Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at global airline traffic, Thailand’s Russian influx, and Peru’s conflict toll.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, January 10, and here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Global airline passenger traffic has struggled to make a complete recovery largely due to China’s travel curbs enacted early during the pandemic. New data reveals worldwide passenger traffic in November only hit 75 percent of pre-Covid levels, reports Jay Shabat, senior analyst from Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Shabat writes that China, which only recently fully reopened its borders to international flights, loomed large over the figures revealed by the International Air Transport Association. Airlines based in the larger Asia-Pacific region, including China, barely saw airline traffic reach half of November 2019 levels. Latin American airline traffic was down 8 percentage points from pre-Covid levels while North America recorded a 3 percentage point drop.
The aviation industry’s global trade group is urging governments not to implement Covid testing requirements for inbound Chinese travelers, arguing that reintroducing testing for visitors from China will do little to contain the spread of Covid. However, dozens of countries have recently imposed new restrictions on Chinese travelers.
Next, tourism businesses in Thailand are still having a hard time recovering from the pandemic. So the arrival of large numbers of Russian tourists — limited in travel options due to countries worldwide closing their airspace to Russian airlines — has been a godsend for Thailand’s travel industry, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
As one innkeeper said Russian visitors have helped rejuvenate establishments battered by Covid, Bhutia writes the resumption of direct flights from Russia to Thailand has contributed significantly to boosting Russian visitation. Russian arrivals in Thailand increased sevenfold from September to November last year. Russia also represented Thailand’s third largest source market for tourism arrivals, after Malaysia and India, in November.
Thailand is expecting the surge in Russian tourists to continue into 2023. The Southeast Asian nation anticipates more than 1 million visitors from Russia this year, just short of the 2019 figure of 1.5 million.
We end today in Peru. The South American country has seen its tourism recovery upended by civil unrest and violent protests that started in December, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
Peru’s ongoing political crisis — during which President Pedro Castillo was removed from office — is delivering an enormous blow to the country’s tourism industry, Habtemariam writes. Large-scale protests in December blocked roads, bridges and railways in much of the country and caused five airports to be temporarily closed. Up to 60 percent of travel bookings to Peru for the first half of 2023 have been canceled since the start of the protests, which one Peruvian official estimates have cost the country $450 million of tourism income.
Habtemariam notes protesters have targeted tourist hotspots, such as Machu Picchu, to seek international attention and undermine the government. Roughly 300 tourists were stranded in a town near Machu Picchu in mid-December after protests caused the closure of the local train line and roads.
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