NewsSeptember 18, 2018

The 21 Uncomfortable Truths That I Have Learned About the Travel Industry, as told by CEO of Skift.

Skift, Inc. is a media company founded that provides news, research, and marketing services for the travel industry. Skift CEO Rafat Ali started Skift after digging deep into the travel industry by reading the trades, history books, taking to the countless travel industry people and investors, and then eventually started in the fall of 2012.

Six years into the journey of Skift, Rafat Ali, his co-founder, and founding editor have learned a lot, many of the lessons have been unlearning and assumptions that they had, as they came to the travel industry.  “Some of the learnings have been reinforcing, some have been humbling, and some have been disappointing,” said Rafat Ali.


According to the Skift CEO Rafat Ali here are 21 uncomfortable truths that he has learnt about the travel industry:

1)      “Travel is the world’s largest sector, let’s start acting like it” would be a rallying cry that the travel industry has never really thought of but needs to hear.

2)      The Travel Industry will resist change as a default reaction but when its forced to change, it will claim that the travel industry enabled the rise of the change. Eg: Uber and Airbnb.

3)      Travel Marketing – Destinations, Hotels, Airlines, Booking Sites, Tours – blend into each other after a while and blind tests have actually confirmed it.

4)      The Birth of Leisure Travel was a result of European Moneyed class wanting transformative experiences and yet somehow, they are now marketed as something new in travel.

5)      Sustainable Tourism – Going green or caring about the environment are ego-booting mantras taken out at the right moments and soon to be forgotten in the daily scheme of things.

6)      Airlines are despite what the executives will tell you, the most insular of all sectors in travel.

7)      Travel and Hospitality Schools train the young for the jobs of the previous generation, instead of the new positions opening up.

8)      Deans, Professors, and Teachers are more clueless about the current and future of the travel industry than the students they teach to.

9)      Travel trade Publications like the consumer travel magazines are published to make PR and their clients happy and is completely irrelevant to travelers.

10) Visa Opening – Visa Less, Visa on Arrival & E-Visa – is the biggest booster for travel.

11)   Politicians care very little about promoting jobs in travel and the economic value of travel and emblematic of how little travel is ever talked about in election campaigns.

12)   Domestic Travel is completely ignored by all, much to a huge loss to the small businesses that power the ecosystem of local travel.

13)   “Living like a Local” is a scam perpetrated by the travel marketers. All of us are tourists and the travel sector would be better if we embrace the real responsibility of being one.