Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

11 Mar, 2011

Egyptian Tourism Minister Blasts Ex-Regime’s “Cronies”, Liberalisation Policies

ITB BERLIN: Egyptian Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour has blasted the “extreme” economic liberalisation and privatisation policies of the ousted Hosni Mubarak government, saying they had failed to address the country’s glaring rich-poor income gap.


10 Mar, 2011

Arabs Hit Back, Urge Europeans To Avoid Stereotypes & Clichés

ITB BERLIN — Arab and Muslim speakers have called on Europeans to try and better understand what is going on in the Middle East, to take a more positive, long-term attitude about the prospects of change and to steer clear of stereotypes and clichés.


9 Mar, 2011

Europe Sets Base for Calculating Aviation Emission Caps

BRUSSELS, March 7, 2011 — The European Commission today decided on the historical data for emission of greenhouse gases by the aviation sector which will be used as a base figure on which to calculate the number of emission allowances to be available to airlines from 2012. The move will impact all airlines flying to, […]


8 Mar, 2011

100th Int’l Women’s Day: Special Report

This dispatch commemorates the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. It celebrates the significant role women have played in the development of the global travel & tourism industry. Marked for the first time in four European countries in 1911, the day has become a critical rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation […]


4 Mar, 2011

ITB 2011 Curtain-Raiser 2: The Global Geopolitical Revolution

The second of a two-part report on the two technological and geopolitical revolutions set to dominate the agenda at the ITB Berlin between March 9-13. This part focusses on the geopolitical revolution.


2 Mar, 2011

ITB 2011 Curtain-Raiser 1: The Technological Revolution

The 45th ITB Berlin due to open in the German capital on March 9 will be dominated by two ongoing revolutions: The technological revolution which is transforming the way the industry does business; and The global geopolitical revolution which will see the emergence of a new world order.


25 Feb, 2011

“UN Women” Launched as Powerful Driver of Women’s Equality

As one of the world’s largest employers of women, the travel & tourism industry ought to take considerable interest in the historic February 24 launch of UN Women, a United Nations organisation dedicated solely to addressing the vast range of problems facing the world’s women and girls.


23 Feb, 2011

UNCTAD: Social, Economic Change Must Accompany Political Change

Noting that the momentous events in the Middle East and North Africa are a reflection of “massive social discontent and crises,” a United Nations agency that fights for the cause of developing countries has called for political reform to be accompanied by policies to “reshape economic and labour governance”.


16 Feb, 2011

U.S. To Face Talent Crunch, Will Need To Relax H-1B Visas, Says McKinsey Study

The U.S. will need to relax its stringent immigration policies, extend the retirement age and get more women into the workforce in order to generate the huge pool of skilled manpower that it will need to boost productivity in an increasingly competitive global economy, according to new research by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).


15 Feb, 2011

Polls Track Public Opinion Reactions To Events in Egypt, Tunisia

A number of opinion polls conducted by Pew Research and The Gallup Organisation tracked the shifts in the public views in the United States in response to the changing situation. Here is a compilation of the reports on the findings, as posted on the pollsters’ respective websites.


15 Feb, 2011

As Power Shifts & Tables Turn, A Global Good Could Emerge

This essay-cum-commentary is dedicated to the memory of Tunisian fruit-vendor Mohammed Bouazizi and the hundreds of protesters and dissidents in the streets of Tunisia and Egypt who died, were injured or otherwise took a stand for the cause of basic freedoms, dignity and human rights.


9 Feb, 2011

Egypt and The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius

The first quarter of the second decade of the 21st century is witnessing the dawn of the Age of Aquarius. By unfolding right in the midst of the Aquarius period, the 11th star of the Zodiac, in the year 2011, these tumultuous and unprecedented events assume an even greater surreal significance.


20 Dec, 2010

Special Report: Int’l Day of Persons With Disabilities

Regional countries are on track to declare a third Decade of Disabled Persons in the Asia-Pacific (2013-2022), a move that will give a huge impetus to facilitating employment opportunities, accessibility and mobility for the estimated 400 million PwDs in the region.


