Carnival Cruises Into a Better Earnings Season

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Carnival’s better earnings, high costs for business travelers in Hong Kong and Traveloka’s cash injection.

Rashaad Jorden

Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday October 3rd. Here’s what you need to know about the travel business today.

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Episode Notes

Corporate travel agents have booked trips to Hong Kong in large numbers after it recently lifted its mandatory hotel quarantine. Those companies are also seeing the cost of business trips to Hong Kong continue to rise, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

While airfares fell in most markets in 2020 and 2021, business travel agency CWT reports Parsons saw the opposite in both Hong Kong and Singapore. Akshay Kapoor, Asia Pacific sales director at CWT, said the agency doesn’t think the factors that caused the rise in flight and hotel prices will go away any time soon. Air fares in Hong Kong are expected to rise 24 percent this year and 4 percent in 2023.

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Meanwhile, Parsons adds that the rising cost of business travel should mean companies are already preparing for China to ease travel restrictions significantly. Kapoor predicts that business travel demand to China will increase significantly once the country lifts quarantine requirements for international travelers.

Next, Carnival Corporation reported a surge in bookings for the third quarter during its conference call on Friday, which the cruise line attributed to the easing of its Covid protocols, writes Global Tourism reporter Dawit Habtemariam.

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Carnival CEO Josh Weinstein said the company recorded more bookings in the third quarter than in the same period in 2019. The cruise line also saw a significant increase in onboard revenue from pre-pandemic levels. Carnival announced in August that vaccinated passengers would no longer need to test negative to board, while unvaccinated passengers who tested negative for Covid would be allowed to board.

But despite an 80 percent increase in revenue in the second quarter, Carnival lost nearly $700 million in the third quarter.

Finally, Traveloka, Indonesia’s leading online travel agency, has received a huge boost in its quest to develop more digital products. The company has secured new funding worth US$300 million, reports Asia editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

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The Indonesian Investment Authority – as well as global financial institutions such as BlackRock and Allianz Global Investors – led the round of funding. Traveloka had attempted to raise over $200 million, having previously raised $1.2 billion in funding in six rounds. Online travel agencies in Indonesia are expected to increase their share of tourism bookings in the country, Bhutia writes.

Shirley Lesmana, Traveloka’s chief marketing officer, said in a recent speech at the Skift Global Forum in New York that the pandemic has accelerated the need to create more digital products. She added that Traveloka is working to improve its payments infrastructure.

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