Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at tourism recovery across the world, huge airplane orders in India, and an expanding boutique hotel brand.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, June 21. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

The global travel industry is making consistent progress in its recovery from the pandemic. Skift Research’s Travel Health Index for May 2023 projects the industry’s travel performance will soon surpass 2019 levels

Research Analyst Saniya Zanpure reports the Index’s average global score in May hit 100 percent of pre-Covid levels, 2 percentage points higher than the previous month. Although that’s a 1 percentage point drop from April, Zanpure notes all regions except Europe have made a full recovery. And Europe is close to a complete rebound at 98 percent of 2019 levels. 

Fourteen out of the 22 destinations Skift Research has tracked have made complete recoveries from the pandemic. Zanpure adds Skift Research expects the others to do so soon, with the exception of Russia and Hong Kong.  

Next, Indian airlines are continuing their massive aircraft ordering spree, with the country’s largest carrier IndiGo picking up 500 Airbus jets this week. But those huge orders present a big risk for Indian airlines eager to expand internationally, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a publication.  

IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers said the order reaffirms the country’s confidence in an aviation boom in India, optimism that Russell writes is warranted. Elbers told Airline Weekly earlier this month that IndiGo would double in size by the end of the decade. However, Russell notes that numerous airlines have failed to tap the Indian market’s enormous potential, adding that infrastructure constraints are a persistent challenge. In addition, aviation data firm IBA has questioned whether the Indian market can accommodate the growing number of aircraft. 

Meanwhile, Elbers has outlined a three-part internationalization plan that includes new destinations and partnerships. Russell writes IndiGo will serve more international destinations by the end of the summer than it did before the pandemic. 

We end today with a look at the Urban Cowboy brand of boutique hotels, which Contributor Leslie Barrie says is looking to maintain a sense of community even while it expands. 

Urban Cowboy co-founder Lyon Porter admitted he didn’t have a real plan when the company opened his first hotel in Brooklyn in 2014. But Barrie writes Porter and fellow co-founder Jersey Banks have found their groove in building communal environments for “magical moments.” Urban Cowboy’s property in the Catskills in Upstate New York offers activities such as ax throwing and mushroom foraging. In addition, the brand’s Dive Motel in Nashville frequently hosts parties. 


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India is booming. Discover the subcontinent’s most important travel news here every Tuesday-Thursday.

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Tags: boutique hotels, coronavirus recovery, india, indigo, indigo airlines, skift podcast, skift research, skift travel health index, travel recovery

Photo credit: Tourists near St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. Skift

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