Skift Travel News Blog

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


IDEAS: Four Seasons Introduces In-Room Shopping Experience at New York City Hotel

2 months ago

Four Seasons New York Downtown has introduced a new in-room shopping experience that will allow guests to shop the Hotel’s most sought-after retail items from the comfort of their rooms. 

Credit: Four Seasons

In-Room Essentials, which is available now, will enable guests to browse and purchase a curated selection of products – including skincare products from the Hotel’s Spa, electronics, children’s toys and other premium gifts – from the comfort of their room via a QR code. 

The shopping experience is available Monday to Sunday between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, with all purchases made delivered to guests’ rooms at their convenience.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.


U.S. Sees India Surge to its Second Top Traveler Market

4 months ago

India was the U.S.’ s second top market for travelers outside of North America between April and June, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office’s data released Monday. Over 500,000 Indian travelers came to the America in the those three months, up from 392,000 and 498,000 for the same period in 2022 and pre-pandemic 2019, respectively.

In the first six months of 2023, over 800, 000 Indian travelers came to the U.S., making it America’s second largest’s non-North American market after the UK this year.

Nearly 60% of Indian travelers came to the U.S. for vacation, business or a conference in the first six months of this year, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. On average, Indian travelers spent $3,500 per trip in the U.S. The states they visited the most were California, New York and Texas.

In 2023, the U.S. is expected to welcome 1.4 million Indian travelers, which is 97% of their pre-pandemic volume, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. It will be the U.S.’s sixth top source overseas market in 2023, after the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Brazil. In 2019, India was the U.S. eighth-largest market.

It’s notable is that India has recovered so quickly and is rising as top source market for the U.S. despite long visa wait times at U.S. embassies, which suggests inbound travel from the country has been heavily restrained.

While the number of visitor visa approvals for Indians has “outperformed” 2019 levels, they remain over 400 days on average, said U.S. Travel Association CEO and President Geoff Freeman at Skift Global Forum. In New Delhi, for example, an Indian national would have to wait 542 days for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy.

The visa wait times deter Indian travel into the U.S. “The message to that traveler is all but go away. This is anything but a welcoming environment,” said Freeman. 

U.S. destination marketing organizations have been investing in driving tourism from India. New York Tourism + Conventions, San Francisco Travel and Los Angeles Tourism have expanded their marketing efforts in India this year.

“We’ve invested heavily in India,” said NYC Tourism + Conventions CEO and President Fred Dixon at Skift Global Forum. “I was just there in January, we’ll be back again next January. We see a huge opportunity in the future from India. We’re excited about the airlift opportunities.”


Broadway Theaters to Go Mask Optional on July 1 

2 years ago

Theaters in New York’s Broadway district can get rid of rules requiring theater-goers to wear masks beginning July 1, the Broadway League announced Tuesday. All 41 Broadway theaters will become “mask optional.”

Lifting the pandemic-era restriction wasn’t an easy judgment call.

“There are more people that want masks off than on, but plenty still wants them on,” said Charlotte St. Martin, the president of the Broadway League. “We’re encouraging people that have any concerns to wear their masks.”

The policy may be revised if hospitalization rates in New York City spike again.