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UK business travellers are embracing the sharing economy

UK business travellers are embracing the sharing economy

More than half of company travel policies now allow the use of ride sharing services. Millennials (those aged between 18 to 34) show the greatest appetite for ride-sharing and home-sharing services and are most likely to harness technology whilst traveling.

Millennial business travellers are driving technological change as consumer travel habits continue to impact the business travel experience and corporate travel policy, according to the GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index, in partnership with American Express.

The research, which includes a survey of 405 UK business travellers, examines satisfaction with all aspects of business travel, and pinpoints the increasing use of technological innovation.

Key UK findings from the research include:

– 51% of company travel policies now allow use of ride share services, suggesting that many companies have ensured their policy reflects the new providers and technologies available.

– Over the next three months, just over one-in-ten (11%) UK business travelers think they will increase their use of ride share services, such as Uber and Lyft. This is primarily driven by younger travellers – over a quarter (28%) of Millennials say they will increase their use of ride share services. None of those over the age of 55 surveyed have plans to increase usage.

Home sharing usage is not yet as widespread as other shared services. Just 28% of company travel policies allow home sharing services, such as Airbnb and HomeAway to be used.

However, almost one in ten respondents (9%) think they will imminently increase their use of home share services. The age divide is, again, evident: 22% of Millennials say they will do so, compared to only 1% of those over 55 years old.

Millennials lead the pack in using social networking sites for business communication

– A majority of UK business travellers (62%) think technology won’t replace face-to-face meetings when conducting business.

– Women (71%) and older workers (73% of those aged 55+) are most likely to think technology won’t replace face-to-face meetings compared to half (53%) of men and 57% of Millennials.

– One-third (35%) think social networking sites help meeting up with colleagues and business contacts when travelling. This comprises over a half (53%) of Millennials, compared to only a third (34%) of those aged 35 to 54 and a mere 15% of those over 55.

– Wi-Fi is considered vital to work productivity by four-in-five (81%) business travellers – and there’s room to improve on-trip connectivity.

– Hotel rooms have the highest satisfaction rating (79%) for Wi-Fi availability and reliability. Just under one-half (46%) of respondents are happy with Wi-Fi on trains and just over one-third (35%) are satisfied with airline Wi-Fi, meaning connectivity presents a clear opportunity for travel providers to improve the journey experience

– During flights, most travellers (57%) don’t work, with many citing on-board hindrances to productivity; one-quarter (24%) tend to do work that requires the internet whilst

flying, whereas the work of one-in-five (20%) does not.

– Millennials (31%) are twice as likely as the over 55’s (15%) to be reliant on internet-based work whilst flying and are roughly twice as likely to cite hindrances to work whilst flying than their elders.

– UK business travellers – like their peers worldwide – are much more confident about the health of their industry than the overall health of the economy

More results:

– 43% of UK business travellers rate the health of their industry as excellent – but only 22% would rate the overall health of the economy as such.

– This reflects the global trend: averaged across all markets, a higher proportion of business travellers rated their industry’s health as excellent (a global average of 51%) than their own domestic economy (global average of 35% rated this as excellent).

Fabienne Cauli, Vice President, Global Client Group, EMEA & JAPA, American Express Global Commercial Payments, commented: “This Index provides a benchmark of business travellers’ changing priorities and expectations – and it’s fascinating to see how this is evolving, thanks, in part, to generational change in the workplace. Younger travellers show clear appetite for using sharing economy services, and have high expectations when it comes to connectivity. These issues are only going to become more prominent in the years ahead, as Millennials represent an ever-growing proportion of the workforce.”

Catherine McGavock, GBTA Regional Vice President, EMEA, commented: “UK business travellers have made clear their views on many aspects of business travel and, whilst 70% of them are generally satisfied with their overall business travel experience, they have pinpointed some areas which those servicing the travel market could improve, for example, when it comes to Wi-Fi connectivity. Recent years have seen unheralded changes in consumers’ technological and service expectations and we’re now in an era where people expect to be able to work and communicate via the internet wherever they are.”

The GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index, in partnership with American Express, was carried out between March 31 and April 13, 2016, by the GBTA Foundation. An online survey was conducted among a sample of 3,500 business travelers in eight markets: Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the UK, specifically, 405 UK business travellers were surveyed. Eligible respondents were employed part- or full-time and had taken four or more business trips in the past 12 months. For more information, please visit:

• Over the next three months, just over one-in-ten (11%) UK business travelers think they will increase their use of ride share services, such as Uber and Lyft.

Volvo Cars and Autoliv create joint-venture for autonomous driving

Volvo Cars and Autoliv create joint-venture for autonomous driving

Volvo Cars, the global premium car maker, and Autoliv Inc, the worldwide leader in automotive safety systems, have signed a letter of intent to set up a new jointly-owned company to develop next generation autonomous driving software.

The planned new company will have its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and an initial workforce taken from both companies of around 200, increasing to over 600 in the medium term. The company is expected to start operations in the beginning of 2017.

The joint venture will create a new entrant in the growing global market for autonomous driving software systems. It marks the first time a leading premium car maker has joined forces with a tier one supplier to develop new ADAS and AD technologies.

The new company, which has yet to be named, will develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally, with revenues shared by both companies.

The joint venture will bring together two global leaders in automotive safety, underlining the contribution ADAS and AD can make to road safety and speeding the development and introduction of fully autonomous cars.

Volvo Cars has an established reputation for making some of the world’s safest cars, having invented the three point safety belt and consistently developed and introduced world leading active and passive safety systems. It has a medium term vision that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

Autoliv is the world’s leading supplier of safety systems to car makers worldwide and has led the way in the development and introduction of active and passive safety technologies to the world’s car makers for more than 60 years.

Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: “By combining our know how and resources we will create a world leader in AD software development. This means we can introduce this exciting technology to our customers faster.”

Jan Carlson, chairman, chief executive and president of Autoliv, said: “There are no two companies that can claim to have done more for automotive safety worldwide than Autoliv and Volvo. This new company is a recognition of the fact that autonomous driving is the next step to transform road safety.”

Both Autoliv and Volvo Cars will licence and transfer the intellectual property for their ADAS systems to the joint venture. From this base the company will develop new ADAS technologies and AD systems. It expects to have its first ADAS products available for sale by 2019 with AD technologies available by 2021.

Autoliv will be the exclusive supplier and distribution channel for all the new company’s products towards third parties, except Volvo Cars which will source directly from the new company. Its management will comprise of representatives from Autoliv and Volvo Cars.

  • Dennis Nobelius, managing director of Volvo Switzerland and formerly vice president vehicle line 90 at Volvo Cars, will be the chief executive of the new joint venture.
Transdev joins Corporate Partnership Board ITF

Transdev joins Corporate Partnership Board ITF

Transdev, provider of multi-modal transport services, has joined the Corporate Partnership Board (CPB) of the International Transport Forum (ITF).

The ITF is an intergovernmental organisation with 57 member countries that facilitates global dialogue for better transport. It acts as a think tank for member governments and organises a Summit of transport ministers every May. The CPB is the Forum’s platform for engaging with the private sector and to enrich global transport policy discussion with a business perspective. Uber, for instance, is another well-known member of the CPB.

Subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts and Veolia and word leader in mobility, Transdev will participate in three CPB projects in 2016/17: a study on shared urban mobility for a large metropolitan area; a project on the equity and access of new transport services for an ageing society, and a project on travel time access to population and jobs in a particular city which will allow authorities to identify effective first/last mile solutions for access public to transport.

