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


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

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Travel venture attracts criticism"

The Hankyoreh states that "Lotte JTB, a joint travel venture between retail giant Lotte Group and Japan's largest travel agency, Japan Travel Bureau (JTB), began operations earlier this month, creating a stir in the local tourism industry.
On July 18, The Korea Tourism Association denounced Lotte JTB's advance into the tourism market and submitted a petition to the Presidential office calling for revision of a related law to prevent large companies from entering the tourism industry. Lotte Group is the fifth largest conglomerate by assets in Korea.
According to the petition, 'Lotte JTB’s business goal is to attract 1.2 million South Korean customers to overseas trips in 2011. The figure accounts for a third of the domestic overseas tourism market. In this case, most of the smaller travel agencies will inevitably go bankrupt.'
'The establishment of Lotte JTB is legally flawless, but we are very angry at conglomerates that try to destroy the domestic market by attracting foreign giants,' said the association.
In response, an official of Lotte JTB said, 'When we made our business plan, we aimed at attracting 1.2 million people, however that is just an estimate. JTB first looked for a Korean partner to provide services to Japanese visitors to South Korea'."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Your Taxes: Grants available for tourism promoters"

As reported by Leon Harris, at the Jerusalem Post, "The Tourism Ministry has just published the procedures for obtaining grants from the Inbound Tourism Organizers Fund. As its name suggests, this fund aims to support and expand inbound tourism into Israel in order to increase state revenues by providing ground arrangements in Israel for tourists from abroad.
The fund offers grants of up to 50 percent of the actual outlays incurred on recognized marketing activities of inbound tourism organizers in the period from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008. The organizers are the commercial link in the chain who put together and market tourism packages in Israel for foreign tourists. The organizers must be Israeli companies whose principal activity is supplying travel agency services (as defined in the Travel Services Law 1976), which include services to foreign tourists."

This article is available in full text.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Australia: United Air Lines to use all-inclusive price advertising

United Airlines has provided court enforceable undertakings to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC) after concerns were raised about its airfare advertising. The ACCC became aware that United Air Lines had been advertising headline airfares on its Australian based website and in newspapers without including applicable taxes, levies and charges payable by a consumer as a pre-condition of receiving the services.
Failing to make the total price to be paid clear in advertisements is likely to mislead consumers and breach the Trade Practices Act 1974.
As part of the undertakings, United Airlines will also review its trade practices compliance program to ensure it will continue to meet its obligations under the Act.

Source: http://www.accc.gov.au/; read full article here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Commission clears acquisition of nine European hotels in the Hilton chain by Morgan Stanley"

According to the EU Press Room, "The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of a portfolio of nine European hotels, currently controlled by Hilton Hotels Corporation (Hilton) of the US by Morgan Stanley Real Estate F International Funding, L.P. (MSREF) of the US, part of the Morgan Stanley group of companies (MS) of the US. MSREF is active in real estate investment and management. MS is a global financial services institution. Hilton owns, manages and franchises hotels. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure."

"Travel Lawyer highlights black hole in Travel Insurance Cover"

"In giving a presentation to the Diploma Travel Annual Conference last Saturday on the Gold Coast, Travel Lawyer, Anthony Cordato, highlighted the black hole that exists in Travel Insurance cover.
'What we are talking about is that if a traveller visits certain high-risk countries, then they are not covered for medical and hospital expenses, medical evacuation, financial loss (including cancellation and trip disruption) and accidental death or total permanent disability', Cordato says.
'It’s like using a mobile phone when driving, as soon as you enter some areas, there is no coverage.'
The black hole is the exclusion found in Travel Insurance policies that you did not follow advice in the mass media of a government or other official body’s warning against travel to a particular country or parts of a particular country." Read more >>

Source: eTravel Blackboard.

Monday, July 09, 2007

"Experts urge EU to implement 'single sky'"

Today, EurActiv.com underlines that "Member states must overcome their reluctance to hand over sovereignty on air-traffic control systems and speed up the implementation of a unified European system in order to improve industry's efficiency, enhance safety and slash CO2 emissions, according to a report by high-level experts."

The full text article, complemented with other contents, is available here.

"Better protection from sun after Commission action"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Consumers will benefit from a new clearer labelling regime on sunscreen bottles being phased in this summer. The new labels –including a new UV-A logo or seal on bottles and a ban on misleading terms such as 'sunblocker' or 'total protection' - are a response to a European Commission recommendation on sunscreen products agreed in September 2006. As well as explaining the new sunscreen labelling system, the Commission, through an information campaign in partnership with Member States is seeking to raise awareness that there are several reasons why sunscreen products should be only one out of a number of measures which are necessary to protect from the UV radiation of the sun. The improved labelling regime is being phased in and will appear on 20% of sunscreen bottles this summer."

