Airbnb Returns to Experiences

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the reinvigorated Airbnb experience, Potato Head’s sustainability and Ukraine’s resilience.

Rashaad Jorden

Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday September 22nd. Here’s what you need to know about the travel business today.

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Episode Notes

The head of Ukraine’s tourism agency delivered an emotional message of hope at the Skift Global Forum in New York on Wednesday. Mariana Oleskiv, head of Ukraine’s State Agency for Tourism Development, vowed not to allow the damage to her industry from Russia’s invasion of her country to deter efforts to rebuild tourism.

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Asia editor Peden Doma Bhutia writes that Oleskiv said domestic tourism in the country has already reached 50 percent of pre-war levels. Oleskiv cited Crimea, a region currently occupied by Russia, as a travel destination that could boost Ukraine’s tourism recovery. The Ukrainian tourism authorities have plans to turn Crimea into a year-round tourist resort. She received a standing ovation from the forum participants after her presentation.

Next, Airbnb is emphasizing developing travel experiences for the growing number of people working from home, writes Editor-in-Chief Dennis Schaal.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, speaking with Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali at the Skift Global Forum on Wednesday, said the travel industry is about to enter a golden age where workers are glued to computer screens and eager for them be traveling to gain new experiences. Chesky, who believes about half of US workers could eventually work from home, explained that such workers seek to leave home and build interpersonal relationships.

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He predicted travelers would seek destinations other than big cities like Paris and Rome. Chesky added that while city travel is strong, it hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels — and likely won’t.

Finally, Indonesia-based hotel brand Potato Head believes it is successfully striking a balance between providing quality guest experiences and maintaining a commitment to sustainability, writes Global Tourism reporter Dawit Habtemariam.

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Potato Head founder Ronald Akili said everything has to be balanced in a discussion with On Experience columnist Colin Nagy at the Skift Global Forum on Wednesday. Akili noted that a key tenet of Potato Head’s lifestyle brand is duality, a belief that stems from Bali’s culture. He said music, design and wellness come together on the Indonesian island, with Potato Head offering guests opportunities for activities such as mediation and live music. Additionally, the brand works with community stakeholders on projects focused on sustainability, including reducing the amount of waste it sends to landfill each year.

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