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Strong Passenger Demand Continues into 2016

Global passenger traffic results for January 2016 showing demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 7.1% compared to January 2015. This was ahead of the 2015 full year growth rate of 6.5%. January capacity rose 5.6%, with the result that load factor rose 1.1 percentage points to 78.8%, the highest load factor ever recorded for the first month of the year.

“January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets. The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

January 2016 (% year-on-year)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)​2PLF (level)​3
Total Market 100.0% 7.1% 5.6% ​1.1% ​78.8%
Africa 2.2% 11.0% 7.1% ​2.5% ​71.3%
Asia Pacific 31.5% 10.4% 7.9% ​1.8% ​78.5%
Europe 26.7​% ​4.0% 2.1% ​1.4% ​77.9%
Latin America 5.4% ​5.1% 4.6% ​0.4% ​82.8%
Middle East ​​9.4% 10.5% 12.8% ​-1.6% ​77.9%
North America 24.7% 4.3​​% ​2.9% ​1.1% ​80.7%
(1)% of industry RPKs in 2015  (2)Year-on-year change in load factor  (3)Load factor level

International Passenger Markets

January international passenger traffic rose 7.3% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 5.9% and load factor rose 1.0 percentage point to 78.8%. All regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand.
 
  • Asia Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 10.3% compared to January 2015. Capacity rose 7.6%, pushing up load factor 2.0 percentage points to 79.2%. A 7.3% increase in the number of direct airport connections within the Asia region over the past 12 months or so has helped to stimulate demand.
  • European carriers’ international traffic climbed 4.2% in January compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 2.6% and load factor rose 1.2 percentage points to 78.8%. Airline strikes and the shutdown of Russia’s Transaero caused the region’s traffic to fall in the last quarter of 2015. Volumes have picked up somewhat in recent months.
  • North American airlines saw demand rise 2.4% in January over a year ago. Capacity rose 1.3%, pushing up load factor 0.8 percentage points to 80.3%. North American international traffic growth was weakest among the regions, as carriers have focused on the stronger and larger domestic market.
  • Middle East carriers had the strongest year-over-year demand growth in January at 10.9%, helped by ongoing network and fleet expansion. Capacity rose 12.9% and load factor dipped 1.4 percentage points to 77.8%.
  • Latin American airlines’ traffic climbed 8.9% in January. Capacity rose 7.8% and load factor increased 0.8 percentage points to 82.5%, highest among the regions. Domestic traffic remains under pressure from economic difficulties in the region’s biggest economies, notably Brazil, but the strong growth in international demand shows little sign of slowing.
  • African airlines saw January traffic jump 12.1% compared to January 2015. This continues the strong upward trend in travel since mid-2015 that coincides with a jump in exports from the region over the same period. With capacity up 8.2%, load factor rose 2.5 percentage point to 71.3%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic air travel rose 6.8% in January year-on-year. Capacity rose 5.1% and load factor was 78.9%, up 1.3% percentage points. 
 
January 2016 (% year-on-year)World share1RPK​​ASKPLF (%-pt)​2PLF (level)​3
Domestic 36.4% 6.8% 5.1% 1.3% 78.9%
Australia 1.1% 3.8% 2.3% ​1.1% 76.9%
Brazil 1.4% -4.1% -2.6% ​-1.3% ​83.3%
China P.R. 8.4​% 11.9% 10.6% ​0.9% 79.1%
India 1.2% 22.9% 21.9% ​0.7% 84.7%
Japan ​​1.2% 1.2% -4.3% ​3.5% ​64.7%
Russian Federation 1.3% -2.0% -5.2% ​2.2% ​68.4%
​US ​15.4% 5.5%​ 3.7%​ ​1.4% ​81.0%
(1)% of industry RPKs in 2015  (2)Year-on-year change in load factor  (3)Load factor level
*Note: the seven domestic passenger markets for which broken-down data are available account for 30% of global total RPKs and approximately 82% of total domestic RPKs.
  • India’s domestic air travel soared 22.9% in January compared to a year ago. Growth is being propelled by the comparatively strong domestic economy and increases in air services. The Indian market overtook both Australia and Japan during 2015 and is currently level with Russia at around 1.2% of global RPKs.
  • Russian domestic traffic slipped 2.0% in January. Despite the decline, the Russian domestic load factor reached an all-time January high as capacity fell at a faster rate, suggesting that local carriers have absorbed traffic affected by the shutdown of Transaero.
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UNWTO Confident In Egypt’s Tourism Recovery

