(May 13th 2022) Today Royal Caribbean Group released its 14th annual sustainability report, providing an update on the company's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework and activities across its three wholly owned brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises.
New for 2021, Royal Caribbean Group revamped its ESG framework to better reflect the company's contributions to a more sustainable cruise industry., according to a press release.
"All of us at Royal Caribbean Group are focused on delivering the best vacations possible and doing so responsibly," said Jason Liberty, CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. "This report reflects our commitment to continuous innovation and building a sustainable cruise industry while growing our business for good."
The release of the 2021 Seastainability Report follows the recent announcement that Royal Caribbean Group has committed to another five-year partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). A flagship partner, WWF will help the company continue to establish sustainable business practices in areas including emissions, sustainable tourism and more.
This year's ESG report highlights the company's unrelenting efforts to decarbonization, especially through the company's Destination Net Zero strategy, which aims to establish Science-Based Targets (SBT) and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Destination Net Zero, along with other ESG initiatives, will ensure Royal Caribbean Group develops ambitious and measurable goals for continued carbon emissions reduction, sustainable business development and growth, sustainable tourism, and waste management. Destination Net Zero encapsulates Royal Caribbean Group's focus on serving as a catalyst for innovation in the industry, with developments that include:
The Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi and Miral launch new destination vision and strategy for Saadiyat Island.
ABU DHABI, UAE, May 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Miral, Abu Dhabi's leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, have today unveiled Saadiyat Island's new vision, strategy and brand, positioning it as a leading beach, nature and cultural destination, which bolsters the emirate's tourism sector and supports the diversification of Abu Dhabi's economy.
This new strategy is set to attract travellers seeking transformative, luxury experiences and drive Saadiyat Vision 2025 which aims to grow domestic and international visitor numbers, supporting the development of Abu Dhabi's tourism ecosystem.
Saadiyat Island is expected to attract 19 million visitors and contribute AED 4.2 billion in direct tourism revenue by 2025.
H.E. Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi said: "Saadiyat Island is undoubtedly one of Abu Dhabi's finest treasures. It is unmatched anywhere in the world for its stunning natural beaches, world-class arts, cultural, educational, wellness, sporting and F&B experiences. This natural island is home to amazing wildlife and luxury hotels alike and there truly is something for everyone to enjoy, seamlessly fitting into Abu Dhabi's wider strategy as the destination of choice for global travellers.
We look forward to elevating awareness of Saadiyat's enriching experiences as part of Abu Dhabi's wider offering. From culture and entertainment to amazing landmarks and natural landscapes - all within close proximity to one another - Abu Dhabi is a must-visit destination."
DCT Abu Dhabi recently appointed Miral to oversee the destination management strategy of Saadiyat Island. The two entities have been continuously collaborating on growing the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi, the success of which has led to this renewed partnership.
By showcasing a diverse array of cultural experiences that appeal on a global level, Saadiyat has become a beacon in the cultural tourism ecosystem, which this new partnership seeks to further advance.
Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral, said: "We are honoured and excited to be spearheading Saadiyat Island's new strategy to position Saadiyat as the destination of choice, providing visitors with enriching luxury experiences. With such a unique offering, from diverse cultural institutions including the iconic Louvre Museum, to pristine white beaches and undisturbed wildlife, Saadiyat Island is well-positioned to boost Abu Dhabi's tourism sector."
The island's 'One Island. Many Journeys.' campaign will highlight Saadiyat's array of offerings, from a world-leading Cultural District, and luxury hotels and resorts, to a diverse wildlife ecosystem.
Saadiyat is home to the first international outpost of the iconic Louvre Museum, with three more world-class museums set to open in the coming years, and the forthcoming Abrahamic House which altogether will cement the island as a one of the world's leading cultural centres. The prestigious New York University Abu Dhabi and an international outpost of the renowned Berklee School of Music are also located on Saadiyat.
