Want to book holiday flights? Southwest to start selling Thanksgiving, Christmas tickets this week

Travelers have been asking Southwest Airlines for weeks when it plans to open its schedule for bookings through the busy holiday travel season.

The answer has changed a couple times, and at one point was as late as June 20, almost a month later than normal — freaking out plan-ahead travelers trying to finalize their year-end trips.

The airline now has a firm date, and it’s almost here: Thursday, May 30.

That’s the day Southwest, which opens its schedule in increments rather than nearly a year in advance like most major airlines, will extend the booking window through Jan. 5. Southwest’s schedule is currently only open through Nov. 2.

Southwest did not reveal what time the schedule will open on Thursday. The airline only sells its tickets on its website and over the phone.

Most of Southwest’s competitors, including American, Delta and United, have been selling holiday tickets for months.

More: Southwest, JetBlue top J.D. Power airline rankings

But Southwest is the nation’s largest domestic carrier and has legions of loyal fans who turn to the airline first when booking flights. It’s also a price leader on many routes, so fares usually get a shake-up the day its schedule opens.

That doesn’t mean that Southwest’s fares are the cheapest — they often aren’t any more — or that travelers with flexible schedules should book holiday tickets this far in advance. Fares might go down — or up — in the next several months. Most people don’t buy their holiday flights this early. Last year, nearly 40% of travelers waited until November to search for Thanksgiving and Christmas flights, according to Hopper, a mobile travel app.

One plus on Southwest: if you book a nonrefundable flight now and the fare goes down on that flight or another flight, you can cancel and rebook without paying an onerous ticket change fee. The airline issues a Southwest credit for any difference. The credit can only be used by the named passenger.

Southwest isn’t the only airline yet to begin holiday travel bookings.

Frontier Airlines is currently accepting reservations through Nov. 13. The airline expects to begin holiday bookings at the end of June, spokesman Zach Kramer said.

Spirit Airlines is only accepting reservations through Dec. 18. The airline plans to extend the booking window “relatively soon,” spokesman Derek Dombrowski said.

Source: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2019/05/29/southwest-airlines-selling-tickets-thanksgiving-christmas-new-year-holiday-flights/1219774001/

These Are the Biggest Job Opportunites in Content Marketing

It’s an exciting time to work in content marketing, and the possibilities for making an impact in the space seem endless.

Not only have more and more brands made content an essential part of their marketing strategy (and nearly 50 percent of their budget!) but more and more roles are opening for exceptional creative and strategic talent. For those interested in moving away from other related professions, such as PR, traditional journalism and copywriting, the newly created positions and ever-increasing salaries in content can be a real incentive.

As the founder of a content marketing company, what I find so inspiring about these jobs aren’t the powerful brand names or the perks that the companies offer–but rather, the incredible opportunities to they present do something meaningful, creative and industry-shaping every day at work.

Ready freshen up your resume and flex your skillset? Here are four ways that you could make a big career change–and a major impact through content. 

The Opportunity: Transform an Established Brand’s Strategy

Are you passionate about travel? A coveted role with the content marketing team at Marriott International provides an ideal opportunity to share amazing stories with a global audience.

Earlier this year I spoke with Scott Weisenthal, Marriott International’s Vice President of Creative and Content Marketing, about his team’s work. He revealed that storytelling is a core part of the company’s content marketing strategy.

Creative and personalized content helps to strengthen Marriott’s relationship with guests. “You have to have that connection with them to turn guests into brand advocates,” Weisenthal said. For example, Marriott’s documentary series StoryBooked follows artists around the world as they look for inspiration, and also highlights Marriott’s robust loyalty programs.

The Opportunity: Build a Content Strategy from the Ground Up

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are flourishing, and with more than 400 of them across nearly every consumer category, it’s a smart time to lead an up-and-coming DTC brand’s content marketing efforts.

For companies offering a new spin on everything from electric toothbrushes to razors to vitamins, there are endless opportunities to establish relationships with customers, and add value to their experience, by providing them truly useful and relevant content. 

Because many of these companies are growing rapidly and offer plenty of creative flexibility, they’re able to lure away top talent from traditional publications to run their content divisions. One notable example: Betty Wong, one-time editor in chief of Fitness magazine and Runner’s World recently took the top content spot at the oral care brand Quip

The Opportunity: Bring a Trendy Brand’s Message to New Audiences  

Passionate about fitness? If you’ve ever been to a SoulCycle class, you know that the brand is a phenomenon in the industry. Now, it’s building a world-class media business to help maintain its momentum and the hyper-engaged community of riders who regularly interact with SoulCycle’s content on social media.

The media team is creating content across social, video, and even live experiences, like concerts. And with top marketing and content leadershipfrom Mashable, Glamour, and Vox, the brand is investing in content marketing initiatives in a big way.

