CTH Connections Newsletter – July 2015

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Welcome to our summer edition!


Whether you have been on holiday already, or you are planning your next destination, July’s newsletter is for you. In this publication, we will learn more about how access to the internet on mobiles is changing consumer habits, and how almost 60% of Brits research products online before they purchase offline.

We will introduce to you IATA’s health monitoring app for passengers who want to monitor their health before, during, and after flights, and our columnist Ulpa Chauhan will tell us about the Top 5 Travel apps for the summer.

For those who are still thinking of a summer break, we will give you fantastic ideas of places to go. Have you already visited Lord Howe Islands in Australia? Maybe you would prefer Niagara Falls? Or, why not stroll through the streets of Paris and New York, or by the Mediterranean Sea on the same day? Now you can do it thanks to Replica Travel Destinations!

Google emphasises importance of online research in travel sales

article-1Google has launched the Consumer Barometer 2015, the most comprehensive free tool for planners looking to understand and compare how people use the internet around the world.

Entering its fifth year, it is the best tool of its kind in terms of size, scale, and the depth of questions covered, enabling users to compare digital, mobile, video and shopping habits across 56 countries, including tech-savvy Britain.

British consumers continue to lead Europe in mobile technology adoption.

Nearly three-quarters have a smartphone compared to the European average of 61 per cent, and 60 per cent use search engines via their smartphone at least once a week, making it crucial for businesses to think mobile.

They also have more devices than ever, with the average UK consumer now owning 3.3 devices, up ten per cent from 2014.

Some 51 per cent own tablets and 75 per cent own personal computers.

Naturally, given the number of devices owned, Brits are frequent internet users, with 85 per cent going online at least once a day.

That figure rises to 92 per cent among those under 44 years old.

And with so many internet connected-devices at their fingertips, multi-screening is increasingly common.
Some 64 per cent of Brits go online while watching TV, with 63 per cent using their smartphones to do this, and 36 per cent using a tablet or computer.

Mobile internet access has also influenced how consumers shop.

Today 59 per cent of Brits research products online before they purchase offline.

This compares to nearly a half researching offline before making a purchase online.

A quarter of Brits research their purchases online only.

The effect of growing internet use and mobile penetration is particularly relevant for local businesses.
Four out of ten people use smartphones to look for local information, such as products and prices, and 61 per cent research locally a day or less before purchase.

Peter Cory, agency sales director at Google, commented: “Consumer habitsare changing fast, making it challenging for brands to understand and predict how and when it’s best to reach them.

“In the UK alone, we’ve seen significant increases in the number of devices owned and that’s having a direct effect on the way consumers conduct their day-to-day lives – how they consume media, how they research products and how, when and where they buy.

“The updated Consumer Barometer will help marketers understand and compare changing consumer behaviours and better plan their local and international media strategies.”

Google created the Consumer Barometer to provide marketers with the latest consumer insights to support planning in a fast changing digital landscape.

Anyone can use the free tool to create and download customised data and market-specific information.
These can help users discover anything from: how often people go online, how many connected devices they may have, how people research and purchase online, the influence of online video on their shopping habits or the differences between generations and their online behaviour.

There are now 20 vertical sectors profiled within the Barometer which include: clothing and footwear, home appliances, flights, hotels, cosmetics and groceries.

New vertical sectors will be added on an ongoing basis as Google extends the insights.

Two new topics have also been included – local search and international purchases – helping to provide an even deeper understanding of consumer research and purchases behaviour.

Published on breakingtravelnews.com

IATA launches SkyZen health monitoring app

Article2The International Air Transport Association has released details of a new mobile app for passengers to monitor their health and wellbeing before, during and after a flight.

Used in conjunction with a ‘Jawbone’ fitness wristband, the SkyZen app, with data and analytics supplied by OAG, enables air travellers to view their activity and sleep patterns throughout the whole flight experience.

Helpful hints will enable users to improve their travel experience and combat jet lag when crossing time zones.

“Recent advances in personal health monitoring give air travellers a great opportunity to track how they respond to the various stages of a trip.