Transdev will also participate in ITF’s Decarbonising Transport Project. This project will enable and help countries and other actors to take their CO2-reduction roadmaps and corresponding actions and translate them into real results, grounding them on socio-economic data and ensuring that the transport-related UN Sustainable Development Goals (including road safety) are achieved along with the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

“This is a win-win partnership. Transdev is really proud to become a member of the ITF’s Corporate Partnership Board. The ITF is a reference in the area of mobility and deals with key questions that challenge Transdev in daily business. Reflection on shared mobility and autonomous vehicles, propositions for new mobility services to prolong or increase access for older citizens, or gaps between commitments and delivery on climate change mitigation are issues we all have to face together. This partnership will help Transdev to valorise its vision of the future of mobility, but also to exchange ideas and act on subjects directly with top experts and decision makers”, said Nicolas Samsoen, Transdev’s Chief Strategy Officer.

José Viegas, Secretary-General of ITF, welcomed Transdev to the CPB and expressed his pleasure at working with them on a number of topics of great importance to the transport sector as a whole: “Transdev has world-class experience in public transport. Their knowledge and expertise will be an invaluable asset to the work of the Corporate Partnership Board, and thereby the International Transport Forum”, said Viegas. “Transdev’s international perspective in their activities and experience will contribute to enrich the scope of our projects and widens the areas of excellence covered by our partners.”

The members of the ITF Corporate Partnership Board are: AB InBev, AeroMexico, Brisa, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO Group), ExxonMobil, Ford, Google, Here, IBM, Incheon International Airport, Inrix, Kapsch TrafficCom, Michelin, Nissan Motor Corporation, NXP, PTV Group, SNCF, Total, Transdev, Uber, Venice Port Authority and Volvo Group.

More information about the ITF Corporate Partnership Board, including recent work on autonomous driving, car sharing, big data and logistics performance at

  • Transdev joins Corporate Partnership Board ITF
Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations and Toyota Motor Corporation collaborate on Japanese taxi of the future

Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations and Toyota Motor Corporation collaborate on Japanese taxi of the future

The Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) are announcing that they have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to study on areas for collaboration, so as to develop and introduce the Japanese taxi of the future. Last month the relationship between the two worsened after Toyota announced it would be working with Uber. This exercise looks very much like public fence-mending.

Toyota’s relationship with the Japanese taxi industry began in 1936, when the Toyota Model AA had been first used as a taxi. From then on, both parties have established a longstanding and important partnership tradition, which has since been carried on by the current Crown Comfort. As a result of the continued patronizing of Toyota’s vehicles for use as taxis―where an annual 100,000km have been covered in some areas, Toyota has been able to continue to enhance the reliability and durability of its vehicles, so as to provide customers with a safe and pleasant ride. The Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations and Toyota have been important partners in helping to build up Japanese taxis into the world’s safest, most pleasant, world-class public transportation service, and will continue their efforts to strengthen the Japanese transportation infrastructure.

In the hopes of enhancing the urban scenery in Japan, Toyota is developing a next-generation taxi, where the design reflects the spirit of Japanese hospitality. This next-generation taxi is scheduled to become available in 2017. The Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations and Toyota are joining hands in this pursuit, to enhance the convenience for a broad range of customers including the elderly, families with children, and foreign tourists. At the same time, they are aiming to build an inclusive community that welcomes all, and simultaneously, to contribute to the promotion of Japan as a tourist haven.

The two parties will establish a task force that will meet regularly to discuss how to concretely realize the items listed below.

