Travel advisors are encountering travelers with new priorities -- race and inclusivity. Some want to patronize black-owned businesses, stay at Black-owned hotels, visit historic sites related to race or use the services of Black travel advisors.
Several travel and consumer groups appealed to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to do more to protect the traveling public, including preserving travel vouchers. Members of the group said they were impressed with Buttigieg's "transformational vision for protecting consumers' rights, increasing airline competition and safeguarding passenger health and safety while flying on commercial airlines through US airports."
Hilton Worldwide Holdings reported a second-quarter profit Thursday as rising vaccination rates, leisure travel demand and overall economic recovery carried US hotel occupancy to its highest level since October 2019. Major chains are expected to approach pre-pandemic occupancy marks as the year progresses and lagging business travel ramps up.
Alaska Airlines plans to deploy an artificial intelligence system to plan flight routes for aircraft across its US operations. "This is as game changing for aviation as Google Maps and Waze has been for driving," said Pasha Saleh, Alaska's director of flight operations.
JetBlue still plans to begin service between New York and London in August, but has cut its flight schedule due to continuing restrictions on travel from the UK. "We've all been very frustrated that the corridor hasn't opened," said CEO Robin Hayes, contending that "it's not data-driven, because there are many other countries where there are lower vaccination rates that are open."
The new JW Marriott Las Vegas is expected to open by October 2023 with a casino, 3,700 rooms, a spa, event space, retail and restaurants. The resort, which will also include a 900-plus-key Edition, will connect by pedestrian skybridge to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Two travel tech companies, Revinate and Navis, have merged, but details of the deal were not disclosed. The merger will enable the companies to consolidate the services they offer to hoteliers and vacation rental managers.
European destinations are busy this summer and officials are using the opportunity to encourage tourists to get vaccinated. The unvaccinated in France are restricted from some sites, while Italy has a mobile effort to take the vaccines to beaches and other popular spots.
Microsoft reportedly is negotiating to invest in Indian hotel startup Oyo, whose leaders say they're aiming toward a public listing. Sources say the SoftBank-backed Oyo may use Microsoft's cloud services under the proposed deal.
United Airlines announced five grand prize winners in its "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes. The contest offered MileagePlus members who uploaded proof of vaccination the opportunity to win free travel for a year. More than one million members entered the contest in less than a month. "We were proud to do our part to encourage more Americans to get their shot and were thrilled by the overwhelming response we received," United CEO Scott Kirby said.
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