Supports for Indigenous tourism businesses continue

Indigenous tourism businesses will receive another financial boost to aid in pandemic recovery and foster growth through the continued partnership of the Province and Indigenous Tourism BC.

“Back by popular demand, we are responding once again to the Call to Action from the Indigenous tourism sector,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “These grants are reconciliation in action and support self-determination for Indigenous tourism businesses to showcase their territories, culture and people. Together with Indigenous Tourism BC, we are working to rebuild Indigenous-led tourism and return it to the thriving levels of growth we saw before the pandemic, resulting in a stronger future for everyone.”

The Province initially provided $5 million to Indigenous Tourism B.C. (ITBC) to create the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund. It is now is providing an additional $3 million for a second intake.

Launched in February 2021, the fund provides grants to Indigenous tourism businesses, including lodges and resorts, restaurants, outdoor adventure experiences, galleries and gift shops owned by Indigenous people. Recipients can use the funds to keep the lights on and pay rent or employee wages. The intake opening date for the second round of the recovery grant will be announced by ITBC in the coming weeks.

“ITBC has worked hard with stakeholders and provided a support system for businesses to continue operating during the pandemic,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC. “We are extremely grateful for the partnerships and work that we do with the tourism industry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.”

For example, Ay Lelum, the Good House of Design on the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, used its grant to maintain its business.

“The ITBC grant process was well-developed and efficient, which allowed us to focus on doing the work that we do in sharing Coast Salish art and culture. The funds enabled us to maintain our business operations while developing our newest collections, resulting in our successful launch at New York Fashion Week in fall 2021,” said Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good, sisters, directors and designers of Ay Lelum, the Good House of Design, a second-generation Coast Salish design house. “With our Stqeeye’ Collection showcase, we were able to share Coast Salish art, music and culture on a global scale, and reach millions of viewers worldwide, benefiting our business and our community in a positive way.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are more than 480 Indigenous tourism businesses, within the 203 First Nations in British Columbia.
  • Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing sector of the tourism industry. It generated $705 million in direct gross domestic output and created 7,400 direct full-time jobs.
  • 140 Indigenous tourism businesses received grants through the first round of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund, which is a partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC.  
  • These grants have assisted in maintaining nearly 1,200 jobs in communities throughout B.C. in the past year.
  • The BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund is part of the Province’s actions to support the recovery of the tourism industry.

Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021TACS0065-002176

India opens to fully vaccinated foreign tourists

Restriction rollback marks the first time since March 2020 that India has allowed foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country.

India began allowing fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country on regular commercial flights, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions as infections fall and vaccinations rise.

Tourists entering India, starting on Monday, must be fully vaccinated, follow all COVID-19 protocols and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight, according to the health ministry. Many will also need to undergo a post-arrival COVID-19 test at the airport.

However, travellers from countries that have agreements with India for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, such as the United States, United Kingdom and many European nations, can leave the airport without undergoing a COVID-19 test.

This is the first time India has allowed foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country since March 2020, when it imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the world in an attempt to contain the pandemic. Fully vaccinated tourists on chartered flights were allowed to enter starting last month.

It came as coronavirus infections had fallen significantly, with daily new cases hovering at just above 10,000 for more than a month.

To encourage travellers to visit India, the government planned to issue 500,000 free visas through next March. The moves were expected to boost the tourism and hospitality sector which has been battered by the pandemic.

“The pandemic devastated the industry but things will return to normal once foreign tourists start to arrive,” said Jyoti Mayal, President of the Travel Agents Association of India.

Mayal said coastal states like Kerala and Goa in the country’s south and Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan north are already witnessing a surge in domestic tourists. All four states are heavily dependent on earnings from tourism, and Mayal said foreign travellers scheduling their visits there would also help lift the local economy.

“Tourism is a very resilient industry and the upcoming season looks very promising. We are hopeful of generating more jobs than we lost during the pandemic,” she said.

With more than 35 million reported coronavirus infections, India is the second-worst-hit country after the US. Active coronavirus cases stand at 134,096, the lowest in 17 months, according to the health ministry.

Nearly 79 percent of India’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose while 38 percent is fully vaccinated. The federal government has asked state administrations to conduct door-to-door campaigns to accelerate the vaccine campaign.

