Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Russia courting Indian tourists, Accor selling its Paris HQ, and the Faroe Islands’ AI experimentation.
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, September 29. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Russia’s tourism industry has been battered by sanctions levied on the country since its invasion of Ukraine. But Russian tourism executives believe they can make inroads with travelers from India, which is seen to have huge potential for outbound tourism, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
Although the Russian national tourism organization doesn’t have an office in India, Bhutia notes that Russia is taking steps to woo travelers from the country. Tourism representatives from Saint Petersburg and Moscow recently spoke at a major Indian travel travel event to promote Russia as a tourist destination. Russia has plans to launch an electronic visa for travelers from 52 countries, including India. In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed visa-free travel between the two countries in a meeting this month with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bhutia writes that Russia is targeting travelers from countries it considers friendly. An official in Saint Petersburg said the city has seen enormous interest from prospective visitors from India.
We shift next to big news from Accor. The Paris-based hotel group reported on Wednesday it’s planning to sell its headquarters for nearly $450 million, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.
Accor revealed it’s in exclusive talks with London-based property investment firm the Valesco Group to sell its head office. O’Neill writes the sale, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, is part of Accor’s effort to lighten its balance sheet. It also comes as the world is shifting to more remote working. Accor also announced a better than anticipated earnings forecast, projecting the company will break even by the end of 2022 in activities such as sales and marketing.
Finally, the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands has launched an exhibition displaying the archipelago’s landscape through the eyes of prominent artists. It’s the first national gallery to feature an exhibition created by artificial intelligence, reports Editorial Assistant Rashaad Jorden.
The exhibition, which runs from September 29 to October 30, contains 40 images of the Faroe Islands developed by artificial intelligence program Midjourney. It documents how artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso might have depicted the islands’ landscape had they been able to visit the remote destination. Visitors to the gallery will also be able to create their own images of the Faroe Islands using Midjourney.
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