Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Angkor Wat relocations, travel agents’ beef with American Air, and Aegean Air’s strong earnings.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, March 20. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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American Airlines has opted to withhold 40 percent of its airfares from traditional retail channels on April 3, infuriating travel agents who had vehemently argued the impending removal would hurt business travelers, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Parsons writes the American Society of Travel Advisors pleaded in a letter to American Airlines to push the removal to the end of 2023. The trade group said that many corporate travel agencies and distribution systems would be unable to quickly implement New Distribution Capability, technology that gives airlines more control over airfares. The society also contended that travel agencies’ struggles in using the technology would disrupt the booking process, claims that American Airlines refuted.
Next, Cambodia has made significant investments to improve the visitor experience at Angkor Wat, its most popular tourist attraction. But Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam writes its strategy includes controversially relocating communities near the famous temple complex, moves that threaten their livelihoods.
Habtemariam reports Cambodian officials have relocated nearly 10,000 people as part of its efforts to preserve the temples and maintain its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The Cambodian government has given residents land plots of land far from Angkor Wat in exchange for their relocation. Mark Howard-Archer, an executive at tour operator G Adventures, said the government is using threats to Angkor Wat’s heritage status as a reason to move villages.
Habtemariam notes that many residents of the relocated villages had established businesses to serve visitors to Angkor Wat. Although one local travel executive argued those forced to relocate weren’t being left out to dry, Howarth-Archer said participating in the tourism industry would be a challenge for them. Habtemariam writes that some relocated residents are living roughly 45 minutes away from Angkor Wat by motorbike.
Finally, Greek carrier Aegean Airlines rode its country’s tourism boom to a third consecutive profitable quarter, reports Jay Shabat, Senior Analyst at Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Shabat writes Aegean recorded a 2 percent operating margin in the fourth quarter. That’s a 1 percentage point increase from the same period in 2019. Shabat adds any fourth quarter profit for a Greek airline is considered a victory, with the country’s carriers typically posting losses during the winter. While Athens experienced a slight drop in fourth quarter airport traffic from 2019 levels, major Greek island resorts saw double digit increases from the same timeframe.
Tags: aegean airlines, american airlines, cambodia, skift podcast, southeast asia, travel advisors, travel agents