US Guns Scare International Tourists

Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, June 16, in Puerto Rico (where the Skift Team is meeting). Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Rashaad Jordan

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at concern international tourists have about rampant gun violence across the United States, how economic concerns are changing summer travel plans, and Air France’s new bet on luxury.

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Episode Notes

Skift Research’s newly released US Travel Tracker: May Highlights report has mixed news for the travel industry. While a higher percentage of Americans are traveling compared to last year, an economic downturn is poised to alter many consumers’ summer travel plans, reports Senior Vice President of Skift Research Haixia Wang.

The report forecasts a strong summer season for the US travel industry, as 47 percent of Americans traveled in May, a 4 percentage point jump from the same time last year. Furthermore, 41 percent of US consumers have made plans to travel while another 30 percent indicate they’re likely to travel this summer.

But Wang writes that consumers are increasingly expressing concerns about an economic downturn, which is poised to alter many Americans’ summer travel plans. Nearly 70 percent of Americans said they’ve seen travel prices rise from last year, and of that 70 percent, nearly two-thirds responded that the rising prices will impact their travel plans.

Next, despite recently lifting its pre-departure Covid test requirement for inbound air travelers, the United States faces another major obstacle in its attempt to hit its lofty tourism goals. Rising gun violence throughout is threatening to deter prospective visitors from traveling to the country, reports Editor-at-Large Lebawit Lily Girma.

While Girma writes there are no current surveys examining how much gun violence is deterring travel to the US this year, high profile recent mass shootings are making it difficult for the country to compete, for example, with European destinations for visitors for more choices at their fingertips. She adds that mass shootings — as well as rising hate crime numbers — may present the biggest impediment to the US hitting its goal of 90 million international visitors a year by 2027, citing travelers who have expressed concerns about being safe in the US

Finally, Air France has unveiled a new marketing campaign depicting its flights as an elegant experience, a strategy Contributor Colin Nagy expressed his support for in his On Experience column.

The campaign, titled “Taking Elegance to New Heights,” is part of Air France’s plan to target higher spending travelers. Citing an Air France flight he described as his best aircraft experience this year, Nagy believes the initiative could help the carrier move upmarket if the execution is as good as its messaging. Although, in Nagy’s view, the company needs to improve its aircraft, he sees its emphasis on elegance attractive to prospective customers amidst widespread instances of bad behavior on airplanes.

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