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, has expressed the Organizations’ full confidence in the recovery of tourism in Egypt during a recent visit to the country. On the occasion, Mr. Rifai met with Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in the presence of the Egyptian Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou. The President reiterated his full support to the tourism sector and its utmost determination in ensuring that Egypt is a safe, attractive and leading tourism destination saying “if tourism recovers, Egypt will recover”.

Meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail Mohamed, Secretary-General discussed measures to accelerate the recovery of tourism to Egypt and praised the support being given to the sector. Both representatives welcomed the actions undertaken by Egypt to promote the highest political support for the sector, regain the confidence of source markets, enhance tourism safety and security and successfully integrate the sector into risk and emergency management structures, both at national and local levels.

“Egypt has undertaken strong initiatives in terms of communications with the competent authorities and public opinion in source markets on safety and security issues, unlocking the support of airlines and tour operators, incentivising demand and engaging key players in Egypt in these concerted efforts. I trust these actions will herald results in restoring confidence and accelerating the recovery of tourism to Egypt”, said Mr. Rifai.

Mr Rifai also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Hassan Shoukry, to discuss the cooperation between the Ministries of Tourism and Foreign Affairs and UNWTO, including Egypt’s chairmanship of the UNWTO Executive Council and the forthcoming UNWTO City Tourism Summit taking place in Egypt later this year.

The future of tourism in Egypt

Opening Egypt´s Tourism 2016 Conference ‘Planning for Growth’, Mr Rifai recalled that there is a strong pent up demand for tourism to Egypt, from source markets, both within and outside the region.

“We should never forget that Egypt is one of the world’s most remarkable tourism success stories. Over the last decade, the number of visitors to Egypt practically tripled and so did the exports generated by international tourism. Egypt is, and will continue to be, despite all challenges, a leading tourism destination.” 

Tourism is a critical contributor to Egypt’s GDP, employment, foreign currency earnings and investment. Mr. Rifai called upon the international community to support Egypt’s tourism saying that “supporting the recovery of tourism to Egypt is supporting the future of Egypt and that of its people; supporting tourism to Egypt is promoting peace and stability”.

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Italian Aviation Tax To Cost 2,300 Jobs a Year

A sudden increase in the Italian Council Tax levied on air passengers which will damage Italian economic competitiveness, and result in 2,300 jobs a year being lost. That is, according to IATA.

Effective immediately in January, without any advance warning or consultation, Italian authorities announced a 33-38% increase in its Council Tax, amounting to an extra EUR 2.50 for every passenger. Passengers will be paying EUR 10 in tax each time they fly from airports near Rome, and EUR 9.00 for flights from other Italian airports. None of the revenue raised from the tax is re-invested in aviation, instead it is diverted for general purposes.

“This sudden jump in the cost of flying from Italy can only cause harm to the Italian people and its economy. The increase in the Council Tax will reduce passenger numbers by over 755,000 and GDP by EUR 146 million per year. 2,300 jobs a year will be lost, meaning that by the end of the decade over 9,000 jobs will have been needlessly squandered. Rather than increase this inefficient and ineffective tax, the Italian government should urgently enact policies to encourage the growth of air transport links, which are proven to enhance employment, innovation and cultural activities. The Government should start with a full-scale review of the economic basis of the tax, with a view to its complete removal. Airlines and passengers should not become an easy source of income for any Government,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

Experience elsewhere in Europe, such as in the Netherlands and Ireland, show removal of taxation boosts traffic and benefits the economy of the country. Italy has a number of other taxation and regulation issues which IATA is calling on the Government to reform, to enhance competitiveness.
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International Tourist Arrivals Up 4% Reach A Record 1.2 Billion In 2015

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% in 2015 to reach a total of 1,184 million in 2015, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Some 50 million more tourists (overnight visitors) travelled to international destinations around the world last year as compared to 2014. 

