Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Hyatt’s strong second quarter earnings, Thailand’s gamble on gaming, and the attraction of digital nomads.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, August 10 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Hyatt is historically known for appealing to business travelers, but it was record leisure demand that drove its strong second quarter, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.
Hyatt reported during its second quarter earnings call on Tuesday that leisure travelers generated 54 percent of its revenue. The Chicago-based company also saw second quarter revenue from leisure travelers jump 19 percent from the same period in 2019. In addition, Hyatt said that its revenue per available room — a key hotel industry metric — surpassed pre-pandemic levels in July worldwide, excluding China.
However, business travel is rebounding for Hyatt at a slower pace, with business trip bookings hitting 80 percent of pre-Covid figures in the second quarter. But CEO and President Mark Hoplamazian expressed optimism that a possible recession wouldn’t stunt the company’s recovery.
Next, Thailand is pulling out all stops to ensure it remains Southeast Asia’s number one tourism destination. The country is looking to legalize casinos in an effort to lure tourists back, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
A group of Thai lawmakers are calling on the government to amend Thailand’s Gambling Act of 1935. Despite prohibiting most types of betting, the act has a provision allowing the government to issue licenses for certain gaming activities and venues. Bhutia writes Thailand has an opportunity to attract tourists unable to visit the Chinese territory Macau, Asia’s casino capital, due to China’s strict travel restrictions.
Thailand may pin its hopes on luring Chinese travelers to casinos, Bhutia adds. However, Gary Bowerman, director of travel research firm Check-in Asia, doesn’t believe it’s certain that Thailand can attract the visitors who supported Macau’s casino sector. In addition to Chinese travelers still being largely prohibited from leaving the country, Beijing has issued statements prohibiting its citizens from gambling overseas.
Finally, more destinations worldwide are targeting members of the growing digital nomad market, but not simply to increase visitor numbers. Contributor Paula Krizanovic writes they’re doing so because they see digital nomads as visitors who’ll be more invested in local communities.
Indonesia is one such destination, having recently unveiled plans for a special five-year visa for remote workers. Indonesian officials believe digital nomads are more committed to sustainability than tourists coming mainly for a beach vacation, Krizanovic notes.
Meanwhile, Olga Hannonen, a University of Eastern Finland-based researcher, believes efforts to lure digital nomads will pay dividends for countries even if they don’t attract the desired visitors. Italy, in its attempt to attract remote workers, has invested more than $1 billion to improve the country’s infrastructure and access to high-speed internet in rural areas.
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