Overview of the memorandum of understanding (MOU)

  1. Popularize taxis that feature universal design (UD) principles and can easily be used by all.
  2. Draw up vehicle specifications that will enhance the hospitality, safety, and convenience that will help make customers happy, and assess the following points necessary to build other peripheral systems.
    1. Enhancement of advanced safety systems
    2. Enhanced user convenience
    3. Co-operating on providing services in multiple languages
  3. In the Tokyo area, both parties will look at ways to collaborate on the two points mentioned below, in terms of developing and leveraging future automated driving technologies, which will cater to increasingly diversified groups of drivers which includes the elderly and foreigners among others. This has the overall effect of supporting taxi drivers to ease their workload.
    1. Use taxis to collect and analyze of information on the road traffic environment, and apply those results to the development of the Mobility Teammate Concept, which embodies Toyota’s vision of automated driving.
    2. Collaborate on experimental business approaches that make use of the automated driving technology which is derived from using the Mobility Teammate Concept.
  • The Toyota Crown is the Japanese industry’s traditional workhorse.
Residential batteries: the story that doesn’t start or end with Tesla

Residential batteries: the story that doesn’t start or end with Tesla

Tesla is an eye-catching company active in clean energy applications – not only pure electric cars, but also home battery systems, writes Dr. Xiaoxi He, Technology Analyst, IDTechEx. With its launch of Tesla’s Powerwall on April 30, 2015 and every progress update on its Gigafactory’s building, Tesla has continued to fuel interest in home battery systems.

Residential batteries, together with battery applications in commercial, industrial and utilities, are considered to be the next big opportunity in batteries besides electric vehicles. Indeed, this will become a $6bn market by 2026 as predicted by the new IDTechEx Research report ‘Batteries for Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Utility Applications 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Players and Opportunities’ (

On April 30, 2015, Tesla officially launched its residential and commercial/utility-scale energy system products ‘Powerwall’ and ‘Powerpack’ in Los Angeles, with the price well below earlier expectation (the production of 10 kWh Powerwall was stopped due to the relatively low price-performance ratio).

This kind of battery system was not the first approach in the battery systems. As early as 2013, SolarCity already launched an energy storage system called DemandLogic, which was used to reduce businesses’ peak demand, provide backup power during outages and potentially save energy costs. This system also used Tesla battery technology – the same lithium-ion battery packs used in Tesla cars. However, the price of DemandLogic battery system at that time was expensive and was mainly for medium-scale applications.

Tesla always wanted to launch a residential battery storage system that can be accepted by household. The launch of Powerwall could incorporate SolarCity’s plan in residential energy storage. The merge between Tesla and SolarCity further proved it.

In a typical fashion Tesla managed to attract tremendous attention, yet Tesla Energy is neither the first nor the best product of its kind. In fact, in many ways, Tesla is a follower. For example, the German startup Sonnen started to sell residential battery as early as 2011, whilst in the same year in Japan, Sony and Sharp launched their products after the Tohoku earthquake with focused attention on the critical importance of back-up residential energy storage in emergency situations.

Today the residential battery sector is not only being chased by battery makers. Instead, a cross-industry business is taking shape as evidenced by the large number of recent acquisitions, joint-venture and investment. Battery business for consumer electronics has gradually reached a plateau and automotive companies are moving into residential/grid battery areas to de-risk their investment and further reduce battery costs with the help of economies of scale.

The market is therefore fragmented with companies in various areas jumping in such as solar cells integrators, automotive players, cell makers, battery manufacturers, chemical suppliers, trading companies, power utilities, etc. It is obvious residential batteries can generate both economic values that can be monetized and values that are not directly monetized in households and electricity networks. An important consideration is whether they can demonstrate positive economic return based on current price range and value streams, which is a significant factor when predicting the future deployment. Technology is not the major driver, as analyzed in this report. A large number of key questions are answered in the report.

IDTechEx provides independent research, business intelligence and advice to companies across the value chain based on our core research activities and methodologies providing data sought by business leaders, strategists and emerging technology scouts to aid their business decisions.

  • Comparison of current and future residential battery products in the market. Source: IDTechEx Research report ‘Batteries for Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Utility Applications 2016-2026’
Taxelco acquires Taxi Diamond in Montreal

Taxelco acquires Taxi Diamond in Montreal

Taxelco has purchased Taxi Diamond, the biggest taxi fleet in Montreal. This transaction, which combines the strengths of two innovation-focused players, will allow Taxelco to step up its modernization strategy to meet the needs of Montrealers looking for safe, fast, and efficient professional taxi service which is available round the clock everywhere on the island of Montreal.

