Market Snapshot: Russia MICE Industry

Meetings & Incentive business from Russia continues to grow

According to Dmitry Smirnov of Events Magazine Russia, the meetings industry in Russia has experienced substantial growth in the last year with the leading 12 specialists recording International MICE business in excess of €.70 million and this figure represents only 40% of the total as domestic events, business travel and official delegations to conferences are not included!

Turkey remains the leader in Russia whilst Egypt has lost market share with clients now looking for alternative destinations. Recent conferences have been held in many high end destinations including USA with 2 groups in excess of 200 participants, Italy with 3 groups that exceeded 300, Spain with almost monthly events with 50-100, Brazil 2 groups of 200+, Cuba, Emirates, China and Thailand also reporting large movements. One of the greatest challenges for Russian specialists is to find suppliers and destinations able to cater for corporate meetings fro 400-800 delegates. Their main requirements being simple visas, easily accessible, warm climate and good business/resort infrastructure.

Smirnov also commented that “The average event planning period in Russia is 4-6 months from the first RFP and bidding to materialisation with most groups taking place in Q3-4, the most effective time for promotion is in March. Therefore we highly recommend the Moscow International MICE Forum on March 19th as the ideal time and place to meet with all the leading Russian MICE specialists”.

Unlike other countries around the world, the prognosis for the Russian economy is strong, with Morgan Stanley predicting GDP growth of 4.6%. Inflation is down, employment is up, industrial production is increasing as are retail sales. With these encouraging forecasts, an increasing number of Russian companies are looking to reward their employees and clients with Incentive travel. In addition as Russian products and services become more competitive, there is a growing demand for participation at conferences and exhibitions around the world. This combination presents an excellent opportunity for International MICE suppliers to satisfy this increased demand.

Russia’s premier Meetings and Incentive event, The Moscow International MICE Forum takes place on Monday 19th March offering International suppliers a professional platform to meet with leading Russian MICE specialists and Corporate Buyers. Concurrent with other tourism events held in Moscow at this time, the Moscow International MICE Forum enables participants to maximise their sales visit.

Full details can be viewed at

Press Contact: Kim Waddoup, CEO aigroup/ Email:

Cooperative Marketing: Much More Than a Trend

Norway and Scandinavian Airlines Launch New Campaign Site

Innovation Norway has partnered up with SAS Scandinavian Airlines, VisitOsloRegion and Fjord Norway to develop a campaign where users get to discover a hotels, restaurants, skiing centers and fun through a first perspective in a fun, interactive way. The site allows users to create and share their “Imaginary Trip to Norway”.

The airline highlighted that Norway is a somewhat unknown winter destination for U.S. tourists. Accordingly, the site contains information about the attractions to experience around the capital city Oslo as well the Fjord region. By answering a few questions about their travel taste, the website automatically generates a customised “travel journal” of their imaginary Norway winter adventure complete with text, photographs and tagged travel companions through Facebook.

The campaign is timed to launch in anticipation of the World Snowboarding Championships which will be held in Oslo, February 2012.

“Norway is ideal for an action packed winter vacation,” said Beate Christin Gran, Project Manager with Innovation Norway Americas. “We created a fun and surprising campaign site that introduces American travellers to a wide variety of destinations and activities, including some of the best skiing and most stunning nature experiences you can get anywhere in the World.”


Tourism Australia & Jetstar Tap Social Media to Bring Back Japanese Tourists

Tourism Australia has signed a $10 million marketing deal with Jetstar aimed at boosting Japanese inbound tourism and further expanding brand Australia’s presence in Asia Pacific.

The three year agreement runs to mid 2014 and will see Tourism Australia and Jetstar each contribute at least $1.6 million per year on a range of joint marketing, digital and social media activities. The partners will work cooperatively to leverage more affordable air travel and Australia’s unique attractions to increase arrivals from Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand.

The first tranche of $2 million will be directed to rejuvenating the Japanese market, which has slipped from Australia’s second to fifth largest source market for international tourists over the past ten years.

Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the deal was an extension of Tourism Australia’s ongoing focus on Asia but also represented a new approach to Japan and working with airlines partners. “It unlocks real value by leveraging the combined skills, expertise and resources which both our organizations have long demonstrated in Asia. We aim to use our well-established and successful There’s nothing like Australia campaign messaging alongside to drive bookings and inbound travel”.

“This partnership will leverage Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for international tourists with Jetstar’s leading low fares as a means to convert this into actual arrivals. The potential flow-on benefits for Australian tourism will be significant.” Mr McEvoy said.


VisitScotland and National Museum Team up for Surprise Yourself Campaign

VisitScotland and National Museums Scotland have teamed up for the national tourism organisation’s £3.5m domestic marketing campaign, Surprise Yourself.

The partnership, which has been running since the end of August, has already seen nearly a million people from across the United Kingdom and Ireland view partnership information through joint marketing materials and the Surprise Yourself website, with millions more people expected to see further information over the coming months.

This agreement forms a key part of VisitScotland’s campaign designed to appeal the country’s burgeoning staycation market which last year was worth more than a £1bn to the Scottish economy.

The National Museum of Scotland has welcomed over 700,000 visitors since it re-opened at the end of July following a £47.4m refurbishment. With 16 new galleries featuring 8,000 objects from all over the world, 80% of which have not been on display before. Many of these objects are likely to surprise visitors, none more so than in the Tibetan Prayer Wheelhouse in the World Cultures galleries which was actually made in the Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in southern Scotland – the turning of the wheel develops compassion.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Anyone who steps inside the magnificently refurbished museum will immediately be struck by the fantastic experience on offer. The partnership between VisitScotland and The National Museum of Scotland as part of our Surprise Yourself campaign will give the chance for millions of people to be inspired to see one of Scotland’s newest and best visitor attractions.”


Business Events Offer More to Destinations than Tourism Dollars Alone

Australia’s leading convention bureau, Business Events Sydney (BESydney), has released the second phase of its Beyond Tourism Benefits: Measuring the social legacies of business events research, which quantitatively examines the extensive social, innovation and knowledge benefits of business events.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, Acting Chief Executive Officer of BESydney comments, “Our industry has long struggled to measure the important legacy effects of hosting conferences and conventions. This research is a huge step in the right direction: we believe this is the first quantitative research examining this subject.”

The Beyond Tourism Benefits research, undertaken by the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) on behalf of BESydney, demonstrates that the international norm to evaluate the lucrative business events sector in tourism terms alone overlooks perhaps the most valuable legacies – the many educational, intellectual, trade and investment outcomes from business events.

“If we don’t measure the multiple, long-term benefits, such as the ability to increase professional knowledge, improve local education offerings and career opportunities, disseminate the latest technical practices and forge international networking, research and business collaborations, we are undervaluing  our industry.

“The research highlights that business events offer much more to our destinations, economies and global community than tourism dollars alone: they are a key driver in knowledge economies,” Lewis-Smith concludes.

The key outcome of the research was an innovative framework developed to classify and understand the diverse and valuable benefits outside of the tourism sector. Five broad legacy categories – social, intrinsic, practice, economic and attitudinal – comprise the framework and relate to benefits delivered to delegates, sponsors and exhibitors, professional bodies, the host destination and even the wider community.

The lifeblood of any business event, delegates are the benefactors of a large number of the legacies identified. Over 90% of delegates surveyed believe that congresses have facilitated the dissemination of new knowledge, ideas, techniques, materials and technologies and 85% indicate that they have applied these new insights to their professional practice.

Collaboration is a key outcome from the shared social interactions created at business events – 95% of respondents agreed business events fostered networking that led to the sharing of knowledge and ideas, whilst almost 60% agreed events either acted as a catalyst for research collaboration (58%) or resulted in business relationships (57%).

Professor Roy Green, Dean of the UTS Business School and BESydney Ambassador agrees business events provide essential opportunities for collaboration.

