Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at the competition to host the World Cup in the U.S., visa wait times to the U.S., and the largest outbound tourism market in the world.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, August 1. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Soccer’s World Cup is coming to North America in 2026, but it’s uncertain where the final of the tournament will be held. Three U.S. cities are jockeying to host the event’s most prestigious match, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Habtemariam writes that Dallas, Los Angeles, and MetLife Stadium in New York City’s New Jersey suburbs are prime contenders to host the final. FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, is expected to announce in September which city will host the match. Travel executives from each city laid out reasons why their city should be chosen. NYC Tourism+Conventions CEO Fred Dixon cited New York City’s passion for soccer as one reason it should host the World Cup final.

Next, the lengthy visa processing times have inhibited U.S. destination marketers’ ability to attract tourists from crucial international markets, writes Global Tourism Reporter Habtemariam.

The average wait time for a U.S. embassy interview for a first-time visitor visa applicant in countries such as India, Brazil and China exceeds 400 days on average, according to the U.S. Travel Association. LA Tourism CEO Adam Burke said those long waits are the biggest issue facing the U.S. tourism industry. NYC Tourism+Conventions CEO Dixon said the city needs to attract travelers who need visas in order to boost tourism. 

Habtemariam notes there are large numbers of travelers with valid visitor visas in many key tourism markets. Burke said there are roughly 5 million people in India with a valid 10-year visa, and Dixon stated there’s a good base of business coming from that segment of travelers. A 2023 Skift Megatrend examined the impact of visa processing delays on the travel industry’s recovery. 

Finally, as international travel continues to recover from the pandemic, Associate Editor Rashaad Jorden turns to Ask Skift, our artificial intelligence chatbot, to find out what’s the world’s largest outbound travel market.

Ask Skift revealed the answer is India, which overtook China as the world’s most populous nation in April of this year. India’s travel industry has been boosted by a growing middle class increasingly eager to venture overseas. India generated Asia’s highest outbound travel volume for the first time in 2022. In addition, international leisure flight bookings from India have jumped 40% for trips between June and August, compared to last year, according to travel software company RateGain. 


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Tags: fifa, india outbound, skift podcast, soccer, u.s. visa, visas, world cup

Photo credit: Aerial view of Sofi stadium in Los Angeles, California. Ron Rering / Flickr

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