2015 marks the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.

“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Demand was strong overall, though with mixed results across individual destinations due to unusually strong exchange rate fluctuations, the drop in oil prices and other commodities which increased disposable income in importing countries but weakened demand in exporters, as well as increased safety and security concerns.

“2015 results were influenced by exchange rates, oil prices and natural and manmade crises in many parts of the world. As the current environment highlights in a particular manner the issues of safety and security, we should recall that tourism development greatly depends upon our collective capacity to promote safe, secure and seamless travel. In this respect, UNWTO urges governments to include tourism administrations in their national security planning, structures and procedures, not only to ensure that the sector’s exposure to threats is minimised but also to maximise the sector’s ability to support security and facilitation, as seamless and safe travel can and should go hand in hand”, added Mr Rifai.

Growth in advanced economy destinations (+5%) exceeded that of emerging economies (+4%), boosted by the solid results of Europe (+5%).

By region, Europe, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific all recorded around 5% growth in 2015. Arrivals to the Middle East increased by 3% while in Africa, limited data available, points to an estimated 3% decrease, mostly due to weak results in North Africa, which accounts for over one third of arrivals in the region.

Positive prospects for 2016

Results from the UNWTO Confidence Index remain largely positive for 2016, though at a slightly lower level as compared to  the previous two years. Based on the current trend and this outlook, UNWTO projects international tourist arrivals to grow by 4% worldwide in 2016.

By region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and the Pacific (+4% to +5%) and the Americas (+4% to +5%), followed by Europe (+3.5% to +4.5%). The projections for Africa (+2% to 5%) and the Middle East (+2% to +5%) are positive, though with a larger degree of uncertainty and volatility.

2015 Regional Results

Europe (+5%) led growth in absolute and relative terms supported by a weaker euro vis-à-vis the US dollar and other main currencies. Arrivals reached 609 million, or 29 million more than in 2014. Central and Eastern Europe (+6%) rebounded from last year’s decrease in arrivals. Northern Europe (+6%), Southern Mediterranean Europe (+5%) and Western Europe (+4%) also recorded sound results, especially considering the many mature destinations they comprise.

Asia and the Pacific (+5%) recorded 13 million more international tourist arrivals last year to reach 277 million, with uneven results across destinations. Oceania (+7%) and South-East Asia (+5%) led growth, while South Asia and in North-East Asia recorded an increase of 4%.

International tourist arrivals in the Americas (+5%) grew 9 million to reach 191 million, consolidating the strong results of 2014. The appreciation of the US dollar stimulated outbound travel from the United States, benefiting the Caribbean and Central America, both recording 7% growth. Results in South America and North America (both at +4%) were close to the average.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew by an estimated 3% to a total of 54 million, consolidating the recovery initiated in 2014.

Limited available data for Africa points to a 3% decrease in international arrivals, reaching a total of 53 million. In North Africa arrivals declined by 8% and in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1%, though the latter returned to positive growth in the second half of the year. (Results for both Africa and Middle East should be read with caution as it is based on limited available data)

China, the USA and the UK lead outbound travel growth in 2015

A few leading source markets have driven tourism expenditure in 2015 supported by a strong currency and economy.

Among the world’s top source markets, China, with double-digit growth in expenditure every year since 2004, continues to lead global outbound travel, benefitting Asian destinations such as Japan and Thailand, as well as the United States and various European destinations.

By contrast, expenditure from the previously very dynamic source markets of the Russian Federation and Brazil declined significantly, reflecting the economic constraints in both countries and the depreciation of the rouble and the real against virtually all other currencies.

As for the traditional advanced economy source markets, expenditure from the United States (+9%), the world’s second largest source market, and the United Kingdom (+6%) was boosted by a strong currency and rebounding economy. Spending from Germany, Italy and Australia grew at a slower rate (all at +2%), while demand from Canada and France was rather weak. 

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International And Domestic Passenger Markets Show Healthy November Traffic Demand

Global passenger traffic results for November 2015 showing continued strong traffic growth above the 10-year average rate of 5.6%. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 5.9% compared to the year-ago period. Although below the October rate of 7.1%, this largely was owing to the impact of factors that are expected to be short-lived, including the cessation of operations by Transaero, Russia’s second largest carrier, and labor strikes at Lufthansa.

