You may have been on holiday, but plenty of people have been working. Here’s a quick wrap of the map local and international travel stories that have broken over the holiday season…

  • Expedia has agreed to buy 61.6% of trivago, a leading German accommodation search site for €477 million in cash and shares.  trivago searches for accommodation deals across 140 booking sites in over 30 countries and expects to generate around €100 million in net revenue for 2012.
  • Year end reports suggest that 2012 was a huge year for tourism in Indonesia (more than 8m visitors), Thailand (15% year on year increase to more than 21m visitors) and Hawaii (7.9m visitors expected).
  • But things not so good at the Greek National Tourism Organisation, where Travel Daily reports that five staff have been arrested over suspicion of fraud after a former advisor attempted cash a forged cheque for €147,000. And then there’s the matter of a €12m hole in its accounts.
  • Dan Lynn has left AirAsia Expedia, the joint venture between AirAsia and the Expedia group, and will be replaced as CEO by Kathleen Tan. The circumstances of Mr Lynn’s departure are unclear. Reading between the lines it could be that AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes wanted his own person leading the company. Ms Tan is a long-term favourite of Mr Fernandes and has been with the carrier since 2004.
  • Australians spent $12 billion shopping online in the 12 months to the end of November – a 27% increase over the previous 12 months, according to the National Australia Bank Retail Sales Index, which also estimates that online retail now comprises 5.7% of all retail sales.
  • Further confirmation that India’s hotel industry is struggling with TTG Asia reporting that room rates are down between 10% – 20% due to an increase in supply and a tough economy.
  • Asia’s hotel investment market is buoyant – with ‘buy’ sentiment at its highest since 2008, says Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. “Investor appetite is strongest for Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Auckland, Osaka and Tokyo.” Bali is favoured as the best destination for new build properties.
  • Tourism Australia says it now has million Facebook fans, making it the world’s most popular tourism destination page. TA also claims it is the most followed destination on Google+ and Instagram.
  •, which is backed by a number of major travel companies including Expedia and Kayak, has had its claims that Google is manipulating search results to its own advantage dismissed by the US Federal Trade Commission. The Wall Street Journal commented that the decision essentially upholds Google’s central argument that its innovations benefited users.
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