Fewer than three million foreign tourists visited India in 2020, a drop of more than 75 percent from 2019, when tourism brought nearly $30bn in earnings.

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/11/15/india-opens-to-fully-vaccinated-foreign-tourists

Utopia Hospitality Group prepares for Phuket tourism growth

Announcing  a total 10  projects in new landmark projects in 5 years (with 3 in the pipeline) and also developing a ‘superhero’ team of senior executives, Utopia Corporation has expanded its business unit under the Utopia Hospitality Group (UHG) to introduce a new midscale hotel by October next year and is developing two landmark projects in Phuket worth a total 4 billion baht Mr Hachi Yin chief executive and founder of Utopia Corporation, said recently at the media launch in Bangkok’s plush embassy district.

UHG, its wholly owned hospitality management company, offers three brands under midscale “aparthotel” which merges apartment and hotel for flexible stays, as well as an upscale lifestyle resort and hotel focusing on wellbeing.

UHG will launch in Southeast Asia with premium midscale to ultra-luxury hospitality projects starting with the rebranding of the group’s existing properties in 2022.

UHG’s master plan covers the development of new landmarks at two prime locations in the north and south of Phuket. “Bay of Icons” is situated on Ao Por Bay on the island’s northern coast, while the second project, Utopia Dreams, is on Nai Harn beach on the island’s southwest coast.

The firm plans to introduce the two landmarks valued at 4 billion baht to attract international high-net-worth individuals, slated for the fourth quarter of 2025.

There is also an ultra-luxury brand under a collaboration with partners such as Tonino Lamborghini to introduce Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel Phuket, slated for 2024.

Mr Yin said the first midscale hotel will open next October, followed by an upscale hotel in February 2023.

Utopia Corporation, founded in 2015, has real estate projects in Phuket under an investment budget of 8 billion baht and plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand through an initial public offering by 2025.

Bay of Icons consists of Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel Phuket, beach club and another hotel with a second partner in the field of ultra-luxury fashion brand.

Mr Yin said in his stage presentation that other famous destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore or Hollywood have landmarks, but there is no landmark in Phuket to attract ultra-luxury tourists to come and stay.

He estimates that the projects will coincide with a surge in tourism from 2023.

Source: https://www.traveldailymedia.com/utopia-hospitality-group-prepares-for-phuket-tourism-growth/

Big Data to measure the tourism sustainability of destinations

Mabrian expands its travel intelligence platform by adding a dashboard of sustainability indices for Smart Destinations. The new tourism sustainability dashboard uses big data analysis to measure a destination’s performance across multiple metrics. Index developed in collaboration with Mastercard and sus​tainability consultancy Ético.

SEVILLE, SPAIN –  Mabrian Technologies – a leading provider of travel intelligence – has launched the Global Sustainability Tourism Index at the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS).

This new dashboard of indicators of tourism sustainability allows a destination to measure, compare and follow those factors that indicate sustainability for a destination.

In total the dashboard has six indices grouped together by concept, formed by more than 20 different indicators related to sustainability, that come together to make the Global Sustainability Tourism Index for destinations. 

Through these indices destinations can measure aspects such as the level of distribution of tourism income in the local economy, the concentration of the tourism offering in the locality, the dependence on long-haul source markets, any excessive seasonality or the perception that visitors have about the sustainability of the destination, amongst others. 

Additionally, destinations using this can add to those indicators in the dashboard their own data that they consider relevant to create a measurement even more complete that helps the development of sustainability. 

Carlos Cendra, Director of Sales & Marketing, comments: “Can tourism destinations really convert themselves into sustainable destinations without the tools necessary to measure their sustainability performance?   

“In this reinvention of the sector that we are seeing right now, sustainability is going to be the cornerstone of the reactivation of tourism under a model that is more aware of the issue.

But there is a big gap when it comes to tools and indicators that allow the measurement and monitoring of the evolution of those concepts on the part of those managing destinations and tourism companies. With this index we hope to change that.

Mabrian, in collaboration with its partner Mastercard, has developed a dashboard of indicators about tourism sustainability based on the observation of global data, that can be tracked and corroborated in stable manner over time. 