“In a knowledge economy, education and innovation are principal drivers of productivity and prosperity. And innovation is driven by collaboration, not silos. Innovation requires the exchange of ideas, skills and passion. Business events provide opportunities to network and collaborate locally and globally.”

The Beyond Tourism Benefits research also found that legacies extended to sponsors and exhibitors. Those surveyed reported an important economic legacy, with 90% confirming they gained product exposure and awareness, and also obtained leads for further business. Although, not applicable to the whole sample, one respondent indicated that they had benefited from investment worth more than $10 million as a result of exhibiting at a business event.

And at a time when the education and training of the young workforce is so topical, the research revealed that business events equip the destination’s workforce with skills and knowledge and foster global networks and collaborative projects to drive innovation. 82% agreed that the events exposed local delegates to cutting edge research and the world’s best practice and 76% agreed the capacity of the professional sector was enhanced post-event.

From a destination’s perspective, the host city (for this research, Sydney) was shown to also benefit from a wide range of valuable legacies. Sydney’s reputation for driving social change and action was enhanced (52% agree) and the business events increased the attractiveness of the local education sector for delegates from outside of Sydney (60% agree).

Full Report and information here.

Cooperation between Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) & OLACT

On September 28th, Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) and OLACT signed a cooperation agreement, under which both organizations will work together to implement financing programs for tourism projects in Latin-America and the Caribbean.


One of the first actions taken through this agreement will be generating a market study to identify the needs of financing and the opportunities of investment in the tourism sector as well as the risks involved in it.

“This is the first step of collaboration for a sustainable tourism sector to insure that the investment opportunities can be presented to the member institutions of FAST that have a strong orientation towards projects of high social impact, environmentally friendly and economically viable. In this way the financial partners will be able to evaluate the benefits of investing in this sector”. Said Noemí Pérez, Executive Director of FAST.

The Agreement also proposes to give training to OLACT´s members and other partners concerning FAST´s tools and practices, for example on the online platform “Financial Marketplace” that allows the interconnection between financial services providers and sustainable SMEs (

During the last years FAST has allowed several producers in agricultural sectors to access international financing, and now through this agreement between FAST and OLACT the tourism sector of Latin-America and the Caribbean will also be able to promote the investment opportunities in this sector and eventually benefit from appropriate credit, which constitutes a great need for the tourism sector firms.

“With this agreement, OLACT reinforced its project financing area, one of the three working programs in OLACT, where our members have identified a growing need to access financing for sustainable and responsible tourism projects, they have also showed a keen interest in the actions that both organizations will take”, added César Castañeda, Secretary General of OLACT.

The Agreement was signed in FAST´s head office in Montreal, Canada by the Executive Director of FAST Ms. Noemí Pérez and Mr. César Castañeda Vázquez del Mercado, Secretary General of OLACT.


The OLACT is a not-for-profit organization aiming at fostering cooperation within the Latin-American and Caribbean tourism industry, strengthening measures to protect the environment through the tourism activity and promoting the improvement of quality in the offer, promotion and exchange of tourism services. To achieve its mission, the OLACT offers technical, practical and tangible assistance to its international, national, regional and local public and private members. The OLACT´s headquarters are located inMexico Cityand counts with a multinational team of professionals from several countries of Latin-American and theCaribbean.

About FAST

As an internationally focused, member driven, non-profit association, the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) represents financial institutions and sustainable producers dedicated to sustainable production, and trade of sustainable products. Launched in May 2007, FAST is the pioneer in bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, working collectively to bridge the financing gap in the sustainable Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) finance sector. Members include socially oriented and alternative lending institutions, SME producers, development institutions and other stakeholders in the agricultural commodities supply chain. Visit


Efraín Angulo, Public Relations


Javier Leal, Comunications coordinator


Source: Organización Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Turismo (OLACT) and Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST)

Case: Tourism Mexico City Application of SMED Recommendations

On September 25th the World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED) delivered a certificate of recognition to the Minister of Tourism of Mexico City Mr. Alejandro Rojas Díaz-Durán for the accomplishment of 75% of the recommendations suggested in the official report of the System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations (SMED) to that city in 2008.

