Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Rwanda launches 'gorilla tax'"

According to iafrica.com, "Rwandan companies using the country's famous mountain gorillas' image for marketing purposes will have to pay a tax aimed at financing the endangered species protection, officials announced this week.
'We are launching this campaign to generate income earmarked for the species' protection,' said Fidele Ruzigandekwe, in charge of conservation at the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks." Read more>>

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Tourists not safe in incredible India"

As reported by Hemendra Singh Bartwal, of the Hindustan Times, "Rising Incidents of crimes against foreign tourists has pushed the Tourism Ministry to send a communication to all states asking them to speed up the process of creating a special tourist police force.
The urgency was highlighted by an incident in Mumbai earlier this week where a Latvian national was raped by a driver who offered her a lift.
The ministry had reminded the states to speed up the matter in June at the chief secretaries meet. Today, only 10 states have implemented the measure — the communication had first been sent last year — while the rest continue to drag their feet" Read more>>

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Airlines 'should be forced to increase leg room'"

As reported by Colin Brown, at The Independent, "Airlines should be forced by a change in the law to provide two inches more leg room on board passenger jets, a cross-party committee of peers said in a report on air travel.
The Lords committee on science and technology accused the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of ignoring its own research which recommended the regulatory minimum distance between seats should be increased to 28.2ins (71.6cm) or ideally to 29.4ins from a current minimum of 26ins.
The lack of leg room for seating in passenger jets has been linked to scares over deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can cause fatal blood clots, particularly on long-haul flights. The research also showed more space between seats could allow passengers to evacuate planes more safely in an emergency." Read more>>

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"New rules end confiscation of duty-free liquids bought at Singapore airport from transfer passengers"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Today, the European Commission adopted a regulation allowing air passengers arriving from Singapore and transferring at an EU airport to take duty-free liquids on-board their connecting flights. When changing planes in the EU, these passengers will no longer be obliged to abandon liquids bought at Singapore airport and carried in their cabin baggage. This is the first application of a recent regulation that introduced the possibility of such exemptions for liquids bought in the airports of third countries."

This Press Release is available in full text.

5th Editur and the 1st Ibero-American Seminar of Tourism Law

Organized by IBCDTur - the Brazilian Institute of Tourism Sciences and Law, next week in Piracicaba SP, will take place the 5th Editur and the 1st Ibero-American Seminar of Tourism Law that will deal with the "Propedeutics and Tourism Law: epistemological foundations".
Sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, this event counts with the participation of the Presidents of other two National associations of MERCOSUL, Diego Benítez of AADETUR - the Argentinian Association of Tourism Law and Julio Facal of AUDETUR - the Uruguayan Association of Tourism Law.
The Education, Training and Congresses Committee of IFTTA is in charge of one of the Sessions with Uta Stenzel, from the University of Rostock in Germany, representing the Chairman of the Committee Prof. Klaus Tonner, and member of the Board of Directors of IFTTA, Manuel Masseno, from the Polytechnic of Beja in Portugal, also from the Board of Directors, and Graciela Guidi, from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

USA: DHS Begins Collecting 10 Fingerprints From International Visitors At Washington Dulles International Airport

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now collecting additional fingerprints from international visitors arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles). The change is part of the department's upgrade from two- to 10-fingerprint collection in order to enhance security and fingerprint matching accuracy.
Department of State (DOS) consular officers and DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers collect biometrics—digital fingerprints and a photograph—from all non-U.S. citizens between the ages of 14 and 79, with some exceptions, when they apply for visas or arrive at U.S. ports of entry. The department's US-VISIT program checks this data against a joint Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-DHS watch list of criminals, immigration violators and known or suspected terrorists. Watch list data comes from several sources, in particular the Department of Defense (DOD), FBI, DHS and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Source: DHS press release of December 10, 2007 ; more information here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"EU initiative to strengthen consular protection for citizens outside the European Union"

According to the EU Press Room, "Every Union citizen travelling to or living in a third country where his or her Member State is not represented is entitled to protection by the diplomatic and consular authorities of any Member State on the same conditions as the nationals of that State. The Commission has presented an Action Plan to strengthen this right which is enshrined in Article 20 of the EC Treaty."

This Press Release is available in full text.

"Attorney General Brown petitions EPA to regulate aircraft emissions"

As reported by Jane Kay, at the San Francisco Chronicle, "Air travel contributes to global warming, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted from airplanes, according to petitions expected to be filed today by California, four other states and three environmental groups.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown and the other petitioners want the EPA to start imposing tough limits on plane emissions within six months. The federal government now does not regulate greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft or any other vehicles, including cars and trucks." Read more>>

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

EU: new rules to clear up airline ticket prices

The European Union agreed Friday new measures to make airline ticket costs more transparent by obliging companies to included all taxes and charges in the headline price first shown to consumers.
The measures, agreed Friday by the EU's 27 member states in concert with the European Parliament, are based on the principle that the price the traveller sees should be the real cost of the ticket.
They are aimed at better informing potential passengers and allowing them to compare prices, as in future all the taxes, fees, surcharges and other fees will be figured in.

Source: afp.google.com. Read full article here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Accident. Antarctic cruise ship evacuated.

As the BBC news posted today "More than 150 passengers and crew have been rescued from a tourist ship, after it hit ice off Antarctica. The M/S Explorer began listing close to King George Island in the Antarctic Ocean, near the South Shetland Islands. Susan Hayes, of Gap Adventures, which owns the ship, said some 100 passengers and 54 crew members were evacuated to lifeboats and then to another ship. She said the vessel left Ushuaia on Argentina's southern tip on 11 November on a 19-day trip to the Drake Passage. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it was informed at 0524 GMT on Friday of the incident involving the 2,400-tonne vessel. (..) It ran into trouble approximately 120 km (75 miles) north of the Antarctic Peninsula. 'Fist-sized crack' Ms Hayes, vice-president of marketing for Toronto-based Gap Adventures, told the BBC News website: "The M/S Explorer hit a lump of ice off King George Island this morning and the impact left the vessel with a crack in the hull the size of a fist. (..) Another ship called Antarctic Dream, which was in the area, was diverted to help the rescue. The captain and the chief officer remained on board until everyone was evacuated. Ms Hayes said the ship was taking on water and that pumps were being used to stop the ship, which had an eight-degree list, from sinking. The spokeswoman did not have a passenger list to hand but said most of their customers on the cruise route were typically from Britain, Canada and America. The rescue operation was co-ordinated by the US Coastguard in Norfolk, Virginia, with the authorities in Ushuaia."