Mabrian has a wide range of experience in extracting indicators of tourism trends based on big data analysis of diverse sources. With this latest development it complements the wide range of tourism indices, including Tourist Product; Perceived Security; Perceived Climate; Hotel Satisfaction; and Global Tourist Perception.

For the definition of these indicators Mabrian has also counted on the advice and collaboration of the consultancy Ético, specialists in tourism sustainability, that has brought its experience in how to define a sustainable destination. 

Laura Garrido, founder of ético comments: “The challenge for tourism destinations is to understand and monitor the indicators that affect their sustainability. Only through data and their correct analysis can they plan adequate actions for the sustainable transformation of their destination. At ético we believe that this tool is key and necessary for taking decisions and the creation of sustainable tourism destinations.”

Mabrian has announced this news within the international summit dedicated to innovation in tourism that is taking place in Seville, Spain between the 10th and 12th of November, the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS).

 Alex Villeyra, Operations Director at Mabrian, presented  the dashboard CET in the main auditorium of the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS), with participants including Antonio Muñoz, responsible for urban habitat, culture and tourism at the Seville city council, a pioneering destination in the application of such indices; Caroline Leboucher, Director of ATOUT France; and Nicola Villa, Executive Vice President of Government Relations & Strategic Growth at Mastercard. 

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/big-data-to-measure-the-tourism-sustainability-of-destinations

Retailers hail lifting of travel ban, return of international tourists with hopes of sales rebound

As the holiday shopping season picks up, retailers across the country hope to get a lift from another wave of spenders: international tourists who can visit the U.S. once again

Starting Monday, the Biden administration will allow visitors from abroad into the country again. Most foreign travelers from more than 30 countries, including the U.K. and Brazil, have been restricted since early 2020, as Covid-19 cases rose globally. Visitors must be fully vaccinated against Covid and have a negative Covid test within three days before departure. Exemptions apply to travelers under the age of 18, if they have medical reasons preventing them from getting a vaccine, or are traveling from one of 50 countries with low vaccine availability.

For retailers, the policy is a much-awaited change that may help them fill up stores and ring up bigger sales again. At stake are billions of dollars that tourists spend on not only souvenirs, but luxury handbags, high-end makeup, top-shelf liquor and other items they often can’t find at home. Global visitors fueled more than $43.4 billion of shopping in 2019 — or 27% of the total shopping driven by travel and tourism, according to the International Trade Administration.

Yet retail experts and companies say it will take time for tourists to return to the U.S. and spend at post-pandemic levels. Airlines still have fewer flights. Other countries, including China, tightly restrict outbound travel. And pandemic-related logistics, from long lines at the airport to show proof at vaccination to Covid test when returning home, could delay travelers from booking a trip.

“Airlines will tell you that they are seeing a surge in booking. What they don’t quantify is when. Hotels will tell you is they’re seeing an uptick in bookings. What they won’t tell you is when,” said Daniel Binder, a partner for Columbus Consulting who focuses on travel retail. “The ban will lift, and it will take time.”

Binder saw the spending power of international tourists — especially Chinese tourists — up close as a longtime executive at DFS, a luxury goods travel retailer that’s owned by LVMH. He said he also saw the many months it took for global tourists to flock back and spend freely after other challenging periods, including the 9/11 terrorism attacks and the SARS outbreak.

Still, National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said there is a feeling of optimism as the ban lifts. He said that as Americans feel comfortable booking trips, dining out and having more active lives, they are also shopping. As international tourists visit, that will “give a jolt to the retail side,” too, he said.

“The return to the service and the experience economy is going to be positive and beneficial for retail and it’s going to be enhanced furthermore by these international visitors returning to the U.S.,” he said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

‘Shot in the arm’ for New York City

International shoppers will be a key ingredient needed for New York City’s recovery. During a typical year, visitors from other countries spend an estimated $4.75 billion on shopping, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism board.

Shopping is the most popular activity for people visiting the city from other countries — with 88% of international visitors saying they participate, according to a 2018 survey by the Department of Commerce. That’s compared to 86% who participate in sightseeing, 54% who go to art galleries and museums and 29% who experience fine dining.

