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World Travel Awards Europe 2022 winners announced in Mallorca

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winners of European Travel awards
Created in 1993, the event awarded brands in the aviation, hospitality and cruise sectors

Europe’s premier travel brands have been revealed at a gala ceremony at the new Hilton Mallorca Galatzo. Stars of the hospitality industry aligned at the World Travel Awards (WTA) European Gala Ceremony 2022 to discover who amongst them had won the ultimate accolades in tourism.

The Algarve, Portugal won the coveted title of ‘Europe’s Leading Beach Destination’, while Porto picked up the prized honour of ‘Europe’s Leading City Destination’. Portugal has been voted as the “Best Tourist Destination in Europe” for the fifth time in a row in the World Travel Awards 2022.

The burgeoning Black Sea city of Batumi secured the headline grabbing title of ‘Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination’. Meanwhile Madrid claimed the award for ‘Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination’ for the 5th year in a row, and the Convention Centre, Dublin picked up the trophy for ‘Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre’.

Travel industry VIPs from 40 nations attended the travel industry reunion at Hilton’s first property in Mallorca. The recently opened 208-room Hilton Mallorca Galatzo is the latest addition to join Hilton’s growing European portfolio.

“What a truly memorable experience was had by our international VIP audience. This enchanting island setting proved to be the perfect backdrop for a sensational two-day event crowned by this evening’s Gala Ceremony. Hilton Mallorca Galatzo has done itself proud by making Europe’s luminaries feel so warmly welcomed”, says Graham Cooke, who found the World Travel Awards in 1993.

In a special presentation, ‘Europe’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award’ was received by Drying Little Tears – Regine Sixt Children’s Aid Foundation. 

In the aviation sector, Turkish Airlines claimed the honour of ‘Europe’s Leading Airline’, whilst British Airways was named ‘Europe’s Leading Airline Brand’. Earlier in the evening Air France claimed the prized award for ‘Europe’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ and TAP Air Portugal took accolades for ‘Europe’s Leading Airline to South America’ and ‘Europe’s Leading Airline to South America’.

The luxury and charm of Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul earned the ultimate hospitality award for ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel’ while the stunning Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul claimed the hotly contested title of ‘Europe’s Leading New Hotel’. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts took the prize for ‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Hotel Brand’ while the Royal Monceau Suite @ Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, picked up the award for ‘Europe’s Leading Hotel Suite’. Elsewhere, a grand total of six honours went to Forte Village Resort including the title of ‘Europe’s Leading New Resort’.

The majestic Conrad Algarve claimed the award for ‘Europe’s Leading Lifestyle Resort’ while the luxurious Sani Resort took the prize for ‘Europe’s Leading Family Resort’.

In the cruise sector, Norwegian Cruise Line was voted ‘Europe’s Leading Cruise Line’ while Lisbon picked up the award for ‘Europe’s Leading Cruise Destination’.

Travel provider winners included Abercrombie & Kent (‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator’), Booking.com (‘Europe’s Leading Travel Agency’) and FCM Travel (‘Europe’s Leading Travel Management Company’).

Tourism in Europe warmed up in 2022, with short-term rental accommodation booked online in the European Union increasing above 2019 levels each month from February 2022 onwards, according to the European Union’s statistic office. said on Tuesday.

Short-stays booked online via Airbnb, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Expedia in the EU’s most popular destination countries recovered almost completely above pre-pandemic levels, the office said, with the highest increase recorded in February and May of this year, up 10.9% and 5.6%, respectively, compared to 2019.

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Disneyland Paris renames theme park in $2 billion revamp

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Facade os Disney Paris with Disney's characters standing in front of it
The transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park will see it almost double in size.

Disneyland Paris has unveiled a new name for Walt Disney Studios Park as part of the park’s US$2 billion transformation.

Walt Disney Studios Park will become Disney Adventure World when the new immersive area, World of Frozen, opens.

The transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park will see it almost double in size.

“We’re changing the story of Walt Disney Studios Park, evolving from ‘how it’s done’ soundstages to celebratory theatres and adventures that come to life in immersive worlds,” said Tom Fitzgerald, chief storytelling executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and senior creative executive for Disneyland Paris.