Source: details online at "BBC news ".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"European Commission proposes to open aviation negotiations with Israel"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Today, the European Commission proposed to open negotiations with Israel on a comprehensive aviation agreement. As part of the process of creating a Common Aviation Area with its Eastern and Southern neighbours by 2010, the Commission's aim is to establish an open aviation area between the EU and Israel, to lift market restrictions and to achieve a high level of regulatory convergence."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

EU: criticism on plans for extensive airline pricing

Airlines may be required to publish a detailed breakdown of their prices, in addition to a fully inclusive price, if a new law being considered by Europe’s legislators gets the green light, risking further confusion for passengers. The 60-strong airline members of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) have been at the forefront of publishing fully inclusive fares to the public as part of the “Plain Fares” campaign launched by the Association in 2006. As part of the European Commission’s review of the Third Package legislation, lawmakers are now proposing for airlines, and airlines only, to publish a detailed breakdown of their prices, splitting out for example the costs of airport security and fuel surcharges.

Source: press release 14/11/2007 by European Regions Airline Association ; read full article here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"More choice and lower costs when booking airline tickets: the Commission advocates more competition in airline ticket distribution"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission adopted today a proposal to simplify and modernise the two-decade-old rules for computerised reservation systems (CRS). These systems are used by travel agents to book airline tickets on behalf of their customers. The revised rules will allow CRSs and subscribing travel agents to expand their offer and better compete in the airline distribution market."

This Press Release is available in full text.

"Suit accuses car rental firms of price-fixing"

As reported by Patrick McGreevy and Jean-Paul Renaud, at the Los Angeles Times, "In December 2006, the average daily rate for a mid-size rental car booked via the Internet at Los Angeles International Airport was about $60. A month later, the rate had climbed to $79, according to a study by a consumer group.
A class-action lawsuit filed by the group Wednesday alleged that the spike was the result of illegal price-fixing by rental-car companies - enabled by a new state law that allows the companies to change the way they advertise rates at many airports.
The amended law, which was drafted at the urging of rental car companies, was rushed through the Legislature with three minutes of debate in a late-night session only hours before legislators adjourned last year." Read more>>

USA: Department of Transportation slammed for handling of airline complaints

Airline passenger complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation are rolling in by the thousands this year, but fliers waiting for government help may be disappointed.
This year, the DOT's enforcement office has closed just 25 consumer protection investigations with so-called consent orders, or settlement agreements, with the violators. As part of those orders, DOT has assessed $1.15 million in fines against airlines and other aviation-related firms for a variety of violations, including deceptive practices and failing to properly accommodate disabled passengers on planes.
Meanwhile, the DOT through September has logged 8,612 passenger complaints, up 70% for the same period last year. Those complaints — about delayed and canceled flights, lost luggage, bad customer service, refunds never made and other problems — doubled during the heavy travel months of July and August from a year earlier. Critics, including past DOT officials, say the department's consumer protection enforcement is simply not good enough.

Source: usatoday.com; read full article here.
DOT information on complaints about air travel to be found here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Austria: another Preliminary Ruling Procedure instituted in regard to Reg. 261/2004

Commercial Court Vienna has referred a case to European Court of Justice for preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Reg. 261/2004, specificly the differentiation between "cancellation" and "delay" as well as the term "extraordinary circumstances" in regard to technical defects of an aircraft.
ECJ admitted the motion (file no. C-432/07) and decided to connect same to the pending proceedings on preliminary ruling instituted by German BGH (C-402/07).

UNTWO: Historic Ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market 2007

World Travel Market is hosting a major UNWTO Ministers’ Summit on Tourism and Climate Change today, Tuesday 13 November. More than 100 Ministers will be asked to consider and ratify a Declaration recommended by environmental experts at the UNWTO’s Summit on Climate Change in Davos, Switzerland in October.
The Ministerial Declaration will be put to the UNWTO’s General Assembly at the end of November and will be a major aspect of the organization’s submission to the United Nations Bali Climate Summit in December 2007.
The Summit at ExCeL London, between 9.00 -14.00hrs, will be broadcast to World Travel Market delegates in the Central Boulevard as well as to a dedicated media room in the International Press Centre.

Source: UNTWO press release; read full text here.

UNTWO: Latest World Tourism Barometer

International tourist arrivals continue sustained growth rate reaching 5.6% 610 million international tourist arrivals from January to August 32 million more arrivals already counted for 2007.
International tourist arrivals for the first eight months of 2007 point to a continuation of the sustained growth rate experienced over the past years. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, this trend is likely to continue through the remainder of 2007, with year-end growth estimated at 5.7%, which would put international arrivals to 880-900 million.

Source: UNTWO press release; click here for a summary of the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Spain: 15th Century Spanish Maps Stolen from Madrid now recovered by FBI

The FBI announced the return of two 15th century maps that were stolen from the Spanish National Library in Madrid, Spain, earlier this year. The FBI assisted in the recovery of the maps at the request of the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard. The two maps, from an edition of Ptolemy's Geographia, were recovered by a special agent assigned to the New York FBI's major theft squad and the FBI's Art Crime Team. Director Robert S. Mueller, III, presented the maps today to Joan Mesquida Ferrando, Director General of the Spanish National Police and Civil Guard in a ceremony at FBI Headquarters.

Read full article here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

EU: outcome of the public consultation on the review of consumer protection rules published

Following the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis (COM(2006) 744 Final, the Commission has received more than 300 responses from consumer and business associations, Member States, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and groups of stakeholders. After analysing all the responses, the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General has issued a staff working document which summaries the outcome of the consultation.
The staff working document will be complemented by a detailed analysis of the responses to the Green Paper prepared by GHK Consulting for the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General.
All responses submitted following the Green Paper are available here

Monday, November 05, 2007

EU: Escorted Tours Seminar to take place in London

On Thursday 8th November, the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) will hold a seminar to discuss the application of EU law to escorted tours.
Of concern is inter alia the lack of clarity as to which qualifications are needed by tourist guides to carry out their duties in EU member states. In Italy, where tour escorts have traditionally faced difficulties with the authorities regarding their ability to ‘guide’, the Bersani reform was passed in April this year, aiming to liberalise various aspects of the economy, including tourist guiding. The good news for tour operators is that Italy is striving to develop into a better environment for foreign tourist guides. In practice though, application of the reform will depend on each Italian region's interpretation of it. Dino Costanza, ETOA’s Rome-based lawyer, will explain how the trade association’s dialogue with Italy’s Department of Tourism will offer useful insight on the progress of the reform, and its impact on those tour operators whose groups travel to Italy.
The Escorted Tours Seminar will take place on Thursday 8th November at the Crowne Plaza London – the City, 19 New Bridge St, London EC4V 6DB, United Kingdom. For further information and to gain accreditation as a journalist, please contact Adam Buckmaster, ETOA, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7499 4412, Email: ABuckmaster@etoa.org or David Tarsh, Tarsh Consulting, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, Email: David@Tarsh.com.

More information here.