In contrast, less than 30% of tourists from other parts of the U.S. shop when they are in New York City.

“It’s a pivotal milestone in our recovery, for sure,” said Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications at NYC & Company. “Welcoming back the international traveler is exactly the shot in the arm that New York City needs right now.”

In the coming days, Heywood said the tourism group will unveil a project with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers to incentivize visitors to return to their stores. Over the next few months, he said the group plans to spend $6 million across the globe on advertising about New York City. He said that money will be concentrated in countries that have loosened their policies in a way that makes it easier for their citizens to leave and return home. These include South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France and Italy. Places where restrictions are till very tight, such as China, will not be part of the advertising campaign.

Heywood said New York City benefits from having many shopping districts that are themselves tourist destinations — such as Fifth Avenue, Times Square and Hudson Yards — along with attractions like Broadway shows and art museums.

“This is a chance to actually get back to this notion of that shopping experience and having the bragging rights to say ‘I bought that on Fifth Avenue’ or ‘I bought that in New York,’” he said. “That’s something people have not been able to have.”

Still, he said it will take years to build back up the city’s tourism and shopping revenue. The group expects about 2.8 million international visitors to come to New York City this year, compared with 13.5 million international visitors in 2019. Next year, it expects international visitors to triple to about 8.5 million and by 2024, it expects international tourism to roughly match pre-pandemic levels.

“We’re hoping to accelerate that timeline as much as possible,” he said.

‘We don’t see tremendous movement’

Some retailers said they don’t expect the lifted travel restrictions to result in an immediate jump in sales. For many companies, especially those outside of the luxury space, the market doesn’t make up a significant chunk of their businesses. Department store chain Macy’s, for example, said that international tourists accounted for just about 4% of sales in 2019.

Capri Holdings, which owns Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, believes that some international tourists will book trips to the U.S. in the coming weeks. But CEO John Idol noted on an earnings conference call on Wednesday that there was only a minor return among international tourists into Europe, after travel restrictions were lifted. And there has been no return into Japan nor Korea, he said.

“In our forecast, we don’t see tremendous movement changing our trajectory at least in next fiscal year,” Idol said.

For a company like Tiffany, however, it could be worth the extra effort to try to court international visitors back to its U.S. stores. The jewelry chain, now owned by LVMH, typically sees about 12% of sales domestically coming from foreign tourists.

This holiday season, Tiffany has opened a pop-up shop in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, which pays homage to the legendary Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger. The space, which features a number of Instagram friendly backdrops and activities for visitors such as painting, is open to the public from Monday until Jan. 8.

It’s the mall operators — some of the most challenged by stay-at-home trends in 2020 and consumers shifting into e-commerce — that say they expect to see a boon to traffic as foreigners return.

“We still think that there’s another leg up if we get the international tourist that we haven’t seen for a couple — two, three — years,” Simon Property Group CEO David Simon told analysts on an earnings conference call held Monday.

Simon’s malls include The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, The Galleria mall in Houston, as well as a number of premium outlet centers.

Over in New Jersey, the American Dream megamall is antsy for foreigners to visit. A portion of the 3 million-square-foot development first opened to the public in October 2019. But it was shut down shortly after due to pandemic restrictions. When it had first kicked open American Dream’s doors in the fall of 2019, operator Triple Five Group told CNBC the megamall would draw 40 million visitors annually, many of them foreigners. It has likely only since seen a sliver of that.

American Dream is ramping up its efforts to court tourists to New Jersey’s Meadowlands in preparation for Monday. The megamall has a team entirely dedicated to tourism that is corresponding with travel agencies and helping visitors book trips to the development.

“American Dream was always designed to be a top global tourism destination,” said Jill Renslow, executive vice president of marketing at Triple Five. “We’re also working with New Jersey … making sure we’re showcasing all the things that New Jersey has to offer.”

The fact that sales of clothing and footwear in New Jersey are generally tax exempt should be another appealing factor for foreign visitors to head to the state, she said.

Just last month, the first round of luxury retailers — including Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes and Dolce & Gabbana — opened up at American Dream. These high-end shops also have their own wing within the megamall, which includes a separate escalator entrance for buses that are there to transport tourists and their shopping bags.