Friday, July 06, 2007

"High-level experts call for more performance-driven air traffic management"

According to the EU Press Room, "The high-level group on the future aviation regulatory framework delivered yesterday its long-awaited report to European Commission Vice-President Barrot. The group has come up with a list of ten recommendations and a roadmap with concrete measures on how to boost performance of the air traffic management system. Improvements can only be achieved through strong performance regulation, where market forces fail, and changing the governance structures, so as to bridge the gap between decision making and funding. An 'Aviation System Coordinator' should promote actions in the field of capacity both in airspace and at airports. These recommendations are already preparing the revision of the single European sky legislation. They will also facilitate the success of SESAR, the programme aimed at modernizing Europe's air traffic management system."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

"U.S. Seeks to Tighten Int'l Air Security While Promoting Inbound Travel"

As reported by David Jonas, at The Transnational, "U.S. and European officials last week reached a new agreement on sharing transatlantic air passenger data, a development that would remove the threat of suspended U.S. landing rights for European airlines. Industry groups that had feared a possible disruption to business travel after 31 July--when an interim deal expires--applauded the agreement, which still requires final approval from 27 European Union member states.
As U.S. officials were resolving that potential snag in the transatlantic aviation market, a Senate Commerce committee passed new legislation that would promote inbound travel by foreigners while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, congressional leaders and industry representatives were discussing the latest efforts to collect biometric information from both inbound and outbound international travelers."

This article is available in full text.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"Airlines black list: Commission adopts new measures against unsafe carriers"

As just stated by the EU Press Room, "Today, the European Commission adopted the fourth update of the Community list of airlines banned in the European Union. This list includes an operating ban of all Indonesian airlines as well as of the Angolan flag carrier, TAAG Angolan airlines, and of Volare Aviation Enterprise from Ukraine. The restrictions previously imposed on Pakistan International Airlines are modified. In addition, airlines from Russia (10) Bulgaria (6) and Moldova (8) have to stop their operations in the European Union on the basis of new measures adopted by these States following consultations with the European Commission."

This Press Release is available in
full text.

WHO: Study results released on travel and blood clots

WHO on 29. June 2007 released results from Phase I of the WHO Research Into Global Hazards of Travel (WRIGHT) project. Findings indicate that the risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE) approximately doubles after travel lasting four hours or more. However, the study points out that even with this increased risk, the absolute risk of developing VTE, if seated and immobile for more than four hours, remains relatively low at about 1 in 6000.
Thromboembolism occurs when a blood clot (from a deep vein thrombosis) in a leg vein breaks off and travels through the body to the lungs where it becomes lodged and blocks blood flow. This is known as pulmonary embolism, and symptoms include chest pain and breathing difficulties. VTE can be treated, but if it is not, it can lead to death.
The study showed that plane, train, bus or automobile passengers are at higher risk of VTE when they remain seated and immobile on journeys of more than four hours. This is due to a stagnation of blood in the veins caused by prolonged immobility, which can promote blood clot formation in veins.
One study within the project examining flights in particular found that those taking multiple flights over a short period of time are also at higher risk. This is because the risk of VTE does not go away completely after a flight is over, and the risk remains elevated for about four weeks.

Source: WHO; read full article here. Final report of Phase I of the study for download here.

EU: Council of Ministers adopts Regulation for European Small Claims Procedure

On 13 June, the Council of Ministers adopted a common position establishing a European Small Claims Procedure.
The regulation simplifies, speeds up and reduces the cost of court procedures for small claims and establishes the European Small Claims Procedure, giving citizens an alternative to current legal procedures of EU Member States.
The procedure will apply to civil and commercial matters where the claim does not exceed €2,000 both in pecuniary and non-pecuniary cases. The common position introduces procedural modifications with respect to the proposal of 15 March 2005, as the use of standard forms and time limits to speed up litigation.
Lastly, the judgment shall be recognized and enforced in another Member State automatically without any possibility of questioning its legitimacy. The new procedure will apply from 1 January 2009.

Source: Health & Consumer Voice, June 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bahamas To Ratify Sustainable Tourism Convention

The Bahamas is set to ratify the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Sustainable Tourism Convention, and Chairman of the ACS Special Committee on Sustained Tourism, Bahamas Tourism Minister Neko Grant, has urged other regional leaders to follow suit.
The Director of Sustainable Tourism of the ACS, Jasmin Garraway, who addressed the meeting on b ehalf of the secretary general expressed her satisfaction at the news of the impending ratification of the Tourism Convention by The Bahamas. She also congratulated the Minister both the decisive step and on his new role as Chairman of the Special Committee on Tourism.
The Bahamas was elected Chairman of the Special Committee on Sustainable Tourism at the 12th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Council Meeting in Guatemala, after having served as Vice Chairman of that Committee for 2 consecutive years.

Source: The Bahama Journal; full article here.

Angola threatens reprisals if EU goes ahead with national airline ban

Angolan government warned it could ban European airlines from Angolan airspace, after the EU blacklisted the African country's flag-carrier. The EU said last week it had added the Angolan airline, TAAG, to its international blacklist, barring it from flying to EU nations because of safety concerns. TAAG operates scheduled flight to Paris and Lisbon, Portugal. Air France, British Airways and TAP Air Portugal all fly to the Angolan capital, Luanda.

Source: International Herald Tribune; read full article here.

