bgb always give us the enthusiastic, honest advice we need
Kate Bowman, Sunday Times Travel Magazine
There was surprisingly little drama about economic gloom at this year's ITT conference. Instead, in measured and thoughtful debates, Kuoni's Peter Rothwell and other panellists predicted next year would be slightly better than this year. Tim Williamson of TUI thought trading conditions might be tougher next year but said there was a real sense of optimism in the business about how quickly Mexico is recovering in popularity after the swine flu issues of earlier this year. Mike Greenacre of the Co-Operative Travel Group said he expected further consolidation as small to medium sized businesses go out of business this autumn as they run out of cash. We heard Terry Fisher of Gold Medal encourage industry partners to "respect the supply chain" and work closely with agents and operators to drive volumes. Jumairah Beach supported Terry's comments saying in December they were looking at 50 per cent occupancy for the first quarter of 2009, but after working closely with trade partners to reach last minute decision-makers had finished Q1 with occupancy levels of 91, 93 and 96 per cent.
Today's Budget announcement that the government is pressing ahead with plans to massively increase Air Passenger Duty is very serious news. The steep increases and the irrational banding scheme which have been proposed mean that people travelling to the Caribbean will pay more than travellers to Hawaii. We think this is an ill-thought out, unfair tax. We fully support every industry effort to get the plans changed.
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