The complementary service offerings under the Taxelco umbrella will meet the needs of all customer segments across Montreal. Taxi Hochelaga operates in the east-end of Montreal and specializes in paratransit. Taxi Diamond is the biggest taxi fleet available in the central and western areas of the city and is also the leading provider for corporate and institutional clients. Téo Taxi is the first all-electric taxi service in Canada offering a unique experience to users and drivers.

This acquisition will allow Taxelco to implement its ‘know-how’ on a large scale, with 1,720 vehicles offering the same reliable service to Montrealers under three different brands. “A year after acquiring Taxi Hochelaga, and eight months after launching Téo Taxi, we’ve gained key strategic knowledge and learned quite a few lessons,” pointed out Alexandre Taillefer, senior partner at XPND Capital and Taxelco founder. “Through innovative management of our operations, we put customers first while at the same time providing a favorable work environment for our taxi drivers.”

“New technology and better taxi fleet management are the keys to transforming the industry,” said Marc Petit, the CEO of Taxelco. “We want to offer the owner-drivers and independent contractors who work with Taxi Hochelaga and Taxi Diamond a modern, clean, and environmentally friendly fleet so that they can provide Montrealers with consistently top notch service that is safe and efficient.”

Taxi Diamond’s experienced management team will remain in place. Like Taxi Hochelaga, Taxi Diamond will retain its agency model and drivers will continue to be self-employed. Taxi Diamond’s service code will be improved and standardized with Taxelco’s.

“This acquisition unites two companies recognized for their forward-looking approach” said Dominique Roy, the CEO of Taxi Diamond. “Taxi Diamond has always relied on innovation to set itself apart from the competition and it has now one of the best call centers in the industry. We were also the first taxi company to launch a mobile app, equip vehicles with GPS, and accept electronic payments. We are very happy to be joining Taxelco.”

Taxelco was launched by XPND Capital in 2015. It owns Taxi Diamond, Montreal’s leading taxi company, Taxi Hochelaga, and the latest arrival, Téo Taxi, the most innovative player in the taxi business. By electrifying the industry fleet and optimizing the use of information technology, Taxelco seeks to position Montreal as a green and avant-garde urban hub where transportation methods drive economic development and mirror the city’s unique and innovative character.

  • Is Taxelco taking over the entire Montreal taxi industry?
Technology and cars are coming together

Technology and cars are coming together

The line between the technology and automotive industries is blurring. The rise of rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft means that transportation is being tied ever more closely to your cell phone, while autonomous driving technology is turning your car into a computer. But these developments are expensive: Carmakers’ R&D budgets jumped 61 percent, to $137 billion from 2010 to 2014.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne thinks it makes no sense for carmakers to spend billions of dollars developing competing, yet largely identical systems. To share some of the risk—and the cost—the incumbent automotive giants and their would-be disruptors are teaming up in an ever-growing, ever more complex series of alliances.

So Fiat Chrysler, for instance, has paired up with Google to develop 100 self-driving minivans, and is in discussions with Uber about a similar venture. Google has, in turn, invested in Uber, as have Toyota, Microsoft and Tata, owner of Jaguar Land Rover. Bill Ford, chairman of the eponymous carmaker, has meanwhile invested in Lyft, as has General Motors, and Lyft has partnered with China’s Didi, itself the subject of a $1 billion investment from Apple.

