Travel Industry Data News, September 2-7 and 9-13



Hong Kong falls

13 September 2019

Hong Kong’s government has reported near meaningless figures on the commercial damage that HK’s protests are doing – because it does not specify the period covered.

It notes visitor arrivals fell -40%, hotel occupancies halved ‘in some areas’, and room rates (presumably achieved rates) fell -40-70%. (In July 2018, occupancy was 86%.)

Non-government reports indicate the -40% visitor fall was in August.

Retail sales fell -11.4% in July.

Our database shows:

-Visitors. A -4.8% fall in July, and a slightly-bigger fall from the target of Hong Kong’s demonstrations, China, of -5.5%. No data yet for August.

-The Cathay group (three airlines – mainly-China-routes Dragon, newly-acquired HK Express, Pacific). Dragon/Pacific seat sales grew +4.4% in July, but fell -11.3% in August*. The group’s stock price fell -7.8% in August – although China airlines quoted in HK fell more, and Cathay’s CEO and chairman have resigned/retired since the protests began. (No HKE data published.)

-Airport. July passenger throughput grew +1.0%. No data yet for August.

*Notes: The Economist reports a -38% fall in ‘Cathay Pacific passenger traffic’ in August. Cathay’s published data does not match this figure. In addition to the -11.3% fall in seat sales noted above, total RPKs fell -3.6% although -28.1% on China routes. Perhaps TE has access to seat-sale numbers on Cathay’s China routes – although TE did not qualify its figure as a China-route figure?


Travel business updates

12 September 2019

[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) preliminary report shows Hong Kong hotel occupancy fell -29.8% to 63.9%, and average room rate -21.0% to US$140 (HK$1086.16).

[] IATA (International Air Transport Association) reports for July, RPKs +3.6%, ASKs + 3.2%, load factor 85.7% +0.3pt.

RPKs by region – Asia Pacific +5.2%, Europe +3.3%, Middle East +1.3%, North America +2.7%.

International RPKs +2.7% – Asia Pacific +2.7%, Europe +3.3%, Middle East +1.6%, North America +1.5%.

Domestic RPKs +5.2% – Australia -0.9%, Brazil -6.1%, China +11.7%, India +8.9%, Japan +4.7%, Russia +6.8%, US +3.8%.


H1 visitor arrivals

11 September 2019

WTO (World Tourism Organization, which it abbreviates to UNWTO) reports H1 visitor arrivals 671mn +4% (+5% 2018 over 2017).

By regions: Americas +2% (+2% 2018 over 2017), Asia Pacific +6% (+7%), Europe +4% (+5%), Middle East +8% (+5%).

-Americas. Caribbean +11%, North America +2%, Central America +1%, South America -5%.

-Asia Pacific. South Asia +7%,  Northeast Asia +7%, Southeast Asia +5%, Oceania +1%.

-Europe. Details not given.

-Markets, travellers (actually, WTO counts arrivals in destinations, not outbound). H1: China +14%; US +7%.

-Markets, spend. WTO shows different periods, or does not clarify. Also, no clarification on why markets shown were chosen, and why in order as shown (below unchanged). China -4% Q1. Presumed Q1: France +8%, Italy +7%, UK +3%, Germany +2%, Japan +11%, Korea -8% H1, Australia +6% (period not clear), Russia -4% Q1, Brazil -5% (period not clear), Mexico -13% (period not clear).

-WTO forecasts visitor arrivals +3-4% for all-2019.
*Notes: At press time, WTO had not answered our request for clarifications.


TBA Tracking: Indices, Travel Stocks

10 September 2019

The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index in August for US hotel companies was 4561 -6.6% (over previous month). YTD, their stock index was +12.1%.

The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Hotel Stocks Index’ for August, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 183.

The worldwide ‘TBA-100 Airline Stocks Index’ for August, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 194.

The ‘TBA Travel Stocks Index’ for August, from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, shows: World 217, Asia Pacific 76, Europe 190, US 385.

The worldwide ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ for travel stocks of OTAs (+Amadeus) in August, from the current edition of our monthly Net Value report, was at 147.

The ‘China Travel Stock Index’ of China stock prices (from China companies quoted in Hong Kong and New York, as well as Shanghai), in August from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, was at 92.

