Friday, June 25, 2010

Travel watch travel needs end here
Tour operators see strong international, domestic growth
A survey by the U.S. Tour Operators Association found 92% of respondents said business has increased since the beginning of 2010. "Pent-up demand for travel, a somewhat stronger economy and more discretionary income are some factors fueling the growth in travel bookings," USTOA Chairman John Stachnik said. Almost all respondents said international travel has surged over 2009. Travel Weekly (6/23)
Virgin Atlantic passengers held on plane for hours
A Virgin Atlantic flight heading from London to Newark, N.J., was diverted to Connecticut late Tuesday because of bad weather, according to the carrier. Passengers aboard the flight complained they were held for several hours without food or water. The flight is not subject to new tarmac delay rules that recently went into effect. "That is a U.S. regulation," a spokesman for the airline said. "We are a European carrier so we operate under European law. We haven't infringed any rules." CNN (6/23)
Ash clouds force some to reconsider travel insurance
Travelers who previously rebuffed the idea of travel insurance are reconsidering the coverage after the flight cancellations caused by volcanic ash disrupted the plans of millions of people. Figures detailing the growing popularity of travel insurance since the Icelandic volcanic eruption are not available, but industry experts say the trend is obvious. "When events like this ... occur, most [in the industry] agree that sales at least double," said Wayne Nelson, senior manager of industry affairs for ASTA. The Wall Street Journal (6/24)
Other News
Texas theme park is designed with disabled visitors' needs in mind
USA TODAY/Dispatches blog (6/23)
Thunderstorms force flight cancellations at Chicago's O'Hare
Bloomberg (6/23)
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Trends and Technology

Few firms centrally manage meetings, CWT survey finds
Carlson Wagonlit Travel recently released research that found most companies do not centrally manage their meetings and even fewer have a consistent policy on meetings and events. The research also claims companies can cut their meetings expenses by as much as 25% by implementing a managed-meetings program and adopting best practices. (6/23)
Column: Airlines offer change to cut in line -- for a fee
Columnist Scott McCartney explains how a number of airlines are offering passengers the opportunity to move to the head of the line by paying a fee of as much as $30 per flight. From convenience to ensuring space in the overhead bins, there are a number of reasons for passengers to want to skip to the front of the line, and many are doing just that. The Wall Street Journal (6/24)
AcceptPay Helps Businesses Invoice and Get Paid Faster
Online invoicing with AcceptPay can help maintain healthy cash flow for your company. Download the American Express OPEN Insight Guide to learn how AcceptPay's electronic invoicing and direct payments can help simplify payment processes and make it easier for your customers to pay you.

Home-Based Agent Update

Busting out of "the busy trap"
It's easy to get so busy dealing with the questions, crises and surprises that pop up constantly throughout the day that you lose control of your priorities, Gina Trapani writes. Taking back your day isn't easy, but it all starts with being able to define what you need to accomplish, she writes. "Defining your work is even more important than doing your work," writes Trapani. (6/23)
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Consumer Travel News
Italian venues offer ideal settings to enjoy an opera
Opera long has been part of Italy's pop culture and there are plenty of places in the country to enjoy the performing art. Teatro alla Scala, Arena di Verona and Torre del Lago Puccini are three iconic venues that offer opera lovers and novices three experiences. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (6/23)
Travel in style in a classic private-railroad car
Private-railroad cars can be attached to most Amtrak trains, offering travelers a unique experience and comfortable way to see the country. Only about 100 of the classic-rail cars meet safety standards and are available for charter. They are privately owned and vary in their appearance, opulence and function. Los Angeles Times (6/20)
Regulatory and Legislative
DOT asks public if peanuts should be banned from flights
The Department of Transportation recently released proposals with the goal of improving air travel and passenger protections. The idea of banning peanuts from flights has been considered to accommodate those who are allergic. "The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination by U.S. and foreign air carriers against individuals with disabilities," according to the proposal. "Airline passengers with severe allergies to peanuts have a qualifying disability." CNN (6/22) , The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (free registration) (6/22)
DHS: U.S. provides more privacy than Europe in full-body scans
Despite European criticism over alleged privacy concerns posed by full-body scanners, the U.S. has built-in protections while Europe does not, according to a U.S. official. "There is more privacy protection in place in the U.S. than in Europe, because we embedded those provisions before rolling out the system," says Mary Ellen Callahan, supervisor of privacy and data protection at the Department of Homeland Security. Callahan says scanners are optional in the U.S. and that screeners are located in a separate room where they cannot see the person being scanned. In the U.K., Callahan points out, there is no choice to opt out of the scan and there is no separation between the subject and the screener. United Press International (6/22)
Other News
NTSB homes in on 5 serious close calls in the air
Bloomberg (6/23)
Best Practices
5 tips for answering tough questions
While most business owners will never face intense media scrutiny like BP's Tony Hayward and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, they can learn a few things from those executives' recent less-than-stellar appearances in the hot seat. When answering tough questions from customers, investors or others, business owners should remember to show empathy, rehearse answers to some obvious questions and take note of body language. Bloomberg Businessweek (6/22)


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ASTA Spotlight
Help Tourism Cares save our sites
Tourism Cares, a 501c(3) dedicated to preserving tourism's historic landmarks for future generations, is inviting the public to vote for a site they would like to see supported with grant funding as part of its Save Our Sites program. The SOS summer voting round focuses on cultural sites that showcase music in America. The following four organizations eligible for Save Our Sites voting are: Delta Blues Museum and Delta Blues Foundation; Virginia's Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road; Backstreet Cultural Museum; and The Apollo Theater. To learn more about each organization or to vote, visit Tourism Cares manages ASTA's Scholarship Foundation.
Cruise trends and issues, a candid dialogue
Join Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Mike Julius, vice president, Central Region of Carnival Cruise Lines, and Wayne Nelson, ASTA's senior manager of Industry Affairs for this candid discussion of trends and issues affecting travel agents, including: cruise industry trends; destinations: which markets are offering the best value?; hot topics important to travel agents; tips for marketing and selling and more. Register to attend this webinar taking place at 2 p.m. EDT July 7.
Learn more about ASTA -> Resources | Conferences | Consumer Travel Information | Join ASTA

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
--Mary Anne Radmacher,
American writer

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