Travelport launches PCI DSS Certification Wizard Tool for Agency Customers

Travelport, (NYSE:TVPT), a leading Travel Commerce Platform, has today announced the launch of an online PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance referral service to help its customers businesses achieve PCI DSS certification.

With fraud and hacking in the travel industry on the rise, maintaining a set of security standards to combat this criminal activity is critical when dealing with customer credit card information. Furthermore, as from March 2018, any IATA agent that accepts card transactions against its own merchant agreement or issues Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) card transactions is required to provide proof of PCI DSS compliance to IATA.

In response to customers asking for guidance on PCI DSS certification and after a lengthy selection process, Travelport chose to partner with SecurityMetrics, a leading provider and innovator in data security and compliance for organisations worldwide. Making what is considered to be a very complex process, as simple, low cost and streamlined as possible, the PCI DSS Certification program provides customers with an online Wizard Tool to guide agents through the self-assessment questionnaire process. The multi-language tool enables Travelport’s agency customers worldwide to achieve PCI DSS compliance, a requirement by the card industry for every business that touches card payments.

With the support of the SecurityMetrics team, level three & four category merchants, processing fewer than one million card transactions annually, can already start their PCI DSS assessment online

at Enterprise level agents known as Level one & two merchants (processing more than one million card transactions per brand scheme annually) can also benefit from more comprehensive assistance and creation of a bespoke compliance program.  

Alexandra Fitzpatrick, VP Travelport Global Payment Solutions, commented: “Combining consumer protection with customer-driven solutions is key to our goals as it creates frictionless payment processes and better ways of working. We’re delighted to offer this PCI DSS certification program in partnership with SecurityMetrics. It is our commitment to ensure our customers’ businesses operate within a compliant environment so they are able to adhere to industry regulations and become a trusted partner to their customers”.

David Meyers, SecurityMetrics Senior Director Business Development, added: “SecurityMetrics has a unique ability to cater to wide variety of merchant levels through a custom program. We are confident Travelport’s customers will be pleased with the results of our PCI program and our team will make sure that they receive the best possible experience on their compliance journey”.

Further information on Travelport’s PCI DSS Certification Program can be found here:

Tourism Western Australia launches outreach campaign with Travelport

Tourism Western Australia (Tourism WA) has teamed up with Travelport (NYSE: TVPT), a leading travel commerce platform, to promote Perth and Western Australia to travel agents.

Tourism WA’s Executive Director Strategy, Brand & Marketing Services, Louise Scott said, “With access to more than 68,000 travel agencies worldwide, Travelport would help our agency effectively reach thousands of travel professionals and teach them about what WA has to offer as a tourist destination.”

“The aim of this phase of our partnership is to ensure maximum exposure to travel agents and inform them about what our beautiful state can offer visitors. This is the start of what I hope will be a long and prosperous partnership between Tourism WA and Travelport,” continued Ms Scott.

Since 16 October 2017, a targeted trade campaign has been launched with the following objectives:

  • To stimulate interest among travel agents within Australia.
  • To raise the awareness of unique experiences offered by Western Australia.
  • To encourage more tourist arrivals for Western Australia.

Over the past month, the campaign engaged over 200 agents who have completed a mini-training portal and referred friends and colleagues to participate in the training. Based on bookings done on Travelport’s platform, there was a 16 percent growth in October for WA, compared to the same period last year.

Niklas Andréen, Senior Vice President and Managing Director – Global Hotel, Car & Digital Media for Travelport commented, “We are delighted that Tourism WA has chosen us to run this industry outreach campaign. With the high-impact marketing tools offered by Travelport Digital Media Solutions, we look forward to sharing effective promotional messaging about the State and achieving positive results with Tourism WA.”


Since 2010, the number of tourists in Iceland has increased fivefold. The sector has become the most important foreign exchange earner. The rapid increase in tourism in Iceland, however, has its side effects as well.

It is a picture from another world. It is hardly surprising that the Vatnajökull park is one of the most visited attractions of Iceland. Tourists come in masses, even though they have to travel a long journey. The drive from the capital Reykjavik takes several hours. Nevertheless, even on a cold Autumn day, the parking lots are well filled, off season or not.

