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Airline cuts
27 March 2020
[] From BTN/OAG*:
-In w/b 16th (dates are not reported precisely), airlines cut 21mn seats, 23% of capacity.
-In Europe, Ryanair cut -83.9%, SAS -82.6%, Iberia -75.4%, Pegasus -73.2%, Lufthansa -68.9%. Airlines as listed in BTN report.
-Over the past 10 weeks, airlines have cut 37mn seats, 35% of capacity.
-OAG forecasts Delta will cut 60,000 jobs, United 40,000.
-Bank of America forecasts 2020 revenues for US airlines will fall -36%.
-China added 217,000 domestic seats last week.
*Notes:
-Data from BTN (Business Travel News), sourcing OAG.
-UK-based OAG (formerly/formally Axio Aviation Holdings; nee Official Airlines Guide) provides comprehensive data on airline flights from 900 airlines and 4000 airports. Its flight-status database provides 35mn flight status updates daily, and processes 1.4mn requests. It is owned by UK-based Vitruvian Partners, a private-equity firm.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
[] From IATA*.
Forecasts this week for airlines in Europe in 2020:
-Revenue -US$76bn, RPKs -46%, jobs at risk (JAR) -5.6mn, -US$378bn loss to GDP. 
-Selected markets:
  -France seat sales -65mn, revenue -US$12bn, JAR -318k, -US$28.5bn loss to country GDP.
  -Germany -84.4mn -US$15bn -400k -US$28bn.
  -Italy -67.7mn -US$9.5bn -256k -US$67.4bn.
  -Spain -93.7mn -US$13bn -750k -US$49.4bn.
  -UK -113.5mn -US$21.7bn 402k -US$32.7bn.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Job forecasts
26 March 2020
WTTC* forecasts:
-75mn travel-business jobs at risk (JAR), +50% growth in two weeks.
-1mn jobs being lost every day.
-Travel-business GDP* (TB-GDP) of -US$2.1tn this year.
-Asia Pacific 49mn JAR, TB-GDP -US$800bn. Europe 10mn -US$552bn. North America 7mn -US$570bn.
-Germany forecast to be most affected in Europe, with 1.6mn JAR, then Russia 1.1mn, Italy 1mn, UK 1mn.
*Notes:
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-When rounded, rounded by WTTC.

Travel business updates
25 March 2020
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on France hotels:
-Highest occupancy 65.3% on 26 February, above 30% through 12 March, then lowest 3.3% on 17 March.
-Paris peak 84% on 17 January, remaining above 50% through 3 March. Downward movement started 1 March, then fell -97.2% to 1.8% on 17 March.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
[] Macau visitor arrivals in February were 156,394 (sic) -95.6%. From China 72,307 -97.2%, from neighbouring Hong Kong 62,489 -90.5%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports On US hotels:
-17-23 March occupancy -56.4% to 30.3%, average room rate -30.2% to US$93.41.
-In February: occupancy +0.2% to 62.2%, average room rate +1.4% to US$130.78.

TBA Tracking: Spending on foreign travel; Air passenger counts
24 March 2020
[] Spending on foreign travel by residents in Europe, latest
A brief ‘main-points’ report on latest foreign-travel-spend counts*, growth only, usually for larger markets. Latest available YTDs (generally January to September-November), but may be different between markets:
-France +11%, Germany +2%, Italy +7%, Netherlands +6%, Russia +3%, Spain +10%, Switzerland -0.3%, Turkey -12%, UK +1%.
*Data from various sources, mainly WTO, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.
[] Air passenger counts in France, Germany, UK
A brief ‘main-points’ review of all-2019 air passenger counts* to/from France, Germany, UK over selected country-pairs in Europe, UAE, US. Growth only:
-To/from France (Paris only): Germany +2%, Italy +3%, Spain +2%, UK +7%. UAE +5%, US +7%. All +1%.
-To/from Germany: France +3%, Italy +6%, Spain -2%, UK -4%. UAE -5%, US +5%. All +2%.
-To/from UK: France +1%, Germany -4%, Ireland +2%, Italy +2%, Spain +2%. UAE -0.4%, US +3%. All +3%.
*Data from Aeroports de Paris, Statistisches Bundesamt, Civil Aviation Authority, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.

Our Air Asia 2019 counts
23 March 2020
The Air Asia group (AAG) sold 92.1mn +12.5% seats in 2019.
  These are our counts on AAG-released data. AAG does not provide all this data (for instance, releasing growth percentage only, not totals, on some measures), and does not add all AAG airlines. Air Asia X, for instance, is counted separately. Our total includes all.)
  Other findings:
-That growth compares with +15.9% in 2018, +13.0% 2017.
-The primary Malaysia division (excluding AAX) still accounts for a large share - 38% 2019, 39% 2018, 41% 2017.
-Of the two newest divisions, India seat sales were just short of 10mn +35.6%, and Japan just short of 500k +85.3%.
-Japan’s seat factor too low, at 79%; should be closer to 85%.
-AAX seat factor seriously low, at 81%. We believe it should be in the high-80s.
-The Thailand division, once a star performer seemingly on track to catch Malaysia, now slipping. Growth only +2.7% in 2019. Share 24%, 26% in 2018, 28% 2017.
-Indonesia, after some bad years earlier in the decade, grew +37.9%. But its total, 8.0mn, is not much better than the 7.9mn it counted in 2013.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Flight to France
20 March 2020
Algofly reports for France:
-Starting w/b 9 March, air ticket sales fell -40%.
-W/b 16 March, sales fell -92%.
-W/b 23 March forecasts sales will fall -98%.
-Since 16 March, 67% of sales were one-way into France; the usual share is 9%.
-85% of air ticket sales were reserved for within five days of the booking.
-Regional shares of those tickets: North America 37%, South America 25%, Africa 19%. Others not given.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Travel business updates
19 March 2020
[] ARC (the Airlines Reporting Corporation, handling financial settlements between US-based travel agencies and airlines), reports for February (any rounding by ARC): air tickets sold US$7.2bn -12.4%; average US roundtrip ticket US$488 +$2; passenger trips 24.9mn -3.9% (domestic - +1.3%, international -12%); EMD (electronic miscellaneous document) sales US$7.9mn  +24%; EMD transactions 136mn +38.6%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on Middle East hotels in February: occupancy -3.0% to 69.8%, average room rate -10.3% to US$133.40.

Hotel business updates
18 March 2020
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports:
-On Dubai hotels in February: occupancy -9.4% to 77.1%, average room rate -14.4% to US$154.67 (Dh567.63); 1-8 March -28.2% to 60.6%, -20.4% to US$135.73 (Dh498.13).
-On Melbourne hotels in February: occupancy -10.9% to 79.0%, average room rate -4.5% to US$107.34 (A$187.85); 1-8 March -12.3% to 75.2%, -8.7% to US$102.31 (A$179.05).
-On US hotels 8-14 March: occupancy -24.4% to 53.0%, average room rate -10.7% to US$120.30.

TBA Tracking: Indices, Travel Stocks
17 March 2020
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in February for US hotel companies was 4296 -11.7% (over previous month). YTD, their stock index was -18.5%.
  Travel Business Analysis indices for the same month, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst:
-The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Hotel Stocks Index’ was at 176.
-The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Airline Stocks Index’ was at 170.
-‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ was World 176, Asia Pacific 54, Europe 172, US 302.
-The worldwide ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) was at 137.
-The ‘China Travel Stock Index’ of China stock prices (from China companies quoted in Hong Kong and New York, as well as Shanghai) was at 91.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at March 2000. The TBA Hotel and Airline stocks indices are based on 100 at December 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014, the ‘China Travel Stock Index’ 100 at December 2018. Or when first listed if later.

Travel business updates
16 March 2020
[] Research & Markets* (RM), a company, forecasts that India’s hotel market will be US$16.8bn ‘by’ 2025.
  We calculate that would be +17.5% AAGR (annual average growth rate) if 2019-24, or +14.4% if 2019-25. (RM reports an AAGR of ‘nearly 15%’.)
  RM does not define ‘hotel market’; we presume it is hotel revenue.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on Italy hotels occupancy February following the Covid coronavirus attack (any rounding by STR):
-Milan peak 93% on the 19th. Falls started 22nd, to 8.5% March 1.
-Rome 21% March 1.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels 1-7 March: occupancy -7.3% to 61.8%, average room rate -4.6% to US$126.01.
[] Malta-based Vistajet, a business airline charter company reports for 2019*:
-Flights growth +16%.
-Program members growth +24%. US +24%, Asia +6%.
-Middle East program members growth +26%, flight hours +24%, seats sold +35%. UAE +21%, Saudi Arabia +41%.
-Europe flight hours growth +11%, program members growth +23%.
-H1 flights growth +12%.
-Q3 busiest Q; 28% share.
-UK flights share 24%.
*Notes: VJ’s report includes irregular datasets, making analysis near impossible. In addition, percentage changes are given without the principal number.

Airline results in January
13 March 2020
IATA (International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade body) reports for January. Major travel restrictions in China as a results of the Covid coronavirus did not begin until January 23, so did not greatly affect that month’s results.
  Some details:
-RPKs +2.4%, ASKs +1.7%, load factor 80.3% +0.6 pt.
-RPKs by region - Asia +0.4%, Europe +1.6%, Middle East +5.9%, North America +5.7%.
-International RPKs +2.5% - Asia Pacific +2.5%, Europe +1.6%, Middle East +5.4%, North America +2.9%. 
-Domestic RPKs +2.3% - Australia +0.1%, Brazil +2.1%, China -6.8%, India +2.5%, Japan +3.8%, Russia +3.9%, US +7.5%.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

US travel ban
12 March 2020
OAG* reports that the air travel ban into the US from EU-member countries* will mean:
-2mn fewer airline Seats, -6747 flights over the next four weeks.
-10.9% of all US international flights and 16.9% of scheduled US international seats will be affected.
-Delta and United together account for 31% of the affected flights. Lufthansa is the most affected European airline; it has a 13% share.
-Most-affected European countries are Germany, France, Netherlands, with 57% share of flights between the EU’s Schengen* area and the US.
-In April, currently-scheduled one-way flights Europe-US total 13,169. Most (including the UK, not included in the US ban), UK 4121 flights, Germany 1741, France 1570, Netherlands 1212, Spain 851.
*Notes:
-UK-based OAG (formerly/formally Axio Aviation Holdings; nee Official Airlines Guide) provides comprehensive data on airline flights from 900 airlines and 4000 airports. Its flight-status database provides 35mn flight status updates daily, and processes 1.4mn requests. It is owned by UK-based Vitruvian Partners, a private-equity firm.
-EU (European Union) comprises 27 countries since the UK left end-2019.
-Although there are some unknown details of the ban, it is directed at country members of the Schengen agreement. There are no passport controls in the 26 European countries (not all EU) that are part of Schengen, including some that pay for special links with the EU, such as Norway and Switzerland.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Travel business updates
11 March 2020
[] PCW (Phocuswright, a travel research company specialising in online data) reports that Expedia and Booking spent a combined US$11bn on ‘marketing’ in 2019. We calculate that would have been +3.8% growth - which looks low for this segment of the travel business.
[] Technavio*, the research company, forecasts that India’s ‘travel services market’ will grow by US$56bn (quoted in US$) over 2020-24, which it says is a +19% annual average growth rate. Other data:
-Forecasts 2020 growth +18.1%.
-82% of growth from online segment.
*Notes:
-We do not know Technavio’s definition of ‘travel services market’.
-Data as shown; nothing to put these growth figures into context.
-At press time, Technavio had not answered our request for clarifications.

Bookings into Europe fall
10 March 2020
Forward Keys* reports on flight bookings to Europe from intercontinental source markets:
-From January 20 to February 22, bookings fell -23.7%.
-In the last week of February, bookings to Europe fell -81.6%.
-Bookings to Italy in the last week of February fell -138.7% (exceeding new bookings).
-Bookings from Asia Pacific fell -114.2% (exceeding new bookings), from the Americas -68.1%, Africa/Middle East -49.9%.
-From least to worst affected - bookings from North Africa fell -30.4%, Sub Saharan Africa -33.3%, Central America -63.6%, North America -63.7%, Middle East -66.1%, Caribbean -66.5%, Oceania -81.5%, South Asia -85.9%, South America -87.1%, Southeast Asia -133.2%, Northeast Asia -133.5%.
-Intercontinental visits to Europe were +1.3% from January 1-28, then -17.6% January 29 to February 23, then -25.9% February 24-29. At that time, YTD was -10.5%.
*Notes:
-Forward Keys, a research company, tracks travel on the basis of air bookings. It analyses 17mn flight booking transactions daily from major global reservation systems.
-Report commissioned by ECM (European Cities Marketing).
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Travel business updates
9 March 2020
[] Global Data*, a data and analytics company, reports that Turkey targets 75mn visitors in 2023 spending US$65bn. No growths given.
*Notes: We have found in other reports that Global Data sometimes misreads/misinterprets/misreports core travel data – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary. At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.
[] PCW (Phocuswright, a travel research company specialising in online data) reports on online travel* (most are our Net Value estimates on PCW data):
-US OTAs (online travel agencies) bookings were US$78bn +7% in 2019.
-20% of US travel is now booked through OTAs.
-For Air the online share in 2019 was 80%, Hotel 48%, Cruise 52%, Car rental 65%.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels 23-29 February: occupancy -1.7% to 64.1%, average room rate +1.6% to US$129.67.

IATA on the Covid coronavirus
6 March 2020
IATA (International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade body) reports:
-2020 drop in passenger revenue US$63-113bn. That’s $63bn if Covid is contained in current markets with over 100 cases by 2 March; $113bn if a broader spread of Covid.
-Earlier analysis (on 20 February) put lost revenues at US$29.3bn - which assumed Covid would be largely confined to markets associated with China.
-Airline share prices have fallen 25% since the outbreak began, 21pts more than the fall at a similar point in the SARS coronavirus in 2003.
  Our data is for a different period. Our data shows February airline share prices fell -12% for airlines in Asia Pacific (excluding China), -27% Europe, -23% US. Conversely, all categories of travel stocks (including airlines) in China grew - by +10%, and for all China-based travel stocks (wherever quoted) +5%.
-Forecast market falls, annual: Italy -24%, China -23%, Iran -16%, Korea -14%, Japan -12%, France -10%, Germany -10%, Singapore -10%.
-Forecast market falls, annual: Asia (excluding China, Japan, Korea, Singapore) -11%, Europe (excluding France, Germany, Italy) -7%, Middle East (excluding Iran) -7%.
-Of missed US$63bn revenue, China would account for US$22bn. Markets associated with Asia (including China) would account for US$47bn. We do not know why the totals add up, but we believe perfect precision is not necessary in this case.
-Extensive Spread - markets that at 2 March had at least 10 confirmed Covid cases. The US$113bn missed revenue would be on a financial scale equivalent to losses in the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
-Forecast market impact if extensive spread of Covid:
   -Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam: seat sales -23%; passenger revenues -US$49.7bn.
   -Rest of Asia Pacific: -9% -$7.6bn.
   -Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, UK: -24% -$37.3bn.
   -Rest of Europe: -9% -$6.6bn.
   -Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, UAE: -23% -$4.9bn.
   -Rest of Middle East: -9% -$2.3bn.
   -Canada, US: -10% -$21.1bn.
-Positive. Oil prices have fallen -US$13/barrel since start-2020. This could cut US$28bn from the airlines’ fuel bill this year.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.


France-UK fares
5 March 2020
Algofly (AF*) forecasts higher prices on France-UK* air prices. Some details:
-Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, to 2018 (presumed end-2018; not specified), air fares grew (see below).
-Forecasts seat sales +10% this year. However, other index data from AF shows that may be a rounding for public presentation; based on 100 in 2016 - LON-PAR 105 2017, 112 2018, 98 2019, 105 2020; PAR-LON 93 86 84 94.
-Reports (neither confirming nor contradicting data above) -15% fewer seats sold 2016-18 over PAR-LON, but AF customers, not all travellers. Our database (on all travellers) shows over PAR-LON shows different development - +2.6% in 2019, -2.3% 2018, +2.7% 2017, +9.6% 2016.
-Forecasts fare growth +7-20% this year. Again, AF’s forecasting is inexcusably weak. Is this growth in fares, or growth in what its customers, or all customers, will pay?
  Its support documentation shows: LON-PAR airfare at US$106.82 (at US$1 to €0.90) in 2019, and PAR-LON US$127.02. For this year AF forecasts (AF rounded) US$114-129 and US$136-152. We calculate that would mean growth of +7.1-20.7% and +6.7-19.8%.
*Notes:
-France-based AF compares air fare prices - usually those of its customers, not all travellers.
-Data provided by AF is over only PAR-LON routes.
-At press time, AF had not answered our request for clarifications.

