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Skift Travel News Blog

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


Disney Makes Increased Investments in Theme Parks Despite Focus on Streaming

2 years ago

Disney isn’t neglecting its theme parks, considered crucial to the company’s bottom line, despite its increased focus on Disney+ and other streaming efforts during the last two years.

Disney will unveil its newest park expansion at the end of May — the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot. The attraction is based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” film and it features the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster. The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion follows other recent additions to Disney theme parks, such as Avengers Campus, which opened in June 2021 and the opening of Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. 

The company is working to complete Tron: Lightcycle Run rollercoaster and is expected to launch the Disney Wish, its newest cruise ship, this summer.

Disney will post its second fiscal quarter results on Wednesday. The company said in February that its domestic theme parks have not seen a significant return from international visitors, who prior to the pandemic, represented roughly 20 percent of its guests. Theme parks typically account for the majority of the revenue of Disney’s park division, which cruises and hotels. Disney’s shares are also down about 30 percent since January.


Soho House to Launch Digital Membership

2 years ago

Private membership club Soho House aims to debut a digital membership for people to get to network and otherwise get to know one another before meeting at one of its properties.

Soho House founder Nick Jones confirmed that tidbit this week, according to Hospitality Insights.

“Lots of businesses, friendships, relationships have been created by a Soho House in a city. It’s only natural that we want to do that digitally as well. We want to become properly hybrid so members can digitally connect before physically meeting in one of the Houses,” said Jones, who spoke at the International Hospitality Investment Forum in Berlin on Thursday.

Jones also said Soho House would reverse its net losses into net profits in the near future.


Airlines in Nigeria Will Halt Flights From Monday Because of Rising Jet Fuel Costs

2 years ago

Several Nigerian airlines have said they will cease operations from Monday because of the high cost of jet fuel. The cost to operate a one-hour flight has more than doubled recently.

That’s according to the Airline Operators of Nigeria association, which has posted a statement, local media reported.

Domestic flights have been disrupted since March, while 225 flights by nine airlines could be canceled from next Monday, according to reports.

Jet fuel prices have rocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine, which triggered a spike in the crude oil market.


Biden Nominates TSA Chief David Pekoske for Another Term

2 years ago

U.S. President Joe Biden is nominating David Pekoske to serve another term as head of the Transportation Security Administration.

He leads a workforce of 60,000 employees and is responsible for security operations at 440 airports across the country.

Pekoske was first nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2017.

The TSA was created by Congress in November 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks. It is responsible for security operations at 430 U.S. airports. According to reports, the White House plans to boost the number of TSA officers by 2,540 as it forecasts a faster return to pre-Covid U.S. air travel levels.

Short-Term Rentals

Tour Operator Intrepid Invests in Remote Eco-Cabins Startup CABN

2 years ago

Intrepid Travel, one of the world’s largest adventure travel tour operator is investing about $5.5 million USD into an Australian remote eco-cabins startup CABN. Currently the startup has 11 cabins across South Australia and Victoria and plans to build 70 eco cabins by 2023, with this money injection.

The model involves building the eco cabins offsite then transferring them to private land. Each cabin is built from predominantly locally sourced and sustainable materials and requires minimal infrastructure, with a “leave no trace” philosophy, says this story in AFR.


Certares and Knighthead Invest $225 Million in Global Blue in Bet on Duty-Free Shopping

2 years ago

Have you ever claimed your value added tax back for things you bought during a trip to Europe? Then you probably used a Global Blue Tax Free Shopping service. Global Blue, a payments specialist for 300,000 partner stores primarily in the European Union, is now on the rebound.

It has agreed to receive $225 million in investment, subject to shareholder approval, from CK Opportunities, an investment fund co-managed by Certares, a global travel, tourism and hospitality investment firm, and Knighthead, a credit investment management firm.

The news comes shortly after Global Blue reported its first notional profit since the pandemic began, as measured by positive adjusted earnings, before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Certares was founded as a private equity firm in 2012 in New York and has gone on to invest heavily in travel companies — most prominently American Express Global Business Travel, Hertz Corp., airline group Latam, and Liberty Tripadvisor Holdings.

One of the broad themes of Certares’ recent travel investments is that luxury or premium travel will prove to have long-term resilience despite other headwinds that might buffet the travel sector. Global Blue processes payments and has made particularly inroads on facilitating purchases made by international travelers on luxury good purchases at airports. In a non-pandemic year, Global Blue manages 35 million transactions. (See Skift’s coverage of Certares, here.) 

Recovery led by US travelers in Europe is especially strong. Spending by U.S. travelers of which Global Blue is managing the VAT refund was up 166 percent in April compared to pre-Covid levels.

Global Blue is a Silver Lake portfolio company that went public in 2020.


Transatlantic Business Travel Recovery Leads at British Airways

2 years ago

International Airlines Group CEO Luis Gallego said Friday that corporate bookings on its flights to and from North America are leading the recovery of business travel at its airlines, which include British Airways and Iberia.

“Business traffic is coming back,” he said during the group’s first-quarter earnings call on Friday. “We see that. For example, banking finance, the levels are around 65 percent the levels that we had in 2019. That’s a sector that is very important for us.”

Overall corporate demand at IAG has recovered to roughly 67 percent of 2019 levels but it varies widely by airline and market. For example, transatlantic corporate demand is at 90 percent of three years ago at British Airways. And across the group, bookings from large corporate accounts has recovered to 60 percent of 2019, while small- and medium-sized business bookings are at 80 percent. IAG also owns Aer Lingus and Spanish budget carrier Vueling.

The business recovery at IAG puts it in between peers Air France-KLM and the Lufthansa Group. Air France-KLM said Thursday that corporate demand is at 70 percent of 2019, while Lufthansa said the same day that it is only at roughly 50 percent but saw a 30-point improvement during the first quarter.

Food and Drink

IHG’s First-Quarter Average Daily Rates Now Back to 2019 Levels

2 years ago

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ 2022 first-quarter RevPAR increased 61 percent compared to the 2021 first quarter, and had now reached 82 percent of 2019’s level.

Its average daily rate was also up 27 percent versus 2021, and in line with 2019 levels, the company revealed on Friday in a trading update.

Americas and the Europe, Middle East Africa and Australia region saw sequentially improved trading in February and March after a challenging January.

However, it added Greater China trading in March impacted by tightening of localised travel restrictions.

“We’ve seen very positive trading conditions in the first quarter with travel demand continuing to increase in almost all of our key markets around the world,” said IHG CEO Keith Barr. “The high level of demand we have seen for leisure travel continues to drive increased rates and occupancy. We also continue to see a return of business and group travel, further supporting RevPAR improvements in many of our key urban markets.”

The hotel group also signed 17 thousand rooms into its development pipeline in the first quarter.


Boeing Reported to Plan Headquarters Move to Washington, D.C., Area

2 years ago

Boeing appears ready to move its headquarters to the Washington, D.C., area, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal Thursday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the planemaker would move its headquarters to Arlington, Va., from Chicago in the near future, the Journal reported. The change would locate Boeing leadership just miles from the seat of U.S. government, which is the largest customer for its defense and space businesses. Additional details are expected in as little as a week.

Boeing opened a new 322,000-square-foot regional headquarters in Arlington in 2014. Moving its headquarters to that facility, and closing its downtown Chicago office — something that that would certainly be a blow to the Windy City — could help it realize the goal of reducing its office footprint by 30 percent that then Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith outlined in October 2020. Boeing relocated its headquarters to Chicago from Seattle in 2001.

If Boeing does move its headquarters to Arlington, it would be in good company. Amazon is building its so-called second headquarters just blocks from Boeing’s offices in the same neighborhood of Arlington.

Media and PR

Nat Geo Hires Nathan Lump As New Editor

2 years ago

National Geographic, the 134 year-old media brand now majority owned by Disney, has appointed former Editor of Travel+Leisure Nathan Lump as its new Editor-In-Chief. Lump was most recently serving as global head of Editorial and Entertainment at Expedia Group. 

In his new role, Lump will manage the content strategy of the National Geographic editorial team —  leading a team of 130+ editors, writers, photographers and designers– as part of National Geographic Media, which operates in over 170 countries.

“Another key priority will be integrating the important work of the National Geographic Society into the brand’s editorial strategy and extending the reach of Nat Geo Media’s storytelling across The Walt Disney Company and its customers,” the company said in the announcement.