Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Spanish Authorities Clear Amazon, Booking, Tripadvisor Over Alleged Fake Reviews

6 months ago

Spain’s anti-trust agency CNMC on Wednesday cleared Amazon, Booking Holdings and Tripadvisor of participating in or facilitating fake reviews on their websites.

CNMC had been investigating a complaint filed by the OCU, a prominent consumer organization in Spain.

“CNMC found no indication that the platforms have participated in or facilitated the publication of these false opinions,” the authority said in a statement, noting the aforementioned companies had collaborated with investigators.

However, the watchdog has sent the complaint to a consumer rights authority due to a possible violation of consumer protection regulations.

Amazon, Booking, and Tripadvisor — as well as Expedia Group, Glassdoor and Trustpilot — announced in October they were launching a group named Coalition for Trusted Reviews that would fight fake online reviews.

Tourism

Peter Dinklage Lends Voice to New Andalusia Tourism Campaign

7 months ago

Andalusia Tourism launched a campaign on Wednesday warning tourists they’ll fall in love with Spain’s Andalusia region.

Called “Andalusian Crush,” the campaign features a video montage of Andalusia’s decorative architecture, culture, history and art with Games of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage as its narrator.

Dinklage warns viewers the region will break you “in a thousand pieces” and to be “careful of the Andalusian crush.”

Ideas

IDEAS: Puente Romano Beach Resort and Fendi Join List of Luxury Beach Club Collaborations

11 months ago

Puente Romano Beach Resort in Marbella, Spain has teamed up with Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi to transform its Chiringuito Beach Club into the ‘Fendi for Puente Romano Beach Club’.

Credit: FENDI

The beach club, which is adorned with Bali beds, beach chairs, cabanas, cushions and textiles in the signature colors and patterns of the fashion house, is now open daily until September 2023.

Alongside the beach club, the resort is also hosting a pop-up Fendi store which will present key items from the Maison’s new collection. 

This is yet another example of the growing trend of luxury fashion houses joining forces with resorts for summer collaborations, as previously highlighted with the collaboration between Palazzo Avino and Valentino.


At Skift, we are looking to unearth the most creative and forward-thinking innovations in travel through our Skift Ideas Franchise, which includes the Skift IDEA Awards, Skift Editorial Hub and the Skift Ideas Podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Uncategorized

Spain’s Renfe Sets July Date for New High-Speed Trains to France

11 months ago

Travelers will have a new option between Barcelona and Lyon, and Madrid and Marseille come July. That’s when Spain’s rail operator, Renfe, will launch new through high-speed train service on both routes, and reconnecting the country’s high-speed rail networks after an eight month hiatus.

Renfe will launch AVE high-speed train service from Barcelona to Lyon on July 13, and Madrid to Marseille on July 28. Both services will initially operate four-days-a-week — Friday through Monday — before expanding to daily in September and October, respectively. Travel times, however, will not exactly be speedy: Barcelona-Lyon will take just under five hours, and Madrid-Marseille just over eight hours.

Renfe begins cross-border high-speed AVE train service to France in July. (Renfe)

Travelers can fly between Barcelona and Lyon on either EasyJet or Vueling in an hour-and-a-half, and between Madrid and Marseille on either Iberia or Ryanair in an hour-and-forty-five minutes, according to Cirium Diio schedules.

However, an increased concern in climate issues in Europe could work to Renfe’s benefit. Air France executives have said that they doubt domestic France travel demand will ever return to 2019 levels as many travelers, including lucrative corporates, switch to trains for more trips where rail options are competitve.

Renfe’s new cross-border service is not the first on either the Barcelona-Lyon or Madrid-Marseille routes. France’s SNCF operated high-speed TGV trains in partnership with Renfe on both routes until December.

A map of Renfe’s new AVE high-speed train service to France. (Renfe)

Spanish Airports Mark Fifth Straight Month of Post-Pandemic Growth

11 months ago

Passenger traffic at Aena’s Spanish airports exceeded pre-pandemic levels in May for the fifth consecutive month, while other European terminals still operate at a lower capacity than in 2019.

More than 25 million passengers transited Spanish airports in May, or 3.4% more than in the same period in 2019 and also 14% more than in the corresponding month last year.

In the first five months of the year, Aena airports handled almost 103 million passengers, or 28% more than in 2022, and 2.3% more than in 2019.

Passenger traffic at European airports in April was the closest to a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic of any month yet despite sharp hikes in air fares, but still a bit lower, Airports Council International (ACI) Europe has said.

May was also the busiest month for Britain’s Heathrow since the pandemic broke out, though passenger numbers are still slightly below those of four years ago.

(Reporting by Matteo Allievi; Editing by Inti Landauro and Clarence Fernandez)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Travel Agents

Travel Agency Pangea to Double Revenue on Retail Store Model

1 year ago

The conventional wisdom back in 2015 was that travel agencies were a shrinking business. But that year, Spanish entrepreneur David Hernández thought he saw a whitespace for creating a fast-growing travel agency business, and he launched plans to create Pangea.

Fast forward to 2022, and his “travel store” invoiced close to 50 million euros in sales, Hernandez told the Spanish publication Time on Monday. In the first quarter of 2023, Pangea doubled its revenue year-over-year. This year, it expects to generate close to $75 million (€70 million).

What factors are enabling Pangea to grow quickly, having now served more than 20,000 travelers in only a few years?

In 2019, Hernandez raised an approximately $11 million (€9 million) round of venture funding, led by led by Axon Partners. The funding helped the company survive the pandemic and open four stores: in Madrid, at 1,500 square meters; in Barcelona, at 1,700 square meters and with a restaurant; in Bilbao, with three floors; and in Valencia, in the heart of the city.

The physical stores have attracted a new generation of travelers, just as some online-first direct-to-consumer brands like eyewear maker Warby Parker have opened physical stores as a marketing technique. Pangea’s Madrid store last year had a turnover of about $35 million (€30 million). Roughly a fifth of its customers were walk-ins.

“People fill out an online questionnaire, and based on their interests and characteristics, we find the best advisor for them,” Hernández said. “We have expert professional advisors in diving, volcanoes, safaris… anything you can imagine.”

Hernández doesn’t neglect technology. But he sees it as supplemental rather than the full offering — mainly as a way to make back-end and routine processes more efficient. His services are within a rounding error of the cost of fully booking trips online but save customers time, Hernández claimed.

“We have been developing a global technological tool for a year that aims to help further digitize the sector,” Hernández said, who aims to launch the tool at the travel trade fair Fitur early next year.

“Who thinks Booking.com, to name one, has no margins?” Hernández said. “That you always find the cheapest on the internet is not always true. For a difference of five or ten euros, it is not worth giving up the after-sales service, the security, the customization that we offer… We [as travelers] don’t have enough time to spend more than 50 hours preparing a far away and complex trip, like Costa Rica, Japan, Tanzania, the USA, or the Maldives. .. In an agency, they solve it for you in 30 minutes with all the guarantees and professional advice.”

—David Hernández, CEO of Pangea
Read about Hernández's Pangea travel store in Spain, via Time

Hotels

Global Hotel Alliance Sees Boost from Spain’s Tourism Recovery

1 year ago

Global Hotel Alliance gained from Spain’s tourism recovery in the fourth quarter of last year, following the addition of NH Hotels into the fold.

The country has now become the alliance’s second top earner, as it contributed $31 million in revenue in the last three months of 2022, the company said on Monday.

The United Arab Emirates, its traditional stronghold and where the alliance is headquartered, contributed $32 million.

Spain is catching up, as Singapore and Bangkok were the alliance’s second and third best-sellers, after the United Arab Emirates, during the first nine months of 2022.

Spain’s international visitors increased by 40 million last year, up from 31 million in 2021.

“The strength of recovery reflects the impact of the new GHA Discovery loyalty program, NH joining the alliance and bullish travel sentiment,” the company said.

NH Hotels also opened its first hotel, NH Collection Dubai The Palm, earlier this month, while the NH Collection La Suite Hotel Dubai will launch in 2024.

Room revenue generated by the 23 million global members of the GHA Discovery loyalty program exceeded 2019 levels from mid-November onwards. Room nights sold surpassed pre-pandemic levels by the end of its fourth quarter.

Business travel still lags however. The percentage of revenue attributed to international stays stabilized at 70 percent, the same amount as 2019, and the alliance said demand patterns were “returning to the old normal though leisure travel now dominates.”

The top feeder markets in the fourth quarter were the U.S. delivering $43 million in room revenue followed by the UK ($28 million), Spain ($26 million), Germany ($24 million) and Australia ($19 million).

China, which used to lead in outbound traffic, came in sixth place. The alliance, which counts 40 independent hotels brands as members, said China could “bounce back to number one in 2023.”

Total revenue for 2022 was $1.4 billion, up 60 percent on 2021.

Airlines

Iberia Tech Failure Causes Delays and Cancellations

1 year ago

Spain’s Iberia has been hit by a computer glitch, affecting its booking and boarding system.

“Due to a connectivity issue with our systems, today’s flights are experiencing delays,” it said on social media on Saturday. “We apologize to our customers and thank you for your understanding. Everyone at Iberia is working to solve it as soon as possible.”

The weekend disruption hit dozens of services across Spain and Europe, according to reports.

The software malfunction at Iberia, which is part of International Consolidated Airlines Group, is the latest in a series of computer blunders to strike the aviation industry.

The U.S. experienced a widespread shutdown of flights earlier this month, due to problems with the Federal Aviation Administration’s systems. It was forced to restore its Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system, which alerts pilots of potential hazards.

Southwest Airlines has taken a considerable financial hit owing to issues assigning crew to flights during the Christmas vacation caused by outdated optimization technology. The airlines has pledged to spend $1 billion on technology upgrades.

Old technology is increasingly contributing to mass flight cancellations, as travel returns. In Spain, passenger numbers are also rapidly returning to pre-pandemic levels. Passenger numbers through Spanish airport operator Aena’s 46 airports in December were at 98 percent of three years earlier.

Iberia reported that it had fixed the problem on Sunday. “Our systems have regained connectivity. Online billing and check-in are back to normal. We apologize to all customers for the inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding,” it said.

Uncategorized

Spain’s Renfe to Launch New Through Train Service to France by Summer

1 year ago

Spain’s rail operator Renfe has begun testing two new cross-border high-speed rail routes to France that could begin carrying passengers by summer.

Renfe tested through AVE train service from Madrid Atocha to Marseille on Tuesday, and from Barcelona Sants to Lyon on Monday. Once driver training and familiarization is complete, the operator aims to begin initial revenue service of three weekly trains on each route by summer. Renfe plans to increase the number of trains on both routes to twice daily — or 28 high-speed trains a day between France and Spain — under its second phase service plan.

A Renfe train at the station in Lyon, France.
A Renfe train at the station in Lyon after a test run from Barcelona. (Renfe)

Renfe did not disclose the expected duration of both routes. However, the Madrid-Marseille service would make 13 intermediate stops, including in Barcelona; and the Barcelona-Lyon route would make seven stops, including in Perpignan.

Expanding cross-border rail links is a goal of European Union authorities as they aim to cut the bloc’s carbon emissions. While many individual countries have invested in their own high-speed rail networks, connections between the networks are limited. Only about 7 percent of cross-border trips in Europe are made by rail, according to the European Commission’s DG Move department.

The rail link between France and Spain first opened in 2013. Renfe and France’s SNCF previously cooperated on cross-border rail service between Barcelona and both Lyon and Marseille but terminated their partnership in December. The SNCF operated Barcelona-Lyon trains made the trip in roughly 5 hours. Renfe’s new through trains will replace some of the services previously operated under the partnership.

SNCF operates three daily high-speed TGV trains between Barcelona Sants and Paris Gare de Lyon.

Tourism

Spain’s Tourism Minister Quits to Run for Madrid Mayor

2 years ago

Spain’s Tourism, Trade and Industry Minister Reyes Maroto will quit to run for mayor of Madrid, triggering a cabinet reshuffle, she said on Monday.

During her stint in government, Maroto took the lead on protecting the tourism sector during the pandemic and now heads negotiations over European Union-financed subsidies for industries such as car and microchip manufacturing.

Who will replace her in Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet is unclear.

“I have decided to step forward and run for mayor of the city of Madrid (…) I want to be the next mayor of Madrid and I am going to put my heart and soul into it,” Maroto told a tourism event on Monday.

TV station TVE and newspaper El Pais had reported she would be candidate earlier on Monday.

Municipal and regional elections in May will be a preview of the general elections to be held at the end of the year.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo; Editing by William Maclean)

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This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].