But SoulCycle isn’t the only fitness brand focusing on content marketing. Peloton, a company known for its at-home workout offering and subscriptions for live classes, hired a Chief Content Officer who’s tasked with setting the strategy for all content marketing across the organization. By giving content marketing a dedicated voice in the C-Suite, Peloton is leading the way for other fitness brands to devote more resources to content and audience engagement across multiple platforms.

The Opportunity: Fuel a Mission-Driven Brand’s Story

If you love the great outdoors and want to think outside the box when it comes to content marketing, look no further than a role on the marketing team at REI. The popular outdoor gear brand is leading its category with creative content marketing.

Take the company’s #OptOutside campaign, for example. As part of the award-winning campaign, REI closed its stores on Black Friday and encouraged customers to spend time enjoying outdoor activities with loved ones. (REI’s Director of Content and Media was even named the 2017 Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute for his work on the campaign!)

REI also creates creative content across video, short films, and even podcasts to connect with customers in new ways. Through their work, marketers at the company have a chance to promote messaging around sustainability, activism, and wellness.

Source: https://www.inc.com/amanda-pressner-kreuser/these-are-biggest-job-opportunites-in-content-marketing.html

How Technology Is Changing How We Do Leisure

Recently while looking through old photos, one of my children asked me what an object was, pointing to a Walkman, the now-defunct portable cassette player. I started to explain this and then found myself referring to its precursor, and then that objects precursor, and then that led to a discussion of Thomas Edison’s and W.K.L. Dickson’s experimental sound film of 1895. And this led to my showing my daughter how much of what we call leisure today is radically different than from even twenty years ago.  In fact, new technology is not only changing how we operate in the quotidian with the ability to buy bus tickets on our phone—no more running from store to store to change a dollar into quarters—but it having its most profound effects on our culture, especially leisure time activities.

I spoke with Giacomo Bruno, CEO of the Italian publisher Bruno Editore, who notes that leisure reading has changed a lot in recent years thanks to the technological advances of digital books stating, “People used to go to the bookstore to browse through books in order to choose which ones to buy. Nowadays people go online and in a few seconds they download an entire ebook.” Bruno reports how people often read to learn new skills so they can have a competitive advantage in the market and thus have greater economic stability today. “There are more than one billion people who read ebooks with self-help and personal growth among the most widely-read,” he reports. What Bruno indicates is that our culture of reading has become more professionalized as it shifts from the traditionally popular genres of romance and crime novels.

Another activity that has changed radically is that of leisure driving. A longstanding American practice of “going for a drive” has shifted in recent years. This is partly due to the cost of gasoline but mostly, it is because today the sense of driving without an end-plan has been quelled by various driving apps that have turned a past-time which used to be about doing nothing, into an activity very much about doing something.  There are apps to help people get to their destination with the least amount of traffic (Waze), that assist with directions while keeping to the trajectory of cheap gas stations (GasBuddy), and of course, there are myriad podcasts which drivers listen to as the modern-day upgrade from books on tape. The entire ethos of driving to forget has moved from that space of deep meditation and purposelessness to the end-goal of efficiency, errands, and literacy.

Another area where technology has morphed our cultural practices is how we move our bodies.  We have seen how Ekso Bionics’ exoskeletons reduce the bodily strain on workers, but now Harvard is taking this technology and transferring it to soft exosuits, structured textiles, whose use is envisaged in sports. Similar to this idea is mech racing which takes place within the format of exo-bionics, massive metal skeletons which resemble something out of Mad Max. These races have still not yet materialized.

In sports, we are seeing how miniaturized GPS, accelerometers, and other data collection tools inserted into players’ jerseys and cleats are giving biofeedback. Now sportspersons can know their heart rate, speed, jump height, fatigue, hydration levels, muscle activation, respiratory patterns, and neurological activity which can inform future training regimes. And new technology can reduce injury as well as prevent injury even for non-professionals for whom sports is leisure time. Even for those who consider their leisure time of watching sports as a passive use of sports, today immersive tech has turned the passive viewer into, at the very least, an active viewer as now spectators can potentially talk directly with sportspersons and even interact with them through various online platforms.

Then there is how we mix various types of past-times like listening to music and sports. The Walkman revolutionized how people listened to music in the 1980s as jogging soon became something people did with a Walkman clipped to their bodies. Two decades later, this technology was replaced by the iPod Shuffle and today by the Apple Watch and Bluetooth headphones. Now, not only has the bothersome cord disappeared from music listening, but we are heading towards unforeseen uses such as xFyro’s wireless and waterproof earbuds. What we do and how we do it are constantly changing as the leisure of swimming is now something we can undertake while listening to our favorite songs. The technology of the body is as much about finding better and healthier ways of living as it is about creating new cultural niches, evolving how we engage in work and leisure.