Apart from that, GM invested $500 million in Lyft and bought Cruise Automation for $1 billion. Then Uber hired Google’s VP of engineering. Uber hired Ford’s head of electronic systems engineering to become VP of global vehicle programmes. And the list goes on: Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing company, Didi, which partners with Lyft. DriveNow is a joint venture between BMW and Sixt Rent a Car. Daimler founded Car2Go and acquired MyTaxi and RideScout. VW, BMW and Daimler partnered to buy Nokia’s HERE maps. Daimler invested in Blacklane, an app for booking chauffeurs. VW hired the head of Apple’s car project, who previously worked at Daimler. And finally (?) VW invested $300 million in taxi-hailing company, Gett. VW owns a stake in the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

The prize is lucrative, and the carmakers want to ensure that software players don’t win the lion’s share of it. According to a McKinsey-estimate rideshare and onboard-data services could generate an additional $1.5 trillion of annual automotive revenue by 2030, adding to the $5.2 trillion from traditional car sales and services. And it’s attractive for consumers too: It costs an average of $8,558 per year to own a car in the U.S., but each vehicle is used just 4 percent of the time. Ridesharing in an autonomous vehicle could ensure that cars are always in use.

• Chasing the (additional) ride hailing and sharing market: VW and Gett. 

New: Initiative for Smart Mobility in the Karlsruhe Region: PTV partners with Karlsruhe

New: Initiative for Smart Mobility in the Karlsruhe Region: PTV partners with Karlsruhe

At the end of June, Vincent Kobesen, CEO of the PTV Group, and Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup announced closer cooperation for the development of Smart Mobility. The goal is to establish a real-time traffic prediction system for the Karlsruhe Technology Region. This system will help enhance Karlsruhe as the leading Smart City in Germany and market the region and its technologies internationally.

Mobility, entrepreneurship and an openness to innovative concepts have a long tradition in the Karlsruhe Technology Region. On the occasion of the dedication of the modernized PTV building, there was a podium discussion on the topic “The future of mobility in the Karlsruhe region.” CEO Vincent Kobesen informed the audience that PTV will assist the city of Karlsruhe with the development of a modern, real-time traffic information system, prediction software and data platform.

“We want Karlsruhe to become the model example of what is a Smart City. It will also act as an international flagship project. We as PTV Group will invest to support our local region. We will continue to enhance our transport planning and traffic management software and jointly contribute towards establishing a state of the art traffic prediction platform in Karlsruhe’s traffic centre”, explains Kobesen. This includes the integration of real-time data, as well as the product PTV Optima, which will be used to support traffic management in real time.

“We already have agreements from leading data suppliers to supply this flagship project with appropriate traffic information and mobility data. The city will retain responsibility on the traffic management measures that will ultimately be implemented. Kobesen continues, “We stand ready to assist the city in planning measures and simulating their possible effects to encourage smart, real-time decision making”.

Every Smart City needs a smart mobility concept. And both the city and the technology provider PTV Group are extremely well-positioned for this. Now at the newly renovated company’s headquarters on the east side of Karlsruhe, PTV is investing in a new, representative exhibition room called the “Mobility Lab”. In this lab, interested parties from around the world can experience first-hand the new Karlsruhe smart mobility concepts virtually. For clarity, the Karlsruhe city traffic management unit will maintain operational control of the proposed system and actual day-to-day traffic management.

Karlsruhe’s Mayor Frank Mentrup is pleased: “I greatly appreciate the PTV Group’s great commitment to its home town. As a world market leader and with its recognised reputation as an experienced traffic and transport specialist, PTV will help us establish Karlsruhe as the model of a Smart City on the international stage.” The PTV Group’s goal is to go live with the new Karlsruhe real-time traffic prediction platform at the start of 2017.

• PTV partners with Karlsruhe in creating a Smart (Mobility) City. 

Visa says we’re about to see a huge jump in international travel

Visa says we’re about to see a huge jump in international travel

The boom in global travel is driving a huge increase in new tourism infrastructure development, which will make access easier and more affordable to more destinations, especially in emerging markets. But we will point out that the China and Russia numbers feel especially optimistic.


More than 280 million households globally will make at least one international trip per year by 2025, which represents a 35% increase over 2015 figures.

That’s according to a new study published this week by Visa, in conjunction with Oxford Economics. Visa sees about 25 cents of every U.S. retail dollar spent around the world.

