What have we started here? Just having cleared up the Irish omissions from our first ezine, along comes another list of Travellers Choices from TripAdvisor. This time its the Top 10 Most Charming European Towns.
Bruges in Belgium is in the number 1 slot. Now if you, like me, have seen that very funny movie, In Bruges, starring our own Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, your first reaction may be similar to that often repeated description of Bruges by Farrell in the movie. But we can’t repeat that here because it might give offense, and its not true anyway. Bruges is truly beautiful.
But the good news is that our own DINGLE comes in 4th position, which is indeed a tremendous accolade. Well done to all. The full list is:
1) Bruges, Belgium
2) Siena, Italy
3) Sitges, Spain
5) Mittenwald, Germany
6) Salisbury, England
7) Fontaine de Vaucluse, France
8 ) Cascais, Portugal
9) Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
10) Kotor, Montenegro
That’s pretty good company to be in, full marks to Dingle.
Some great blogs to the first of these ezines on Traveller’s Choice destinations, which you should look up on the ITIC website https://www.itic.ie/news/.
Not everyone appears yet to be convinced about the scale and impact of review sites, so it may be worth giving a little background. TripAdvisor is owned by Expedia.
Expedia was launched as a small division within Microsoft in 1996 and gave consumers a revolutionary new way to research and book travel. Three years later Expedia.com was spun out of Microsoft becoming a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ. Today, Expedia is the parent company to a global portfolio of leading consumer brands which include; TripAdvisor, Airfare Watchdog, Booking Buddy, Cruise Critic, Independent Traveller.com, Smarter Traveller, Travel Pod, Hotels.com, Egencia, Hotwire, Car Rentals.com, and more, lots more.
Expedia has its headquarters in Bellevue in Washington State, with offices in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. They employ 8,000 people (including 1,800 in eLong, a Chinese subsidary). Expedia grossed booking revenue of $22 billion in 2009, of which Expedia’s portion (commissions/fees/advertising etc) was $3 billion. After costs, that delivered an operating income of $571 million, which following interest and other charges, resulted in a net income of $300 million. Not a bad result for 2009, particularly when one looks at their market value of $7 billion and their $2.9 billion in cumulative free cash flow. Nearly as good as Michael O’Leary.
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June 3rd 2010