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05.11.15 News

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The Bahamas courts visitors from Europe

Edward Robertson

THE BAHAMAS has seen a surge in visitor numbers following a refocus on the European market. It comes after the director general of the Bahamas Tourist Office admitted the country had “taken its eye off” marketing to the continent. Speaking to TTG, Joy Jibrilu said the destination had seen an 11% increase in customers from the UK alone in the first seven months of the year. She attributed this to a re-evaluation

of how the tourist office was dealing with some of its key European markets. “We lost focus when we took our eye

off Europe and we paid a price for it but we have started to re-engage and we have seen the benefits again,” Jibrilu said. She added that the decision to appoint

Anthony Stuart as the director of Europe for the tourist board and base him in London was key to the destination’s change in fortunes. “The UK and Europe was such a strong market for us in the past and for whatever reason we lost direction. We did not maintain the resources there,” she said. Jibrilu said the tourist office’s work had been assisted by a slew of hotel openings as well as ongoing negotiations with a number of airlines. In late 2015 the Lighthouse Pointe at

Grand Lucayan Resort will open with 198 rooms, while the Warwick Paradise Island Resort will bring a further 243 rooms and suites online when it opens next year. In 2017 The Pointe Hotel & Residences in Nassau will open with 200 rooms and 110 condo units. Meanwhile, discussions with British

Airways saw it retain its flight to the destination from Heathrow as opposed to Gatwick, so helping the European market, while discussions are ongoing with another European airline with an announcement hoped for before Christmas.

Magaluf sees ‘brighter’ future with reinvention

Abigail Challenor

THE FACE of tourism in the Majorcan party capital of Magaluf is set to change after 10 private companies, Melia Hotels International and Calvia Town Hall and the Balearic Government unveiled a five- year plan of regeneration initiatives at the ME London hotel on Monday night. The Mayor of Calvia, the minster of Balearic tourism and the vice-president of Melia Hotels International spoke of positive changes that had taken place over the 2015 summer season such as a “crackdown on anti-social behaviour” and a number of hotel renovations. The mission statement for the project said it was “firmly committed” to the transformation of the resort and that it would look to grow a “more diversified customer base”. The deputy mayor of Calvia outlined

five key objectives for the next five years to help them reach the desired aim. These include: extending the season to

nine months of the year; making Magaluf the ideal destination for family summer holidays; growing sport facilities and events; improving complimentary facilities such as food and beverage, leisure and culture; and positioning Magaluf as a benchmark for the regeneration of a mature destination. Mark Hoddinott, the Melia vice- president for real estate, said:

Crime rates have dropped 70% in Magaluf

“When this project was launched four years ago it was in the depths of the Spanish recession.”

He said that the one positive at the outset was the popularity of Spanish resorts. “It is clear there is still a lot of work to do. It is a project that will total something of eight, nine, ten years. “But every time we look at the front of the tunnel we see the light at the end is brighter and we are reaching it faster. “This summer we’ve seen an

improvement in the hotels’ performance in terms of occupancy and rates. In summer we were up 6.5% in occupancy.

“Crime rates fell by 70% this year,” he added. Hoddinott conceded that the

challenge of taking something from a negative position forward was far greater than taking it from a standing start, but outlined three things that were critical to moving forward. These included: improving the quality

of the retail, and food and beverage offering; continuing the work being done by the authorities to make public spaces safe and hospitable; and working on the public and perceived image of Magaluf as a destination.

ADDED VALUE: Jamie Gibson (left), head of partnerships, Value Retail; Marcus Jansa (middle), director, strategic partnerships, Hilton Worldwide; and Thibault Ruffat, head of European tourism, Value Retail celebrate Value Retail’s first global hotel partnership with Hilton Hhonors, Hilton Worldwide’s established loyalty programme.

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