No cooperation. Germany Tourist Board, Air Asia.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

March 15 2011


No cooperation. Germany Tourist Board, Air Asia.



, but sometimes it is difficult to get simple help. Two examples:

[] Germany, which is usually good. But DZT, the destination’s visitor promotion office, refuses to give me more details about the 30% increase it claims in visitors from China in 2010. I cannot think how to think badly about this, but am nevertheless surprised of the obstructionism of the DZT.

(But perhaps inefficiency is becoming institutionalised at DZT. At ITB I was promised details of the DZT presentation – which I could not attend. Nothing.)

[] My second example is less of a surprise. Air Asia refuses to give details of Air Asia X results. Yet, it has done so in the past – so presumably it can be considered a relative factor in measuring the progress of AA itself. And the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange either does not know of this matter, or does not consider it important.

There is a pattern. In the past, we have pointed actual factual errors in AA’s fiscal reporting – but neither the airline nor the stock exchange, nor the accountants, seem concerned.

Do not buy a used car from these people.


The Fox


Trottings. Hard to leave Berlin.

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TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox.

March 14 2011


Trottings. Hard to leave Berlin.



REMARKABLE fact about Berlin is the low prices. Just one example is travel from and to the airports. Unfortunately, German efficiency sometimes gets in the way. Last week was the second time I had a problem.

The first time I travelled from the city, starting on the S-Bahn but I did not have time after I bought the US$4 ticket for the airport to frank it – as the train had already arrived at the station.

When I got to Sudkreuz for the transfer to the bus for Schoenefeld airport, the bus driver would not let me board because I had not franked the rail+bus ticket. He even refused to sell me a bus-only ticket for the airport. So I had to wait for the next bus, by which time I had decided to tell the driver that I was boarding the bus at Sudkreuz and had not arrived there by train.

The second time, last week, the bus driver said my handbaggage had to go in the bus hold. This is handbaggage that fits the airline size-box requirement, and with which I have been travelling for 4/5 years.

For my own reasons, I would not accept being separated from the content in the bag. And so, once again, the bus left without me. And I had to wait for the next bus. But this time I emptied the bag contents from my carryon baggage onto the bus seat next to me. And loaded the empty bag into the hold.

The moral of this story is to allow plenty of time if you plan to travel by Berlin Linien Bus over Sudkreuz-Schoenefeld. Allow enough time for the second bus (20” later) after you have learned how to handle the specific problem. In both my situations, I had enough time. But on my next trip to Berlin, I will make sure I schedule time for missing the first bus.

Most of the journey from Sudkreuz is on an autoroute for which for all (even junctions), has 3m-high walls. That keeps most sound and pollution away from the population by the autoroute, but makes for a very boring ride (so take something to read), but very smooth; it takes around 20” at weekends, and up to 30” weekdays.


The Fox


Singapore. STB to rethink the count?

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

March 13 2011


Singapore. STB to rethink the count?



INGAPORE’S visitor numbers are now in disarray – but for positive rather than negative reasons. Growth in visitor arrivals in Singapore in 2010 was just under 20%. That is undeniably a good result. And particularly because – unlike some other destinations such as Hong Kong – this was not just a matter of travellers from China.

Many thought/think that business for the gambling resorts that opened in 2010 – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World – are primarily from China.

Although Singapore’s 2010 China visitor figure did indeed increase faster than the overall total, but not by much – arrivals from China increased about 25%. That pushed up China’s share of the total but also not by much – it has grown only from just under 11% to just over.

Overall visitor spend may have increased 45% in 2010. But editorial comment on whether that growth is good, bad or indifferent is difficult – because the figures include gambling revenues, and there is currently no benchmark in Singapore for that.

(Even Macau has long had casinos and just added many more over five years; but Singapore had none in 2009. I estimate Macau’s gambling revenues increased at an annual 31% over 2005-10, which seems to indicate Singapore’s growth is not as impressive as it might appear, but then its two casinos were not open for the full 12 months in 2010.)


However, I can say with confidence that Singapore’s targets for 2015 – 17mn visitors and US$23/S$30bn visitor spend – are now irrelevant. The VPO admits that it will need to rework forecasts – because its gambling resorts were not comprehensively included when those 2015 forecasts were made. I expect this rework to take place some time in the next two years, but probably sooner than later, and probably for 2020 target so that it hides a change/fault in the old targets.

Another side (not, note, snide) comment is that the 20% growth in arrivals was higher than the 7% increase in flight numbers. And that means there were more bigger aircraft flying into Singapore – which is the primary factor – and that airline passenger loads were higher.


The Fox