient Persian history’ and its ‘Persian history’. We are not qualified to make any comment on any difference.
Technology start-ups changing the face of Africa.
“With technology start-ups flourishing across the continent, Africa is entering a new era of innovation, which will help change the perception to international tourists.”
Although this ‘changing the face’ is a super-exaggeration, does the creation of start-ups – anywhere - motivate travellers?
Luxury hotels keeping in with the crowd.
“Luxury hotels are turning to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to get their properties financed, rather than relying on traditional sources of investment.”
Please EM, put this into perspective. Under-1% of funding of the under-5% of hotels in the luxury category?
The sharing economy heads to China.
“After a shaky start, the sharing economy is taking off in China, with the rise of new local players in 2014, a trend boosted by the number of Chinese millennials.”
Finally, something we can agree with! But hardly news. And, of course, the sharing economy is taking off in most places, with or without the help from millennials.
Travel for the Indian unbanked.
“Travel firms are adopting ‘cash-on-delivery’ payments to cater to the half a billion Indians without a bank account.”
Yes again, but this is not a new phenomenon.




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Current Issues...

Main contents in current issues of our newsletters and reports:

Travel Business Analyst, Asia Pacific: AsPac travel stocks review. Travel stocks in Europe, US, and travel-tech. Asean’s unhappy birthday? Plus: Market Monitor; World Travel Industry Index; ZERO; Market Headlines; Market Outlook; and 20 regular tables of market data.

Travel Business Analyst, Europe: Europe travel stocks review. Travel stocks in AsPac, US, and travel-tech. France hotels in 2016. Plus: Market Monitor; World Travel Industry Index; ZERO; Extracts from Net Value or People-in-Travel; Market Headlines; and 16 regular tables of market data.

Net Value: Travel-tech stocks; Phocuswright reports; US agency online transactions; ‘Things’; others.

People-in-Travel: Natarajan Chandrasekaran; Jane Jie Sun; David Berg; others.


ZERO (occasional): US airport grants; Solar Impulse Foundation; bio fuel incentives.

Foxtrots/Trottings (recent): Brussels’ recovery; Top-3 airlines in 4 categories; Singapore Airlines Group heads.


Market Data