Turkey: Ecotourism Awards at 68th SKAL World Congress

The 6th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards were presented by the President of Skål International, Litsa Papathanassi and Vice President, Media and Public Relations, Hulya Aslantas in the presence of the Minister of Tourism of Turkey, Mr. Ertugrul Gunay during the Opening Ceremony of the 68th Skål World Congress held in Antalya, Turkey on 5th November 2007 at the Maritime Pine Beach Resort. Skål, founded as an international association in 1934 is the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, embracing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry, in five Continents, 87 Countries and at over 500 locations, with 22,000 members from hoteliers to travel agents, Airlines, tourism media, tourism academies etc.

The winners are announced as follows:

In the category of Tour Operators and Travel Agents:
AQUA-TREK'S FIJI CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PROGRAM, FIJI ISLANDS

In the category of Rural Accommodation:
MARARI BEACH, A CGH EARTH EXPERIENCE HOTEL, MARARIKULAM, INDIA

In the category of Urban Accommodation:
UPPAL'S ORCHID - AN ECOTEL HOTEL INDIA

In the category of General Countryside:
CORAL REEF WALK&RESTORATION PROGRAM AND CORAL FARM, FIJI ISLANDS

In the category of Cities and Villages:
ECOVITA ORGANIC CAMPING AND FARM, ECUADOR

In the category of Educational Programmes and Media:
YACHANA LODGE AND YACHANA HIGH SCHOOL, ECUADOR

Detailed information about the winners can be found on the Skål International website or by clicking the following direct link: www.skal.org/html/ecotourism/eco.asp?idioma=I

USA: detained Iraqi Americans sue airline

Six Iraqi Americans returning to Detroit after training U.S. military personnel contend they were racially profiled when they were pulled off an American Airlines flight in August and accused of being a security risk.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the airline, the men say airline employees halted a flight about to leave San Diego for Chicago and detained them after the flight crew thought they were security threats because they spoke Arabic and because of their appearance.
The Iraqi natives were interrogated in front of other passengers and then detained for more than an hour with the help of the San Diego police, according to the suit. Afterward, they were released and flew later that week.

Source: freep.com by Detroit Free Press; read full article here.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

"And now it's time for halal tourism"

As reported by Clark Kelly, at the Travel & Tourism News Middle East, "Regional tourism players will be advised at this month’s World Travel Market (WTM) to exploit a new category of tourism dubbed Halal Tourism.
According to an excerpt from the WTM Global Trends Report being unveiled at the WTM and made available in advance to TTN, there is currently little differentiation between Middle Eastern tourism products and services for Muslims and non-Muslims. This represents a huge opportunity for Halal tourism, a form of religious tourism defined as activities permissible under Islamic law." Read more>>

Friday, November 02, 2007

6th Annual Hospitality Law Conference

Organized by HospitalityLawyer.com, the 6th Annual Hospitality Law Conference, will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

Full information is available here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Managing China's Inbound Growth

PATA Chairman Mr Brian Deeson (right) joined VIPs in opening the Tourism Future & Development - China Forum 2007 in Kunming, China (PRC) today.
Managing China's Inbound Growth Stimulating inbound tourism growth is not at issue for China (PRC), rather it is the need to manage and harness the growth, PATA Chairman Mr Brian Deeson told an industry forum in Kunming today. Speaking at the Tourism Future & Development - China Forum 2007, Mr Deeson said China had already become the world's fourth most popular destination and could become the number one destination within 10 years.
"However, we know that growth can be a double-edged sword, particularly when it comes to sustainability," he said. "And one of the biggest challenges facing China, and our industry as a whole, is climate change." Mr Deeson said PATA was calling on leaders of travel and tourism across Asia Pacific to join forces at the PATA CEO Challenge: Confronting Climate Change, to take place in Bangkok, April 29-30 next year.
PATA Vice President-Operations Mr Michael Yates spoke about a new report the Association is developing with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) to identify ways China can maximise the economic, cultural and environmental benefits of inbound tourism.
Mr Deeson and Mr Yates joined CNTA Vice Chairman Mr Du Jiang and AC Nielsen senior manager Dr Grace Pan for a panel discussion moderated by noted CNN travel presenter Mr Richard Quest. www.PATA.org/ceochallenge

"Liberalising the rules on foreign tourism"

As reported by Nguyen Thu Hang - Vision & Associates, at the Viet Nam News, "Viet Nam attracts more and more international tourists every year, and the number of Vietnamese travelling abroad is also growing, making the tourism industry increasingly attractive to foreign investors.
However, the mass media has lately reported many cases of unlicensed foreign tourism service operators or foreigners practicing as tour guide without a licence.
To address the problem while gradually liberalising foreign participation in the tourism sector, the Prime Minister issued Decree No 92/2007/ND-CP on June 1, 2007, detailing implementation of the Law on Tourism, passed in 2005. Decree No 92 replaces previous regulations on tourism, including Decree No 45/2000/ND-CP of September 6, 2000, governing branches and representative offices of foreign tourist enterprises." Read more>>

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Tour operators welcome new tourism legislation"

From Arusha, Adam Ihucha reports, at the Guardian, that "The government has won many hearts of local tour operators for introducing legislation to restrict foreigners to involve in tourism transactions.
In their comments made separately to this paper, the operators said the proposed new legislation anticipated to be in force by early next year was much overdue. 'Now we are heading to the right direction, in fact the move by the government is highly appreciated,' said Firoz Suleiman, Director of Sunny Safaris. He proposed that taxes accruing from the tourism industry should be paid according to the law of the land.
The Managing Director of Golden Rose Travel and Tours Company, Walter Maeda commended the Government for eventually acting in a 'better late than never' style. He said neighbouring Kenya's tourism authority barred foreigners from dealing with all tourism related undertakings long ago. 'The secret behind the flourishing tourism business in Kenya is that the industry is fully run by indigenous people,' he remarked. Maeda says until the new legislation comes into force, 'Tanzania policy allows foreigners to invest in petty businesses such as restaurants and guest houses and yet be entitled with the title, investor,' Maeda noted.
Armstrong Nyaka of Jackis Tours was happy that at last the government had wakened up and seen the way it has been loosing a large chunks of cash accrued from the tourism trade. 'A lot of money has been secretly siphoned out of the country by foreign tour and travel operators who maintain offices in Tanzania and abroad at the expense of the nation and its people,' he said.
Carlos Da Silva Verela of African Rhino Safaris and Ecotourism Africa said the majority of small indigenous investors in tourism used to face stiff competition brought by the foreign investors."

