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Good morning from Skift. It's Monday, April 4, 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

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses the improving employment numbers at U.S. hotels last month, Thailand’s tourism strategy, and Delta’s loyalty gift to leisure travelers.

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Episode Notes

U.S. hotels recorded solid job growth numbers in March, but industry executives are still grappling with a labor shortage amidst an expected boom in summer travel, writes Contributor May Ann Ha.

The accommodation sector added 23,000 jobs last month, according to the U.S. jobs report released on Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels, represented about a quarter of the roughly 430,000 jobs the U.S. added in March.

However, employment in the sector is still down close to 9 percent from February 2020, and the hotel industry will likely struggle to hire enough workers in time for the busy summer season. David Leser, CEO of consulting firm LW Hospitality Advisors, said he doesn’t see the challenges hotels face going away anytime soon.

We go to Southeast Asia next. The region’s tourism industry received a major boost when countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam reopened in recent months to fully vaccinated international travelers with no quarantine requirements. However, Thailand — its most popular tourist destination — is taking a cautious approach in reopening that could hurt its recovery, writes Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Foreign visitors arriving in Thailand under any of the country’s three entry schemes will be allowed to enter without proof of a negative PCR test from April 1. However, all arrivals must have musical insurance covering health costs over $20,000 and register for the online Thailand Pass, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, visitors are required to take a Covid test on the first and fifth days of their stay in the country.

Those Covid protocols could deter some travelers from visiting Thailand. A Tourism Council of Thailand poll of 200 international travelers this year found that 71 percent of respondents found the process around the PCR tests on arrival cumbersome.

We end today with Delta Air Lines. The Atlanta-based carrier has made a tweak to its mileage program to provide more benefits to leisure travelers, who were instrumental in its rebound, reports Contributor Ted Reed.

Delta announced last week that it would remain the only U.S. carrier to grant status to travelers paying for flights with accumulated miles, making permanent a policy it introduced during the pandemic. Prashant Sharma, Delta’s vice president of loyalty, said the company extended the policy to reward leisure travelers who contributed mightily to its recovery by using miles. The extension took effect on March 31.

The airline also announced that it would remove its limit of 75,000 accumulated miles on one flight, a change that only pertains to a small number of travelers flying first class on long-haul international flights.

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Tags: labor, skift podcast