Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at travel and artificial intelligence, Air Asia’s new airline, and e-visa roadblocks in Africa.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, December 12. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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The use of artificial intelligence is exploding in personal and professional lives, with Generative AI — a sector that includes the creation of images, audio and video — making waves in the business world. So what does its emergence mean for the travel industry? Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali and author David Mattin, an expert on artificial intelligence, discuss why it’s getting so much buzz in a special edition of the Skift Podcast.
Mattin, who writes a newsletter called New World Same Humans that explores technology issues, asserted the rise of Generative AI has huge implications for travel marketing agencies. He said travel brands can use the technology to generate compelling travel marketing copy such as TV commercials and Twitter campaigns in seconds. Mattin added that he sees Generative AI massively amplifying marketers’ creativity, helping launch what he described as a relentless stream of ideas.
We turn next to big news from AirAsia. Southeast Asia’s largest budget carrier is launching a new airline in Cambodia as part of its strategy to expand in the region, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Capital A, AirAsia’s parent company, unveiled plans on Friday for a joint venture in Cambodia with local partner Sivilai Asia. Russell writes a local subsidiary would enable AirAsia to operate nonstop routes from Cambodia to countries it doesn’t currently operate in, including India and Japan. However, it’s uncertain when the new airline will start service.
Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes said Cambodia is a market AirAsia is familiar with, adding that all of its future airlines will be based in Southeast Asia.
Finally, a growing number of African countries are turning to e-visas — travel permits consumers can obtain online instead of at an embassy or consulate — to help boost tourism arrivals. But those destinations are also experiencing difficulties in processing them, hindering the continent’s ability to make a full tourism recovery, reports Contributor Harriet Akinyi.
Akinyi cites South Africa as one country facing challenges in implementing e-visas. South African officials believe the emerging form of technology will help the country reach its goal of attracting 21 million visitors annually by 2030. But its tourism minister acknowledged that successfully adopting e-visas is taking longer than expected.
In addition, authorities in Kenya have also expressed frustration about delays in issuing e-visas to travelers, with one official stating that some prospective visitors have waited up to a month to receive them.
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