Skift Take

Today's podcast looks at a probe into airline loyalty programs, the trends that shaped 2023, and Souh African tourism concerns.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, December 22. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation into whether airlines’ loyalty programs are deceiving customers, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. 

The DOT is examining whether airlines have devalued the frequent flier miles in their loyalty programs and made it more difficult for customers to book tickets using their rewards. The department is also looking into how airlines alert customers of changes to their frequent flier programs, among other practices, according to Reuters

Next, Skift will release its 11th annual Megatrends — trends poised to shape the year in travel — next month. So how did this year’s Megatrends play out? Executive Editor Dennis Schaal takes a look at five of them.

Skift projected that India would become the new China in terms of emerging as Asia’ largest outbound tourism market. Indeed, several destinations have recently granted Indian nationals visa-free entry to help  boost visitor numbers from the booming market.

In addition, Skift’s projection that generative artificial intelligence would transform travel marketing is holding up. Schaal cites Trivago using AI to launch a new marketing campaign that features just one actor speaking several languages. 

Finally, South Africa has seen an increase in international visitors this year, especially from the U.S. But concerns about crime could hurt its tourism recovery, writes Travel Experiences Selene Brophy.

Roughly 370,000 Americans visited South Africa between January and November — a 42% jump compared to the same period last year. However, total visitor numbers were 17% below 2019 levels. As crime is a significant concern for tourists in South Africa, authorities are deploying 2,300 tourism monitors during the peak holiday season to improve security for visitors. 

Brophy reports those tourism monitors will be deployed at locations such as ports of entry, national park and popular tourist attractions. 


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Tags: artificial intelligence, generative ai, india outbound, loyalty, megatrends, skift podcast, south africa

Photo credit: An Alaska Airlines branded credit card. Alaska Airlines

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