Our notion of leisure time has been blown to pieces with the advances in new technology as we no longer do what we did before in quite the same way.  Part of me revels in how these changes allow us to keep up with new information and enjoy music in the least likely of places. But another part of me worries that we are injecting natural spaces of silence and nothingness with tasks to accomplish and information to learn. Maybe, just maybe, we need a new cultural trend of slow leisure?

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/julianvigo/2019/05/30/how-technology-is-changing-how-we-do-leisure/

Climate change can cause problems for ranchers, farmers, and tourism Climate change can cause problems for ranchers, farmers, and tourism

Climate change affects everyone, and in the Black Hills it can cause problems for ranchers, farmers, and the tourism industry.

Scientists have to look at trends over many years to see how the global temperature increases. School of Mines professor Bill Capehart says just because we don’t always see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. USDA growing zones are slowly shifting north, which can cause big changes for what crops can be grown and when. Tourism also plays a large role in the economy of the Black Hills. Warmer summer temperatures might cause people to stay in the area longer, but Capehart warns that climate change could have a negative impact on this industry too.

“The mountain pine beetle is a major concern for us here in the Black Hills. It is harder and harder to freeze them out as the temperatures get higher and higher. That is a huge issue for our tourism economy and also for the safety of our region in respect to wild land fire,” says Capehart.

He also says that small changes from one person won’t solve the problem. He insists that to truly make a difference, large scale changes to energy infrastructure are needed.

Source: https://www.kotatv.com/content/news/Climate-change-can-cause-problems-for-ranchers-farmers-and-tourism-510595591.html

Unique Challenges for Homeless Women Shape Future Hospitality Hub

Umeki Jones recently helped a client, a homeless woman, land a janitorial job.

“We pointed her in a direction to a place that would possibly be able to help her, and they did hire her,” Jones says. “She came back today to show us her schedule.”

Jones is an intake manager at the Hospitality Hub, a non-profit organization that offers services for people cycling through homelessness—anything from job counseling to help getting a state ID. Sometimes, just a cup of coffee.  

The Hospitality Hub is even helping her with a bus pass to get to and from work. But the job has created a new challenge. The homeless shelter where she’s staying doesn’t allow entries past 5 pm. Her shift isn’t over by then. 

The only shelter that can accommodate the woman is a two-hour bus ride away. It costs $10 a night. 

This is one reason the Hospitality Hub is looking to offer more than mere guidance. It needs beds, specifically for women. 

“If we had our shelter and she was working as a client of ours, we know that she would be getting off work at this time,” Jones says. “We would have someone there ready for her.”

The Hospitality Hub has raised $5.5 million toward a new facility downtown, a plan that includes a 32-bed emergency women’s shelter.  

“The need is so profound,” says the Hub’s director Kelcey Johnson, pointing out that women are nearly 40 percent of Memphis’ homeless population, but have access to less than 10 percent of local shelter beds.  

“This past year…a woman froze to death [Downtown],” he says. “The city was outraged, but I see it every single year; I have female clients who are raped [or] murdered.”  

The City of Memphis and the Shelby County Commission are offering operational support for the new Hub headquarters. Each has proposed more than $1 million in funding over three years. 

The city has already approved the allocation, while the commission is slated to vote on it in June.

Unlike other shelters, the Hospitality Hub’s lodging will not have barriers to entry such as fees, age limits for children or check-in time constraints.  

It’s something that would have helped Shundria Anderson through uncertain times. 

A Hospitality Hub poster. CREDIT KATIE RIORDAN

“It’s a depressing feeling to watch people go to their houses, and you’re just sitting there,” says the 42-year-old, who’s been homeless off and on for years. “You don’t know where you going to sleep at.”

Anderson is living with her sister now, but at one point slept in her storage unit and in a local hospital’s bathroom. 

She’s turned to the Hub for assistance more than once. Currently, she’s makes $50 dollars a day most weekends emptying trash bins along Main Street through a Hub program. 

She says the organization’s methods are uncommon among those serving the homeless. 

“We need someone that’s going to care and show us the way how to get up out of this,” she says. 

While the Hospitality Hub’s new beds will fill an immediate need, Brad Watkins, the director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, isn’t convinced that another shelter is how local government should be combatting homelessness. An investment in longer-term housing programs is a more effective approach to keep people off the streets, he says.     

“In a city with the problems that we have, something like this sounds like a godsend, and it will be to a small amount of people,” Watkins says. “[But] for that same amount of money, we can provide permanent supportive housing for four times that many people.”

Rhodes College Professor Ari Eisenberg, who is writing a book about homelessness in America, says the cities most successfully tackling homelessness are funding multiple solutions.   

“Where Memphis currently is right now, it does have chronically homeless people who are regularly living in shelters and on the street,” she says. “Until more permanent housing, along with services, is made available to those people, shelters and other services Hospitality Hub provides are going to remain crucial.”  