TBA Tracking: February travel stocks; don’t look for logic
4 March 2020
Commentary (numbers below):
-Phew! As expected, a bad bad month. But don’t look for logic in the results.
-Perhaps many of the moves in China you thought were unlikely, at least, happened in February. Samples: all China travel stocks grew; Hainan Airlines, in deep financial trouble, was almost the fastest-growing in China, +19%; Shanghai was the only stockmarket to grow; fastest-growing airline stock worldwide was Cathay, whose home-base Hong Kong is mired in often-violent demonstrations, as well as the Covid virus.
-Airbus fell -19%, but more-troubled Boeing -9%.
-Royal Caribbean was worst among our ‘other’ travel stocks, but the world’s biggest cruiseline, Carnival, was there as well, -26%. We believe the (Princess) cruise ship quarantined in Japan with hundreds of Covid cases and a few deaths, became an ‘avoid cruises’ call.
-The best-performer among those ‘other’ stocks actually fell -2% (Avis).
-Mirroring that, the worst-performing China stock grew +2% (China Eastern).
-China-quotes. Growth, for all 11 stocks we track. Although that might be the opposite of what would be expected, China’s big fall came in January, when Covid contamination was highest. Now that contamination counts in China are falling, investors are (relatively) encouraged.
  Note, however, that 9-of-11 of our China travel stocks are still below their end-2019 prices. Above are HNA (ironic in that this is a failing company, but perhaps that means Covid is less important to its financial well-being) and Jinjiang (which also owns the Louvre and Radisson hotel groups). Note (there are often ‘Notes’ needed for China) that Jinjiang grew +24% in Shanghai, but only +3% in Hong Kong; who can guess at the reasons, although the Shanghai stockmarket grew +9% compared with Hong Kong’s -0.1%.
-The worst stockmarket index was Travel Weekly’s in the US. As this is the only index that is pure travel business companies, that is not a good sign.
-Not shown in our best/worst list above is how bad most results were.
  -Average fall, airlines: -12% AsPac, -27% Europe, -23% US.
  -Average fall, hotels: -2% AsPac, -9% Europe, -11% US.
  -Average fall, tech: -14%.
  -Average fall, others: -5% AsPac, -19% Europe, -15% US.
  -Average growth, China: +10%.
  -Average growth, Chinese: +5%.
  -Average fall, stockmarkets: -5%.
  Travel stock prices (Asia Pacific, Europe, US) in February. Airlines: biggest growth, Cathay Pacific +3%; biggest fall, Norwegian -41%. Hotels: Jinjiang +3%, Melia -16%. Tech: Travelport, cTrip flat, Trivago -31%. China travel stocks (new): Hainan +19%, China Eastern +2% (sic). Others: Avis -2% (sic), Royal Caribbean -31%.
  Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Wizz +8%; biggest fall, Air Asia -25%. Hotels: NH Hoteles +11%, Jinjiang -18%. Tech: eDreams +4%, Booking -11%. China travel stocks (new): Hainan -13% (sic), Beijing Hotels -25%. Others: Amex +4%, Genting -21%.
  TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 176, Asia Pacific 54, Europe 172, US 302. Index previous month: World 203, Asia Pacific 69, Europe 208, US 333.
  TBA China Travel Stocks Index (new; quotes from China, Hong Kong, US): 91; previous month 88.
  NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 137; previous month 156.
  Stockmarkets. Biggest growth Shanghai +9%; biggest fall New York-Travel Weekly -15%. Previous month: biggest growth Istanbul +4%; biggest fall Shanghai -10%.
  Info from Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst. Our February issue includes annual comparisons, as well as 5-year, 10-year, and millennium comparisons.

Travel business updates
3 March 2020
[] Greece’s DMO reports January air arrivals +8.3%. Bank of Greece all arrivals December +5.4%, YTD +4.1%; spend +6.1%, YTD +12.8%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports:
-On Middle East hotels in January: occupancy +8.1% to 73.3%, average room rate -2.6% to US$148.57.
-On US hotels 16-22 February: occupancy -2.1% to 63.2%, average room rate +0.7% to US$130.55.
[] Despite negative publicity for Myanmar, its main airport, Yangon, handled 6.5mn +7.9% passengers in 2019.

Reports on Philippines and Spain
2 March 2020
Research & Markets (RM), a company, reports on Philippines and Spain.
[] Philippines:
-Forecasts 15mn arrivals spending US$22.5bn ‘by 2026’; we believe this should be ‘in 2026’.
[] Spain:
-Domestic trips 169.5mn in 2019; growth not given.
-Those aged 50-64 the main group, 47.9mn trips. RM describes this category as fastest-growing, but provides no data.

Cote d’Azur in 2019
28 February 2020
CRT* reports 2019 visitor results for France’s Cote d’Azur* (CDA). Much categorisation is different from what CRT reported for 2018; when relevant, we have added information on 2018 from our database.
  Details (any rounding by CRT):
-CRT did not report number of stays (= visitors) in 2019, but reported 11mn in 2018.
-Growth of domestic stays in some categories (see below) compensated for the fall in foreign.
-Hotel stays 4.5mn +2.4% - ‘stable’ Jan-Sep, grew +9% Oct-Dec.
-Hotel nights (not specified if guest- or room-nights) 10mn +1.4%. Occupancy 63% +1pt. CRT also reported 63% +1pt in 2018; its rounding might have caused this apparent discrepancy.
-3-star hotel nights +5% (number not given); occupancy 64% +2pts. 4/5-star hotel nights (number, growth, not given); occupancy, 65% +0.5pt.
-Hotel nights by France nationals +5%, foreigners 'almost unchanged'. (Hoteliers register nationality and residence, but report the less-important nationality count - as does CRT.)
-Accommodation nights in mountain locations were +4% Oct-Dec. Other categories not given.
-Number of foreigners 58% -2pts. We are not clear how this figure (presumably hotel occupancy, but possibly market share), is measured, nor whether it is important marketing information.
-Private accommodation 1.2mn stays; growth not given.
-Holiday resorts 0.6mn -5% stays.
-Of foreign markets, most were ‘stable’ or ‘changed marginally’. Specified: Japan +20%, Russia +9%, Middle East -26%. In 2019, CRT provided no analysis on China - the world’s largest travel market.
-Main foreign markets, reason for order not given: Italy +3%, UK/Ireland (CRT still combines these, even more anachronistic as the UK leaves the European Union and Ireland stays in) -3%, Germany ‘stable’, US +1%.
-Top-5 foreign markets for all types of accommodation, in order - Italy, UK/Ireland, US, Germany, Scandinavia (CRT sometimes wrongly includes Finland in ‘Scandinavia’; specifics not given here).
-Visitor spend (including accommodation, meals, shopping, excursions) down (figure not given). Share of visitors who spend more than US$83 (€75) daily was below 50% (figure not given).
-In 2018, CRT gave hotel rates (via the MKG consultancy), but these were for all France, not CDA. Growth was +3% in 'average price’ (we believe this is ‘average room rate’).
-In 2018, the visitor business was 15% of the region's GDP. Change not given, nor share in 2019.
-90% of visitors were ‘very satisfied’ with their stay in 2019. Those who were not satisfied fell by 50%. Data to put these in context not given.
-Nice airport (which the CRT reports as though it is the only airport for CDA, although there are 10 smaller ones handling commercial flights) counted 14.5mn +4.6% passengers.
-Two markets have priority for CRT promotional activity this year - Russia, US (despite weak direct air links).
*Notes:
-Cote d’Azur (CDA) in France - a ‘brandname’ also known as the South of France, the French Riviera, or sometimes by the names of some of its main cities, Cannes, Monaco/Monte Carlo, Nice, St Tropez. The problem is that - brand identity.
-CRT (Comite Regional de Tourisme Cote d’Azur), the regional visitor office for the Cote d’Azur.
-At press time, CRT had not answered our request for clarifications.
 
Travel business updates
27 February 2020
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on hotel occupancy in Asia Pacific and the Covid coronavirus for the six weeks 6 January to 16 February:
-Macau’s occupancy fall was -97%, the biggest, falling from 96% to 3%.
-Two others, selected by STR - Hong Kong -64% to 25%, Taiwan -59% to 26%.
-Reporting growth - Australia +11% to 73%, Indonesia +4% to 58%. 
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
[] Radisson Hospitality* revenue in 2019 was US$1.11bn (€999.3mn) +4.2%.
*Notes:
-Brussels/Stockholm based. Owned primarily by US-based group of same name (other brands - Country, Park). In turn, US-based Radisson was bought by China’s (now troubled) HNA group in 2016, but on-sold to China’s Jinjiang group in 2018. Still listed on Stockholm stock exchange.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Global Hotel Alliance in 2019
26 February 2020
GHA* has announced 2019 results. Most information is about its loyalty program, Discovery (DLP). Selected business results (most data for 2018 and 2017 is from our database, not necessarily GHA):
-DLP has 16.4mn +18% members. End-2018 13.6mn +21%.
-Property portfolio 570, which we calculate to be +15.6%.
-Same-store room-revenue from DLP members at US$1.7bn, which we calculate was +6.3%.
-Cross-brand roomnights (generated by members enrolled at one GHA company/brand and staying in the property of another GHA member) 700,000 +20%.
-Cross-brand revenue US$125mn. Change not given; we calculate +15.7%, but not same store.
-As in 2017 and 2018, revenue growth came partly from growth in DLP membership - those who reside in North America 7mn (GHA rounded; we calculate +16.7%), Asia 2.9mn (+26.1%), Europe 2.6mn (+18.2%), Australasia 1.4mn (+7.7%).
-In 2019, 4.2% of active DLP members were top-tier and they produced US$420mn room revenue. We calculate that to be a 25% share - substantial if correct.
-Bookings via DLP’s app (launched 2016) grew +49% to a 33% share of online bookings. $s not given for 2019.
-In 2019, website bookings detailsnot given.
-DLP members who booked direct paid a 40% rate premium over the average DLP rate, despite a 10% direct-booking discount.
-For the biggest-performing hotels, DLP produces half roomnights sold and 7.5% in incremental occupancy.
-Highest-growth of cross-brand bookings was into Dubai +23%, Singapore +15%, London +6%.
-Most-booked hotels: Pan Pacific, Singapore; Kempinski Nile, Cairo; Parkroyal Darling Harbour, Sydney; Adlon Kempinski, Berlin; Outrigger Waikiki Beach, Hawaii; Tivoli Mofarrej, Sao Paulo.
-‘Local Experiences’, the name of DLP rewards, grew +35%.
-New groups joining GHA - Campbell Gray, Capella, Divani, Fauchon, Nikki Beach, Sukhothai, Sun.
*Notes:
-GHA is a Dubai-based alliance of small hotel groups. It is not well known publicly, but works well as a back-desk referrer.
-At press time, GHA had not answered our request for clarifications.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK: What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Travel business updates
25 February 2020
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels 9-15 February: occupancy +0.2% to 63.6%, average room rate +0.9% to US$133.55.
[] Global Data*, a data and analytics company, reports that ‘cruise tourism’* contributed $3.5bn* +11% to Australia’s economy in 2018.
*Notes:
-We have found in other reports that Global Data sometimes misreads/misinterprets/misreports core travel data – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary.
-We believe this is spending by visitors arriving in Australia on cruises.
-Not stated if these are A$ or US$. At present US$1 is A$1.45.
-At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.

Cirium and STR on Covid and SARS
24 February 2020
[] Cirium* reports on Covid affect:
-200,000 flights cancelled or removed from schedules to, from and within China.
-January 23 to February 18 99,254 scheduled flights, 89% domestic, cancelled.
-January 23-28, 9807 scheduled flights, 100% domestic, cancelled.
-For the first eight weeks of the year, Cirium reports worldwide capacity fell -0.9%. Weeks 8-10 showed a -10% fall, of which China’s airlines cancelled 60% of their flights.
-Most-affected airlines over January 23 to February 18: Lucky Air, with 51.2% of flights cancelled out of 4857 scheduled; China Southern, 53.8% of 44,274; Xiamen, 56.2% of 14,495.
-Most-affected airports: Wuhan, with 94% of flights cancelled (meaning 3443 flights). Percentage not given for others - Urumqi 4506 flights cancelled; Guiyang 4321; Changsha 4757; Hangzhou 6084.
*Notes: Cirium is a UK-based data and analysis company owned by Relx (sic).
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on the SARS coronavirus in China in 2003:
-Lowest occupancy was May, 18%, with average room rate at US$73.58 (at today’s US$1 to Y7.04).
-August 67% US$78.41.
-Beijing May occupancy 10%, July 52%, August 65%, September 72%. 
-Guangdong (province) July 56%. Other months not given.
-Hong Kong July 60%, August 75%.
-Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai July 60%.

STR on the environment
21 February 2020
A study by STR (nee Smith Travel Research) found*:
-48% of Generation Z and Millennial travellers say an environmentally-friendly holiday was ‘personally important’, although 40% ‘chose a neutral position’.
-35% said they ‘would not want to visit a country that wasn’t making efforts to fight climate change’, 32% indicated that they would not be deterred, 33% were undecided.
-70% believed there is little or no effort to be sustainable among ‘tourism providers’.
*Notes: We believe these findings provide no actionable information.

ICCA and IATA on the Covid coronavirus
20 February 2020
[] ICCA* reports:
-1065 meetings this year in Asia Pacific in its system.
-44 meetings affected by Covid, a 4.1% share.
-34 postponed, five cancelled, five relocated.
-Outside Asia Pacific, two meetings in Europe and one in Africa are postponed.
[] IATA* reports:
-RPKs for Asia Pacific airlines -13% for all-2020. Original forecast was +4.8%, so net impact will be -8.2%.
-Revenue loss -US$27.8bn, of which -US$12.8bn in China’s domestic market.
-Airlines outside Asia Pacific forecast to lose -US$1.5bn, bringing total worldwide revenue loss to -US$29.3bn, -5% lower passenger revenues compared to what IATA forecast end-2019, meaning -4.7% fewer RPKs.
-In December, IATA forecast +4.1% worldwide RPK growth, so this loss would result in a -0.6% worldwide fall for 2020.
-In 2003, the SARS coronavirus caused a -5.1% fall in RPKs of Asia Pacific airlines. 
*Notes:
-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.
-International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade body.

Travel business updates
19 February 2020
[] ARC (the Airlines Reporting Corporation, handling financial settlements between US-based travel agencies and airlines), reports for January (any rounding by ARC): air tickets sold US$8.9bn +2.6%; average US roundtrip ticket US$478 +US$2; passenger trips 28.3mn +2.4% (domestic - +3.6%, international +0.4%.); EMD (electronic miscellaneous document) sales US$8.6mn +24%; EMD transactions 148mn +41.5%.
[] Cathay Pacific Group January seats sold 3.01mn -3.8%.
[] Luxembourg-based Corporacion America Airports, which operates 52 airports mainly in Latin America (in Europe in Armenia and Italy), reports passengers-handled in January at 7.17mn -0.4%.
[] 2019 Paris CDG airport passenger throughput 76.2mn +5.4%, Paris Orly 31.9mn -3.8%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels in January: occupancy +0.8% to 55.1%, average room rate +1.4% to US$126.06.

TBA Tracking: Airports in Asia Pacific
18 February 2020
A brief ‘main-points’ review of latest YTD* airport-passenger throughputs*, growth only, usually for larger airports:
  Main/significant airports: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi +3%, Beijing Capital -1%, Delhi -2%, Hong Kong -4%, Mumbai -6%, Seoul Incheon +4%, Singapore +3%, Sydney +1%, Tokyo Narita +0.0%.
  Selected airports outside Asia Pacific: Dubai -4%, London LHR +1%, New York JFK +3%.
*Notes:
-Generally January through November and December.
-We collect most data directly from airports or relevant aviation authority, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.

Travel business updates
17 February 2020
[] Dubai* Airports reports its Q3* 2019 23.2mn passenger-throughput as a -4.5% fall. It was actually -2.4%. The -4.5% is for YTD - which we count as 64.5mn.
  DA’s calculation for Q1 was correct at -2.2%, and the mistake in Q2 was fractional - -9.2% instead of the actual -9.3%.
*Starting 2019, coinciding with a traffic fall, DA reported data quarterly instead of monthly. Despite this, figures are generally published up to three months after the relevant period.
[] Passenger throughput at Amsterdam airport was 71.7mn +0.9% in 2019. It has 332 +1.5% direct destinations, of which 138 +2.2% were intercontinental.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on hostels in four destinations in Europe in 2019. STR gives different data for different destinations; data as STR reports:
-Amsterdam. ABR (average bed rate) US$39.23 (at US$1 to €0.90), US$12 (STR rounded) above the three other cities. 
-Berlin. Occupancy -0.6%, ABR +4.5%.
-Edinburgh. Occupancy -2%, ABR -2%. (STR rounded.)
-London. Occupancy 83.8% +2.2%.

Hotel business updates
14 February 2020
STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports:
[] On hotel pipelines at January. Hotels (H) and rooms (R) under construction:
-Asia Pacific. H2021, R441,819 +14.1%.
-Europe. H1654, R210,075 +29.4%.
-Middle East. H419, 117,328R -7.7%.
-US. H 1615, R208,807 +6.8%.
[] On US hotels 2-8 February: occupancy -1.4% to 59.0%, average room rate +1.5% to US$128.75.