Those who made it to the Iceberg Lagoon have already eagerly spent money. Iceland has become one of the most expensive travel destinations in Europe in recent years. This has a lot do to with the devastating financial crisis of 2008. The currency has made up a lot of ground. So much that tourists from Europe and America today get about a third less Icelandic krona for their dollars and euros compared to the value from 2009.

On the other hand, prices for goods and services have risen sharply in nominal terms. Not least because of the growing demand from tourists. Tourism in Iceland recorded just under 500,000 foreign visitors in 2010, compared to 1.8 million in 2016. This year it is estimated that 2.5 million tourists will have visited the country. All of these need lodging, food, are interested in entertainment, rental cars and much more. In other words, they are making demands on an economic area which has only 340,000 permanent inhabitants.

Stormy Development

Tourism-generated growth has also boosted wages significantly, much faster than inflation. According to Statistics Iceland, the purchasing power of an Icelandic salary was 5.6% higher in June 2017 than twelve months earlier.

Thus, within a few years, tourism in Iceland has become the key sector of the economy. According to estimates by financial experts, in 2017 tourism should bring about 45% of all foreign exchange earnings to the state budget. In comparison, in 2010 tourism brought only 19%. It is also responsible for around 10% of the country’s GDP.

As a job-hungry industry, tourism is arguably Iceland’s most important sector. However, the resources allocated to it at the political and administrative levels seem to lag significantly behind the stormy development.

“Tourism is actually growing too fast,” says Elias Gislason of the Icelandic Tourism Authority. Gislason heads the development and quality control department. “Last year the sector expanded by 39%. Now, however, the increase seems to be somewhat easing. Luckily, it needs to be said,” he added.

Troubles with Mass Tourism

Gisalson refers to the issues within tourism in Iceland that need to be dealt with. For example, infrastructure needs to be improved. If Iceland is priced in the top league, then the offer and services must be right, so that the long-term reputation of the country as a destination does not suffer.

There is also the question of how many tourists can the country cope with without ruining the very resource that attract most visitors – tranquil and spectacular, untouched nature.

Moreover, the direction of the industry is also to be discussed. Iceland is focusing mainly on the American and European market, not on the Asian region. The latter is likely to have the greatest growth potential of all. However, it is in Iceland’s interest to try to avoid mass tourism.

Anyway, especially in Reykjavik there is a real danger that the population will no longer see economic opportunities in the arriving masses. Some are starting to perceive it as a kind of nuisance. As a result, the reputation of the “Iceland brand” could suddenly be at stake.

Residents Becoming Annoyed

In fact, surveys show that the attitude of locals towards foreign visitors could tip over. Not only are tourists sometimes accused of not treating Icelandic nature with the respect it deserves, they are also responsible for cost pressures in the housing market and entertainment sector. Housing in particular has become scarcer in the city center of Reykjavik. The reason for this is the demand for accommocation, due to which many apartments have been withdrawn from the traditional rental market and leased via intermediary services such as Airbnb.

Residents in the center also find the pick-up and drop-off service a thorn in their side that travel agencies operate to bring customers to their day-trip terminals. Therefore, the city of Reykjvavik has begun to set up collection points not to allow the buses to pull up to any hotel or guest house in the center.

Gislason, however, believes that this trend is dangerous. After all, tourism is the industry that has not only created numerous jobs in recent years, but has also brought prosperity to a broader population. That should not be forgotten.


Macau may receive up to 40 million visitors in 2025, which represents an increase of almost 30% compared to last year, as announced by the Macau tourism authorities during the presentation of the Tourism Industry Development Master Plan.

Macau, with its mere 30 square kilometers of area, a population estimated at 648.4 thousand residents and as the only place in all of China where gambling is allowed, received 30.9 million visitors in 2016, most of them coming from mainland China.

The moderate growth forecast referred to in the plan indicates an annual visitor increase of 3% to 5%, reaching between 38 and 40 million visitors in 2025. If this forecast comes true, we will be facing an increase of 29.4% in the number of visitors to Macau.

