Sunday, October 30, 2011

UN partners help least developed countries to take up more effective tourism development

I am glad to see Tourism getting attention for the many benefits it has in educating and helping world populations.  I have been leading international tours and training new Tour Directors for years.  I’ve always stressed the many benefits it has especially with responsible locals, governments, tour operators and Tour Directors.
I have a request from a developing country now to help in training their staff.  I’m flattered and hope to be able to work out the logistics.   There are safety concerns and yet I also understand how the media and politicians will play up a situation.  Claims are often greatly exaggerated.  

International tourist arrivals in the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) grew from 6 million in 2000 to over 17 million in 2010. In the same period, international tourism receipts climbed from US$ 3 billion to over US$ 10 billion.

Eight of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have begun to assess their tourism development needs and pinpoint relevant funding sources at a workshop held by the United Nations Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD) in Geneva, Switzerland from, October 18-20.

Representatives from the Tourism, Finance and Trade Ministries of Benin, Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Lesotho, Maldives, Sao Tome and Principe and Uganda came together with the nine UN Agencies that make up the SCTD at International Trade Centre (ITC) Headquarters in Geneva, to learn how to better work together to maximise tourism’s development potential.  

“Tourism is one of the few economic sectors through which LDCs have managed to increase their participation in the global economy,” said UNWTO Executive Director, Márcio Favilla, opening the workshop. “The multiplier effect of tourism is also particularly effective in the LDCs, where tourism expenditure generates additional flows of revenue and consumption for other branches of the economy such as agriculture, local fisheries, handicrafts and the furniture and construction industries”.

The workshop allowed the countries to learn more about the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and how to best access the mechanism to develop their tourism strategies and action plans, as well as leveraging human and financial resources.

The workshop builds on the momentum generated at the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), at which tourism was included as a poverty reduction tool for the first time. It is now expected that the LDCs, with the support of SCTD Agencies as well as the EIF Secretariat, will be able to prepare project proposals by the end of 2011, for local approval and subsequent submission to the EIF Board for endorsement by mid-2012.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Golf Tourism Shows Its Resilience

I’m often asked about leading golf tours.  Here’s good news, “… International golf tourism was expected to exceed 50 million travelers in 2011, and perhaps reach 55 million,…”

Bangkok, October 27, 2011 - Golf is one of few international tourism sectors continuing to grow despite global economic uncertainty, according to the chief executive of the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators, Peter Walton.

Addressing members of Thailand's Golf In A Kingdom destination marketing program in Bangkok this week, Mr Walton said golf tourism had recovered more quickly than other sectors since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. And despite continuing problems, especially in Europe, the sector was continuing to grow.

He said international golf tourism was expected to exceed 50 million travellers in 2011, and perhaps reach 55 million, equivalent to the level in 2007 before the GFC.

"Golf tourism bounces back more quickly than other sectors," he added. "In established markets, one in three golfers plan to travel in the next 12 months. That is a lot more than in other sectors, like skiing.

"We also know that golfers spend 120 percent more per person per day when staying in a resort than other travellers."

Mr Walton, who is visiting the region from his London headquarters in preparation for the inaugural IAGTO Asia Golf Tourism Convention in Kuala Lumpur next April, also said that whereas only 12 percent of the population in the United States played golf, golfers were responsible for 27pc of US travel expenditure.

"While we don't have figures for other countries, this shows how important golf tourism is in the current international tourism climate," he said.

Mr Walton later said that Spain, the United States and Thailand were currently the big three international golf destinations, with Turkey and Portugal among developing countries that were rapidly increasing their golf tourism sectors.

"Thailand is very well placed to continue the progress it has made in promoting golf tourism," he noted.

An example of how the market is growing in Thailand has been the first visit to South-East Asia this month by clients of US tour operator, Kalos Golf. One group of 37 participants spent five days in Bangkok last week before travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia, also to play golf. A second group of 35 arrives in Bangkok this week where - like the first group - they are scheduled to play the renowned Thai Country Club before also travelling to Vietnam./TravMedia/

Tour manager, Sue Pierce, said the first group's visit had exceeded her clients' expectations. "We were welcomed so warmly and everyone had a wonderful experience. We were amazed that despite the flooding around Bangkok, there was no standing water on the course. We have already made a decision to return every year."

FOOTNOTE: IAGTO has 1700 members in 94 countries and claims that its members are responsible for 80% of golf packages sold worldwide. In Asia, IAGTO has 209 tour operators selling golf in the region in 43 originating countries.


For more information, contact:
Paul Myers, Asian Travel Media, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 84 125 1894

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Working with Travel Suppliers

Throughout my training, I cover how important customer service skills are in our careers as professional Tour Directors, Travel Staff, Tour Guides and Cruise Hosts.  The skills are important when working with our groups and just as important when working with our suppliers including the airlines, hotels, tour operators, attractions and etc.  We’re all part of the hospitality industry and want the best for our groups and individuals.