Officials throwing their support behind the Hospitality Hub, like commission Chairman Van Turner, say more funding for homelessness initiatives like what Watkins is suggesting could possibly be budgeted for in the future. 

“I would fight for the necessary funding to have both temporary and a permanent housing solution for homeless individuals in this community,” he says.  

Meanwhile, Johnson, the Hub director, says it isn’t just about housing. 

“Houses don’t cure homelessness,” he says.  

The organization’s new headquarters will reflect the center’s holistic approach. It will include a large outdoor plaza where people can rest in a welcoming environment. People will be also be able to safely store their belongings there, get job support, or even earn some money working at an onsite car wash.  

“Everything we’re doing is so that people who are experiencing homelessness can interact with someone who’s trying to help them stop experiencing homelessness,” Johnson says.  

Source: https://www.wknofm.org/post/unique-challenges-homeless-women-shape-future-hospitality-hub

The Mauritian Standard on Sustainable Tourism is now a GSTC-recognized standard

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announced that the Mauritian Standard on Sustainable Tourism has achieved the ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

The Mauritian Standard on Sustainable Tourism (MS 165:2019) was developed to guide the sustainable development of the tourism industry in Mauritius. It is meant for any tourism business or any tourism-related activity to enhance its sustainability performance.

The focus of the Sustainability Tourism Standard is to address requirements of the environmental impacts and its effect on land, air, water and other organism and ecosystem of the island. The social-cultural impacts that affect local communities, social structure and cultures as well as economic impacts categorised as direct, indirect or induced. These requirements to be measured, monitored and evaluated for continual improvement of the sustainability of the tourism industry in Mauritius.

“We are proud to welcome Mauritius as a destination that adopts an integrated approach to sustainable tourism development through comprehensive standards that include all aspects of sustainability: management, social/community, cultural, and environmental,” says Luigi Cabrini, Chair, GSTC. “This is especially important for an island that possesses and offers to their tourists an incredible variety of resources and attractions.”

“This GSTC recognition of our local standard is a testimony of the professional work undertook by the team from the Mauritius Standards Bureau and officers from the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Authority,” says Khoudijah Boodoo, Director, Mauritius Tourism Authority. “We strongly believe that through this international recognition, the local stakeholders would take the best of advantages to levelling up their operations to meet best sustainability practices. In line with the ‘Sustainable Island – Mauritius Project’, the MS165:2019 has an ever prominent role to play, consolidating our positioning as a high-level tourist destination while ensuring the sustainability of the Industry.”

Yusuf Foondun, Head of Quality Assurance Unit, Mauritius Standards Bureau, says that the Tourism sector has been one of the major economic pillars of Mauritius for a long time. “We believe that adopting the Sustainable Tourism Standard – MS 165:2019 will revamp our image on the international arena as one of the most prestigious tourism destinations which takes care at protecting the biodiversity of the island and preserving its ecological balance, thus ensuring sustainable development of the tourism sector.”

Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to use a common and clear definition of what ‘sustainable tourism’ means, as well as to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.

“Mauritius is a destination of pleasure with the Mauritian hospitality composing of the rainbow and peaceful population originating from India, China, Africa, and Europe. The Sun, Sand, Sea and Pure Air is the strength of our Island, situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean.”

The Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Authority in Mauritius have already endorsed a pilot project for the implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Standard in hotels and tours its certification by the Mauritius Standards Bureau: “The Certification of tourism operators to MS 165:2019 can take a better position in the tourism market to distinguish them from any tourist operators that may be guilty of destroying the environment, society, culture, and economy of the island and the globe.”

To date, 11 destination standards, and 32 hotels and tour operators standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.

The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving a GSTC-Accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs.

By: Vicky Karantzavelou – Source:

Japan to limit foreign investment in its technology companies as fears over Chinese ownership escalate

Japan has said it will restrict foreign ownership of its technology and telecoms businesses in a move widely seen as an attempt to block China from gaining access to its trade secrets.

The country will introduce new rules from August 1 which require foreign investors to report themselves to the Japanese government if they plan to purchase more than 10pc of the shares of Japanese technology and telecom firms.

The investors would then undergo inspection by the government, and could be forced to change or drop their investment plans if they are deemed to be a national security concern.

The Japanese government has identified 15 new restricted sectors, including mobile phone and computer manufacturing. It has also strengthened restrictions on five existing protected sectors, which includes telecoms businesses.

A spokesman for the government said that “based on increasing importance of ensuring cyber security in recent years, we decided to take necessary steps, including the addition of integrated circuit manufacturing, from the standpoint of preventing as appropriate a situation that will severely affect Japan’s national security.”