Following a low growth estimate, that is, between 1% and 2% annually, forecasts for 2025 indicate a number between 33 and 35 million visitors.

In a statement to the press apart from the presentation, the director of Tourism Services, Helena de Senna Fernandes, said that the government does not aim to reach 40 million visitors in this eight-year period, but stated that this is a possibility they must be prepared to face.

“It is a forecast based on trends and on what is going on in the world and, according to many studies we have been conducting, it is a possibility,” she stated.

“Therefore, we must have solid plans. If that comes true, what will we do? We’re talking about creating new zones, better managing the tourist flow and being prepared to react to this increase, but we are not actively seeking this increase,” she added.

Given the small size of the city and the constraints caused by the large number of visitors, the possibility of putting a limit on the number of tourists has been discussed in the last few years.

When asked whether this hypothesis has been reconsidered, Senna Fernandes answered that better management is the key.

“For the last two or three years, we have been constantly discussing with mainland China authorities, aiming to better manage the tourist flow, because we know most of our tourists come from mainland China. As a result, there are already some policies or strategies in place so as not to allow such a huge [number] of tourists from China,” she stated.

Senna Fernandes also said that the city is capable of welcoming more tourists, and defended that there is no change in the government’s position.

“We are not changing our discourse. We are not looking to increase the number of tourists by a lot and that’s why this was discussed with mainland China authorities, but that is a possibility,” she stated.

To the director of the Macau Tourism Services, “it is possible to enhance the welcoming capabilities” with “expansion in terms of touristic products” and with “the growth of the city’s infrastructure”.

On the other hand, Senna Fernandes mentioned the aim to capture another profile of mainland China tourists: “From now on (…) there will also be a different pattern of tourists from mainland China, because at this point in time, there are still low cost excursions,” she said.

Their effort includes attracting visitors that “may be more interested in looking for different Macau products and that have more purchasing power,” she pointed out.

The director of Tourism Services argued for improvements to the transportation infrastructure, and highlighted the future Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge as the “most important to get a direct connection to the Hong Kong airport,” also stating that it is necessary to “better promote” the already existing service that connects the ships that go from the two special Chinese regions to their respective airports.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, considered the longest sea crossing bridge in the world, should be completed this year.

On the other hand, the Macau Light Rapid Transit, which is described in the plan as the “backbone” to improve traffic in the city, is seen as “a possibility to improve and better respond to transportation, especially in the Taipa and Cotai areas” [casino zones between the islands of Taipa and Coloane].

“Initially, the Light Rapid Transit is set to be completed in 2019, and it is an important piece in terms of Macau’s transportation policy, not only for Macau tourism,” she stated.


A recent study on the tourism sector in Portugal revealed that the industry is likely to grow in the area of luxury hospitality and several niche products like nature, surf, sun, beach, and culture. The regions with positive outlook with respect to tourism include Algarve, Lisbon, Porto and Madeira.

The study was published by Cushman & Wakefield in response to the increasing interest of real estate investors in the Portuguese tourism sector. The report “Hospitality Market in Portugal 2017” talks about a booming hotel sector in the country, marked by an excellent performance of hotels and by the ever increasing tourist indicators registered year after year, since 2010.

“The performance has been drawing the attention of international investors in tourism products, as they find in these assets an investment option with competitive ROI rates,” reads the paper. The study highlights the cities of Lisbon and Porto and the region of Algarve as very appealing destinations to the foreign capital and recognizes the hospitality assets of these zones as a very significant potential of recovery capital.

Among the main trends of the evolving tourism sector in Portugal, the authors highlight the product qualification, with an increase in the supply which will tend to focus on higher category facilities, and the expansion of alternative products such as nature (in Açores and Serra Algarvia),  surf (on the West coast, in the North of Lisbon, Alentejana and Vicentina), and new ‘sun & beach’ destinations (in Troy and on the Coast of Alentejana) and of a cultural nature (in Évora, Coimbra, Aveiro, Guimarães and Braga).

