Skift Take

This week in tourism news, destination marketing organizations find themselves in a pickle. Should they carry on with promotional campaigns amid growing fears over coronavirus? Also, Skift launches a one-on-one interview series. Founder and CEO Rafat Ali candidly talks with industry leaders on travel's path forward as the world grapples with, and recovers from, the virus crisis.

Tourism News Weekly Roundup

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines tourism trends.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

Promoting Tourism in the Time of Coronavirus Is a No-Win: Tourism marketers are facing somewhat of a conundrum: The optics of tourism campaigns during widespread panic can fall flat, but failing to market low-risk destinations may make a bad problem even worse.

Why Asia Is Still the Future of Travel in a Post-Coronavirus World: Understanding the geopolitics of Asia and how it intersects with the world will make you understand why travel is resilient — and why its center will continue to be in Asia — in a post-coronavirus world.

Are Singapore’s Tourism Players Creating a Model for a Post-Virus World? There’s no fixed playbook in responding to an unprecedented global health crisis like coronavirus, but Singapore is a good one to watch when it comes to crisis management and tourism recovery.

European Tourism Losing More Than $1 Billion a Month From Virus: EU Commissioner: It’s not just Chinese tourists who aren’t visiting Europe anymore. Expect the economic losses to steepen.

Travel Advisors Face Daunting Cruise Business Shake-Up From Coronavirus: The coronavirus is dealing a blow to travel in general, but ship quarantines and other factors may be making cruise especially vulnerable. Travel advisors are scurrying to chart the best way forward for their worried clients.

Cruise Lines Relax Cancellation Policies, Hold the Line on Coronavirus-Related Discounts: While dealt a blow by coronavirus, the cruise industry is managing to hold the line on pricing, at least for now. The long-term impact of the crisis remains to be seen, but the cruise industry has weathered many others in the past.

Nearly 90 Percent of U.S. Travelers Have Yet to Cancel Plans Due to Virus: Skift Research: U.S. travelers are taking a wait-and-see approach to the evolving coronavirus situation, with few canceling just yet. But most American travel happens domestically, and as the virus spreads within the country, that may soon change.

Battered Asia Travel Sector Exits High Season to Regroup for Eventual Recovery: It’s likely to get worse before it gets better for the Asian tourism industry. But forward-thinking players will know to take advantage of the current downtime to meet the pent-up demand for travel once recovery comes — which may not be far off.

Coronavirus Tests Economic Reforms for Travel in Gulf Arab States: Gulf Arab states are feeling the brunt of an economic slowdown as the spread of coronavirus tests years’ worth of reforms. Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have relied on tourism and hospitality sectors to diversify away from oil, but recent travel cancellations and suspensions due to the illness are set to result in significant financial losses.

U.S. to See 6 Percent Drop in International Inbound Travel Over Next 3 Months: There may be scant official guidance saying travelers shouldn’t visit the U.S., but it looks as though coronavirus is resulting in a sharp drop in international arrivals nonetheless.

TUI Will Cut Budgets, Freeze Hiring to Deal With Coronavirus Spread: This seems like a sensible approach from TUI. At the moment, there are just too many unknowns, but it does seem like things will get worse before they get better.

Millennial Parent Travelers Set Themselves Apart From Peers Without Kids: Skift Research: Millennial parents have a lot in common with their generational peers without kids, but they also have some unique travel preferences and values. Their impact on the family travel segment is just beginning.

Travelers Frustrated by Plastic Alternatives Offered by Companies: Reducing plastic waste is just step one. Step two is implementing alternatives to plastic. But how do companies get travelers on board if the alternatives are flawed? Part of the answer lies in forthright communication.

Relaxed Rules on Medicinal Marijuana Could Create a Buzz for Thailand Tourism: Southeast Asia’s biggest changes toward cannabis liberalization continue to unfold in Thailand. Some speculate boom times are ahead for Thailand tourism with medical cannabis now legal. But don’t expect ailing patients to flock there for cannabis treatments anytime soon.

Important Date Changes for Skift Forum Europe and Skift Forum Asia: We’ve decided to move two of our forums to new dates in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Skift Forum Europe will now be held on June 29–30 in Madrid, and Skift Forum Asia in Singapore on Oct. 13–15. We hope you can join us for these seminal travel industry events.


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Tags: tourism, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Bamboo grove forest in Kyoto, Japan. Merchants in Kyoto’s Arashiyama neighborhood — which includes the bamboo forest, a tourist and Instagram hotspot — have created a series of posters depicting the area’s popular tourist attractions as empty. With hashtags that translate to #nopeople and #nowisthetime, it seems intended to encourage travelers to visit despite the perceived risks. vekidd / Adobe

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