The decision by Japan comes after the US government imposed increased trade restrictions on Chinese technology business Huawei, blocking the company from buying goods and services from key American suppliers including chipmakers and Google.

The US has expressed concern that Huawei’s close relationship with the Chinese government could be exploited to force the company to use its devices to conduct espionage. Huawei has consistently denied this suggestion.

Last year, the Japanese government barred the use of computers and smartphones produced by Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese business, in its government.

US President Donald Trump held trade talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Monday, and said that he expects to make announcements about trade between the two countries in August.

“We’ll get the balance of trade, I think, straightened out rapidly,” Mr Trump said.

Japan has sought to charm Trump to avoid costly tariffs and retain positive relations with an ally that ensures its security against neighboring China and North Korea. At the same time, Trump is looking to reach a deal with Japan quickly as he escalates his trade war with China.


Plastics in Airline Catering Raise Questions About Carbon Emissions

Plastics play a huge role on airplanes, especially in catering, but it wasn’t always this way. Going back to the so-called golden age of air travel in the 1950s and 60s, the experience of flying was very different: fine china, cocktail glasses, and real cutlery.

Naturally, those flights were expensive for the time, and few people could afford to fly. Today, democratization has arrived and anyone with even 60 dollars can fly somewhere on a low-cost carrier. With exceptions for first and business class, we’ve swapped the porcelain plates for plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic coffee stirrers, and plastic-wrapped cookies.

These items are awfully convenient. Plastic is lightweight, so it’s quick and easy for cabin crew to dispose. There’s also no concern about sanitation in this tight-knit space — everything is single-use or individually wrapped. Plus, the lightweight factor means an increase in fuel efficiency, which helps lower carbon emissions and keep fares down.

However, much like other sectors of travel, airlines are increasingly aware that their use of plastics is damaging the environment as bottles, straws, and wrappers pile up in oceans and on beaches.

Airline catering is rife with plastics and is a sensible place to start cutting back. But is replacing plastic with another material, or eliminating it, such an easy win? Will flyers really embrace these changes if it costs them money or convenience?


Airlines are increasingly concerned about plastic waste from their catering operations, but plastic has a key benefit: It’s lightweight and thereby helps minimize the plane’s emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and poses a major environmental threat.

CO2 emissions vary from aircraft to aircraft, but on average, a plane produces 53.3 pounds per mile, according to Blue Sky Model. By comparison, driving one mile in an average passenger vehicle emits about 404 grams per mile, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The heavier the plane and its contents, the more CO2 it burns, and with an airplane, that burning happens at a very high altitude, which is arguably more damaging than emissions at sea level.

Airlines are naturally hesitant to replace lightweight plastic with something heavier like glass or china that will require the plane to use more fuel, which comes at both a financial and environmental cost. Every ounce of weight can theoretically make a difference, and with items like glassware, they also need to be cleaned and sterilized.

One way to address the weight problem is to reduce the amount of food and drink all around. On Scandinavian Airlines, all fresh food as well as breakfast on short-haul flights is available by preorder only, making the amount of food — and associated plastic packaging — lower and more precise.

Delta Air Lines cited preordered meals as one of its more successful initiatives that reduce waste, although it started as more of a customer benefit than a focus on plastics, according to Tim Mapes, chief marketing officer.

Delta doesn’t have an exact figure for how much plastic it uses in its catering, but said its long-term goal is to eliminate single-use plastics, including items like coffee stirrers, and further promote a circular plastic economy, in which more plastics get successfully recycled. Mapes cited edible seaweed pouches that replaced plastic bottles in the London marathon as “the imagination and creativity that’s got to be brought to these issues.” Outside food and beverage, Mapes also said that as of July 1, Delta will eliminate all plastic surrounding its amenity kits, as well as the plastic wrapping for its blankets and linens.

“What can we take away that’s not being used?” asked Max Knagge, general manager Americas for Scandinavian Airlines, about catering materials. “Do we need salt and pepper on breakfast trays? Maybe not, so we’re taking that away,” he said. The carrier is also in the process of changing straws and stirrers from plastic to compostable materials, and reducing the size of its water bottles to reduce waste and better reflect how much water passengers are actually drinking.

These food-related measures help reduce carbon emissions, but there are other ways to address that problem.

Much like preordering food, flyers have some limited control over their carbon footprint. Passengers can opt to offset their CO2: 40 percent of Scandinavian’s 30 million passengers are CO2 offsets, the cost of which the airline picks up for loyalty members. Delta passengers can similarly pay to offset their impact.

Scandinavian said it’s phasing in new aircraft with 18–20 percent lower emissions: Airbus 320neos and Airbus 350s. Electronic aircraft is the endgame, the most sustainable option, according to Knagge, but it’s a long road to get there. Biofuel is a good interim step, but there’s a limited supply, so Scandinavian is partnering with energy company Preem to produce its own — a new plant will open in 2023.

