Tag: tourism

Tourism Stimulates Long Island Economy

http://www.wlix.fm/podcasts.php

The many facets of the LICVB & SC are discussed by
President Yan Baczkowski.

Tourist spent 5.5 billion dollars in 2014 on Long Island.
One in ten jobs is directly related to tourism.

Find out about the economic impact of tourism on Long Island
as well as the many things to do and see right here in our own back yard!

Six Flags introducing first VR roller coasters in the US

Theme park operator Six Flags Entertainment has partnered with Samsung to bring the first virtual reality powered roller coaster rides to the US.
Six Flags has appointed Samsung as its ‘official technology partner’ and will debut VR-enabled rides at Six Flags parks from the spring.
Samsung’s Gear VR headsets allow riders to sync the real world movements of the coasters with VR imagery for a more immersive experience.
“This remarkable technology is a definite game-changer for theme park rides and represents everything our brand stands for – delivering the most thrilling and innovative rides and attractions in the world,” said John Duffey, Six Flags president and CEO.
“With the addition of these virtual reality coasters, Six Flags will be introducing more than double the number of new coasters and rides than we did in 2015, and more than any year in the last decade. Innovation is part of our DNA, and news in every park every year is driving higher guest satisfaction and building strong momentum for our company.”
Six Flags season pass holders will get early access this month with preview rides and then it will be rolled out on rides such as the 60mph New Revolution and Superman at parks around the country.
“What makes this partnership so compelling for consumers and the broader tech industry alike is that both companies are committed to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible – and bringing a VR coaster to life is certainly a new and thrilling proposition,” said Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics America.
Samsung’s Gear VR is also behind the new Galactica VR roller coaster at Alton Towers in the UK which launches next month.

Major tourist attractions remain shut in Paris

Paris’ major tourist attractions remain closed today as the country entered the third day of mourning following the deadly attacks on Paris carried out on Friday evening.

French President Francois Hollande declared three days of national mourning on Saturday.

The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower remain closed until further notice but French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said museums would reopen following a one-minute silence today at 11am.

Disneyland Paris will remain closed until and including Tuesday November 17 in light of the attacks.
“We mourn those lost to the horrific attacks in Paris. We pray for the injured and we hold them all in our hearts,” said Tom Wolber, president of Euro Disney.

The rock band U2 postponed its concert planned for Saturday night. The group said they would reschedule it to take place ‘at an appropriate time’.

Motorhead, scheduled to perform on Sunday and the Foo Fighters, due to perform on Monday, have also called off their concerts. Coldplay called off a live stream of a concert ‘out of respect for the terrible events in Paris’.

The Paris Tourist Office said almost all tourist sites and activities were closed: museums, department stores, parks and gardens over the weekend.

It added: “Public transport is operating as usual. At airports and at Gare du Nord (train station for Eurostar arrivals and departures), please anticipate longer procedures due to police controls.”

Florida sets new six-month tourism record

Florida governor Rick Scott said the state set a new record for tourism in the first half of this year, with 54.1 million visitors.

It is the highest number for any six month period, state tourism agency Visit Florida said, with a 5.8% increase in visitors from January to June.

It puts the Sunshine State firmly on track to reach 100 million visitors for the calendar year.

“We are excited to mark the first half of 2015 with our biggest second quarter ever, and we look forward to exceeding our goal of 100 million visitors to Florida this year,” said Gov. Scott.

Domestic arrivals were up 6.7% to 21.9 million while overseas tourists increased marginally to 3.9 million during the second quarter.

“Our growing tourism industry employs over 1.2 million Floridians and is helping us meet our goal of becoming the best place in the world for jobs,” Scott added at a media presentation at Miami International Airport.

Job creation in the hospitality industry state wide rose nearly 5% in the second quarter, Scott said.

Space tourists head to the stars—and soon, to the moon

International Space Station, photo by NASA

If your wish upon a star was ever to actually visit one, all it now takes is a trip to Kazakhstan and a briefcase with $35 million to make it come true. At least that’s the basic charge (give or take a few million) of the 10-day package trips to the International Space Station sold by Space Adventures.

The Soyuz spacecraft takes off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the remote Central Asian steppes, the same place where the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, blasted off from. So far, only eight people have taken up the offer since 2001, but those who have, returned with very real stars in their eyes.

After his own flight in 2008, video game pioneer Richard Garriott described the impact of the trip:

My space flight is something that will live with me forever. Being one of the elite few who have seen Earth from the perspective of space, I have the opportunity to inspire and motivate others to achieve their dreams.

The sentiment was echoed by Guy Laliberte, the Cirque du Soleil founder and first artist in space, who called his trip in 2009 a “Poetic Social Mission,” and said  “it’s worth every penny and more” in a news conference.

But even if you have a spare $35 million in your sofa cushions, don’t just expect to just show up on the day of the launch. Tourists must train for five months in the basics of outer space travel and navigating zero gravity, as Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures, explained to CNN

They learn how to go about daily life in space — how to prepare food, go to the bathroom, keep themselves clean, and perform scientific experiments when they’re on board.

Looking at the experience description, which includes circling the Earth every 90 minutes, floating in weightlessness, and even taking a spacewalk, it’s not hard to feel excitement – almost enough to forget the possibility of exploding in a ball of fire or being sucked into the vacuum of space.

Another trip planned to launch in 2018 takes it even further, flying “two private citizens and one professional cosmonaut” around the Moon – dark side and all – coming within 60 miles of the lunar surface. Compared to that, the multi-thousand-dollar tours to just meet cosmonauts, explore the facilities, and watch the launch courtside, feel almost like a letdown. A cheaper letdown, but a letdown all the same.