“With its global perspective on the air transport industry, IATA is uniquely placed to develop a single app which passengers can use across all flights, anywhere in the world.

“We are confident SkyZen delivers a completely new perspective on travel for passengers, with handy tips offering a fun and interactive way to improve the quality of their flying experience,” said Tom Windmuller, IATA senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security.

SkyZen is free to download and use from the Apple iTunes store, and currently works with the Jawbone health tracker.
The Apple Watch and Fitbit version will be released shortly.

Users of the app only need to enter their flight number, date and class of travel, and SkyZen will automatically collect and aggregate the data.

Using the data collected, SkyZen will offer passengers personalised insights on their flight activity, and strategies to minimise jet lag before and after flight.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the passenger experience, and with a tool like SkyZen and OAG’s detailed analysis, we are hopeful to provide insights and recommendations to achieve that goal,” said Phil Callow, chief executive of OAG.

Published on breakingtravelnews.com

Lord Howe Island is Australia’s lost paradise

Lord Howe Island off the coast of NSW is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Picture: Kane Bennett.

Lord Howe Island off the coast of NSW is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Picture: Kane Bennett.

It’s just a two hour flight from Australia’s east coast, but most people struggle to tell you where it is.

Sitting 660km off NSW lies Lord Howe Island, Australia’s lost paradise that could possibly be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

With a population of just 350, and only 400 tourists allowed on the island at any one time, it is isolated, remote and unlike any other.

A World Heritage listed paradise, it is completely unique. Sixty per cent of the insects on the island and 47 per cent of the island’s plants are found nowhere else on the planet. There are 207 different bird species, more than 1600 insect species, including one that was thought to be extinct.

It has the world’s most southern coral reef ecosystem that was established as a Marine Park in 1999. More than 500 fish species can be found, including the famous kingfish and the unique Doubleheader Wrasse.

Lord Howe Island has an almost prehistoric feel; at times you feel like you’re on the set of Jurassic Park thanks to its towering rock formations and unusual wildlife. Formed more than seven million years ago from a volcanic eruption, it is now a remnant of an extinct shield volcano.

Nowhere is this felt more than on a walk to Little Island. Hugging the coastline, you are led through ancient forests of banyan tress and endemic kentia palms to the breeding ground of the incredibly rare Providence Petrels.

The only place in the world where these birds breed, they fly around the towering twin peaks of Mt Gower and Lidgbird and, in a rare experience, can be called down from the sky if you make enough noise.

The walk to Little Island will take you through ancient forests hugging the shoreline

The walk to Little Island will take you through ancient forests hugging the shoreline

Lord Howe Island is a beautifully preserved ecosystem and its locals, “islanders”, go to great lengths to keep it that way. Many residents are sixth-generation islanders who have been brought up with a strong sense of history and purpose.

Only one car per household is allowed, and only residents can buy houses on the island under the regulation that they must live in them for at least six months a year. All waste is shipped to mainland landfill and fishing is limited so that daily catches are enough to feed the population only.

The main form of transport is bicycles or by foot — you can cycle the length of the island in just 20 minutes, wind dependent. And be prepared to be completely cut off. There is no mobile phone service, WI-FI is limited and temperamental and many resorts have no televisions.

But it is the beauty of Lord Howe Island that stops your breath. Famous for its hikes, Mount Gower is known as the best day walk in Australia. Or for those less adventurous — but a mean feat nonetheless — a trek to the top of Malabar Hill is spectacular. Offering some of the best views of the island, the Malabar cliffs are the world’s largest nesting ground for birds. From May to September you can see the rare Red Tailed Tropic bird ducking and weaving around the cliff faces. It is no wonder that Lord Howe Island has become a bird lovers’ paradise.

The view over the island from the top of Malabar Hill

The view over the island from the top of Malabar Hill

The beaches of Lord Howe Island are unsurprisingly pristine — but what may surprise you are the hidden surf spots and the underwater marine life filled with tropical fish, turtles and sizeable reef sharks (not the human eating type).

