When I tried to do a good news round-up last June, the headlines just weren't there to back it up. Scanning the headlines over the weekend, at last, there are many good news stories to report.
I am going to take the time to share some of the headlines as they will be a source of encouragement to all meeting and corporate events planners.
It is clear that tourism rates are climbing:
- Qatar sees 50% surge in Gulf visitors in 2011
- Toronto Drew Record Number of Tourists in 2011
- Bermuda tourism industry in full bloom
This is indeed good news as tourism is a key economic driver in many destinations. A robust tourist industry will help fuel the recovery.
Related good news for hotels and resorts is that occupancy rates are climbing:
- Hawaii hotel occupancy nudges upward, room rates gain
- Qatar begins hotel frenzy....6000 new rooms delivered
- Dubai hotel market back to booming
- Orlando hotels to get busier this year
- Holland area hotel occupancy rates hit highest level in a decade
I thought this was particularly encouraging:
"....surge in tourism in the Holland area that has occupancy rates at local hotels at their highest level since before the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
Some of the factors that have contributed to this growth have been low airfares to some destinations. Also, while there have been room rate gains in some destinations, in others, hotels have kept rates lower so margins have been thinner.
USA Today reports that business travelers are returning to 5 Star hotels and luxury resorts. Many are finding that they can get more "bang for their buck" with favorable rates and numerous amenities.
As I reported in my recent profile of Raffles Dubai, the conveniences offered by luxury hotels can add great value for busy business travelers.
What does this mean for the meeting and event planning industry? Now that companies are spending again, it's time to underscore the value of business meetings and events. The U.S. Travel Association is taking steps to do just that.
In the Middle East, International Centre for Research in Events encourages meeting industry professionals to look to emerging markets for growth opportunities:
"Whilst the meetings industry in Europe and the US is understandably focused on the economic difficulties confronting them right now – this is endangering the industry by overshadowing the longer term opportunities. Meeting planners need to consider and learn more about economies in the developing world as well as consider new industry growth areas where businesses will need to meet and collaborate - in bio and nanotechnologies for instance. Innovation is critical."
Finally, I've saved the best for last. The MPI Business Barometer is heating up again with:
- 10% of US and European survey respondents reporting a boost in full-time jobs
- 15% reporting an improvement in part-time and contract jobs
- The U.S. sees its greatest gains in the domestic corporate sector.
- Business levels in the U.S., Canada and Europe have improved year-on-year and remain stable.
Now that's good news worth reporting. What a difference 8 months makes!
What economic indicators have YOU seen?
Photo Credit: Niklas Bildhauer