Good morning from Skift. It's Friday, March 4, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast focuses on the travel companies that are distancing themselves from Russia, the almost post-pandemic habits of U.S. travelers, and an enormous challenge for Russian airlines.
A growing number of travel companies are refusing to conduct business in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, including many tour operators that are canceling their Russia trips for the rest of 2022, writes Editorial Assistant Rashaad Jorden.
While numerous tour operators cited guest safety as the primary reason for their decision to shelve trips to the world’s largest country, others said their actions are part of a wider travel industry strategy to pressure Russia to end the invasion. One of them is G Adventures, which is refusing to take bookings from Russian travel agencies.
But when will tour operators resume trips to Russia? Although several executives declined to issue a timeframe, G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip said a peaceful settlement to the war would spur it to relaunch Russia trips while an Intrepid Travel executive maintains the company will return to Russia when it feels it’s safe to do so.
Next, the U.S. travel industry saw a drop in the percentage of Americans who hit the road in January 2022 compared to the same month in 2020 and December 2021. But despite that decline, the short-term rental and resort markets are continuing their resurgence, writes Vice President of Skift Research Haixia Wang in Skift Research’s latest report.
Skift Research has released its U.S. Travel Tracker: January 2022 Highlights, which revealed that roughly 40 percent of Americans traveled that month — a figure that’s a drop from the 45 percent rate recorded in January 2020 and December 2021. But the report found that both vacation rentals and resorts recorded increases in stays during January 2022 compared to the previous month, which Wang writes is a product of Covid exhaustion likely driving more people to places where they can relax or enjoy nature.
We end today with two Western travel technology giants that are retreating from Russia. Sabre and Amadeus said on Thursday they’re shutting down distribution services to Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, writes Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill.
Sean Menke, CEO of Sabre, announced that his company terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot, removing the airline’s content from Sabre’s global distribution system. As Sabre is the largest provider of airline information technology to Aeroflot, its decision essentially prevents the carrier from selling tickets.
Meanwhile, Amadeus announced it was removing Aeroflot fares from its reservation systems for travel agencies as an Amadeus spokesperson said the company would not be signing any new contracts in Russia. Amadeus had the largest share of ticket distribution in Russia in both 2019 and 2021 while Sabre had the second most.