Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at declining rural tourism, expectations for American Air, and travel carbon footprints.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, February 1. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Tourism to rural destinations had grown significantly in recent years with travelers increasingly eager to visit less-crowded locations. But Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam writes the pandemic-era boom in rural tourism is slowing down, with more Americans looking to travel to less remote destinations.

Habtemariam lists the surging popularity of big cities and the reopening of international travel as major reasons 2022 saw rural tourism gains decline. A recent United Nations World Tourism Organization report attributed Europe’s recovery to pre-pandemic levels to strong American travel demand.

Habtemariam cites Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Lake City, Colorado as rural destinations experiencing a decrease in tourism gains. Jackson Hole saw visitor numbers drop to pre-Covid levels last year after a record 2021 while Lake City projects a drop in its hotel occupancy growth rate for 2022.

Next, American Airlines recently reported it was in the black for 2022, but Contributor Ted Reed argues that CEO Robert Isom needs to accomplish more than profitability to be considered one of the top airline CEOs.

Reed writes that Isom, who has held his current position for 10 months, has to restore American to the prominence it once had in the industry. Henry Harteveldt, the president of market research firm Atmosphere Research Group, praised Isom for making American a more reliable and profitable airplane. But Harteveldt said Isom needs to improve its standing with premium travelers, adding the company has struggled to give members of the lucrative segment compelling reasons to fly with American. Reed notes the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is planning to substantially increase the number of premium seats on its long-haul fleet by 2026.

Harteveldt also urged American to establish a better relationship with its employees, which he described as essential for it to continue operating reliably.

Finally, a growing number of travelers have committed to reducing the carbon footprint of their trips in recent years. How can they do that? Stuart McDonald, the co-founder of travel planning website Travelfish, explains in a guest column for Skift his discoveries from a recent three-week trip in Vietnam.

McDonald tracked the carbon emissions of his transportation, food and accommodation in Vietnam, acknowledging he faced difficulties in gathering figures for those three categories. He said that travelers looking to reduce their vacation-related emissions should, after not flying domestically, avoid five-star hotels, which he described as wrecking balls to the environment.

McDonald also urged travelers to eat less meat, which he noted would help reduce carbon emissions.


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Tags: american airlines, coronavirus recovery, skift podcast, vietnam

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