Keen surfers will find some impressive right handers at Middle Beach. Walking through a bush track you’ll come to an opening over a dramatic cliff face with stairs to take you down to the water. The waves are plentiful but the crowds are not.

The most popular beach on the island is Ned’s Beach. Go snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, swimming and feed teems of local fish jumping at the water’s edge. But the best bit is the beach barbecues. If you’re lucky enough to stay at a resort, they will pack you a lunch and deliver it to a barbecue of your choice.

Lord Howe Island used to have a reputation as a “newlyweds or nearly deads” destination, but that’s changing. Its new activity offerings and more affordable packages are bringing young blood to the island.
Kite surfing, diving and other water sports are all attracting a younger crowd, as well as the opportunity to switch off and experience a simpler way of life.

Learn to stand up paddle board at the popular Ned’s Beach

Learn to stand up paddle board at the popular Ned’s Beach

A wetsuit is all you need to brave the winter waters

A wetsuit is all you need to brave the winter waters

While flights to the island are expensive, off-season deals are a steal. Winter packages start from as low as $749 including flights, not bad considering a flight in peak season alone can set you back around $1200.
Accommodation can range from budget to eco-luxury. Capella Lodge is the most famous and most luxurious resort on the island sitting out of town overlooking Lovers Beach. The Lodge’s nine suites are sophisticated yet laid back, its staff are friendly and down to earth, but the most surprising thing is its restaurant.

Lord Howe Island may be remote and completely isolated but its food is world class. The head chef, Peter Smit, does a degustation menu up there with some of the best Aussie mainland establishments.
Known as a “forager”, Peter sources most of his ingredients from the island with dishes including edible flowers and local kingfish. And breakfast doesn’t disappoint. The eggs have a rich orange yolk and the flat whites are city standard.

The restaurant at Capella Lodge is as good as some of the best in Australia

The restaurant at Capella Lodge is as good as some of the best in Australia

Other accommodation includes Pinetrees Lodge or Ocean View apartments. And if a relaxed night with a beer is what you’re after, there’s always the local bowling club.

Lord Howe Island is unlike any place you’ve seen before. Beautiful, dramatic and adamant about preservation. And lying just off the coast of Australia, it proves you don’t have to travel far to find paradise.

Qantas Link is the only airline servicing the island and luggage is limited to 14 kilograms per person. Flights depart from Sydney on most days, from Brisbane on weekends and a seasonal weekly service from Port Macquarie.

This reporter was a guest of the Lord Howe Island Tourism Association.

Watch the magical sunset over the crystal clear waters of Lord Howe Island

Watch the magical sunset over the crystal clear waters of Lord Howe Island

Published on news.com.au

2,120- Passenger cruise ship to be based in Cuba


MSC Opera will become the largest ship based in Cuba when it moves there this winter.

MSC Cruises has announced plans to base a 2,120-passenger ship in Havana, Cuba.

The company will become the largest cruise line to offer sailings from the Caribbean island, offering one-week voyages from the capital on board MSC Opera, starting on December 22 and concluding on April 12, 2016. They will include two nights in Havana, with shore excursions offered by Cubanacan, a local travel firm. Their itineraries will also feature Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Georgetown in the Cayman Islands.

Fly-cruise packages will be available to passengers in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Brazil and Argentina, the company said. MSC Opera’s original winter schedule, featuring the Canary Islands, Madeira and Morocco, has been cancelled – all of those affected will be offered a refund or a new holiday.

The largest cruise ship currently based in Cuba is the 1,200-capacity Celestyal Cristal, which is operated by the Canadian company Cuba Cruise from the island each winter.

Several cruise lines, such as Thomson, Saga, Fred Olsen, Swan Hellenic and Noble Caledonia, include stops in Cuba in their Caribbean itineraries.

The move further highlights the growing popularity of the country following the easing of trade and travel restrictions with the United States earlier this year.


Barack Obama recently announced that the US Embassy in Havana would soon reopen, more than 50 years after the US and Cuba broke off diplomatic relations.

