Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at travelers’ confusion about sustainability, Uganda’s tourism outsourcing, and Soho House’s better numbers.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, August 18 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Travelers have increasingly emphasized a desire to travel sustainably since the start of the pandemic. But there’s widespread confusion about what sustainable travel entails, especially in Asia. Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia reports that’s a significant problem for the travel industry.

Roughly 95 percent of Asian travelers want to travel sustainably, according to a recent Expedia Sustainability Travel Study. However, Asian consumers have said the main barriers to sustainable travel choices are a lack of information and the inability to verify sustainability claims, Bhutia notes. As sustainability has always been a key aspect of successful tourism destination management, she argues industry stakeholders need to share information transparently to make greener travel easier.

Jeremy Tran, the founder of consulting firm Sainha, believes that Asian travelers are willing to go on sustainability-centric trips that align with their values. But he acknowledged that destinations must do more to tell consumers their sustainability values. In addition, Laura Houldsworth, Booking.com’s Asia-Pacific managing director and vice president, said travelers are paying more attention to sustainability measures adopted by travel brands.

We go to Uganda next. The country’s battered tourism industry is seeking financial help from outside its borders to support its recovery, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.

As Habtemariam writes, Uganda’s government lacks the resources to aid its beleaguered tourism industry, the Uganda Tourism Board is calling on private sector bankers to help rescue the sector’s struggling companies. Ugandan tourism officials have said the country would lose out to rival destinations if the sector doesn’t get the funding it needs. But Habtemariam notes financial support for Uganda’s tourism industry could come from overseas. The European Union announced recently — in partnership with the Uganda Development Bank — it would provide $265,000 in grants and loans to eligible tourism businesses.

At least 70 percent of Uganda tourism workers lost their jobs during the pandemic, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.

We end today with a look at the Membership Collective Group’s strong second quarter. The parent company of the Soho House chain of membership clubs reported a record waitlist figure in its earnings call, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

As O’Neill writes that MCG’s decision to raise prices amidst inflation hasn’t deterred interest in membership, the company said its waitlist hit an all-time high of 82,000. MCG’s retention level also hit 95 percent of pre-pandemic figures. In addition, the company reported Soho House membership grew 27 percent from last year’s second quarter.

However, despite recording a roughly 97 percent year-over-year increase in revenue, MCG was still in the red during the period.

Tags: asia monthly, climate change, membership collective, skift podcast, soho house, uganda