A trend of market yields contraction is also noted in the study, mostly driven by the arrival of players with hotel management capabilities and by the increase of generated performances. The analysis points to yet another trend of concentration of operation” in the Portuguese tourism sector, with the current scattering of market operators to be substantially reduced through the growth of the dominant brands, essentially through the acquisition of the existing facilities, but also through some organic growth.

In this evolution process, the assertion of the dominant destinations such as Algarve, Lisbon, Porto and Madeira is expected. In Lisbon’s case, there are about 40 known future projects, which will translate to over 3,500 accommodation units in the next five years in the city, the majority of the projects being located in the center of the city and belonging to the four and five-star categories.

Although admitting that the level of growth in the supply in the last few years may evoke some reservations about the sustainability of the sector, the consulting agency points out that the growth of the demand was much bigger.

“Bearing in mind the inaugurations expected for the next three years in the city of Lisbon, the average annual growth of the supply may be estimated at 3%. For their part, the hotel stays in the capital in the last three years increased at an average annual rate of 11%, more than three times the rate expected for the supply,” the study states.

Regarding the Metropolitan Area of Porto – which today has over 170 hospitality establishments that offer about 12,000 accommodation units – the projects expected to open in the next three to five years surpass 30 facilities, the vast majority being located in the city of Porto.

“The increasing activity of the city for international tourists has been capturing the investment in new hospitality facilities, so that now there are 18 new projects with a demand that surpasses 1,200 rooms,” says Cushman & Wakefield, emphasizing that almost all of the new hotels expected to open in Porto in the next three years are four or five-star hotels. Such as in the capital, the average annual growth rate of 3% expected for the supply in Porto is “well below” the level of demand, whose average annual growth between 2014 and 2016 was around 15%.


In 2016, river tourism in France attracted 10 million passengers, resulting in the booking of 2 million overnight stays. Despite having the longest network of waterways in Europe – around 8,501 kilometers – France is not taking full advantage of its river tourism potential.

During a discussion day held in Paris on the theme of river tourism, the General Directorate of Enterprises (DGE) – the organizer of the event – unveiled the results of a study aimed at highlighting the noteworthy international practices in this segment of the tourism market. The objective of this encounter was to propose operational recommendations to river tourism operators in France with the goal of increasing this sector’s economic activity.

Currently, river tourism in France has an annual turnover of around 500 million euros. However, this amount could be much higher, as is the case in some neighboring countries. In the Bavarian and Austrian regions through which the Danube river runs, nearly 240 river cruise ships are in permanent operation. Thanks to a well-developed infrastructure (well-equipped stations along the river, bike paths, an app to find lodgings and nearby attractions…), the Danube’s tourism potential has been maximized – to such a degree that some local officials are attempting to reduce it.

While France could find inspiration from the Danube in terms of its river tourism content, the Mekong, which crosses 6 Asian countries, was singled out by the DGE for the quality of the cooperation between the countries involved. Under the banner of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, these six countries (China, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam) have set up a joint river tourism strategy – redesigned each year at the Mekong Forum – which has recently been focused on participatory marketing.

These are all successful practices which, with some adjustments, could be applied to France’s river tourism industry. With under-equipped ports of call, an offering which gives more importance to the “boat” service rather than to the territory being visited, an aging fleet of rental boats and the lack of promotion of destinations, France could be doing much better in terms of taking full advantage of its river tourism potential, according to the DGE.

The study made some recommendations which could be applied to river tourism in France. Firstly, the DGE recommended that the boundaries of each river tourism operator be clearly defined by State services. Further recommendations concerned the regulation of the statutes governing boats, rules of ownership, environmental constraints etc.

The study also made it clear that a clarification of “who does what” is essential for improved dissemination of information. A clearer operational framework would also facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation.

The creation of a cluster of river tourism within the scope of “Atout France” has also been suggested, especially for the promotion of innovative and collaborative projects. In the same vein, setting up of an incubator-type support structure would enable innovative companies to be promoted, with the view of improving the marketing of destinations and products. The sector’s professionals could also be promoted through the creation of a quality label guaranteeing stopover facilities or the creation of a “river brand” on the portal.

