Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at airline CEO confidence, Iceland’s music tourism, and U.S. visa delays for Indian travelers.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, June 9. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Airline executives acknowledged this week they could be in the midst of a recession. But they’re largely unconcerned about an economic downturn impeding the industry’s ongoing recovery, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift publication.

Leaders speaking at a major aviation conference in Istanbul expressed optimism about aviation’s boom continuing. International Air Transport Association Director General Willie Walsh said the airline industry is making progress in terms of profitability. The organization expects to record a more than $22 billion profit this year, a seven-fold increase from its forecast last December.  

However, Russell writes behind those optimistic projections is a turbulent backdrop, citing in particular the stalled corporate travel recovery. Corporate travel revenue has plateaued in the U.S. at between 75 and 80 percent of 2019 levels according to executives from several major U.S. airlines. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby admitted the U.S. is experiencing a business recession. But the company’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella said if airlines are in the middle of a recession, it’s the best recession the industry has ever seen. 

Next, Iceland’s tourism industry is getting a major boost from a new segment of tourists — hardcore music fans. It’s part of the country’s strategy to diversify its visitor base coming out of the pandemic, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Habtemariam reports several recent concerts, including shows by bands such as Wilco and the Disco Biscuits, have helped bring thousands of American travelers to Iceland. An executive at Business Iceland said those concertgoers are the kind of visitors the organization wants, noting they’re eager to explore Iceland beyond Reykjavik and tend to spend a lot of money.

Habtemariam adds that Icelandic officials are looking to take advantage of travelers increasingly seeking nature over urban experiences. The country is building more accommodation outside of Reykjavik. In addition, tour operator Intrepid Travel recently developed a one week camping trip that takes travelers to Iceland’s less crowded locations, including its national parks.

Finally, U.S. legislators are calling on the White House to prioritize reducing the visa waits Indian travelers looking to visit the U.S. have endured, writes Middle East and Asia Reporter Amrita Ghosh in Skift’s India Travel Daily. 

Ghosh writes visa delays are the single biggest impediment to boosting Indian visitor numbers to the U.S. Although the U.S. has made progress in reducing visa wait times at some consulates in India, the average wait was roughly 330 days in early April, according to the U.S. Travel Association. 


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Tags: iata, iceland, india, recession, skift podcast, visas

Photo credit: Passengers inside Dusseldorf's international airport. Skift

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