During the ceremony of delivery within the “Feria Internacional de Turismo de las Américas” FITA, Mr. André Vallerand, Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), emphasized the work accomplished by the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Alejandro Rojas, who has positioned the City as the first tourism destination in Mexico, even though hard episodes like the H1N1 crisis in 2009.

“The Ministry attracted during the last four years more international tourists through its great infrastructure, traditions, culture, archaeology and specially the friendliness of Mexico City´s inhabitants” Added André Vallerand. “The capital of Mexico was the first urban destination worldwide to be evaluated by the CED and ever since the team of the Ministry of Tourism began with the application of the recommendations contained in the SMED report, this is the reason why the City obtained this recognition” concluded Mr. André Vallerand.

“We asked to be evaluated three years ago, the methodology of evaluation makes a deep analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the destinations and finally gives a number of recommendations. The perfect example is that in 2008 CED recommended to create an international tourism event, after working in the conception and organization, FITA was finally launched in 2010” Declared Mr. Alejandro Rojas, Minister of Tourism of Mexico City.

The SMED is an evaluation tool developed by the CED that aims to identify the different levels of performance of a tourist destination, propose recommendations for improvement and increased competitiveness, and facilitate the integration of the destination in an international network of tourist destinations of excellence.

 About the CED

With its headquarters located in Montréal, the CED began operations in February 2007. The CED is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and creation of tools to support the development of sustainable tourism for destinations around the world. The CED was created with the support of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the National Geographic Society. For further information, please visit the CED website at:


Manolis Psarros, Managing Director of abouTourism international destination consultancy, acts as a country representative for the World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED), in Greeceand is a System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations (SMED) expert.

Healthy Growth of International Tourism in First Half of 2011- UNWTO

Following the decline registered in 2009, one of the most challenging years for international tourism in decades, the sector rebounded strongly in 2010. International tourist arrivals were up 6.6% to 940 million and international tourism receipts grew by 4.7% in real terms to reach US$ 919 billion (euro 693 billion).

International tourism grew by almost 5% in the first half of 2011 totalling a new record of 440 million arrivals. Results confirm that, in spite of multiple challenges, international tourism continues to consolidate the return to growth initiated in 2010.

Advanced economies grow faster than expected

International tourist arrivals are estimated to have grown by 4.5% in the first half of 2011, consolidating the 6.6% increase registered in 2010. Between January and June of this year, the total number of arrivals reached 440 million, 19 million more than in the same period of 2010.

Growth in advanced economies (+4.3%) has maintained strength and is closing the gap with emerging economies (+4.8%), which have been driving international tourism growth in recent years. This trend reflects the decreases registered in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as a slight slowdown in the growth of some Asian destinations following a very strong 2010.

“The sustained growth registered in tourism demand in such challenging times clearly makes the case for the sector and reinforces our call to consider tourism as a priority in national policies. Tourism can play a key role in terms of economic growth and development, particularly at a moment when many economies, for the most part in Europe and North America, struggle for recovery and job creation,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

All world (sub)regions showed positive trends with the exception of the Middle East and North Africa. Results were better than expected in Europe (+6%), boosted by the recovery of Northern Europe (+7%) and Central and Eastern Europe (+9%), and the temporary redistribution of travel to destinations in Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+7%) due to developments in North Africa (-13%) and the Middle East (-11%). Sub-Saharan Africa (+9%) continued to perform soundly.

The Americas (+6%) was slightly above the world average, with remarkably strong results for South America (+15%). Asia and the Pacific grew at a comparatively slower pace of 5%, but this more than consolidates its 13% bumper growth of 2010.

