Formerly known as Monday Update
What the Saturday papers said
Tour operators to Greece are offering significant discounts to woo holidaymakers, and the strength of the pound is at its highest against the euro for three-and-a-half years, so holidaymakers to the country will have more money in their pockets. The Foreign Office warns visitors to expect regular demonstrations in Athens and other cities but ABTA said most travellers head for outlying resorts and islands which have been unaffected (Telegraph).
Britain’s economy could suffer permanent damage if the euro collapses in a chaotic way, the Government’s chief economic forecaster has said. Robert Chote, the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, said shock waves from Greece crashing out of the single currency threatened to cause a severe recession with ‘lingering, long-lasting effects’ for public finances (Telegraph).
Staff who dress up as Disney characters at Disneyland Paris are taking industrial action and withdrawing from events such as ‘Meet and Greets’ and parades where they usually mingle with visitors. The strikes are in protests over pay, and a decision to allow a senior colleague accused of harassing women back to work because of a ‘lack of evidence’ (Mail).
Paulton’s, a family-owned theme park aimed predominantly at pre-school children, last year joined a select group of eight UK theme parks that admitted a million visitors. The reason is Peppa Pig World, which has enabled Paulton’s to double visitor numbers since it spent £6m to open it last year, its single biggest investment (FT).
At least one in five tickets for expensive corporate hospitality packages remain unsold just two months before the start of the Olympics. The Games organisers and Sodexo, the French catering giant with exclusive rights to sell corporate hospitality at London 2012, appear to have over-estimated the demand for big business packages in a recession (Independent).
The operation to raise the Costa Concordia will start within days and is described as the largest maritime salvage operation ever undertaken (Guardian). Investigators have found that the main problem with the sinking was that it took more than an hour after the cruise ship hit rocks for the ship’s emergency alarm to sound (FT).
What the Sunday papers said
Ryanair is expected to confirm payment of a €500m (£404m) special dividend when it reports full-year figures on Monday. The payment will see Michael O’Leary, chief executive, bank more than £14m from his 3.55% stake. Analysts expect Ryanair to notch up net profits of €489m (Times).
Currency exchanges have seen a surge in Brits buying euros as the pound rises to a three-and-a-half-year high against the single currency. Travelex has seen online sales of the euro rise by 290% year-on-year since the latest round of eurozone turmoil (Independent).
Tourism accounts for 18% of Greece’s GDP and employs more than 900,000 people – and is at the centre of the country’s recovery plan. Visitor numbers rose in 2011 by almost 10% to 16.4m, partly as tourists were steering clear of the Arab Spring, but 2012 bookings were down 20% until the recent elections and plunged 50% in the week after the vote (Independent).
Package prices in Greece are in free-fall as tour operators try to tempt travellers put off by the continuing unrest. Slow bookings in the cruise market have also meant that discounts are getting bigger, so there are some striking last-minute deals (Times).
About 2.3m Brits visit Greece every year but numbers for this year are estimated to be 10%-15% lower than normal – and holidaymakers have been urged to prepare in case Greece is forced to leave the euro before or during their trip. Experts said it is vital to ensure insurance policies cover travellers should strikes disrupt travel plans (Times).
World leaders have thrown their weight behind Greece staying in the eurozone after a day of crisis talks at the G8 summit in Camp David (Telegraph).
Eurotunnel has warned motorists they may face queues of more than four hours this summer as the border control crisis threatens to spread from airports to rail terminals. In an effort to reduce the prospect of lengthy delays, the company has slashed the number of bookings available (Times).
Hundreds of clerical staff are being drafted in to solve the crisis at airport immigration desks and will be expected to spot fake passports and suspicious passengers after just three days’ training (Mail).
A former star trader at Goldman Sachs nicknamed ‘Goldfinger’ is poised to become a big investor in Jurys Inn as part of a plan to secure the hotel chain’s future. Mark McGoldrick runs Mount Kellett, a vulture fund which is part of a consortium planning to inject up to £160m into Jurys in return for a reduction in its loans (Times).
The Guild of Travel Management Companies’ chief executive, Anne Godfrey, is to become the chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Marketing…the Institute of Travel and Meetings appoints Olive Kavanagh as ITM Ireland regional chairman…Vueling promotes Fernando Val and Julio Rodriguez to chief operating officer and network planning, revenue management & distribution director, respectively…&Beyond appoints Jacky Humphries as chief marketing officer…Sir John Elvidge will become chairman of Edinburgh Airport…Portman Travel recruits Deanna Seiffert as marketing manager…
The Week Ahead
Monday 21 May
Ryanair FY results
ITM Conference, Manchester (to 23 May)
Green Tourism Week (to 27 May)
Tuesday 22 May
Barclays Travel Forum, London
The Tourism Society: The Green Economy: Is Tourism Maximising its Potential?, Whitehaven, Cumbria
Wednesday 23 May
TIPTO workshops, Manchester
Hogg Robinson FY results
Thursday 24 May
TIPTO workshops, Newcastle
Travel, Leisure and Tourism North 2012, Chester Racecourse
Association of European Airlines Presidents’ Assembly, Brussels
Friday 25 May
InterContinental Hotels AGM
Sunday 27 May
Coach Tourism Council AGM and industry seminar, Birmingham (to 28 May)