Industry veterans look forward to 2012

21 Dec 2011

It has been a rather turbulent year with steep peaks and deep troughs, keeping us at the edge of our seats. During the last twelve months, the travel industry was not just a litmus test of the strength of economies and nations but also a catalyst for many happenings around the world — good or bad, big or small. From hopeful revolutions in the Middle East to devastating natural disasters in Asia, the industry was always in the thick of things — facing the challenges brought on by these events and influencing them in return.

The next year is expected to have as many, if not more, surprises in store and the travel industry is likely to remain firmly in the foreground. For the last Business Traveller Asia-Pacific newsletter of the year, four industry bigwigs give us their views on what to look forward to in 2012.

Kevin McQuillan, regional general manager, East Asia, of British Airways

“What I am most excited about in 2012 is undoubtedly the London Olympics. With it being our home market, British Airways has been and will continue to be heavily involved, so we’re looking forward to bringing the world to London and seeing it shine. Along with the celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in the Spring, London and the UK are going to be on show for much of next year." 




Bill Marriott, exiting chief executive of Marriott International

Effective March 31, Bill Marriott will step down as chief executive of Marriott International and assume the role of executive chairman instead, while remaining as chairman of the company's board of directors.

“My energies will be directed at reinforcing the timeless core values that have been the bedrock of our success.

“I think timing is everything in life.  Next year, I will celebrate four personal milestones:  I’ll turn 80 years of age in March.  I'll have worked at Marriott for 60 years in June.  I’ll have been CEO for almost 40 years and celebrate that anniversary in November.  And I will have known Arne Sorenson [Marriott International’s new, incoming president and chief executive] for 20 years.  These are nice round zero dates. It’s also a time of great strength for our company.”



Martin Rinck, president of Hilton Worldwide, Asia-Pacific

“Over the last four years, we have achieved exceptional momentum in signing new hotel deals, thus building up a healthy pipeline for our business. In 2011, we opened more hotels in Asia Pacific than in the history of the company in this part of the world. We are looking forward to continuing strengthening our presence in Asia Pacific by opening more hotels, as well as introducing new brands into new markets. Our founder, Conrad Hilton, wished to ‘fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality’, which has since become the vision of Hilton Worldwide.  We are incredibly excited by the prospect of striving toward this vision in 2012 and beyond and look forward to a promising future.”


Tony Tyler, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association

“Aviation is more secure than in 2001, but at great expense and with far too much hassle. For the $7.4 billion that airlines spend annually on security, the process should be better for our customers. I am championing the Checkpoint of the Future to modernise airport screening. We want to take a risk-based approach and differentiate passengers based on how much we know about them. We are not asking for more information — only to use what is already collected to support border control needs at the security check. But we would like to provide an option for passengers to voluntarily provide additional information to have their security process expedited. Already this is being trialled in the US with known traveller programs. So this part of the Checkpoint is a near-term solution. Technology could take longer — seven to ten years — to enable passengers to be screened without stopping, unpacking or disrobing.”

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