Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the U.S.’s inbound visa backlog, TripAction’s rebranding, and Hawaiian Air’s earnings.
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, February 2. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta urged the U.S. government on Wednesday to immediately cut the lengthy waits for visitor visas that he argues are hurting the country’s economy, reports Senior Hospitality Sean O’Neill.
Nassetta, also the incoming national chair of the U.S. Travel Association, said at a press conference that reducing those waits is crucial to attracting international visitors as well as boosting revenue for the government. The organization recently projected that between 2 and 6 million people may be unable to visit the U.S. this year despite applying to do so. O’Neill writes that wait times at several consulates and embassies run in the hundreds of days.
Meanwhile, Nassetta is also pushing for the U.S. government to reform its air control system to help prevent a repeat of the outage that grounded more than 11,000 flights in mid-January.
Next, corporate travel agency TripActions is rebranding. The company will be known as Navan effective February 7, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
The move comes after TripActions filed a trademark last August for the name Navan, which the company initially said was not indicative of a rebrand. While it’s unclear why TripActions is rebranding, Parsons writes it’s looking for a fresh start as corporate travel continues its recovery. TripActions announced last October it raised $300 million, funding it said would help accelerate expansion.
Finally, Hawaiian Airlines recorded a $240 million net loss for all of 2022. Contributor Sherry Sun reports that’s largely because of the absence of Japanese travelers, a key market for the company.
Although Japan recently reopened for international travel, Sun writes it’s uncertain when Hawaiian will see the large-scale return of Japanese travelers. She cites the weak yen and Japan heavily promoting domestic tourism as factors in their slow return to Hawaii. In addition, Hawaiian CEO Peter Ingram acknowledged that Japanese travelers have generally been cautious about going overseas due to concerns about Covid.
However, the company saw its total passenger revenue from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii jump nearly 30 percent in 2022 from pre-Covid levels.
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