Source: IPPMEDIA

Monday, October 29, 2007

"The ten best European rural tourist destinations"

According to the EU Press Room, "Vice President Günter Verheugen awarded the 'European Destinations of Excellence' (EDEN) to the ten best emerging rural destinations at the European Annual Tourism Forum in Portugal on 26th of October. The aim of EDEN is twofold: to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where commercial success goes hand in hand with social, cultural and environmental sustainability. It also creates awareness of Europe’s tourist diversity and quality, besides promoting Europe as the foremost tourism destination in the world."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mexico: consumer protection agency fines grounded local airline

Budget airline Lineas Aereas Azteca, grounded six months ago for safety problems, has been fined 4.5 million pesos (US$417,000; €293,000) for failing to correct the problems or refund airfares for canceled flights to consumers. If the company refunds airfares to consumers the fine could be reduced.
Azteca is the second low-cost carrier the government has grounded in the past 18 months. Aerocalifornia's service was suspended in April 2006 for safety reasons, but the airline resumed some operations four months later.

Source: International Herald Tribune; read full article here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Airlines need better European law-making procedures"

"Two Resolutions agreed by members of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) at last Friday’s AGM (19 October 2007) in Athens have highlighted inconsistencies in the European Parliament’s law-making procedures. In the first Resolution, concerning the establishment of a European emissions trading regime for air transport, ERA calls upon MEPs to reject the recent amendments proposed by the Environment Committee (ENVI) which, according to the Association, would add €20 billion per year to the costs of European air transport, and to accept many of the amendments proposed by the Transport and Tourism Committee, which it says will improve the practical procedures to implement the European Commission’s original proposal." Read more>>

Source: InternationalTravelDailyNews

"Competitive and sustainable destinations discussed at European Tourism Forum"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Strategies to make EU tourism destinations competitive by embracing sustainability will be the focal point of discussions at the 6th European Tourism Forum, which takes place tomorrow in Portimao, Algarve in Portugal. At the occasion of this conference, European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen will present the awards to the winners of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) tomorrow. At the forum the European Commission will also present its new communication launching a strategy to foster sustainable and competitive tourism in Europe. It invites all stakeholders to strengthen the contribution of sustainable practices to making Europe the most attractive tourism destination."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Almulla Launches World’s First International Sharia Compliant Hotel Chain"

"Dubai-based hospitality group Almulla, today launched the world’s first Sharia compliant hotel brand portfolio under three core brand names of Cliftonwood, Adham and Wings. The hotel group strategic plan calls for 30 properties by the end of 2008.
'There are plenty of individual Sharia compliant hotels throughout the world. However their positioning is usually dictated by the owner, either as an independent hotel, one within a chain or due to the Sharia law of country where they are situated,' commented Abdulla M Almulla, Chairman of Almulla Hospitality. 'Our brand proposition is so distinct that guests will be confident that our brand values have universal consistency.'." Read more>>

Source: Middle East Business News.

IATA: Passenger numbers to reach 2.75 billion by 2011

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released passenger and freight traffic forecasts projecting that in 2011 the air transport industry will handle 2.75 billion passengers (620 million more passengers than in 2006) and 36 million tonnes of international freight (7.5 million tonnes more than in 2006).
International passenger demand is expected to rise from 760 million passengers in 2006 to 980 million in 2011 at an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1%. This will be lower than the 7.4% AAGR recorded during 2002-2006, largely due to slightly slower global economic growth.
Domestic passenger demand is expected grow from 1.37 billion passengers in 2006 to 1.77 billion in 2011, an AAGR of 5.3%, fuelled by expansion in the Indian and Chinese domestic markets.
International freight volumes are expected to grow at an AAGR of 4.8% over the forecast period, supported by economic growth, globalisation and trade. Strong price competition from other modes of transport is expected to keep freight demand growth below the 6.2% AAGR recorded for 2002-2006.

Source: IATA News No. 37 of 24 October 2007. For more detailed information on Passenger or Freight Traffic forecasts visit
http://email.iata.org/servlet/cc5?pHlHQSDDQUVOmshkJoplFxJhhiqjLJolQHlVaVU

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Two SARs plan closer cooperation on tourism"

From Macau, Nickkita Lau reports, at The Standard, that "Hong Kong and Macau have agreed to negotiate with the mainland government on combining into one the current separate visas for mainland tourists visiting the two cities.
The aim is for mainland tourists, under the Individual Visit Scheme, to travel to both places in one trip, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board chairman James Tien Pei-chun who revealed the plan yesterday.
Hong Kong and Macau are not competitors but partners in tourism promotion, Tien said after meeting with Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah and Macau tourism officials in the neighboring SAR. He said increasingly severe international competition has driven them to embrace their partnership.
The two cities are only separated by water, Tien said.
Hong Kong, he said, should position itself as a sight-seeing, shopping and dining capital while Macau will continue to attract tourists with its World Heritage, gaming and entertainment facilities." Read more>>

Monday, October 22, 2007

"Dar locks foreign investors out of tourism sector"

As reported by Mike Mande, at The EastAfrican, "In a move that confirms the growing resentment of foreign investors in Tanzania’s tourism sector, the government plans to introduce legislation to bar foreigners from engaging in tourism related businesses in the country.
The new legislation — expected to come into effect as early as next year — proposes to restrict the participation of foreign investors in areas such as travel agency business, mountain climbing, trekking or owning tour and travel operations in the country.
While the minister in charge of tourism will retain powers and discretion to grant exemptions, especially with regard to existing business, the expectation is that some of the business people will be asked to leave." Read more>>

"Vice-President Barrot meets India's Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr. Patel to strengthen cooperation in civil aviation"

According to the EU Press Room, "As a follow-up to the successful first EU-India Aviation Summit held in New Delhi in November 2006, Mr. Praful Patel, Minister for Civil Aviation of India is visiting several European institutions on 22-23 October 2007. The visit is being hosted by Mr. Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for transport. The two sides expressed their shared aspirations driven by their respective policies of promoting safe, open and sustainable aviation relations for the benefit of industry and consumers."


This Press Release is available in full text.

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Antitrust: Commission market tests commitments from eight members of SkyTeam concerning their alliance cooperation"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has invited comments from interested parties on commitments proposed by eight members of the SkyTeam airline alliance, namely Aeromexico, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Korean Air, Northwest Airlines and Air France. These commitments are designed to meet concerns under the EC Treaty's ban on restrictive business practices (Article 81), raised in the Commission's Statement of Objections of 15 June 2006. The Commission is concerned that the cooperation in passenger air transport services between these SkyTeam members may have negative effects for passengers on routes where they enjoy a strong market position and where barriers to entry are significant. To address these concerns, the parties have offered commitments designed to facilitate new entry on the routes in question. The parties mainly offer to make slots available at appropriate EU airports to allow competitors to operate new or additional services and to share their frequent flyer programs. A notice summarising the commitments and requesting comments from interested parties within one month, has been published in the EU Official Journal C245 of 19.10.2007."

This Press Release is also available in full text.

19th IFTTA Conference (PAPERS)


Almost all the papers presented at the Conference are now available.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Are Hotels Breaking Competition Law?"

"When the leaders of the European inbound travel industry meet this coming 9th November at The Global European Marketplace at Earls Court, London, they will be considering some questions that could have a dramatic impact on the way the tourism market operates. One of these is the vexed issue of price collusion.