Travel business updates
13 February 2020
[] IATA (International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade body) reports 2019 RPKs +4.2% (2018 +7.3%), ASKs +3.4%, load factor 82.6%, +0.7 pt. RPKs by region - Asia Pacific +4.8%, Europe +4.2%, Middle East +2.4%, North America +4.1%.
 International RPKs +4.1% (+7.1%) - Asia Pacific +4.5% (+8.5%), Europe +4.4% (+7.5%), Middle East +2.6% (+4.9%), North America +3.9% (+5.0%).
 Domestic RPKs +4.5% (+7.8%) - Australia +0.1%, Brazil + 0.4%, China +7.8%, India +5.1%, Japan +3.9%, Russia +6.7%, US +4.5%.
[] PCW (Phocuswright, a travel research company specialising in online data) reports:
-In Europe's two largest markets – UK, Germany – 2019 online bookings grew at 3x the rate of the overall market.
-In 2019, for the first time, more than half of all travel bookings in Europe, 51%, were made online. Other years, our estimates on PCW data: 2020 52%, 2021 53%, 2022 54%, 2023 55%.
-PCW forecasts Europe will pass the US by 2021 to have the highest online penetration of any region.

Global Data on: Europe-Asean travel; Airlines in China
12 February 2020
Global Data*, a data and analytics company, reports:
[] Europe-Asean* travel:
-2019 2.2mn ‘European’ visitors in Vietnam; growth not given. Reason for selecting Vietnam not given. GD reports these 2.2mn were ‘largely’ from Russia, France, Germany, UK; we believe order is based on arrival-count sizes in 2019 - Russia biggest.
-Our estimates (on GD data) on Vietnam’s visitor counts in 2019: Russia 625k, France 300k, Germany 240k, UK 230k.
-Forecasts +8.0% AAGR (annual average growth rate) for arrivals in Asean from Germany over 2020-23.
*Notes:
-Asean = Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean writes ‘Southeast’, even though that should make the abbreviation ASAN). Asean members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
-'European' not defined. We believe a share (perhaps 10%) of those visitors would be from markets other than Europe.
-At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.
[] Airlines in China:
-561.3mn seats sold by what GD calls ‘Full Service Carriers’ in China in 2018, and 47.3mn by ‘Low Cost Carriers’. We do not know if these are the same categories as what we call FSAs* and NFAs*.
-GD forecasts China’s FSCs will sell 929mn seats by 2023, compared to 872mn in the US. It calculates AAGR (annual average growth rate) at +10.6% over 2018-23.
-It counts 29 airlines China starting international flights at start-2019, compared with 15 in 2016. We believe this is badly defined, and that the airline-count refers to the total international airlines, not those starting international routes.
*Notes:
-Following are our airline-type definitions:
  Airline groups selling at least 75mn seats/year should have these three types of airline.
  -FSA=full-service-airline. Offering first/business/economy, travel agency bookings, meals/bookings/baggage/cancellations included, etc. As its name indicates – full service. May be, or could be, similar to Hybrid, see below.
  -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 example), fewer fare types, may have first and business cabins as well as economy, 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. May be, or could be, similar to Hybrid, see below.
  -NFA=no-frills-airline. We believe that among the many essential elements that make a successful NFA are: shorthaul point-to-point routes; market freedom in terms of fares, routes; single aircraft type; where relevant, competition against parent airline allowed; extremely-low fares when bought at least three months in advance, say US$25; one fare at one time (no wholesale rates, travel agency commissions, etc); no refunds; no (free) service frills; single economy-class cabin; no (free) 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. Developments in technology are making some of these ‘requirements’ less important.
  -Hybrid. Just that; a mix of types. Technically, most FSAs and LCAs are Hybrids, in that they offer a variety of services for a variety of prices. Because of this looser definition, this airline-type is not one of the three types defined above.

Done deals
11 February 2020
Global Data, a data and analytics company, reports on deals* by companies in the travel business. GD has published different data on some measures; when available, we show both.
  Findings:
[] December deals.
-Deals done 109 -6.8% over average of last 12 months.
-Deals done worth US$5.38bn +67.0% over November, and -13.5% over average of last 12 months, which was US$6.23bn. Also reported (AR): US$5.68bn +15.4% -36.7% US$8.98bn.
-North America top, US$2.45bn. AR: US$2.55bn.
-Canada top, US$2.13bn.
-Top in volume US 19 deals, UK seven, Canada three.
-Top-5US$4.65bn, share 81.8%. Comprising: Cineworld Group’s US$2.13bn purchase of Cineplex; Accor’s US$1.32bn purchase of Orbis; Bernard Arnault’s US$874.58mn purchase of AC Milan; Xenia Hotels’ US$190mn asset transaction (acquired company not given); Twenty14 Holdings’ asset transaction with Galliard Homes for US$144.49mn.
[] 2019 deals.
-Deals done worth US$78.94bn +24.5%, and -13.5% over average of last 12 months, which was US$6.23bn.
[] US deals, December.
-Deals done 35 -10.3% over average of last 12 months.
-Deals done worth US$415.18mn; comparison not given.
-Main category M&A - 19 deals, 54.3% share, worth US$321.35mn. Venture Financing 11 US$54.33mn, Private Equity 5 US$39.5mn.
-Top-5US$336.7mn, 81.1% share. Comprising: Xenia Hotels’ US$190mn asset transaction (acquired company not given); US$84mn asset transaction by Stonebridge and Walton Street with Park Hotels; US$39.5mn private equity by AAM 15 Management with Marriott; Yonkers Westchester with Marriott (type and $s not given); US$20mn venture financing by Camber Creek, Geolo, Harbert Growth, Highland Capital, Mark Nunnelly (and others) of Why Hotel.
*Notes:
-Details as reported by GD. Not all follow standard categorisation.
-We do not know GD’s criteria, but some of these are not travel-business deals, or loosely. One example is the luxury group Arnault’s deal for a football club.
-At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.

Travel business updates
7 February 2020
[] Coronavirus effect on hotels in China. STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports for 14-26 January:
-Hotel occupancy fell -75% in China.
-Occupancy was 70% on 14 January, but fell each day after that, to 17% on 26 January.
-Average room rate grew 61% to US$107.10 (Y754) on 26 January.
[] Dubai Business Events, the city-state’s convention bureau, won 301 bids in 2019 for events - forecast to generate 150,095 delegates, 620,000 roomnights.
  DBE forecasts the total is now 1.03mn. Period not given; we would expect some as long as eight years forward. 
  DBE submitted 595 +7% bids in 2019 - which we calculate is a high 50% success rate.
[] IATA (International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade body) reports December RPKs +4.5%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels:
-26 January - 1 February: occupancy +1.7% to 57.6%, average room rate +2.2% to US$127.94.
-19-25 January: occupancy -0.3% to 57.8%, average room rate +0.6% to US$125.07.

TBA Tracking: Indices, Travel Stocks
6 February 2020
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in January for US hotel companies was 4863 +7.7% (over previous month).
  The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Hotel Stocks Index’ for January, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 191.
  The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Airline Stocks Index’ for January, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 202.
  The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for January, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, shows: World 199, Asia Pacific 58, Europe 206, US 333.
  The worldwide ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in January, from the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 156.
  The ‘China Travel Stock Index’ of China stock prices (from China companies quoted in Hong Kong and New York, as well as Shanghai), in January from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 88.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at February 2000. The TBA Hotel and Airline stocks indices are based on 100 at December 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014, the ‘China Travel Stock Index’ 100 at December 2018. Or when first listed if later.

TBA Tracking: Travel Traffic Indices, Asia Pacific, Europe, US, world
5 February 2020
Our ‘TBA Travel Industry Indices’ from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, shows the following monthly traffic growths*.
Asia Pacific
2019: Oct +4.5%E; Sep +4.3%P; Aug +2.9%.
Europe
2019: Oct +1.7%E; Sep +2.4%P; Aug +3.0%.
US
2019: Oct +2.4%E; Sep +2.5%P; Aug +2.7%.
World
2019: Oct +1.1%E; Sep +1.6%P; Aug +1.9%.
*Notes:
-Airline seats sold & RPKs, airport passengers, hotel occupancies, resident departures, travel agency US$ sales, visitor arrivals.
-Percentage change over previous year; E=estimate, P=provisional.

TBA Tracking: January travel stocks; debris everywhere
4 February 2020
Travel stock prices (Asia Pacific, Europe, US) in January. Airlines: biggest growth, Wizz +8%; biggest fall, Air Asia -25%. Hotels: NH Hoteles +11%, Jinjiang -18%. Tech: eDreams +4%, Booking -11%. China travel stocks (new): Hainan -13% (sic), Beijing Hotels -25%. Others: Amex +4%, Genting -21%.
  Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Korean +15%; biggest fall, SAS -24%. Hotels: Wynn +15%, Peninsula -7%. Tech: Trivago +12%, cTrip 0.0%. China travel stocks (new): Jinjiang +19%, Guangzhou Airport +4% (sic). Others: Carnival +13%, Boeing -11%.
  TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 203, Asia Pacific 69, Europe 208, US 333.
  TBA China Travel Stocks Index (new; quotes from China, Hong Kong, US): 88; previous month 105.
  NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 156; previous month 160.
  Stockmarkets. Biggest growth, Istanbul +4%; biggest fall Shanghai -10%. Previous month: biggest growth Istanbul +11%; biggest fall Australia -2%.
Commentary:
-Where to start? Debris everywhere.
-Most hit by the coronavirus, more or less in proportion to the distance from where it started, in China.
-All 24 of the travel stocks we track monthly in Asia Pacific fell! Plus, of course, all 11 of those in China we track.
-Air Asia is usually a favoured company - of the public if not always investors - but its heavy fall is probably primarily related to concerns that back around 2010, the group’s top-2 executives may have taken bribes to buy Airbus aircraft. Both deny this.
-The ‘best-performing’ travel stock in China fell -13%! Ironically, that was the Hainan Airlines stock, which has been running bad for a year now.
-US travel stocks also did badly - 17 of our 28 fell or did not change (an unusually-high four of those). Presumably that was the result of a cocktail of bad news - coronavirus, US trade wars and verbal venom, and nasty US politics (which occasionally hurts the economic sentiment).
-Still-troubled Boeing was -2%, but that is better than many ‘Others’ in the US, although not so good as Airbus, its rival in Europe, +2%.
-In Europe, just behind Wizz was the world’s biggest no-frills-airline, Ryanair, at +7%. This might not mean good thoughts for NFAs (Easy and Air Asia fell, although Southwest was +2%), but for their customer  base. Which is mainly 3rd- and 4th-freedom travellers, and so away from coronavirus (apart, of course, for AA). However, we doubt that many investors are that travel-business-smart.
-India’s zombie airline Jet was -15% - matching the market. Presumably, coronavirus cannot have a great effect on airline that does not fly.
-Travel tech stocks were less damaged - only 3 down, plus 3 up, 2 unchanged.
-Some big names fell big. Thai -18%, TUI -18%, China Southern -17%, Lufthansa -16%, Air-France/KLM -15%, United -15%, Carnival Cruises -14%.
-Most of our 25 stockmarkets fell - only 5 grew, albeit 3 of them less than +1%. Including a fall for mighty New York; our composite count of five US indices was -1%.

  Info from Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst. This month’s editions include annual comparisons, as well as 5-year, 10-year, and millennium comparisons.

Travel business updates
3 February 2020
[] A Technavio report on India includes:
-Travel services market AAGR (annual average growth rate) of 19% over 2020-24, which it puts at US$56bn (quoted in US$; risky given current substantial changes in exchange rates). Technavio does not define 'travel services’; we believe it is spend on travel, but possibly only inbound visitor spend.
-82% of the 'share' from the 'online market'. We read this as 82% of the $56bn.
-2020 growth forecast at 18.1%.
-Visitor growth 'considerable...in recent years'. Our database shows an estimated +3% in 2019, +4% 2018, +15% 2017, +10% 2016, +5% 2015; we believe growth in three of those five years was not ‘considerable’, although that is impossible to define.
-It attributes this to travel for business, leisure, sports. We do not know if this means other sectors - such as MICE, religious, VFR - did not grow.
-'Indian business travel spend' forecast to grow at a +12% AAGR. This may not be domestic spend because Technavio explains that it is a result of more companies 'conducting business visits to India'.
-At press time, Technavio had not answered our request for clarifications.
[] Airline ancillary revenue* estimated to have been US$109.5bn +17.9% in 2019, according to Car Trawler and Idea Works (CTIW). However, as this figure was reported before year-end, we assume it was an estimate.
  CTIW put the total at US$22.6bn in 2010, which we calculate means a +19.2% AAGR (annual average growth rate) since then.
  Major US airlines earned 15.2% of their revenue from ancillaries in 2019 (thus another estimate). They report 14.2% in 2018.
  CTIW add that some growth is from better reporting of frequent flyer programs and co-branded credit cards.
  Total frequent flyer program revenue is given for Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United. We do not know why this group, although they could be the largest. Data only for 2018, when CTIW says it was US$18.3bn +56.4%.
*Notes:
-Ancillary revenue (in the travel business usually used only for airlines although it could be used for other travel sectors) is generated by extra activities and services - for airlines this would be anything in addition to the air fare. Activities for airlines could be commission from hotel bookings, sale of frequent flyer points to partners. A big problem for measurement is that some airlines - usually no-frills-airlines but now often all types of airlines - charge extra for baggage transport and food (= ancillary), and others do not.
-At press time, CTIW had not answered our request for clarifications.

 

 

 

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Hotel markets: Japan, Spain
31 January 2020
Research & Markets* (RM), a company, reports on hotel markets in Japan and Spain:
[] Japan.
-It will be US$26.8bn (quoted in US$) in 2025; growth not given. RM does not explain what this figure is, but RM's comments indicate it is turnover.
  It credits this to a growing inbound visitor market. In fact, the domestic market is 80% of total hotel business; RM makes no comment on that, even adding that continued growth from inbound visitors is driving development of new hotels.
-In nine cities, not named, RM forecasts for 2019-21 but gives data only for 'over the past year', which we assume means 2019 - although the year had not finished.
-It says rooms opening grew 2.5x from 30,000 to 80,000; period not clear. This appears to be not growth, but actual growth of 50,000 rooms. We find this too low, but RM does not give enough details for us to confirm.
-RM reports that Japan targets 40mn visitors this year and 60mn 'by' 2030. That would be a +4.6% AAGR if 2020-29 and +4.1% if 2020-30. We calculate that over the past 10 years AAGR was +16.8%.
[] Spain.
-It will be US$24.1bn (quoted in US$) in 2025; growth not given. RM does not explain what this figure is, but RM's comments indicate it is turnover.
-In 2018, Spain counted 82.6mn visitors, 3rd after France 90mn, US 81mn (both WTO rounded); growths not given. Our estimates for 2019 are about 83.5mn +1%, 90.2mn +1%, 78.9mn -1%.
-In spend, Spain was second after the US; believed also to be 2018. (Our database for 2018 shows Spain US$81.5bn +3.5%, US US$214.5bn +1.8%; growths in 2019 about +3.1%, -0.5%.) The reason that France is lower (#3 in our database) is because has a higher share of transit visitors, thus shorter stay.
-RM notes 'by the year 2019 to 2020, Spain will open more hotels'. We presume it means in 2019 and 2020. For Madrid it reports 3/854 hotels/rooms, Barcelona 3/422 rooms. Once again this looks small - for Barcelona 210 rooms/year? (Our database indicates around 450/60,000 hotels/rooms in the city.)
*Notes:
-We have run many critical reviews on RM reports, and we advise users to treat its findings with caution – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary.
-At press time, RM had not answered our request for clarifications.

Australia counts costs
27 January 2020
Travel Mole reports:
-Australia's ‘tourism industry’ (we understand this is only the visitor business, domestic and international) has been allocated an aid package worth US$52.4mn (at US$1 to A$1.45) following the recent fires in the country.
-Forward bookings from international markets down -40%. No further details.
-Domestic market bookings down -70%. No further details.
-Financial 'damage' (not otherwise qualified) to the industry US$690mn, but ‘may be’ much larger, US$3.1bn, by end-2020. The Economist reports this same figure as lost sales, adding that it represents 1% of annual sales.
-US$13.8mn for an ad campaign. We don’t know if this is included in the $52.4mn.

