TRAVEL ROUND-UP: Marriott, Playstudios, Cuba Ventures Corp, and More…

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A summary of the most exciting recent news in travel marketing and media in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you're trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

U.S./U.S.-HISPANIC MARKET

CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC, the world’s largest leisure travel company, got Cuba’s approval to begin traveling to the country starting on May 1, 2016. Following U.S. authorization granted in July 2015, Carnival Corporation is now cleared to operate the 704-passenger MV Adonia cruise to Cuba through its newest brand, Fathom. This marks the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship is approved to sail from the United States to Cuba.
"Our Carnival Corporation and Fathom brand teams have worked closely with Cuba throughout this process and we are thrilled to begin regular sailings to Cuba from Miami starting on May 1, 2016," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom. “We have been told that we will be the first cruise line to sail from the U.S. to Cuba with our historic inaugural sailing.”

CUBA VENTURES CORP. has acquired Travelucion S.L. ("Travelucion Media"). Shares started trading on March 21st under the new symbol CUV on the TSX Venture Exchange. Travelucion Media, now a wholly owned subsidiary, is a cash-flow positive online travel and digital media marketing company that specializes in travel marketing, electronic reservations and online booking solutions for international visitors to Cuba.

PLAYSTUDIOS, a developer of casino games, expanded its partnership with international hospitality brand Resorts World by launching Resorts World Casino New York City and Resorts World Bimini to its list of loyalty platform partners. Players of myVEGAS Slots, myVEGAS Blackjack, and my KONAMI Slots are now able to choose from a selection of rewards offered by these two properties.
"We're thrilled that Resorts World moved so quickly to broaden their relationship with us. Given our family of popular gaming apps and our growing global audience, we were able to demonstrate our value early on,” said Jeff Netzer, the vice president of business development for PLAYSTUDIOS.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced their definitive merger agreement under which they will create the world’s largest hotel company. Combined, the companies now operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels, with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company’s pro forma fee revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2015, and totals over $2.7 billion.

The Travel Marketing Forum, part of #PortadaLat on June 8-9 in Miami's Hyatt Regency Hotel is going to bring together all the big players in Travel Marketing in the Americas including Volaris, Grupo Posadas, Best Western, Royal Caribbean, Hyatt, Sojern and many more. Get your early bird tix!

 

LATIN AMERICAN MARKET

LINKS WORLDGROUP, a full-service marketing communications agency with focus in Latin America, has been named the public relations agency for KAYAK, a leading online travel agency. LINKS will represent KAYAK’s public relations efforts in Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru including strategy development, content marketing, crisis management and media relations.
“We are pleased that KAYAK has entrusted us as a strategic partner for their business; we identify with the brand and the way in which they work. KAYAK focuses on the current, modern and technology-savvy traveler, looking for the best options when making a decision and choosing their next destination,” said Edward de Valle, Chairman of LINKS Worldgroup.

AEROMEXICO is renovating its brand, starting with a new advertising campaign that invites current and potential customers to discover new destinations by enjoying a one-of-a-kind flying experience. The campaign states that Aeromexico is undergoing a comprehensive renovation plan focused on innovation. Proof of this can be found in the carrier fleet’s evolution program featuring nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are considered some of the most modern commercial airplanes in the sky.
"Aeromexico is evolving, and we are looking to break the mold to meet the needs of our customers and enhance their travel experience. We have invested heavily in renewing our fleet, expanding our route network to include destinations such as Amsterdam and Santo Domingo, increasing service to key destinations like London, Madrid, Paris, and Narita and incorporating new technology platforms,” said Anko Van der Werff, Aeromexico's chief revenue officer.

COLOMBIANS haven’t stopped traveling, despite the expensiveness of the dollar compared to the Colombian peso. According to numbers provided by the Anato (Asociación Colombiana de Agencias de Viaje y Turismo) the number of Colombian travelers that went to the U.S. during January and February increased by 7.2% between this year and last. “Last year’s increase during these months was 5.2%, which means two percentage points higher,” said Paula Cortés, president of the Anato.

 


Ximena Cassab @xcassab

Ximena is a Swiss-Mexican journalist based in Mexico City where she specialized in business, and travel topics. Graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she has worked as an editor at the magazines Expansión , Aire and Accent, from Expansion Group. Currently she is working with different media in Spanish and English independently. She is a passionate traveler who does not miss the opportunity to see a new place in the world.

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