Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Looking forward to inflation

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By Tim Kelly

Yoshiharu Hoshino, the president of Hoshino Resort, one of Japan’s leading resort operators, is looking forward to a dose of inflation after years of sliding prices.

By engineering a rise in rates by printing money, he reckons Japan can make a big chunk of its burgeoning national debt disappear, which along with tax hikes is, he predicts, likely the way Japan is going to exit a potential crisis as debt soars to more than twice its gross domestic product.

While having the nasty side affect of making assets worth less tomorrow than today, if, like Hoshino, you borrow money to buy the bricks and mortar of hotels, the plus side is your debt, relative to your cash flow will also get smaller as long as you have low rates locked in.

“It would be a very big plus,” said Hoshino told the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit in Tokyo.  Japan defaulting on its debt is unlikely, he said.

Are the days of flying business and 4-star hotels over for biz travelers?

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Are flying coach and staying at budget hotels the “new normal” for businesspeople who travel for work? If so, what does it mean for airlines, hotels and casinos still trying to recover from the economic downturn? Chris Woronka, Senior Gaming, Lodging and Leisure Analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities shares his thoughts with us on what’s in store for the Travel and Leisure Industry in 2010. Will the industry once again be flying high? Or, will the prospects for a better year ahead get grounded?

2010 Travel and Leisure Industry Outlook

Will the travel & leisure industry bounce back in 2010?

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Be it through optional newspaper delivery, a fee for blankets, or shuttered restaurants, travel and leisure companies have had to trim costs creatively as the recession hurt revenues and profits.  The sector has recently been buoyed by expectations of recovery amid signs that business travel demand is starting to rebound.  But discounted airfares and hotel rates and volatile fuel prices pose challenges to profitability. Room rates at hotels remain under pressure, while casino operators are looking to Asia to spur growth as prime U.S. destinations such as Las Vegas struggle to rebound.  And airlines, which have cut jobs and reduced capacity in the past two years as the economic downturn battered demand, face new security concerns that also could slow recovery.  Executives of some of the world’s biggest and best-known airlines, hotel and casino companies will address these and other issues at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit, to be held in New York from Feb. 22-24.

Welcome to the Travel and Leisure Summit 2009

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The travel and leisure industry is facing its worst downturn since 2001, as the recession eats away at companies’ travel budgets and forces individuals to cancel trips. Airlines are planning a drastic dip in capacity as demand for flights evaporates, and hotels and casinos are doing their best to adapt to the new reality after an unprecedented three-year boom. Already two casino operators have filed for bankruptcy and more may follow.
 
Chief executives of some of the world’s foremost airlines, hotel and casino companies will address the economic challenges and how they plan to survive them at Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit, to be held in New York, on March 2-4, 2009.
 
The Summit will generate a series of exclusive interviews and articles from our team of expert reporters, as well as regular blog postings and online video.

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