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News tidbits from ITB - Day one.
Thursday, 6th March 2014
Source : Roland Wildberg ~ Exclusive from ITB 2014
News snippets and the latest gossip, live from ITB Berlin 2014 - Today: Crimea crisis affects airlines, new European business travel association and more....

ITB 2014 sold out again
ITB tourism fair in Berlin this year is more international than ever: More than 65 per cent of the exhibition companies and associations are non-German. Altogether it is an impressing 10.147 exhibitors from 189 countries – anyway ITB cannot break last year's record for the fairground area once more is fully booked. ITB is gaining increasing reputation through its convention programme which encourages the fair management to use the „think tank" buzz word, wheras the „hot" growth topics are Travel Technology – everything around online-booking solutions – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Tourism.

Crisis at Crimea affects Airline
European budget carrier WizzAir based in Hungary has decided to cancel flights to and fro Donetsk in the Eastern Ukraine by 19th of march. Reason is the difficult political situation in the island Crimea, the management announced at ITB 2014. National carrier Ukraine International Airlines has not yet cut any destination including Simferopol at the Crimea.

New mobile interface for IDeaS App
In the mobile world hotel managers must be able to have access to any mission-critical function such as the revenue management. Ideas revenue solutions has now fitted their system with a new user interface, which can be used via Smartphone apps for iOS and Android. The relevant data about bookings, forecasts, prices and competition prices are retrievable with a few finger tips, even during a walk, to be capable of making decisions and to react quickly to changes. After a broad-based test Blake Madril of Pacific hospitality said: "we are constantly working on our Smartphones: in the football stadium, at home, or even at the airport." He could therefore no longer imagine working without the useful app.

New Business Travel Association
At ITB 2014 a new European business travel association has been founded: The „European Network for Corporate Travel" (Enacte) is a link between four national organisations from Belgium, France, Netherlands and Spain. Fith founding member is the European subsidiary of international business travel confederation „Acte". The new association's aim is to represent business travel topics on an European level and to take part in all relevant discussions. So far only this European section of Global Business Travel Association claimed to be at this position which now has to face competition.

More Hard Rock Hotels in Europe
Spanish hotel group Palladium is still preparing for the opening of their first Europeain Hard Rock Hotel on 13th of June this year at the island of Ibiza but already anounced plans of two more properties on the Canary islands and the Spanish mainland. According to Palladium head of marketing Juan Calvo Chiroga the exact location is currently chosen. Besides there are pending major renovations to the existing portfolio in Spain and Latin America, the hotel manager at ITB 2014 anounced. The refurbishment program does include the Grand Palladium Colonial and the Grand Palladium Vallarta both in Mexico and the Royal Suites Turquesa in the Domenican Republic.

New Hotel project at Disneyland Hongkong
The Disneyland in Hong Kong 2013 concluded with a record number of visitors: 7.4 million visitors were counted. The Park continued to 460 million euros (+ 15%) and doubled its net profit to 22 million. A new hotel to bring in the near future another boost: the property will have 750 rooms and is scheduled to open by early 2017. Overall, there will be rooms for overnight guests in the Park then in 1750.

Thailand tourism not harmed
Media drew a critical picture of Thailand during last year, but this has little to now impact on tourism figures. The country seems to benefit from very loyal fans, which resulted in a 26,7 million global visitors in 2013; an 19,4 percent increase in comparison to 2012. For the current season the target is at 28 million arrivals says new Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Thawatchai Arunyik, 59 year old follower of Suraphon Svetasreni.

Berlin: Bed Tax charged for dogs also
Strange note from Germany's capital tourism: The recently installed „bed tax" that charges a small share per night similar to a visitor's tax does also go for dogs, provinvial tax department had announced. No difference if the guest's dog will sleep in the bed or outside. Fortunately ITB trade visitors are not affected: They are by law relieved from the Berlin bed tax.

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Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry has always fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance at its best.


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