20 Dec, 2010

Defining Comment of WTM 2010: “Mistakes Were Made”

Arguably the most defining comment of last week’s World Travel Market 2010 came during the tourism ministerial summit organised by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on November 9.


6 Nov, 2010

Remembering The Day The World Really Changed

By Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire Sept 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, is often termed “the day that changed the world”. It is time to revisit that. Two days ago, in the midst of all the other global chaos, no-one even noticed the 15th anniversary of the day the world really changed.


2 Nov, 2010

OECD Report Highlights Bid to Attract Students

Faced with ageing populations, OECD countries are increasingly adjusting their migration policies to attract more international students and making it easier for them to stay on, according to the latest 2010 edition of the OECD migration report released earlier this month.


20 Oct, 2010

ITB Asia Recovers Big Time In A Global Crisis-Free Year

With plenty of commercial real estate waiting to be filled, Singapore piggybacked on a resurgent ITB Asia to launch a series of travel industry “mega-events” that expanded both the depth and breadth of participation and raised Singapore’s profile on the global travel stage.


24 Aug, 2009

US Global Image Up, But Tourism Slump Continues

Although a recent Pew Research Centre poll found that the election of President Barack Obama has improved the global image of the United States, there is no evidence that it is translating into increased business for the country’s travel & tourism industry. Statistics released by the U.S. Commerce Department for the first quarter of 2009 […]


20 Jul, 2009

Foreign Students Set to Hit 7 Million by 2020

With the number of students studying outside their home countries projected to rise from 2.5 million to an estimated 7 million by 2020, a report by UNESCO warns that it may only “further skew” the distribution of the world’s wealth and talent unless steps are taken to make education opportunities more equitable. “ One of […]


11 May, 2009

Jordanian Elected to Head World Tourism Body

Former Jordanian tourism minister Dr Taleb Rifai has been elected the new Secretary-General of the Madrid-based UN World Tourism Organisation for a four-year term beginning 2010. The 31-member executive council, meeting May 7-8 in the African state of Mali, endorsed Dr Rifai, 60, by a majority vote of 20 as against 10 for his closest […]


23 Feb, 2009

ASEAN Tourism Branding Change Under Fire

Replacing “ASEAN” with “Southeast Asia” as part of a regional tourism re-branding strategy would be “an exercise in futility” and “would not serve the fundamental objective of the grouping in the long run,” according to the first and only head of the now-defunct ASEAN Tourism Information Centre (ATIC). In an email interview, Abdullah Jonid, a […]


16 Feb, 2009

Airports Blast Airlines For Pressuring Them on Charges, Costs

The head of the global association of airports has blasted airlines for “having no commitment” to their destinations and suggested they back off from pressuring airports to reduce fees and landing charges. Speaking at the Airports Council International AGM in London last week, Angela Gittens said: “During bad times, airports vie more than ever for […]


2 Feb, 2009

Civil Society Groups Rue Damage Done by Tourism

Social movements and tourism watchdog groups from around the world met in the Brazilian Amazon last week to discuss the damage done by “predatory neoliberal capitalism” and the proliferation of megaresorts and real estate developments along the coastlines of tropical poor countries. Under the theme “Another Tourism is Possible”, dozens of tourism non-governmental organisations and […]


22 Dec, 2008

17 Americans Attend First Tour Operators Convention in Iran

TEHRAN – Seventeen American tour operators and media were amongst a group of 120 tour operators and travel media from 48 countries who attended the first international tour operators convention organised by the Iranian tourism industry late last month. They found a country which is completely different from that which they read about in the […]


10 Nov, 2008

PATA Faces “Major Overhaul”, says Acting CEO

The Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association has embarked upon a “major overhaul” covering just about every aspect of its internal and external structures, membership relevance and future directions, according to acting President and CEO Brian Deeson. Mr. Deeson, a former PATA chairman and secretary/treasurer, is Vice President Industry Affairs for Accor Hospitality based in Sydney. […]


13 Oct, 2008

“Another Tourism is Possible,” Say Civil Society Groups

Non-governmental organisations in the travel & tourism industry took advantage of World Tourism Day last month to stress that the present financial crises may prove to be a short-term phenomenon, and that the industry would still have to deal with long-term issues. NGOs in Asia and Europe used Sept 27, World Tourism Day, to issue […]


21 Jul, 2008

Coming Next: “Mental Health Tourism”

You’ve heard of “medical tourism” and “health and wellness tourism”. Now, get ready for a new one: “Mental Health Tourism.” A paper presented by a group of Japanese researchers at the Asia Pacific Tourism Association annual conference in Bangkok last week says that this form of tourism would be specifically targetted at urban dwellers suffering […]


19 May, 2008

Sports Events Tourism Benefits “Grossly Overstated”

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia — With national tourism organisations facing increasing demands to sponsor multi-million dollar sports events on the basis of their perceived tourism promotion value, a University of Victoria professor has urged that they take a closer look at the “grossly overstated” figures that are being produced to justify the money. Speaking at the […]


9 Apr, 2008

Aviation, Tourism In Climate Change “Danger Zone”

Six major industry sectors – aviation, healthcare, tourism, transport, oil and gas and financial services — are in particular danger from climate change risks, claims professional services organization KPMG.


3 Mar, 2008

OECD Report Analyses Impact of Globalisation on Tourism SMEs

Helping small & medium sized enterprises in the travel & tourism industry compete and survive in the age of globalisation is the subject of a major report on tourism in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries released by the Paris-based organisation last week. The report examines the effects of increasing globalisation on […]


22 Jan, 2008

Global Survey Highlights Lack Of Faith In World Leaders

The latest findings of a global survey carried out for the World Economic Forum show a lack of faith that the next generation will live in a safer world.


7 Jan, 2008

Backlash Against Branding Gains Ground

Imagine a tourist destination that openly brags about having no McDonalds, Pizza Huts, KFC, Starbucks, Travelodge or Holiday Inns.


5 Nov, 2007

UNWTO Organises Cordoba Conference to Boost Religious Tourism

CORDOBA, Spain – With millions of people now on the move for “religious tourism,” the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has begun to turn its attention towards studying and analysing the issues related to its sustainability. The growth of interest in the Buddhist circuit is one aspect of this phenomena which covers two kinds of […]


17 Sep, 2007

World Exclusive: UNWTO Warns Against Iran Conflict

The Deputy Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organisation, Dr Taleb Rifai said that further hostilities in the Middle East would solve nothing but rather create problems that could cause incalculable damage worldwide.


3 Sep, 2007

Sikhs Protest U.S. Airport Profiling

First it was just the metal detectors and body checks, then came removal of shoes, sharp objects and cigarette lighters followed by metal forks and knives as well as nail-clippers. Recently, water, liquids and gels have been placed on the list. Now comes the latest in a long list of insane security checks – permission […]


30 Jul, 2007

Private Equity Firms Face Image Problems, Transparency Pressure

Seeking to counter a growing image problem and reputation as predatory buyout “asset-strippers”, private equity companies are trying to work out voluntary guidelines to provide more “disclosure and transparency” about themselves and their mega-billion dollar deals.


25 Jul, 2007

Next Big Thing: The “Happiness Business”

Bangkok – Is the phrase “travel & tourism industry” now outdated? If a rebranding is long overdue, how about the “happiness business”? Becoming arguably the first travel trade editor to cover a conference on promoting happiness organised at the UN regional headquarters in Bangkok last week, I was struck by the extent to which the […]


10 Jul, 2007

Global Businesses Face “Trust Gap,” Need To Reset Their “Moral Compass”

Global business leaders have been warned by a McKinsey Company survey that they are facing a “major trust gap” in how their companies are viewed by employees, consumers and the public.