PATA on Asia Pacific visitor counts
24 January 2020
PATA* (Pacific Asia Travel Association, a regional promotional body) forecasts:
-971mn visitor arrivals by 2024, AAGR (average annual growth rate) forecast to be +6.3% over 2019-24. Was +5.3% over 2014-19.
-Additional arrivals forecast to total 162mn over 2019-24. Was 256mn over 2014-19..
-Asia share of arrivals 77% ‘by 2024’ - which we understand is ‘in 2024’.
-Asia share of departures 68%. Period not shown; probably 2024.
*Notes:
-PATA=Pacific Asia Travel Association. PATA’s destinations include many not usually associated with Asia Pacific – such as Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, US, and sometimes Turkey (yes). PATA’s data should thus be read with that qualification in mind. PATA gives no support (including response to questions) to non-member subscription publications such as ours, and so we are unable to clarify what may be misleading.
-Usually, PATA tracks 46 destinations. This report notes 39 destinations; we do not know why.
-PATA has reported other data - such as growth without the total - but not actionable data, and so we have not shown these.
-The top-5 destinations, in order, are China, US, Hong Kong, Turkey, Macau. We have problems with all five. Turkey and US for us should not be included in an Asia Pacific travel study. And China, Hong Kong, Macau are all ‘China’ - a fact endorsed by PATA adding the moniker ‘SAR’ (Special Administrative Region, of China) for HK&M. Thus many of these ‘visitors’ are actually domestic travellers.
-PATA might be unwilling to make a change that would probably upset all three destinations – likely to ‘lose’ millions of visitors (50mn total?). Also, China not only likes to come top in any ranking, but dislikes even more being down-rated.

WTO on world visitor counts
23 January 2020
WTO (World Tourism Organization, which it abbreviates to UNWTO, a loose lobby group for the travel business) reports on 2019 and forecasts for this year:
-1.5bn +4% arrivals in 2019, making it the 10th consecutive year of growth.
-The Middle East* fastest-growing at +8%. But negative events - wars, terrorism, etc - can make such big differences that analysis needs to consider this. For instance, with demonstrations already in Lebanon, 2020 looks likely to be at least a slowdown, if not a fall. That could slow the region.
-Americas (+2%). Total, share, not given.
-Asia Pacific +5%. Total, share, not given.
-Europe 743mn +4%; 51% share.
-France visitor spend +11%. US, largest, grew +6%. Totals not given.
-Growth forecast for this year +3-4%. WTO does not note that this is a slowdown.
*Notes:
-WTO excludes Israel from its Middle East counts, and includes Egypt (which is in Africa).
-For obvious reasons, four destinations count zero - Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen.

India outbound 2019
22 January 2020
Excerpts from II* findings on India’s outbound travel Jan-Aug:
-Growth +7%. Number not given.
-Asia market share 70% in 2019. Growth not given.
-North America growth +7%. Share not given.
-Categories*. Holiday Trips share 65% (80% for all Asia). City Breaks plus Round Trips share 65%. Sun and Beach Holidays share 16%.
-Travel agency bookings share 45% (for all-Asia 25%, world also 25%).
-IPKI forecasts +6% growth this year. Base (all 2019 or Jan-Aug) not clarified.
*Notes:
-II=Germany-based IPK International (IPKI), a research company, with ITB Berlin (ITBB), the 10k-exhibitor travel trade exhibition in the city. Unfortunately, II are often casual in reporting their findings, although we believe they are precise in their research work.
-For ‘holiday travel’, we believe II mean non-business travel, sometimes known as ‘leisure travel’.
-In 2019, II introduced ‘roundtrips’ as a category in some reports. There has been no further definition although the term makes no sense, as presumably around 95% of trips are roundtrips.
-In other reports, II have had a category ‘tour [sometimes ‘touring’] holidays’ (II has also never defined this, and as it is open to interpretation, we wonder how those questioned defined it).
-At press time, II had not answered our request for clarifications.

Australia hotel results after fires
21 January 2020
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on Australia’s bushfire impact on hotel performance, for December:
-Sydney Drive Regional, a submarket within a 2-hour-drive of Greater Sydney. Roomnights sold -14.7%, occupancy -14.5% to 52.2%, average room rate (ARR) -18.4% to US$134.30 (A$194.74).
-New South Wales, North Coast submarket, or Northern Rivers region. Roomnights sold +7.0%, ARR +5.8%. Occupancy not given.
-NSW, North Coast South submarket, or Mid North Coast. Roomnights sold +0.4%. Occupancy and ARR not given.

ATF; Asean Tourism Forum; Brunei blocks Asean
20 January 2020
This time of the year, we usually report on travel product and travel marketing developments in the 10 Asean* destinations.
  This year, the Brunei host-committee for the Asean Travel Forum this month in Brunei, blocked attendance by Travel Business Analyst.
  Our first reaction was disappointment, then umbrage. Then on reflection, perhaps this is a better way. We espouse liberalism in the travel business, so that should be applied to coverage of travel industry events.
  But there are other factors, most important is that Brunei should not decide for Asean.
  Organisers need to think the reason for media attendance in the first place – to encourage editorial coverage of travel-related developments in the 10 destinations, not just the host destination.
  As it is, we will wait until ITB in Berlin in March to get the information we usually collect at ATF. But, because of ITBB logistics, we will probably not cover some smaller destinations that are also less important to Asean – say Brunei, Laos, Myanmar.
  There needs to be a change in rules for host destinations.
  Asean should give host committees their 'must' list of media (and probably of other hosted sectors as well, such as buyers). This can be companies as well as individuals. For instance, TTG Asia could be on the 'must' list as could, say, some named media people.
  If a person or company is on the host destination’s 'banned' list, then the host committee would have to transmit its reasons for the 'no', and Asean could decide whether to accept those reasons or not.
   Incredibly, Brunei's host committee does not have to transmit to anyone why we were delisted. So it could have been one person on the committee who said no, or other reasons. But without knowing those reasons, there is little we could do to change the decision.
  As a result, Brunei - representing about 5% of Asean's travel business - has prevented us from reporting on the 95%. Worse, no one in Asean cares whether this is a good or bad situation.
  We are prompted to write this because of our own experience, but the reasons are professional. For sure this has happened to other people in other destinations.
  Hosting an Asean event is a privilege, and a service to Asean. But Brunei appears to have ignored both those factors.
*Notes:
-Asean = Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean writes ‘Southeast’, even though that should make the abbreviation ASAN). Asean members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
-We did not seek comments from Asean for this report. Unfortunately, our experience is no acknowledgement, and never have we received a comment. We believe that despite the economic importance of the travel business to many of the 10 destinations, matters of state, not economics, get most attention.

Travel business updates
17 January 2020
[] Luxembourg-based Corporacion America Airports, which operates 52 airports mainly in Latin America (in Europe in Armenia and Italy), reports passengers-handled in December at 6.96mn +2.1%, YTD 83.5mn +2.7%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels 5-11 January: occupancy -3.1% to 51.7%, average room rate -4.7% to US$120.43.

Americas outbound 2019
16 January 2020
Excerpts from II* findings on outbound travel from Latin America (LAm) and North America (NAm) over Jan-Aug.
  See Notes below, which include important caveats and qualifications.
-LAm -3% (II rounded). Number not given. Negatively affected by ‘high-volume’ Mexico (total not given, but our database shows almost 20mn arrivals in the US alone), -5%.
-NAm growth +4.5%. Number not given. Boosted by travel from the US (II uses the term ‘US-Americans’), +6%.
-All Americas growth +3.5%.
-Travel to Europe +7% (from the Americas). Travel to Spain +11%, Italy +10%. These two destinations are believed to have been listed because they were the fastest-growing; they are not the largest.
-Outbound travel within the Americas grew +3%. Trips to Asia also +3%.
-‘Holidays’ grew +5%; now 60% share. Business travel fall -1%; share not givenII do not make clear if it records other categories, such as VFR; no other categories are shown.
-The following categories are believed to be sub-categories under ‘holidays’ as above. City Breaks +10%, ‘Holidays in the Country’ +9%, Cruises +6%, ‘Round Trips’ +5%, ‘Sun & Beach’ -1%. 
-IPKI forecasts LAm outbound to grow +1% this year, NAm outbound +3%. Base (all 2019 or Jan-Aug) not clarified.
*Notes:
-II=Germany-based IPK International (IPKI), a research company, with ITB Berlin (ITBB), the 10k-exhibitor travel trade exhibition in the city. Unfortunately, II are often casual in reporting their findings, although we believe they are precise in their research work.
-A common fault with II reports concerns Mexico. II do not seem to be aware that Mexico is part of North America. They often include it in Latin America (correct, although LAm is not a geographical term and which II do not clearly define), but then comment separately on North America. Does II’s NAm include or exclude Mexico?
  We believe II exclude Mexico from North America, because they include it in LAm. (And sometimes in South America, which is wrong.)
-For ‘holiday travel’, we believe II mean non-business travel, sometimes known as ‘leisure travel’.
-In 2019, II introduced ‘roundtrips’ as a category in some reports. There has been no further definition although the term makes little sense, as presumably around 95% of trips are roundtrips.
-Also added are ‘Holidays in the Country’ (not clear if this is same as a previously-used category, ‘Countryside’, but definitions not known.
-In some reports, II have had a category ‘tour [sometimes ‘touring’] holidays’ (II have also never defined this, and as it is open to interpretation, we wonder how those questioned defined it).
-At press time, II had not answered our request for clarifications.

Travel business updates
15 January 2020
[] ARC (the Airlines Reporting Corporation, handling financial settlements between US-based travel agencies and airlines), reports for 2019: air tickets sold US$97.4bn +2.8%; EMD (electronic miscellaneous document) sales US$84.6mn +8%; EMD transactions 1.4mn +8.5%.
[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports that the largest single hotel transaction in Europe in 2019 was the 557-room Amsterdam Double Tree (a Hilton brand). Sale price was US$422mn (at US$1 to €0.90), US$758,000 per room.
[] Magic Stay* is currently claiming a portfolio of 700,000 ‘accommodations’ – which include apartments, studios, villas.
  However, two years ago it reported 150,000 apartments in 90 countries, although in some other reports – at the same time – it noted 130,000 ‘accommodations’ in 110 countries. We have no easy way of confirming these statements.
  MS has never published operating data.
*Notes:
-France-based 6-year-old Magic Stay, despite that name, specialises in short-term apartment rentals for business travellers.
-We believe ‘Magic’ is the wrong word for a BT site, although MS has already changed its name from Magic Event.

Travel business updates
14 January 2020
[] ARC (the Airlines Reporting Corporation, handling financial settlements between US-based travel agencies and airlines), reports for December (any rounding by ARC): air tickets sold US$6.1bn +10%; average US roundtrip ticket US$494 +$4; passenger trips 302.3mn +2.3% (domestic - +2%, international +3%); EMD (electronic miscellaneous document) sales +44%.
[] Research & Markets* (RM), a company, forecasts:
-China outbound travel to GCC* destinations will generate US$9bn revenue by 2026 (which we presume is 2025). Although we do not understand the marketing value of this measure, we note that RM earlier forecast that the India outbound market to GCC destinations would be US$24bn 'by 2025’ - meaning in 2024.
-India outbound will generate US$62bn revenue by 2026. RM makes no attempt to convert this into trip numbers. Our back-of-envelope calculations indicate 41mn, which is obviously wrong. That indicates that RM has missed providing important caveats to its data.
*Notes: GCC=Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).

Travel business updates
13 January 2020
[] STR* forecasts on China hotels for 2020:
-Average room rate +1.8%.
-Selected* (by STR) cities: Chengdu ARR +1.4%, capacity +2.8% (+18,000 rooms); Hangzhou occupancy +4.7%, capacity +4.1%.
*Notes:
-Nee Smith Travel Research.
-STR shows hotel revpar (revenue per available room) for other areas. We concentrate on occupancy and room rate, and as we believe revpar has little marketing value to those outside the hotel business, we reduce our report to areas where data other than revpar is given.
[] Research & Markets* (RM), a company, forecasts Singapore’s MICE market will be worth US$5.21bn (quoted in US$) by end-2027, a +8.4% annual average growth rate, from US$2.52bn in 2018.
*Notes:
-We have run many critical reviews on RM reports, and we advise users to treat its findings with caution – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary.
-At press time, RM had not answered our request for clarifications.

TBA Tracking: Indices, Travel Stocks
10 January 2020
The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in December for US hotel companies was 5270 +6.1% (over previous month). YTD, their stock index was +29.5%.
  The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Hotel Stocks Index’ for December, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 195.
  The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Airline Stocks Index’ for December, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 211.
  The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for December, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, shows: World 233, Asia Pacific 82, Europe 216, US 399.
  The worldwide ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in December, from the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 160.
  The ‘China Travel Stock Index’ of China stock prices (from China companies quoted in Hong Kong and New York, as well as Shanghai), in December from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 109.
Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at February 2000. The TBA Hotel and Airline stocks indices are based on 100 at December 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014, the ‘China Travel Stock Index’ 100 at December 2018. Or when first listed if later.

Travel business updates
9 January 2020
[] Greece’s DMO reports November air arrivals +18.5%, YTD +3.8%. Bank of Greece all arrivals October +1.9%, YTD +3.7%; spend +4.1%, YTD +13.1%.
[] Research & Markets* (RM), a company, forecasts annual average growth rate of India’s ‘Travel Services Market*’ will be +19% over 2020-24. This looks too high; neither domestic nor inbound nor outbound has reached double figures over the past five years.
*Notes:
-We understand that TSM means all travel bookings.
-We have run many critical reviews on RM reports, and we advise users to treat its findings with caution – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary.
-At press time, RM had not answered our request for clarifications.
[] UK-based Tripism* claims to reach 1mn business travellers. However, it bases this on the number of employees at the companies with which it has contracts. It adds those companies spend US$4.5bn annually on travel and travel-related activities. It also has contracts with 50 travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, transportation, etc). 
*Notes:
-A market network for business travel. Companies use to give their business travellers personalised travel information. 

Our outlook for travel
30 December 2019
The following is extracted from our input for an external report.
[] Assessment of travel business in the past four months compared to what we would expect for that period:
-Equal.
  Equal does not mean good. Business is static, as with a holding pattern. No particularly bad news - which is almost the same as good news.
[] Assessment of travel business in the next four months compared to what we would expect for that period:
-Better.
  Macro matters:
  -Presumably the US will continue the same, after the impeachment matter is over (on the assumption Trump is 'acquitted').
  -And the US/China trade war seems likely to get better, rather than worse.
  -And the UK has made one important decision in its Brexit matter, but others to make, and these seem likely to be bad for the UK economy.
  -Other worries beckon, though - Brazil corruption/economy, Mexico economy, Spain political impasse, etc.
[] Assessment of travel business in 2019 as compared to 2018:
-About the same.
  The macro negatives - few positives. But that was expected.
[] Assessment of travel business in 2020 as compared to 2019:
-About the same.
  Some of the potential good news noted above for the upcoming four months. But there are still areas of concern:
  -From the Middle East (unstable; will it get better or worse?);
  -North Africa (Sudan still unstable, Algeria new president, but still disturbances);
  -Other Africa (terrorism concerns in more than a few countries);
  -China/Asia (if the China/US news gets better, will China turn again to expanding its power in the seas?);
  -2020 is presidential election year in the US; this seems certain to be turbulent; how will that affect the travel business?
  -The UK is due to negotiate with the EU on future trade relations; this seems likely to lead to bad news for the UK; when will that become obvious and how will that affect the travel business - certainly air connections?

Agoda on the 2020s
27 December 2019
We find some trend forecasts from Agoda* on travellers from Asia the 2020s to be almost meaningless without more data, or a better-constructed survey. Here are some:
-Expecting ‘a lot more’ from their travels: Indonesia 56%, Singapore 54%, Malaysia 53%, Taiwan 50%, Philippines 48%, Thailand 48%. Outside Asia - UK one-third, US 33%.
  We are surprised this is not nearer 100% everywhere, as people usually want more/better. Agoda presents the lower UK and US shares as a comparative negative, although it could also be that they are happier with their current travel experiences than travellers from those Asia markets. Agoda reports ‘one-third’ and ‘33%’ as different, but we presume one has been mis-stated.
-Expect passport-free travel - Singapore 50%, Vietnam 47%, Philippines 45%, China 44%, Australia 41%, UK 20%, US 20%.
  Not clear if this is an administrative or technical question, because passport-free travel already exists in many regions, most notably for much of Europe. The coded machine-readable information in a passport is technically ‘passport-free’ and it is relatively simple to include this information on, for instance, a boarding pass, or some other document. For these reasons, we cannot understand Agoda’s 20% findings for the UK and the US - although the UK is not in Europe’s passport-free area and after its exit from the European Union due next month, document-free travel will likely become more difficult.
-40% of all respondents (breakouts not given) plan more domestic travel, 35% international. Another near-meaningless finding. Over 10 years, what does ‘more’ mean?
-‘Above’ 25% plan more eco-friendly travel - those from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia most keen. We do not know reason for the selection of those three markets, nor the order, and whether others are below 25%?
-Travellers from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, US, Vietnam choose domestic destinations in their top-3. Again, over 10 years, this does not add up to much insight.
-Travellers from Korea and Japan plan more solo trips. Agoda’s order; it terms them ‘Korean’ and ‘Japanese’ but we believe these are residential- not nationality-categories. Again, over 10 years, this does not add up to much insight.
-Kyoto is the most-desired destination. Agoda also lists Bangkok and Bali but does not clarify if these are #2 and #3.
  Agoda also gives more (and better) findings on the US. These include:
-42% expect mobile-phone hotel-check-in will be the standard.
-29% expect to use one app for all travel needs.
-12% plan to take more eco-friendly trips.
-Most-desired destinations - New York then London, then Sydney.
-38% would like to take more domestic trips, 26% more international trips.
*Notes:
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-Agoda is a Singapore-based online travel agency, owned by US-based Bookings (nee Priceline). Started in 2005, it is more of a hotel-booking site than all-travel. It has 2.5mn properties.
-At press time, Agoda had not answered our request for clarifications.

