Cruise Industry News Annual Report Shows Growth in Asian Market

Cruise Industry News Annual Report, an annual report on the cruise industry, has reported that the industry is growing in the Asia, Asia-Pacific and Australian markets.

The 2012 edition of the report identifies the emerging Asian-Pacific cruise industry at 1.2 million passengers annually, contributing to 6 percent of the worldwide cruise revenue.

The report highlights that the growth in the Asia-Pacific region is led by Star Cruises, a Hong Kong based company with four ships, owning 35.8 percent of the market. In 2012, passenger figures are expected to hit 1.2 million for the company.

Australia and New Zealand added another 548,544 passengers in 2012, led by P&O Australia, with four ships, and enjoying a regional market share of 47.4 percent.

Daniel Read, the Portfolio Director of Cruise Shipping group of UBM, the media company that publishes the report, said, ‘In 2012 the global cruise industry is set to carry 19.3 million passengers and the Asian market is continuing to take a bigger percentage of that number each year. In light of the opening of the International Cruise Terminal in Singapore, which will be able to accommodate the largest of the new generations of cruise ships, we expect to see growth continuing throughout the region for many years to come.’

The Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific conference will be held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from September 17 to 18, 2012, where the Cruise Industry News Annual Report will be discussed in detail to identify the changing facets of the industry in the current year.

British Airways Launches Jubilee Jumbo Aircraft

British Airways, a UK-based airline company, is featuring a special emblem celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on one of its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft.

11-year-old, Katherine Dewar, designed the celebratory emblem, she was the winner of a competition organised by the UK children’s television program, Blue Peter. The emblem will be part of the aircraft’s livery along with a message, ‘Congratulations, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee’.

Katherine Dewar said, ‘Since winning the competition, its been like a dream come true to see my design in so many different places around the UK but I never expected to see it on a huge jumbo plane! I love going on holiday to Florida and hope the next time I do I’ll be lucky enough to fly on this plane so I can look out the window at my design!’

The airline pilot, Captain Mark Mannering-Smith, said, ‘As the national flag carrier I can’t think of anything more fitting than British Airways carrying a message of congratulations to Her Majesty around the world.’

Air passengers arriving at London airports over the Jubilee weekend, which is from June 2 to 5, 2012, will also be hearing congratulatory messages from the aircraft pilots, to celebrate the occasion.

For customers accessing the British Airways’ Heathrow lounges, the airline will be serving a regal afternoon tea, which will include a traditional British tea menu.

The Terminal 5 Elemis Spa is also offering Jubilee treatments for British Airways’ First, Club World and Gold Executive Club members.

Carnival Cruise Lines Announces New Carnival Breeze Cruise Liner

Carnival Cruise Lines, a US-based cruise line, has added a new cruise ship, the 130,000-ton Carnival Breeze, to its portfolio.

The new ship can carry around 3,690 passengers and will be departing on its inaugural cruise on June 3, 2012, from Venice, Italy, on a special 12-day Mediterranean cruise ending in Barcelona on June 15, 2012.

The new Carnival Breeze is the 24th vessel to join the cruise line’s fleet and features several entertainment options. It is the line’s first ship to feature a multi-dimensional special effects experience, the Thrill Theater; theme water park, WaterWorks, with water slides and a 300-gallon drenching bucket, and a large recreation area with a miniature golf course, and an outdoor fitness area, which is known as the SportSquare.

The cruise ship also has multiple dining venues, as well as numerous staterooms, facilities for children, and a Cloud 9 Spa.

Gerry Cahill, the company president and chief executive officer, said, ‘Carnival Breeze represents the continued evolution of our product, offering a huge array of branded experiences for our guests and inviting public spaces each with its own personality and character, all enhanced by the spirited fun that makes a Carnival cruise so memorable.’

The summer schedule for the cruise liner includes six and eight-day Caribbean cruises commencing on November 24, 2012, from Miami, in the US.

Carnival Cruise Lines offer three to 18-day voyages to various destinations including The Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, Norway, the Baltic and the British Isles.

Westin Hotels Opens New Smoke-Free Hotel in Paris

Westin Hotels & Resorts, a hotel brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, has opened a new hotel, The Westin Paris – Vendome, in Paris, France.

The new hotel, which offers views of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, is part of the brand’s Breathe Westin portfolio of smoke-free hotels.

Brian Povinelli, the brand’s global brand leader, said, ‘Westin Hotels & Resorts is excited to further expand its portfolio of international smoke-free properties and we are proud to have The Westin Paris – Vendome as our latest addition. As a brand that continuously adapts its programming to better coincide with guest preferences, Westin’s smoke-free policy responds to consumer demand for healthy environments, and speaks to the brand’s promise of ensuring guests leave feeling better than when they arrived.’

The Westin Paris – Vendome has 428 rooms and suites, three restaurants, and 21,500 square feet of meeting space with a business centre. The hotel is also hosting a new spa, the Six Senses at Rue de Castiglione, Paris. The spa includes the WestinWORKOUT Gym, with complimentary equipment and facilities available year-round.

The new hotel is offering an introductory discount of 30 percent on room rates on all bookings made by August 3, 2012.

A customer survey report from Westin guests has highlighted that around 92 percent of guests favour smoke-free rooms, and 80 percent of the respondents desire non-smoking public spaces. The Breathe Westin portfolio was launched six years ago in North America, based on the brand’s guest feedback. Since then the initiative has been expanded to include Westin brand properties worldwide, and recently into Mexico, Peru, Spain and Italy.

Thomas Cook Offers London 2012 City Breaks with Olympics Tickets

Thomas Cook Group Plc, a UK-based travel company, is offering new London City breaks, celebrating both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympic Games.

The company is offering its Best of Britain themed short vacations, as part of its role as official provider of short breaks to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The newly created Games Breaks are designed around the British royal family’s love of sport, and to tie in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The newly launched city breaks are named The Queen, The Duke & Duchess, The Prince Harry & Charles, The Princess and The Earl, and are suitable for a range of budgets for visitors hoping to attend one or both events.

The Queen Games Break Plus is on offer from 29 July to August 1, 2012, for £1,999 per person, and is inclusive of three nights stay at the London Marriott Regents Park, and event tickets to the 2012 Olympics Games.

The Duke and Duchess Break is on offer from July 29, to 30, 2012, for £329 per person, and inclusive of one night stay at The Kensington Hotel, and event tickets to the 2012 Olympics Games.

Stephen Vaughan, the company managing director of Thomas Cook London 2012 Partnership, said, ‘London is the most sought after British destination in decades, particularly for us citizens. Demand for tickets has been incredibly high, but we still have a selection of our Games Breaks left for UK sports fanatics.

As a proud supporter of the Games and of our British heritage, we’ve developed some diamond breaks to offer our customers a seat at the Games of a generation. As the only place on the High Street that UK residents can guarantee a ticket to the Games and, more importantly now, a hotel we aim to offer quality to the Queens’ standard.’

Gatwick Express Announces Growth in Passenger Traffic in 2011

Gatwick Express, a UK-based company providing a rail-air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport in the UK, has reported an increase in passenger numbers in 2011.

The company has reported a 17 percent increase in passengers for 2011, compared to the figure for 2010, indicating that the service is becoming ever more popular with travellers.

Alex Foulds, the development director for Southern Railway, which operates Gatwick Express, said, ‘Considering the context of a 6.9 percent rise in airport passengers at Gatwick, these figures reveal the robust health of the Gatwick Express brand. We are seeing a rise in both leisure and business travellers from the UK and overseas.

This latest growth in passenger numbers shows that more people are choosing Gatwick Express due to it being fast and non-stop, as well as being the most convenient and reliable way of getting to and from the airport. With our excellent online promotions it means that it is now both cheaper and easier to book online. This is why we have seen our online sales double in the last year.’

Gatwick Express has also reported around a 100 percent increase in its online bookings in 2011, compared to 2010, indicating that the convenience of booking tickets online is beginning to resonate more with travellers, especially as the reach of mobile ticketing expands to more and more smartphone platforms. The company is offering a 15 percent discount on return tickets sold online, in a bid to acquire more customers through its online booking portal.

The company is also offering complimentary lounge access with first class return fare for passengers at the No.1 Traveller Airport Lounge at London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

Fairmont Hotels Announces New Fairmont Austin Hotel

Canada-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will be opening a new Fairmont Hotel in Austin, US, in 2015.

The company has entered into an agreement to operate the new Fairmont Austin, which will open in three years time. The new hotel, to be developed for an investment of £226.5 million, will be located close to the Austin Convention Centre, and will be featuring around 1,000 guestrooms and suites.

The 50-story hotel is being developed by Manchester Texas Financial Group LLC (MTFG), and will also be providing around 70,000 square feet of function space

Doug Manchester, the president of MTFG, said, ‘Fairmont represents one of the strongest and most luxurious brands in the hospitality industry. Our alliance with Fairmont will establish a new high water mark for convention centre hotels industry-wide. We diligently set out to find the right operator that was willing to go above and beyond with a special vision tailored for the Austin market. Fairmont is doing just that.’

The hotel will generate around 1,000 permanent jobs to the Austin market, once it is operational.

Jennifer Fox, the president of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, said, ‘For over a century, Fairmont has been host to legendary meetings and special events across the globe and we are excited to bring our broad range of experience in the meetings arena to this project. Austin is currently seeing tremendous interest and growth in the convention market and with its reputation as a dynamic, vibrant capital city will be a great addition to our portfolio.’