According to the latest Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017 released today, travel and tourism in Asia-Pacific are both expected to grow steadily in the period ahead. Bringing in $91.16 billion USD in travel expenditure in 2016, Asia Pacific outpaced Europe ($74.74 billion USD), and North America ($55.02 billion USD).
International overnight visitors to the Top 10 destination cities were up in 2016. According to the Index, Bangkok tracked 19.41 million visitors, while London came in a close second with 19.06 million visitors. Singapore (13.11 million visitors) inched past New York (12.7 million visitors) into fifth position for the first time in three years, while Seoul (12.39 million visitors) leapfrogged three spots into seventh place.
Home to half of the world’s top ten most visited cities, Asia Pacific’s success as a global travel hub has been supported by strong intra-regional travel. Both Singapore and Seoul tracked significant growths, aided by visitors from neighboring countries, particularly those from China. In the Index’s seven-year history, China has grown from being passive contributors to the region’s travel sector to the main driver of growth for visitor arrivals into Asia Pacific’s top destinations. Overall, forecasts for continued growth in 2017 are positive except for New York, with Tokyo (12.2%) expecting the largest boom.
If you are planning to travel to the US next year, it may be a good idea to lock-in attractive USD/SGD rates well before your trip - especially when the DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA) is offering a promotional interest rate of 2.50% p.a. from September to December 2018 on eligible fresh funds deposited in the account. The MCA comes with a range of different benefits, so if you are expecting to transact in USD in the year ahead, you will probably want to take advantage of this promotion to lock-in the attractive interest rates and save up for your upcoming expenses in the meantime.
I recently received an email from a reader with the following InterContinental Ambassador benefits - do note that this is not official and it was basically a survey that was sent out to a member in the IHG Rewards Club Advisors team. The proposed membership in this survey is priced at USD 250 (instead of USD 200 at the moment) and it offers a number of potentially interesting and useful benefits on top of the usual ones that current InterContinental Ambassador members are getting.
The Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is a collection of small and independent luxury hotels where guests can enjoy authentic travel experiences - The Scarlet Singapore and Naumi are both SLH properties in Singapore! Hyatt Hotels Corporation and SLH has announced plans to bring World of Hyatt members opportunities to enjoy loyalty benefits in more places and this collaborative effort is expected to launch at the end of the year.
John Paul is one of the world's leading concierge service and OCBC used to utilise them for OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders. From 01 September 2018, OCBC will be replacing them with TEN Concierge (whom I have personally not heard of) - I do believe that there will be no change to the way cardholders utilise this service but I guess we will find out in a month or so. TEN Concierge claims to have direct access to a live allocation of music, sport and theatre tickets, which is not available to the public but only time will tell.
Slated to open in November 2018, the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit will soon become the fourth Hyatt branded property in the City of Angels. Alongside the famous Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Park Hyatt Bangkok and the Hyatt Place Bangkok Sukhumvit, the fourth property is set to become one of the city's most exciting new properties to open this year.
The American Express Platinum Card has long been synonymous with superior social standing and status. Today, American Express has introduced a new suite of benefits for Platinum Card Members at no additional cost - these benefits range from elite status in loyalty programs, travel credits, exclusive access to private membership clubs and spaces as well as enhanced travel benefits just to name a few.
The latest Hyatt Regency property in China has just opened in Jiangsu province (East China) and the Hyatt Regency Zhenjiang occupies levels 59 to 76 of the city's highest skyscraper. The 318-room Hyatt Regency hotel is set to provide travelers and locals alike with a fresh perspective of the city by providing an energising place to connect with the very best of Zhenjiang.
Following the premature ending of 10X OCBC$ for mobile payments made using the OCBC Titanium Rewards card, OCBC has just announced that they will be removing the option for OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders to purchase 500,000 VOYAGE miles for S$10,000. The last day to take advantage of this offer is 31 August 2018 and following that, OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders will only be able to renew their VOYAGE Card by paying either S$488 or S$3,210 for 15,000 and 150,000 VOYAGE Miles respectively.
The Pullman Bali Legian Beach has just announced the addition of 12 newly-built Garden Suites which are an added extension to the 364-room property. These suites are located on the ground floor of the hotel and they are great for families who wish to stay in Legian.
The highly-anticipated Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur is currently offering an Opening Celebration Offer for bookings made between 01 July 2018 and 30 September 2018 from MYR 828 (SGD 280) Nett. The newly-opened 5-star property is approximately 45 minutes drive from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and it is located in the city's Golden Triangle.