Hello from Skift. It’s Tuesday, March 8 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast examines what Amex GBT revenue means for the resumption of business travel, the challenge of using Airbnb to help Ukrainians and new tourism marketing plans from South Africa.
Even though more workers have returned to their offices around the world over the past year, business travel is still struggling to reach pre-Covid levels. The latest annual results from American Express Global Business Travel underscore how far the industry needs to go to fully recover, reports Matthew Parsons, business travel editor.
Amex GBT, which Parsons says is often a proxy for business travel due to its prominence in the industry, released 2021 revenue that was about a quarter of 2019. Although an executive at company has expressed optimism about a significant recovery in business travel, several travel managers speaking at an online conference last week revealed only slight rebounds in business travel. Bank of America’s head of travel said corporate travel was back to 20 and 30% of pre-Covid levels while for Snapchat that figure was around 40%.
Second, many Airbnb users try to show their support for Ukraine by booking stays on the platform that they think are with individual hosts, even if they don’t plan to stay in Ukraine. However, these users are sending money to professional hosts who may not even be based in the war-torn country, reports editor Dennis Schaal.
The idea to book stays in Ukraine on Airbnb, which has waived host and guest fees in the country, came from an Instagram account and was endorsed by CEO Brian Chesky. Although Chesky said nearly $2 million from bookings will go to hosts in need, it’s unclear exactly how much money Ukrainian hosts actually receive. Since Airbnb listings don’t specify whether the hosts are professionals or individuals looking to earn extra income, Schaal writes that a portion of bookings in Ukraine go to property managers who might not even be based in the country.
Also, a travel journalist said that using Airbnb as a way to donate to Ukraine could inadvertently help Russia.
We end today in South Africa. The country is launching its first major global tourism campaign since the start of the pandemic, which it intends to be a vehicle to revitalize local businesses and communities, writes Global Tourism Reporter Lebawit Lily Girma.
South African tourism officials said Live Again!, the new campaign that features a black female traveler participating in numerous activities in a newly released video, aims to use tourism to boost the country’s economic recovery and help reduce inequality. economic. Girma writes that the campaign symbolizes a major comeback for its tourism industry, which was hit hard by many countries enacting travel bans in South Africa after scientists in the country first detected Omicron last November.