Skift Travel News Blog

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


Pakistan Launches First-Ever National Tourism Brand

7 months ago

Pakistan has launched a national tourism brand — Salam Pakistan, a first for the country that has been grappling with severe challenges, many of which have been on the economic front.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel and tourism industry contributed approximately $15 billion, accounting for 6% of Pakistan’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019.

However, due to the pandemic’s impact, this figure decreased significantly to $11.6 billion, representing 4.4% of GDP in 2020. Additionally, the number of jobs in the tourism sector declined from 3.45 million in 2019 to 3.63 million in 2020.

Pakistan’s vast tourism potential, which includes remarkable attractions like the world’s second-highest mountain and the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and Mohenjo-Daro, has been plagued by security concerns and political instability since the early 2000s.

In recent years, the government has made efforts to revive the tourism economy, and the launch of the Salam Pakistan brand indicates the country’s commitment to promoting its diverse tourism sector.

On the occasion of last year’s World Tourism Day, Pakistani President Arif Alvi underscored the significance of tourism as a crucial generator of foreign exchange earnings, a catalyst for job creation, and a tool for poverty alleviation.

Alvi drew attention to its role in fostering a sense of harmony among people hailing from diverse regions within the country. The president emphasized the necessity of setting clear priorities to fully harness the vast potential of the tourism sector.

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, recognized the great potential of tourism during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2020.

To facilitate tourism, Pakistan introduced an online visa facility, which was later extended to 191 countries. It is also looking to develop a draft National Tourism Strategy and Action Plan in collaboration with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

With the implementation of government policies and measures to promote domestic and international tourism, Pakistan aims to increase the number of visitors by approximately 30% by 2030.

The country is also becoming an attractive investment destination for new hotel developments. Notably, Hilton and Radisson Hotel Group have signed agreements for upscale hotels in the country, with plans to introduce internationally branded accommodations.

As a result of these initiatives, hotels in Pakistan are witnessing substantial growth in terms of occupancy and average rates, and this positive trend is expected to continue in the coming years.


IDEAS: Historic Art Figures Embark on Travel Adventures in New easyJet Campaign

7 months ago

easyJet has launched a new campaign in collaboration with creative agency VCCP London that features some of the world’s most renowned faces in art brought to life.

The ‘Get Out There’ campaign sees Mona Lisa, David, The Thinker, Girl with the Pearl Earring, and even a pair of cherubs as they embark on journeys through Europe – with the much loved tourist attractions becoming the tourists themselves. 


Some of the world’s best beaches are at your doorstep – stay tuned to see where Pearl is jetting off to for some hidden gems to add to your bucket list ✈️ #GetOutThere

♬ original sound – easyJet

As more and more creative agencies continue to utilize the power of AI-generated content for their marketing campaigns, easyJet and VCCP London chose to find and cast real people to star in the campaign in order to ‘capture the humanity and unbounded spirit of these historic icons experiencing travel for the first time.’

“We are so excited about our new brand platform. With this campaign we have redefined the role of advertising at easyJet and taken it back to fundamental marketing principles. We know travel is a category where distinctiveness is a challenge, and we think this work makes easyJet more emotional and memorable than we’ve ever been before,” said Gabriella Neudecker, customer and marketing director at easyJet.

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.


IDEAS: Vienna Tourist Board Unveils ‘UnArtificial Art’

10 months ago

The Vienna Tourist Board has launched UnArtificial Art, a marketing campaign designed to ‘promote the city’s 100+ museums in order to “See the Art behind AI Art”’.

The new campaign sees famous figures from the world’s most acclaimed artists transformed into the internet’s universally adored animal – the cat – using the power of Artificial Intelligence. 

One such example featured in the campaign is a mash up of Gustav Klimt’s ‘Kiss’, which sees the much adored lovers transformed into cats, still wearing the intricately decorated robes and positioned in the iconic lovers embrace.

Credit: Jung von Matt DONAU & Vienna Tourist Board

“With so much artificial intelligence (AI) invading lives – particularly with programs like DALL-E or Midjourney that allow anyone to create “works of art” – Vienna wants to remind visitors of who made that all possible in the first place” said Norbert Kettner, Vienna Tourist Board’s CEO.

“The campaign aims to show that AI art is only possible because an algorithm references real works made by real humans, and the originals can often only be seen in Vienna. The Viennese Modernism movement that revolutionized the artworld over a century ago continues to live on and affect today’s art through the algorithms that guide AI creations,” he continued.

As part of the campaign, the Vienna Tourist Board has also released a short film with art expert Markus Hübl, which aims to showcase the art that made AI possible. You can view the video below:

This isn’t the first time AI has been used in a marketing campaign, with VisitDenmark turning to the power of artificial intelligence for a marketing campaign launched earlier this year.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for advertising campaigns created with the intent to drive action.