I was recently approached by an important hotel manager asking for the name of my supervisor.  He wanted to report a tour director saying, “…no one can talk to me that way.”   During my career I occasionally hear comments about tour directors, travel staff and cruise hosts that seem to think to get their way they have to demand help and or that things go their way.  The hotel staff, drivers, airport staff, tour operators and locals all talk and will express their opinions, complimentary or not.  They will also share and report their opinions with the tour operators, incentive houses, DMC’s, receptive services and cruise lines, the employers of the tour directors, guides, travel staff and cruise hosts.

Years ago a tour member said their recent tour director was tough and said something like, “…she always went to bat for us.”   I knew of the tour director through her reputation for being tough with hotel and airport staff.  I also knew the staff said they didn’t want to work for or with her and would try to avoid her.   We were all appalled and embarrassed by her behavior.  I’m talking about international tours so her reputation was worldwide.

I’m not suggesting not to ‘go to bat’ for your group but I find the travel suppliers also want the best and they will help if they can.  If I don’t like their first solution I try to come up with another one.  If they still can’t help I continue to probe to find a solution.  I find pleasant persistence works a lot better than aggression.  Empathy also helps.  Why can’t they help?  What’s the problem?  I’m also grateful for their assistance since they’ll often go way beyond what they have to do.  I do know some help just out of frustration from my persistence. 

For example, the guest doesn’t like their room.  Is there another room available?  How about my room?  Why isn't another room available? Is there one on a different floor or wing of the hotel?  When will another room be available?  What is the cost of an upgrade?  Is there someone else that may be able to make a different decision and or approve a different room?  Can we do something special for the guest?  If nothing can be done I may try to upgrade and or give the best room in the next hotel. When I talk to the guest I will be able to explain the challenges and show there isn’t  an alternative at this time.

I’m not sure tour directors that get tough know they may be reported to the tour operators and or how it affects their reputation.  They may get their way the first few times but will only be causing problems if their aggression persists.  They may ‘win the battle and lose the war’ and or even the careers.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

International Visitation Up Six Percent In July 2011 And Up Five Percent July YTD 2011

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 6.6 million international visitors traveled to the United States in July 2011, a six percent increase over July 2010. For the first seven months of 2011, visitation (35.2 million) was up five percent compared to the same period in 2010.

Overseas Resident Visitation
  • In July 2011, overseas resident visitation (3.0 million) was up five percent over July 2010.
  • July YTD 2011, overseas resident visits (15.5 million) were up six percent compared to the same period of 2010.
  • In July 2011, increases were registered in seven of the nine overseas regions.
  • July YTD 2011, increases were registered in seven overseas regions.
North American Resident Visitation
  • In July 2011, non-resident visits from Canada (2.3 million) were up nine percent and visits from Mexico (1.3 million) were up two percent.
  • July YTD 2011, non-resident visits from Canada (12.1 million) increased six percent while visits from Mexico (7.6 million) were down one percent for the year.
Top 10 Countries (Sort based on YTD July 2011)
  • In July 2011, eight of the top 10 countries posted increases in resident visitation.
  • July YTD 2011, eight of the top 10 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States.
Top 10 Countries (Sort based on YTD July 2011)
Country of Residence
% Change July 
2011 vs. 2010
% Change YTD July
2011 vs. 2010
  United Kingdom
  South Korea
  People's Republic of China
Top Ports: YTD July 2011
YTD July 2011, visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 82 percent of all overseas visits, the same as last year. The top three ports (New York, Miami and Los Angeles) accounted for 40 percent of all overseas arrivals, two percentage points above last year. Eleven of the top 15 ports posted increases in arrivals during the first seven months of 2011. Six of these ports posted double-digit increases.
Access to OTTI Data
Manufacturing and Services' Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics from the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. OTTI produces visitation data tables, including a more detailed region, country and port analyses. To access these data, you are encouraged to visit the OTTI monthly arrivals page at <>.
National Export Initiative
To improve conditions that directly affect the private sector's ability to export and to boost employment recovery, on March 11, 2010 President Obama created the National Export Initiative (NEI). The automation of the arrival/departure form [CBP Form I-94W] for Visa Waiver Program travelers supports this initiative as the automated form will greatly improve the measurement of international arrival data to the United States. To learn more about the NEI, you are encouraged to visit <>.