Jeweler David Yurman has laid the groundwork during the pandemic to grow its international sales. It has 45 stores in the U.S. and a handful in Canada, but has partnerships with jewelry and department stores in other parts of the globe.

Over the past year and a half, it has launched dedicated websites in other countries and kickstarted initiatives to woo more Chinese customers, David Yurman head of marketing Lee Tucker said. It started to sell a limited collection through social media and messaging app, WeChat, he said.

Tucker said that salespeople at the jewelers’ stores know how to speak numerous languages, including Mandarin, Arabic and Farsi, so they can welcome tourists and make them feel at home.

Starting this month, a double-decker bus wrapped in the company’s advertisement is driving to destinations like Rodeo Drive and Newport Beach, where international tourists may see it and get inspired to shop.

“We’re holding our breath to understand how international tourists are going to come back to our cities and which groups are going to travel here first,” he said.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/07/retailers-hail-lifting-of-travel-ban-return-of-international-tourists-with-hopes-of-sales-rebound.html

Asia tourism reopens with big-spending Chinese stuck at home

Asia’s gradual easing of international travel curbs is proving a welcome relief for the region’s hard-hit tourism operators slowly opening up to visitors from around the world – with one giant exception.

China, previously the world’s largest outbound tourism market, is keeping international air capacity at just 2% of pre-pandemic levels and has yet to relax tight travel restrictions as it sticks to zero tolerance for COVID-19.

That has left a $255 billion annual spending hole in the global tourism market for operators such as Thailand’s Laguna Phuket to try and fill.

Managing director Ravi Chandran says Laguna Phuket’s five resorts have shifted their marketing focus to Europe, the United States and United Arab Emirates to make up for the loss of Chinese visitors, who accounted for 25%-30% of its pre-COVID business.

“Up to today, we have not done significant marketing or promotion in China … because we don’t feel anything coming our way,” Chandran said.

The pandemic has cost Thailand an estimated $50 billion a year in tourism revenue and Chinese were above-average spenders based on tourism ministry data.

Thailand hopes to receive 180,000 foreign tourists this year, a fraction of around 40 million it received in 2019, as it opened places beyond Phuket to tourists on Monday.

Many experts expect China to keep such stringent measures such as up to a three-week quarantine for those returning home until at least the second quarter of next year and possibly then open gradually on a country-by-country basis.

“Destinations have to identify new source markets and learn how to market and cater to different cultures,” Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chief Executive Liz Ortiguera said, citing the Maldives as a rare example of a successful pivot during the pandemic.

The string of islands in the Indian Ocean promoted itself heavily at trade shows and attracted more Russian and Indian visitors to its luxury resorts and sparkling waters.

China had been its greatest source of tourists before the pandemic but the Maldives saw overall arrivals in the first nine months of 2021 fall just 12% versus the same period of 2019.

“When we realised that Chinese travellers weren’t coming to the Maldives any time soon, we switched our focus to other key markets including Russia,” said a spokesperson for COMO Hotels and Resorts, which has two Maldives resorts.

CHINA TOURISM EVOLVES

Travel data firm ForwardKeys estimates it will take until 2025 for Chinese outbound travel to recover to pre-pandemic levels. That will also force airlines to re-evaluate their routes given its data shows 38% of Chinese tourists took foreign carriers in 2019.

Even as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia’s Bali gradually open up for international travellers, Thai Airways (THAI.BK) and Garuda Indonesia (GIAA.JK) are drastically shrinking their fleets as part of restructuring plans amid the absence of Chinese tourists.

When China does open its borders, industry surveys show a reluctance by many to travel internationally due to COVID-19 fears.

There has also been a boom in domestic holidays to Hainan Island which now offers duty free shopping in a threat to future visits to nearby destinations such as Hong Kong and South Korea.

“I honestly do not have much enthusiasm for international travel,” said at Kat Qi, 29, a researcher in Beijing who travelled to Southeast Asia and Britain before the pandemic. “A lot of places that I wanted to visit are in less developed countries with gorgeous natural scenery and they tend to be the least vaccinated countries.”

Her preference for natural scenery is also a trend emerging in surveys of Chinese travellers. Many are focused on the outdoors at a time when domestic camping holidays have become popular and tourism operators will need to adapt accordingly, experts say.