Many have predicted that Cuba could be transformed by the changes, with greater investment leading to improved infrastructure, new buildings and hotels, more American tourists and fewer vintage cars, and many have reportedly been rushing to visit the island before it loses its traditional character.

Fred Mawer, Telegraph Travel’s Caribbean expert, describes Cuba as “a heady mix of faded Spanish colonial cities, sputtering Fifties Cadillacs, wonderful live music, world-class cigars and an arcane communist system.”

“On the downside,” he adds. “Often things don’t work as they should or go to plan, and the service in hotels and the food, though improving, are not on a par with other Caribbean destinations.”


Published on telegraph.co.uk

Officials Report Niagara Falls Area Tourism Climbed in 2014


One of the most popular destinations for travellers in the United States is Niagara Falls, and officials are reporting that the natural formation and the surrounding Niagara County saw an uptick in tourism numbers during 2014.

According to Aaron Besecker of BuffaloNews.com, the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. released its annual report Tuesday, and it claims that the area saw improvements in almost every major category measured. The tourism industry is Niagara County’s second-largest business in the area, and that is reflected in the 2014 numbers.

Two prime examples of the success include an increase in international visitors (climbed 6.6 percent last year) and a jump in motorcoach business, earning the area an astounding $19.2 million, a 25-percent increase.

While international tourism is a major business driver for the area, travellers visiting from inside the United States are a major factor as well. In 2014, an estimated 6.6 million people from America travelled to Niagara Falls, with 3.6 million of those people visiting on a day trip.

The remaining three million tourists stayed overnight in the area.

Tourists who stayed in Niagara County for at least one night spent an estimated $561 million, which is a stark contrast to the $266 million injected into the local economy by day trippers.

Tourism officials also credit the advertising campaigns that ran during the 2013 and 2014 calendar years which generated an additional $24.5 million in visitor spending.

Published on travelpulse.com

Replica Travel Destinations – Better than the Original?

By Edoardo Bellando

“Stroll through Central Park. Ride the kind of rollercoaster that made Coney Island famous. Shop along Park Avenue. And visit the Statue of Liberty. All without leaving Las Vegas.”

This announcement exemplifies a fast-growing trend — the Great Places Replica. This recent contribution to a hassle-free life – a basic human need the business world, luckily, is meeting – cancels at one stroke vacation annoyances such as long airplane trips, jet lag, passport and customs headaches, unfamiliar languages and currencies. Now you can travel without travelling thanks to the two world Replica capitals, Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada.

In Las Vegas, New York is ready for you at its namesake – a recently inaugurated hotel-cum-city featuring, says its Internet ad, “twelve New York-style hotel towers extending 48 stories and 525 feet, featuring replicas of the Empire State, Chrysler, ATT and Century Buildings”. The copies – a common characteristic of the Great Places Replicas – look much better than the original.

article6Once you have done New York, you can hail a cab to Venice without leaving downtown Las Vegas. At the Venetian Hotel, (Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S. Las Vegas) “the world’s most romantic city is now at the heart of the world’s best destination location”.

The hotel is a faithful replica of the Doge’s Palace, featuring imposing halls, grand corridors, mosaics and decorations, majestic furniture and thick carpets. Again, it is an improvement on the original, since its builders could take advantage of construction techniques unknown in 1309.

article6-2You can then go to Paris – the Paris Hotel Casino (3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S) and “stroll down the cobblestone sidewalks of the Rue de la Paix shopping district”, with the Eiffel Tower looming in the distance. Luxor, Egypt, [4] is right around the corner, with a 30-story pyramid and “King Tut’s Tomb and museum.”

But Orlando, Florida, has even more to offer. No need, for instance, to go to Portofino, the romantic fishing village on one of the Italian Riviera’s most beautiful bays, long the playground of the likes of Aristotle Onassis, the Dukes of Windsor, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.

Now an improved version is available at Portofino Bay Hotel, courtesy of the Loews Hotels corporation. “Escape to a romantic Mediterranean seaside village nestled around a small bay recreated at the Orlando Vacation Destination for the 21st Century” says the Internet ad.