Notes: The Baird/STR hotel index is based on 1000 at February 2000. The TBA Hotel and Airline stocks indices are based on 100 at December 2000, the ‘TBA All-Travel Index’ 100 at December 2006, the ‘Net-Value Travel-Tech Index’ 100 at December 2014, the ‘China Travel Stock Index’ 100 at December 2018. Or when first listed if later.


Hotel pipeline in China

9 September 2019

IHIF reported that China’s hotel pipeline at June was 2845 +15% hotels with 590,809 +8%. It now reports (for end-Q2, thus the same period) 2991 +19% and 592,884 +7%. The data is from Lodging Economics (LE); neither IHIF nor LE explain the difference.

Other related measures:

-Under construction 2174 +20% and 407,594 +5% (previously given as 2083 +21% and 414,967 +12%).

IHIF/LE do not give change/growth for the following data:

-Due to start construction in the next 12 months 411/84,555 hotels/rooms (previously given as 387/83,074).

-In the early-planning stage 406 +19% hotels 100,735 +13% rooms (previous – no change given – 375/92,768).

-Average size of pipeline hotels has fallen to 198 rooms. Earlier data not given but LE says the size is the smallest since it started tracking – date not given.

-In H1, 413/62,173 rooms opened. In Q1, 185/27,455.

-In H2 LE forecasts 452/69,110 will open. (Previously forecast 795/127,420 would have opened in 2019; we make the new total 865/131,283.)

-In 2020 786/130,614 are forecast to open (732/124,160).

-In 2021 728/135,913 rooms (not shown).

-Guangzhou has most – 140/27,945 (128/28,367) – then Shanghai 125/23,361 (114/22,747), Chengdu 115/24,328 (110/23,295), Wuhan 91/13,249 (previous not shown), Suzhou 88/15,154 (83/15,092), Hangzhou new figures not shown (79/17,415).

-Hilton has most – 428/88,778 (421/86,750) – then InterContinental 360/80,763 (340/76,861), Marriott 294/80,835 (291/79,860), Jinjiang 225/24,398 (273/31,118), Accor 219/37,199 (201/35,318).

-Brands. Hampton/Hilton 258/40,550 (242/38,608), Holiday Inn Express/InterContinental 172/30,820 (162/29,599), Days Inn/Jinjiang 115/9071 (118/9296) rooms, Ibis/Accor 100/10,580 (85/9214), Vienna/Jinjiang 30/3900 (74/10,360; a remarkable difference, but which we assume was an error), Marriott/Marriott 69/21,023 (67/20,373), DoubleTree/Hilton 58/16,190 (65/18,733), Holiday Inn/InterContinental 58/15,305 (57/14,880), Mercure/Accor 57/9793 (57/9948), Courtyard/Marriott 37/9570 (36/9321).

*Notes: At press time, IHIF/LE had not answered our request for clarifications.


TBA Tracking: Seat sales by World’s top-3 no-frills-airlines

6 September 2019

Q2/YTD: Air Asia +13/+11%, Ryanair (includes Lauda) +8/+8%, Southwest -1/-1%. Our monthly calculation of seats sold by the leading NFAs (no-frills-airlines) in the world’s three main regions was compromised after US-based Southwest joined Air Asia this year in reducing corporate transparency to report Qs only. Only Ryanair continues publishing monthly data. As a result, we now report only Qs. Data from WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.


What’s working; what’s not. Airlines in Europe

5 September 2019

Our summary of traffic results for the leading airlines (not, where relevant, airline groups) in Europe, excerpts from the current editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, over January-July. Seat sales (newly available for British; Jan-Jun for Easy; our estimates for Ryan), in alphabetical order: Air France (once again available separated from KLM) +4%; British +3%; Easyjet +13%; Lufthansa +3%; Ryanair +8%.

Notes (on notable details; on whole-group for Air France (=AFKL), British (=ICAG), Lufthansa (=LHG)):

-AFKL +5%. Unusually, KLM, at +2%, is slower than the group’s biggest airline AF. The group’s no-frills-airline Transavia is not growing fast enough, at +7%, and slowing. Europe’s two NFA giants – Easy, Ryan – are both growing faster.