"Indonesia deplores EU flight ban"

"The Indonesian government is disappointed with a decision by the European Commission to ban all Indonesian airlines from flying to the European Union and has asked a chance to make a defense, an official said Monday.
Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said the decision was unilaterally taken without prior dialogues with the government. 'We consider the EU has acted unfairly and therefore we are very disappointed,' he was quoted by leading news website Detikcom as saying.
The minister made his remarks during a meeting with the International Civil Aviation Organziation (ICAO) on Bali island. 'We do not expect that the process to improve aviation safety in Indonesia will involve the isolation of (our) airlines,' he said at the meeting attended also by ICAO president Roberto Kobeh Gonzales.
Jusman said the government on June 22 asked the EU to give an opportunity to the government to brief EU officials about the actions Indonesia has taken to improve air transportation safety before the EU announced the ban.
The EU reportedly agreed to meet Indonesian transport officials but only in October as the soonest. 'That's another reason why Indonesia is very disappointed,' said Jusman."

(Source: People's Daily Online)

"DOT Allows BA To Expand Transatlantic Routes"

"The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday granted British Airways blanket authority to serve any point in the United States from any point in the European Union upon the enactment of the Open Skies agreement next March.
British Airways CEO Willie Walsh last week during a presentation at a BritishAmerican Business forum in New York said BA last month became the first Europe-based carrier to file for the blanket authority afforded by the recent approval of the EU-U.S. Open Skies treaty, and already had its sights set on origin cities in the European Union-including Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels and Milan-to serve New York and other U.S. cities." Read More>>
(Source: BTNonline.com)

USA: SkyWest Pilots fighting for their federal right to organize

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction upholding SkyWest Airlines pilots’ federal rights to discuss and learn more about the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) and the benefits of union representation, and finding that the company had unlawfully interfered with those rights. The SkyWest Pilots ALPA Organizing Committee is working with ALPA to gain union representation for SkyWest pilots.
The preliminary injunction allows SkyWest pilots to continue to wear ALPA lanyards, talk about ALPA openly, and distribute ALPA-related materials on non-work time in non-work areas such as the crew lounge and bulletin boards—all rights which the company has sought throughout this process to deny.
The Court concluded that the Organizing Committee had made a strong showing that SkyWest management has unlawfully interfered with the federal right of SkyWest pilots to organize. In its opinion, the Court also addressed SkyWest’s funding of its in-house pilot organization. Although the Court declined to order SkyWest to cease funding immediately, it did indicate that management’s 100 percent funding of the organization almost certainly violates the Railway Labor Act.
Formed in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing more than 60,000 pilots and crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

Source: ALPA press release #07.036

Monday, July 02, 2007

UNTWO: Strong World Tourism Growth in 2007

The year 2007 has started on a higher than expected note for global tourism. From January through April, international tourist arrivals worldwide rose by over 6% to 252 million, representing an additional 15 million arrivals as against the same period in 2006, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Asia and the Pacific (+9%) achieved the strongest growth, followed by Africa (+8%), the Middle East (+8%) and Europe (+6%). Although arrivals to the Americas (+4%), showed the slowest growth rate among the world regions during the first four months of 2007, this performance is nevertheless very positive as the region doubled the 2007 forecast growth (+2%). Though these results are limited to the first months of the year, and growth generally tends to be slower in the upcoming traditional Northern Hemisphere high season, UNWTO is confident that worldwide growth in excess of 4% forecast for 2007 will be achieved, barring any unforeseen negative events over the remainder of the year.

Source: UNTWO Press release 29.06.2007; excerpt of the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer available here.

"Departure tax: Government urged to settle issue before European court ruling"

As reported by Herman Grech, at The Times of Malta, "The government may be forced to refund the departure taxes paid by passengers since May 2004 if European Commission action in the European Court is successful.
MEP Simon Busuttil, who was the first to question the legality of the departure tax in its existing format, told The Times there was good reason for Malta to settle this issue before the court delivers its judgement."

Read this article in full text.

Galapagos Islands tourism to end?

The International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) has said it concurs with the findings of the United Nations stating that the Galapagos Islands is being threatened by tourism, invasive species and migration. These factors, the IGTOA said, “are causing unprecedented pressure on the islands and that urgent action is needed."
This development comes after UN's World Heritage Committee last week added the Galapagos Islands to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. Inscribed in 1978, the Galapagos is the first site to have been placed on the World Heritage List.
According to the IGTOA, the number of days spent by passengers of cruise ships has increased by 150 percent over the past 15 years.

Source: eTurboNews; read full article here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"England smoking ban takes effect"

The BBC News reports that "Smokers across England have sparked up at work and in the pub for the last time as the ban on smoking in enclosed public places begins.
The new law, which came into effect at 0600 BST, is intended to cut deaths from second-hand smoke. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already have similar bans in place.
Many venues held farewell events for the final night of smoking on Saturday, while local authorities are preparing to enforce the ban.
Doctors estimate second-hand smoke kills more than 600 people a year. The government also hopes it will help smokers to quit, and discourage children from taking up the habit."

Along with this, other related news are available in full text.