Just a five-minute ride from the Universal Studios theme parks, Portofino 2 offers 750 guest rooms — possibly more than those available at Portofino 1 — not to mention “two Bocce Ball Courts”. Again, the immaculate replica looks much better than the worn-out, weather-battered original.

But the densest, most mind-boggling group of Replicas is the one at Disneyworld’s World Showcase. There, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, the United Kingdom, and “Adventure America” are all gathered in one place. In the last Replica, – as it happens for Las Vegas’s New York – America is made available in America. No need to travel there.

Published on worldtravelguide.com

Japanese Green Teas You Should Be Drinking Right Now

article7It’s time to try Shincha. Literally, the season for this bright and aromatic first flush green tea comes to a close this week, after just about a month of availability in Japan. Like cherry blossoms and ramps, the tea’s ephemeral release sparks fervor among those who anticipate its arrival. The tea has a fresh, vegetal aroma and buttery texture that makes its characteristics stand out from popular Sencha, delicate Gyokuro and other green teas. So here’s the mind-bending part for tea lovers: They’re all made from the same plant, camellia sinensis. That includes matcha, the green tea powder now spreading through American homes and cafés like antioxidant magic dust.

Lucky for us, there are few people in the world more qualified to explain what makes these teas so different and compelling than Miyako Watanabe, tea master, matriarch and vice president of Kyoto’s 300-year-old, family-owned Ippodo Tea Co.

She stopped by Food & Wine to host a tea ceremony and explain how the leaves of one plant can yield such diversity. Here, your Japanese green tea crib notes.

1. Shincha. “New tea,” Shincha is first flush Sencha, meaning it’s made with the very first leaves of camellia sinensis plants grown in full sunlight. They’re picked in spring, flash steamed (like all Japanese green teas) to preserve the lush green color, taste and nutrients, then twisted and dried before hitting the market. The tea has a refreshing astringency that comes from tannins, and since the freshness is considered precious, it’s best to blow through a stash quickly. Still available in-store at Ippodo NYC.

Brewing temp: 175°, which should match the green tea setting on an electric kettle.

2. Sencha. Japan’s most consumed green tea, Sencha grows in full sunlight (hello, vitamin C!) and is an ideal everyday tea with a bright, vegetal flavor. The highest grades are made with young leaves that are steamed, twisted and dried as above.

Brewing temp: 175°

3. Gyokuro. This more expensive green tea is smoother and more umami-rich with a delicate sweetness. The rounded taste comes from the fact that growers shade the plants before picking the leaves. There’s some science behind it: Less photosynthesis results in more of the flavor-creating amino acid L-Theanine, but the main thing to know is that it’s super elegant and better for savoring on a weekend than chugging on the subway. Also delicious chilled.

Brewing temp: 140°

4. Matcha. Matcha is also made from shaded leaves, but the stems are removed and the steamed, dried leaves are stone ground to a fine powder. The antioxidants are higher in matcha because you literally drink the entire leaf when you whisk the matcha into hot water. The bright color and concentrated flavor make it great for cooking, as well as Americanized drinks like green tea shakes.

Brewing temp: 175°

5. Bancha. Like a senior citizen Sencha, Bancha is a later-season, full-sun crop that yields larger leaves. Considered lower grade, it’s still especially good (and great with food) when transformed into the following two styles.

Brewing temp: Boiling

6. Hojicha. This is a form of roasted Bancha, yielding a smoky, delicious nose and rich amber color.

Brewing temp: Boiling

7. Genmaicha. Take Bancha and roast with rice. The flavor is smoky and sweet. Especially good iced.

Published on foodandwine.com

International tourism reaches record levels in Britain

Article8International tourism returns to growth with record results in April, including increases in both nominal spend and visits across Britain.

According to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey, the UK welcomed 3.14 million visits in April, six per cent more than in the same month last year.

Visits hit a new record for the first four months of a year: between January and April 2015 they exceeded ten million for the very first time.