Two factors are driving the exponential jump in international travel.

First, the rise of the middle class worldwide is creating new demand in countries where travel was once the privilege of only the elite. Visa is labeling these new consumers as the ‘Traveling Class’ because travel is becoming more and more a lifestyle necessity for them, especially for younger generations. The report states: “Nearly half of all households globally (945 million) will belong to the traveling class by 2025,” adding that half of those will be in what are deemed emerging markets today.


Second, advances in technology and heightened competition in the global tourism marketplace are making international travel more affordable in more markets.

As expected, China tops the list of the 10 countries spending the most on outbound travel, and it also shows the highest increase in total spend projected over the next 10 years, as well. In 2015, Chinese travelers purchased $137 billion worth of travel. That number is expected to reach $255 billion by 2025 — a whopping 86% increase. “As households rise into the middle class, there’s also an uptake of new technology that’s fueling an uptake into new services, which makes it easier than ever before for people to see the world’s travel icons,” said Richard Lung, an economist and senior director with Visa International. “One thing we’re finding that’s interesting, households are not only traveling more, they’re spending more, too.”

By 2025, Visa predicts that average spend for international travel will top $5,300 per household annually in 2015 U.S. dollars. As a result of such a massive increase in worldwide travel, global tourism infrastructure is expanding at an unprecedented rate. Visa reports that somewhere around 340 new airports will come online over the next decade, ostensibly making it easier, faster, and more affordable for people to access more destinations.

Naturally, major economic shocks in the world’s biggest source markets last year are having an uneven dampening effect on international travel. China’s stock market tanked; Russia was hard hit by a steep drop in oil prices; and Brazil is mired in a deep recession. However, while Russian outbound travel dropped 26% and Brazil saw a fall-off of 14% in 2015, Chinese international travel actually increased a few percentage points from an average of 46.6 million trips during the period of 2009-2014 to almost 50 million in 2015.

Lastly, the average age of global travel consumers is moving sharply upward. People over 65 years-old will account for roughly 13% of all international travel by 2015, and part of that will be spurred by demand growth in the medical, health, and wellness tourism sector. “Only a few years ago, medical tourism was a blip in overall global tourism spending,” reads the report. “Today, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to increase by up to 25% per year over the next 10 years.”

Today, the U.S. is the single largest hub for medical tourism, according to cross-border spending data captured by Visa, although “Thailand, Singapore, Germany, Korea, and Spain are quickly catching up.”

  • Medical tourism is expected to grow 25% per year globally over the next 10 years, says Visa.
The truth about working for Deliveroo, Uber and the on-demand economy

The truth about working for Deliveroo, Uber and the on-demand economy

Drivers, couriers, cleaners and handymen are now at your beck and call thanks to a host of apps. But what’s it like to earn your living waiting for someone else to press a button?

It’s the simplicity that is so seductive. Thanks to apps such as Uber or Handy, in a few clicks you can be whisked home by a private driver, to a spotlessly cleaned flat, where your favourite meal is brought to your door. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Deliveroo, the company that delivers restaurant food to your door, is expecting to hit revenues of £130m this year. While every week in London alone, 30,000 people download Uber and book a car for the first time, the firm now valued at $62.5bn.

Supporters argue that this “on demand” economy offers those who choose to work for them the independence and flexibility to fit their work to their lifestyle, or supplement their income from another job. Uber’s UK chief, Jo Bertram, points out: “Over two-thirds of new people signing up to drive with Uber have been referred by an existing partner-driver because they love the freedom and flexibility.” While Deliveroo say they have more than 3,000 riders in the UK – a number that is rising weekly.

But maybe it’s not as simple as it seems: strikes and class actions by workers in the on-demand economy, along with government restrictions, seem to be popping up as quickly as new apps. So what is it really like working in the on-demand world? We asked four people about their experience. Read more…