Hilton Group Plc, owner of the Hilton hotel chain outside the US, expects online sales to rise to 20 percent of revenue by 2007 from the present 3 percent as it steals customers from Internet travel agencies. \nThe London-based company is spending ?8 million (US$13.2 million) on creating eight new local Web sites to let customers in countries such as Germany and Japan to book rooms in their own language, said Tim Davis, a Hilton vice president. \nHilton, which posted a 25 percent decline in pretax profit in the first four months of this year, is investing in Web sites to tap demand from consumers who are increasingly using the Internet, rather than travel agencies, to book flights and hotel rooms. \nHilton wants to draw customers Expedia Inc and Lastminute.com Plc. \n"Today, online third-party distributors have roughly half of all bookings made online," Davis, Hilton's senior vice president for e-commerce, said in an interview. "Researchers are predicting that in five years, there will be a 1 percent shift in favor of hotel brand Web sites." Hilton, which operates hotels in 78 countries, now shares an Internet site with Hilton Hotels Corp, the owner of US hotels such as the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. \nThe Web site generated about US$1 billion in revenue last year, Davis said. \nWhile Beverly Hills, California-based Hilton Hotels also books rooms through Internet travel agencies such as Expedia, Hilton Group sells less than 1 percent of its rooms via such Web sites. \nHilton sells rooms using reservation systems such as WorldRes.com Inc and Dallas-based TravelWeb LLC, which was formed last year by Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Corp, Marriott International Inc, the former Six Continents Plc, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc and Pegasus Solutions Inc to streamline the booking process for online travel sites. \nConsumers are searching the Internet for the cheapest hotel prices as demand for travel remains subdued in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq, the outbreak of the so-called SARS virus in Asia and Canada, and sluggish economic growth. \nExpedia, the world's biggest Internet travel agency, said last month that first-quarter earnings jumped more than fourfold. Chief executive officer Erik Blachford predicted earlier this month that online bookings will continue to climb as consumers compare prices on the Internet. \n"Clearly third-party distributors have their place and they won't disappear," Davis said. "But if the best prices are to be had on our own Web site, then that's an attraction for customers."
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit