Week in Review: Earthquake Leaves 21,000 Dead in Turkey and Syria

The major news from this week, unfortunately, was the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, February 6. Since then, at least 21,000 people have died as a result, with tens of thousands injured and more missing. The earthquake was the largest ever to hit Turkey and was followed by a 7.5 magnitude tremor 12 hours later.

“The thoughts of the WTTC and its members are with those who have been affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria which has taken so many lives, and devastated hundreds of families. We send our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all those affected,” the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said in a statement.

Turkey-based Pegasus Airlines is operating additional flights to affected areas, while continuing its efforts in coordination with AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) and official aid authorities to deliver aid and emergency supplies to the regions and evacuate people. The airline has also donated for relief efforts and is helping in transport of aid to the affected region. Guests can find the latest updates on the additional flights and book flights via the Pegasus website www.flypgs.com or mobile app.

Top Travel Trends

In a new report released this week, Amadeus commissioned Northstar Research Partners to define the new traveler profiles—or Traveler Tribes—that will likely emerge over the next decade. The four identified “tribes” are: Excited Experientialists, Memory Makers, Travel Tech-fluencers and Pioneering Pathfinders. Travelers can take a quiz to find out which cohort they belong to.

Another popular trend for 2023 is culinary-focused travel. In Italy, Tourissimo is offering a seven-day culinary cycling tour of Sardinia hosted by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton. Guests will experience the culinary specialties of both the coast and the mountains, besides discovering the cultural roots of the island while cycling some of its most scenic and traffic-free roads.

Sardinia_Blue Zone Tour
Guests of Tourissimo will sample regional cuisine, learn more about "Blue Zones" and enjoy a day cruise. (Tourissimo)

Separately, Atlas Ocean Voyages announced that Chef Rudi Scholdis will be a featured “Gastronomic Guest on select “Epicurean Expeditions” this spring and in late summer. Travelers can immerse themselves in the gastronomy of European ports on culinary shore excursions and learn from guest chefs and sommeliers onboard.

Running Your Business

This week, Avoya Travel launched the beta test for Avoya Flights. The program includes an easy-to-use booking engine, dedicated support desk staffed by experienced airfare experts, and a selection of commissionable airfares. Both the booking engine and access to the air desk are integrated into Avoya’s Agent Power, allowing agencies to provide full-service vacation planning services all from within the same software ecosystem.

In addition, TTC Tour Brands brought together its six tour brand loyalty programs. Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations and Contiki have now aligned under one rewards program—Global Tour Rewards. This unification merges all current loyalty programs into one place, giving travel advisors an angle to re-engage past guests, cross-sell brands within the portfolio and encourage clients to travel again.

Lastly, a handy tool for any traveler, OAG launched its new Flight Status Alerts, which delivers an all-new view of immediate flight changes. Flight Status Data together with Flight Schedules now delivers the broadest possible coverage of flight information to OAG customers which include booking engines, travel and hospitality apps, airline apps, online travel agencies, metasearch, search engines and flight tracking apps.

Calling All Travel Advisors

Nominations are now open for Travel Agent’s annual 30Under30—now in its 16th year. You may nominate yourself or pass the word along to a qualified candidate you know—but nominees must be 30 years old or younger by December 31, 2023, currently work at any level as a travel consultant, have completed a significant project for his or her travel agency, and be recognized by leaders of his or her own organization as an emerging leader.

The deadline to be considered for the program is February 28, 2023.

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