In case you missed it, 30 tidbits of miscellaneous, curated July news—and we’re only halfway through the month. What have we missed?
What Not to Do
‘Silly’ doesn’t even begin to describe the decision to retrieve a phone from inside the crater atop 4,200-foot-high Mount Vesuvius near Naples. Maryland tourist Philip Carroll thought he’d do just that after accidentally dropping it taking a selfie. He and his family bypassed a turnstile to hike up a “no access” trail to the top of the “very active” volcano known for its Pompeii / Herculaneum eruption in AD79. Carroll was spotted by guides with binoculars and rescued from the 1,000-foot-deep hole via rope and a mountain helicopter. Taken into police custody, he is charged with entering a forbidden area.
‘Chilly’ doesn’t even begin to describe the latest twist in this relationship. “The world’s richest man and one of the world’s largest social networks appear headed for a showdown in court. Elon Musk is seeking to terminate his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, blaming the company for withholding information on its number of spam and fake accounts, according to a letter sent to Twitter on Friday from his attorney.” — Twitter’s chairman, Bret Taylor, Co-CEO of Salesforce, says the company will sue Musk. Others say is was all a clever ruse as an urgent need to sell $8.5 billion in expiring Tesla options at a windfall that dwarfs the penalty Musk may owe. Besides, the guy who lands rockets can probably fix bots, right? The lawyers must be smiling. Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Even chillier. If you think a “growler” is for beer, you’re not wrong. But it’s also the word for an unhappy person AND a small iceberg, about the size of a grand piano. From a destination that knows a thing or two about these frosty floating ice chunks, Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism offers an iceberg fact finder and the super cool (pun intended) iceberg finder on their website. Alaska cruise passengers on the Norwegian Sun got to know more about icebergs than they’d figured on when they hit a growler at Hubbard Glacier near Yakutat Bay. The damaged cruise liner cancelled the remainder of the itinerary, returned to port in Seattle, and promised refunds for the second half of the voyage.
Meantime, the pandemic shutdown sent the cruise industry’s international workers back to their home countries and now there’s a backup to renew these workers’ employment visas. Virgin Voyages decided to bail on the August debut of its third ship, Resilient Lady, now postponed for some time in 2023. Carnival has closed two restaurants on every ship to deal with labor market shortages. Norwegian‘s Pride of America ship, which is U.S.-flagged and must employ Americans, typically carries about 930 crew members. As of June, it had only 550, so Norwegian took the unusual step of declining some pre-booked Hawaii-bound passengers. In Germany, Global Dream II, one of the world’s largest cruise ships to date is now 80% built, but could be headed straight for the scrapyard on its maiden journey unless there’s a last-minute buyer.
Four coastal Latin American countries: Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, and Costa Rica have formed a single interconnected marine reserve area to create one of the richest pockets of biodiversity in the Pacific Ocean. Known as the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor (or CMAR), that are of 200,000 square miles will be protected and free of fishing to support important migratory routes for sea turtles, whales, sharks, and rays.
In the Air
The number of airline passengers going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at airports across the U.S. significantly surpassed 2019 pre-Covid levels on Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1 at the start of the Fourth of July weekend. The agency screened 2.44 million and 2.49 million people on those two days respectively, prompting a TSA spokesperson to tweet, “We are back to pre-pandemic checkpoint volume.” While a small bump occurred over the July 4th holiday in 2021, that turned out to be a blip between Delta and Omicron variants. TSA throughput numbers are updated every morning.
Sit Here, Kids
The DOT has warned airlines to make sure children can sit next to accompanying adults for no extra charge. Failure to do so, the department said in a newly issued notice, could lead to regulatory action. Beginning in four months, the Office of Consumer Protection (OACP) will review airlines’ practices and policies to expose any barriers to a child age 13 or under sitting next to an adult traveling companion before considering a formal rule-making process that would ban airlines from charging fees for such seating arrangements. Source: Travel Weekly
At the Pump
Think gas is pricey? Look around to see how far $40 will get you down the road using a 2010 Toyota Camry, a typical sedan on American roads, for comparison’s sake. On average in the USA, you’ll go 247 miles before the tank runs dry, enough to make it from NYC to Washington, D.C. or from Ann Arbor to Chicago. In France, Italy, and Spain where gas is above $8/gallon, you’d get only 158 miles for $40. In England, you’d get even less mileage. Source: Washington Post
Airbnb has a new landing page, “Live and Work Anywhere,” featuring 20 global destinations for remote workers, including Tampa Bay, Tulsa, Greater Palm Springs, and California Baja Sur. “Over the next few months, Airbnb will work closely with each destination to create a custom-built hub for each location. These hubs will showcase some of the best of local long-term stay listings, while linking to important information from the destination partners relating to entry requirements and tax policies, where applicable. In parallel, Airbnb will also partner with destinations on educational campaigns to promote both responsible hosting and how to travel as a remote worker. The destination hubs are expected to launch later in the year. They will be linked from this page as they are published.” Read about the program here.
