Travel Advisors Book Sri Lanka Again Thanks to Downgraded Warnings

Hotels like KK Beach on Habaraduwa Beach are offering significant discounts to attract visitors after some lean times.

Skift Take: Tourism to Sri Lanka was riding high until the Easter massacre all but shut it down. Now that foreign governments are scaling back their travel warnings, some travel advisors are again pushing the destination, hoping that tourism will help get the country back on its feet.

— Allan Leibowitz

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Brand USA Faces Uncertain Future Despite Weakening Inbound Travel

Faungg Photo  /

In this file photo, a man tries to hug a tree in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. Brand USA faces a funding crisis if Congress doesn’t renew its mandate. Faungg Photo /

Skift Take: Brand USA, the country’s official tourism marketing arm, could go under if Congress doesn’t act to secure its funding. The recent decline in international visitors to the U.S. would only get worse if marketing support is eliminated.

— Maria Lenhart

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Travel Advisors Ready to Take One Big Step Into Space Tourism

Virgin Galactic via Associated Press

This undated photo shows Virgin Galactic’s first SpaceShipTwo. Travel advisors are poised for the advent of suborbital flights. Virgin Galactic via Associated Press

Skift Take: After many years of setbacks and anticipation, Virgin Galactic’s suborbital flights are expected to launch at last. Is a whole new era of space tourism, with rewards for travel advisors, about to take off, as well?

— Maria Lenhart

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Space Tourism Could Be the Ultimate Adventure Trip for Travel Advisors


Virgin Galactic suborbital flights may be starting soon. Pictured is a Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo vehicle in December 2018. Bloomberg

Skift Take: With Virgin Galactic’s suborbital flights expected to begin at long last, space tourism could soon take off as a niche for travel advisors. Those already involved caution that it takes patience, training, and commitment.

— Maria Lenhart

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UK Investor Group Makes Move for Anbang’s Luxury Hotel Portfolio

Thomas Hawk  / Flickr

The JW Marriott Essex House in New York City is part of the portfolio many suitors are looking to acquire from Anbang Insurance Group. Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Skift Take: It looks like a bidding war is on for Anbang’s luxury hotel portfolio. Investor Richard Faber has turned to sovereign wealth funds to outspend the other investment groups jockeying to win the deal.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Marriott Handed $124 Million Fine Over Starwood Data Breach

Marriott International

A Marriott Hotel guest room. The hotel company is facing a substantial fine due to a data breach involving around 339 million guest records. Marriott International

Skift Take: The headline fine amount might seem pretty substantial, but as with an earlier British Airways breach case, the penalties likely will be challenged. Both companies will no doubt vigorously defend themselves in the hope of getting the figure reduced.

— Patrick Whyte

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