A survey by research firm Hogg Robinson Group revealed that hotel rates decreased globally in the first half of 2009, with the exception of Abu Dhabi, where rates rose 5%. Most major cities experienced double-digit declines compared with the first six months of 2008. Dubai and New York both saw rates dip by 24%, and Hong Kong, Milan and Geneva all declined between 16% and 18%. Rates in London retracted marginally.
Delta cuts Shanghai route
Delta Airlines suspended its direct service between Shanghai and Atlanta in August. The airline’s traffic in Asia has fallen 17.3% in 2009. Its capacity in the region has been reduced by 5.9%, and the company plans to further cut routes by 15%. The Delta/Northwest Airlines merger, announced in April 2008, was expected to make the company a major player in travel between the US and Asia, but many expected benefits of the move have yet to materialize.
2010 Shanghai Expo seeks 70m visitors
Despite concerns about the global economic downturn and the H1N1 flu, Shao Qiwei, director of the National Tourism Administration, has restated his confidence that the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will draw approximately 70 million visitors, including more than 3.5 million foreign tourists. The event begins May 1, 2010 and will last 184 days. More than 1.7 million tickets have already been sold. If China hits its goal, the Shanghai Expo will surpass the current record-holder, the 1970 World Expo in Osaka, Japan, which hosted 64 million visitors.
China reports foreign tourism decline in 2008
Foreign visitors to China fell by 2 million to 130 million in 2008, according to the National Tourism Administration (NTA). Authorities expected a banner year with the Beijing Olympics, but fears of protests at the Games prompted tightened visa restrictions. Riots in Tibet and the Sichuan earthquake also resulted in more strictly controlled travel in 2008. However, officials principally blame the financial crisis for the slump. "All major inbound source markets, except for Hong Kong and Russia, slumped last year amid the economic downturn," said an NTA official.
Cross-strait cruise operation begin
In April 2009, Costa Cruises chartered a cruise for Amway to Taiwan. The first of three trips for the group marked the first cross-strait cruise. Costa plans to become the first international cruise company to operate regular Taiwan cruise itineraries from the mainland by January 2010, which will feature the cities of Taipei, Keelung and Taichung.
One million flee from China typhoon
Typhoon Morakot made landfall in Fujian province on August 8, leading to flight cancellations and other emergency measures. The storm brought heavy rains and winds up to 119 kilometers per hour, according to the China Meteorological Administration. Almost a million people were evacuated from China’s eastern coast. Morakot first hit Taiwan before continuing to mainland China. The typhoon poured more than 203 centimeters of rain on some locations in Taiwan.