Mapes similarly stressed that the modernization of Delta’s fleet makes a major difference in reducing fuel consumption and reducing carbon footprint. “It’s all about net,” said Mapes of replacing plastic with something heavier that only appears to be more sustainable — if it reduces plastic waste but worsens carbon emissions, it’s not a good move.

“I would rather increase carbon emissions [than increase plastic waste] because we can do things to offset that,” said Jason DiVenere. The 35-year-old spent much of his career as an aerospace engineer at Boeing and SpaceShipTwo from Virgin Galactic. In 2018 he flew 487,000 PQM (premier qualifying miles) on United and he’s been a by-invitation-only Global Services member with United for four years.

Carbon emissions can indeed be offset as DiVenere noted, though so can a switch away from unsustainable materials. Likewise, it’s arguably just as daunting an idea to remove microplastics from the ocean as to repair the ozone layer, and the real solution lies in preventing the pollution at its source.

DiVenere is also a private pilot and said that small amounts of increased weight from heavier, non-plastic catering materials will not pose a significant problem, especially because airlines already can’t precisely account for contingencies like heavier luggage.


Replacing plastic with a heavier material often comes at a financial cost, which may get passed on to the consumer. Whether flyers will pay more to reduce plastic waste depends greatly on the demographic, and societal pressure, according to Knagge.

“In Scandinavia and especially Sweden, it’s in such transition. It’s really changing the demand on travel, and everything from grocery shopping to the car industry,” said Knagge. “If you offer something that is better for the environment, and it has a negative impact on your personal convenience, you don’t complain about it. It’s politically incorrect and that pressure from society is so huge.”

In Scandinavia especially there’s an incipient anti-flying movement among those who are vocal about climate change. The community is fairly small at this point, but shows real signs of growing as people stop bragging about airline status and start bragging about taking the train instead. Tour operator Thomas Cook even cited that the anti-flying movement is negatively impacting its Northern European business.

And yet, consumers have their limits when it comes to shunning aviation. “Looking at a more global picture, we’ve seen quite a low tolerance for paying extra for a more sustainable option,” he said. Scandinavian does encourage flyers to pack light to reduce weight on board, save fuel, and reduce costs — but packing habits die hard.

“There’s no doubt there’s a line that, when crossed, it might become problematic,” said Mapes of travelers’ ability to withstand changes. “When you have food, you want to know that there’s hygiene, that there are proper controls,” he said, specifying that taking care with food crossing international borders is even more crucial.

The idea is to lead by example and not be judgmental when introducing sustainable changes to flyers, according to Mapes. “More people embrace it than don’t,” he said.

While testing bamboo and wooden cutlery options, Etihad Airways found that “they didn’t deliver a pleasant dining experience,” said Linda Celestino, vice president of guest experience and delivery, by email. “This resulted in us selecting disposable stainless steel to ensure we uphold our service standards. Of course, we have considered that metal adds extra weight, which in turn leads to extra fuel burn.” Celestino added that the carrier leaned toward a lightweight stainless steel option and that carbon emissions comprised a “bigger issue” than plastic waste.

“Flyers are not always aware of the complexity of airline catering,” said Anne De Hauw, founder of Monaco-based design firm In Air Travel Experience. On the other hand, flyers are increasingly aware of sustainability issues, even though things like on-time performance and cabin comfort still top their priority lists. “Changes have to be genuine, authentic, and true, because flyers will not accept greenwashing anymore,” she said.

And now, with increasing government legislation regulating single-use plastics, like that in the European Union, the pressure is on. “With the new EU policy, there is a more urgent need for airlines to look into it. It’s no longer a plus — it’s a must.”

But who should bear the cost of switching from cheap plastic to something that might be more expensive? “We as an industry have a huge responsibility to find a way to offer solutions that actually are more sustainable without necessarily requiring customers to pay for it,” said Knagge.

Then again, there is a subset of flyers who are willing to assume the burden. “Someone has to pay the cost to do the right thing for the environment, and I don’t mind being that person as long as it’s reasonable and thought out,” said DiVenere.

An avid flyer like DiVenere may be more aware of plastic waste, and more motivated to address it, than your average traveler. He takes the initiative to ask attendants to refill his cup instead of bringing him a new one each time, and he created a video encouraging flyers to recycle the plastic wrapping that accompanies amenities like blankets.

“A flight to Australia is 15 hours — how many cups do you think an economy passenger goes through?” asked DiVenere.


If the plastic used to transport food is an issue, one comprehensive solution is to become your own food supplier and thereby control more of the process yourself.

Singapore Airlines launched a farm-to-plane partnership with AeroFarms, resulting in an indoor, vertical garden that will produce salad greens for in-flight meals starting in September. The main purpose of this garden is to supply passengers with the freshest possible food, according to a representative, but there are potential waste-reduction benefits down the line associated with sourcing food close by, instead of flying it in from another continent.