Hotels often seek to ensure that their published rates are not undercut. They have been known to insist on a guarantee that the price the operator sells to the public does not differ from their own advertised price.
  • Do such agreements constitute price fixing?
  • What are the penalties for agreeing to this?
  • How can agreements be made without falling foul of competition law?
These questions go to the heart of the way the market for hotel accommodation operates, as many hotels seek to ensure the prices to consumers on their own web sites are the lowest in the market.
Neil Baylis, an expert in European competition law from the law firm K&L Gates, will explore these issues in depth and explain what is and what is not lawful." Read more>>

Source: ForImmediateRelease.Net

19th IFTTA Conference

BEJA (11/10/2007). At the Table: Phil Cameron (USA), João Vidal e Afonso Café (Portugal) and Michael Tanti-Dougall (Malta). On the right: Antonia Paniza (Spain) and Manuel David Masseno (Portugal). From the back: Harry Manuel (Nedherlands), Henriette Cordeiro Guérios (Brazil), Gianluca Rossoni (Italy) and Maria Goretti Sanches Lima (Brazil).

Monday, October 15, 2007

"IATA: Dutch ticket tax proposal is ineffective and inappopriate"

"The International Air Transport Association (IATA) condemned the Dutch Government's plans to impose further taxes on air passengers. The government is planning to tax passengers departing the Netherlands by air as much as € 45 citing environmental reasons.
The passenger tax also breaches resolutions of the International Civil Organisation (ICAO) and Article 15 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. 'I am surprised that the Netherlands, as an ICAO Contracting State, chooses to ignore its obligations and trample over international agreements', Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO, commented."

Source: Avionews.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

USA: airline data available on the Web

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the International Center for Air Transportation have created a comprehensive Web collection of airline data.
The Airline Data Project features an online databank that provides details and analysis of airline data since 1995. The resource allows users to compare 15 U.S. airlines on a wide variety of measures, including fleet utilization, labor costs, cash flow and profitability.
The Airline Data Project (ADP) was established by the MIT Global Airline Industry Program to better understand the opportunities, risks and challenges facing this vital industry. The ADP presents the most important airline industry data in one location in an easy-to-understand, user-friendly format. The data has been selected and analyzed to present a view of the industry and its important trends, as well as to identify fundamental drivers of success – and in some cases, the early signs of potential failure.

Find the database here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Eight African leaders speak on continent's travel opportunities"

"The Africa Travel Association (ATA), a 33-year old global travel trade association promoting tourism to Africa, held its Second Annual Presidential Forum on Tourism in New York City on Friday, September 28 at New York University’s Law School in Greenwich Village. Hosted by New York University’s Africa House, the theme of the event was 'positive news on Africa.'
The forum provided African leaders with the opportunity to present the continent’s rich travel opportunities to almost 200 leaders from government, non-government and business communities, the tourism industry, travel trade media, and education. Each leader spoke of the need to market 'Destination Africa' in a way that benefits both the continent as a whole and each individual country." Read more>>

Source: Travel Daily News International.

Monday, October 01, 2007

"Governments Endorse Global Strategy for Aviation and Climate Change - Europe Out-of-touch on Emissions Trading"...

On another hand, "The International Air Transport Association (IATA) applauded the comprehensive strategy for aviation and climate change agreed at the Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), subject to confirmation by today's [Friday's] Plenary. At the same time, IATA expressed deep disappointment in Europe's failure to accept a global approach to emissions trading, based on mutual consent."

This Press Release is also available in full text.

"Europe stands firm on ambitious action to cut Aviation Emissions"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The 36th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) ended on Friday without clear agreement on a way forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. Europe pressed for a more ambitious outcome, but safeguarded its ability to introduce an aviation emissions trading scheme.
Speaking for Europe at the end of the talks in Montreal, Luis Fonseca de Almeida, Director General of Civil Aviation for Portugal [Portugal speaks as President of the European Union (EU) and of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC)], said 'We strongly believe that it would be best if the international community could reach an effective mechanism on tackling aviation emissions. We are disappointed by the outcome and believe ICAO has abdicated the leadership role given to it in the Kyoto Protocol. That is a very great failing that should concern us all.'"

This Press Release is available in full text.

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Goa tourism industry against govt norms over night parties"

"Goa tourism industry has expressed its reservations over the stringent norms to be implemented by the state against noise created by late night parties.
'The norms should not be implemented in letter but spirit,' Travel and Tours Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralf D'Souza said on Thursday.
With the beginning of tourist season in the state, the administration has geared up to lower noise pollution created through loud music during parties. As per Madhya Pradesh noise pollution act, there is a ban on parties playing music over 55 decibels after 2200 hrs.
However, tourism industry feels that such a stringent act would discourage tourism trade in the state. 'People come here to enjoy night life.... You can't expect them to go to bed at 10 in the night,' D'Souza said." Read more>>

Source: Newindpress.com

Thursday, September 27, 2007

World Tourism Day

Today we're publishing the speech delivered by Francesco Frangiali, Secretary General of UNWTO:

video

Sunday, September 23, 2007

"The evolving role of law in aerospace activities"

The Daily News publishes a very interesting article of Dr. Ruwantissa Abeyratne, Coordinator of Air Transport Programmes at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, containing excerpts from a legal lecture of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Montreal Branch, delivered on August 3, 2007 at ICAO Headquarters, Montreal, that is available in full text.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"New tourism law introduces site management - Jordan"

"The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in cooperation with the USAID/Jordan Tourism Development Project (Siyaha), has developed a new tourism law due to the need for rapid development, imposed by the global tourism industry and in response to the goals of the National Tourism Strategy.
The main concepts of the new law were presented to an audience of government and industry stakeholders on Sunday.
The new law is part of a reform effort to augment the role of the private sector and its contribution to expanding and developing the country's tourism sector, as well as raising performance standards of tourism professions, according to a Siyaha statement.
The legislation completely differs from all previous laws related to tourism as it introduces tourism site management and planning concepts. It changes the ministry's role from that of an operator to one of a regulator and also sets more transparent and efficient systems for licensing of tourism professions and protecting the interests of tourists, the statement said.
The Tourism Law covers four areas: Management and growth of tourism assets, regulating and upgrading tourism professions, tourism marketing, and vocational training." Read More>>

Source: MENAFM/The Jordan Times

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Mergers: Commission clears proposed creation of Moneydirect joint venture between Amadeus and Sabre"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation by Amadeus of Spain and Sabre of the US of Moneydirect, a full function joint venture which will be active in the field of payment processing and clearing systems. Both parent companies also provide electronic travel distribution services to the travel industry through a global distribution system (GDS). The Commission has concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it."

This Press Release is available in full text.

