This Week in Travel News
Active travelers have a need to know! Every week, there are things that can and do impact the art and act of travelling. Things you need to know about. We’ll report the highlights here, so you can focus on what you do best: Travelling! In case you missed it, here’s what happened This Week in Travel News!
The Best & Busiest Airports of 2016
No, they’re not the same. Not even close. But, since it’s “awards season” and all, why not a few airport awards?
Airports Council International tracks all things airport, including who comes and goes (or, at least, how many) and what level of service airports provide for all of those passengers. With about as much surprise as Glenn Close getting an Oscar nomination, the title of World’s Busiest Airport stayed right where it’s been for about two decades: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.
Wait, there’s been a mistake!
Not really. We were just injecting some Oscar-style drama. Preliminary passenger data for 2016 keeps the ATL at the top of the leaderboard, but one might wonder for how long. About 104-million domestic and international passengers flew into, out of, or through the Atlanta airport last year. A not-so-close second place landed at Beijing Capital, with 94-million. Coming up on the outside, though, is Dubai International, ranking as the busiest airport for international flights. CEO Paul Griffiths says his airport will be the world’s busiest by 2020.
Again, however, busiest rarely means best. Another metric that ACI tracks is passenger satisfaction, and it’s a different crop of landing strips in the top ranks there. The Airport Service Quality Awards, released this week, conveniently ranks the best airports by region, making it easy to see where you might want to consider landing on your next international adventure.
|Africa||Asia-Pacific||Europe||Latin America & Caribbean||Middle East||North America|
|1st||Mauritius (MRU)||Seoul Incheon (ICN)||Sochi (AER)||Guayaquil (GYE)||Abu Dhabi (AUN)||(tie) Indianapolis (IND)
Toronto Billy Bishop (YTZ)
|2nd||Durban (DUR)||Delhi DEL
|Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO)||Nassau (NAS)
Punta Cana (PUJ)
|Amman (AMM)||El Paso (ELP)
|3rd||Cape Town (CPT)||Beijin (PEK)
|Dubai (DXB)||Austin-Bergstrom (AUS)
Dallas Love Field (DAL)
San Antonio (SAT)
ACI also had some good news for the sector in general recently. Despite political uncertainty and the threat of terrorism around the world, air traffic increased in 2016. Global passenger traffic notched up 5.5% for the year, while cargo traffic increased 3.5% last year. ACI, by the way, is the trade association of the world’s airports.
Las Vegas Ups the Ante
Las Vegas used to be known for cheap hotels and free buffets, certain to draw gamblers into the casinos. In today’s world, though, Sin City makes more money from entertainment than gambling. And those cheap hotels? They’re getting pricier every year. The latest favorite of the casino operators: Resort Fees.
This month, Caesars Entertainment hiked resort fees at Caesars Palace (including the Nobu Hotel), The Cromwell, Paris Las Vegas, and Planet Hollywood by $3 to $35 per day. At Bally’s, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s, the Linq, and Rio, resort fees went up a buck to $30. Caesars says they are only keeping pace with other properties. Last year, MGM Hotels raised resort fees at five of its properties by an average of ten percent. At the time, MGM said they were simply following an increase earlier in the year by – you guessed it – Caesars Entertainment.
That’s not the only think hitting travelers harder in Vegas this year. The city’s room-rate tax rose from 12- to 13.5-percent, and applies to the rate plus resort fees. Last year, most of the resorts also started charging for parking, amounting to as much as $18 per day. If that all weren’t enough, the average room rate in Las Vegas climbed 4.5-percent last year, to $136.
So far, Vegas is not feeling the pain that visitors are. While prices have been going up the past few years, so has tourism. 2015 and 2016 both saw record numbers of visitors, and occupancy rates for hotels on the Las Vegas Strip were around 90%. As prices escalate, though, budget-conscious travelers will soon be looking elsewhere, and the High Rollers may have Vegas all to themselves again.
Is it U.S. Against the World?
With all of the warnings and events around the world of late, you might not have noticed a new warning from the U.S. State Department this past week. Although, to be fair, it’s more of an update, or a reminder, of a Worldwide Caution issued last September.
Among other things, the Department of State reminds Americans that terrorist groups and those inspired by them are intent on attacking U.S. citizens around the world. In addition to using conventional weapons, the warning says, “Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack.” This has been apparent in knife and axe attacks, and the use of vehicles and weapons.
In particular, the warning points out that extremists increasingly target “soft” targets, often with a large number of potential victims:
- high-profile public events, such as rallies, sporting events, and holiday events
- hotels, clubs, and restaurants
- places of worship
- shopping malls and markets
- airports and public transportation systems
Before traveling overseas, it is always important to check the State Department’s travel website (travel.state.gov) for the latest warnings. (Currently, there are Travel Warnings for 41 countries around the world.) The site also has tips on what to do should in case of attacks or threats, natural disasters, and other events, as well as contact information. Earlier, we wrote about a program called STEP, in which all Americans who travel internationally should also enroll.
The Weekly Win
Unless you’ve been training for the Journey to Mars, you’ve probably seen a billion ads for Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. We’ll admit, we want to see it, too. But…what if you could have a whole castle all to yourself, just like Beast? Or maybe, just for you and maybe 20 of your besties. (Or would that be “beasties”?) It could happen! All you have to do is win it! We have details in the Weekly Win. Good luck!
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