Free Himalaya Adventure Travel Blog: The Off: Tour. Travel. Write.

Weekly round-up of digital travel news from December 31, 2012-January 6, 2013 

December 31, 2012 

Internet and traveler 

December 2012. ITB World Travel Trends Report 2012/2013. IPK International & ITB Berlin 

The report gives a list of travel trends in 2012-13. The highlights include

  1. The number of travelers in age group 55+ is increasing.
  2. Internet emerged as the principal shop for travel purchases.
  3. Bloggers and social media play an important role in travel. Read the full travel report. 

January 1, 2013 

Incredible India Calendar 2013 

The Ministry of Tourism, India unveiled Incredible India Calendar 2013. You can view the calendar online and / download it.

MoT plans a multilingual helpline for tourists 

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), India planned a multilingual helpline for tourists. Initially, the helpline would be in English and Hindi. The toll-free number would become active this year. 

January 2, 2013 

MoT plans up gradation of Incredible India website 

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), India is planning to convert the Incredible India website into one-stop shop for foreign travelers to achieve the target of approximately 12 million foreign tourist arrivals in the next three-four years. The upgraded website would offer 12 new features, such as interactive maps, transport means, routes and schedules, and a list of registered travel service providers.

Elegant starts online training for travel agents 

Elegant Hotels Group introduced online training for travel agents. After training, the agents may log into their account to request room booking and track the transactions. Contact the hotel.

Riverview unveils its mobile site 

Riverview Hotel Singapore launched its mobile site allowing room booking on a Smartphone.  Browse the mobile site for restaurant and room bookings.

Avis to acquire Zipcar 

Avis Budget Group, Inc, agreed to purchase Zipcar, Inc. for about $500 million. The acquisition is likely to complete by the second quarter of 2013.

January 3, 2013 

American counties prepare for tax lawsuit against OTAs 

Many American counties and states, including Florida, Alachua, Leon and Saint John’s counties are preparing and pursuing the tax lawsuit against online travel agents (OTAs). The case hearing is scheduled for February.

Room 77 receives over thirty million dollars 

Room 77, a hotel meta-search engine, received an investment of $30.3 million. The investors include Expedia, Sutter Hill Ventures and Concur Technology. Room 77 would use the funds to launch new products, enhance marketing and appoint more engineers.

Virtual one-stop shop for everything ethnic 

The website of LiveEthnic LLC, pioneer ethnic city guide, was launched.  The website allows searching ethnic community events, nightlife, restaurants, shopping and much more. Try yourself.

Expedia tests natural language search engine 

Expedia started testing natural language search engine to improve travel search results. The search project, managed by R&D Department of Expedia Affiliate Network, has a website YourVisit.

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January 4, 2013 

Russian travel habits 

Dombrovsky, Valentin. 2013. Online travel in Russia by numbers. Ttnooz: talking travel tech. 

This article reviews the Russian travel sector with reference to the domestic online travel segment. The author believes that Russia is a good place for online travel start ups due to available technical talent. However, the Russian market also has some pitfalls: Russians still prefer offline payment methods. They do not like independent travel packages. They are not interested in exploring new destinations. Read the full article. 

Kathleen is new boss at AAE 

Air Asia Expedia (AAE) has new Chief Executive Officer, Kathleen Tan. She will manage two brands: Backick, an online travel agency (OTA), and AirAsiaGo.

BYT introduces new price and offers free travel tools 

Budget Your Trip (BYT) introduced new pricing for BYT Agent and offered some of the features free-of-cost to the travel agents who have already registered with it. The complimentary tools include Supplier Reviews, Task Tracker and Client Relationship Manager. The BYT Agent is an online set of travel tools for the travel agents. Read more about the offer.

myMEDholiday launches blog

myMEDholiday launched its blog to offer information about medical tourism. Read the medical tourism blog. 

January 5, 2013 

Thorn Tree resumes

Thorn Tree, travel forum of Lonely Planet, resumed part of its services after fifteen days closure.  BBC, the owner of the forum, closed it due to inappropriate posts. New rules have been defined for the forum. Check the travel forum.

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