“The market will have changed so the Chinese people travelling in 2022 will be different from the Chinese travelling in 2019,” said Wolfgang Georg Arlt, CEO of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. “I think the trends will go away from this shopping and rushing around.”

Large group tours that have also fallen out of favour on domestic trips could also be a thing of the past, to be replaced by independent travel and smaller customised tours with family and friends, said Sienna Parulis-Cook, director of marketing and communications at advisory firm Dragon Tail International.

“You might have organised travel and everything but it would be with a small group of people that you know, rather than 50 strangers on a tour bus,” she said.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/asia-tourism-reopens-with-big-spending-chinese-stuck-home-2021-11-03/

Robotics operation in travel and tourism industry set to grow, says GlobalData

The utilization of robotics will continue to grow in importance in the travel and tourism industry. However, companies need to be sensitive in how they deploy this form of smart technology, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to a recent GlobalData poll*, 31% of the respondents stated that their company will invest in robotics in the next 12 months, with robotics being the third most popular answer for this question, above the likes of IoT and cloud. A significant contributing reason as to why business executives and employees think that investment in robotics will increase is due to the long-term cost savings this technology can provide along with its ability to meet the sudden changes in consumer demands.

Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Prior to the pandemic, the utilization of robotics in tourism was mainly seen as a gimmick. Robot butlers in hotels would provide good Instagram opportunities for guests, creating exposure for the accommodation provider, and customer service robots at airports would entertain guests to reduce feelings of boredom. These same robots are now a necessity for the likes of hotels and airports due to the need for COVID-safe experiences.”

According to GlobalData**, 74% of global consumers are is still either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned regarding the impact of COVID-19. These robots reduce the need for human contact, which increases safety for travelers across multiple stages during their trip.

It is also no secret that COVID-19 has battered the finances of many companies involved in travel and tourism. Although the initial cost of investing in robotics to replace human jobs will be high, many companies will recover what they have invested in just a short number of years. Subsequently, companies will then continue to shrink fixed costs and increase profit margins.

Mr. Hollister concludes: “Investing too heavily in robotics to replace human jobs could tarnish brand image. Travel and tourism employment has fallen substantially across the globe due to the pandemic, and many consumers will feel that it is a company’s social responsibility to employ people in need of work as travel recovers, especially if they have appropriate skill sets. Filling vacancies with robots could be deemed as insensitive in the current climate, especially in destinations that heavily rely on tourism as a key contributor to the local economy.

“Through increasing operational efficiency and improving traveler confidence, robotics in tourism will continue to grow. However, companies need to ensure that they are not seen to be shunning their social commitments. It must be emphasized that the robots are deployed to work alongside humans, not instead of them.”

Source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/robotics-operation-in-travel-and-tourism-industry-set-to-grow-says-globaldata

Garth, a luxury neo-Bistro opens this week at Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates

Located inside a new private members club, The 9 Lounge, at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, the premium culinary hub has opened its doors to those with a penchant for refined, delicious medleys of Italian, Greek, and Southern French cuisines. Guests that are not members of The 9 Lounge are encouraged to make reservations in advance and abide by the formal dress code, suited to the elevated ambiance of the locale.

The space comprises of a beautiful verdant terrace, a cigar lounge, and a restaurant, where guests can indulge in the finest mix of seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Whilst diners can enjoy a host of raw fish and seafood plates courtesy of a specialty raw bar, the menu also includes an array of meat, vegetarian and vegan options that are guaranteed to gratify even the most selective appetites.

Guests are promised satisfaction as they acquaint their palates with the gastronomical innovations, born from the proficiently sourced quality ingredients at Garth. The food and menus are expertly designed by celebrity chefs Sergei Andreychenko and Mohammed Musthafa. A team of professional mixologists and sommeliers assist guests in selecting from a carte of Old World and New World wines, cocktails, and premium spirits.

The mouthwatering menus include dishes such as Zucchini Carpaccio, Beef Cheeks Paccheri, Poached Sea Bass, Truffle Risotto, Niçoise Salad, Beef Tartare, Burrata Grande and many more.

