Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at Chinese tourists in the Middle East, reinvention in ground transport, and Hopper's rise as a mobile OTA.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, May 31. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Destinations across the Middle East are poised to get a major tourism boost from China — or more specifically, China’s wealthiest citizens, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia in this week’s Middle East Travel Roundup. 

More than 20 percent of Chinese millionaires plan to visit the Middle East in the next year, according to a recent report from luxury consulting firm Agility. Bhutia writes Middle Eastern destinations have been wooing Chinese travelers ever since Beijing resumed outbound group tours for its citizens on February 6. Dubai has launched a “China Ready” strategy and run campaigns in the country. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has included China in its e-visa program as part of its aim to attract 4 million Chinese visitors annually by 2030. 

Next, the ground transport sector worldwide has struggled to innovate in recent years, with many bus and train companies still forcing travelers to use paper tickets, for example. However, a growing number of companies are working to modernize the industry, writes Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes.

Dawes highlights three companies helping ground transport operators digitize operations. Nairobi, Kenya-based startup BuuPass provides software to long-distance bus operators that enables them to track sales and sell tickets digitally. BuuPass co-founder Sonia Kabra said before using its software, some customers had been losing up to $3,000 daily because of manual tracking. 

In addition, Dawes profiles Omio, a Berlin-based ground transport ticketing platform that is working to simplify the booking process for travelers. Omio enables digital ticketing for more than 1,000 transportation providers, mostly trains, buses and cars. The company is also looking to provide ground transport ticketing data to travel sellers like online travel agencies. 

We end today with a look at one of North America’s fastest growing online travel agencies, Hopper. Skift Research examined the rise of Hopper in its latest report, which features interviews with company executives. 

Senior Research Analyst Pranavi Agarwal writes that Skift Research takes a deep look into how Hopper has distinguished itself from its rivals as well as the factors behind its enormous boom. It became the most downloaded travel app in the U.S. in 2021. The report includes figures such as Hopper’s gross bookings and revenue in addition to Skift Research’s projections for Hopper’s growth. As Hopper is a private company, Agarwal notes much of the data presented in the report hadn’t been published in such detail before. 


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Tags: bus, china outbound, hopper, middle east, rail travel, skift podcast, skift research

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