Tourism leaders in The Bahamas don’t believe enough cruise ship passengers are getting off the big boats and spending money in locally owned businesses, a Nassau newspaper reported.
The Nassau Guardian last week quoted Bahamas Minister of Tourism John Dionisio D’Aguilar saying the government used to pay the cruise lines $12 million a year in incentives to dock at the country’s ports.
But not anymore, the story said.
“In the past we used to provide incentives for cruise passengers to come here,” D’Aguilar was quoted as saying. “But to be quite honest with you, we were paying for a lot of people who didn’t come off the boat.”
So those incentives have been eliminated, and the country now plans to invest in improvements to make tourists want to visit. Future incentives, if any are offered, would be in the form of rebates tied to how many passengers leave the ships while docked in the islands, the story said.
D’Aguilar suggested the cruise lines don’t really need the money the government used to pay them.
“The cruise companies are very, very profitable,” the Guardian reported D’Aguilar saying. “They make a lot of money. Why are we paying them to bring cruise passengers to our port, and then we’re finding that some of them are not coming off?
“So why are we giving incentives for people to come to Nassau and sit on the boat, eat their food and not spend money in our country?”
Recent studies, however, indicate that cruisers are disembarking in The Bahamas and they do spend money there, even if it’s not as much as the government would like.
According to research by the Miramar-based Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, a nonprofit trade group composed of 18 member cruise lines, The Bahamas welcomed the largest number of passenger shore visits — 2.94 million — out of 35 Caribbean and U.S. destinations in the region in 2014-15, the most recent year for which data was available.
But the country ranked fourth in total expenditures ($244 million) during those visits — behind St. Maarten ($355 million), Cozumel, Mexico ($304 million), and the U.S. Virgin Islands ($276 million). Meanwhile, The Bahamas ranked 16th in average expenditure per passenger, $83, compared with top-ranked St. Maarten, where visitors spent an average $191.
Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of the consumer-focused CruiseCritic.com review site, said user reviews of port visits in Nassau are “a mixed bag” on the site.
“Some cruisers enjoy the stop and take advantage of local beaches, shopping and [the] Atlantis [resort],” she said by email. “Others don’t have as favorable of an experience while in port and compared to other ports in the region, Nassau comes out lower in terms of ratings from visitors.”
Among the most common complaints by users who report negative experiences onshore is a feeling of being “a bit bombarded by vendors in port,” she said.
When cruisers choose to stay on their ship, it’s often because they’ve already visited the port, she said. “What we hear from cruisers is that Nassau is a port many have experienced before — so if there aren’t many new improvements of new features in port, some cruisers don’t find the need to disembark and explore the island again.”
Travel website Cruiseradio.net said anyone who reads online message boards should not be surprised that many passengers prefer to stay on the ship.
On the message boards, “people often complain about everything from the lack of interesting things to do in Nassau to the virtual army of cab drivers and vendors one must fight past in order to get anywhere,” cruiseradio.net said.
D’Aguilar acknowledged that The Bahamas has to try harder. “God has geographically blessed The Bahamas” because it’s the closest destination port to the largest ports in the world in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Cape Canaveral, he said in The Guardian, adding, “We just have to make it a wonderful place for them to visit and make it memorable so that they want to come back here and it refreshes itself.”
The government is soliciting proposals to redevelop and manage Prince George Dock in Nassau — a project that would take two years after a development team is selected. That project should entice more businesses to offer better goods, excursions, and food and beverage options to cruise passengers, who would respond by spending more money in the port, D’Aguilar told the paper.
The vacation giant Corendon recently announced an 87 million dollar investment in the Veneto Hotel (previously The Holiday Beach with 220 rooms). This hotel will be completely transformed into a five-star hotel with 800+ rooms. Corendon recently acquired the hotel together with the casino and the restaurant. The company also announced that the Livingstone Jan Thiel Hotel will be expanded from 204 rooms to 320 rooms.
As well, Corendon Dutch Airlines plans to station one 189 seat Boeing 737-800 in Curaçao over the winter of 2018/19 to boost services to the Caribbean and Brazil.
The Boeing 737-800 flies from Curaçao from mid-December to the islands of Aruba and Sint Maarten and to Sao Paulo in Brazil. Corendon Dutch Airlines does not sell tickets itself but carries out the flights on behalf of Curaçao-based Divi Divi Air.
Divi Divi Air itself does not have large aircraft. The twin-engine DHC-6 Twin Otter is the largest type in the fleet and can accommodate nineteen passengers.