At the raw bar, guests can opt for the Salmon or Tuna Tartare, Sea Bass Ceviche, or indulge in an assorted tartare platter featuring three varieties of the dish. The desserts menu is home to rich classics such as Basque Burnt Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Almond Crumble with Berries, Dark Chocolate Mousse, and hand-crafted Ice Creams and Sorbets.

Garth features a new lunch menu each week, featuring daily specials, to keep it fresh and interesting for afternoon guests, from 12pm till 3pm. Although the culinary adventure is the primary focus of the experience, the menus will maintain the sophisticated taste and plating associated with the brand.

Open daily, from 12pm till 12am on weekdays and from 12pm till 2am on weekends, the lounge creates a relaxed atmosphere with unique sound design, featuring a distinct combination of genres. Produced skillfully by an ensemble of instrumentalists from Moscow, the music will include streams of new wave funk, soul, jazz, chill rave, and afro beats genres. Breezy terrace evenings can be enjoyed with a soundtrack of electronic chill rave beats, whilst soulful piano music will grace special dinners at the restaurant.

The layered interiors feature neutral tones of cream, beige and brown, complemented by blush pink furniture. Plush pampas grass lines the windows and the bar canopy, accented by bright neon lighting that lends an effortless luminous glow to the space. A promising venue that is bound to be the next hotspot in Dubai, Garth takes guests on a journey that goes beyond the plate, offering an ideal space to socialize and indulge in finer experiences.

Source: https://www.hotelnewsme.com/hotel-news-me/garth-a-luxury-neo-bistro-opens-this-week-at-kempinski-hotel-mall-of-the-emirates/

Former hotel workers sue Swissotel Chicago, accused it of violating ‘Right to Return to Work’ ordinance

Swissotel didn’t respond to a request for comment, but sent a letter to the women’s attorney in August, arguing the ordinance doesn’t apply to the three women because they were “terminated,” not “laid off.”

Maria Ruiz was a banquet server at Swissotel Chicago nearly 24 years, putting her job before her family, sometimes sleeping in a hotel room for just a few hours between shifts when there wasn’t enough time to go home.

“I was at the hotel for 36 hours straight,” Ruiz said Tuesday afternoon at a news conference outside the hotel. “I wasn’t able to kiss my babies good night or hug them in the morning. My brother was killed two years ago and it was so hard — but even then I didn’t miss a day or work.”

Ruiz, 51, was one of hundreds of hotel workers who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainty of their future was scary, but the Chicago City Council sought to alleviate that anxiety by passing the “right-to-return-to-work” ordinance to make sure hotel workers could get their jobs back instead of being replaced.

But a lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Swissotel of violating that ordinance by not rehiring Ruiz and two other banquet servers, each of whom had worked at the hospital at least 20 years.

“I dedicated my life to this job, to this hotel. I was so proud to work there,” Ruiz said. “Since being fired last year, my life is like a nightmare that I haven’t been able to wake up from.”

Unable to find new work or pay her mortgage, Ruiz said she’s on the verge of losing her house, The situation is just as dire for the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Marie Lourdie Pierre-Jacques and Maria Teresa Hernandez.

The ordinance had been pushed by union leaders and laid-off hotel workers. It called for Chicago hotels to prioritize seniority when deciding which former employees to rehire. The women involved in the lawsuit advocated for the ordinance, speaking out publicly in favor of it.

That original version, however, was opposed by the hotel industry as a logistical nightmare that would slow the pace of rehiring. It made no sense, they argued, to rehire someone based only on seniority if it meant having to hire a dishwasher to do an accounting job.

Eventually, a compromise version passed the Council. It narrowed the scope, requiring seniority be considered, but only within the same job categories.

But in their lawsuit, the women claim Swissotel offered positions to banquet servers with less seniority than the three women.

Swissotel didn’t respond to a request for comment, but in a letter sent to the women’s attorney in August, it argued the ordinance doesn’t apply to the three women because they were “terminated,” not “laid off” — an important distinction, the hotel’s lawyers argued in the letter.

Stephen Yokich, an attorney for the women, said they anticipated this problem when they lobbied for the bill, but even so, “most responsible hotels in the city are following the law,” he said.

