Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Airbnb’s reinvigorated experiences, Potato Head’s sustainability, and Ukraine’s resilience.
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, September 22. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
The leader of Ukraine’s tourism agency delivered an emotional message of hope on Wednesday at the Skift Global Forum in New York. Mariana Oleskiv, chairperson of the State Agency of Tourism Development of Ukraine, vowed not to let the damage to her industry delivered by the Russian invasion of her country to deter efforts to rebuild tourism.
Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia writes that Oleskiv said that domestic tourism in the country has already hit 50 percent of pre-war numbers. Oleskiv cited Crimea, a region currently occupied by Russia, as a destination that could spark Ukraine’s tourism recovery. Ukrainian tourism authorities have plans to transform Crimea into a year-round tourist resort. She received a standing ovation after her presentation from the attendees at the forum.
Next, Airbnb is emphasizing developing travel experiences for the growing number of people working from home, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said, in discussion with Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali at Skift Global Forum on Wednesday, that the travel industry is poised to enter a golden age, with workers glued to computer screens eager to seek new experiences from traveling. Chesky, who believes roughly half of U.S. workers could eventually work from home, stated such employees are looking to get out of the house and make human connections.
He predicted that travelers would seek out destinations other than major cities such as Paris and Rome. Chesky added that travel to cities, although strong, hasn’t — and probably won’t — return to pre-pandemic levels.
Finally, Indonesian-based hospitality brand Potato Head believes it’s successfully balancing providing quality experiences for guests and maintaining a commitment to sustainability, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
Potato Head founder Ronald Akili said in a discussion with On Experience Columnist Colin Nagy at Skift Global Forum on Wednesday that everything has to be a balance. Akili noted a key tenet of Potato Head’s lifestyle brand is duality, a belief that comes from the culture of Bali. He said that music, design and wellness all come together on the Indonesian island, with Potato Head providing guests opportunities for activities such as mediation and live music. In addition, the brand works with community stakeholders on projects centered around sustainability, including reducing the waste it puts into landfills annually.
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