Week in Review: Florida Travel Advisories, Record Air Ticket Sales

This week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) became the third civil rights group in the last month—following the League of United Latin American Citizens and Equality Florida—to file a travel advisory urging tourists to rethink visiting Florida. In its statement, the N.A.A.C.P. said, “Under its current Governor, the State of Florida has engaged in an all-out attack on Black Americans, accurate Black history, voting rights, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, women’s reproductive rights, and free speech.”

In response, Dana Young, president and CEO of Visit Florida, said, “It is disappointing when partisan organizations attempt to weaponize travel in pursuit of political ends. Travel advisories issued with blatant factual misrepresentations are a disservice to the traveling public and are disrespectful to the incredibly diverse visitors and residents that are proud to call Florida home.

Record Start to 2023

Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) recently released data showing that U.S. travel agency air ticket sales totaled $8.7 billion in April 2023, a 13 percent year-over-year increase. April was also the fourth consecutive month where sales exceeded $8 billion. Even better: Sales for the first four months of the year were at the highest level seen since the same period in 2019.

While total passenger volume still lags 2019 (110.4 million travelers vs. 95.7 million), airfare seems to be making up the difference in sales totals. So far, fares have totaled $27.514 billion in 2023, compared to $27.509 billion in 2019 (through the same period).

People on an airplane
Air sales are up. ARC reports potential record sales for 2023, but Deloitte notes many people are tightening their budgets. (Photo by AlxeyPnferov/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Dream Vacations/CruiseOnewhich last month reported record land sales—has announced record-breaking group sales for the year-to-date in 2023. The achievement is mostly attributed to the network’s new groups application.

That all said, Deloitte’s “The Experience Economy Endures: 2023 Deloitte Summer Travel Survey” found that Americans are split between wanting to travel and tightening their budget due to financial constraints. For instance: While, 51 percent of leisure travelers plan to fly this summer, the number of those who are willing to pay for a more comfortable flight experience, including first or business class or other upgrades, is down (39 percent in 2023 versus 54 percent in 2022). Among those spending less, nearly six in 10 cite financial concerns; four in 10 of those paying more simply noted price increases.

To help protect their wallets, travelers can make use of Faye, a travel insurance startup, which just received an injection of $10 million from numerous investors, including the former CEO of global travel insurance at Allianz. The company says it will dedicate this capital to develop new insurance offerings, support scale through automation and integrations, and forge new partnerships with top brands and distribution partners.

Faye’s protection can cover travelers’ flights, hotels, health (including pre-existing conditions), luggage and pets—all via an app that sends real-time proactive alerts, provides 24/7 access to customer experience specialists, enables users to file claims digitally, and pays for approved claims via electronic transfers to Faye Wallet, a digital debit card that can be added to Apple Wallet or Google Wallet.

Climate Action Plans, LGBTQ+ Tourism Training in Europe

Malta Pride
 The Malta Tourism Authority is hosting a LGBTQ+ workshop for trade partners, stakeholders and others to enhance knowledge, sensitivity and awareness of LGBTQ+ tourism. (Malta Tourism Authority)

The European Travel Commission (ETC) has launched its Climate Action Plan. The plan commits to halve emissions generated by ETC’s operations by 2030 to address the urgency of climate action. It also aims to support engagement in climate action among its member National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) and lead the way for tourism stakeholders in Europe.

ETC will focus on reducing the footprint caused by its operating activities, targeting its emissions hotspots: Business travel, events, and FAM and influencers’ trips. The organization’s goal is to reach net zero before 2050. It will also support its national members to commit to a green transition by building opportunities for collective action in Europe and providing technical support regarding the shift to net zero.

Separately, the Malta Tourism Authority is organizing an LGBTQ+ workshop to enhance knowledge, sensitivity and awareness of LGBTQ+ tourism ahead of the upcoming EuroPride Valletta 2023 this September. The workshop is aimed at the tourism industry, trade partners and stakeholders. Michelle Buttigieg, Malta Tourism Authority representative in North America, said the LGBTQ+ training seminar "will take the Maltese Islands a step beyond EuroPride, and will likely ensure that Malta will continue topping the ILGA’s Rainbow Europe Map for many years to come.”

Hyatt Continues Expansion

Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres
Impression by Secrets is a new adults-only, all-inclusive brand by Hyatt. Its first property is in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. (Hyatt Hotels Corp.)

With the debut of the adults-only luxury resort Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres in Mexico, this week, Hyatt launched its new Impression by Secrets brand, part of its Inclusive Collection. Guests of the resort are met by butlers on the mainland, who take them aboard a private yacht (full bar included) for the 25-minute transfer to the hotel. The resort’s 125 suites offer in-room amenities such as double rain showers, terrace whirlpools, custom-stocked wine fridges and yoga mats. There are additionally eight dining venues and nine bars and lounges, plus a Pure Spa, four oceanfront pools, a stretch of beach and more.

In Germany, the company is set to open its second Unbound Collection hotel. Kennedy 89 will be set in Frankfurt’s Sachsenhausen district, neighboring consulates and 19th-century residential buildings; it will be within walking distance to the city’s historical center. All 181 guestrooms, including 68 suites, will have private balconies. The rooms will also offer integrated kitchenettes, introducing added comfort for extended stays.

Lastly, opening in late 2023, Thompson Palm Springs will open as the second Thompson hotel in California. Thompson Palm Springs will offer guestroom bungalows surrounded by two outdoor pools, gardens, lounge areas and winding walking paths. Guests can expect additional amenities including a signature restaurant, indoor and outdoor bar and lounges, a spa and fitness concept, and approximately 8,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space.

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