Skift Travel News Blog

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

Online Travel

On the Beach Founder to Step Down as CEO

1 year ago

On the Beach Group CEO Simon Cooper, who founded the UK-based beach holidays online travel agency in 2004, will resign his post within the next 12 months, and Chief Financial Officer Shaun Morton will take over the CEO duties, the company announced.

On the Beach Group founder and CEO Simon Cooper plans to step aside as CEO within the next 12 months. Source: On the Beach Group

The precise timing of the transition, according to the company, depends on recruitment of a new chief financial officer to assume Morton’s current duties. The board hired an external team to assist in that search.

On the Beach Group credits Morton with helping to guide the company through the Covid pandemic, playing a lead role in strategic investments in brand marketing and technology, and striving to win market share in luxury and long-haul trips, and making inroads in the Group’s business-to-business initiatives.

Cooper, who remains a major shareholder in the company, will take a board seat and stay actively involved in the business, On the Beach stated. Cooper increased his shareholding in August.

On the Beach Group didn’t cite a specific reason for Cooper’s relinquishing his CEO duties.

The announcement coincided with the company’s release of its fiscal 2022 preliminary results. The fiscal year ended September 30.

For the year, On the Beach Group, which is a publicly traded company in London, recorded profit before taxes of  £2.1 million ($2.6 million) in fiscal 2022 compared with a loss a year earlier of £18.4 million ($22.5 million).

“Notwithstanding the emergence of Omicron and the disrupted airline schedules this summer, revenue was up 3 percent versus fiscal year 2019,” the company’s announcement stated.

On the Beach stated it is uncertain how the “cost of living crisis” will sway consumer behavior, adding that the company is well-positioned entering fiscal year 2023.

Tourism

Japan Looks to Resume Visa Waiver For Some Countries From October

1 year ago

As Japan learns to live with the virus, the government has indicated plans to ease all travel restrictions in the “not-so-distant future,” which according to the local media could be as early as next month.

The relaxation in entry restrictions would entail putting an end to the entry ban on independent tourists, removing the daily arrival cap and restoring the pre-pandemic visa waiver for short-term visitors from 68 countries, including the U.S.

Announcing the government’s intention to relax restrictions, Seiji Kihara, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, had said this week that Japan should not fall behind other destinations in attracting foreign tourists.

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also talked about strengthening Japan’s earning power by taking advantage of the yen’s weakness, which is currently at a 24-year low against the dollar.

A weak yen would make the country an attractive destination for foreign travelers.

Japan recently raised the daily arrival cap of inbound tourists to 50,000 from 20,000. However, even this increment is only around 45 percent of the pre-pandemic daily average arrival of 140,000 travelers.

Earlier this month, the Japanese government removed mandatory pre-arrival Covid tests for visitors, provided they are able to submit proof of being vaccinated thrice. It has also scrapped the requirement for guides on group tours.

While Japan has been easing restrictions in a phased manner even since it reopened to foreign tourists in June, travelers are still required to apply for a short-term visa and need to enter the country as part of approved package tours through a recognized travel agency.

Tourism

Japan Mulls Scrapping Pre-Arrival Test for Inbound Travelers

2 years ago

Japan is finally considering to end the pre-arrival Covid tests for vaccinated travelers coming from foreign countries, according to local media.

Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, also hinted at eased border controls in a virtual news conference on Monday. The decision to ease restricstions would depend on the daily Covid count being reported in the country.

Inbound arrivals to Japan are currently required to submit proof of a negative Covid test result conducted within 72 hours of departure. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

Japan, which has one of the strictest entry rules or inbound arrivals, has been easing restrictions in a phased manner. In June, the country doubled the daily cap for arrivals at border crossings to 20,000 in June and allowed foreign tourists on escorted package tours to enter from June 10.

However, only around 1,500 foreign tourists entered Japan in the month up to July 10 since the country re-opened on June 10, noted Japan’s Immigration Services Agency. An earlier Skift story had also observed that Japan welcomed more refugees from Ukraine than foreign tourists since reopening.

In 2019, before the pandemic struck, Japan hosted 32 million foreign visitors, who spent $38 billion.

The rise in the daily number of cases from July onwards has put the easing of restrictions on hold. However, with the scrapping of pre-arrival tests, the government may also consider raising the number of people allowed every day to enter the country, according to Nikkei Asia.

The Japanese tourism sector has been urging the government to scrap entry restrictions to help boost the sector.