Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, May 10, in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the travel business today.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the complexities of Ghana’s latest tourism initiative, Miami’s international tourism boom, and a surprise acquisition in the travel loyalty space.
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While the airline industry continues to recover from the pandemic, one US airport in particular stands out as a gateway for foreign visitors: Miami International Airport, reports contributor Ted Reed.
Miami welcomed just over 13 million international travelers last year, ranking first in the US and 11th globally, according to figures released this month by Airports Council International. Reed writes that the city benefited significantly from being close to short-haul destinations in the Caribbean and a key hub for South America, one of the fastest-recovering global regions. The number of arrivals has also been boosted by companies such as American Airlines and Spirit Airlines that have increased or launched service to the airport. The city received in total approximately 37 million air passengers in 2021, a figure that doubled the 2020 mark.
Additionally, Miami was the busiest cargo airport in the US and the ninth busiest in the world overall last year. The airport handled 2.7 million tons of cargo in 2021, beating the record it set the previous year by 17 percent.
Ghana is then using African-American celebrities to promote itself as a tourist destination in its Beyond the Return campaign. But Lebawit General Editor Lily Girma writes that the use of such prominent figures to boost tourism has become a problem due to concerns that the campaign could cause more inequity and tensions in the country.
The Ghanaian government launched its Beyond the Return initiative in December 2020 following its hugely successful Year of Return campaign the year before. The ongoing initiative is part of its strategy to attract visitors from the lucrative African-American market. But Ghanaian tourism executives have expressed uncertainty over, among other things, whether the campaign will improve the lives of people in the host communities, and Girma wrote that non-Ghanaians have been blamed for driving up the cost of living in Accra. .
Kwame Gasu, co-founder of digital marketing and advertising startup Detalon Africa, thinks Ghana’s use of African-American celebrities to promote the country is an excellent strategy. However, Gasu argues that tourism revenues should be reinvested to improve the country’s main attractions. He cited the Kwame Nkrumah Museum, which is dedicated to the country’s first president, as a place in desperate need of significant refurbishment.
We end with important news from PlusGrade. The Montreal-based company, which helps airlines and cruise lines grow ancillary revenue, has announced an agreement to buy Points.com for $385 million in cash, reports executive editor Dennis Schaal.
The executive team and board of Points.com, a Toronto-based company that powers airline loyalty programs, among other services, support the deal, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals. The CEOs of both corporations have already issued statements touting the benefits of the deal.