In an earlier interview with the Dutch aviation website Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine, Corendon CEO Steven van der Heijden said that during the winter season Corendon is making part of its fleet available for charters or flights on behalf of third parties. Transavia and TUI also do the same during the generally quieter winter season. In the summer extra planes are leased to meet the larger demand in the Dutch high season.
Corendon is a Turkish / Dutch holding company specializing in flight vacations. The company was founded in 2000, and the head office is in Lijnden, The Netherlands. In 2017 it had revenues of 700 million euros.
Corendon Airlines flies to 43 countries and 190 airports, transporting approximately 3 million travelers annually. Its fleet consists of 1 Boeing 737-300 and 11 Boeing 737-800s.
Expedia study reveals U.S. workers will fail to use 653.9 million vacation days in 2018
BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Expedia.com® released the results of its 18th annual Vacation Deprivation® study today, which examines vacation usage and trends across 19 countries. The report found that global vacation deprivation is on the rise, and that workers in the U.S. took the fewest number of vacation days in the world in 2018, alongside Japan and Thailand.
With the number of U.S. vacation days awarded and taken at a five-year low, it's no wonder that vacation deprivation levels for Americans are at a five-year high (59%, up 8% from 2017). According to the report, American workers received 14 vacations days and used 10, resulting in 653.9 million days left on the table in 2018.
Topline results from the 2018 report include:
"One of the leading reasons people don't use their vacation days is that they're saving them for a big trip, which means they're going longer and longer between vacations," says Nisreene Atassi, global head of communications for Brand Expedia. "Bigger trips are great, but even a quick break can significantly improve quality of life. Aim to schedule a staycation or add an extra day onto a holiday weekend in between longer trips to get the best of both worlds."
"Fear of Switching Off" – is it all in our heads?
63 percent of Americans go six months or longer without a vacation, with more than a quarter (28%) going a year or more sans time off. Considering time off is so precious, one might be surprised to hear that a quarter of Americans admit to checking work email/voicemail at least once a day while on vacation.
While this behavior has stayed mostly consistent over the past decade, perhaps there's hope for future generations – younger workers are the least likely to check in frequently, at 19 percent for 18-34-year-olds, compared to 31 percent of the 50 and over crowd.
Interestingly, the pressure to be available may be self-imposed – only a small number of respondents say their managers (17%), junior staff (10%) and clients (12%) expect them to check-in daily while on vacation, proving most people need to simply give themselves permission to unplug.
Even a short getaway boosts self-esteem and confidence
With the biggest barriers to vacation being financial (54%), the desire to bank vacation days (23%) and inability to get time off work (17%), it begs the question: how long does one need to get away to reap the benefits of vacation? The study uncovered good news for those scarce on funds or time:
Taking a mental break
The growing focus and conversation around mental health may be changing how Americans vacation. A whopping 81 percent of U.S. respondents say they regularly take vacations where their primary goal is "mental wellness," and they overwhelmingly feel that vacation is a chance to "hit the reset button" on stress and anxiety (91%). Americans also report taking an average of two mental health days each year, which most feel should be considered sick days (67%), rather than vacation time.
"A wellness-centric trip doesn't have to mean a spa or yoga retreat, although those are popular options," says Atassi. "For most of us, recharging simply means we need to disconnect and slow down. Whether it's a family vacation or a solo escape, set rules about how often you're allowed to check email and try not to over-schedule your days."
For more highlights from the 2018 study and the history of Vacation Deprivation around the world, check out the Expedia Viewfinder® blog.
About Vacation Deprivation
Expedia first commissioned Vacation Deprivation in 2000 to examine the work-life balance of Americans. In 2005, Expedia began comparing behaviors across countries. As of 2018, Vacation Deprivation has grown to encompass 19 countries. 11,144 employed adults aged 18 and older were asked by Northstar about work-life balance in September 2018.
This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar Research Partners, a global strategic research firm. The survey was conducted online from September 19-28, 2018 across North America, Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific using an amalgamated group of best-in-class panels.
According to www.Dutchnews.nl Airbnb has for the first time revealed that its landlords hosted 2.5 million overnight stays in Amsterdam in 2017. The landlords had 800,000 visitors, who stayed an average of 3.4 days – almost twice as long as the typical stay in a hotel or guest house that year, the company claims. Based on these figures, the 19,000 hosts would have rented out rooms or their entire property for an average of 132 nights in the year (36% average occupancy).
The numbers are revealed in a report written by consultancy Ecorys and commissioned by Airbnb, and which looks at the impact of three proposals by Amsterdam city government to control spiraling levels of tourism.
On October 10th the city government announced its intention to ban Airbnb rentals entirely in three parts of the city, including the red-light district, due to the perceived negative impacts on social cohesion, rising house prices and inequality. Next year, the maximum number of days that private house owners can rent to tourists will be limited to 30 days, from the current 60.