Results from recent months show that destinations such as Egypt, Tunisia or Japan are seeing declines in demand clearly reverting. “We are very encouraged to see demand picking up in such important tourism destinations and call for continued support to these countries which are today fully ready to receive travellers from all over the world,” added Mr. Rifai.

Continued growth and increasing uncertainty

So far, the growth of international tourism arrivals is very much in line with the initial forecast issued by UNWTO at the beginning of 2011, 4% to 5%, for the full year 2011, a rate slightly above the 4% long-term average.

As international tourism receipts were more affected by the 2008-2009 crisis and recovered somewhat slower than arrivals in 2010, this year should also see their further improvement.

Following an encouraging first half of 2011, growth in the remainder of the year is expected to soften somewhat as recent months have brought increased uncertainty, hampering business and consumer confidence.

“We must remain cautious as the global economy is showing signs of increased volatility,” said Mr. Rifai. “Many advanced economies still face risks posed by weak growth, fiscal problems and persistently high unemployment. Simultaneously, signs of overheating have become apparent in some emerging economies. Restoring sustained and balanced economic growth remains a major task”.

For the full report :

Training Seminars in Athens: Being Green- Going Digital!

This month we have two very hot training seminar series coming up in Athens, which could be of interest to all our regional tourism friends! 

AbouTourism in collaboration with E-Tourism Frontiers is happy to announce the first of a series of Practical, Affordable & World Class online tourism seminars organized in Greece.

Don’t miss this full day and a half event in Athens on 27-28th September 2011, at the Technopolis City of Athens (room “Kostis Palamas”, 100 Pireos str, Gazi), brought to you by ATEDCo.

A practical seminar on using technology to better manage and market your business or destination, from international experts including speakers from Expedia and Tripadvisor.

These sessions are practical, easy to understand and ideal for anyone who is interested in using the internet and social media in their business.

You will benefit from solid, interactive and easy to grasp training in the fundamentals of online tourism, provided by expert trainers and featuring walk throughs of appropriate, locally available solutions. At the end everyone will receive a copy of the brand new book E-Tourism Frontiers Guide to eTourism and every delegate will be certified as having completed this course in Online Tourism Management and Marketing.

Topics covered will include:

  • How the Travel business has shifted online and why it is vital that destinations and businesses change the way they work
  • How to develop an e-marketing and management strategy
  • What are the key resources to have in place and how to set them up
  • How to upgrade your website and manage it more effectively
  • Online Advertising and Search Engine Optimization
  • How to start taking online bookings and payments and to combine this with offline business in a safe and secure way
  • The Social Media Toolbox- how to use Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and YouTube in your business
  • How to encourage and help your customers to market you via social media and capitalize on User Generated Content
  • How to produce, store, manage and publish photos, video and other media for your business
  • The importance of mobile phones and devices for tourism businesses and how you can use them to make yourself more accessible online

The full programme can be found here. You can check out more information and register here.

If you are in any way involved in Tourism in Greece then you can’t afford to miss these seminars.

Whether you are a destination or a tourism business, large or small- this event will offer you real solutions to begin improving the way you market, manage and sell your products online.

This course uses E-tourism Frontiers’ proven and highly acclaimed intensive training format that has trained over 2,000 people around the world.

Registration is just €175 per delegate which includes:

  • A full and a half day of seminars
  • Training materials
  • Copy of the new E-Tourism Frontiers Guide to eTourism book
  • Certification
  • Lunch, coffee and refreshment breaks

Special discounted rates are offered for members of recognized regional tourism associations and for group registrations of 2 or more people.

Who Should Attend?

  • Tourism Professionals
  • Marketing Staff and Strategists
  • Hoteliers
  • Guest Houses and Bed and Breakfasts
  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Agents
  • Airlines
  • Destination Managers
  • Public Sector Tourism officials
  • Tourism Associations and Authorities
  • ICT Professionals
  • Bloggers and Content generators

See you there!

For further information or any registration support please contact us.

More events from this E-Tourism series are to follow in Greece and the Eastern Med region.

