Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It's Tuesday, March 15, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast explains why Dubai and Maldives are the go-to spots for Russian travelers, the steps Microsoft is taking to curb business travel, and what the new airport hotel looks like.

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Episode Notes

As more and more Western destinations are enacting sanctions against Russia, Russian oligarchs fleeing their homes are seeking what they consider to be friendly terrain. So where are they headed? Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia reports that Dubai and the Maldives have emerged as popular locales for a large number of Russians.

Dubai has attracted many Russians in large part because they’ve found it easy to enter the emirate. A Russian software developer said he chose Dubai because it grants a 90-day visa to arrivals with limited requirements. Russia is the third-largest source market for visitors to Dubai, and several UAE carriers continue to operate flights to many Russian cities.

Meanwhile, the Maldives is also seeing a surge in wealthy visitors from Russia as one former CIA officer said she saw numerous yachts owned by Russian oligarchs headed for the Indian Ocean nation. Russia is the largest source market for visitors to the Maldives with a market share of more than 14 percent.

Next, Microsoft is taking a major step to discourage business travel in its effort to make the planet a much greener place. The technology giant will raise its internal penalty for business travel carbon emissions by close to 600 percent later this year, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

Microsoft currently charges a business travel fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, which will go up to $100 per metric ton in July. The company has said it wants to become carbon negative by 2030, and it believes it will be in a better position to purchase sustainable aviation fuel with money from the increased tax. Microsoft is among a growing number of companies looking to cut their carbon footprint, and Scope 3 emissions — which include those from business travel — often represent the majority of an organization’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

While Parsons writes the move is designed to dissuade staff from traveling for business, he adds it will encourage airlines and hotels to offer more sustainable options. One corporate executive predicts that initiatives like Microsoft’s will move businesses to take measures to reduce climate-related financial risks.

We end today looking at airport hotels. Many of them are still struggling to reach pre-Covid figures due to their reliance on business travel that hasn’t made a complete rebound. However, Contributor Carley Thornell reports the downturn in business travel — as well as the surge in leisure travel demand — has spurred hoteliers to reimagine the concept of an airport hotel.

As Thornell writes that hotel owners are seeking to shed the perception of such properties being simple overnight stops for airline crews and stranded travelers, more new and under-construction airport hotels contain enhanced amenities like rooftop bars, swimming pools and fitness studios. Numerous industry executives have attributed that trend to airport hotels targeting destination travelers instead of those who have been displaced.

Tags: airport hotels, business travel, dubai, maldives, microsoft, russia, skift podcast