"Rules for tourist home stays under way"

As reported by Wangui Maina, at Business Daily Africa, "The Ministry of Tourism is considering guidelines to encourage home stays to address bed shortage.
The move will see home owners with extra space get registration to accommodate tourists on their premises, at a cost, and under guidelines stipulated by the ministry.
Currently, there are no proper guidelines on where home stays can be licensed or even a star rating for the facilities as is the case in destinations like South Africa.
Speaking to Business Daily, Mr Mwangi Gakunga, the public relations officer at the Ministry of Tourism, said there was no data on how many home stays there are in the country. 'So far, there are also no clear guidelines on where home stays can be found. However, we are working toward putting them in place,' he added." Read more >>

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"State aid: European Commission opens investigation into support to Alghero airport, Italy"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has decided to launch a formal investigation into support that would have been granted by the Sardinia Region and SOGEAAL SpA, the publicly owned company operating Alghero airport, to various air carriers, and by the Sardinia Region to SOGEAAL SpA. The investigation will allow the Commission to assess whether such support falls afoul of EU State aid rules.
The Commission's investigation will focus around three separate aspects. Firstly, the Commission will investigate agreements between SOGEAAL and Irish air carrier Ryanair concerning marketing support and other contributions. In this regard, one of the main aspects of the Commission's in-depth inquiry will be to assess whether the support provided could have been granted by a market economy investor, in which case such support would not fall under EU State aid rules.
Secondly, the Commission will investigate a number of handling fee rebates which are apparently granted to low-cost air carriers at Alghero airport.
Finally, the Commission considers that financial support and compensation granted to SOGEAAL SpA for its operating losses and capital increase might constitute State aid in favour of the airport operator.
Should the formal investigation lead to the conclusion that one or several of these measures constitute State aid, the Commission will need to assess whether they can be declared as 'compatible State aid'.
The Commission has launched this formal investigation following a complaint from a competing airline."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Black list of banned airlines: the European Commission adopts new measures"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission today adopted the fifth update of the Community’s list of airlines banned in the European Union; this was first drawn up in March 2006 and last amended in July. The new list replaces the previous one and can already be consulted on the Commission’s website [1]. With this update the Commission is banning in the European Union two new airlines that have been found to be unsafe: Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines from Ukraine and the Iranian company, Mahan Air.
'This latest update illustrates once more that the black list is a dynamic instrument which the Commission can use whenever necessary, without having to wait for the quarterly reviews', said Jacques Barrot, Commission Vice-President in charge of transport.
On the basis of notifications from several Member States, the Commission questioned the two carriers (Ukrainian Mediterranean Airlines and Mahan Air) and the respective national civil aviation authorities responsible for their supervision. It also consulted the committee of Member State air safety experts, whose task it is to assist the Commission in such matters and who unanimously approved the bans."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

UK: Tour operators lose 'stealth tax' legal challenge

A group of tour operators has lost its High Court challenge against the Government's Air Passenger Duty (APD), a controversial £2 billion a year levy branded a “stealth tax of the skies”.
Dismissing a legal challenge brought by the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and two of its member companies - Tui UK and Kuoni Travel – a judge ruled that APD was a lawful charge.
The judge also upheld Gordon Brown's decision earlier this year to double APD, leaving holiday companies with a “shock” bill of some £50 million they could not pass on to customers because of insufficient notice of the increase.
Dismissing the case, which was an application for a judicial review, a mechanism through which interested parties can attempt to challenge Government decisions through the courts, Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, said had has “some sympathy” for the tour operators. However, claimants had not established any of their grounds for challenging APD or its increase.
The FTO was refused permission to appeal, but can still ask the Court of Appeal directly to consider its case. It said it was “disappointed” with the outcome and was considering a possible appeal.

Source: timesonline; read full article here. FTO's statement to be found here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Air pilgrims face holy water ban"

"Pilgrims on the Vatican's new chartered airline have been told to leave holy water behind for security reasons.
Officials at Tarbes-Lourdes airport in southern France said that bottles of water from the shrine at Lourdes could present a potential terrorist threat.
The pilgrims were told they could not carry holy water in bottles bigger than the maximum allowed: 100 ml.
Security staff at the airport said they were simply following international anti-terror regulations.
Measures limiting liquids allowed in carry-on baggage came in response to claims by British police in 2006 that there was a plot to bring down US-bound flights using liquid explosives.
Francesco Pizzo, Mistral Air's president, said the company had to respect international regulations on the matter.
The airline provided a small bottle of holy water, in the shape of the Virgin Mary, for each passenger, once they had boarded the plane for the flight home from Lourdes.
Mistral Air began flights from Rome to Lourdes on Monday and plans to extend its service to other Roman Catholic shrines."

Source: BBC News.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Illegal travel operators earn millions USD"

"Investigators of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) recently inspected tour operations related to groups of visitors at Hanoi's Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature). In less than two hours, they discovered nearly ten cases of violations of the Tourism Law, mainly illegal international travel operations.
So far this year, VNAT has asked the Ministry of Public Security to expel 18 foreigners who illegally worked as tour guides in Vietnam.
VNAT's investigation revealed 25 tour guides who violated the Tourism Law, six companies committed violations related to international travel services, and four illegal foreign tourism representative offices." Read more >>

Source: VietNamNet Bridge.

Vietnam: Man sues budget airline over disabled-access fee

A Vietnamese man is suing the country's budget airline for charging him a wheelchair service for his disabled wife to board a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi claiming the airline did not inform him of any extra fees for disabled passengers when he purchased tickets for the flight. Pacific Airlines is refusing to pay the man's claim of 25 dollars, half the fee he was charged, because it would "create a bad precedent," a spokesman told the English-language Vietnam News.
No court date has been set for the case, filed August 16 in Tan Binh District Court of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam does not have strong laws requiring equal access for disabled people, according to Trinh Minh Hien, head of the Ministry of Transport's legal department.

Source: earthtimes.com, reas full article here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Calmer heads should prevail on U.S. visa provision"

Yesterday, the International Herald Tribune published a very interesting article, written by Daniel Griswold, Director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, on the current US Visa Policy, that is available in full text, here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Terror alert puts cloud over Bali travel cover"

As reported by Clive Dorman, at The Age, "A Travel law specialist has warned that government advice about travel to Indonesia may technically invalidate travel insurance for trips to the holiday island of Bali.
Even though insurers continue to cover travellers to Bali, Tony Cordato, of Sydney's Cordato Partners Tourism Lawyers, believes the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advice for travel to Bali triggers the exclusion clause in travel insurance policies that disqualifies covering anyone who ignores government warnings.
The department advises that people should 'reconsider their need' to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, 'because of the very high threat of terrorist attack'. It is the second-highest category, a so-called level four warning. Mr Cordato said that while the issue had not been tested in court, 'the conclusion must be that there is no travel insurance coverage for travel to countries where level four travel advisories apply'.
Travel insurers and the Insurance Council of Australia have so far been unwilling to weigh in on the issue. But the industry is already facing a dramatic increase in disputes over travel insurance policies as more Australians, particularly older Australians, travel overseas."