With five luxurious waterfront resorts and a boutique villa retreat located on Nurai Island, Saadiyat Island will be the destination of choice for discerning travellers. Visitors with a keen interest in sustainability and responsible tourism can experience Saadiyat's diverse ecosystem of protected wildlife, from endangered hawksbill turtles to over 300 species of birds.
Saadiyat also hosts a year-round programme of cultural, lifestyle, golf, wellness and culinary events and activities, all within one unique, secluded location.
Every year, between 2010 and 2019, Travel & Tourism grew faster than the global economy, thus enriching local communities and destinations at a faster rate than many other sectors. As one of the largest economic sectors globally, it accounted for 10.3% of global GDP and 1 in 10 jobs on the planet in 2019; and of the 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals recorded in 2019, 44% went to cities. As the world continues to urbanize, with 55% of the world’s population already living in cities, it is expected that cities will continue to be attractive places to live, do business and to discover as destinations. Although COVID-19 has been devastating for Travel & Tourism, with GDP losses amounting to US$4.9 trillion and nearly 62 million jobs lost in 2020, people’s desire to travel and discover the world has remained unabated. In fact, travellers are increasingly seeking out secondary and tertiary destinations, showcasing the continued importance to prioritize destination readiness.
The Index analyzed 63 global cities across 75 different indicators and data points and eight different pillars including scale, concentration, safety & security, environmental readiness, leisure, business, urban readiness, and policy prioritization to determine key factors for tourism readiness. When indexed, those 75 data points, provided incredible insight into what truly makes a city ready for sustainable tourism growth. From the indexed outcomes five city typologies emerged:
What do cities need to consider in order to be ready for sustainable global tourism? Everything. Now more than ever, with the impact of a global pandemic still deeply effecting our industry, our industry and our cities must align to plan for the future.
The findings of the WTTC & JLL Global Cities’ Readiness for Sustainable Tourism Growth report identify five key considerations and factors to enhance a destination’s readiness.
Partnerships and multistakeholder engagement have always been key to effective destination planning and management. However, in recent years, the concept of destination stewardship, an approach that balances and meets the needs of all stakeholders has gained increased traction. To thrive, destination stewardship must approach needs and goals holistically and requires public-private-community collaboration.
Sustainability at the core
As highlighted during COP26 in 2021, climate change and environmental degradation are worsening at an alarming pace, requiring urgent action to avoid a devastating impact on destinations, businesses, local communities, the global economy, and our way of life. With today’s decisions defining the world of tomorrow, there is a need to increase both ambitions and actions to protect people and planet.
Communication & outreach
A clear and compelling communications and outreach strategy is essential to support a city’s strategic plan for sustainable and resilient Tourism growth. Indeed, effective communication and outreach can significantly contribute to deeper engagement by all stakeholders, including city officials, business leaders and the local community, as well as building trust, in turn making the plan more impactful.
Successfully integrating tourism into the destination’s agenda requires careful planning and consideration. It is not only essential to have a comprehensive tourism plan, but to ensure that the Travel & Tourism goals and approach are aligned and integrated into the destination’s broader strategy to steward the destination’s future successfully
While the acceleration of digital technologies and the resulting innovations have been a prominent feature of the COVID-19 crisis, digitization has been a growing trend for decades. Although digitization should not be employed to replace human interaction given the high-touch nature of the Travel & Tourism sector, it should be leveraged as a means to enrich the travellers experience and enhance the livability of the city.
For full report click below
By Kristina M. D'Amico
Director at HVS Miami
7 April 2022
Historical Demand to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean and the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean region. Its tropical climate, white-sand beaches, diverse mountainous landscape, and colonial history attracts visitors from around the world. The country has 28 provinces spread across six main regions, with the East & Southeast region, which encompasses the cities of Punta Cana and Bávaro, serving as the most popular tourist destination and offering nearly 50% of all hotel rooms in the country.
Over the last 20 years, the Dominican Republic has performed extremely well in terms of occupancy, with historical levels above 70%, other than in the period after September 11, 2001, in the period after the Great Recession in 2009, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Occupancy History for the Dominican Republic— Photo by Dominican Republic Central Bank, ASONAHORES, Ministerio de Turismo
The Dominican Republic closed its borders to international tourist arrivals on March 19, 2020, reopening on July 1, 2020. However, given the multitude of resort options and evolving entry protocols to aid in the rebound of tourism, the country had a strong recovery from the downturn caused by COVID-19. By the end of 2021, the number of stopover arrivals had increased 126% over 2020, reaching 63% of the stopovers that were recorded in 2019.
The success in visitation to the Dominican Republic is partly attributed to the proactive tourism efforts by the country, including the investment by the Ministry of Tourism in promoting the destination. In addition, the government of the Dominican Republic provides a variety of incentives for new development, which has greatly aided in the increase of room supply over the last 20 years; total available hotel rooms have nearly doubled during that period. Given this growth, the government continues to improve the infrastructure of the country with improvement or construction of roads and airports, ultimately providing better access to many parts of the country and enhancing tourism potential.
UNWTO | 25th March 2022
International tourism continued its recovery in January 2022, with a much better performance compared to the weak start to 2021. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine adds pressure to existing economic uncertainties, coupled with many Covid-related travel restrictions still in place. Overall confidence could be affected and hamper the recovery of tourism.
Based on the latest available data, global international tourist arrivals more than doubled (+130%) in January 2022 compared to 2021 - the 18 million more visitors recorded worldwide in the first month of this year equals the total increase for the whole of 2021.
While these figures confirm the positive trend already underway last year, the pace of recovery in January was impacted by the emergences of the Omicron variant and the re-introduction of travel restrictions in several destinations. Following the 71% decline of 2021, international arrivals in January 2022 remained 67% below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
Europe and Americas perform strongest
All regions enjoyed a significant rebound in January 2022, though from low levels recorded at the start of 2021. Europe (+199%) and the Americas (+97%) continued to post the strongest results, with international arrivals still around half pre-pandemic levels of January 2019 (-53% and -52%, respectively).
The Middle East (+89%) and Africa (+51%) also saw growth in January 2022 over 2021, but these regions saw a drop of 63% and 69% respectively compared to 2019. While Asia and the Pacific recorded a 44% year-on-year increase, several destinations remained closed to non-essential travel resulting in the largest decrease in international arrivals over 2019 (-93%).
By subregions, the best results were recorded by Western Europe, registering four times more arrivals in January 2022 than in 2021, but 58% less than in 2019.
Additionally, the Caribbean (-38% lower than January 2019) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (-41%) have shown the fastest rates of recovery towards 2019 levels. Indeed, several islands in the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific, together with some small European and Central American destinations recorded the best results compared to 2019: Seychelles (-27%), Bulgaria and Curaçao (both -20%), El Salvador (-19%), Serbia and Maldives (both -13%), Dominican Republic (-11%), Albania (-7%) and Andorra (-3%). Bosnia and Herzegovina (+2%) even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Among major destinations Turkey and Mexico saw declines of 16% and 24% respectively as compared to 2019.
Prospects for recovery
After the unprecedented drop of 2020 and 2021, international tourism is expected to continue its gradual recovery in 2022. As of 24th March 2022, 12 destinations had no COVID-19 related restrictions in place and an increasing number of destinations were easing or lifting travel restrictions, which contributes to unleashing pent-up demand.
The war in Ukraine poses new challenges to the global economic environment and risks hampering the return of confidence in global travel. The US and the Asian source markets, which have started to open up, could be particularly impacted especially regarding travel to Europe, as these markets are historically more risk averse.
The shutdown of Ukrainian and Russian airspace, as well as the ban on Russian carriers by many European countries is affecting intra-European travel. It is also causing detours in long-haul flights between Europe and East Asia, which translates into longer flights and higher costs. Russia and Ukraine accounted for a combined 3% of global spending on international tourism in 2020 and at least US$ 14 billion in global tourism receipts could be lost if the conflict is prolonged. The importance of both markets is significant for neighbouring countries, but also for European sun and sea destinations. The Russian market also gained significant weight during the pandemic for long haul destinations such as Maldives, Seychelles or Sri Lanka. As destinations Russia and Ukraine accounted for 4% of all international arrivals in Europe but only 1% of Europe’s international tourism receipts in 2020.
