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Robust growth in European and international travel



Maldives Promotion House – Good news for European tourism: despite continuing economic turbulence, European tourism industry figures are up. These are the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. The figures are based on extracts from the European Travel Monitor and World Travel Monitor, as well as on assessments by more than 50 tourism experts and scientists from around the world.

According to the findings, a year-on-year comparison shows that trips out of Europe have increased by 4 percent. Economic uncertainty in many European countries has not affected travel spending, which has risen by 2 percent.

According to UNTWO, from January to August 2011, international trips to Europe rose to 671 million, an increase of 4.5 percent. The forecast for next year is positive, too. In September 2011, travelers from 13 European countries were asked whether and how often they intended to travel next year. Forty-three percent said they would be traveling as often in 2012 as this year. Twenty-seven percent aimed to travel more. By contrast, 20 percent said they would be traveling less than in 2011. Overall, IPK’s “European Travel Confidence Index” lies at 103 points for 2012, indicating 2-3 percent growth next year. This would represent solid growth and would mean a new all-time high number of trips, ahead of the previous record year of 2008.

Martin Buck, Director of the Competence Center Travel and Logistics at Messe Berlin, said: “Despite the difficulties experienced by various eurozone countries, Europe’s travel industry has, to date, made it safely through 2011. In particular, stable prices and easy online booking procedures have ensured that Europe continues to attract international travelers and also remains the world’s leading source market.”


The Swiss were noted as particularly keen travelers. The number of trips they took grew by 9 percent. They were followed by Sweden (7 percent) and Belgium (6 percent), respectively. Germans were more restrained. In 2011, the number of trips they took rose by only 1 percent.

According to the European Travel Monitor, compared with 2010, short-haul trips grew by 4 percent and made up 90 percent of trips overall. An extra 3 percent decided to travel long distance. The number of short trips with 1 to 3 overnights, rose by 10 percent, while figures for longer stays stagnated.

As far as shorter journeys were concerned, respondents among the 13 European nations polled preferred trips to northern, central, and southwestern European regions. Due to the political revolutions in countries, such as Tunisia and Egypt, many tourists avoided North Africa, which suffered losses of 15 percent. Travel to the Asia-Pacific region stagnated, too, due to a drop in trips to Japan following the Fukushima disaster. The winners were North and South America, which together registered a 6 percent increase in tourism.

Among European travelers, major cities were popular again this year. City breaks were among the most popular form of travel, rising by 10 percent, followed by round trips (8 percent), and beach holidays (6 percent). By contrast, trips to rural regions and ski holidays fell by 7 and 5 percent, respectively. European travelers clearly like to save money getting to their destination: low-cost flights rose by 10 percent, while traditional air travel suffered a 4 percent drop.

Bookings by smartphones have made no significant impact to date. Only 3 percent of European travelers said they used mobile devices to make their travel reservations. Ninety-seven percent of Internet users booked their trips via a PC or laptop. As far as booking accommodation is concerned, online reservations (63 percent) have now already overtaken bookings by telephone or in person (37 percent).

Details of European travel trends will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December at . The report is based on the assessments of 50 tourism experts from 30 countries, on a special IPK International trend analysis undertaken in leading source markets, and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor®, recognized as the largest continuous survey of global travel trends in some 60 source countries. The findings reflect trends, which emerged during the first 8 months of 2011. At the ITB Berlin Convention, Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, will present the findings for the entire year, as well as the latest forecasts for 2012.



Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project



Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

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Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services



Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.

Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.

“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.

“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.

Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”

Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.

“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.

To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.

Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.

For more information, visit

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Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops



Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.

As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.

Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”

“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”

Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.

All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.

Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at:

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