Meanwhile, Dutch MPs have proposed treating home rental infringement as a fiscal crime and cracking down on tax evasion. The government aims to create a national registration scheme for private rentals within a year, following concerns about illegal rentals and ‘overtourism’.
The new Ecorys report, however, points out that Airbnb accommodation – not including other short-term rental brokers such as Booking.com – represents a modest 11.9% of all overnight stays in the Dutch capital. It also claims that its guests are responsible for more than a fifth of the €2.3 billion spent in Amsterdam. New rules limiting private rentals to 30 nights a year will, the report says, result in 310,000 fewer overnight stays while new hotels in the pipeline will add 3.7 million annual overnight stays by 2022.
‘Despite these rules [to control tourism] in the years ahead many more tourists will come to Amsterdam…The number of visitors is expected to grow by about 2.1 million,’ says the report. It also argues that Airbnb apartments are spread over the city more than hotels, which are concentrated in the central areas. ‘Measures aimed at curbing Airbnb-related tourism…will have a limited effect on the total numbers in Amsterdam,’ it adds in its conclusions. ‘But because Airbnb guests spend more on average, the effect on spending will be relatively larger.’
Bernard D’heygere, a spokesman for Airbnb, told DutchNews.nl the company has written to Amsterdam council to organize a ‘round table’ discussion with other tourist-related organizations, and the business has said it welcomes a registration scheme. A spokesperson for Amsterdam city council said that the figures in the Ecorys report match the amounts Airbnb transfers in tourist tax. ‘We are aware of the invitation from Airbnb for the round table,’ she added. ‘However, I’d like to point out that the city of Amsterdam is already in contact will all kinds of stakeholders in the tourism sector and this topic is a high priority for both the municipal council, mayor and deputy mayors.’ DutchNews.nl has asked Airbnb for the full dataset behind the new report, and a comment.
This article was edited on October 12 to reflect Airbnb’s answers to questions.
Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism revises its forecast for 2018 visitor arrivals downwards to 4.75 million.
The Cuban Ministry of Tourism has revised its forecast for the total number of visitor arrivals for 2018 downwards from 5.0 million to 4.75 million as a result of declines in the number of arrivals in the first half of 2018. The revised annual total should still exceed the total for 2017, which was estimated to be 4.7 million visitors.
Between January and June 2018, the volume of total visitor arrivals fell by 5.7% compared to the same six months of 2017 with visitor arrivals from the US (excluding visits by Cuban Americans) falling by 23.6% as a result of changes in the US government’s regulations regarding visits to Cuba.
First new-build Waldorf-Astoria in the Caribbean to open in 2020 and is one of 15 new hotels approved in Antigua-Barbuda.
The first Waldorf-Astoria in the Caribbean is to be located in Antigua and is one of 15 new hotels that have been approved for construction in Antigua and Barbuda, tourism minister Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez told reporters during a recent product update briefing at the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference in The Bahamas.
Scheduled to open in 2020, the Waldorf Astoria Antigua will be located in a cove along the southeastern coast of Antigua at Morris Bay Beach, roughly 20 minutes from V.C. Bird International Airport. It will offer 95 hotel rooms and 25 branded villas as well as a world-class spa.
The other approved properties include Marriott Autograph Collection, Rosewood and a Best Western, The Royalton Antigua, Elegant Hotels’ Hodges Bay Resort and Spa and The Hammock Cove by Elite Island, in total representing 2,535 rooms and units. Antigua currently has 60 hotels and just over 3,000 hotel rooms.
Sunwing Travel Group’s hotel division will begin operating six of Rex Resorts’ Caribbean hotels as part of a newly formed strategic alliance, effective December 1, 2018. As part of this landmark agreement, Sunwing’s growing hotel division plans to make significant improvements to each of the resorts over the coming years.
The six Rex Resorts will be absorbed within two of the hotel division’s brands: the new luxury boutique hotel collection, Mystique Resorts and the popular mid-market chain, Starfish Resorts. Mystique Royal St Lucia will be the second addition to the Mystique Resorts brand, with the first opening later this month in Holbox, Mexico. The Starfish Resorts brand will see five new additions: Starfish Discovery Bay Resort, Barbados; Starfish Halcyon Cove Resort, Antigua; Starfish St Lucia Resort, St Lucia; Starfish Grenada Resort, Grenada, and Starfish Tobago Resort, Tobago.
International tourist arrivals grew seven percent in 2017, the highest increase since 2010, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s latest collection of Tourism Highlights. Growth in arrivals was echoed by a strong increase in exports generated by tourism, which reached US$ 1.6 trillion in 2017, making tourism the world’s third-largest export sector.
UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition shows that international tourist arrivals reached a total of 1,323 million in 2017, some 84 million more than the previous year and a new record. The sector has now seen uninterrupted growth in arrivals for eight straight years. Last year’s growth was the highest since 2010, led by the regions of Europe and Africa, which received increases in arrivals of eight and nine percent, respectively.
International tourism receipts increased by five percent in 2017. In addition to the US$ 1.3 trillion in receipts that destinations earned, international tourism generated another US$ 240 billion from international passenger transport taken by non-residents. This raised total tourism exports to US$ 1.6 trillion, or US$ 4 billion a day, which corresponds to seven percent of the world’s exports.
These strong 2017 results were driven by sustained travel demand for destinations across all world regions, including a firm recovery by those that have suffered from security challenges in recent years. Strong outbound demand from virtually all source markets, including rebounds from major emerging economies Brazil and the Russian Federation, benefited both advanced and emerging destinations. The new report also illustrates that China continues to lead global outbound travel, having spent US$ 258 billion on international tourism in 2017. This is almost one-fifth of the world’s total tourism spending in 2017, which stood at US$ 1.3 trillion, some US$ 94 billion more than in 2016.
Among the top markets and destinations in the world, in 2017 Spain rose to become the world’s second most-visited destination in terms of international arrivals, after France. Mexico’s growth as a tourist hotspot is truly incredible. Since being ranked the 15th most visited destination in 2013, the country has jumped 62 percent to its present sixth-place ranking. This increase is the fastest for any large global destination. Japan entered the top ten in tourism earnings in tenth place after six straight years of double-digit growth. The Russian Federation re-entered the top ten of world spenders at eighth place.
Available data for early 2018 has since confirmed international tourism’s continued strong growth, with a year-on-year increase of six percent in arrivals between January and April.
According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourist arrivals grew 6.1% in the first six months of 2018 after a record year of growth in 2017.
All world regions enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals in January-June 2018 except for the Caribbean which saw a 9.4% decline compared to the same six months of 2017, largely as a result of the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The increase was fueled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy. It comes after record year-round growth of 7% in 2017.
By region, Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth with a 7% increase in arrivals each. Southern Mediterranean Europe and South-East Asia had the strongest results in these regions, both welcoming 9% more international tourists.
The Middle East and Africa also recorded sound results with arrivals growing at 5% and 4%, respectively, according to still-limited information available for destinations in these regions.
The Americas saw 3% growth in arrivals over the six-month period, driven by South America (+7%) and North America (+5%). The United States continued to fuel much growth in the region and beyond.
On the demand side, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation all reported double-digit increases in outbound spending in Europe.
India and the Republic of Korea drove growth in Asia and the Pacific, while the world’s top source market China reported similar spending as in the same period last year.
Travel and hospitality conglomerate Apple Leisure Group will invest an estimated US $1 billion over the next three years to open six new hotels in Quintana Roo.
The 450-room Sunscape Star Hotel, located on Costa Mujeres just north of Cancún, will be the first of the six new properties to open, welcoming its first guests in April 2019.
Construction of a 534-room Now Natura Hotel and 407-room Secret Marinas Resort will begin in Puerto Morelos next year. Both properties are expected to open at the end of 2020.
Construction of two new resorts under Apple’s adult-only Breathless brand will also commence next year in Playa del Carmen. Together the two properties will have 700 rooms.
A project to build another 500-room Breathless property is already under way in Cancún’s hotel zone.
A new Reflect Krystal Grand Hotel, a joint venture of Apple and the Santa Fe Hotel Group, was inaugurated this week as part of the events of Cancún Travel Mart 2018.
Apple Leisure Group CEO Alejandro Zozaya Gorostiza said that Quintana Roo is already the consortium’s most important destination and that it has more hotel rooms in the state than any other chain.
However, he said that insecurity in Quintana Roo has caused a decline in visitor numbers especially from the United States, which has forced the company’s hotels to drop rates and seek to attract tourists from other markets.
The biggest losses have come from the cancellation of conferences and weddings, Zozaya explained.
The tourism industry is currently working with the state government to prepare a new tourism campaign for the United States as part of efforts to shake off the bad reputation the Mexican Caribbean has acquired due to rising levels of violence.
Zozaya said that he didn’t expect the sector to begin to recover until 2020.
Authorities hope that a new military police base inaugurated just north of Cancún this week will help to combat the crime problem.
Cancún and surrounding areas “should offer optimal security conditions for the millions of visitors who come here each year,” President Peña Nieto said.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.