Phocuswright on Europe
24 December 2019
To promote its Europe conference in Amsterdam next May, PCW (Phocuswright, a travel research company specialising in online data) has published some data on the region, including:
-PCW estimates online travel penetration in Denmark, Norway, Sweden will be 62% this year. We believe this is the share of total travel booked online.
-France's travel market is forecast to grow from US$52.2bn (at US$1 to €0.90) in 2019 to US$55.4bn 'by 2023'. We calculate this would be a +2.0% annual average growth rate if 2019-22 and +1.5% if 2019-23.
-Germany's travel market is forecast to grow 2% annually to US$76.8bn in 2023. Other details not known; we calculate this would mean PCW estimates the market will be US$69.1bn this year.
-UK's travel market is forecast to grow 1.5-2% annually through 2023. Other details not known.
*Notes:
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-At press time, PCW had not answered our request for clarifications.

Euromonitor city-visitor forecasts
23 December 2019
Euromonitor* (EM), a UK-based market research company, forecasts:
-Visitor arrivals this year at 1.47bn +4.2% - but it also notes these as ‘trips’, which is a different category to ‘arrivals’.
-Share of Top-100 cities 47%.
-Selected cities (by EM) - Hong Kong top (EM notes a -8.7% fall ‘this year’; we do not know if that is an EM forecast, or YTD actual; our database shows -4.6% Jan-Oct); London 3rd but also falling.
-Istanbul fastest growth (figure not given, but EM notes it has returned to top-10; which city has dropped out is not noted).
-‘Most’ cities in America (believed to be US, not Americas or North America) falling in rankings, but growing in arrivals.
-‘SteadyI growth’ in Middle East/Africa, ‘compared to the rest of the world’ (we do not know if this means growth in share, rankings, or faster-growth). Notes ‘sharp recovery’ in ranking for Cairo and Hurghada following ‘an active tourism reform strategy’. EM does not note in what way ‘tourism’ was reformed.
*Notes:
-We have run a few critical reports on EM findings – most apparently due to imprecision in its editorial commentary. At press time, EM had not answered our request for clarifications.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

IATA 2020 forecasts
19 December 2019
IATA (International Air Transport Association, the airlines’ trade body) forecasts for 2020:
-The airline industry’s net profit will be US$29.3bn (which we calculate will be +13.1%) over US$25.9bn estimated for 2019 (revised from June forecast of US$28bn). Seat factor 82% (IATA rounded) over 82.4% estimated for 2019.
-Seat sales 4.72bn +4.0% over 4.54bn estimated for 2019. RPKs +4.1% over +4.2% estimated for 2019. ASKs +4.7% over +3.5% estimated for 2019.
-Passenger revenues excluding ancillaries US$581bn +2.5% over US$567bn estimated for 2019.
-Net profit per ‘departing passenger’ of US$6.20 (which we calculate will be +8.8% over US$5.70 estimated for 2019). Not known if definition of ‘departing passenger’ is same as ‘seat sold’; for instance, is a passenger on Emirates over Nice-Dubai/transfer-Singapore-Dubai/transfer-Nice two ‘departing passengers’ or four? If four, how does IATA break out the fares, which generally are not published?
-Average return airfare before surcharges and tax US$293. IATA gives only comparison with 1998, -64%.
-Spend on air transport US$908bn +4.0% over estimate for 2019. Spend on ‘tourism associated with air travel’ (we assume visitor spend) US$968bn +7.3% over estimate for 2019.
*Notes:
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-At press time, IATA had not answered our request for clarifications.

WTTC on North America
18 December 2019
-WTTC* report on cities in North America includes:
-The travel business is worth US$686.6bn, a 25% share. Believed to be share of world total; growth not given; year not given but other indications are that this is for 2018.
-Direct travel business GDP given as US$691bn (WTTC rounded), a 25% share - seemingly wrong or contradictory, because grand total - as above - given as less than this.
-International visitor spend. Top-10 include (WTTC selected) New York US$21bn, Miami US$17bn.
*Notes:
-WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), a lobby group for the travel business, has its own methodology for calculating the turnover of the travel business including not just inbound, outbound, and domestic travel, but other industries involved in the business. For instance, if 0.5% of the world’s cars go into the car-rental business, that measure would be calculated into the turnover of the overall travel business.
-Unfortunately, WTTC is not always clear that its data is related to this grand total, and often its commentary appears to be related to just one sector – often, the inbound visitor business. In addition, it sometimes uses the terms ‘travel’ or ‘tourism’ alone; we cannot always determine if these mean something different from ‘travel & tourism’.
-WTTC’s name does not help – the ‘TT’ is ‘travel & tourism’, where we would define ‘travel’ as covering all segments of the travel business, with ‘tourism’ meaning ‘leisure travel’ to most observers, just one segment. This means that most people and bodies the WTTC lobbies may think they are discussing just inbound leisure travel. We change 'TT' to the more-practical ‘travel business’.
-In addition, the group is so careless in its presentations that the professional observer is sometimes left to guess what WTTC’s research shows. We believe its presentations are in contrast with the professionalism of its research.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-At press time, WTTC had not answered our request for clarifications.

Europe outbound
5 December 2019
II* on outbound travel from Europe, over Jan-Aug:
-Trips +2.5%; world +3.9%.
-‘Last year’ (we presume Jan-Dec 18, not Jan-Aug 18) +5%.
-Selected (by II; reason, and reason for order, not known) from West Europe: from Germany +2%, Netherlands +2%, Switzerland +2%, Italy +3%, France +3%.
-Selected (ditto) from East Europe: from Russia +7%, Poland +6%, Czech R +5%.
-Trips intraEurope +3%, to Asia +2%, to America (believed to be US, not Americas or North America) +3%.
-To Spain +1%. ‘Outperforming’ (presumably meaning above average, but figure not known) - Turkey, Portugal, Greece. To Germany +4%. To UK -5%.
-Holiday trips +3%. City Breaks (included in ‘Holiday’) +7%. Countryside* +5%, Cruises +5%. Sun & Beach (‘most popular’; share not known) +2%. Roundtrips* +1%.
-IPKI forecast +3-4% in 2020, which it notes would be faster than for this year - but 2019 estimate not given.
*Notes:
-II=Germany-based IPK International (IPKI), a research company, with ITB Berlin (ITBB), the big travel trade exhibition in the city. Unfortunately, II are often casual in reporting their findings, although we believe they are precise in their research work.
-For ‘holiday travel’, we believe II mean non-business travel, sometimes known as ‘leisure travel’.
-In 2019, II introduced ‘roundtrips’ as a category in some reports. There has been no further definition although the term makes no sense, as presumably around 95% of trips are roundtrips.
-This report also introduces ‘Countryside’; definition not known.
-In other reports, II have had a category ‘tour (sometimes ‘touring’) holidays’ (II has also never defined this, and as it is open to interpretation, we wonder how those questioned defined it).
-At press time, II had not answered our request for clarifications.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

China outbound
3 December 2019
Trip* and Union Pay (together ‘TUP’) have published a report on China outbound travel. Some excerpts:
-Government figures report that outbound spend by China nationals (probably just Chinese nationals living in China, but despite the definition, probably also including foreigners resident in China) was US$127.5bn. Period not given; our database, from WTO data, shows US$277.3bn +5.2% in 2018 with a -4.4% fall in Q1 2019. As the TUP and WTO figures are so different (TUP’s is half WTO’s) qualification is needed. WTO adds-up spend in destinations by visitors from China (but sometimes Chinese visitors if the destination measures that way). TUP do not define their methodology.
-Chinese travellers this year visited 158 +17% countries.
-Top-10 sources in China this year were Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Sichuan, Hubei, Shandong, Fujian, Liaoning. We presume this is in order of size.
-Top-10 shopping destinations this year were Japan, UAE, UK, France, Singapore, US, Spain, Korea, Italy, Australia. We would normally presume this list is in order of size, but we would question some, and thus presume TUP have a different methodology.
-Female travellers accounted for 55% share of outbound travellers who shopped. We believe as stated this is worthless data; if husband-and-wife enter a shop together, how is breakdown made?
-Average shopping spend per person was 1.15-times higher for male travellers.
-Orders for museum tickets grew +105%, orders for ride-hailing grew +300% with average per-person spend US$10 (at US$1 to Y7.04), orders for local tour guides grew +40% with average spend US$114.
*Notes:
-Previously cTrip, now a group that includes cTrip, Qunar, Skyscanner.
-For period listed as 2019 (‘this year’), we presume this is approximately YTD, say Jan-Oct.
-No data given for Hong Kong and Macau, and as these are major destinations (despite the present problems for travel to Hong Kong), we presume these are excluded.
-At press time, TUP had not answered our request for clarifications.

TBA Tracking: Air passenger counts in France, Germany, UK
29 November 2019
A brief ‘main-points’ review of latest air passenger counts* to/from France, Germany, UK over selected country-pairs in Europe, UAE, US, growth only:
  To/from France (Paris only): Germany -3%, UK -2%. UAE -3%, US +5%. All +1%.
  To/from Germany: Italy +8%, Spain -5%, UK -5%. UAE -5%, US +3%. All +2%.
  To/from UK: Germany -5%. UAE +5%, US +0.2%. All +2%.
*Data from Aeroports de Paris, Statistisches Bundesamt, Civil Aviation Authority, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.

TBA Tracking: Airports in Europe
28 November 2019
A brief ‘main-points’ review of latest airport-passenger throughputs, growth only, usually for larger airports:
  Main airports: Amsterdam -1%, Berlin (two) -4%, Frankfurt (two) +1%, Istanbul (two) +2%, London (five) +0.1%, Madrid +8%, Paris (2/3) +1%, Rome (two) +2%. All +3%.
  ‘Low-fare airports’ (those with sizeable portion of no-frills-airline traffic): Berlin Schonefeld -13%, London Luton +8%, London Stansted -0.4%, Milan Bergamo +8%, Palma +1%, Paris Orly -9%. All +2%.
*Data mainly from ACI (Airports Council International), some directly from airports, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.

TBA Tracking: Visitor arrivals in Asia Pacific, latest
25 November 2019
A brief ‘main-points’ review of latest visitor-arrival counts*, growth only, usually for larger destinations:
  Bali +8%, Hong Kong -34% (from China -35%), India +2%, Philippines +28%, Singapore +3%, Sri Lanka -22%.
*Data from various sources, mainly WTO, DMOs, government departments, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst. Months are latest available, but may be different between destinations.

TBA Tracking: Resident/Citizen departures in Asia Pacific, latest
22 November 2019
A brief ‘main-points’ review of latest departure counts*, growth only, usually for larger markets.
  Australia +2%, China (our estimates) +8%, Hong Kong +2%, India (our estimates) +5%, Japan +7%, Korea -4%.
*Data from various sources, mainly DMOs, government departments, and most excerpted from our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst. Months are latest available, but may be different between markets.

WTTC on medical tourism
19 November 2019
Excerpts from a WTTC* report on medical tourism:
[] US largest market for inbound and outbound spend.
[] US outbound spend, share 20%. US nationals spent US$2.3bn in 2017. Not clear how WTTC can separate-out non-citizens living in the US, and also add US nationals living in other countries.
[] Kuwait 2nd largest outbound spend US$1.5bn in 2015. Note 1, that year is different from US dates, 2, not specified whether Kuwait nationals only, or whether including the large number of foreigners living in Kuwait.
[] Nigeria 3rd largest outbound spend US$783mn in 2017, a 13.5% share of total outbound spend. Not the same category as for the US, which is share of total medical spend.
 [] 'Leading' (no other definition) emerging destinations for spend - Turkey, Thailand, Jordan, Costa Rica, Mexico. Reason for order not given.
[] Spend on international medical tourism US$11bn in 2017, up +358% since 2000. We calculate that as +9.4% AAGR (annual average growth rate).
[] Medical-spend share 1.2% of total visitor spend in 2017; 0.6% in 2000.
[] WTTC names Europe markets in the top-10 - Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Germany. Again, reason for order not known. Spend in each of the five is put at US$300-678mn.
[] Inbound US spend US$4bn in 2017, a 36% share of medical tourism spend.
[] Following the US, largest inbound spend France US$800mn, Turkey US$763mn.
[] 'Emerging economies' for medical tourism noted were Thailand US$589 million 1.0% share of inbound visitor spend, Costa Rica US$451mn 12.1%, Mexico US$315mn 1.5%.
[] Inbound spend; five are European countries, with Belgium, the UK and Hungary joining France and Turkey, spending US$417-636mn.
*Notes: WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), a lobby group for the travel business.

International travel counts
18 November 2019
Excerpts from II* findings on world inbound and outbound travel over Jan-Aug: (Any rounding by II; see Notes for important qualification/comment.)
-Outbound. Grew +3.9% -1pt. Asia fastest growth +6%; China +9%. North America (II say ‘Americans’) +4.5%. Europe (‘Europeans’) +2.5%.
-Inbound. Asia +6%. Europe +3.5%. ‘America’ (sic; not clear if this is the 23 countries in North America, or just the US) +2%.
-Holiday travel* grew +4%, business travel flat. Within business travel, MICE travel +2%, ‘traditional business travel’ -4%.
-City breaks +8%, giving it a 30% share, behind sun-and-beach (share not given), +2%. 'Round trips' +3%. Cruise travel +6%.
-‘Possibility of terror’ in ‘destinations like’ Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia is ‘very high’. We do not which other destinations are ‘like’ those listed, or why these five are listed in this order.
-US, Mexico, South Africa, France have a ‘poor image’ for safety. We do not know what this means, nor how they are different to the other five.
-‘Destinations like’ Scandinavia, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Australia, Canada are perceived ‘safe, where the terror threat is seen as low’. Again, we do not know which other destinations are ‘like’ those listed. Note that Scandinavia is a 3-country region (and we are surprised Finland is not included), not a destination.
-IPK forecasts outbound travel +4%, ‘Asians' +5%, ‘Europeans’ 3-4%, ‘Americans’ +3%. II do not explain on what these growths are based - estimates/forecasts for 2019? In 2018, IPK forecast +6% growth for 2019 (+8% for North and South America, +6% Asia, +5% Europe). As the figures IPK is now reporting for part of 2019 are much lower than it forecast for all-2019, the base for 2020 forecasts needs clarification.
*Notes:
-II=Germany-based IPK International (IPKI), a research company, with ITB Berlin (ITBB), the big travel trade exhibition in the city. Unfortunately, II are often casual in reporting their findings, although we believe they are precise in their research work.
-Another common fault with II reports is that they mix categorisation. Would a Singapore passport holder living in Paris be included in II's 'Asian' count into Spain? And a France passport holder living in Singapore? These are common faults of non-specialists, but II is supposed to be a leader among specialists!
-For ‘holiday travel’, we believe II mean non-business travel, sometimes known as ‘leisure travel’.
-Earlier in 2019, II introduced ‘roundtrips’ as a category in some reports. There has been no further definition although the term makes no sense as presumably 99.9% of trips are roundtrips. In other reports, II have had a category ‘tour holidays’ (sometimes ‘touring’). II also never defined this, and as it was open to interpretation, we wondered how those questioned defined it.
-At press time, II had not answered our request for clarifications.

Euromonitor’s outlook
11 November 2019
Some new forecasts by Euromonitor* (EM), a UK-based market research company:
-Average spend per trip US$1101 by 2024 (could be 2023); change not given, and quoted in US$, risky at this time of sizeable currency fluctuations.
-‘Tourism demand’ (presumed ‘visitor spend’) in the US ‘could see 9.6% wiped off potential growth’ by 2024. We presume this is a possible lowering of previous forecasts, but without principal data, this forecast has little meaning.
-Forecasts that ‘Brexit uncertainty’ and a ‘severe recession’ in Europe (EM usually excludes the UK when reporting on ‘Europe’, and sometimes it includes all Europe, other times just the 27/8 members of the European Union) will make no-frills-airlines and short-term rentals the ‘most popular travel choices’.
  EM seems to be the only main forecaster expecting 'severe' recession for 'Europe'. Most others forecast a recession (which generally means when two consecutive Qs where their GDP is falling) for one market, Germany, albeit slow growth in a few others.
  ‘Most-popular’ presumably means above-50%. That is already the case for NFAs on intraEurope, but unlikely for all flights, although EM does not put dates on its forecast.
  EM does not define ‘short-term rentals’ (it could mean ‘private accommodation’ such as AirBnB properties), and so this also has little meaning.