Proposed Reno-London flights grounded by Fed red tape

Reno airport’s highly anticipated nonstop transatlantic service from London has hit the buffer even before it got off the ground.

Announced in November amid much fanfare, UK carrier Thomas Cook planned seasonal services to Reno-Tahoe Airport from London, but these have now been cancelled due to border control red tape.

The problem stems from the lack of US Customs and Border Protection resources at the airport.

“It’s about customer service. Our customs facility here at Reno, the staffing they have, is not going to be able to clear the Thomas Cook passengers for almost three to four hours,” said Airport spokesman Brian Kulpin.

That was unacceptable to the airline. It doesn’t fit their customer service model so they cancelled the flight. Obviously, we’re disappointed.”

Kulpin said the airport has been seeking more funding for extra customs agents to speed up passenger processing.

“Unfortunately nothing is simple when it comes to the US government and US Customs and Border Protection. To get funding for more staffing at Reno is something that has to be done through Washington D.C.”

Kulpin added that it is doubly disappointing as ticket sales were going well.

“You know, they sold tickets with about half from the US. The other half came from Europeans. The flight was doing really well in terms of sales,” he said.

Being nicer to customers pays off for Ryanair

Being nicer to customers pays off for Ryanair

Ryanair’s new charm offensive appears to be working as latest figures released by the airline show its traffic leapt 16% last month, compared with April 2014.

Traffic for the 12 month period was up 12% to a total of 91.8 million passengers.

The airline carried 1.2 million more passengers last month than in April 2014, which it said was due to lower fares, stronger forward bookings ‘and the continuing success of our “Always Getting Better” customer experience improvement programme’.

Load factors were up from 84% to 91% last month.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

And the world’s top frequent-flier awards go to …

The loyalty programs for American Airlines and Marriott took home the coveted “Program of the Year/Americas” awards as the 2015 Freddie Awards were revealed Thursday evening in Atlanta.

American’s AAdvantage frequent-flier program and Marriott’s Marriott Rewards program each were repeat winners in the “Americas” region. The win was American’s fourth in a row while Marriott has won eight consecutive times. (Scroll down for the full list of award winners.)

Still, American’s win for the top airline program in the Americas was a close one. It’s AAdvantage program edged out Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program by just 1/100th of a point.

ARCHIVES: See 2014’s Freddie Awards winners
ARCHIVES: See 2013’s Freddie Awards winners

Among the overall results – which include regional award winners from all parts of the world – Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program claimed five different Freddie awards, the most of any single program. Le Club Accorhotels took home Freddie Awards in four different categories. Starwood Hotels’ Preferred Guest won four while Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards and Virgin Australia’s Velocity each won three.

Looking just at the Americas, winners of multiple Freddie Awards were Southwest’s Rapid Rewards (3) and American’s AAdvantage (2).

In addition to American’s “Program of the Year” Freddie for the Americas, AA also won for the “Best Elite Program.” Southwest’s three Freddies in the Americas region were for “Best Redemption Ability,” “Best Customer Service” and “Best Loyalty Credit Card.”

PHOTOS: Bombardier eyes lift after completing first CS300 flight

While Marriott won the “Program of the Year Award,” the race among hotels was wide open in the Americas. No program won more than one Freddie in the region. The four other categories in the Americas went to four different programs, with Hyatt, Starwood, Choice and MGM hotel groups each winning one Freddie. For MGM’s M Life Program, its “Best Customer Service” Freddie was its first ever in any category.

The annual “Freddie” awards recognize the world’s top airline and hotel loyalty programs. The awards are determined by votes from frequent fliers and hotel patrons, recognizing five “best of” categories for both airlines and hotels in each of three global regions. The Freddies also honor the best loyalty credit cards in each of the regions.

The awards employ a scoring system weighted to balance high-scoring votes against a simple quantity of votes. In doing so, Freddie organizers say the loyalty program of a smaller airline or hotel chain is able to be judged more fairly against bigger programs that can mobilize a large number of voters.

Organizers says they recorded a record 20.9 million pageviews on the Freddie Awards voting page this year during the Feb. 15-March 31 voting period.

The Freddie Awards, first given in 1988, are named for the late Sir Freddie Laker, who achieved knighthood in the United Kingdom for pioneering low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s.

“We are delighted to once again allow frequent fliers throughout the world the opportunity to select the frequent travel programs that they believe have achieved excellence,” says Randy Petersen, founder of the Freddie Awards. “This is not an elitist view of these programs but rather the ‘best’ are determined by the votes of those who spend a great deal of their life on the road.”

Scroll down for a full list of the awards:

Program of the Year

* Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage

* Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Virgin Australia Velocity

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels

Best Promotion

* Americas Airline: Avianca LifeMiles (Cyber Monday Miles Purchase: 2×1 miles + 25% bonus)

* Americas Hotel: Choice Privileges (Take two separate trips, earn a $50 gift card)

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: El Al Matmid Club (Hot Winter Deal)

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels (Receive up to 160 euros in points)

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Promo awards)

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels (Receive up to 160 euros in points)

Best Redemption Ability

* Americas Airline: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

* Americas Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Virgin Australia Velocity

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue

* Europe/Africa Hotel: IHG Rewards Club

Best Customer Service

* Americas Airline: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

* Americas Hotel: MGM M Life

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Virgin Australia Velocity

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: IHG Rewards Club

* Europe/Africa Airline: Lufthansa Miles & More

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Elite Program

* Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage

* Americas Hotel: Hyatt Gold Passport

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Etihad Guest

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Hyatt Gold Passport

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Loyalty Credit Card

* Americas: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

*Middle East/Asia/Oceania: ADCB Etihad Guest Above Card

* Europe/Africa: Air France/KLM Flying Blue American Express Card