Economic uncertainty and pressures
Even though it is too early to assess the impact, air travel searches and bookings across various channels showed a slowdown the week after the invasion but started to rebound in early March.
It is certain that the offensive will add further pressure to already challenging economic conditions, undermining consumer confidence and raising investment uncertainty. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates global economic growth could be more than 1% lower this year than previously projected, while inflation, already high at the start of the year, could be at least a further 2.5% higher. The recent spike in oil prices (Brent reached its highest levels in 10 years), and rising inflation are making accommodation and transport services more expensive, adding extra pressure on businesses, consumer purchasing power and savings, UNWTO notes.
This forecast is in line with the analysis on the potential consequences of the conflict on global economic recovery and growth by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which has also downgraded its projection for world economic growth in 2022 from 3.6% to 2.6% and warned that developing countries will be most vulnerable to the slowdown.
For UNWTO Tourism Barometer Volume 20 | Issue 2 | March 2022 click file below
Tatiana Rokou / 22nd March 2022
American Express Travel released its highly anticipated American Express Travel: 2022 Global Travel Trends Report which uncovers the latest trends shaping the industry backed by global survey data, American Express Travel proprietary booking data and by insights from travel experts.
Painting a bright state on the future of travel, American Express Travel discovered that spending on travel is outpacing pre-pandemic levels: 86% respondents expect to spend more or the same on travel in 2022 compared to a typical year before the pandemic.
Tourists want to travel more frequently- in fact, 62% of respondents plan on taking 2 - 4 trips in 2022 and 76% of respondents agree they plan to travel more with family in 2022 than they did in 2021.
As travel continues to recover this report looks at the motivations and considerations of travelers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, the UK and the US as well as emerging trends shaping travel.
Top themes discovered in the report include:
The Rise of Impact Travel
SINGAPORE, TTR Weekly| 4 March 2022:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine launched on 24 February prompted an instant spike in flight cancellations to and from Russia, according to the latest data from ForwardKeys.
On 25 February, the day after the start of the invasion, every booking that was made for travel to Russia was outweighed by six cancellations of pre-existing bookings. The source markets exhibiting the highest cancellation rates, in order of volume, were Germany 773%, France 472%, Italy 152%, the UK 254%, India 285% and Turkey 116%.
The invasion also triggered a collapse in the market for Russian outbound travel. Destinations that suffered the highest immediate cancellation rates, from 24 to 26 February, were Cyprus (300%), Egypt (234%), Turkey (153%), the UK (153%), Armenia (200%), and Maldives (165%).
Before the outbreak of war, Russian outbound flight bookings for March, April and May, had recovered to 32% of pre-pandemic levels, with some holiday hotspots doing exceptionally well.
Mexico led the way with flight bookings 427% ahead of 2019 levels. It was followed by Seychelles 279%, Egypt 192% and the Maldives 115% ahead of 2019 levels.
The outlook for travel was significantly stronger during July and August, as flight bookings stood at 46% of 2019 levels, with destinations like the Maldives 78% ahead, Seychelles 275% ahead, and Egypt 216% ahead.
For some of the countries mentioned above, such as the Seychelles, Maldives and Cyprus, Russian arrivals represent a high percentage of all international arrivals; so, a collapse in Russian travel will have damaging consequences on their tourism-dependent economies.
The countries that currently stand to suffer the most include Armenia, which depends on Russia for 47% of all visitors, Azerbaijan 44%, Uzbekistan 34%, Bulgaria 18%, the Seychelles 16%, the Maldives 15% and Cyprus 13%.