Lastly, promotion of river tourism could be done on a national scale such as by holding a “river celebration” day or by means of a contest to reward top French river ports of call.


According to a report of the commercial space transportation department of the US Federal Aviation Administration, the total volume of the space industry in 2016 was $335 billion. Russian Roskosmos estimates a similar market of $320 billion and an annual increase of 5%. It is noteworthy that budgets of state structures do not occupy the first place in this branch. $98 billion is accounted by the satellite television business, followed by a $81 billion segment of global navigation satellite systems. Space tourism is also growing in importance.

The business in this industry is somewhat fresh. In 1965, the United States put their first private cargo into orbit. It was a commercial communications satellite Intelsat. Since then, hundreds of them have appeared in space. 90% of all commercial launches in the world put telecommunications satellites in orbit.

Moreover, private investors are also sending commercial flights to space – most notably SpaceX of businessman Elon Musk. Besides all this, however, there is also a new phenomenon connected to it – space tourism.

Although the first work in these field was presented back in 1967 (the son of the founder of the Hilton Empire, Barron Hilton, came up with the idea of creating a network of hotels in space), seriously this industry began to develop only at the end of the 20th century.

The reference point is considered to be the 1986 report “Probable economic consequences of the development of space tourism”, as well as the tragic events of the Challenger ship crew in the same year.

As a result, the first tourist in space was launched by the USSR. In 1990, the station Mir was visited by Japanese journalist Toehiro Akiyama. However, it was more of a business trip, as the Tokyo Broadcasting System had paid for sending the journalist into space. The first actual tourist was Dennis Tito in 2001, who paid $20 million for a ticket himself to visit the ISS.

Six more tourists visited the ISS, and prices of tickets grew substantially. For example, the founder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté paid $35 million for the voyage. It is interesting that many people were not allowed to fly to the ISS, and not only because of health problems. For example, in 2004 the extravagant businessman Sergey Polonsky did not pass the weight and height control.

As a result, space tourists do not bring as much in revenues as delivery of satellites does. For example, in 2016 Roskosmos earned $130 million on commercial launches, according to estimates by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

However, private traders are entering the sector and are on the heels of state agencies. In the US, several companies are engaged in the development of space tourism. For example, Virgin Galactic of American businessman Richard Branson promises to send people to space in six months. The company offers suborbital, rather than full-fledged space flights. But tickets for such a flight are sold at a cheaper price – for $250 thousand.

Such an “affordable” price has led to the formation of a queue of hundreds of interested people, including singer Lady Gaga, actor Tom Hanks and other celebrities. Moreover, Branson recently acquired a powerful investor. Saudi Arabia announced its desire to invest $1 billion in the project of Virgin Galactic, and further add another $480 million.

Cruise Nation Wins Prestigious British Travel Award

 [PRESSWIRE] SWANSEA, Wales, December 1, 2017 — Cruise Nation has been announced as the winner of Best Cruise Holiday Retailer 2017 in the prestigious 2017 British Travel Awards. The announcement was made on 29th November at a glamorous Gala Awards ceremony, held in Londonand attended by more than a thousand travel industry professionals, including representatives from all leisure travel genres and companies.

Cruise Nation has been trading for 8 years and is UK’s only low-cost cruise tour operator. In this short period, Cruise Nation has won many awards like best online travel agent 2017, best travel agent website 2016 and BTA Award 2015. 

Cruise Nation takes pride that more than 100,000 customers rely on them to deliver best cruise deals and last-minute cruise holidays. They also offer exceptional cruise packages including no-fly cruises, fly cruises and cruise and stay holidays to many destinations around the world with almost every cruise line.

Cruise Nation’s Managing Director Phil Evans said “I’m absolutely thrilled to pick up the award for Best Cruise Holiday Retailer, especially as it was voted for by the British public. I’d like to thank my amazing team for all their hard work and look forward to more success in 2018.” 