-EM reports 59% of Europe’s population is ‘concerned about climate change’ to explain that ‘the move towards sustainable travel is on the rise’. That growth is no surprise (after all, it has been growing since it was identified, perhaps 20 years ago), but EM could help and forecast - 35% of leisure travellers will take trips billed as ‘sustainable’ in 2024 against 15% today?
-Middle East and Africa ‘enjoys sound growth’. EM forecasts departures will grow +5.6% by 2024. We have seen little outbound-travel data on these two areas. Similar measures from the WTO (World Tourism Organization, which it abbreviates to UNWTO) this year show Saudi Arabia -4%, UAE +2%, and nothing on Africa. This does not seem to be ‘sound growth’, which we would think means +4-5%? And that +5.6% forecast, if for 2024, would mean a +1.1% annual average growth rate; to us, that looks slow.
*Notes: We have run a few critical reports on EM findings – most apparently due to imprecision in its editorial commentary. At press time, EM had not answered our request for clarifications.

Global Data’s outlook
8 November 2019
Global Data*, a data and analytics company, reports, for 2018:
-Bangkok had most visitors in Asia, 22.4mn, then Singapore 18.5mn, Tokyo 14.2mn. Change not given.
-The top-3 share was 40% of the top-10.
-Bangkok ‘most affordable’. Inexplicably, GD measures that in terms of a hotel-business measure - average room rate. As GD’s source is not specifically given, we cannot confirm this finding. Our ARR database shows four of GD’s top-10 lower than Bangkok - Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Pattaya, Phuket.
-Asian cities have a 70% share of the world top-10.
-Tokyo grew +60.5%, fastest of the top-10, over 2014-18. Tokyo’s official target is 25mn ‘by 2020’. We believe this is in 2020, not for 2019. We calculate that would be +29.8% annual average growth rate over 2018-20 (based on GD data and Tokyo forecasts), which would seem too high.  
-Forecasts not backed with data:
  1. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh ‘fast emerging’ as the ‘new hot spots for...globetrotters’. Because these three are already sizeable destinations, ‘fast emerging’ needs statistical support. And not many travellers are ‘globetrotters’, or is GD just commenting on the few (under 10%?) who are?
  2. Rising sea levels, ‘frequent irrational weather’, ‘tourism beyond its capacity’, ‘can make...Asian tourist destinations unsustainable in the near future’. We presume ‘tourism beyond its capacity’ is what is generally termed ‘overtourism’, although by definition there cannot be more visitors than that destination’s capacity. ‘Can’, ‘unsustainable’, ‘near future’, are vagaries unacceptable from a professional observer.
*Notes:
-We have found in other reports that Global Data sometimes misreads/misinterprets/misreports core travel data – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary. At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.

Germany’s domestic, outbound
30 October 2019
Research & Markets* (RM), a company, reports on Germany’s domestic and outbound markets. Among its findings:
-US$340bn domestic spend in 2018; growth not given, and quoted in US$ (a risk with current sizeable fluctuations). Our database (based on Eurostat data) shows 159mn +5.4% travellers, which would mean US$2134 per trip. As this is too high, we conclude that RM is working on a different traveller-number.
-Outbound daily spend US$154.74 +1.4%.
-Those aged 35-49 took 70.6mn trips. We believe this is domestic and outbound, but given unclear data, this is not certain.
-Forecast annual average growth rate 2019-22 +3%. Not clear if this is total or those aged 35-49.
*Notes: We have run many critical reviews on RM reports, and we advise users to treat its findings with caution – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary. At press time, RM had not answered our request for clarifications.

PCW on UK travel
23 October 2019
PCW (Phocuswright, a travel research company specialising in online data) reports/forecasts on the UK*:
-Inbound will grow +3% this year.
-Jan-May outbound travel ‘roughly flat’; our database shows -0.2% Jan-May and -1.8% for the first half after -7.1% in June.
-Travel spend (presumed on outbound travel) grew ‘slightly’.
-Forecasts total travel (presumed inbound, outbound, domestic) US$65.1bn (at US$1 to £0.78) +1.7% this year.
-Bookings (presumed inbound, outbound, domestic) forecast to grow ‘at a similar rate’ through 2023.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Outbound Asia
17 October 2019
Excerpts from II* findings on outbound travel from Asia (presumed Jan-Aug unless stated):
-Growth +6%. Our own Jan-Jun provisional data shows +4.4%. World growth Jan-Aug +4%.
-Within Asia 80% share; Europe 15%; America (noted as ‘country’ so presumed to be the US) 8%. This totals 103%; other regions (such as Africa, rest of the Americas, Australasia, Middle East) not given.
-Length of trip 5.9 nights (we calculate +5.4%). World 8 nights (II rounded).
-Spend US$1744 (at US$1 to €0.90; change not given). World US$1422.
-City breaks +9% for a 35% share. ‘Roundtrips’ (no further definition although this makes no sense as presumably 99.9% of trips are roundtrips) +3% 24%. Beach +6% 21%. Business travel/MICE +8% 17%. In other reports, II have had a category ‘tour holidays’ (II never defined this, and as it was open to interpretation, we wondered how those questioned defined it).
-2020 (presumed Jan-Dec) forecast +5%.
*Notes:
-Usually, II do not count travel from China into Hong Kong and Macau, which would be about 50% of the China total. II make no comment in this report, but we believe II include these two destinations in their growth calculations, but not in totals.
  Another common fault with II reports is that they mix categorisation. Would a Singapore passport holder living in Paris be included in II's 'Asian' count into Spain? And a France passport holder living in Singapore? These are common faults of non-specialists, but II is supposed to be a leader among specialists!
-II=Germany-based IPK International (IPKI), a research company, with ITB Berlin (ITBB), the big travel trade exhibition in the city. Unfortunately, II are often casual in reporting their findings, although we believe they are precise in their research work.
-At press time, II had not answered our request for clarifications.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

US visitor forecasts
10 October 2019
The US government has published its forecast for visitor arrivals over 2019-24. The main points*:
-A -1.0% fall forecast this year, to 79.1mn visitors. The previous forecast, in 2018, was a +3.7% growth to 80.9mn.
-The forecast in 2018 for visitors in 2022 was for 89.0mn; the new forecast for 2022 is for 85.3mn.
-Current forecast shows 90.8mn visitors in 2024. That would mean a +2.1% AAGR (annual average growth rate) over the forecast period, 2019-24 - faster than the +1.8% achieved over 2013-18.
-Of the top-5 markets, China and Korea are forecast to fall this year, and Germany to be flat.
-But all top-5 are forecast to grow in 2020.
-Over 2018-24 AAGR forecast to be +2.5% for the UK, +1.8% Japan, +2.8% China, +1.3% Korea, Brazil +2.8%.
*Notes:
-In 2018, the government adjusted past figures, which had the result of increasing the visitor total. We reported at the time that the new system certainly mis-categorised some figures that may or may not have been wrong in the past. We are unable to do more than accept the government’s new figures.
-Figures and commentary here are based on those new figures, unless explained otherwise.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Europe's domestic travel
26 September 2019
Eurostat (ES) has released domestic-travel data* for some markets in the EU (European Union) for 2018. As these are from official figures from each market, they are not always comparable one to the other.
  We compare 2018 data with our database for 2017 to calculate progress.
  Unfortunately, the domestic market that is probably the EU's 4th biggest, the UK (after France, Germany, Spain), has been uncooperative with ES - even before its decision to leave the EU. Latest data for the UK is from 2013.
  Commentary on data already filed (growth calculations are ours):
-ES shows that France’s total fell -13%. We assume this is wrong, and that there has been a change in definitions.
-Because of that reported fall in France, there is a fall in the total markets already filed of -1.9%. Germany is a big enough market that its results will likely turn that into a small growth. We calculate Germany's growth in 2018 was +4-5%.
-Exclude France, and the total for the 18 grew +5.3%.
-Largest market reported so far is France; that reported -13.2% represents 26mn fewer travellers.
-Other noteworthy changes of the bigger markets (above 50mn): Italy grew +20%. Spain, the EU’s 3rd-largest, grew only +1%.
*Notes:
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.
-At press time, ES had not answered our request for clarifications.

Europe's outbound travel
25 September 2019
Eurostat (ES) has released outbound-travel data* for some markets in the EU (European Union) for 2018. As these are from official figures from the market, they are not always comparable one to the other. And they do not always identify special cases - such as heavy work related border crossings.
  To date, 19 of the 31 markets have reported their 2018 data to ES. We calculate that this represents 45% of the total. The big market missing is Germany, which alone has an 30% share of the total. Germany should report within the next month.
  Commentary on data already filed (growth calculations are ours):
-Growth on those markets already filed is +5.8%. Germany is a big enough market that its results could change that total growth. We calculate Germany's growth in 2018 was +0-2%.
-Largest market reported so far is France; its -7.4% represents 2mn fewer travellers.
-Of the others, falls were recorded only for France and Norway -0.9%.
-Other noteworthy changes of the bigger markets (above 10mn): Italy grew +26%, Netherlands with 20.9mn is on track to become larger than France, 26.3mn, in 2020. Spain grew +15%.
-Among medium markets (5-10mn): Czech R +9%.
-Among smaller markets (under 5mn): Estonia +61.7%, Bulgaria +23.9%.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Hotel pipeline in Europe
20 September 2019
Hotel Management (HM) reports that Europe's hotel pipeline at mid-year was 1704 +23% hotels with 260,111 +19% rooms.
  HM does not give change/growth for the following related measures (from Lodging Economics (LE)):
-Under construction 819/128,284 hotels/rooms.
-Due to start construction in the next 12 months 496/76,633.
-In the early-planning stage 389/55,194.
-In H1, 213/28,167 opened.
-LE forecasts 192/24,689 will open in H2. 
-In 2020 432/60,694 are forecast to open, and in 2021 484/74,220.
-That would mean +7% growth from the current 2.89mn rooms; we calculate that would mean 3.09mn rooms in 2021. Hotel counts not given.
-Of countries, Germany has the biggest pipeline - 320/57,689 - then UK 280/40,970, France 184/22,140, Portugal 119/11,733, Poland 85/13,317.
-Of cities, London has the biggest pipeline - 78/13,632 - then Paris 54/7,946, Dusseldorf (sic) 52/10,178, Lisbon 39/3293, Hamburg 32/6581.
-Accor has the biggest pipeline - 261/35,183 - then Marriott 211/34,432, Hilton 174/26,887, InterContinental 148/24,152. These four have a 47% share of hotels in Europe’s pipeline. Data not given for rooms.
-Brands. Ibis/Accor 134/16,785, Hampton/Hilton 69/10,703, Express/InterContinental 69/10,591, Moxy/Marriott 66/11,855, Garden/Hilton 42/6376, Holiday Inn/InterContinental 36/7289, Courtyard/Marriott 33/5796, Mercure/Accor 30/3202, Novotel/Accor 28/4881, DoubleTree/Hilton 26/3455, Residence/Marriott 17/1610, Indigo/InterContinental 14/1714.

Hotel pipeline in Asia Pacific
16 September 2019
Hotel Management reports Lodging Econometrics’ data showing hotel-construction pipeline for Asia Pacific, excluding China, is 1793 +3% hotels and 393,732 +7% rooms.
  (Change not given for any of following.)
  This comprises: under construction 972/225,896 hotels/rooms; due to start construction in next 12 months 405/81,592; in early planning 416/86,244.
  Other data:
-In H1, 154/25,227 opened, H2 forecast 240/45,141, 2020 394/80,041, 2021 326/66,989.
-Largest destinations. Indonesia 378/63,196, India 238/34,966, Japan 226/47,294, Malaysia 138/37,760, Vietnam 136/57,050. LE forecasts for all-2019 Japan will have most - 36% share.
-Largest cities. Jakarta 88/16,112, Seoul 72/13,646, Tokyo 58/15,724, Kuala Lumpur 55/14,801, Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe 46/11,456.
-Franchises. Accor 250/53,050, Marriott 245/54,934, InterContinental 160/35,746, Hilton 88/19,894.
-Brands Ibis/Accor 64/12,341, Holiday Inn/InterContinental 62/14,237, Novotel/Accor 46/10,930, Fairfield/Marriott 37/5726, Express/ InterContinental 36/7709, Courtyard/Marriott 36/7669, DoubleTree/Hilton 30/6090, Hilton /Hilton 29/7691.

Hotel pipeline in China
7 September 2019
IHIF reported that China's hotel pipeline at June was 2845 +15% hotels with 590,809 +8%. It now reports (for end-Q2, thus the same period) 2991 +19% and 592,884 +7%. The data is from Lodging Economics (LE); neither IHIF nor LE explain the difference.
  Other related measures:
-Under construction 2174 +20% and 407,594 +5% (previously given as 2083 +21% and 414,967 +12%).
  IHIF/LE do not give change/growth for the following data:
-Due to start construction in the next 12 months 411/84,555 hotels/rooms (previously given as 387/83,074).
-In the early-planning stage 406 +19% hotels 100,735 +13% rooms (previous - no change given - 375/92,768).
-Average size of pipeline hotels has fallen to 198 rooms. Earlier data not given but LE says the size is the smallest since it started tracking - date not given.
-In H1, 413/62,173 rooms opened. In Q1, 185/27,455.
-In H2 LE forecasts 452/69,110 will open. (Previously forecast 795/127,420 would have opened in 2019; we make the new total 865/131,283.)
-In 2020 786/130,614 are forecast to open (732/124,160).
-In 2021 728/135,913 rooms (not shown).
-Guangzhou has most - 140/27,945 (128/28,367) - then Shanghai 125/23,361 (114/22,747), Chengdu 115/24,328 (110/23,295), Wuhan 91/13,249 (previous not shown), Suzhou 88/15,154 (83/15,092), Hangzhou new figures not shown (79/17,415).
-Hilton has most - 428/88,778 (421/86,750) - then InterContinental 360/80,763 (340/76,861), Marriott 294/80,835 (291/79,860), Jinjiang 225/24,398 (273/31,118), Accor 219/37,199 (201/35,318).
-Brands. Hampton/Hilton 258/40,550 (242/38,608), Holiday Inn Express/InterContinental 172/30,820 (162/29,599), Days Inn/Jinjiang 115/9071 (118/9296) rooms, Ibis/Accor 100/10,580 (85/9214), Vienna/Jinjiang 30/3900 (74/10,360; a remarkable difference, but which we assume was an error), Marriott/Marriott 69/21,023 (67/20,373), DoubleTree/Hilton 58/16,190 (65/18,733), Holiday Inn/InterContinental 58/15,305 (57/14,880), Mercure/Accor 57/9793 (57/9948), Courtyard/Marriott 37/9570 (36/9321).
*Notes: At press time, IHIF/LE had not answered our request for clarifications.