If you have an initiative to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your submission today.


Hawaii to Award U.S. Tourism Marketing Contract Despite Funding Cuts

10 months ago

The Hawaii Tourism Authority plans to move forward with its plans to award an expensive contract to market Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, despite not being allocated funding from the legislature for the next two years. The decision was made at a board meeting Tuesday, according to Honolulu Star Advertiser (paywall). The contract is worth up to $51.3 million.

The other contracts the agency plans to move forward with are one for destination management, which is worth $34 million, and another for marketing to Canada, which is worth $2.8 million. All contract winners will be selected on May 22nd. Each contract spans at least two years. 

When it comes to funding, the agency has a rough road ahead. Last week, it was left out of the official state budget at the end of the legislative session. It will get funds from money set aside by lawmakers for deferred maintenance projects. Requests for funds will have to be approved by the governor and lawmakers.

The contracting process for the U.S. market has been far from smooth. It’s been delayed by legal disputes, canceled by an outgoing public official and forced to restart.

A major point of contention was the award of the contract to a native community non-profit over Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, which has historically won the U.S. marketing contract. Another was that it was combined with destination management under one contract.  These moves are part of the agency’s attempts to take a more sustainable approach to tourism that takes resident needs and interest more into account.

The failure to award the contract was one of the reasons lawmakers almost dissolved the agency in the recent legislative session.

Tour Operators

Machu Picchu Shut Down: Tour Operators Grapple with Peru’s Political Turmoil

1 year ago

Political unrest continues to unravel tourism recovery in Peru. Tour operators were forced to evacuate tourists and halt tours to Machu Picchu over the weekend due to ongoing violent protests and widespread service disruptions.

Both Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail hike to the famous site have been closed indefinitely.

Hundreds of tourists were left stranded over the weekend as tensions escalated. Both Intrepid Travel and G Adventures confirmed to Skift they would cancel trips until 5 February, due to the ongoing political instability.

Skift previously reported how the South American country has been grappling with reactions to a destructive self-coup attempt by its impeached President Pedro Castillo.

Gary Cohen, Intrepid’s managing director for Latin America, said the company had safely evacuated one group to hotel accommodation in Cusco and plans are being put in place to rebook or refunded affected trips.

All G Adventures itineraries for travelers on the ground in Peru were being re-routed, according to its statement.

At this point, it remains unclear when tourism would return to normal as a state of emergency has been extended, affecting airport closures and overall travel to the country.


Irish Inbound Tourism Set to Regain 75 Percent of Pre-Pandemic Level

1 year ago

Ireland’s overseas inbound tourism level for the year is set to hit 75 percent of 2019 levels, CEO of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons told The Sunday Times (London).

Tourism Ireland forecasts the sector will fully recover by 2025. In 2019 Ireland welcomed 11.3 million tourists, generating approximately $6.1 billion (€5.9 billion) in revenue.

The strong U.S. dollar has benefited Irish tourism. But the strong euro relative to the British pound has dampened inbound tourism to the Republic of Ireland from the UK. (Tourism Ireland does marketing for the full island.)

Hotel supply is a top headwind for Irish tourism, Gibbons said.

“Latest official figures show that more than 20 percent of hotel rooms are being used for non-tourism-related reasons, including housing Ukrainian refugees and the homeless,” The Times reported.

“This year Tourism Ireland has a budget of about $69.8 million (€70 million) to spend on marketing Ireland,’ The Times reported. “The majority will go on television advertising.”

The marketing project he is most proud of since Gibbons became CEO in 2009 is the annual Global Greening, where hundreds of landmarks worldwide light up in green to honor St Patrick’s Day.

The Sunday Times


Nepal Bars TikTokers From Some Tourist Sites

2 years ago

Nepal’s would-be social media influencers would now have to scout for new locations as the country has barred shooting of TikTok videos at some heritage sites.

Popular tourist sites in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, including Boudhanath Stupa, the Ram Janaki temple and Gadhimai temple as well as the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Lumbini now display signs reading “No TikTok.”

Owned by the China-based tech giant ByteDance, TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps in Nepal. According to a 2022 survey, more than 55 percent of respondent in Nepal said they had been using the app.

“Don’t make ads, make TikToks,” says a new campaign launched by TikTok for Business. The app is one of fastest growing social media platforms with over a billion users. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the app every day.

Many in Nepal blame TikTokers for creating a nuisance by playing loud music at sites frequented by pilgrims from all over the world, according to a Rest of World report. The same tourists, who some believe frequent these places after watching such TikTok videos.

Studies have revealed that travelers are increasingly relying on social media to make their travel choices. However, reports also state the impact of sudden destination popularity through social media.

The local community at in Hainan Island’s Tropical Rainforest National Park have had to deal with a massive tourist flow after various TikTok videos went viral.