Friday, August 24, 2007

"British Airways Plc and Korean Air Line Co. Ltd. Agree to Plead Guilty and Pay Criminal Fines Totaling $600 Million for Fixing Prices [...]"

As stated by the US Department Of Justice, "WASHINGTON — U.K.-based British Airways Plc and South Korean-based Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. have each agreed to plead guilty and pay separate $300 million criminal fines for their roles in conspiracies to fix the prices of passenger and cargo flights, announced the Department of Justice. Today's plea agreements are the first to arise from the Antitrust Division's ongoing investigation into the air transportation industry.
The charges against the two airline companies were filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Under the plea agreements, which are subject to court approval, British Airways and Korean Air have agreed to cooperate with the Department's ongoing investigation.
'The Department of Justice is committed to vigorous antitrust enforcement and will continue to bring to justice those who fix prices and thereby deprive the American public of the benefits afforded by a truly competitive market,' said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. 'International law enforcement cooperation is crucial in prosecuting global cartels such as these, and today's enforcement actions represent the successful coordination between the United States and the U.K.'s Office of Fair Trading.'."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"China Tells Its Tourists No Shouting"

"China's advice to its citizens who travel abroad: No fighting, no shouting and, please, no extortion.
The new guidelines for Chinese tourists, posted on the Foreign Ministry's Web site Tuesday, cover a wide range of dangerous or problem behavior to help head off trouble. Travelers are told to avoid drawing attention to themselves, respect local customs, and keep a wary eye on strangers.
'Keep peaceful in public places, don't talk loud and avoid sticking out,' the guidelines said. 'Don't get involved in other people's quarrels in public places,' it added, a nod to the Chinese habit of gathering in large crowds to observe or even take part in others' arguments and fights.
The suggestions also urged Chinese to respect local laws and not to try to cut corners or make threats. 'When your legal rights are violated, avoid making things worse and resolve the problem through upright channels, not through extortion or other illegal methods,' the guidelines said.
Along with the booming economy, Chinese have become a major presence in international tourism in recent years. While most are welcomed for the cash they spend, there have been incidents of Chinese abroad causing both offense through obnoxious behavior and being preyed on by criminals or cheats.
The number of Chinese who travel outside their homeland each year is expected to nearly triple to 100 million people by 2020."

Source: The Associated Press.

Austria: Court of appeal decision on information about Ramadan related restrictions

Oberlandesgericht Wien (Vienna Court of Appeal) recently decided that tour organizers and travel agents have a duty to inform about Ramadan related restrictions in hotel services. Plaintiff had booked a package tour to Abu Dahbi including accommodation in the well reputed luxury hotel "Emirates Palace". At arrival plaintiff and his wife were told that due to Ramadan breakfast time is limited to 11 am. Next morning they entered the breakfast room shortly before 11 am, the plaintiff wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt. He was told that the hotel's dress code requires trousers and jacket in breakfast room but, however, as an exception allowed to stay for this time. When on the beach they ordered cigarettes and beer they were told that this was impossible due to Ramadan, kiosk, restaurant and café at the beach and the other 20 restaurants within the hotel area were closed, eating, drinking and smoking in public was prohibited and could only be done in the hotel room. As due to the booking situation it was impossible to change hotel, they broke off their vacations. The competent employee of the tour organizer knew about the Ramadan but did not tell the travel agent where the tour was booked.
Court of appeal held that the tour organizer had culpably failed to inform about Ramadan related restrictions and therefore granted repayment of full prize and compensation for loss of holiday enjoyment.

(Oberlandesgericht Wien 27.02.2007, 4 R 153/06h)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of US provider of electronic travel distribution services Worldspan by Travelport (US)"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation Travelport's proposed acquisition of sole control of Worldspan. Both companies provide electronic travel distribution services through a Global Distribution System (GDS). The Commission was initially concerned that the proposed transaction would give rise to competition concerns on the market for the provision of GDS services to travel service providers (airlines, car rental companies, hotels, etc) in the European Economic Area (EEA) and to travel agents in several Member States (Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK), and therefore opened a detailed inquiry (see IP/07/607). However, the in-depth investigation has shown that the acquisition is unlikely to result in unilateral price increases by the merged firm. It also found that the reduction of the number of GDSs operating in the EEA from four to three would be unlikely to result in coordinated behaviour between the remaining GDSs. The Commission has therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition within the EEA or a significant part of it."

This Press Release is available in full text.

"Vatican plans flights to shrines"

"The Vatican is to launch a low-cost charter flight service to transport pilgrims to holy sites worldwide.
The inaugural flight on 27 August will go from Rome to Lourdes in France.
A small Italian airline, Mistral, will provide the planes, with the interiors decorated with sacred inscriptions such as: 'I search for your face, Lord.'
Other destinations could include Fatima in Portugal and Santiago di Compostela in Spain, the Holy Land, Poland and a Catholic shrine in Mexico.
The vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, is expected to be on the first flight to Lourdes, which already attracts eight million pilgrims each year.

Big Business
Some of the cabin crew will be 'specialised in the voyages of a sacred nature' according Italy's Ansa news agency.
The BBC's David Willey in Rome says religious tourism is already big business, with some 200 million Christian pilgrims expected to visit holy places in different parts of the world this year.
When Pope Benedict XVI travels abroad he normally charters a plane from the Italian national carrier, Alitalia, or from the country he is visiting, our correspondent says.
The Vatican City has no airport, just a helipad used occasionally by the Pope."

Source: BBC NEWS.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

UK: OFT takes action against 13 airlines over misleading holiday pricing

Following the OFT's warning to the holiday and travel industry in February, the OFT has successfully taken action against 13 airlines that did not include all fixed, non-optional costs, such as taxes, in prices on their websites.As a result eleven airlines have already changed their advertisements and websites (both their homepages and booking processes) to include fixed, non-optional costs in their advertised prices and the OFT expects continued compliance from these airlines. Two other airlines, Aer Lingus and Ryanair, have changed their homepages, but have said technical issues prevent them from changing their entire website booking processes immediately. However, the OFT is satisfied that these airlines will be making these changes shortly, and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the agreed changes are made.

In a co-ordinated move, ABTA - The Travel Association has taken action against members that have failed to comply with the ABTA Code of Conduct in relation to the same type of misleading price indications. On 13 June, the ABTA Code of Conduct Committee handed out fines and reprimands to several ABTA members for failing to include fixed, non-optional costs in prices. The OFT strongly welcomes and supports ABTA's action.

Source: OFT press release 118/07.