US travel loses in China war
23 August 2019
Tourism Economics (TE) reports*:
[] The China/US trade war forecast to reduce visitors in the US from China by 1.9mn and US$11bn in visitor spend over 2018-20. See below for details.
[] Visitors in the US from China fell -5.7% in 2018; they grew over 2004-17.
[] Visitors in the US from China spend US$5800 per visitor, compared with US$2500 for visitors from the UK, the largest overseas market for the US.
[] TE estimates that there were 351,000 fewer visitors in the US from China in 2018, which would mean US$2.0bn in reduced visitor spend. For this year, it forecasts 648,000 fewer visitors, thus US$3.8bn in reduced visitor spend.
[] TE calculates that if the trade war continues, there will be 857,000mn fewer visitors in 2020, thus US$5.3bn in reduced visitor spend.
*Notes: A full report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

IATA’s annual stats report
29 July 2019
IATA (International Air Transport Association) has published its WATS (World Air Transport Statistics), on 2018 data. Information includes* (all rounded percentage figures are IATA-rounded):
-Airlines seats sold 4.4bn +6.9% (in 2017 4.1bn +7.3%, 2016 3.8bn +7%).
-Asia Pacific sold the most seats, 1.6bn +9.2%, a 37.1% share (1.5bn +10.6% 36.3%, 1.3bn +11.3% 35%); Europe 1.1bn +6.6% 26.2% (1.1bn +8.2% 26.3%, 992.4mn +6.1% 26%); North America 989.4mn +4.8% 22.6% (941.8mn +3.2% 23% 911.5mn +3% 24%); Middle East 224.2mn +4.0% 5.1% (216.1mn +4.6% 5.3% 206.1mn +9.1% 5%).
-Top-5 airlines (same as in 2017) by total RPKs - American 330.6bn +2.0%, Delta 330bn +4.3%, United 329.6bn +6.0%, Emirates 302.3bn +4.6%, Southwest 214.6bn +3.3%.
-Top-5 international city-pairs, by seats sold: Hong Kong-Taipei 5.4mn -0.4%, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Hong Kong 3.4mn +8.8%, Jakarta-Singapore 3.2mn -3.3%, Seoul Incheon-Osaka Kansai 2.9mn +16.5%, Kuala Lumpur–Singapore 2.8mn +2.1%. For 2017: HKG-TPE 5.4mn +1.8%, JKT-SIN 3.3mn +0.8%, BKK-HKG 3.1mn +3.5%, KUL–SIN 2.8mn -0.3%, HKG-SEL 2.7mn -2.2%. For 2016, top-3: HKG-TPE 5.2mn +2.1%; JKT-SIN 3.4mn +0.9%; BKK-HKG 3mn -3.1%.
-Top-5 domestic city-pairs: Jeju-Seoul Gimpo 14.5mn +7.6%, Fukuoka - Tokyo Haneda 7.6mn +0.9%, Melbourne Tullamarine-Sydney 7.6mn -2.1%, Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda 7.3mn -1.5%, Beijing-Shanghai Hongqiao 6.4mn +0.4%. For 2017: Jeju-Seoul Gimpo 13.5mn +14.8%, Melbourne Tullamarine-Sydney 7.8mn +0.4%, Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda 7.6mn +6.1%, Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda 7.4mn +4.6%, Beijing-Shanghai Hongqiao 6.4mn +1.9%. For 2016, top-3: Jeju-Seoul Gimpo 11.6mn +4.6%; Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda 7.7mn -1.2%; Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda 7.3mn -4% (probably 4.0).
-Nationality*. Change of system (earlier was systemwide - although we noted that measuring would be difficult because usually no passport is required on domestic flights). As a result, there are no direct comparisons with earlier data, although we also show earlier data.
  In 2018, seats sold on international routes: UK 126.2mn 8.6% share; US 111.5mn 7.6%; China 97mn 6.6%; Germany 94.3mn 6.4%; France 59.8mn 4.1%.
  In 2017 systemwide US 632mn 18.6% share (2016 810mn 21%), China 555mn 16.3% (no 2016 data), India 161.5mn 4.7% (ditto), UK 147mn 4.3% (ditto), Germany 114.4mn 3.4% (ditto).
-Alliances. Shown this year as share of total traffic (the three have 56.1%); we have recalculated to show, as for 2017, share of RPKs of each: Star 39.0% (39% in 2017, 38% in 2016), Sky Team 33.5% (33%, NA), One World 27.5% (28%, NA).
-New Model Airlines, a definition that IATA used in 2017, seems to have been replaced this year by the more-common LCC (low cost carrier). Not unfortunately our definition, NFA (no-frills-airlines), see Notes. IATA’s NMAs appeared to combine our NFAs, low-cost-airlines, charter airlines, and perhaps others.
  Partly because of this, IATA does not show comparative data. For 2018 for what it now names LCCs, their capacity (ASKs) grew +13.4%, almost double total growth +6.9%. LCC capacity (ASKs) share 21%, which it compares with 11% in 2004. LCC capacity by seats 29% (16% in 2004).
  In 2016, NMAs had a 28.3% share of all seats sold, up from 27.1%; no data for 2017.
-Other data: 81.9% seat factor (no comparison with 2017); 22,000 +6.3% city pairs(double the 10,250 in 1998); the cost of air transport (US$0.78 per RTK, revenue tonne-kilometre), more than half the figure 20 years ago.
*Notes:
-Some comparative data is from our database.
-High positions of the UK and US are partly explained by a large number of nationals living in other countries. For instance, Americans in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, UK. And British in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, US. All these would be counted under their nationality, UK or US. We estimate about 10% should be deducted from IATA’s totals.
-NFA=no-frills-airline. We believe that among the many essential elements that make a successful NFA are: shorthaul point-to-point routes; market freedom in terms of fares, routes; single aircraft type; where relevant, competition against parent airline allowed; extremely-low fares when bought at least three months in advance, say US$25; one fare at one time (no wholesale rates, travel agency commissions, etc); no refunds; no (free) service frills; single economy-class cabin; no (free) 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. Developments in technology are making some of these ‘requirements’ less important.

Russia outbound
26 July 2019
Some findings on the Russia outbound market, by RMAA (Russian Marketing and Advertising Agency):
[] 69% of respondents buy air tickets online. Almost as widespread as the US, where it is 77%.
[] If a traveller watches a video about their trip before travelling, 65% watch YouTube, 24% an airline video, 20% Facebook, 12% OTA, and then others.
[] Among those who flew domestically, 43% did not use offline at all, 28% used offline and online.
[] Digital travellers made up their mind faster: 31% of them decided to buy a ticket within several hours.
[] 60% use PC or laptop, 8% smartphones.
[] 53% travel on vacation in couples, 28% travel alone, 8% in a group.
[] 51% decide on a trip within several days of travel (not enumerated, NE). 15% book tickets for travel after a few hours (NE) after booking a flight. 8% buy tickets several months (NE) before a departure.
[] For 70%, the cost of the ticket is a priority.
[] 30% are members of loyalty programs.
[] 40% go on vacation in Europe, 31% domestic.
[] 38% take a 2-week vacation, 36% one week.
[] 33% of travellers change their mind on which airline during the booking process, 56% book tickets of the company that they considered from the beginning, 39% choose different offers at the end of the process.
[] 32% buy tickets of only one airline.
[] 72% rely on their experience, 2% on advertising, 9% word-of-mouth, 10% online search.
[] Of those that are loyalty program members, 45% always fly one airline, 12% would look only at offers from one airline, 43% considered offers from other airlines but eventually booked the original one.
[] For those who are not members of a loyalty program, the shares were 25% 30% 44%.

UK outbound
15 July 2019
Global Data*, a data and analytics company, forecasts UK departures to ‘Europe’ (we presume GD excludes the UK itself) will be 64.4mn in 2023, +2.9% annual average growth rate 2018-23.
  Our database indicates that Q1 2019 to Europe was +2.8% compared with an overall total +1.0%. This may indicate that travellers are finding their currency buys less, and so choosing closer destinations.
  Other data:
-UK 2018 outbound 70.7mn, domestic 121.5mn. GD gives no more data. Our database, based on UK government data, indicates that GD’s ‘outbound’ is total outbound, not just to the rest of Europe. We have 71.7mn -1.4% in 2018, and to the rest of Europe just 57.3mn -1.5%.
-Spend* in 2018. Visitors US$34.2bn, outbound travel US$105.1bn, domestic US$137.6bn. No change given.
-Domestic travellers aged 35-49 took 56mn international and domestic trips in 2018. No change given.
-GD notes ‘visitor numbers’ from the UK to Ireland fell from 6.8% in 2018 to 1.7% this year. As GD provides no further amplification, we do not know: 1, if ‘visitor numbers’ means ‘visitor arrivals’ (and thus Ireland’s data and not the UK’s) or ‘trips’; 2, if GD’s figures are positive or negative (we believe positive); if ‘this year’ is a whole-year forecast, or YTD. 
-GD notes that because Czech, Hungary, Romania currencies (GD’s selection) have not switched to Euros, that is better for UK travellers with their falling-value currency. The fact, of course, is not whether they are national currencies or Euros, but their moves against the UK currency. If those currencies have grown in value, then the cost of travel to those destinations will have grown in terms of UK currency - possibly higher than to Euro destinations. We are surprised GD does not appear to understand this basic economic reality.
*Notes:
-GD reports in US$ without exchange rate - a potentially misleading practice at the time the UK currency is falling - -6.3% over the past 12 months.
-We have found in other reports that GD sometimes misreads/misinterprets/misreports core travel data – apparently mostly due to imprecision in its editorial commentary.
-At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.

More meetings counts
19 June 2019
ICCA* has issued more data on its report for 2018. We include some baseline data here, but brief because ICCA’s data is based on single-year counts.
  Our main analysis is based on multi-year results. We are motivated by those working in the MICE segment of the travel business – who tell us that single-year figures can be misleading. As a result, we calculate average-annual totals based on 5-year periods - to balance out distortions caused by unusually-big or -small events in one year.
  Surprisingly, the industry itself still works on annual figures! Even more surprising is that in 2013 ICCA said it was following our lead and tracking results in 5-year averages. Despite that, all its analysis and observations continues to be based on single-year figures!
  Our report on this topic is due to be included in the August issue of our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know report, published by Travel Business Analyst. This contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

  Some excerpts from ICCA’s single-year data:
-Barcelona counted most participants, although, as reported earlier, Paris counted most meetings. No3 in participants is Vienna, then Munich, Berlin. This highlights the problem with single-year counts; on a 5-year count, Munich would not only be below Berlin, but about No8 - see WYSK. Munich is No35 in meeting numbers. Two big medical conferences - 32,858 and 27,700 participants - made 2018 an exceptional year.
-The US remains in the top country, Spain overtakes Germany to become No2, then France, Canada.
-Main topics are Medical Science (share 16.9%), Technology (14.2%), Science (13.5%).
-Spend on international meetings was US$12.4bn (we calculate +3.8% from ICCA-rounded €11bn and +4%).
*Notes:
-ICCA’s counts are meetings of associations (and follow precise definitions), and thus are just one segment of the big MICE business. We have not seen estimates, but we would be surprised if ICCA’s segment was more than 20% of the total. Why do these counts attract so much interest? (Possibly, we answer ourselves, because no other worldwide trade body tracks the whole MICE business.)
-Until 2009, ICCA gave us additional information for our analysis, but has refused this since. Full data is reserved for ICCA members; a policy with which we agree, even if it causes us some difficulty. As a result, however, our coverage is now limited to meetings numbers, rather than adding commentary on attendance numbers as well.
-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.

Outbound from Russia
12 June 2019
Global Data*, a data and analytics company, forecasts outbound travel from Russia will grow from 45.3mn in 2018 to 50.2mn in 2023.
  It puts that at +10.4%, although our calculator calculates +10.8%, and that the AAGR (annual average growth rate) would be +2.08%, which looks slow.
  However, GD says that AAGR (it calculates +2.05%) would be better than the -0.28% achieved over 2014-18.
  (It reports -31% 2016 over 2014, then +43% 2018/16, +4% 2020/18, +6% over a 3-year 2023/20.)
  Two other findings - that raise questions:
-62% of millennials are likely to travel abroad this year. This looks too high. Millennials are not precisely defined, but Pew counts those born between 1981 and 1996. We estimate that might be 40% of Russia’s population, thus 58mn - more than the total outbound-travel forecast for 2023.
-Those aged 55-64 have no holiday plans. Obviously some do.
*Notes:
-We have found in other reports that GD sometimes misreads/misinterprets/misreports core travel data.
-At press time, GD had not answered our request for clarifications.

ICCA on 2018 meetings
22 May 2019
ICCA* has issued its report for 2018. We include some baseline data here, but brief as ICCA’s data is based on single-year counts.
  Our main analysis is based on multi-year results. We are motivated by those in the MICE segment of the travel business – who tell us that single-year figures can be misleading. As a result, we calculate average-annual totals based on 5-year periods - to balance out distortions caused by unusually-big or -small events in one year.
  Surprisingly, the industry itself still works on annual figures! Even more surprising is that in 2013 ICCA said it was following our lead and tracking results in 5-year averages. Despite that, all its analysis and observations continues to be based on single-year figures!
  Our report on this topic is included in the June issue of our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know report, published by Travel Business Analyst. This contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

  Some excerpts from ICCA’s single-year data (our calculations on growth):
-12,937 +3.0% meetings.
-Top-3 countries, largest first, US +0.6%, Germany -5.9%, Spain +5.5%. Of note among others, France +14.4%, UK -3.0% (is that Brexit-related?).
-Top-2 from Asia Pacific (only two in published top-10) Japan +18.8%, China +19.4%.
-Top-3 cities Paris +11.6%, Vienna -9.5%, Madrid +7.8%. Of note among others, Barcelona -16.4% (is that Catalonia-troubles related?), London -15.3% (is that Brexit-related?).
-Top-2 from Asia Pacific (only two in published top-10) Singapore -9.4%, Bangkok +22.7%.
*Notes:
-ICCA’s counts are meetings of associations (and follow precise definitions), and thus are just one segment of the big MICE business. We have not seen estimates, but we would be surprised if ICCA’s segment was more than 20% of the total. Why do these counts attract so much interest? (Possibly, we answer ourselves, because no other worldwide trade body tracks the whole MICE business.)
-Until 2009, ICCA gave us additional information for our analysis, but has refused this since. Full data is reserved for ICCA members; a policy with which we agree, even if it causes us some difficulty. As a result, however, our coverage is now limited to meetings numbers, rather than adding commentary on attendance numbers as well.
-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.
-A report on this topic in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know report, published by Travel Business Analyst, contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Russia outbound travel +6%
22 April 2019
Russian nationals made 44mn +6.1% outbound trips in 2018, according to Romir (with some government, some survey, and data).
  Apart from border destinations (no data), top-5, were Turkey 5.72mn +26%, Germany 1.30mn +5%, Thailand 1.17mn +7%, Italy 1.09mn +22%, Spain 0.96mn +3%.
  Top-5 leisure destinations were Turkey 4.50mn, Thailand 852,000, Italy 805,000, Spain 780,000, and UAE 749,000. Growth not given.
  Other findings:
-Nine of top-10 destinations are known (at least in part) for their beach/seaside attractions.
-Of leading leisure destinations, 88% visit Tunisia for leisure reasons; Montenegro 82%; Greece 80%; Bulgaria 79%; UAE 78%.
-No visa required (considered an important factor) for Korea, Montenegro, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Vietnam.
-Seaside/water destinations mostly attract youth aged 18-24, the most active travel sector of the market. 53% are interested in such destinations.
-Of those above-60 years, 10% will visit seaside/water destinations.
  For this year:
-36% will visit a destination for its beach (or other waters) attractions - plus 16% ‘may’ go, 48% ‘will not’ go.
-17% (18, 65) to a cultural destination to visit sites such as museums, monuments etc. People aged 35-44 are more interested in this, 23%.
-16% (14 70) to an ecotourism destination (including hiking, fishing, rafting). Men chose this 22% compared with 11% for women.
-14% will visit a health resort - most popular among those above-60 years and those with high income (not defined).
-8% (10 82) to ski resorts; 15% of those aged 18-24.
*Notes:
-More in Romir’s Russian Tourism Market Report.
-A full report on this topic in our WYSK: What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

ITB Berlin falling
13 March 2019
Key measures for last week’s ITB Berlin (ITBB) travel trade exhibition appear to show static or falling results.
  However, organisers Messe Berlin (MB) do not always report the same category of data every year, and some are rounded over a few years - 60,000 public visitors every year 2015 to 2018, and in some years before that.
  And the number of measures is falling. MB has published as many as 17 separate measures on ITBB; for 2019 it published five.
  But potentially of more concern for MB is an apparent denial that not all is going well. The following are some of MB’s public statements on ITBB 2019:
-‘Robust and resilient.
-‘International demand remains stable.
-‘Increase in trade visitors.
-‘Uninterrupted growth at a high level’.
  Apart from the trade-visitor count, we cannot see how MB can create such positive comment. The following are our calculations on MB data for this year, compared with our database for 2018 results:
-Zero growth in exhibitors - 10,000.
-Fall, -2.7%, in countries represented - 181.
-Fall, -5.9%, in total visitors - 160k.
-Growth, +3.2%, in trade visitors - 114k.
-Great fall, -22.5%, in public visitors - 45k.
  Note, however, that MB has not published this 45k (we calculated it), and it may be related to MB’s reporting of imprecise data in earlier years.
  In addition, this year there was a separate public travel show in Berlin at the same time - Berlin Travel Festival, March 8-10, Fri-Sun - although obviously BTF did not have the same volume of ITBB.
  Surprisingly, BTF was partly funded (‘supported’, which has no clear definition) by MB, although it certainly competes with the two public days of ITBB, Saturday and Sunday. We presume there will eventually be an adjustment - will ITBB be just three trade days, and the new show will take over from the last two days of ITBB, on the weekend?

