What the Saturday papers said
High street travel agents look set to become extinct because of people choosing to book their holidays online, Mintel research suggests. Figures show that seven in ten people who took a holiday in the last year booked entirely online, and fewer than one in ten customers now believe that travel agents are better informed about holiday destinations than professional bloggers or review websites, such as TripAdvisor (Mail).
Ryanair is charging British travellers nearly 25% more than it charges their counterparts elsewhere in Europe in its numerous fees and charges. The airline calculates its optional and non-optional fees using an exchange rate of £1 = €1 – a policy adopted when sterling was close to parity with the euro – but the pound has strengthened to a four-year high against the euro (Telegraph).
Most Britons travelling to France remain unaware of new regulations requiring them to carry breathalysers with them while driving in the country, according to a recent study by Halfords. From Sunday, all drivers must carry two official NF (Norme Française) approved breathalysers, which can be purchased from ferry and tunnel terminals for £2, in their vehicle at all times (Telegraph).
Travellers who purchase their foreign currency online can get nearly 10% more for their money, a report by Which? Travel has suggested. The consumer watchdog, which compared exchange rates at 22 currency providers, found that Thomas Cook’s online service offered the best value when buying both euros and dollars (Telegraph).
Prime Minister David Cameron has said that cleaning up Britain’s discredited and ‘shoddy’ banks is a priority for the Government on a par with cutting the country’s debts. The Prime Minister expressed his anger after the four biggest high street banks — Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and the Royal Bank of Scotland — admitted culpability in the selling of punitive financial products to thousands of small businesses (Telegraph).
What the Sunday papers said
Airline analysts say that, despite fare increases, the big summer getaway has begun as Britons look to escape the wet weather. HSBC’s Andrew Lobbenberg predicts that growth in passenger numbers at Ryanair will be up in the mid-to-high single digits, and easyJet up more than 10% (Observer).
Hotel prices in Spanish towns and cities are ‘collapsing’ with four-star rooms reduced to as little as £30 a night by hoteliers starved of domestic customers who can no longer afford to travel, says Kirker Holidays. Meanwhile, Greece specialist Sunvil Holidays took a record 120 bookings in a single day as the country sees a surge in bookings from holidaymakers reassured by the recent election result (Times).
Jeff Smisek, chief executive of United Continental, has merged two airlines with 87,000 staff, 1,252 planes and 148m passengers a year, yet remains undaunted. In a profile interview, he explains why he is pushing himself as the face of the new venture, with videos of himself on each flight, as he wants to personalise the service and tell customers about change (Times).
Al-Qaeda is plotting a terrorist attack on an American airline in the run-up to the Olympics, according to intelligence sources. News of the plot confirms fears that Al-Qaeda is seeking to recruit radicalised Westerners in an attempt to evade airport security (Times).
Manchester and Birmingham airports are in talks with the Government about bringing High Speed 2, the proposed superfast rail line, to their terminals. The £34bn line promises to shave off 40 minutes from the journey time between London and Manchester (Times).
Sir Richard Branson has banked more than £28m after a hefty dividend from Virgin Rail and selling his stake in Air Asia X. The £15m Virgin Rail dividend takes the amount he has earned from the railways since privatisation to about £204m, and the tycoon has trebled the value of his £4.5m initial investment in Air Asia X by selling his 10% stake for £13.4m (Times).
Travelodge is set to widen the gap with budget rival Premier Inn by opening four new hotels this month in London, making it the biggest operator in the capital for the Olympics. Grant Hearn, chief executive, said he was expecting the effect of the Olympics to be ‘neutral’ as the usual tourists stay away from the capital in the belief it will be too overcrowded (Mail).
A specialist turnaround firm has bought Island View Holidays, which operates a string of resorts on the Isle of Wight, in a £7.5m deal. The sale of the business to Bluebird Capital Partners is expected to safeguard 130 jobs (Times).
Daniela Wagner, chief executive of eWaterways, succeeds Gary Bartelings as chair of the River Section Committee with the Passenger Shipping Association…James Evans steps down as chief executive of Brand USA, replaced on interim basis by Caroline Beteta…FCm Travel Solutions appoints Katie Thomas in new role of global product manager traveller services…Anne Roesener will join the board of directors of the FTI Group and the Youtravel.com board in London…Sarah Bartlett joins lastminute.com as chief marketing officer…Raymond Conner succeeds James Albaugh as president and chief executive of Boeing…Rachel Hunt appointed UK & Ireland trade development consultant for Tourism New Zealand…Jo Dean becomes meeting & events development manager for InterContinental Hotels Group…
The Week Ahead
Monday 2 July
Sandals Resorts, Sandals & Beach Training Academy 2012, Walsall
Visit USA Association, Visit USA Media Marketplace, London
IATA monthly traffic results (May)
Tuesday 3 July
Sandals Resorts, Sandals & Beaches Training Academy 2012, Plymouth
Anite preliminary announcement of 2011/12 results
Wednesday 4 July
IAG June traffic and capacity statistics
Elite Travel Group, The Midlands Summer Olympics Ball 2012, Birmingham
IATA Airlines Financial Monitor
Thursday 5 July
easyjet Traffic Statistics