The carrier is also replacing plastic stirrers with bamboo, and plastic straws with paper, starting in September, as well as making sure items like menu cards are made with certified sustainable paper.

Reducing plastics behind the catering scenes, where flyers can’t see, may not be the type of endeavor that goes viral like Skip the Straw, but is an important part of the plastic-reduction process. Ryanair, for example, is trying to source alternative packaging through its suppliers, to be rolled out in-flight and in the company’s offices by 2023, according to an emailed statement.

Ryanair wants to eliminate nonrecyclable plastics across its operations by that date as well, but declined to specify what falls into this nonrecyclable category. It’s worth noting that what constitutes “recyclable” varies greatly by location and available facilities — an estimated 91 percent of plastic is not recycled at all.

Etihad similarly has major room for error in its plastic-reduction efforts. The carrier has pledged to reduce its single-use plastic usage companywide by 80 percent by the end of 2022, including through its supply chain, but declined to say whether they’ve been able to measure their plastic usage in the first place, from which that 80 percent would be calculated.

Aviation suppliers are often motivated by their own sales at a cost to environmental sustainability, according to De Hauw. Using cheap, light, disposable packaging is a financial win for suppliers, but airlines need to explore their options, which vary from carrier to carrier. For example, there’s little reason to introduce a compostable material if local regulations require the airline to incinerate waste upon arrival.

“A circular [plastics] economy requires a collaboration and an open ecosystem of airports, caterers, and airlines to really truly make it work, and I think we’re far away from that right now,” she said.

By: Sarah Enelow-Snyder – Source:

Chinese tourism to U.S. drops for 1st time in 15 years amid trade war

After more than a decade of rapid growth, Chinese travel to the U.S. is falling as the Trump administration wages a trade war with China. And that has U.S. cities, malls and other tourist spots scrambling to reverse the trend.

Travel from China to the U.S. fell 5.7% in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office, which collects data from U.S. Customs forms. It was the first time since 2003 that Chinese travel to the U.S. slipped from the prior year.

Friction between the U.S. and China is one reason for the slowdown. The Trump administration first imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels and washing machines in January 2018, and the trade war has escalated from there. The U.S. now has a 25% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, while China has retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. imports.

Last summer, China issued a travel warning for the U.S., telling its citizens to beware of shootings, robberies and high costs for medical care. The U.S. shot back with its own warning about travel to China.

Economic concerns

Wang Haixia, who works at an international trade company in Beijing, traveled to the U.S. in May for her sister’s graduation. She and her family planned to spend 10 days in Illinois and New York.

Wang says she might have stayed longer but doesn’t want to contribute to the U.S. economy amid the trade war.

“I cannot cancel this trip because I promised my sister I would go to her commencement,” she said. “My relatives will contribute more than 100,000 yuan to America just staying for 10 days, and that’s enough.”

There are other reasons behind the slowdown. Economic uncertainty in China has travelers at the lower end of the market vacationing closer to home, says Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute, which found that 56% of travelers leaving China in the last three months of 2018 went to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan compared with 50% in 2017. Those who do travel farther are seeking out more exotic destinations like Croatia, Morocco and Nepal.

Higher Chinese incomes

Chinese travel to the U.S. had already been moderating from its breakneck pace earlier this decade. In 2000, 249,000 Chinese visited the U.S. That tripled to 802,000 by 2010, then tripled again by 2015, in part because of higher incomes, better long-haul flight connections and an easing of visa restrictions, according to McKinsey, the consulting firm.

The U.S. welcomed more than 3 million Chinese visitors in 2016 and 2017. But year-over-year growth edged up just 4% in 2017, the slowest pace in more than a decade.

Most industry-watchers agree that any downturn is temporary, since China’s middle class will only continue to expand. The U.S. government forecasts Chinese tourism will grow 2% this year to 3.3 million visitors, and will reach 4.1 million visitors in 2023.

“Even if the Chinese economy cools, it’s still going to continue to be a very good source of growth for the travel industry,” said David Huether, senior vice president of research for the U.S. Travel Association.

Travel downturn

In general, international travel to the U.S. has been declining. Overall data for 2018 hasn’t been released yet, but international travel fell 2% in 2016 and was flat in 2017.

But because China commands some of the highest tourism traffic to the U.S., any falloff will be felt by destinations that have come to rely on Chinese spending power. In 2017, the country had the fifth highest number of U.S.-bound tourists, behind Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Japan. Ten years earlier, China wasn’t even on the top 10 list, falling behind countries like Germany, France, South Korea and Australia, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

China didn’t crack the top 10 list until 2011 and has been climbing ever since. Spending by Chinese visitors — which doesn’t include students — ballooned more than 600% between 2008 and 2016, to nearly $18.9 billion. In 2017, that fell by 1% to $18.8 billion, or about 12% of overall tourism spending.

To hold onto those dollars, experts say the tourism industry must do more to keep up with Chinese travelers and their changing needs.

Social media

Larry Yu, a professor of hospitality management at George Washington University, notes that Chinese tourists — particularly younger ones — are increasingly planning trips using social media apps like WeChat and are less likely to book through big tour groups. They have also rapidly adopted smartphone-based payment systems.

Destinations should invest in those technologies now if they want to continue attracting Chinese tourists, says David Becker, former CEO of Attract China, a New York-based travel consultancy.

“A lot of companies looked at the Chinese market as easy money, but we have to be relevant to the Chinese,” Becker said. Attract China, for instance, has helped luxury stores in Manhattan incorporate Jeenie, a live translation app, and add Alipay and WeChat Pay for mobile payments.

Others have also been stepping up their efforts. The Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles used to cater to busloads of Chinese tourists. Now, it’s focusing on small groups of less than 10 VIP shoppers, says Susan Vance, the mall’s marketing and sponsorship director. The mall has also pushed stores to offer China UnionPay, a digital payment service. More than 100 stores now have it, Vance says, up from three in 2014.

Tourism officials are also catching onto WeChat. In late 2017, Washington D.C. became the first U.S. city to launch an interactive guide in the app. Chinese travelers can use it to get directions to attractions, access audio tours in Mandarin and find dining and shopping. The city’s marketing office has one staff member dedicated to WeChat.

Washington also recently launched a Welcome China program that teaches hotels, restaurants and other venues about Chinese customs and encourages them to offer things like Chinese-language menus or in-room slippers. Forty-four hotels and a handful of restaurants have signed on.

Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, the city’s marketing office, said the number of Chinese tourists visiting Washington doubled in the last five years before falling slightly in 2017. But Ferguson, who traveled to China last month to meet with tourism officials, said there’s still significant interest in travel to the U.S.

“We’re beefing up our efforts because we see there’s so much potential for growth,” he said.


Summer Racing Hospitality Begins At The Investec Derby Festival With Jockey Club Catering And Fizz!

Anticipation is building for one of the UK’s most celebrated events in the racing calendar, The Investec Derby Festival, which marks the beginning of the summer racing season on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June. At Epsom Downs racecourse preparations are well underway to ensure topquality racing, entertainment and food for racegoers. Behind the scenes, Jockey Club Catering’s Head Chef Rhys Owen, 100 chefs and another 1,200 catering staff are preparing to deliver a delicious array of food and drinks over the two-day festival.

Jockey Club Catering’s continuing commitment to ensure every racegoer has a perfect culinary experience has resulted in a diverse and eclectic selection of food and beverage options. Rhys comments “The Investec Derby Festival is a special event and for me it is so important every attendee enjoys the wonderful spectacle on and off the track, including the very best in food, drink and service. I love my job and this is the most exciting event of the year. It’s my pleasure to lead the Jockey Club Catering team delivering a fantastic hospitality experience.”

From the grandeur of an elegant four-course à la carte lunch in Chez Roux @ Blue Riband restaurant to a relaxed day in the Tattenham Straight enclosure with a beautiful “Best of British” picnic hamper, there are gastronomic experiences to suit every palate and pocket. Throughout the racecourse, guests will be able to pick the best spot to dine, drink and celebrate as they watch the finest thoroughbreds on the track.

Using expertise developed during fourteen years with Jockey Club Catering, Rhys has designed imaginative menus for The Investec Derby Festival restaurants. Blending tradition and innovation whilst using the best quality ingredients and skilful techniques, seasonal favourites sit alongside adventurous options, all beautifully presented to delight the eye and the taste buds.

Perfectly prepared for summer dining, menu highlights include smoked salmon from the Severn and Wye smokery served with honey-whisky beetroot, pickled cucumber and smoked yoghurt in the Winning Post restaurant. Seabass with masala raita, pickled courgette, butternut purée, Bombay potato and tandoori onion feature in the Derby Suite, where celeriac, hazelnut and truffle soup, with British artisan cheeses and gooseberry and nettle relish top and tail the menu. Racegoers can enjoy lighter dishes too, including, on the Downs View Suite menu, sous vide fennel with orange and quinoa salad and coriander cress, a vegetarian speciality perfect for the warmer weather.

At The Investec Derby Festival Coates and Seely will be offering vintage charm aboard their characterful Albion bus where a glass of their award-winning English sparkling wine can be enjoyed – the perfect drink for a very British sporting event. In addition, a selection of expertly chosen wines from around the world will be available across the racecourse, along with premium spirits, craft beers, ciders and refreshing soft drinks.