Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast examines Israel's tourism shutdown, the end of Airbnb Plus, and Puerto Rico's new marketing campaign.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, October 10. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Israel had high hopes this year for its tourism sector this year as it sought to surpass 2019 visitor numbers. But Hamas’ surprise attack on the country, which has led to at least 1,000 deaths, has completely halted Israel’s tourism industry, writes Middle East Reporter Josh Corder and Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
Corder and Bhutia report that major airlines worldwide, including American Airlines and Air India, have stopped routes to Israel. Meanwhile, several governments, such as the U.S., have issued “Do Not Travel” warnings to Gaza and urged their citizens to exercise caution when traveling to Israel.
Israeli officials had expressed optimism earlier this year the country could set tourism records in 2023. However, Israel was already struggling to meet its targets before the recent attacks. Furthermore, carriers halting flights from the Americas and Europe, both large source markets, will likely have a major impact on visitor numbers for the rest of the year.
Next, Airbnb is ending its Airbnb Plus program, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Schaal writes Airbnb viewed the program as a way to obtain and promote and push exclusive listings that satisfied roughly 100 design expectations. However, he notes that Airbnb Plus sputtered and never came close to meeting expectations, with several industry experts questioning the usefulness of it for both hosts and guests. In addition, Airbnb hasn’t onboarded any new Airbnb Plus listings in some time.
The official end date for the program is November 6.
Finally, Puerto Rico is launching a new tourism campaign geared towards travelers unable to take certain trips because they couldn’t obtain their passport in time, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
Habtemariam reports that the “No Passport, No Problem” campaign will launch next month. It aims to remind Americans they don’t need a passport to visit Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. Discover Puerto Rico Chief Marketing Officer Leah Chandler said about a third of Americans are unaware that trips to the island don’t require a passport.
While the number of Americans traveling abroad is continuing to surge, Habtemariam notes that the average wait time to get a U.S. passport is between 10 and 13 weeks.
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Photo credit: San Felipe del Morro, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Discover Puerto Rico