Skift Travel News Blog

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


South Africa Hosts BRICS Meeting, Targets Recovery of Pre-Pandemic Tourism Levels

8 months ago

South African Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille hosted a BRICS Tourism Ministers Meeting on Tuesday focusing on tourism recovery between the bloc of nations.

Tourism growth related to direct flights among Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa was discussed as a follow-up to the BRICS Summit the country hosted in August.

From January to August, the latest international visitor figures for South Africa rose to 5.5 million international tourists, a 70.6% increase compared to the same period in 2022. However, these figures are still 19% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

The Skift Travel Health Index, which assesses performance in key sectors such as aviation and hotels, shows that while India and Brazil’s travel recovery has seen steady gains in 2023, China‘s full recovery hasn’t been as clearcut as most of the global markets had expected. Russia’s war with Ukraine has significantly affected its tourism recovery, with the country continuing to see sanctions imposed against it.


Ukraine Tells Foreign Tourists to Stay Out, Visit After Victory

2 years ago

Ukraine has urged foreign tourists against visiting the war-torn country, at least for now. The State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine mentioned that the “once-safe country” can no longer guarantee safety to tourists.

The state agency typically works to promote and popularise Ukrainian tourism in domestic and foreign markets.  However, since February, the agency’s work programme has been drastically altered following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mariana Oleskiv, chairperson of the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine, will be speaking at the Skift Global Forum in New York City next month.

“Ukraine is a beautiful country and we have a lot to show to tourists from all around the world. But so far there is no 100 percent safe place in our country,” a statement from the state agency read. 

With Ukrainians having learnt to live and work during the war, domestic tourism in the country is slowly recovering, the state agency said. “But we cannot invite foreign tourists to visit Ukraine now.”

The country wants foreign tourists to visit after its victory, “We’ll need your support to help the Ukrainian economy to recover and come to our country as tourists!” reads the note from the state agency.

In May, the European Travel Commission had invited the state agency for tourism development of Ukraine to join the organisation with a complimentary three-year membership. The membership would allow the state agency to help strategise the recovery of the Ukrainian travel sector once the war ends.

To exert pressure on the Russian government to end its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s once-cozy neighbors — Estonia, Latvia and Finland — are now going tough on travel visas for Russian tourists, noted a recent Skift report.


U.S. Adds New Travel Warning Category to 6 Countries Where Citizens at Greater Risk of Being Detained

2 years ago

Tourists and business travelers take note, because the U.S. government has added a new destination risk category.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order called “Bolstering Efforts to Bring Hostages and Wrongfully Detained U.S. Nationals Home.” And as part of that move, it will introduce a new risk indicator — “D” for wrongful detention — to the State Department’s travel advisories.

These advisories exist for all countries around the world to warn Americans of risks they may face in traveling to particular destinations.

To start with, six countries will be issued the latest “D” category, which is aimed at deterring and punishing wrongful detention of U.S. citizens abroad by authorizing government agencies to impose sanctions and other measures.

They are Myanmar, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela, which are all deemed to be places where there is elevated risk of wrongful detention.

The indicator joins the existing “K” for kidnapping indicator that covers the risk of kidnapping and hostage taking by non-state actors as well as a range of other existing risk indicators.

“We are eager to share how the Biden-Harris administration is expanding the toolkit that the U.S. government uses to help bring home American hostages and wrongful detainees” said a senior administration official.

Business Travel

International Business Travel Unlikely to Recover Until 2026 — Report

2 years ago

Despite the euphoria around the return of international business travel, a data analytics firm has predicted a gloomier outlook.

GlobalData has said it is unlikely to recover until at least 2026.

It’s singled out the complexity of business travel, which it said still faces several added layers of complexity that affect consumer behaviour, purchase decisions, and general operations.

“Despite some encouraging signs of revival for the overall travel industry in 2022, the business travel sector is witnessing a slower-than-expected recovery, particularly regarding international travel,” it reported.

Those challenges will persist over the next four years, it said, adding that another prominent disruption was the rising cost of living fuelled by the ongoing energy crisis, due to “low energy reserves due to the pandemic and the current geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine.”

These increased energy costs are putting further pressure on businesses that are seeing operational overheads soar, with the result that business travel is no longer a priority for companies, it claimed.

Its Tourism Demands and Flows Database also found that international business travel fell by 78.4 percent in 2020, before falling a further 7.9 percent in 2021.


Marriott Suspends Operations in Russia

2 years ago

Marriott International stated Friday that it is suspending operations in Russia following new U.S., UK, and European Union sanctions over the Ukraine war.

In March, despite operating in Russia for the last 25 years, Marriott International closed its corporate office in Russia and announced it would suspend opening new hotels — but the steps fell short of the overall suspension that Marriott announced today.

“As we take steps to suspend hotel operations in Russia, we remain focused on taking care of our Russia-based associates,” Marriott stated. “Since the war began, we have supported associates in Ukraine, Russia and across the region, including securing employment with Marriott outside of countries directly affected by the conflict. We have deployed $1 million in internal disaster relief funds for associates and their families to assist with resettlement aid, including food vouchers, transportation assistance, medical, and legal support.”

Marriott operated 28 hotels in Russia that are owned by third-parties.

Many travel firms withdrew from Russia at the onset of its invasion of Ukraine, but many major hotel chains kept operating.


Egypt on Track to Double Tourism Revenue to $12 Billion

2 years ago

Tourism revenues are expected to reach between $10 billion and $12 billion for Egypt’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.

Revenue was $6 billion to $7 billion in 2021, its deputy tourism minister said last yearAccording to reports, finance minister Mohamed Maait also said the war in Ukraine was unlikely to have an impact. This is despite the destination being popular with both Russian and Ukrainian tourists.

Its recent strategy to target more business from Western Europe, including the UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy, as well as Hungary and Gulf Arab countries, may be working.

Meanwhile, the minister said the Suez Canal was expected to generate revenues of $7 billion by the end of the current fiscal year. The shipping route between Europe and Asia is one of Egypt’s biggest sources of foreign currency.