Savvy marketing, extreme transport and green issues dominated 2009

2009 saw some seismic shifts in transport and tourism, giving us three key trends that dominated the Relaxnews agenda throughout the year.

As the world pulled out of the worst economic downturn in years, brands combined new technology and old-fashioned creativity, devising some of the most ingenious - and successful - campaigns ever seen. New forms of transport debuted around the world, from space travel to the maiden voyage of the world's largest cruise ship to the world's fastest train. And global travellers became increasingly aware of their green purchasing power, prompting companies to respond by offering new products and services that gave us a glimpse of the future of travel.

Savvy marketing

Social Media Comes to Travel
May 6
The global hunt for someone to fill "The Best Job in the World" ended when Britain's Ben Southall won a worldwide contest in May, landing the six-month job as a caretaker snorkelling and sailing round the Great Barrier Reef islands. The campaign used viral marketing to attract thousands of entries from around the world and snared free publicity worth an estimated 110 million Australian dollars ($US 77 million). 2009 also saw more and more companies using Twitter to form relationships with customers - following the lead of US airlines Jetblue and SouthWest, Air France, British Airways, United and Lufthansa all became active this year.

iPhone Hotel Apps
The Travelodge iBooker, launched on March 24, allowed online booking and provides images, information on availability, distance, and price. Other companies quickly followed suit, realizing the value in the GPS capabilities of the iPhone. Throughout the year, Marriott, Hilton and Accor also released apps that enable users to find the closest hotels, check in online, or request extra services.

Outlandish Ideas
2009 saw more headline-grabbing ideas than ever. On February 17, American low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways promised that it would give a full refund to anyone in the US who booked a flight with them and afterwards suffered job loss. Ryanair claimed it was considering a tax on overweight passengers in April and re-introduced "smoking" using smokeless cigarettes on board its planes on September 20. On August 6 German flag carrier Lufthansa promised holidaymakers €20 per day compensation if their summer holiday was washed out and in October Air New Zealand offered a lonelyhearts trip for US singles to New Zealand, billing it as the world's matchmaking flight.

Extreme Transport

Virgin Galactic Spaceliner Unveiled
November 7
Richard Branson unveiled his Virgin Galactic spaceliner for tourists willing to pay 200,000 dollars a ticket, showing off a white port-holed craft suspended under the wings of a mothership dubbed the White Knight. Previewing the roll-out of the Virgin Galactic craft in California's Mojave desert, the British billionaire said he planned to be on its first passenger flight in about 18 months' time with his family and the spaceship's American designer Burt Rutan.

The world's biggest and most expensive cruise ship unveiled
December 1
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas made its four-night maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Labadee, Haiti in early December. The 16-deck ship accommodates up to 6,360 passengers and offers amenities such as rock-climbing, surfing and zip-lining. The €900 million ($1.32 bn) extravaganza also features a wooded Central Park and an "Aquatheatre" that doubles as a swimming pool by day, whilst hosting acrobatics, synchronized swimming, water ballet and fountain shows by night.

The world's fastest and longest passenger link unveiled
December 26
One of the world's fastest passenger links, the Wuhan-Guangzhou CRT (High Speed Chinese rail) line stretches for 1068 km through three provinces, running at speeds of 350 kilometres per hour (220 miles per hour). The link shortens the travel time from over 10 hours to under 3 hours.

Green Issues

New report reveals global ethical tourism destinations
December 5
Ten destinations were highlighted for 2009, with particular praise given to Ghana, a new entry on the list, for an impressive commitment to genuine democracy. The authors also singled out Suriname for sincere efforts towards ecotourism and environmental developments. Other destinations included Argentina, Belize, Chile, Lithuania, Namibia, Poland, Seychelles and South Africa.

Airline Biofuels Take Off
Continental Airlines announced June 17 the results of their January 7 biofuel demonstration flight, revealing that the biofuel blend performed as well or better than traditional jet fuel while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 60 to 80 percent, when compared with traditional jet fuel. On November 23, a KLM Boeing 747, one of four engines powered by a 50-percent biokerosene mix, circled the Netherlands for an hour in what the airline called the world's first passenger flight using biofuel. On October 23 The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it would approve biofuels for commercial flights by 2010 in a bid to drastically reduce the industry's carbon footprint. IATA estimated aviation biofuel could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent "on a full carbon life-cycle basis" and that it would save 600 kilogrammes (176 pounds) of emissions per flight on a Boeing 747-400 plane.


Electric Cars Become Reality
On September 7, French automaker Peugeot and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi unveiled the Peugeot Ion, which was on display for the first time and will be made available at the end of 2010. Hyundai debuted its i10 EV at Frankfurt, which will go on sale in South Korea in the second half of 2010. Tesla also unveiled its all-electric Roadster Sport in September, currently the only all-electric sportscar, with the first deliveries scheduled for June 2010. On November 9 General Motors stated that its Cadillac Converj EV luxury compact has been green-lighted for production, adding to the Chevrolet Volt slated for widespread US release in late 2010. Toyota announced December 14 that it intends to introduce plug-in versions of its popular Prius model into the United States, Japan and Europe in the first half of 2010 ahead of a mass rollout within two years.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London