Skift Take

We are not going to go as far as the part-of-the-problem or part-of-the-solution juxtaposition. But travel companies can decide whether to play it safe or get involved when it comes to atrocities and misguided policies breaking out all around. That's the debate and the dilemma.

Can the travel industry hum along merrily on its way while social and political disruptions tormenting its customers and others come to the fore all around?

Skift says the angst swirling around us creates a state of Permanxiety.

“And Permanxiety doesn’t exist in a vacuum: Marry it to the hyper-connectivity we have these days, and then weaponized with the social platforms, and you have the perfect recipe for a permanent frenzy around the world …

“This is what the state of the world is today. This is the crucible travel exists in today. Travel is where these Permanxieties show up in concentrated form.”

Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali was talking about the state of the world — and the travel industry’s role in it — at Skift Global Forum in New York City in September.

“Permanxiety, he said, “is this elevated state of ever-present anxiety in the world now,” adding “this Permanxiety is the new sociological condition we live with.”

You can watch the entire speech, which also provides background about Skift, above. Or consider reading more coverage of the Skift Global Forum.

Skift journalists prodded travel industry CEOs to address these issues throughout the Forum. There were wide-ranging views.

While TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer condemned President Trump’s travel bans and refugee policies, Marriott boss Arne Sorenson said the chain couldn’t stand in the way of an anti-Muslim hate group conducting an event at one of its properties in Arlington, Virginia.

Sorenson, though, has called out Trump for the negative impact of his travel bans, and has been a backer of LGBT rights.

“At airports, on airlines, bans, all kinds of bans, including laptops and humans, symbolic attacks on landmarks, extreme weather … play havoc with travel,” Ali said in a speech that kicked off the Forum.

“So what is travel’s role in this Permanxiety world? We can’t just be an antidote, though that’s how we’ve always marketed ourselves to the world,” he said. “Can we continue to market ourselves as the sensory deprivation cocoons?

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this, as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.


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Tags: permanxiety, sgf2017, skift global forum, travel bans, trump, video

Photo credit: Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali opened up Skift Global Forum 2017 in Manhattan on September 26. Skift

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