After three months of decline in spend, we saw growth of one per cent in April, with a total of £1.5 billion spent across Britain.

April was a strong month for all types of visit, with Business, Holiday and Visits to Friends & Relatives seeing growth of 18, six and four per cent respectively.

Holiday visits – VisitBritain’s top priority and the focus for most of its international marketing spend – hit a new record after a six per cent jump compared to the previous year.

EU15 countries account for over half of all visits to Britain annually, making them the UK’s largest world region for visits.

In April, for the first time, visits from EU15 countries exceeded two million during any one month.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications, VisitBritain said: “In a highly competitive tourism environment, it’s very promising to see a considerable return to growth as we approach the peak summer months.

“We expect 2015 and 2016 to be more challenging for inbound tourism as the Euro weakens making it even more important to get our value message across to potential European visitors.
“We also need to act to safeguard our long haul markets such as the US and China who see European pricing as particularly attractive this summer.”

Published on breakingtravelnews.com

The Eclat Mega Job Fair is back!


24th July, Friday
YMCA, New Delhi.

A must-attend event on the hospitality HR calendar. Anyone who is interested and serious about getting a job in the hospitality industry surely needs to attend The Eclat Mega Job Fair on the 24th July 2015. This event will help all the attendees to build their networks and prosper in the industry.

EJF is an exclusive hospitality job fair where attendees can meet, interact and recruit talent professionally certified or with past experience in our industry.

EJF is the ideal venue for employers and job seekers to come together, to share job information, apply and interview of jobs.

Eclat Hospitality is a multidisciplinary hospitality consultancy firm with a services portfolio of consulting, process design & management, services design, people services – talent acquisition & development, education and ideation.

Passionate, driven and possessing rich, local knowledge, Eclat was founded by Prabhjot Bedi in 2005, with a vision of bringing passion and innovation to all things hospitality.

Now a leading hospitality consulting firm, Eclat has assisted some of the leading brands in the world.

To book your space:

My Top 5 travel related apps


You can’t move 2 pages on the internet without being introduced to a new app.

I have downloaded, deleted, utilised and permanently sent to the land of rainbows many apps. Some, of course, were downloaded by the children and swiftly deleted by me but some I came across that I just had to share.

1. My absolute favourite is Dojo. If you live in London or Paris or are visiting either city then this is the app to have. You can find the trendiest and latest restaurants, things to do, bars, cafes, markets, pop-ups – the list is endless. I have come across some gems of a place by using this app that I would not have found elsewhere. Use the map facility to find what is nearby. You can select your favourites and even order a Uber cab direct from the app!

2. You are on holiday and there is a sign you come across written in the local language. If you don’t speak the local language then you need Word Lens. It is a camera translator. Hold your phone over the sign, snap the picture and let the app do the rest as it translates the sign into your own language. Viola!

3. Top 10 is a hotel finder app that does exactly what it says. What I love about this app is that it not only has over 100,000 destinations listed but you can search by your specified dates, select the type of hotel e.g. boutique, luxury, trending and it will give you the Top 10 with prices and which booking engine is the cheapest to book your hotel with. (Only available on the iPhone and Apple watch.)

4. The ‘everything in one’ app Triposo is great when you are at your destination or even planning your trip beforehand. What is really good about this app is that you can download your guide before you go and use it offline when abroad so you don’t get charged any data roaming costs. You can search for places of interest to see, places to eat and some wonderful little hidden gems.

5. Lonely Planet Fast Talk and Fodor’s Travel Phrases for when you need to converse in the local language. Great phrases, which are free with the app but, you do need to buy the full versions if you want more detailed phrases. Good one for you and the children to learn a few words in the local language. The Fodors app has more languages but I like the look and usability of the Lonely Planet app.

Ulpa Chauhan
Yummy Love Journey
Ulpa Chauhan writes a travel blog called Yummy Love Journey that focuses on families, good food and sharing inspiring articles to get us all to think different. She has been working in the travel industry for 20 years and previously worked for British Airways Travel Shops, United Airlines and currently as a Business Development Executive for CTH.