Room for more? The Live and Work Anywhere application form for destinations is found here.
So Long, Ketchup & Mustard
“I’ll have some Acrisure on my hot dog,” said no one ever. It’s a Grand Rapids-based insurance and consulting firm, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers found a “new partner willing to pay significantly more than we could justify,” Kraft Heinz stated. The new name, a 15-year deal, goes up on the stadium in early 2023 after more than 20 years since Heinz Field opened in 2021. Source: Ad Age
Twitter news that isn’t about Elon Musk: Get ready to see brands tweeting together. An upcoming feature on Twitter is in testing. Allowing users to co-author tweets, CoTweets is not officially available yet, but here’s the full rundown from Twitter. Follow @TwitterCreate to stay on top of the platforms innovation and improvements.
Tweet of the Week: @SecretaryPete: “Sometimes an airline will offer you points or miles as compensation, but you are entitled to a cash refund when your flight is canceled. When deciding whether to accept miles, it’s helpful to know their value, which varies, but often is estimated at 1 to 1.5 cents per mile.”
Visit Los Cabos has tapped Sparkloft Media as its partner for the destination’s digital and social strategy.
TURNER signs on as agency of record for Visit Indiana. The agency will work with the DMO’s branding agency of record, WeCreate, to support the new tourism campaign, “IN Indiana.” (The Travel Vertical, 6/14/2022)
NYC-based Press Record Communications gets the job to brand the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, aiming to expand its reputation as a visitor destination, place to grow a business, and to raise a family.
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau has selected locally based Allen & Gerritsen to lead an organizational rebrand and a comprehensive marketing campaign to transform and enhance global visitation. The partnership includes brand and creative strategy, brand identity, design, creative concept development and production, data, and analytics to be deployed across paid digital, social, TV, radio, print, out-of-home and trade show activations.
Places Dot, LLC, a content strategy company focused on the use of artificial intelligence to produce relevant and targeted text-based content, has announced its rebrand as Intentful. CEO Marina Petrova presented at the 2022 eTourism Summit as a Bright, Shiny, New Object. www.Intentful.ai
By the Way…
“What recession?” asks Ad Age. “U.S. advertising employment surged in June, moving above its pre-pandemic level. Ad agency and internet media staffing reached an all-time high…Employment in advertising, public relations and related services soared by 7,300 jobs in June, the fourth-highest monthly gain since 2000.” Source: Ad Age
North American PR agencies’ operating profits bested pre-COVID levels, according to an annual benchmark industry report from the PR mergers and acquisitions advisory firm, Gould+Partners. Source: O’Dwyers
Around the USA
U.S. Travel Association has launched a weeklong preview of its Daily Getaways program from July 10, featuring exclusive deals from major travel brands. Available for purchase from July 18, this is a limited-time promotion designed to stimulate travel across America that was introduced in 2010. The sale features exclusive deals from 10 major travel brands—Accor Hotels, BWH Hotel Group, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Universal Orlando Resort, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts—offering discounts up to 50% off loyalty points, theme park tickets, vacation packages and hotel stays.
California has a new state budget, which includes a $15 million investment in helping restore the tourism economy. The funding builds on the $95 million in tourism marketing stimulus in 2021 aimed at accelerating recovery. “This $15 million contribution will help finish the job and bring California’s tourism economy back to pre-pandemic levels in 2023,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. Marketing programs are aimed at promoting family travel, professional meetings and travel to California’s urban hubs. Initial projections show that this new infusion of cash should generate at least $4 billion in visitor spending and create 37,600 travel and hospitality jobs.
Hawaii Tourism Authority has been ordered by the Department of of Business, Economic Development & Tourism to put on hold the change of the tourism marketing contract to a Native Hawaiian-run agency. Mike McCartney said, “As the Head of the Purchasing Agency for the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, I am responsible for overseeing the process for RFP 22-01 for the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle of the busy summer travel season and planning needs to be done for the upcoming fall period. Therefore, I have determined, with the concurrence of the State’s Chief Procurement Officer, that it is advantageous for the state to extend the current U.S. MMA contract with Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau for 90 days, until September 28, which should provide adequate time to resolve the current protest.” [see “Trouble in Paradise,” The Travel Vertical, 6/28/2022]
Corpus Christi created a Tourism Public Improvement District that’s expected to generate approximately $3 million annually to fund expanded marketing and tourism promotion for the Texas destination. The TPID will provide a fee assessment of 2% of the taxable room rate at hotels in the Corpus Christi city limits with 40 or more guest rooms. TPIDs exist in other Texas cities: San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, and Waco.