-ICAG +6%. Iberia at +7%, is still growing much faster than the group’s biggest airline British, although it is still only half its size. AerLingus in trouble, +1% (is that Brexit-fear related as Ireland expected to hurt hardest in the 27 remaining EU markets?). Vueling +6%. The group also now publishes data for its newish mid-range NFA Level (sic). Hard to interpret results, which were +392%. It is still only 10% the size of AFKL’s Transavia, for instance, and its 82% seat factor needs to be closer to 90%.

-Easyjet. Disappointing (and surprising) that it now publishes only Q figures. Growth looks good, but loads down about 2pts.

-LHG +3%. Austrian +6%, Lufthansa +3%, Swiss +6%. LHG now hides performance at Brussels and Eurowings (combining them), possibly because EW is reportedly not doing as well as LHG hoped – Brussels (our calculation) +4%, Eurowings (our calculation) flat.

-Ryanair. Rounding its results sometimes causes distortion, or prompts questions. Lauda grew from 0.5mn to 0.6mn in the month; is that really a 20% growth, or would precise figures show something different? With Ryan itself at +8%, the group was +9%.

-Others of note: Virgin at a good +9% YT May, but that follows a bounding start to the year; monthly figures for the latest three months were +6% +6% +5%. Similar pattern at Turkish +5% YT July, but -5% +4% -4%. Wonders at Wizz; still small (25% the size of Ryan), but still growing well – +12% for the month, +15% YTD, and we estimate a 95% seat factor.

Travel business updates

4 September 2019

[] Phocuswright reports that China‘s OTA market in 2018 was worth US$44.7bn, second after the US, US$77.1bn. China’s +27% growth was 4x US growth.

[] Greece’s DMO reports air arrivals July +1.4%, YTD +3.4%. Bank of Greece all arrivals June flat, YTD -0.5%; spend +16.4%, YTD +15.3%.

[] STR (nee Smith Travel Research) reports on US hotels 25-31 August: occupancy -0.4% to 66.7%, average room rate +1.4% to US$127.26.


France updates

3 September 2019

Reports from France-based companies:

  A full report on these topics in our WYSK:What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

[] MKG* (a hotel consultancy; name origin unknown) estimates (before end-August) that France’s hotel occupancy fell -0.4pt in Jul-Aug – +0.2pt in Jul, an estimated -1pt. (MKG rounded; no occupancy figure.)

Other data shows Paris occupancy -1.2pt.

*Notes: MKG focuses on hotel revpar (revenue per available room), which has little marketing value to those outside the hotel business. As a result, we reduce our report to measures other than revpar.

[] Home Exchange reports September 22,000 +37% nights booked.

[] CRT, the regional visitor office for France’s Cote d’Azur*, reports* a summer season (Jul-Aug) ‘comparable’ to 2019. We do not know by ‘comparable’ if CRT means up or down.

Some details:

-Hotel occupancy May-Jul +1pt, nights +2.7%.

-Internet-bookings of private accommodation now a 20% share.

-Jul-Aug accommodation occupancy 85% (August 90% in city hotels). 48% +1pt of hotel nights in 4/5-star hotels.

-Museum/monument visits +5%, seaside gardens/parks +8%; we do not know the definition or counting system.

-Foreign share of accommodation occupancy unchanged, French share +2%. We cannot understand mathematically how this is possible.

-May-Jul fastest growth in nights – Scandinavia (+10%), Russia (+10%), Japan (+21%). Italy, Spain, East Europe (except Russia), Canada each 6%. CRT does not appear to know that this data needs to be accompanied by the size of the market. We do not know the reason for the order of the 6% markets.

-Falling (no data) were Middle East, Asia except China, Japan, Oceania.

-Visitors arriving by air were +3.5% Apr-Jul (not May-Jul as for other measures).

-Mountain-area hotel occupancy fell (no data), although CRT reports a 12-13% growth in mountain visits Jun-Jul (yet another different-period measure).

-Sep-Oct air bookings from overseas +8%, of which +23% from the US, +18% from China.


-Cote d’Azur (CDA) in France – a ‘brandname’ also known as the South of France, the French Riviera, or sometimes by the names of some of its main cities, Cannes, Monaco/Monte Carlo, Nice, St Tropez. The problem is that – brand identity.