US-Court: Airline passengers can't back out of searches

Citing concerns about terrorism, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that airline passengers lose their right to object to a search after they go through initial security screenings. Judge Carlos Bea wrote that requiring authorization from passengers during ongoing searches "makes little sense in a post 9/11 world."
The San Francisco-based court, ruling in a case involving a Hawaii man, said airline passengers couldn't refuse searches once they place their belongings on an X-ray tray or walk through a metal detector. It was the appeals court's second decision in the case of Daniel Kuualoha Aukai because it wanted to clarify an earlier decision on the issue of consent. Last year, the court ruled Aukai couldn't back out of additional searches even after he no longer wanted to board a flight.

Source: mercurynews.com; read full article here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

USA: Airline Liable for Death from Lost Baggage

The United States Court of Appeals upheld a lower Federal Court's ruling against American Airlines. The airline forced an elderly woman to check her bag along with necessary medical devices.
The airline lost her checked items. The victim died at age 65 after flying from Los Angeles to Guyana in 1997. It is thought that this is the first case to ever hold an airline liable for the death of a passenger caused by delay or missing baggage.
The lower court had ruled that the airlines were responsible for a "willful misconduct" death. The District Court concluded that the seizure of the victim's bag proximately caused her death.
Source: raleigh.injuryboard.com; read full article
here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

UK: British Airways fined £269m for fixing prices with Virgin

British Airways was fined a total of £269 million for conspiring to fix the price of air fares but the airline could be forced to pay out millions more to passengers seeking compensation.
The
Office of Fair Trading (OFT) fined BA £121.5 million for anti-competitive behaviour, the largest penalty it has levied against a single company. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) fined the airline a further $300 million (£147 million), the second largest anti-trust penalty it has levied.
These fines could be dwarfed by compensation demands from passengers and companies who have paid higher fares because of BA’s actions. British passengers are understood to have signed up to a class-action lawsuit that has been filed in the US and a further legal demand for restitution is expected to be filed in a London court this year.
The charges against BA relate to two instances of price fixing. In the first, BA and
Virgin Atlantic discussed the amount they would charge customers to cover increases in the price of fuel. These “fuel surcharges” were introduced in 2004 and, over a period of 18 months until early last year, the two airlines colluded on the level and timing of increases to their surcharges.
The second case of price-fixing relates to fuel surcharges for carrying cargo. This is a far wider investigation that covers about a dozen airlines in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Source: timesonline.com; read full article
here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"New regulation paves the way to reducing confiscation of duty free liquids at community airports for passengers arriving from third countries"

According to the EU Press Room, "Today the Commission adopted a regulation to address the disruption faced by air passengers who arrive from third countries carrying duty free liquids bought abroad and who wish to transfer at an EU airport. At present, any quantity of liquid bought outside the EU that is greater than the limited amounts currently permitted in hand-baggage must be abandoned at the EU airport since there is no way of checking that it has been subject to similar security standards as liquids on sale in EU airports. The Regulation will allow the Commission to verify whether equivalent standards are applied in a third country and whether the overall standard of aviation security is satisfactory, thereby allowing liquids bought in duty free shops there to be allowed on aircraft in the EU. This will allow transit passengers arriving from these countries to carry their purchases onto their internal EU flight."

This Press Release is available in full text, as well as a Q&A Page about this subject.

Germany: Another Preliminary Ruling Procedure Instituted by German Supreme Court

By decision of 17th July 2007 German Supreme Court (BGH) has moved for another Preliminary Ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in regard to Regulation (EC) 261/2004 . Whereas the first German request for Preliminary Ruling, filed by OLG Frankfurt, aimed for clarification in regard to the scope of application of the Regulation, the BGH's request concerns differentiation of cancellation and delay.
Some German courts held that the differentiation of cancellation and delay had to take into regard the time factor and the reasonability for passengers (AG Rüsselsheim 07.11.2006, 3 C 717/06). Extraordinary delays of 22 hours (AG Düsseldorf 12.10.2006, 30 C 1726/06-75), or more than 48 hours (AG Rüsselsheim, as above) therefore had to be considered as cancellations rather than delays only. Other decisions held that time played no role for the differentiation and decided that a flight departing 25 hours after scheduled departure time were still delayed and not "cancelled" (LG Darmstadt, RRa 2006, 227).
The questions posed to the ECJ by BGH therefore are the following:
1) Does the interpretation of the term "cancellation" and its differentiation from "delay" basicly depend on wether the original flight planning was abandoned so that a deferment of departure regardless of its duration doesn't constitute "cancellation" as long as the airline did not abandon the planning of the original flight?
2) Otherwise: under which circumstances will a deferment of departure not only constitute delay but has to be treated as cancellation? Does the answer to this question depend on the duration of the delay?

Source: BGH press release 102/2007.

IATA Half Year Traffic Results: Passenger Growth Strong, Cargo Sluggish

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released traffic results for the first six months of the year showing 6.3% growth in year-on-year international passenger demand, slightly higher than the 5.9% rise recorded for the year 2006. However, passenger demand growth weakened to 5.3% for the month of June, the lowest growth rate in nine months.
Freight demand for the first six months of 2007 grew 2.7%, well below the 4.6% growth recorded for the same period in 2006. While year-to-date demand growth is weaker than forecast, June year-on-year demand for freight grew 4.9%. This is the second consecutive month of strengthening demand for freight, following the 5.0% growth recorded in May, and could be indicating a return to historical growth levels in the 5-6% range.

Source: IATA News No. 27. Full June trafic results availbale here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Travel Industry Applauds Congressional Passage Of 9/11"

"The travel and tourism industry applauds the House and Senate for agreeing to the conference report accompanying H.R. 1, the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007. By a vote of 85 to 8, the Senate agreed to the same conference report, which combines House and Senate versions of the bills, H.R. 1 and S. 4, respectively. House approval on July 27, by a vote of 371 to 40, sends the bill to the President for his signature. It includes provisions vital to protecting our nation’s economy and supporting our public diplomacy efforts abroad by increasing international travel to the U.S." Read more >>

Source: Hotel Interactive.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"SUIT VS. LADIES' NIGHTS"

As reported by Andy Geller, at the New York Post, "A Manhattan lawyer has filed a class-action suit against some of New York's most sizzling hot spots, such as Copacabana and China Club, claiming their ladies' nights discriminate against men.
Attorney Roy Den Hollander says that by offering lower - or no - admission fees and shorter waiting times behind the velvet rope, the clubs violate the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
His suit seeks an end to the practice of admitting women at a lower price than men." Read more>>

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"New Law to Boost Tourism in Uganda Africa"

"After previous plans to revamp the tourism sector failed, stakeholders have now pinned all hope to rejuvenate this sleeping giant on Bill that has been in Parliament for two years. The Tourism Bill 2005 that has been gathering dust in the House without making it to the floor is now expected to be enacted into law before the end of this year following the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni. Gorillas in Bwindi National Park are a leading tourist attraction It seeks to remove the legal and institutional bottlenecks to the development of the tourism industry that presently accounts for 25% of the country’s total export earnings." Read more>>

Source: Uganda Travel News