Destination Cleveland has outlined a three-year strategic plan to boost visitation. A new marketing campaign tagline is “The Land for Life.” Putting Cleveland residents at the forefront of storytelling, the DMO said the content “will be centered around Clevelanders answering questions, telling their stories and showing off their pride for The Land.” There’s new written and video content for the website and ads are running in Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
Seattle has doubled its hotel fees from $2 to $4 per room per night. The Seattle Tourism Improvement Area was created in 2011 and the higher tax is expected to generate the $4 rate is projected to raise about $9.8 million in 2022. Visit Seattle said the doubled rate will allow them to bolster their marketing efforts to aid the industry’s recovery and compete with better-funded markets like Portland.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has voted to re-invest in international marketing via offices in Canada, England, Germany and Mexico. The investment is for more than $2.5 million annually over the next three years. Indicating a sign of recovery, in early June, Harry Reid International Airport reported the highest post-pandemic air travel capacity of any airport in the country.
Santa Monica, California and Brighton, U.K. have joined forces as part of a new Friendship City Pact to boost tourism to both cities. The partnership kicks off this month when Santa Monica Travel & Tourism hosts a series of Santa Monica-inspired events and experiences at key locations around Brighton. The two cities are partnering to celebrate culture, history, food scenes and creative communities plus their iconic piers, both over 100 years old.
San Diego Tourism Authority will get $35 million from a 2% surcharge on hotel stays. That’s up about $10 million from just a year earlier, although still short of the $48 million allocated in fiscal year 2019-2020. More than half — $19.5 million — will be spent on promotional ads, both in Western cities and in two new markets, Denver and Dallas. While the media budget isn’t back to the pre-pandemic peak of $28 million, it’s considerably more than the $14 million the bureau had just two years ago, said COO Kerri Kapich.
Daytona Beach International Airport has launched a “Wish You Were Here” photo contest. Scenic postcard-worthy entries on Instagram or Twitter marked with #FlyDABSummer are eligible for a grand prize weekend stay at a beach resort plus two airline tickets. Four contest winners will also have their photos featured on complimentary postcards offered to passengers. The latest campaign grew out of the airport’s initiative to distribute free postcards depicting the region that could be dropped into a box in the airport concourse to be stamped and mailed out by the airport’s Customer Experience team.
Travel Michigan is partnering with UK-based Travel Uni to launch a new trade training platform called Pure Michigan Expert. Upon accessing the portal and completing the 20-minute training, travel advisors can download a certificate and enter a prize draw to win one of two places on a trade fam trip in 2023. Kelly Wolgamott, Director of Marketing for Travel Michigan, noted the return of daily direct flights from the UK into Detroit. Also, Great Lakes cruises are back after a hiatus of 2+ years. Vice President of Travel Michigan Dave Lorenz indicated that the “two-nation destination experience” of these cruise ships averaging under 200 passengers would bring more than 150,000 visitors to the Great Lakes this year, above pre-pandemic levels.
Experience Sioux Falls has filled 10 boxes with locally sourced products from soap to honey to a value of $48.44. Ten lucky meeting planner winners who apply via the email marketing campaign from Sioux Falls Sourced will receive the gift box.
Beyond Our Borders
Destination Canada is giving away 4,000 free (retail US $55) annual passes to Americans for the Parks Discovery Canada pass covering 80 outdoor destinations. The application is at Canada Refresh, also awarding a “Dream Nature Sabbatical” trip to one winner from the U.S., value $20,000 (deadline 7/31). Meantime, the government has announced it is extending current border measures for travelers entering the country through at least September 30.
The euro hit a 20-year low against the US dollar this week, hitting parity ($1 = 1 € ) for the first time since 2003. The plunging euro, which lost 20% in value over the past 14 months compared to the U.S. dollar, is not good news for Europeans planning to visit the U.S. Introduced in 1999, the euro is the official currency in 19 of the 27 member states of the European Union.
Venice will be the first city to begin charging day trippers. The fee is up to 10 euros for visitors who don’t stay overnight, beginning in January 2023. Because cruise passengers don’t spend on accommodation, the city must provide services without gaining revenue. In 2019, about 80% of the 19 million visitors were day trippers.
Barcelona, which struggled with significant overtourism prior to the pandemic, is weighing up ways to limit the number of cruise ships docking in its harbor on the Mediterranean. In May 2022, more than 125 mega-cruise ships docked in Barcelona’s port, creating pollution problems and negative resident sentiment in addition to economic issues caused by low-value visitors that descend at once in the downtown area. In 2019, over three million cruise guests came ashore in Barcelona, 40% percent of whom spent only four hours in the city.
In Scandinavia, SAS filed for bankruptcy in the United States, saying that a newly announced pilot strike will affect about 30,000 passengers daily and puts the future of the airline in serious jeopardy. The Chapter 11 filing will allow Scandinavian Airlines to restructure its debts under court supervision while continuing to operate, although the labor action has grounded almost 50% of its flights.
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