The healthy demand continued despite some softening in economic growth, in large part owing to falling fares. Data for the first ten months of the year show a 5% decline in average fares in currency-adjusted terms. November capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 4.2%, and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 78.0%. 

“Consumers continue to benefit from lower fares, which are spurring demand. The economy benefits from the stimulus to consumer spending. And airlines are starting to achieve minimum acceptable profit levels. It’s good news all around, but as we open 2016, economic risks are mounting,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

Nov 2015 vs. Nov 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
International 5.6% 4.1% 76.2
Domestic 6.4% 4.4% 81.1
Total Market 5.9% 4.2% 78.0
YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
International 6.8% 6.1% 79.8
Domestic 6.4% 5.3% 81.6
Total Market 6.7% 5.8% 80.5

International Passenger Markets

November international passenger demand rose 5.6% compared to November 2014, with airlines in all regions recording growth. Total capacity climbed 4.1%, and load factor edged up 1.1 percentage points to 76.2%.

  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ November traffic climbed 7.9% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased 5.7% and load factor rose 1.6 percentage points to 76.2%. Weakness in Emerging Asia trade activity, as well as slower than expected growth in China, appear not to be impacting international RPKs for Asia-Pacific carriers.
  • European carriers saw demand increase by 2.2%. The lower growth primarily was triggered by the aforementioned shutdown of Transaero and labor issues at Lufthansa. Capacity slipped 0.1% and load factor rose 1.7 percentage points to 79.5%, highest among the regions.
  • North American airlines’ traffic climbed 2.1% in November. While this was weaker than the year-to-date trend of 3.4%, capacity dipped 0.2%, boosting load factor 1.8 percentage points to 78.4%.
  • Middle East carriers had a 9.8% demand increase in November. Capacity rose slightly faster at 11.5% causing load factor to dip 1.0 percentage point to 69.4%. Business conditions across the non-oil producing private sectors of the UAE and Saudi Arabia appear to be strengthening, and this should help sustain solid expansion in air passenger demand for local carriers.
  • Latin American airlines saw November traffic climb 10.7% compared to November 2014. Capacity increased by 10.1%, pushing load factor up 0.3 percentage points to 78.9%. Latin American carriers have seen robust growth in air travel, but significant declines in yields, with weakness in the key economies of Brazil and Argentina, placing significant downward pressure on financial performance.
  • African airlines’ experienced their fifth consecutive month of positive traffic growth in November, posting a 12.2% rise compared to November 2014. However, the trend for the year-to-date so far remains weak, with growth of just 1.3% reflecting adverse economic developments in parts of the continent, including in Nigeria, which is highly reliant on oil revenues. Over the past few months, exports from Africa have held up better than they did earlier in 2015, and this could be helping boost international air travel on the region’s carriers. Capacity rose 9.8% and load factor rose 1.5 percentage points to 65.1%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic travel demand rose 6.4% in November compared to November 2014 but results were mixed, with Brazil, Russia and Japan all showing declines. Domestic capacity climbed 4.4%, and load factor improved 1.6 percentage points to 81.1%. 

Nov 2015 vs. Nov 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
Australia 1.9% 1.0% 79.4
Brazil -7.9% -4.1% 78.0
China P.R. 8.4% 7.7% 80.4
​India ​25.1% 19.8​% ​83.6
​Japan -1.2​% -2.5​% ​71.2
Russian Federation -7.1​​% -10.6​​% ​71.7
US 9.1​​% 5.3​​% ​84.5
Domestic 6.4​​% 4.4​​% ​81.1
  • India’s strong results reflect notable increases in service frequencies, ongoing economic strength and the timing of the Diwali holiday, which occurred in October in 2014.
  • Air travel in Japan declined but measures of manufacturing activity improved strongly during the month, which should support rising passenger demand.
The Bottom Line: “The airline industry is delivering solid financial and operational performance. The industry’s return on capital for 2015 and 2016 is expected to exceed its cost of capital—a very rare occurrence. This means we are on the path toward financial sustainability. Consumers are benefitting from lower fares, and airlines are able to invest in new aircraft that are more comfortable, quieter and more environmentally friendly.
 