Throughout this report, percent changes posted for international visitation to the United States for July 2011 were calculated by comparing data in July 2011 to data in July 2010. Also, percent changes posted for year to date 2011 were calculated by comparing data January - July 2011 to data January - July 2010.      /Trav

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Viking River Cruises Hiring

Viking River Cruises is North America s largest operator of worldwide river cruises with over 20 vessels on more than a dozen rivers in Europe, Russia, China and Southeast Asia. Our vessels carry an average of 200 English-speaking passengers, primarily from the United States, with English,

Australian and Canadian guests mixed in. A typical cruise is 7-14 days with daily visits to ports along the rivers. During these visits, guests are taken on guided tours, conducted by local guides. A ship has a hotel manager who is the chief officer for everything that has touches the guests, with the captain having the ultimate responsibility as the person in charge of the ship (and as such, in charge of safety and security, and  getting from a to b ). Reporting to the Hotel Manager is the Program Director and his assistants, who are the face of the company, as their role is to take care of the guests   they handle logistics, escort all excursions, perform airport meet and greets, make all announcement and conduct information briefings and other presentations.

 We recently learned that with appropriate paperwork, we can legally employ North Americans on our vessels in Europe. As the river cruise business is booming, we have been looking to cast our nets wider in finding the right people and this represents a great opportunity both for Viking and for tour managers in the US. In the coming months, we are trying to find some candidates with which we’d like to run a test: we would employ them on one of our vessels in a Program Manager capacity for 4-6 WEEKS before we evaluate the program we are likely to roll out completely in 2012.

Obviously, successful candidates of the pilot program would be first in line for the 2012 season.
Most of our people work on a 2 months on   2 weeks off contract. The season runs from late March until December. We’re basically trying to work with people s schedule, but for the North Americans, we are unlikely to provide more than 1 return air trip. If they want to come home during the summer, it is on their own dime. A typical season is about 6 months. Again, Program Managers on our ships escort passengers on their shore excursions and fulfill receptionist and administrative tasks on the ship; they also assist with airport transfers and meet and greets. It is a job where good organizational skills and excellent people skills are required.

Applicants must be very flexible, willing to SHARE a room with a colleague and knowledge of a FOREIGN LANGUAGE is a significant plus.


Viking offers competitive pay and a chance to see something of the world!

BELOW: (and not to ITMI)

Joost Ouendag
Vice President, Product Marketing

Monday, October 3, 2011

Private/Charter Airline looking for Flight Attendants

Joining the Team

Now accepting applications for the following positions:
  • Flight Attendants for Ontario, California.
    • Must be authorized to work in the US;
    • Must be at least 21 years of age;
    • Must be able to read/write and speak English fluently;
    • Bilingual (English/Spanish) preferred;
    • Must be eligible for a US passport (will be required before end of class);
    • Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs;
    • Must be able to pass a 10 year background check and a pre-employment drug screening;
    • Must be flexible and available to work evenings, weekends and holidays;
    • Must successfully complete FAA approved flight attendant training program.
Don't have email? Try snail mail!
Send your resume to:
Xtra Airways
Human Resources Department
800 West Idaho
Suite 304
Boise, Idaho 83702

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Contiki - USA Tour Manager – Summer 2012

Why work for Contiki?

Contiki is the world’s leading tour operator for 18-35’s. When working for us you’re undertaking not only a job but a lifestyle. A life that involves traveling to some of the most amazing destinations in North America with some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.
As a member of our road crew, you will be the face of Contiki – dealing with our passengers each day and ensuring that they have the holiday of a lifetime! We have high expectations of our road crew – only the best will do. We’ve been at the top of our game for the last 46 years and that’s where we intend to stay!

To be a part of our team you’ll need to:

  • Be passionate about travel and North America – you must be willing to learn and have the desire to keep on learning
  • Be enthusiastic and motivated – we expect you to work hard for our company and for our clients
  • Have great time management skills
  • Be responsible and professional at all times
  • Have the ability to deal with all types of people – our clients come from all around the globe; they speak many languages and have many different expectations. Also have knowledge about their countries geography, politics and customs
  • Enjoy a challenge – our training trip and the job itself will constantly present you with many different and difficult situations
  • Be positive and have the ability to deal with all situations in a calm and mature manner.
  • Be a problem solver – you will have to assist clients with lost passports, when they have injuries or need to visit a hospital, conflict of personalities etc.
  • Work well as part of a team – when you are on tour you will be working with your driver, local suppliers and guides – you will be part of a very big picture

What are the requirements?

You must be eligible to work in North America. This means being the holder of one of the following:
  • Valid Driver’s License or Identification Card
  • Valid work visa for the US
You must also meet the following criteria to be considered:
  • Have a university degree (must be completely finished with all classes by February 1, 2012)
  • Have at least 2 years of work experience
Although not required, the following will be of benefit to you in your application for this position:
  • Experience working with and leading groups
  • Confidence when speaking in front of a group
  • Previous travel; domestic and international
  • Having previously traveled with Contiki or participated in a group tour of some description

How do I apply?

Click Apply Now to access the Tour Manager Application form. You will need to print the application and send it in with all of the following:
  • Resume
  • Two letters of reference
  • Photo Journal – This one page journal is an open format to display your creativity and show us who you are. These will not be returned.
Please include all of the above in your packet and submit all at once. Any incomplete packets will not be considered for an interview.
Link to rest of information: