Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


IDEAS: Exploring Alcohol-Free Travel in the Dominican Republic

53 mins ago

Alcohol has traditionally dominated travel, however, the growing ‘sober curious’ movement is continuing to embrace non-drinking traveler’s.

A new alcohol-free retreat designed for aspiring and sober traveler’s is set to open its doors at Melia Punta Cana Beach in the Dominican Republic in October 2023.

The retreat has been designed by Alcohol Free Life Coach and Certified Professional Recovery Coach Megan Wilcox, the founder and CEO of SobahSistahs Sobriety.

Dream and Discover the Dry Life in Punta Cana, is a five-day, four-night retreat designed to enable guests to ‘connect, restore and rediscover’ through a number of wellness initiatives, including a guided yoga class, sunset meditations, sound bath therapies and more.

In 2022, the no and low-alcohol market reached an almost US$10 Billion in value according to an IWSR report, as more and more consumers show an interest in an alcohol free (or moderated) lifestyle.

Dream and Discover the Dry Life is by no means a new concept, with an array of alcohol free retreats, hotels and customer offerings already in place for sober traveler’s, including:

  • Hooked on Travel: Alcohol free trips infused with opportunities for self discovery.
  • Sober Vacations: Helping 12-steppers expand their comfort zone in safe and beautiful environments since 1987.
  • Lifotel: A “no alcohol” hotel concept designed to bring one closer to living life the natural way.
  • “Drinking Well” by Wynn Resorts: Offering guests non-alcoholic beverages throughout their Las Vegas resort.
  • We Love Lucid: Connecting like-minded solo travellers in pursuit of enriching and invigorating travel experiences minus the booze.
  • Zero Proof, Zero Judgment by Hyatt: A sophisticated spirit-free beverage offering at many Hyatt hotels around the U.S.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are focussing on people and community, that are leading to social change or benefiting communities.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


IDEAS: APEX Greener Aims to Make Air Travel More Sustainable

11 hours ago

A new program designed to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel has been launched under a new partnership between the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and SimpliFlying.

APEX Greener powered by SimpliFlying aims to lesson the impact of air travel on the environment by empowering airlines to choose more sustainable products.

Credit: Apex Greener Powered by SimpliFlying

By providing a shared airline industry database of in-flight airline products and their APEX Greener rating – by utilizing the Finch technology platform – the project will provide insights into the green credentials of in-flight products throughout their complete lifecycle, from sustainable sourcing, to production emissions, the amount of recycled material used, and end-of-life disposal.

“Aviation is not green, but we all have a responsibility to make it greener,” said APEX/IFSA CEO, Dr. Joe Leader.

“APEX Greener powered by SimpliFlying is a step in the right direction by focusing our airlines on in-flight products that are better for both our industry and our world. APEX Greener eliminates redundant airline sustainability verification expenses by fully leveraging our ability to openly share information as a trade association.”

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the organizations elevating the travel industry’s role as a force for good by affecting meaningful change, including the projects that focus on sustainability and creating a positive impact for the planet.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


Sonesta Debuts Two Soft Brands

24 hours ago

Sonesta International Hotel Corporation announced the debut of two soft brands within its expanding portfolio, Classico, A Sonesta Collection, and MOD, A Sonesta Collection. These two new brands offer independent hotel owners the opportunity to affiliate with Sonesta’s network while retaining their iconic hotel names, identities, designs, and established styles.

Marketed by Sonesta’s Luxury and Lifestyle Lodging Development Team, each Classico property will have a distinct identity and offer signature local cuisine, traditional high-touch service, and refined interiors.

The first Sonesta Classico brand property is the 40-room Z Ocean Hotel in Miami, Florida’s South Beach neighborhood, which opened on May 1, 2023. Each MOD, positioned within Sonesta’s upscale portfolio, will feature eclectic interior designs and amenities, such as curated food and beverage options. The first MOD property will launch as Hotel 11 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

From Daily Lodging Report by Alan Woinski for Skift


IDEAS: Riyadh Air Unveils Striking New Livery

2 days ago

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s newest airline, has unveiled the first of two new livery designs set to be featured on its aircraft when it commences operation in 2025 on its social media channels.

Credit: Riyadh Air

The striking purple livery, which the airline calls a perfect blend of “cutting-edge technology and timeless elegance,” is being showcased on a Boeing 787-9 following a confirmed order for 39 of the aircrafts with Boeing in March.

Operating from Riyadh as its hub, the airline aims to connect to more than 100 destinations by the end of the decade.

You can take a look at the full video released by Riyadh Air below:

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the airline projects that are defining the defining the future of aviation, airlines, and the traveler experience.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


IDEAS: Mews and Saira Hospitality Look to Transform Learning in Hospitality

4 days ago

Hospitality technology company Mews is partnering with Saira Hospitality on a new staff training initiative aimed at transforming learning within the hospitality industry.

Credit: Mews/Saira Hospitality

The new partnership will see five new hospitality schools created around the world, with the first school set to open in London in June 2023, followed by a pop-up in Amsterdam towards the end of the year. 

Mews will also work with Saira on integrating the key curriculum offering into their University platform, utilizing the industry-leading experience of both brands to offer access to learnings in essential hospitality skills including leadership, communication and emotional intelligence.

“Hospitality isn’t just about business; it also has a key role to play in education and building local communities,” said Paul Mooney, chief customer officer at Mews. 

“What’s so exciting about this partnership is that it can make a real difference to individuals while also helping our industry to create a new, enthused talent pool,” he continued.

Skift featured Saira Hospitality’s work and founder Harsha L’Acqua’s mission during our Skift Global Forum in 2019.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are defining the future of operations and other business outcomes, including those that create a positive impact for communities.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.

Travel Agents

Travel Agents Could Have a Say in New Rules For Passengers

4 days ago

Travel agents could bring a real-world perspective to complex rules shaping the protection of air travel passengers, as part of a modernization proposal for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) watchdog for aviation consumer protection.

The Modernization Act (H.R. 3780) would see the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) membership include a dedicated travel agency seat to the advisory body. The bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) on Thursday, 1 June. 

The five most recent ACPAC meetings, starting in December 2021, have centered around two major DOT regulatory proposals on ticket refunds and transparency in airline fees – crucial to business operations of travel agencies, whatever their final forms take. 

“Roughly half of all airline tickets in the U.S. are sold through the agency channel. Giving these small business owners, 70 percent of whom are women, an elevated voice in the DOT regulatory process will help the Department meet its consumer protection mission,” said Zane Kerby, CEO and president of the American Association of Travel Advisors (ASTA). 

Travel agents provide valuable insights through real-world impacts of complex proposals pending before DOT, currently missing from ACPAC’s process, added Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president.

In its current form, ACPAC membership consists of one representative each of U.S. airlines, consumer groups, airports and state or local governments.  


Lindblad’s Founder to Become CEO Again

5 days ago

Lindblad Expeditions founder and Co-chair of Board of Directors Sven-Olof Lindblad will become CEO, effective June 30, the cruise company announced Wednesday. He will be replacing Dolf Berle, the current CEO, who is pursuing a non-competitive opportunity in Dallas.

Lindblad founded the company in 1979 and served as CEO until 2021. He then became a co-chair of the company’s board of directors. He will continue to hold that position.

Berle oversaw the company’s ships and tour operations return to service. Lindblad also welcomed three new ships to its fleet and acquired luxury tour company Classic Journeys under his leadship.

Tour Operators

Intrepid Travel’s ‘Planet-Friendly’ Ad Banned

5 days ago

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered Intrepid Travel to remove a misleading advert. While the Australian headquartered travel company is known for being transparent about its climate-conscious approach as a B-Corp company, the misstep points to the broader issue of how easily sustainability can lead to perceived greenwashing within the industry.

The advert featured two women in front of the Giza Pyramids in Egypt with the text, “People and planet-friendly small group adventures since 1989”. It formed part of a billboard campaign in the UK’s London Underground in November 2022.

The ASA received a complaint that the phrase ‘planet-friendly’ was misleading about the impact of Intrepid’s holidays on the environment.

While the regulator noted Intrepid Travel’s comments that it did not offer flights as part of this particular adventure tour, the understanding that the claim was a narrow reference to their tour offering was unclear.

The ASA considered the phrase “people and planet-friendly small group adventures” to be “an absolute claim”, implying “that taking part in an Intrepid tour caused no environmental damage throughout its full life cycle”. Yet, together with the presentation of the Giza Pyramids in Egypt it indicated that “such tours were international and that it would be necessary to travel, in most cases by flying, to take part in their tours,” the regulator detailed in its ruling.

“We considered that this impression was further reinforced by the claim not referring specifically to the tours offered by Intrepid Travel, and considered that, in the absence of qualifying information, “adventures” was likely to be interpreted by consumers as referring to holidays as a whole, which would include flights to and from the destination country,” according to the ASA ruling.

Intrepid responded to the ruling, with its EMEA managing director Zina Bencheikh calling it a “positive step that regulators are becoming more stringent around advertising claims related to climate change and the environment and they will investigate even just one complaint.”

“The ASA’s ruling on ‘planet-friendly’ was a good learning opportunity for us,” said Bencheikh. “This will encourage all travel companies to be more mindful of how they talk about their impact on the environment. Regulation is rapidly evolving. It’s up to us to not only do good work, but find the clearest way to communicate it to our customers.”

Intrepid’s chief customer officer Leigh Barnes further noted that when it comes to talking about environmental impact in travel advertising it was better to avoid and remove subjective and vague language like “Friendly” and “Safe”, as well as consider the entire life cycle of the trip.


IDEAS: Airbus Shares Its Vision for the Cabin of the Future

6 days ago

Aerospace designer and manufacturer Airbus has shared what they feel will be the next generation of passenger experience, with their sustainability and tech-driven Airspace Cabin Vision 2035+.

Environmental impact is a central focus, along with consumer comfort, in their product vision. Airbus will integrate “smart systems design” to optimize energy consumption and resources, while also using lightweight materials “enhanced by bionic principals and 3D-printing technologies,” as the company aims to focus on less carbon-intensive solutions in their manufacturing in the future.

Airbus states these innovations will contribute to the industry targets of Net-Zero by 2050.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are defining the future of guest experience, including aviation, hospitality, and tourism innovations.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.

Food and Drink

IDEAS: Putting Surprise and Storytelling at the Center of ‘Dinner’ in Dubai

1 week ago

‘Dinner’ by Heston Blumenthal, which recently opened in Dubai at Atlantis The Royal, offers guests a “relaxed” dining experience driven by spectacle and storytelling. As consumer expectations rise, chefs are constantly upping the ante for not just their cuisine, but also the dining experience in order to stand out to guests.

The menu explores “the tastes and flavors of Britain dating back as far as the 13th century, from the farmers’ table to the royal courts of England,” according to the restaurant. Similar to the elaborate feasts of middle ages in Britain, Blumenthal uses the element of surprise to delight and entertain guests.

Credit: Atlantis The Royal/Dinner Dubai

As guests enter, a giant pineapple rotisserie ‘escapement’ (clock) greets diners and features an intricate spit pulley system that also turns the roasting fruit. It was based on a 16th century clockwork design used for the British Royal Court. “Pineapples, historically, were unbelievably expensive, they were seen as unbelievable luxury… and so ours will signify adventure, exploration and discovery,” Blumenthal notes.

Dinner’s Meat Fruit is an example of edible history that employs surprise to turn a traditional medieval dish from the 1500’s called Pome Dorres, or “apples of gold,” into contemporary cuisine. One of the Blumenthal’s most iconic dishes, it is essentially chicken liver parfait disguised as a mandarin, and requires three cooks to work five hours every day to construct. No one ever said fine-dining was easy.

Credit: Atlantis The Royal/Dinner Dubai

The restaurant has already received a Michelin Star “Special Award”, which was also bestowed to two other restaurants at Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects defining the future of hotels and the guest experience, including in-person experiences and activations that utilize a physical environment to impact an end user. 

If you have an exciting project to share, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and submit your entry today.