“These fully realised adventure worlds will become the focus of the park’s new identity and appear as realms that guests discover as they navigate deeper within the park and are invited to participate in adventures inspired by our most beloved stories.”

As part of the rebrand, the park’s entrance is also being reimagined, with the current design replaced with ‘crafted décor that pays homage to historic movie theaters in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole.’

“Embracing a transformation that involves the overhaul of more than 90 percent of Walt Disney Studios Park since its debut in 2002, we’re unveiling a fresh creative vision that has completely redefined our second gate,” said Natacha Rafalski, president of Disneyland Paris.

Previous investments in the property include World of Pixar, which opened at the park in 2021 and Avengers Campus (2022).

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EU economy forecast to grow 1.0% in 2024

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Expected economy growth is largely due to consumers spending more this year | Photo: Christiann Koepke

The Commission has published this week a new forecast for the European Union economy, with a more upbeat scenario for consumers. After a downturn in economic activity in 2023, inflation rates will continue to drop and the EU economy should gradually grow in 2024. This is largely driven by ‘consumers spending more, thanks to higher wages and more job opportunities,’ it is believed. 

Concretely, the EU economy should grow 1.0% in 2024. The euro area economy should reach 0.8% of growth. In 2025, GDP will grow even more. Meantime, EU inflation has fallen dramatically since it peaked in 2022. It is expected to wind down to 2.7% in 2024 and to 2.2% in 2025.  

The jobs market is also performing well. Despite the slowdown in activity, the EU economy created more than 2 million jobs in 2023. Activity and employment rates of people aged 20-64 hit new record highs in the last quarter of the year. In March 2024, the unemployment rate in the EU stood at a record low of 6.0%. 

Some challenges remain. For instance, investment growth is slowing since fewer new homes are being built, which affects various industries. As a result, it is expected that interest rates will drop more slowly than anticipated. 

The Commission publishes four economic forecasts throughout a given year, covering GDP and inflation data for all Member States, the EU and the euro area. 

In the UK the scenario is also looking positive, with the Office for National Statistics having recently confirmed that the UK unemployment rate for January to March 2024 (4.3%) is above estimates of a year ago (January to March 2023), and increased in the latest quarter. 

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Mango to strengthens its presence in the UK with 20 store openings

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Mango store facade at Oxford street, London
At the close of the 2023 financial year, Mango had 60 stores in the UK

Mango, one of Europe’s leading fashion groups, continues its expansion and brand consolidation plan in the UK with more than 20 store openings planned for 2024. Growth is focused on expanding its presence in London and Scotland, as well as the arrival for the first time in several cities in Northern Ireland and central and southern England.

“The UK is one of the priority markets for Mango’s international growth. The increased presence in London and our arrival this year in some cities where we have not been present until now will consolidate the Mango brand and help us to strengthen it internationally,” says Daniel López, Mango’s Director of Expansion and Franchising.

The company plans four store openings in London this year, in addition to last February’s opening of a store in the Windsor Yards shopping centre in the heart of historic Windsor, close to Windsor Castle

Mango will also increase its presence in Scotland with store openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and for the first time will reach cities in Northern Ireland, as well as central and southern England. 

The new Mango store will incorporate the New Med Mediterranean-inspired store concept, reflecting the spirit and freshness of the brand. Sustainability and architectural integration are the key to this new design that conceives the Mango store as a Mediterranean home with different spaces in which warm tones and neutral colours predominate, combined with traditional, handcrafted, sustainable and natural materials such as ceramics, tuff, wood, marble, esparto grass and leather.

 
Mango has been present in the UK since 1999. In 2021, the company strengthened its presence in the country with the opening of a new flagship store on Oxford Street in London and three other stores in Manchester, Edinburgh and Derby. 

Last year, Mango opened more than 10 stores, mainly in the south and centre of the country, in major cities such as Bristol, London, Manchester and Leeds. Key among them was the store opening in Westfield Stratford City, one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. In addition, the company arrived for the first time in Brighton with a 470 m2 store in the Churchill Square shopping centre.

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