Asean travel study
7 February 2019
Key findings from our calculation of visitor forecast to arrive in the 10 Asean destinations* this year. Although these are based on forecasts by the DMOs, the figures are substantially different from official Asean figures.
  We are unable to determine the reasons for this; Asean does not generally reply to queries and/or provide details of its broad positive presentations. Worse, if falls are forecast, the relevant figures are simply omitted.
  In travel, Asean is a ‘good news’ operation, and professional reporting takes second position. We are unqualified to comment on Asean’s main activities, built around politics and economics.
  We find it impossible to reconcile Asean reported data with our compilation of data from DMOs, partly because Asean issues no qualifications. We thus report both data, for better reader interpretation.
-Asean reports Asean+India 2018 visitor arrivals at 139.5mn +7.4%. Based on our estimates for 2018 (full figures are not yet available), we count 143.3mn +6.8% (Asean 132.7mn +6.9%, India 10.6mn +5.0%).
-Asean reports Asean+China+Japan+Korea 2018 visitor arrivals at 191.5mn - growth not reported. Our estimates show a giant difference - 330.1mn +6.2%. The problem is almost-certainly data on China visitors, and whether arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau are included. They are included in China’s official figures, and we have included them. Asean appears to exclude them because that would take about 100mn off our total - putting ours closer to Asean’s count. Asean provides no qualifications.
  The following is our calculation of the principal figures. We believe these are a better report on market realities than Asean’s data:
-Based on official statements by the 10 Asean DMOs forecast, there will be 150.1mn +13.1% visitors this year in their 10 destinations. However, this is unlikely to be achieved; 2018 growth was only an estimated +6.9% to 132.7mn, and 2017 +8.3% to 124.1mn.
-Growing Singapore’s total (by 40%) to better match over-counting by Malaysia and Thailand to balance their over-counting (by including land arrivals; see next) would result in an Asean total of 139.9mn +6.7% in 2018, with their forecast to grow to 157.5mn +12.6% this year.
-Reducing the totals for Malaysia (by 50%) and Thailand (by 10%), Asean’s total would be 116.1mn +7.9% in 2018, with their forecast to grow to 132.8mn +14.3% this year.
  We believe these figures are closest to reality. These also result in faster average annual growth - +8.0% over 2015, +9.0% over 2010. But that cumulative forecast for 2019 still looks too high, based on past performance - +14.3%.
*A full report on this topic in our WYSK: What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

ATF 2019 Daily Update
21 January 2019
Last week, we ran reports on DMO presentations at the Asean Tourism Forum event in Halong Bay, Vietnam. We excluded presentations by non-DMOs. They are included here, preceded by our review of Asean visitor counts.
Asean visitor counts
Based on official statements made at ATF presentations, but including some estimates and extrapolations* by Travel Business Analyst, Asean’s DMOs forecast that there will be 158mn +13% visitors this year in their 10 destinations.
  However, this is unlikely to be achieved; 2018 growth was only +7% to 140mn, and 2017 +8% to 131mn.
*Notes:
-One major adjustment is growing Singapore’s count to match methodology in other destinations.
-A report on this topic in our WYSK-What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some additional totals (by reducing some counts to match Singapore’s methodology), and 5- and 10-year growth comparisons.
MTCO, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
-Has 5- and 10-year strategic plans.
-Among its many activities on social media, has started Mekong Moments - storytelling for everyone - and held the first Mekong Mini Film Festival.
-Prepares comprehensive market reports. Completed in 2018 was Aviation in its region; due this March is Responsible Tourism.
-Its 2018 tourism conference was plastic free. This year’s event will be in Dali, Yunnan, China, which has a new high-speed train service.
-Overtourism. Thailand is doing the most. But many places are trying to spread tourism to other regions - like Cambodia to its southern part of the country. In some, the aim is for quality tourism, by which they usually mean bigger spenders.
-To measure the success of MTCO activities, it has various KPIs (key performance indicators), some which are on the website.
Asean
-Asean has many apparently-overlapping activities. Launched Asean Tourism Marketing Strategy for 2017-20, although there is also an Asean Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-25.
-It targets to attract visitors from certain geographic sectors; there are six, but basically they cover the world excluding Africa and Latin America.
-Much promotional activity is built on promoting Asean as a single destination. The authorities are still not aware that few, if any, travellers visit ‘Asean’. They just visit countries that are Asean members. The same applies to the European Union; few visit the ‘EU’, just some of the 28 destinations countries that are EU members.
-As a further confusion of its message, Asean is now doing a promotion under an old slogan - ‘Southeast Asia; Feel the Warmth’. Not only is the Asean ‘brandname’ not used in this promotion, neither is its logo; ‘SE-Warmth’ has its own.

Trump Slump Bumped
17 September 2018
-there have been extraordinary changes in US visitor counts that turn a fall into growth.
The US has produced a new set of figures on visitor arrivals in the US. It reverses the Trump Slump into a Bump. But the new counts do not correct what may have been a fault; they deliberately miscategorise figures, which produces a Trump Bump.
  We are shocked, but we have seen no other reports that have analysed the changes.
  Here is the story:
  Earlier this year, many reports on visitor arrivals in the US were reporting a ‘Trump Slump’ - a fall in visitors prompted by the negative actions and words of the newish US president, Donald Trump. When he was not banning or trying to ban certain types or citizens from visiting the US, his words were unfriendly.
  Not only did his words ascertain that the US was on its way to becoming great again, but, almost concomitantly, non-Americans (=foreigners) were not so good, at best.
  In those circumstances, there should have been little surprise that the number of visitors would fall. Even if the banned nationals were tiny suppliers of visitors to the US (we guess some country-markets in the hundreds, and maybe 10,000 over a year), many others would, sensibly, have reconsidered a visit to the US.
  Would a France national, moslem, born in France of parents from Morocco, continue to assume a visit to the US would be trouble free?
  But a fall in visitors, of course, even if a likely outcome of specific actions, was not welcomed by the US administration. Its discourse was, and is, that everything is better for everyone in the US, and possibly better than since the beginning of time.
  This is not to say that we accuse the US government of helping the US administration to falsify facts. But its actions nevertheless raise suspicions.
  Last April, the US government said it was checking visitor-arrival counts because some visitors may have been miscategorised.
  The country’s DMO (NTTO, National Travel and Tourism Office) says some arrivals were incorrectly reported as showing US as the country of residence. The passport country for many (NTTO says ‘a large number’, but provides no further definition to enable others to define it thus) of the affected records was Brazil, China, India.
  This month, NTTO announced that the problem has now been fixed.
  But, we declare, it has not been corrected.
  The NTTO says any visitor-arrival that listed the US as the country of residence has now been changed to show the passport country as the country of residence. This is actually changing what may have been a mistake (obviously most arrivals with India passports were/are not residents of the US, even if some were recorded as US residents) to a clear mistake (assuming all those non-US-citizen visitor-arrivals were/are not resident in the US).
  This exercise has reversed the Trump Slump into a Trump Bump.
  In general terms, based on our notes above about the unwelcome sentiment in Trump’s US for ‘foreigners’, the visitor-arrival count now seems wrong. That said, we accept that few figures ‘seem’ right all the time; there are always surprises.
  The NTTO says the change (it says ‘corrective’ but as we have noted, these are not corrections, this is just re-categorisation) means the mistake (if that is what it was) in 2017 affected 3.7mn visitors in 2017 - almost a full Trump Year - yet only 540,000 visitors in non-Trump 2016.
  The other broad figures (more, with an accompanying table, in a WYSK report, what-you-should-know, from Travel Business Analyst):
-The new figures show there were 38.9mn +2.0% overseas visitors in 2017. The old figures were 35.2mn -6.2%.
-For total visitors (ie including Canada, Mexico), new 76.9mn +0.7%, old 73.3mn -3.1%.
-There were no changes for visitors from Canada, Mexico in 2017, but changes in 2016 and 2015. Although the changes in those earlier years were small, why were those 2017 figures ‘corrected’ before the ‘mistake’ in the categorisation was discovered? Even though the Canada and Mexico visitor-arrival counts are so big (almost 40mn in 2017), no visitor was mis-categorised?
*A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

We Were Right; Singapore Airlines Group
18 May 2018
With the news that Silk Air is being merged into Singapore Airlines, the businessplan we outlined for SAG (Singapore Airlines Group) is almost complete.
  We synopsised our points in a November 2013 report following a meeting with a senior SAG executive. Some of these points we had noted before, and of course later. The three elements were:
1. Scoot should not have been established. SAG’s first NFA* Tiger should have been expanded instead. SAG did not own a majority in Tiger at that time, and so we suggested SAG should simply buy a bigger share.
  Three years later this all started to happen. SAG increased its shareholding in Tiger. Then the two airlines Scoot and Tiger were put under a single management control, then Tiger was merged into Scoot.
  Essentially then, this is what we suggested – just one (NFA) airline.
2. Similarly there has been no need (for the past 15 years at least) to have two FSAs*. The inanity of this was illustrated in that there were some routes on which both SIA and Silk were flying. Duh!
  There are nuances to our argument, of course, which make this not quite so blatantly stupid, but it was still was poor business management.
  Now, following this announcement, what we proposed is happening – just one (FSA) airline.
3. However, there was an element in our proposed businessplan for SAG that has not been implemented, and which in some ways makes the SIA/Silk merger the wrong move.
  We proposed that Silk become SAG’s LCA*. As an LCA, Silk’s routes could be new ones for SAG – where it is usually better to start with a lower-cost operation until the financial viability for SIA to operate such a route is clearer. Or a Silk LCA could operate additional frequencies on routes operated by SIA – again, which might not be profitable for SIA to expand.
  Perhaps SAG management believes Scoot will fill that market need – develop new routes. But as management knows, and says, Scoot serves a different market segment.
  Under this new arrangement for SIA/Silk, the full-service market segment is not properly served (because any extra demand from the FSA market will be fulfilled by non-SAG FSAs). That, or higher-costs SIA will add flights to fulfil this extra demand, and lose money, at least initially.
  Also, that would mean SAG’s market share would steadily fall – or at least not grow at the rate it could.
  Will SAG management understand this?
  The chances do not look good – back in 2013 they laughed (literally, but at the proposal, not the deliverer) at our three proposals – two of which they have now carried out.
*Notes: Our airline-type definitions:
-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 example), fewer fare types, may have first and business cabins as well as economy, 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: shorthaul point-to-point routes; market freedom in terms of fares, routes; single aircraft type; where relevant, competition against parent airline allowed; extremely-low fares when bought at least three months in advance, say US$25; one fare at one time (no wholesale rates, travel agency commissions, etc); no refunds; no (free) service frills; single economy-class cabin; no (free) 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.

Misleading WTTC reports
23 March 2018
WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), a lobby group for the travel business, has published a series of comprehensive reports* for selected markets – some measures comparable, some not.
  Unfortunately, the group is so careless in its presentations that the professional observer is sometimes left to guess what WTTC’s research shows. We believe its presentations are in contrast with the professionalism of its research.
  As a result, the following is our (abridged) list of WTTC’s findings, with comments where necessary.
  (Note: WTTC mainly uses the awkward term ‘travel and tourism’*, which we change to the more-practical ‘travel business’*, abbreviated here to TB. Data for 2017, unless noted otherwise.)
[] World.
-TB turnover +4.6%. Visitor spend +4.3%. GDP growth a WTTC-rounded +3%.
[] North Africa.
-TB turnover (overall GDP, TB’s share of GDP): +22.6%; Egypt US$21.1bn +72.9% (+4.1%, 11.0%); Tunisia US$5.7bn +7.6% (WTTC-rounded +2%, 14.2%); Turkey US$98.4bn WTTC-rounded +17% (+7.0%, 11.6%). Note Turkey is part in Europe, part in Asia (Minor), which is sometimes a reason for including it in the Middle East. Including it in North Africa is incorrect.
-‘...well on track to return to pre-crisis levels’. Without a date, this is meaningless commentary; it was on that track the moment the TB stopped falling.
[] Australia.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$156bn/A$197.5bn +2.3% (+2.2%).
[] Canada.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$108bn/C$138.8bn +4.5% (a WTTC-rounded +3%). In a separate report, WTTC puts growth as +5.5%.
[] China.
-TB turnover +9.8%.
[] France.
-TB 50% faster than world average. Wrong? The same report showed that this was a comparison with the visitor business, not the overall TB.
-Visitors to France spent US$54.7bn (at US$1 to €0.81) +6.4%.
-TB turnover US$252.2bn, an 8.9% share.
[] Germany.
-TB turnover US$429.8bn +1.7%.
[] India.
-Forecast to overtake Germany as #3 by 2028.
[] Indonesia.
-TB turnover US$57bn/Rph787.1tn +6.4%; overall GDP +5.1%.
-Forecast +6.4% annual average growth rate 2018-27.
[] Italy.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$275.6bn +2.7%, a WTTC-rounded 13% share (+1.6%).
-Visitor spend US$48.9bn +6.5%.
[] Japan.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$350bn/¥37.1tn +3.4% (+1.6%).
-Forecasts 40mn visitors in 2020. Not clear if this is a WTTC forecast or a restatement of Japan’s government’s target.
[] Saudi Arabia.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$64bn/R240.9bn +4.6% (a WTTC-rounded +1%), a 9.4% share of GDP.
[] Spain.
-TB turnover a WTTC-rounded +7%.
[] UK.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$297bn/a-WTTC-rounded-£214bn +6.2% (+1.5%).
-Visitors +6.7%, outbound travellers +2.5% (+7.8% 2016, +9.9% 2015), domestic travellers +5.8%, spend by visitors to UK +7.9%, spend by domestic travellers +5.8%.
[] US.
-TB turnover (overall GDP): US$1.5tn +2.3% world’s largest (same, +2.3%).
*Notes:
-WTTC has its own methodology for calculating the turnover of the travel business including not just inbound, outbound, and domestic travel, but other industries involved in the business. For instance, if 0.5% of the world’s cars go into the car-rental business, that measure will be calculated into the turnover of the overall travel business.
  Unfortunately, WTTC is not always clear that its data is related to this grand total, and often its commentary appears to be related to just one sector – often, the inbound visitor business. In addition, it sometimes uses the terms ‘travel’ or ‘tourism’ alone; we cannot always determine if these mean something different from ‘travel & tourism’.
  WTTC’s name does not help – the ‘TT’ is ‘travel & tourism’, where we would define ‘travel’ as covering all segments of the travel business, with ‘tourism’ meaning ‘leisure travel’ to most observers - just one segment. This means that most people and bodies the WTTC lobbies may think they are discussing just inbound leisure travel.
-Most US$ figures are our conversions from WTTC figures.
-A report on this topic in our Travel Business Analyst newsletter contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

WTTC Research Director Rochelle Turner responds:
The methodology that WTTC uses aligns to the UN a statistical Methodology for accounting for Travel & Tourism (TSA RMF: 2008).  
The definition of the sector from the TSA RMF:2008 is as follows: ‘the activity of persons travelling to and staying in places outside of their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not remunerated from within the place visited’. 
Our approach has been independently audited and is fully available for view on our website, www.wttc.org. All country regions are fully explained on the final pages within each country report. 

Easy v Ryan v Southwest v Norwegian v Air Asia
22 December 2017
On the occasion of the departure of Easyjet CEO, Carolyn McCall, and prompted by some comments by the airline on her performance over her seven years at the airline, we check the results at Easy and some other competing airlines. These indicate that Easy’s claims for McCall are not justified*.
  According to our database, Easy’s seat sales have shown a +7.0% average annual growth rate since she joined. That looks weak alongside some key competitors – +8.2% AAGR at arch-rival Ryanair, the world’s biggest NFA (no-frills-airline), +14.5% at (relative) newcomer Norwegian, although only +5.9% at US-based Southwest, overtaken two months ago as the world’s biggest NFA, and +15.9% at Air Asia, that region’s biggest NFA. Air Berlin, which has now shut down, was negative, -1.6%.
  The same pattern for Easy’s share price. At current prices, Easy’s share AAGR over end-2010 was +18.3%, Ryan +24.6%, Southwest +24.4%. Only two years for Norwegian, but -25.2%. Also negative for Air Asia, -2.0% over the seven years. Air Berlin was not a quoted airline.
  We calculate Easy’s seat sales have grown +49.7% since 2010, although Ryan has grown +60.6%, Norwegian +124.9%, Air Asia +109.3%, but Southwest +40.9%.
*A report on this topic in our People-in-Travel (PinT) monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

Ryanair tops
8 December 2017
It happened in September and was confirmed in October. According to our counts, Ryanair has overtaken Southwest to become the world's biggest no-frills-airline.
  Seat sales Jan-Oct were 11.0mn on Ryan compared with 10.8mn on Southwest.

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.

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 
https://medium.com/@tbaoffice/airline-strategy-185fa3ef7d0c#.octgrysmf
-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

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

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.

Asean’s Faultlines.
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/

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 the rest of 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.

Shouting some shocks: Virgin, Fly Be, Wizz, Air Berlin.
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; will it achieve its target for profits in 2017?’
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%!

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%.)

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%.

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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Main contents in current issues of our newsletters, reports, and other outlets:

What-You-Should-Know, Asia Pacific: WTO on visitor spend. Macau outlook. Air traffic forecasts. Plus: Market Monitor; ZERO; Market Headlines; People-in-Travel; Net Value; and 10 regular tables of market data.

What-You-Should-Know, Europe: Ireland visitor market. Visitor spend results. Air traffic forecasts. Plus: Market Monitor; ZERO; People-in-Travel; Net Value; Market Headlines; and 10 regular tables of market data.

Net Value: Travel-tech stocks; ‘Things’; others.

People-in-Travel: John Davison; Carsten Spohr; Alwin Zecha; others.

ZERO: IATA misses EV test; others.

Foxtrots/Trottings (recent): Travel Industry Data News; others.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, others (recent): Travel stock review; Travel Industry Data News; others.

 

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