What are the World’s Top 10 Country Brands?
Australia has emerged as the world’s top country brand for the third consecutive year, according to the 2008 Country Brand Index (CBI), being officially released in London on November 11. Rising from its sixth place ranking last year, Canada is recognized second and the United States rounds out the top three country brands in the 2008 study.
Travel industry feeling the squeeze.
As Americans evaluate and pare back their discretionary spending for the remainder of this year, the travel and leisure industries are feeling the squeeze.
Companies throughout the sector — including hotel, cruise ship, theme park and gambling concerns — have all warned in recent weeks that their businesses have slowed or that things could get worse next year.
“The deteriorating outlook for the economy is impacting travel habits and spending, and hotels are expected to experience reduced occupancy levels, and to a lesser degree, some room rate erosion through 2009,” said Scott Berman, principal at consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
For hotels, the picture looks particularly grim.
PwC expects that a key measure of the hotel industry’s health, revenue per available room (RevPAR), to fall 5.8 percent next year, following this year’s estimated 0.8 percent decline. That would be the industry’s first back-to-back decline in the widely watched measure since 2001-2002.
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US Inbound travel up 9% through August.
The United States experienced a 9 percent increase in international visitors during the first eight months of the year when compared to the same period in 2007. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 34.9 million international visitors traveled to the country from January to August, and spent $96.3 billion during the period. The 5.6 million visitors in August alone was an increase of 6 percent when compared to August of 2007, and they spent a record $12.7 billion— an increase of 20 percent.