Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Hong Kong’s quarantine relaxation, Group’s earnings, and the touristic pull of summer music festivals.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, September 26. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Airlines are rushing to take advantage of pent-up demand for travel to Hong Kong, with the territory ending its mandatory three-day hotel quarantine for visitors on Monday. Cathay Pacific Airways and British Airways are adding flights to Hong Kong to their schedules, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, announced it’s adding flights to both long-haul and Asian destinations, including a return to Tokyo Haneda Airport on November 1. Japan is restoring visa-free entry for independent travelers from October 11. Meanwhile, British Airways will resume flights from London Heathrow Airport to Hong Kong on December 5. The carrier suspended service in December 2021 after the territory reintroduced strict travel restrictions due to the Omicron surge.

Although Cathay Pacific said the easing of entry rules would spur travel to Hong Kong, Russell writes the damage to the territory’s status as a major aviation hub may already be done. American Airlines and Virgin Australia, among other carriers, have announced they don’t intend to return to Hong Kong for the foreseeable future.

Next, amid recent struggles for domestic tourism in China due to surging Covid cases and extensive travel restrictions, Shanghai-based online travel giant Group rode increased revenue from its international brands to a profitable second quarter, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. Group reported in its recent second quarter earnings call that revenue from its key international brands rose more than 200 percent from the same period last year. Schaal writes that those brands are online travel agency and travel metasearch engine Skyscanner. and Skyscanner were responsible for between 20 and 30 percent of the Group’s total revenue for the timeframe. Group posted a $6 million profit in the second quarter compared to a $95 million loss a year earlier.

Finally, the return of major music festivals this summer boosted the tourism recovery of destinations home to those popular events, reports Contributor Paula Krizanovic.

Krizanovic cited Jamaica as a destination getting a significant tourism boost from the return of a major festival. Tourism Minister Edmund Barlett credited the 2022 edition of Reggae Sumfest, the Caribbean’s largest music festival, for helping Jamaica set a record for tourist arrivals in a single summer. Barlett described the success of the July event as a testament to travel’s return.

Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro has also seen its tourism rebound accelerated by the return of a huge music event. The sold out Rock in Rio festival this month attracted visitors from all of Brazil’s states and 31 countries. Roughly 60 percent of its 700,000 attendees came from outside of the city.


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Tags: coronavirus recovery, hong kong, music festivals, skift podcast, group

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