Before the outbreak of war, the top 20 destinations most booked by Russian travellers in March, April and May were, in order of total bookings, Turkey, the UAE, the Maldives, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Armenia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mexico, Spain, Azerbaijan, USA, UK, Qatar, Italy and Uzbekistan.
Coinciding with the collapse in international air travel, a strong recovery in domestic air travel immediately stalled. Up to 23 February, Russian domestic flight bookings for March, April and May were running 25% ahead of pre-pandemic levels. However, new bookings fell 77%, analyzed on a week-on-week basis.
ForwardKeys, vice president insights Olivier Ponti said: “The outbreak of war always has a hugely damaging impact on the travel industry; and that is what we see here, with mass cancellations in flight bookings to and from Russia.
“The Russian tourism economy was beginning to revive from the pandemic, and it will now experience another substantial blow. There will also be serious impacts on destinations that depend heavily on Russian visitors. The current data does not yet contain the impact of sanctions, which is bound to make the picture worse. Of course, should there be a cease-fire and successful peace talks, the outlook for travel should improve. However, while the economic damage already looks set to be dreadful, it is nothing compared to the human suffering experienced by the people in Ukraine.”
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects overall traveler numbers to reach 4.0 billion in 2024 (counting multi-sector connecting trips as one passenger), exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels (103% of the 2019 total).
Expectations for the shape of the near-term recovery have shifted slightly, reflecting the evolution of government-imposed travel restrictions in some markets. The overall picture presented in the latest update to IATA’s long-term forecast, however, is unchanged from what was expected in November, prior to the Omicron variant.
“The trajectory for the recovery in passenger numbers from COVID-19 was not changed by the Omicron variant. People want to travel. And when travel restrictions are lifted, they return to the skies. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal state of affairs, but the forecast for the evolution in passenger numbers gives good reason to be optimistic,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
The February update to the long-term forecast includes the following highlights:
“The biggest and most immediate drivers of passenger numbers are the restrictions that governments place on travel. Fortunately, more governments have understood that travel restrictions have little to no long-term impact on the spread of a virus. And the economic and social hardship caused for very limited benefit is simply no longer acceptable in a growing number of markets. As a result, the progressive removal of restrictions is giving a much-needed boost to the prospects for travel,” said Walsh.
IATA reiterates its call for:
Not all markets or market sectors are recovering at the same pace.
“In general, we are moving in the right direction, but there are some concerns. Asia-Pacific is the laggard of the recovery. While Australia and New Zealand have announced measures to reconnect with the world, China is showing no signs of relaxing its zero-COVID strategy.
The resulting localized lock-downs in its domestic market are depressing global passenger numbers even as other major markets like the US are largely back to normal,” said Walsh.
Caribbean: The recovery of traffic to and within the Caribbean has grown slowly relative to other regions and traffic will only reach 92% of 2019 levels by 2024 and not exceed 2019 levels until 2025.
Asia-Pacific: The slow removal of international travel restrictions, and the likelihood of renewed domestic restrictions during COVID outbreaks, mean that traffic to/from/within Asia Pacific will only reach 68% of 2019 levels in 2022, the weakest outcome of the main regions. 2019 levels should be recovered in 2025 (109%) due to a slow recovery on international traffic in the region.
Europe: In the next few years, the intra-Europe market is expected to benefit from passenger preferences for short-haul travel as confidence rebuilds. This will be facilitated by increasingly harmonized and restriction-free movement within the EU. Total passenger numbers to/from/within Europe are expected to reach 86% of 2019 values in 2022, before making a full recovery in 2024 (105%).
North America: After a resilient 2021, traffic to/from/within North America will continue to perform strongly in 2022 as the US domestic market returns to pre-crisis trends, and with ongoing improvements in international travel. In 2022, passenger numbers will reach 94% of 2019 levels, and full recovery is expected in 2023 (102%), ahead of other regions.
Africa: Africa’s passenger traffic prospects are somewhat weaker in the near-term, due to slow progress in vaccinating the population, and the impact of the crisis on developing economies. Passenger numbers to/from/within Africa will recover more gradually than in other regions, reaching 76% of 2019 levels in 2022, surpassing pre-crisis levels only in 2025 (101%).