If you are interested in hosting a similar event at your destination then contact us now


Another training seminar series is sponsored by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s (RCL) Ocean Fund, the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET) and Sustainable Travel International (STI) who are promoting sustainable tourism and  destination stewardship among stakeholders in the Mediterranean. The conference includes two training  seminars which are designed for different audiences.


-September 9.    By invitation only. Multi‐stakeholder Workshop on Sustainable Management of Tourist Destinations: Biodiversity and Local Communities

September 15-16. Tourism Industry Training Seminar on the Shore Excursions Standard and best practices
in sustainable tourism for tour operators that serve the cruise lines.

September 17-18. Auditor and Consultant Training Course on the Shore Excursions Standard.


‐  September 19.    By invitation only. Multi‐stakeholder Workshop on Sustainable Management of Tourist Destinations: Biodiversity & Local Communities

– September 20-21. Tourism Industry Training Seminar on the Shore Excursions Standard and best practices in sustainable tourism for tour operators that serve the cruise lines.

Promoting Destination Stewardship and Sustainable Tourism Standards in Greece


Tourism is one of the fastest developing industries worldwide, and can have both positive and negative impacts on the natural environment and local communities in which it takes place. These impacts are  complex and can significantly affect a destination’s urban landscape and its natural and cultural heritage.  Short-term plans for tourism development often override long-term environmental and social issues. Destination stewardship is a multi-stakeholder approach to maintaining the cultural, environmental, economic, and aesthetic integrity of a country, region, state, or town through sustainable policy and  management frameworks. It can lead to sustainable destinations that are beneficial to local communities  and profitable for local businesses while leaving eco-systems intact, ensuring the destination remains an  attractive place to live, work and visit for generations.


It is crucial to ensure that tourism will be developed taking into account environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts. Sustainable tourism can lead to an increase in environmentally friendly jobs and income for local communities and is also a powerful incentive to preserve the natural environment and  biodiversity. It can also contribute to broader environmental awareness regarding the social benefits of biodiversity and the need to preserve and respect for traditional practices and knowledge.

Best practices in sustainable tourism are methods or techniques that consistently show results superior to those achieved  with other means, and that are used as a benchmark.Issues relating to all aspects of sustainability are central to the challenge of tourism development.

These aspects are critical, for example, to improve the ecological coherence of the pan European network of  protected areas (Natura 2000 network), to preserve the functions of coastal and marine ecosystems and to the prosperity and quality of life of local communities.

For more information about these seminars, please contact the project team: L. Boura & K. Grimanis ( and Brian T. Mullis (

Agreement between the World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED) and Côte-Nord

The World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED), recently announced the signing of an important agreement with eight partners of Côte-Nord, with the goal of implementing its System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations in this north-western Québec destination.

This agreement was officially confirmed on August 17 by Mr. Julien Boudreau, President of the Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) of Côte-Nord, and Mr. André Vallerand, President of the CED, in the presence of the presidents of Tourisme Côte-Nord/Manicouagan and of Tourisme Duplessis, as well as representatives of the Côte-Nord CLD and  Dr. César Castañeda Vázquez del Mercado, Director of operations of the CED.

This agreement aims to establish a tourism profile of the Côte-Nord region, to assist it in gauging itself to face international competition, while facilitating the attainment of its objectives in sustainable development. The System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations (SMED) also aims to improve the quality of the experience offered to tourists and to strengthen the geographical character of a region as a tourist destination (environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, well-being of the residents, etc.) while strategically identifying major issues facing tourist destinations around the world.

“This agreement with Côte-Nord is the third in Canada. Côte-Nord is a large region with unique features. The CED will make its expertise available in the region, to contribute to the development of this important tourist region of Québec,” said André Vallerand, President of the CED. To date, more than a dozen destinations in the world have already been evaluated by the SMED. Several others have expressed interest in reaching an agreement with the CED.