Passenger demand remains strong; however, the ongoing turmoil in the global financial markets and concerns over slowing economic growth in China are casting a shadow over the New Year.
2016 will be a historic year for aviation as States come together at the 39th International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly to discuss—and I hope agree—a market-based-measure that will allow airlines to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020,” said Tyler.
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Holiday-Makers Underestimate Cost Of Medical Treatment Abroad By Up To 400 Per Cent

AXA UK recently surveyed over 2,000 UK consumers* to find out more about their understanding of travel insurance especially of pre-existing medical conditions and the cost of obtaining medical treatment abroad.

The survey found that there is confusion among some customers when declaring “pre-existing medical conditions”. Most companies will ask you to tell them about medical conditions that you already suffer from, or have been treated for in the past, when you buy a travel insurance product from them. These are sometimes referred to as “pre-existing medical conditions” by insurers. If you don’t tell your insurance company about these medical conditions it can affect your cover and put you and your family at risk.

Every travel insurance product is different, and will have different requirements. Companies have a responsibility to make it clear to customers when they are selling travel insurance what medical conditions they need to declare. Unfortunately it appears that many customers are still confused about what they need to tell their insurance company. If customers are unsure they shouldn’t be afraid to ask their insurance company, or check their policy booklet.

Over half of respondents (57 per cent) were unsure what time period they need to consider when declaring “pre-existing medical conditions”. For AXA Direct policies any condition in the last five years needs to be declared in the application process, however this can vary from product to product therefore we would advise consumers to check with their insurer.

When considering travel insurance, consumers place most importance on the level of cover for medical bills (46 per cent) and cover for medical conditions (38 per cent) in the event that they are taken ill. Other considerations such as theft of personal possessions (six per cent), lost luggage (four per cent) and flight delays and cancellations (six per cent) lag behind in comparison.

The majority of people underestimate the cost of treatment for many conditions or incidents. The table below demonstrates the difference between what respondents think the cost of treatment will be and the actual average cost of claims:

Medical incident

Mean expected cost of treatment*

Average cost of claim (Europe)

Ear Infection

£366

£250-£350

Sickness bug

£366.40

£400-£600

Asthma

£640

£600-£800

Broken limb

£1,982.80

£4,000-£6,000

Heart Attack

£4,611.30

£12,000- £20,000

*Mean figure based on survey results

The difference is starkest on the more serious conditions such as a heart attack or broken limb, where the actual cost of treatment can be three times higher (or up to 200 per cent higher) than has been estimated or in the case of a heart attack where it can be up to 400 per cent higher than what people expect.

The cost of treatment can also vary quite considerably between countries, and when buying insurance the destination can have a significant impact on the premium. The table below demonstrates the average cost of medical treatment and how it correlates to the current price for a one week vacation for one person travelling to these locations from 30 August 2015:

Country

Average cost of medical treatment in this country

AXA Direct Basic Travel Insurance*

AXA Direct Extra Travel Insurance*

AXA Direct Premier Travel Insurance*

United States

£4,725.75

£35.99

£45.80

£57.97

Thailand

£1,937.82

£20.26

£29.62

£38.20

Dominican Republic

£1,178.41

£20.96

£31.04

£41.08

Cyprus

£1,102.59

£20.16

£26.92

£33.81

Spain

£1,100.07

£14.21

£21.31

£27.83

Egypt

£1,067.93

£20.74

£22.85

£30.45

Australia

£989.26

£19.51

£20.99

£27.55

France

£869.67

£12.31

£18.78

£23.73

Turkey

£850.63

£22.41

£29.55

£37.54

* based on 40 year old traveling Single Trip for 1 week from 30 August 2015 with Asthma with one inhaler. Quotes are based on 28 days before departure. Rates are subject to change.

http://www.axa.co.uk/insurance/personal/travel/cover-levels/

When travelling in Europe some medical costs will be covered by the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers treatment of pre-existing medical conditions that you already have, however, it will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs such as being flown back to the UK.