Middle East: With limited short-haul markets, the Middle East focus on long-haul connectivity through its hubs is expected to result in slower recovery. Passenger numbers to/from/within the Middle East are expected to reach 81% of 2019 levels in 2022, 98% in 2024 and 105% in 2025.
Latin America: Traffic to/from/within Latin America has been relatively resilient during the pandemic and is forecast to see a strong 2022, with limited travel restrictions and dynamic passenger flows within the region and to/from North America. 2019 passenger numbers are forecast to be surpassed in 2023 for Central America (102%), followed by South America in 2024 (103%) and the Caribbean in 2025 (101%).
Source: IATA/Tourism Economics Air Passenger Forecast, March 2022
The forecast does not calculate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In general, air transport is resilient against shocks and this conflict is unlikely to impact the long-term growth of air transport. It is too early to estimate what the near-term consequences will be for aviation, but it is clear that there are downside risks, in particular in markets with exposure to the conflict.
Sensitivity factors will include the geographic extent, severity, and time-period for sanctions and/or airspace closures. These impacts would be felt most severely in Russia, Ukraine and neighboring areas. Pre-COVID-19, Russia was the 11th largest market for air transport services in terms of passenger numbers, including its large domestic market. Ukraine ranked 48.
The impact on airline costs as a result of fluctuations in energy prices or rerouting to avoid Russian airspace could have broader implications. Consumer confidence and economic activity are likely to be impacted even outside of Eastern Europe.
(February 23rd, 2022) The latest Global Hotel Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE) states that, at Q4 2021, the global hotel construction pipeline stands at 13,770 projects with 2,304,386 rooms. Year-over-year (YOY) the total global pipeline decreased 1% by projects and is largely unchanged by rooms.
Worldwide, at year-end, there are 6,101 projects (1,136,680 rooms) currently under construction. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 3,547 projects (518,159 rooms) at the end of 2021, and projects in the early planning stage are at all-time highs and stand at 4,122 projects (649,547 rooms). Conversion projects are at an all-time high as well, standing at 1,448 projects (190,322 rooms).
The top countries by project count are the United States with 4,814 projects (581,953 rooms) and China reaching a new all-time high at Q4 with 3,693 projects (700,567 rooms). The U.S. accounts for 35% of projects in the total global construction pipeline while China accounts for 27%; resulting in 62% of all global projects in just these two countries. Following distantly is the United Kingdom with 313 projects (48,770 rooms), Indonesia with 304 projects (48,175 rooms), and Germany with 277 projects (48,827 rooms).
Around the world, the cities with the largest pipeline counts are Dallas, TX with 152 projects (18,180 rooms); Chengdu, China with 144 projects (29,485 rooms); and Atlanta, GA with 133 projects (17,593 rooms). Shanghai, China, follows with 127 projects (24,279 rooms), and then New York, NY with 121 projects (19,303 rooms).
The leading franchise companies in the global construction pipeline by project count are Marriott International, with 2,536 projects (426,744 rooms), Hilton Worldwide with 2,521 projects (376,251 rooms); InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 1,652 projects (244,179 rooms); and AccorHotels with 940 projects (166,411 rooms). These four companies account for 56% of all projects in the global pipeline.
Brands leading in the pipeline for each of these companies are Marriott’s Fairfield Inn, with 360 projects (43,791 rooms); Hampton by Hilton with 764 projects (101,455 rooms); IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 613 projects (78,791 rooms); and Accor’s Ibis Brands with 274 projects (37,937 rooms).
Globally, throughout 2021, 2,246 hotels opened, accounting for 340,667 rooms. Four hundred sixty-nine of those hotels and 76,363 rooms opened in the fourth quarter of 2021. LE is forecasting 2,805 hotels (428,037 rooms) to open in 2022 and another 2,934 hotels (447,575 rooms) to open in 2023.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.