Skift Take

With Chinese travelers staying within the country, destinations and tour groups are wooing Indian vacationers. In other top travel stories this week, Klook raised $200 million in funding, Alaska Airlines made commitments to the 737 MAX, and tourism groups can't agree on testing and vaccination policies.

Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including on the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.

Asia Destinations Look to Indian Tourists as Chinese Remain Home: Destinations were counting on China as the Asian market that will drive tourism recovery. Increasingly, however, their attention is shifting to India, which may be smaller than China, but mighty in its own way

Klook Raises $200 Million in Bid to Become a Superapp for Experiences: Klook is winning investor confidence during the pandemic. The online agency is tapping into domestic leisure spending in several Asian markets while aspiring to copy some moves from Chinese superapp Meituan by providing more business-to-business services, too.

The Inside Story of How Alaska Airlines Went All-In on the Returning Boeing 737 Max: Alaska was the first airline to officially throw its support behind Boeing’s beleaguered 737 Max after the jet was ungrounded, with commitments for 36 more aircraft. But it was a long and winding road to that decision with the seed planted in its merger with Virgin America four years earlier.

Dear World Travel Groups, Stop the Mind-Boggling Confusion Over Testing and Vaccines Now: Nearly a year since Covid’s start, the lack of a united front among travel and tourism’s leading organizations and groups continues — this time, with confounding, divergent opinions on vaccine mandates. This fragmented approach is sure to stunt the industry’s pace of recovery.

Airbnb Experiences Is Still a Conundrum With Strategy Lapses: Sell Disneyland tickets or retain its curated Experiences offerings? Things are already beginning to change, but that’s a dilemma for Airbnb as it tries to build a profitable tours and activities business in a rough-and-tumble and highly competitive market.

Marriott Unveils Sheraton’s New $1 Billion-Plus Look — Finally: Sheraton’s long-awaited brand update is finally here, but you’re going to be waiting several years for the new look to roll out fully across its global footprint.

What President Biden Needs to Do to Rebuild the Travel Industry: U.S. Travel Association Recommendations: The U.S. Travel Association just shared its new policy recommendations for a faster tourism recovery: invest in infrastructure and air travel technology, support Brand USA, and avoid imposing travel bans, quarantines, and domestic air travel testing. Ball is in your court, White House, and Congress.

Does Donald Trump Have Any Real Future in the Hotels Business?: After Trump’s departure from the White House, expect the political polarizations and divisiveness to seep back into the former president’s marquee business and future deals. How bad will it be for the bottom line?

Airbnb CEO Dodges Question Over Whether Company Is Overvalued at $113 Billion: Airbnb is smart to focus on its core accommodations’ business, if that is indeed what it is really doing. The company has time to deal with all of the other stuff, from flights to hotels and experiences, once a real-life travel recovery has a pulse.

Airbnb’s Blockbuster IPO May Tempt Barry Diller to Spin Off Vrbo From Expedia One plus one can equal three sometimes when it comes to spinoffs, especially during the current era where there appears to be an IPO and valuation bubble. Expedia Group seems to be resisting an impulse to spin off Vrbo, let alone Egencia, for now, but the pressure could be substantial.

U.S. Airlines Fear ‘Crushing’ Blow From Possible Domestic Travel Testing Requirements: The eagerly awaited recovery in air travel that airlines have talked up may arrive late to the gate if the U.S. mandates negative Covid-19 tests for all domestic air travelers. The potential move could set back recovery efforts underway in the beleaguered industry.


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Tags: airbnb, airlines, china, hotels, india, roundups, tourism

Photo credit: A young Indian lady taking selfie in Singapore's downtown. Destinations are targeting Indian travelers to make up for Chinese tourists, who are staying home. Danon / Adobe Stock Image

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