The Côte-Nord region will benefit from an external expertise to take an objective look at the tourism industry in the region thus allowing for the direction for future developments. This is a first step in developing a regional tourism strategy. This approach relies on the contribution of tourism and economic stakeholders who will, by their actions, play an important role in the development of this beautiful industry”, declared Mr. Julien Boudreau. The development of tourism in Côte-Nord is a collective project that involves the entire population, taking role as ambassadors.”

With its headquarters located in Montréal, the CED began operations in February 2007. The CED has signed partnership agreements with Canada Economic Development for the Quebec regions, the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec and the Ministère des Affaires Municipales et des Régions du Québec.

About the CED

The CED is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and creation of tools to support the development of sustainable tourism for destinations around the world. In performing its mission, the CED executes and further develops the tasks of the Destinations Council and other departments of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It does so by adding value and expertise to the policies and innovative practices concerning tourist destination management. The UNWTO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 153 member states and some 300 associate members from the tourism industry.

About the regional partners

La Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) of Côte-Nord is a privileged partner of the Government of Québec for all matters relating to regional development. Its mandate is to consult stakeholders in the region, to provide advice to the government and to elaborate a five-year development plan. Its mission is to defend and promote the interests of Côte-Nord.

CLDs are organizations that promote the economic development of their MRC by providing developers tools and services tailored to their needs in order to support local development and entrepreneurship.

Source: Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) of Côte-Nord

Ms. Valérie Quimper, Manager, Regional Development

(+1) 418.962.0272

Information:     World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED)

Media: Ms. Nathalie Laberinto – CED

(+1) 514.871.1115 (ext. 226)

Manolis Psarros, Managing Director of abouTourism international destination consultancy, acts as a country representative for the World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED), in Greeceand is a System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations (SMED) expert.

New Study Reveals Travel Tax Rates for Top 50 U.S. Destination Cities

Research Finds That Taxes Targeting Travel Services Increase Cost by 56%

The GBTA Foundation, the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), recently released the 2011 findings from its annual study of car rental, hotel and meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. travel destination cities. The study reveals that the discriminatory travel taxes and fees enacted on travel-related services impose an average increased cost on visitors of 56% over general sales tax. These taxes are often used to fund local projects unrelated to tourism and business travel.

“The difference in the effective tax rate on travelers from one city to the next is quite remarkable.  For instance, a traveler who visits Chicago pays 80% more in taxes during their one-night stay than a traveler visiting Ft. Lauderdale,” said Joe Bates, GBTA Foundation director of Research.  “If you are a travel manager planning a meeting, this is important information to take into consideration.  And if you are a retail business attempting to lure travelers, this tax rate differential is a competitive advantage or disadvantage.”

The top 50 markets are ranked by overall travel tax burden, including general sales tax and discriminatory travel taxes, and by discriminatory travel tax burden, excluding general sales taxes to count only taxes that target car rentals, hotel stays and meals. Separate data are offered for central city and airport locations, as the tax regimes are often distinct.

“Each year the GBTA Foundation undertakes this important study to help travel managers make the best decisions for their companies. The rising cost of business travel and especially meetings and events is an area of deep concern when developing travel plans,” Bates continued.

The research shows the U.S. cities where travelers incur the lowest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes, are:

  1. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  2. Fort Myers, FL
  3. West Palm Beach, FL
  4. Detroit, MI
  5. Portland, OR

The cities that impose the highest total taxes on travelers are:

  1. Chicago, IL
  2. New York, NY
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Boston, MA
  5. Kansas City, MO

Discriminatory travel taxes are those imposed specifically on travel services above and beyond general sales taxes. The U.S. cities with the lowest discriminatory travel tax rates in central city locations are:

  1. Orange County, CA
  2. San Diego, CA
  3. San Jose, CA
  4. Burbank, CA
  5. Ontario, CA

The cities that impose the highest discriminatory travel taxes on travelers are:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Minneapolis, MN
  4. New York, NY
  5. Chicago, IL

The full report is available exclusively to GBTA members and can be found here: