Travel’s Tough Truths and Inspirations

Skift has never been shy about provoking our readers, and one recent story — The 21 Uncomfortable Truths That I Have Learned About the Travel Industry – certainly did that job. It was the musing of Skift Founder and CEO Rafat Ali, timed to run as the company marked its sixth year.

The response, as Ali has noted, was overwhelming. “Awesome truth bombs,” one person wrote on LinkedIn. Others were less enamored. As a follow-up, Ali recently wrote a love letter of sorts to travel, naming 25 things that inspire him about the industry.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we talk about uncomfortable and occasionally unpopular observations about travel. Are industry associations useless? Is domestic travel ignored? Why, for the love of god, is MICE a term that the industry has embraced? (We’ll also touch on the inspiring stuff, like travel’s role in creating a global middle class.)

Our guests were Ali and co-founder Jason Clampet, who is also general manager of Skift Table.

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Skift Backstage Podcast: Global Tourism in a Volatile Time

Volatility in the world — and the way the travel industry deals with it — was one of the big themes recently at the first Skift Forum Europe in London.

Terror attacks, political upheaval, isolationist policies and security crackdowns are all changing the way that travelers make decisions and move around the globe. As political leaders seek to reinforce borders, travel insiders are trying to convey a message of welcome to potential visitors — sentiments that frequently find themselves at odds.

On this episode of the Skift Podcast, we’re hearing from two experts who take a global view of tourism amid all that change. We spoke to them in separate conversations behind the scenes in the Skift Take Studio during the Forum in London.

First, we’ll hear from Olivier Jager, CEO and co-founder of ForwardKeys, which compiles tourism data based on reservations transactions. Jager, who was an attendee at the event, spoke to us about how global events impact tourism, the need for quick information on how travelers react to change, and the “Trump Slump” report that the company put out after the new administration’s first travel ban in January. That analysis showed a 6.5 percent drop in international bookings to the U.S. immediately following the ban.

We also have a conversation with Gerald Lawless, chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, who was a speaker at the Forum. Lawless, who is also head of tourism and hospitality for Dubai Holding, spoke about the Open Skies fight, overtourism, the growth of the Chinese travel market, and the recent laptop ban on several airlines. WTTC held its 2017 Global Summit this week in Bangkok.

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Puerto Rico and the Fight for Caribbean Tourism

Puerto Rico has long enjoyed a reputation as an easy-to-visit tropical getaway thanks to its status as a U.S. territory. But the news has been bleaker over the last couple of years. First came the debt crisis last year, followed by this year’s spread of Zika. The U.S. declared a public health emergency in August because of the virus; nearly 20,000 people have been infected in Puerto Rico.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the double whammy blow to tourism in Puerto Rico, what tourism officials have learned about coping with crisis, and how Caribbean destinations are sharing information.

Our guests are Ingrid Rivera, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, and Clarisa Jiménez, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and reporter Andrew Sheivachman.

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play, or RSS.