British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “Cruise Nation is to be congratulated on winning Best Cruise Holiday Retailer 2017. The British Travel Awards is the largest consumer voted awards programme in the world and this year 722,473 votes were cast by the travelling public to determine the winners and to win is truly an accolade and a badge of excellence.  We occasionally get emails and calls from consumers who have not been happy with their holiday experience, and of course no-one can please all the people all of the time – BUT, the BTAs reflect the views of happy customers – and our standard is – “if you didn’t like it – don’t vote for it”.  The results speak volumes.

The British Travel Awards is a proudly independent organisation, verified by leading global business practitioners – Deloitte. The BTAs are the only travel industry accolade voted for exclusively by the consumer and the Awards serve to recognise all that is great about travel, as experienced by the travelling consumer.

For further Cruise Nation media information contact:
Melissa Hobson

British Travel Awards media information contact:
Jane Richards
T: +44(0)7711-101493


Azores Airlines has signed a code-share agreement with Alaska Airlines, which allows the Portuguese airline, based in the Azores, to issue tickets for flights operated by Alaska, and vice versa.

(TRAVPR.COM) USADecember 4th, 2017 – Oakland, CA –Azores Airlines has signed a code-share agreement with Alaska Airlines, which allows the Portuguese airline, based in the Azores, to issue tickets for flights operated by Alaska, and vice versa.

The agreement between Azores Airlines and Alaska Airlines allows new connections through Boston, MA. Azores Airlines offers regular service from Boston to the islands of the Azores, Madeira, Lisbon, Porto and Cape Verde, with total of 20 destinations.

Azores Airlines based is based in Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel in the autonomous archipelago of the Azores.

Alaska Airlines is based in Seattle, Washington, serves more than 118 destinations and five countries.

One of the most exciting destinations – The Azores, embodies the sapphire blue and emerald green lakes, fertile prairies, volcanic cones and craters, colorful hydrangeas and azaleas, 15th century churches and majestic manor houses make the Azores unlike anywhere else on earth.

Azores Airlines, part of the SATA Group, has connected New England with the Azores and mainland Portugal for more than 35 years. For more information about booking flights call your travel agent or log on to Or call (800) 762-9995


Nathan Wright Joins Vehicle Lift Leader Stertil-Koni as Marketing…

Nathan Wright

We are so pleased to welcome an industry pro like Nathan, who brings a specialized industrial background, a keen dedication to customer service and a positive can-do attitude to our team.

Stertil-Koni, the leader in heavy duty vehicle lifts – notably bus lifts and truck lifts – has announced that Nathan Wright has joined the company as a Marketing Associate. In his new position, Wright brings seven years of experience in marketing – including trade show coordination, advertising, web content, brand development, and marketing campaigns. Wright also has a strong technical background in industrial products, coming most recently from his work experience in the nuclear power generation industry.

In making today’s announcement, Paul Feldman, Director of Marketing at Stertil-Koni, noted: “We take great pride in delivering world class heavy duty vehicle lifting systems at Stertil-Koni and similarly are extremely focused on delivering best-in-class Marketing support. That is precisely why we are so pleased to welcome an industry pro like Nathan, who brings a specialized industrial background, a keen dedication to customer service and a positive can-do attitude to our team.”

Wright originally hails from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Finance from the Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna University. Wright resides in Annapolis, MD where he is actively involved in boating, photography, and ice hockey.

About Stertil-Koni    

Stertil-Koni, a brand of the Stertil Group, is the global market leader in heavy duty vehicle liftsbus lifts and truck lifts– and is the preferred supplier to the world’s leading companies in the truck and bus industries. Stertil-Koni’s breadth of products meets all ranges of lifting needs and includes mobile column lifts, two-post, four-post, inground piston lifts, platform lifts, and its innovative axle-engaging, inground, scissor lift configuration, ECOLIFT. The DIAMONDLIFT is now available in a “frame” version, engineered specifically for concrete foundations and ideal for replacement situations. Stertil-Koni is especially well known for its portable lifts (mobile columns) and high-performance in-ground and platform lifting systems. Stertil-Koni USA is headquartered in Stevensville, Maryland. Stertil-Koni has production facilities in Europe, in The Netherlands, and in the USA in Streator, Illinois.

Contact: Paul Feldman, Paul.Feldman(at) , 410-643-9001

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