Although over half of respondents (54 per cent) declared pre-existing medical conditions, 10 per cent chose not to. Of those that do not declare their conditions the most popular reason is that they feel it is adequately managed by medication (35 per cent) or that they don’t consider the condition to be relevant (33 per cent). However, failure to declare a medical condition to an insurer could result in any claim which is caused by the undeclared medical condition being rejected and force the claimant to cover the associated medical costs themselves. It may be tempting to withhold certain information in order to obtain a cheaper premium, which 22 per cent of respondents admit to doing, but in the event of a claim the insurance company can access medical records and may not pay out on claims arising from undeclared medical conditions.

AXA UK has found that the most common conditions that customers have not declared include:

  • Cancer
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Heart conditions (ischemic heart disease, Atrial fibrillation, Stents, coronary artery disease)
  • Respiratory conditions (COPD, Asthma)
  • Alzheimer's / Dementia

Rebecca Brown, Head of Travel, AXA UK said, “Although travel insurance tends to be an afterthought when planning a holiday, it is the safety net that we rely on if an unfortunate turn of events occurs. Whilst it can be tempting to think that medical conditions that happened a long time ago or are well managed by medication don’t need to be declared, the reality is that if you make a claim which is related to a medical condition which you haven’t declared this claim would not be covered by your policy. It is important to remember that travel insurance is there to help and many thousands of holiday-makers continue to get peace of mind from their policies every year.”

 

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ABTA Report Reveals One In Five Still Travelling Uninsured

ABTA is warning travellers about the dangers of travelling overseas uninsured as new ABTA research* has found that one in five holidaymakers (20%) are still travelling overseas uninsured. Holidaymakers travelling uninsured run the risk of substantial medical bills which can run into thousands of pounds, particularly if an air ambulance is required to fly them home.

The numbers travelling overseas uninsured are similar to last year’s figures, when 22% travelled overseas uninsured, however there has been a big rise in young holidaymakers travelling uninsured. A third (33%) of 16-24 year olds are travelling uninsured, up from 22% in 2014. A third (32%) of 25-34 year olds are also travelling uninsured, making these two age groups the most at risk should something go wrong.

Confusion amongst young holidaymakers over what a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) offers may be partly responsible for them not taking out insurance. Over one in five (22%) of 16-24 year olds believes that they don’t need travel insurance because they have an EHIC. While EHICs, which need to be renewed every five years, will give access to emergency state medical care throughout most of Europe, ABTA would caution that an EHIC card is not a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs will not cover the cost of repatriation to the UK in an air ambulance, private medical care or additional expenses, such as accommodation for family staying in resort.

Financial constraints may also be responsible for the increase in numbers travelling uninsured, with 30% of all respondents with children saying that cost is the principal reason they don’t take out travel insurance.

There does appear to be growing awareness, however, that the Government will not foot the bill in a medical emergency. Only 11% now think that the Government will settle their medical bills, down from 14% in 2014. This message is also getting through to the younger generation with 16% of 16-24 year olds believing this, down from 19% in 2014, and a further 19% of 25-34 year olds, down from 23% in 2014.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “It is a real concern that we see so many travellers telling us that they have recently gone overseas without travel insurance. Every year we come across tragic incidents of people having accidents or falling ill overseas without travel insurance and then having to pay bills which can quickly run into thousands of pounds. Often they are younger travellers and their families are left with the burden of having to pick up the bill. Whatever your financial circumstances may be, avoiding taking out travel insurance is a very false economy.”

* Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2003 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2015. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2015.

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Robust Passenger Demand Continues

Global passenger traffic results for July showing robust demand growth compared to July 2014 for both domestic and international traffic.

Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 8.2%, which was an improvement on the June year-over-year increase of 5.5%. July capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.5%, and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 83.6%. Results were given a boost by the timing of Ramadan which fell partly in July this year but took place mostly in July in 2014. The holy month tends to subdue demand for air travel.