“Swissotel passed over the women who helped pass the law in the first place,” Yokich said. “Our message to the court will be the same as our message today: Swissotel should follow the law.”

Pierre-Jacques stood behind her colleagues during Tuesday’s news conference, often breaking down in tears as she remembered working while pregnant. Her co-workers often joked she would go into labor at the hotel because of the long hours she worked.

When she did gave birth to her son, she returned to work in just six weeks. She would drop the baby off at her sister’s house on her way back to the downtown hotel.

“I left him with my sister and for a long time he thought my sister was his mother. It broke my heart every time he called her ‘Mommy.’” Pierre-Jacques said through tears. “No one can understand that feeling unless you have been through it. I sacrificed that time with my son because I thought I was being a good worker. I thought if I worked had and give my all, my job would respect me back.”

Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter joined the women and their supporters outside the hotel to show his support in the lawsuit which calls for the women to be reinstated and for them to receive back pay from the date of when they “should have been reinstated.”

“We believe that as guests return to Chicago and hotels increase staffing, hotels should recall the workers who have dedicated their lives to Chicago’s tourism industry,” Reiter said. “These women were fired by Swissotel Chicago during the pandemic, they’ve also been on the front line of advocating for Chicago’s hotel worker’s rights. … We are here to support these workers who are seeking to enforce their rights.”

The Federation of Labor has an ownership stake in Sun-Times Media.

Source: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2021/10/26/22747376/fired-hotel-workers-lawsuit-swissotel-chicago-right-return-to-work-ordinance

Radisson Hotel Group shows remarkable growth in 2021 marked by 70 signings and openings in key markets in EMEA

Brussels – Radisson Hotel Group, one of the world’s leading hotel groups, looks back on a successful Q3 2021 with key expansions across the Group’s EMEA portfolio, reaching over 50 hotel signings and nearly 30 openings in EMEA YTD.

Radisson Hotel Group is continuing its road to recovery and ambitious pursuit of its five-year expansion and transformation plan. The strength of Radisson Hotel Group’s strategic transformation and development plan has ensured that the Group can rebound swiftly. Since the start of the pandemic, Radisson Hotel Group has achieved remarkable growth of more than 250 signings worldwide, including 100 hotels confirmed in China alone.

Elie Younes, Global Chief Development Officer, said: “Our initiatives are increasingly relevant to our guests and investment partners. We are thankful and grateful to our owners for their continued trust in our people and brands. We commit to continue creating more possibilities to our guests and opportunities to our owners as we slowly enter a transition recovery period for the travel industry”.

Radisson Hotel Group remains solidly committed to becoming the brand of choice for owners, partners, and guests and has signed more than 50 hotels in EMEA since the start of 2021. Key milestones achieved in Q3 2021 include:

  • The opening of central London’s first Radisson RED hotel, Radisson RED London Greenwich The O2
  • Strong expansion in Morocco with the signing of seven new hotels, of which five already opened during the summer, adding 1600 rooms. This brings the Group’s Moroccan portfolio to 10 hotels, fast-tracking its strategy to reach 15 hotels in operation and under development in the country by 2025
  • Doubling of the Group’s presence in Makkah, Saudi Arabia by adding nearly 1000 rooms and serviced apartments in Thakher City
  • Signing of the Group’s second Radisson Collection property in Sochi, Russia and opening of two exceptional Radisson Collection properties in Milan and Seville, marking the brand’s introduction in Spain and further expansion in Italy
  • Swift global expansion of Radisson Individuals to more than 20 hotels across EMEA in one year since the brand was established, including Greece’s first Radisson Individuals property, Anda Hotel Athens, a member of Radisson Individuals

In the lead up to the UN COP26, Radisson Hotel Group supports the responsible recovery of the hospitality industry. In line with the Group’s target to reduce its carbon and water footprint by 30% by 2025, Radisson Hotel Group is increasing the number of green hotels in its portfolio with recent additions like Radisson Collection Hotel, Magdalena Plaza Sevilla which is Spain’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Hospitality Gold certified hotel, Radisson Collection Hotel Gran Via Bilbao, Radisson RED Hotel Dubai Silicon Oasis, and Radisson Resort & Spa Lonavala in India.

Source: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4107163.html