-CRT also reports, inexplicably, hotel revpar (revenue per available room), which has little marketing value to those outside the hotel business. As a result, we reduce our report to measures other than revpar.

[] Flight Right (FR), which tracks airline delays/cancellations and compensation, reports at end-of-summer (before end-August):

-3.5mn passengers affected during the summer, which we calculate is a -22.2% fall.

-Potential claims US$84.4mn (€76mn), which we calculate is a -47.9% fall.

-Flights cancelled -57% (FR rounded = FRR), flights delayed (at least 30 minutes) -16.8%.

-Airline flights delayed, 15 Jun-23 Aug: Easyjet 21.3% -1.5pt, Vueling 19.2% -2.1pt, British 15% (FRR) -3.6pt, Lufthansa 14.4% -4.2pt, Ryanair 11.7% -8.9pt, Air France 11% (FRR) -6.1pt, Transavia 9.5% +4.9pt, Hop 8.4% -3.2pt, Air Corsica 8% (FRR) +0.4pt, Volotea 6.6% -2.9pt.

-Airline flights cancelled. Only three airlines listed – those whose cancellations had grown. Air Corsica +12.9% (other data not given, and in percentage, not points as above), Transavia +435.7% (sic), British +56% (FRR).


TBA Tracking: August travel stocks; another bad month

2 September 2019

Travel stock prices (Asia Pacific, Europe, US) in August. Airlines: biggest growth, Air-France/KLM +9%; biggest fall, China Eastern -15%. Hotels: Choice +6%, Peninsula -19%. Tech: LastMinute +8%, cTrip -17%. China travel stocks (new): CITS +6%, Air China -12%. Others: Boeing +7%, Avis -32%.

Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Norwegian +12%; biggest fall, Air Asia -28%. Hotels: InterContinental +11%, Jinjiang -12%. Tech: Trivago +22%, Expedia -0.2%. China travel stocks: CITS +2%, China United -8%. Others: TUI (UK quote ) +6%, Thomas Cook -58% (sic).

TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 217, Asia Pacific 76, Europe 190, US 385. Index previous month: World 225, Asia Pacific 81, Europe 198, US 395.

TBA China Travel Stocks Index (new; quotes from China, Hong Kong, US): 92; previous month 104.

NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 147; previous month 150.

Stockmarkets. Biggest growth Oslo +0.3%; biggest fall Singapore -6%. Previous month: biggest growth Istanbul +6%; biggest fall Korea -5%.


-Stockmarket results say it all – 24 of the 25 markets we track fell. And #25, Oslo, was up +0.3%.

-When the travel business is bad, it is often airlines that suffer most. This past month it was hotels – of the 20 we track, only two reported growth, and a 3rd was flat.

-That said, airlines did badly also – out of our 31, just six grew.

-Of the two ‘death-row’ stocks, Thomas Cook fell -8% (and is now -83% its end-2018 price). But India’s grounded Jet Airways actually grew over the month, +19%, but is -86% its end-2018 price.

-Jet was actually the best performing airline stock, but as it is grounded, perhaps it is no longer an ‘airline’?

-Asia’s main hotel groups had a disastrous month – although Peninsula was the worst (of all hotel groups), Jinjiang was -16%, Mandarin Oriental -13%, Shangri La -14%.

-China’s travel stocks were also hit. Our Index shows the extent, but in the three world regions we cover, China Eastern was the worst-performing airline, Jinjiang the second-worst hotel group, -16%, cTrip the worst travel-tech stock (although quoted in New York).

-Not sure why the two car-rental companes were hit so hard – Avis worst, but Hertz was -22%.

-Boeing, despite its continuing B737 problems, grew +7% in the month, taking it to +13% on its end-2018 price.

-Also beating the bad news was Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific – firing staff for their political views, disliked by many China commentators for not being loyal enough to China, and disliked by many in Hong Kong for kow-towing too much to China. Its stock fell -8%, taking it below its end-2018 price. But the Hong Kong stockmarket fell -7%. And China’s three Hong Kong-quoted airline stocks all fell more than Cathay. And so, by way of example, did Singapore Airlines, -9%.

Info from Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s editions of WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.





The Fox. Remember, I’m an industry expert in the parallel world.

*Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.