Monday, November 18, 2002

Freedom of Tourism and Travel Services

Austria’s Administrative Court recently came up with a principle decision regarding freedom to provide services of couriers, escorting travel groups from other EU-countries. Administrative Court held, that such couriers are free to show and explain any national sights to their group, with the only reservation made in regard to museums or historical monuments, which require a specific knowledge of the guide, exceeding the proof of qualification required for tourist guides in general (VwGH 04 Sept.2002, 2000/04/0066)

(Originally posted by Michael Wukoschitz)

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Unidroit Hotel Contracts

The Governing Council of Unidroit at its 80th Session has approved the issue of hotel contracts being put on its reserve list with a view to future work on it if resources are available. It now appears on the reserve list for the Unidroit Work Programme for 2002-2004.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

World Travel and Tourism Council: Forecast Growth in 2003

The WTTC released a series of reports on 8.11.02 predicting a strong forecast for the last quarter of 2002 and strong growth in 2003. “The relative strength in consumer spending in many countries compared with expectations earlier in the year has helped maintain personal Travel and Tourism spending”. Despite the Bali bombings and uncertainty caused by potential military action against Iraq the WTTC/Oxford Economic Forecasting reports a forecast of 4.1% real growth in 2003.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Lockerbie: Compensation

UK families have treated, with some scepticism, claims by US lawyers that they have negotiated a new settlement for families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. The settlements are said to amount to £6.4m (€10.08m or $10.12m) per family. However, there have been previous claims of settlement but these have failed to materialize.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Lockerbie: Appeal

Abdelbaset Megrahi has lodged an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights alleging breaches of his human rights in his trial by the Scottish High Court of Justiciary and in his imprisonment in Glasgow.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Payment of Hotel Bill

In R v Vincent [2001] CA, V stayed for a week at one hotel and shortly afterwards he stayed for a month at another. In both cases he left without paying his bills. He told the court that he had told the owners of both hotels that he was waiting to receive some money and would then pay them. Thus, he believed that they had accepted the arrangement that he would make payment when he was able to do so. The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) upheld an appeal that V was not guilty of an offence under Section 2 of the Theft Act. Although hotels normally required “on the spot payment”, that expectation did not apply where an agreement had been reached to pay later. Whether or not that agreement had been induced by deception, it did not amount to theft of services under the Theft Act.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

EU Commission Approves Passenger Vessel Subsidy

The Commission has approved a Finnish scheme providing a subsidy to passenger vessels. This permits a 97% reduction of withholding tax on the marine work income of European seafarers working on board Finnish passenger vessels. This allows Finland to align with similar measure in neighbouring countries.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

UK Scheme to aid Airlines

The EU Commission has approved an UK Scheme which compensates airlines for the costs incurred 11-15th September after the attacks in New York and Washington. Those are for costs occured as a result of flights cancelled or delayed by national authorities. The scheme applies to all UK airlines and is expected to cost £45m ($72m). A similar French scheme was approved in January.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Airline Trade War

Loyola de Palacio, the EU Transport Commissioner, has put forward proposals to the Commission to hit state-aided airlines flying into the EU with penalties, including duties and landing right restrictions. Although it is stressed that this is not aimed at a particular country, it is viewed by some observers as retaliation against the USA, which provided $15bn in aid to carriers following September 11th. There have been complaints by EU airlines that this has been used as a means of unfair competition.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

September 11th - Flying School receives notice of Approval of Hijackers' Visas

The Huffman international Flying School, where two of the September 11th hyjackers trained, have just received letters from the INS (US Immigration Dept.) that their visa applications have been approved. The INS said that the original approval had been granted on 17 July and that the school had been notified in the summer. These letters were merely a "backup notification". They blamed a backlog of paperwork at their processing centre in Kentucky for the delay. The papers relate to Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi. Atta is believed to have been the ring-leader of the group. He, along with three others, seized American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston-Los Angeles and flew it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Al-Shehhi is believed to have piloted United Airlines Flight 75, also from Boston-Los Angeles, into the South Tower 17 minutes later.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Demolition of Famous Hotel

Work has begun on the demolition of the Intourist Hotel, one of Moscow's most famous landmarks. It was erected in 1970 to cater for foreign tourists. It was notorious for its Cold War standards, with surly staff, buged hotel rooms and illegal money changers. It was also the setting for many spy novels. The hotel is no longer needed as there is a plethora of western style hotels in the city. The hotel will be mourned by few as it was a large concrete and glass monstrosity.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Lockerbie Conviction Upheld

Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing, has lost his appeal against conviction. The High Court of Justiciary jailed him for life in January 2001 for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988. 270 people were killed, including all those on board and others in the small Scottish border town.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Plan to Lure Tourists Back

Mike Watson, the Tourism Minister, has unveiled "The Tourism Framework for Action" in Oban, which aims to make Scotland a world-class tourism destination. The document is the outcome of a 5-month consultation excercise following the decline in tourist arrivals. Scotland lost £500m ($800m) last year, exacerbated by the aftermath of September 11th. Tourism employs 193,000 people in Scotland.

(Originally posted by John Downes)

Lufthansa's First Full Year Losses for a Decade

Lufthansa has suffered a pre-tax loss of 745m euros ($660m). Its operating profits plummeted from 1bn euros to 20m euros. It has announced that it will not be paying shareholders a dividend. The results follow the aftermath of September 11th, the economic downturn and a series of pilot strikes.

(Originally posted by John Downes)