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The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress

January 23, 2015 Comments off

The creative wealth of nations : how the performing arts can advance development and human progress (PDF)
Source: World Bank

Cultural activities are increasingly noted as drivers of meaningful development. But they have yet to gain a prominent place in the architecture of development strategy. The performing arts, discussed here, exhibit direct effects on social progress and economic growth through trade in music, movies, and temporary work permits for artists, for example. Indirect contributions may also include environmental stewardship, tourism, nation branding, social inclusion, cultural democracy, and shifting cultural behaviors. These direct and indirect contributions are not well documented. As such, how is the creative or cultural sector a crucial part of the wealth of nations, and how could the World Bank Group better leverage the performing arts in its development strategy? This discussion provides a broad snapshot, from arts education, to social inclusion, to international trade in services. Key constraints include: the paucity of data and the difficulty of measuring cultural activities, the challenge of intellectual property, and the unclear benefits of cultural tourism. Part I sets the stage. Part II then provides policy options to foster the performing arts as a promising engine for development. Suggestions include: 1. expanding direct involvement in artistic projects, 2. increa sing the use of performing arts to address social issues, 3. collecting data, 4. promoting intellectual property training programs, 5. supporting digital platforms in the developing world that advance indigenous music, and 6. funding studies on such areas as cultural tourism. Progress still needs to be made in the discussion of the diverse ways that the performing arts can contribute to meaningful development.

A $15 U.S. Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs

January 23, 2015 Comments off

A $15 U.S. Minimum Wage: How the Fast-Food Industry Could Adjust Without Shedding Jobs
Source: Political Economy Research Institute

This paper considers the extent to which U.S. fast-food businesses could adjust to an increase in the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 per hour to $15 an hour without having to resort to reducing their workforces. We consider this issue through a set of simple illustrative exercises, whereby the U.S. raises the federal minimum wage in two steps over four years, first to $10.50 within one year, then to $15 after three more years. We conclude that the fast-food industry could absorb the increase in its overall wage bill without resorting to cuts in their employment levels at any point over this four-year adjustment period. Rather, we find that the fast-food industry could fully absorb these wage bill increases through a combination of turnover reductions; trend increases in sales growth; and modest annual price increases over the four-year period. Working from the relevant existing literature, our results are based on a set of reasonable assumptions on fast-food turnover rates; the price elasticity of demand within the fast-food industry; and the underlying trend for sales growth in the industry. We also show that fast-food firms would not need to lower their average profit rate during this adjustment period. Nor would the fast-food firms need to reallocate funds generated by revenues away from any other area of their overall operations, such as marketing.

Menu Labeling Imparts New Information About the Calorie Content of Restaurant Foods

January 19, 2015 Comments off

Menu Labeling Imparts New Information About the Calorie Content of Restaurant Foods
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Menus with calorie information allow U.S. consumers to fine-tune their food choices at restaurants, even consumers with a substantial level of nutrition knowledge.

Casual Dining: How Brands Can Pivot from Irrelevance to Growth

January 2, 2015 Comments off

Casual Dining: How Brands Can Pivot from Irrelevance to Growth
Source: Boston Consulting Group

A rising tide lifts all boats. A falling tide can just as easily beach them. For many companies in the casual dining restaurant (CDR) segment, current declining market shares, shrinking margins, and dwindling shareholder returns reflect familiar cyclical patterns that have long affected brands in this segment as well as other major dining segments. Changing consumer demographics and the continuing evolution of dining trends suggest that the tide for most CDR brands will continue to recede.

It’s premature, however, to write off the CDR segment as having lost its relevance. Consumers choose brands and experiences, not industry dining segments. There will always be brands that shrewdly navigate through shifting industry currents, attracting customers and retaining their loyalty—and doing so better than the competition. The leaders devise strategies to clarify or adjust (or occasionally reinvent) their brand experience in response to changing consumer preferences and needs.

This report examines the current trends affecting the U.S. CDR segment and the steps that CDR brands can take to remain relevant to consumers.

The Economic Benefits from Air Transport in the UK

December 16, 2014 Comments off

The Economic Benefits from Air Transport in the UK
Source: Oxford Economics

This study, commissioned by leading players from the aviation and tourism sectors and published at the Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body for UK airports, on 10 November, shows that all three elements of the sector made a significant contribution to the UK economy.

It brings together data for airlines, airports and other ground-based infrastructure and aerospace manufacturing. It shows that aviation provides substantial economic benefits to the UK economy and its citizens, some of which are unique and essential to the operation of a modern economy.

Free registration required.

Seventy-Five Percent of Airport Restaurants Offer Healthful Meals, According to 2014 Airport Food Review

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Seventy-Five Percent of Airport Restaurants Offer Healthful Meals, According to 2014 Airport Food Review
Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Here’s a helpful tip for holiday travelers: 75 percent of restaurants at 23 of the nation’s busiest airports offer at least one cholesterol-free, plant-based, fiber-packed meal, according to a new report from registered dietitians at the nonprofit Physicians Committee.

Baltimore/Washington Airport ties with Newark Liberty for the most improved airport this year and takes the lead with 92 percent of its restaurants offering nutritious fare. Seattle-Tacoma International and Los Angeles International follow close behind with a score of 90 and 88 percent, respectively. Even though Atlanta comes in last, roughly half of its airport eateries are moving vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to the center of the plate.

Census Bureau Releases Industry Series Report on Accommodation and Food Services Sector

December 5, 2014 Comments off

Census Bureau Releases Industry Series Report on Accommodation and Food Services Sector
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau today released additional national-level data from the 2012 Economic Census Industry Series reports for the accommodation and food services sector of the economy. This release includes new statistics on the nation’s 63,896 accommodation businesses (NAICS 721), which reported sales of $195.4 billion and employed nearly 2.0 million people in 2012.

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