“July results were strongly positive but slowing global trade and the wild gyrations of stock exchanges around the globe suggest that we may be in for some turbulence in coming months,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

July 2015 vs. July 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
International 8.6% 6.5% 83.5
Domestic 7.6% 6.5% 83.6
Total Market 8.2% 6.5% 83.6

 

YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2015RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
International 6.6% 6.2% 79.4
Domestic 6.4% 5.7% 81.2
Total Market 6.5% 6.0% 80.1

International Passenger Markets

July international passenger demand rose 8.6% compared to the same month in 2014, with airlines in all regions recording growth, including Africa for the first time this year. Total capacity climbed 6.5%, pushing load factor up 1.6 percentage points to 83.5%.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw July traffic increase 8.5% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 6.5% and load factor climbed 1.5 percentage points to 80.3%. The strong performance occurred despite notable declines in trade as well as slower than expected growth in China.

European carriers’ demand increased by 6.7%, reflecting economic recovery in the Eurozone, while capacity climbed 4.0% and load factor rose 2.2 percentage points to 87.3%, highest among the regions.

North American airlines’ traffic rose 5.3% compared to July a year ago, which was more than double the 2.6% rise achieved in June year over year. Capacity climbed 3.5% and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 86.5%. Expectations for better economic performance are supporting travel demand.

Middle East carriers experienced a 19.8% demand surge in July over the same month in 2014 buoyed by the timing of Ramadan. Capacity rose 17.7% and load factor climbed 1.5 percentage points to 79.6%.

Latin American airlines’ July traffic climbed 8.5% compared to July 2014. Capacity increased by 8.0% and load factor rose 0.4 percentage points to 82.7%. Despite recessionary conditions in Brazil and Argentina trade volumes in the region showed strong improvement during the first half of the year, providing a boost to business-related international travel.

African airlines’ traffic moved into positive territory for the first time this year, rising 4.9% in July over July 2014. However, the result could be owing to volatility in reported volumes, as fundamental economic drivers remain weak. Capacity rose 3.9%, with the result that load factor improved 0.6 percentage points to 70.9%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic travel demand rose 7.6% in July compared to July 2014. All markets showed growth with the strongest increases occurring in India and China. Domestic capacity climbed 6.5%, and load factor improved 0.8 percentage points to 83.6%.

July 2015 vs July 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
Australia 2.8% 1.9% 79.8
Brazil 6.6% 5.7% 82.7
China P.R 10.9% 9.5% 81.7
India 28.1% 10.4% 80.7
Japan 0.4% -0.1% 65.5
Russian Federation 8.8% 12.2% 82.7
US 5.9% 5.5 88.4
Domestic 7.6% 6.5 83.6

India’s domestic demand soared 28.1% in July compared to a year ago likely owing to significant increases in service frequencies and improvements in economic growth.

China domestic traffic climbed 10.9% year-over-year. Recent developments in the Chinese economy, including deep declines in the country’s stock exchange, have increased concerns about a further slowdown in the economy.

The Bottom Line

“Following a strong summer the outlook heading into autumn is unsettled to say the least. While passenger demand remains healthy, air cargo growth turned negative in July. The downward movement in stock markets around the globe reflects investors’ growing concerns about slowing trade and economic growth in emerging economies, as well as China’s continued shift towards domestic markets. Aviation’s connectivity creates economic opportunities and contributes to job creation. Governments looking to shore up consumer confidence and encourage spending should be encouraging greater connectivity by removing barriers to growth such as heavy taxes and charges and infrastructure constraints,” said Tyler.

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21 Million More International Tourists In The First Half Of 2015

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer the number of international tourist arrivals grew by 4% in the first half of 2015. Destinations worldwide received some 538 million international tourists between January and June 2015, an increase of 21 million compared to the same period of 2014.

Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East all recorded 5% growth in international arrivals and the Americas 4%. Limited data available for Africa points to an estimated 6% decrease in the number of international tourists in the region. At the subregional level, the Caribbean and Oceania (both +7%) were the best performers, together with Central and Eastern Europe and Central America (both +6%).

In spite of this overall growth, results by destination are rather mixed. Safety and security remain a global concern while the economic scenario is comparatively more volatile with the recovery of advanced economies contrasting with the slowdown of emerging economies. Tourism demand has also been impacted by lower oil prices and currency fluctuations.

“These results show that, despite increased volatility, tourism continues to consolidate the positive performance it has had over the last five years and to provide development and economic opportunities worldwide”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “As UNWTO prepares to meet in Medellin, Colombia, for its 21st General Assembly, this is the appropriate moment to call for a stronger support to tourism as the sector has the potential to deliver on some of the most pressing challenges of our time, namely job creation, economic growth and social inclusion”, he added.

According to the UNWTO forecast issued at the beginning of 2015, international tourist arrivals are expected to increase by 3% to 4% worldwide for the whole year, in line with the long-term forecast of an average growth of 3.8% a year set for the period 2010 to 2020.

Europe, the most visited region in the world, led growth and increased international arrivals by 5%, benefiting from a weaker currency in the euro area. Growth was driven by the recovery in Central and Eastern Europe (+6%), while Western Europe, Northern Europe and Southern Mediterranean Europe (each +5%) all outgrew the worldwide average.

Asia and the Pacific recorded a 5% increase in international arrivals in the first half of 2015, with Oceania (+7%) in the lead. Destinations in North-East Asia and South-East Asia (both +5%) reported rather mixed results, led by Japan (+47% through July) and Thailand (+30% through July). South Asia recorded a comparatively modest 4% increase in arrivals after two years of double-digit growth.

International arrivals in the Americas grew by 4% in the first half of 2015, consolidating last year’s strong results. All four subregions recorded positive growth, although with variations across destinations. The strong US dollar fuelled robust outbound demand from the United States. The Caribbean (+7%) and Central America (+6%) led growth. In North America (+3%), arrival numbers were strong in Canada and Mexico (both +8%), while for the United States indications point to more modest growth. Most destinations in South America (+4%) reported sound results, in spite of Brazil’s outbound travel stalling.

The limited data available for Africa indicates that international tourist numbers were down by 6% with a decline of 10% in arrivals to North Africa and 4% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Alongside the impacts of the terrorist attacks, African destinations have been impacted by the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in a few West African countries and the slower growth of regional economies depending on the export of oil and other commodities.

International tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew by 5% consolidating the recovery initiated in 2014.

(Data for Africa and Middle East should be taken with caution as it is based on limited available data.)

Source markets show mixed results

In terms of outbound tourism, data for the first quarters of 2015 shows a diverse picture in spending abroad.

Among the emerging markets, China and India both started the year with double-digit growth in the first quarter, while expenditure from the Russian Federation and Brazil reflected the slower economic growth in both markets and the depreciation of the rouble and the real against the US dollar and the euro.

As for the traditional advanced economy source markets, demand from the United States, France, Sweden and Spain remains strong, while it is weaker in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada.

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Marriott International's Luxury Brands Lead In J.D. Power Rankings

Marriott International, Inc.'s luxury brands, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC and JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, were once again recognized by travelers for high guest satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2015 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has been named the #1 luxury brand for the seventh year and currently has the highest ranking achieved to-date by any luxury brand.

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts moved-up 23 points in the ranking and was awarded third place well ahead of other notable luxury brands. Just recently, the JW Marriott brand celebrated its first resort in Europe, the 250-room JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Venice, Italy on the private island of Isola delle Rosa.

"We are thrilled that our luxury brands are setting the standard for discerning travelers around the world. Our guest experience is crucial to our continued success and leadership position," says Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President, Luxury Brand Management, Marriott International. "To receive such prestigious recognition is a testament to the hard work and genuine care and dedication of our associates around the world. We are extremely proud of them all."

The J.D. Power study, now in its 17th year, measures overall hotel guest satisfaction across seven hotel segments including luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale, economy/budget and extended stay. It looks closely at guest engagement and satisfaction over seven guest touch points, including the reservation process, check-in/check-out efficiency, guest-room accommodations, food and beverage, costs/fees, hotel services and facilities. The report found that when hotel staff anticipates the services desired and prevents problems, guests' experiences were significantly improved.

Marriott International's luxury portfolio currently includes The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts, EDITION Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Ritz-Carlton Reserve. With over 170 luxury hotels and resorts in Marriott International's worldwide portfolio, the company's award-winning luxury brands are the industry's leading global portfolio of luxury hotels. Marriott International plans to grow to more than 200 world-class properties by the end of 2016.

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