2 Jul, 2007

Indonesians Blast European Ban on Garuda

Indonesian aviation and tourism authorities have been put on the defensive by last week’s European Union ban on Indonesian airlines, but are also beginning to question the timing, methodology and motivation of the move. Although the initial reaction has been again to plead their case before the EU Transport Commission and cite all the various […]


25 Jun, 2007

Beware the “Brutal” Private Equity Funds, Unions Warn

Continuing its campaign to warn governments and workers about the growing power of private equity funds, the federation of international unions in the hotel, catering, food and farm sectors has issued a report seeking to expose the funds’ inner workings and get them placed under greater public scrutiny. Produced in response to a growing number […]


11 Jun, 2007

Whither Tourism Brands In a World of “Homogenised Culture”

KUALA LUMPUR — National tourism boards need to start speaking out “against turning every country town into a showcase for global brands,” the chairman of VisitBritain warned last week. In a keynote presentation at the World Tourism Summit convened here by the UN World Tourism Organization, Mr Christopher Rodrigues said, “The more global companies and […]


7 May, 2007

Middle East Hotel Survey Says “Market Correction” Awaits

DUBAI: With about 82,000 rooms projected to open across the Middle East and North Africa region over the next four years, “a market correction is likely to happen with lower occupancy levels and declines in average rate,” according to the latest Middle East Hotel Survey for 2007 by the HVS consultancy company. The report says […]


26 Mar, 2007

Brand-Name Hotels More Likely to be Attacked, Say Security Consultants

Internationally-known brand name hotels are more likely to be the target of a terrorist attack than less well-known properties, two security consultants told a travel industry luncheon group last week. Speaking to the Skal Club of Bangkok, Tom Coghlan, CSP Managing Director and Fred Alimusa, CSP Training Director and Managing Director of Kerberos Co Ltd., […]


12 Mar, 2007

Another Tourism “Beauty Contest”, the WEF Competitiveness Index

BERLIN: Countries will soon be parading in yet another international beauty contest following the release of the World Economic Forum’s first Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) last week at the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show. Designed to “provide benchmarking tools that enable countries to identify key obstacles to competitiveness, and to […]


8 Feb, 2007

Asean Tourism: Diverse, But Disunited

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the most diverse multi-country region on the planet. But its once powerful joint tourism marketing campaigns are no more.


11 Dec, 2006

Luxury Travel Targets 2% of World’s “Uber-Wealthy”

CANNES, France — The world’s growing list of “uber-wealthy” were the target of a luxury travel market organised here last week, with more than 2,500 delegates seeking a piece of the action estimated to be worth more than US$ 44 billion in travel expenditure. Deluxe yachts, private jets, remote islands and lavish resorts were among […]


20 Mar, 2006

Pakistan Seeks Tourism Dividend from Peace With India

BERLIN: Seeking to cash in on the peace dividend with India, Pakistan is also going on a tourism promotion offensive, a move that could give a big boost to Thai Airways’ flights to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Hashim Khan, Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, told a press conference at the ITB Berlin that although […]


29 May, 2005

Australians Rage Over Schapelle Corby Verdict in Bali


The following is a roundup of reactions in Australia after Schapelle Corby’s sentencing on drug smuggling charges in Bali. I’M GOING TO BOYCOTT BALI TOO, SAY CALLERS May 28, 2005 http://www.theage.com.au/news/Corby-Case/Im-going-to-boycott-Bali-too-say-callers/2005/05/27/1117129896430.html Talkback callers were quick to voice their disgust yesterday after Schapelle Corby’s sentencing. Many vowed to boycott Bali as a destination, including one Melbourne […]


24 Jun, 2002

As Aviation Security Costs Soar, Key Question Is: Who Will Pay?

As the airline industry faces billions of dollars in additional costs to security and insurance concerns, and the major question is: Who is going to pay, and how? For years, airlines resisted attempts to impose any kind of taxes, surcharges or levies, be it to protect the environment or boost government revenues, but today faces […]


10 Jun, 2002

Victimised TAT Governor Exonerated, Walks Away With Head High

Former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Pradech Phayakvichien last week walked away from his job legally exonerated of the charges against him, with the added confirmation that he was indeed the victim of a political conspiracy hatched by TAT insiders in collusion with Cabinet ministers. In a statement of rebuttal over the “ethical” as against […]


3 Jun, 2002

Australia Launches $3 Million, Multi-Language Tourism Website

BRISBANE: The Australian Tourist Commission last week launched a new multi-language tourism website designed to help potential visitors cut through the clutter of thousands of individual websites and give a major hand specially to small and medium sized businesses. Three years and A$3 million in the making, the website, australia.com, is referred to as “the […]