Skift Travel News Blog

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

Tourism

Japan to Continue Nationwide Travel Discount Program in 2023

2 months ago

The Japanese government announced on Friday it’s planning to resume its domestic travel discount program in the new year.

Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito said the government will decide when exactly to relaunch the program, which was initially expected to conclude on December 28, after monitoring Covid cases in the country. Participants in the program, a campaign the government hopes will resurrect a tourism industry battered by the pandemic, are required to have received at least three Covid vaccine doses or test negative for the virus. The Japanese government relaunched the travel discount program in October after pausing it during the heart of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, discounts offered in the program will be reduced next year, with the discount rate to drop to 20 percent from the current 40 percent. The maximum discount amount available for travelers in tour packages, including public transportation services, will also decrease from $58 (8,000 yen) to $36 (5,000 yen).

An image from Asakusa
Japan is extended its nationwide travel discount program to boost a tourism industry that struggled during the pandemic (Flickr/Caribb)

Airlines

Cathay Pacific Appoints Customer Chief Ronald Lam as New CEO

3 months ago

Cathay Pacific announced on Wednesday that CEO Augustus Tan would be stepping down on December 31 and chief customer and commercial officer, Ronald Lam would succeed him.

Even after appointed the CEO of Catahay Pacific, the airline has said Lam would continue to serve as chair of HK Express, Cathay’s low-cost subsidiary.

Lam was appointed chief customer and commercial officer in 2019. He joined the Cathay Pacific Group as a management trainee in 1996 and has since held a number of senior leadership roles in Hong Kong and overseas, including CEO of HK Express.

As the airline looks to increase its passenger flight capacity and strengthen connectivity, Lam would lead the airline through its post-Covid recovery and the introduction of the three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport, Patrick Healy, chair of Cathay Pacific Group, said in a press statement.

“The company’s dual-brand strategy comprising Cathay Pacific as a premium full-service airline and HK Express as a wholly owned low-cost carrier have positioned it well to take advantage of the recovery and continue contributing to the long-term success of the Hong Kong hub,” Healy said.

Healy also spoke of Tang’s critical role in the airline’s restructuring in 2020 and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

Releasing its September figures, the airline has said that it would continue to add more flights in the coming months.

In addition to the flight sectors previously scheduled for November and December, the airline had announced that it would be adding more than half a million seats with an increase of around 700 sectors in November and 1,200 in December.

Japan and London Heathrow sectors would be witnessing a substantial increase in passenger flights in November and December, the airline had said.

In another board reshuffle announced Wednesday, Lavinia Lau will replace Lam as the chief customer and commercial officer from January 1 and Alexander McGowan will replace Gregory Hughes as chief operations and service delivery officer, effective April 1.

Tourism

85 Percent of U.S. Parents Planning to Travel With Children in the Next Year

3 months ago

Eight-five percent of parents said in the 2022 U.S. Family Travel Survey released on Wednesday that they’re very likely to travel with their children in the next 12 months, another sign of family travel’s strong recovery.

In addition, 47 percent of the 1,000 respondents in the survey by the Family Travel Association and the New York University School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality said they’re planning to take a multi-generational family trip. Meanwhile, 46 percent of respondents said they’re planning to travel with family members beyond parents and-in laws.

Family travel spending is also poised to surge in the next year. Fifty-three percent of respondents plan to spend more on domestic travel in the next year while 49 percent expect to increase spending on international travel.

The survey reveals the waning impact of the pandemic on travel decisions. Only 10 percent of respondents not planning to travel said they felt unsafe because of the pandemic, a 14 percentage point drop from last year. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they believe the pandemic is largely contained and they felt comfortable traveling without many restrictions.

However, more than half of parents surveyed said their travel behaviors and preferences had changed in the last two years — 45 percent of respondents said somewhat while 13 percent said a lot. Almost half of all respondents said the pandemic triggered the changes while 28 percent attributed the shift to the their financial situation, including the impact of inflation. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they now check cancellation policies when they booking trips while 47 percent said they now buy travel insurance.

“This year’s survey shows that while the pandemic impacts family travel less than last year, the last two years have also led to changes that are likely to last,” said Dr. Lynn Minnaert, former clinical associate professor at the Tisch Center.

“Families are excited to get back out there, but peace of mind and value for money are key priorities when they make travel decisions.”

Mother and son
Family travel is poised to boom in the next year (Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr)

Tourism

International Inbound Travel to U.S. Still Just 2/3 What It Was Pre-Pandemic

6 months ago

Around 4.3 million international visitors came to the United States in May, amounting to 64 percent of its May pre-pandemic volume, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. This volume was reported for May, the last month before the U.S. lifted its testing Covid requirement for inbound international travelers.

Canada (1.3 million), Mexico (1 million), UK (327,000), India (149,000) and Germany (130,000) were the U.S.’s top source markets in May. These source markets accounted for 67.2 percent of total international arrivals. 

Times Square
Times Square. Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/k4nVp1I84Dc

The top 20 source markets in May 2022 saw a change in their makeup compared to pre-pandemic May 2019.  Chile, the Dominican Republic and Peru placed in the top 20, while China, Taiwan and Switzerland did not.

Outbound international travel totaled 6.9 million, up 87 percent from May 2021 and amounting to 80 percent of its May pre-pandemic volume. Mexico was the top travel destination for U.S. citizens with 2.7 million visits. Combined year-to-date, over 60 percent of departures were for Mexico and the Caribbean, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

Online Travel

Thai Energy Giant PTT Will Invest in Traveloka

6 months ago

Thailand-based public firm PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR) is set to invest in Indonesian travel superapp Traveloka, through its subsidiary, PTTOR International Holdings Singapore.

While the value of the investment has not yet been disclosed, the retail arm of Thailand’s state-owned energy giant PTT, through its collaboration with Traveloka, aims to provide additional lifestyle solutions to its customers in line with its strategy to become a one-stop solution for all lifestyle needs.

Having so far raised a total of $1.2 billion in funding, Traveloka was said to be in talks for another funding round of more than $200 million, after its plans to go public through a special acquisition company failed to take off.

Last valued at $3 billion, there had been speculations that the online travel and lifestyle company could go public via a traditional initial public offering in the U.S. instead.

The Indonesia-based online travel unicorn that has its presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines has since been seeking new investment opportunities.

Besides offering travel, tourism and accommodation options, Traveloka has now developed into a superapp allowing users to book healthcare, financial services products and food delivery.

With PTT Oil and Retail Business’ expertise, Traveloka aims to capture the demand and provide enhanced solutions to its customers, while also creating new opportunities for its merchant-partners in Thailand and the region.

“We see immense value from the collaboration as we see the region growing at a rapid pace, leading to greater opportunities in the industry,” Ferry Unardi, co-founder and CEO of Traveloka, said.

As tourism is one of the major economic contributors to the Thai economy, PTTOR aims to strengthen its focus on the sector through this initiative while providing growth opportunities for small and medium enterprises in the travel sector.

“Given Traveloka’s position as a leading online platform for travel and lifestyle services in Southeast Asia, as well as its strong technology capabilities, I believe there is a range of areas we can explore together with Traveloka, to further enhance our tech capabilities,” Jiraphon Kawswat, president and CEO of PTTOR, said. 

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