Rizort Raises $2.9 Million for VR-Infused Travel Advice: Travel Startup Funding This Week

The Ritz Carlton in Bali is one of the properties recommended by Rizort, an online travel agency that has received startup funding.

Skift Take: Can virtual reality content play a role in helping to persuade travelers to book luxury destinations in Southeast Asia? That’s the bet made by Rizort, an online travel agency startup that received funding this week.

— Sean O’Neill

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Ryan Wolkov

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Business Travel Booms as Hotel Chains Reap the Rewards

Marriott International executives at a press conference. Business travel’s growth is a big win for hospitality.

Skift Take: Hotel companies are reporting strong earnings from corporate business. This is as good a sign as any that the latest business travel boom has continued into 2018, and it will be interesting to see how this tees up corporate hotel rate increases that make business travel even more expensive for companies.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Hyatt’s New Corporate Travel Program Aims for Small Businesses

A promotional photo of a Hyatt Hotels front desk. The hotel chain’s new program aimed at small businesses is an interesting, but narrow, foray into business travel.

Skift Take: Hyatt seems to realize not only that small businesses are the most untapped portion of corporate travel, but that a solid business travel experience can lead to dividends on the leisure side as well. Whether this program catches on is another story, though.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Group Building Istanbul New Airport to Get an Extra $1.2 Billion Loan

Istanbul New Airport is an international airport under construction in Turkey. Shown here is an artist’s rendering of what the main hall of the first terminal to open will look like.

Skift Take: Istanbul’s new airport will feature the world’s largest terminal and is due to have its delayed opening later this year. But we increasingly worry that, rather than make Turkey a key international hub between Europe and Asia, it is too big for its own good.

— Sean O’Neill

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Private Islands Are Oasis For Luxury Travelers in an Over-Connected World

Lars Plougmann

Private islands like this one in Belize are growing in popularity among affluent travelers. Lars Plougmann

Skift Take: Renting out private islands isn’t something that just started happening but in a world where its harder to unplug, having an island to yourself at least gives the illusion of seclusion.

— Dan Peltier

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Delta Air Lines Will Return to Mumbai Despite Competition from Gulf Carriers

Delta Air Lines will return to Mumbai but it hasn’t said from where it will fly. Delta will face stiff competition from the top three Gulf carriers.

Skift Take: By most accounts, there’s not much heft in the new agreements the U.S. government reached with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates over airline subsidies. Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways will still carry a significant number of travelers between the United States and India. Perhaps the updated diplomatic agreement isn’t the reason Delta is returning to India. Maybe it’s just a good market.

— Brian Sumers

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California’s Bullet Train Hangs on Funding From a Democratic Congress

Jim Maurer

Trains in San Francisco, California, on May 27, 2017. The state is facing a very expensive high-speed rail project that needs more funding. Jim Maurer

Skift Take: High-speed rail in the U.S. feels impossible. Tracks are garbage in the Northeast, Wisconsin rejected its funding, Florida just now made a baby step, and the price tag on all this is shocking. But zipping from San Francisco down to Los Angeles comfortably is too sweet a dream to give up on.

— Sarah Enelow-Snyder

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Corporate Travel Demand Remains Strong: Industry CEOs

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorensen. Corporate travel growth has been a boon for Marriott as it moves to slash commissions on meetings.

Skift Take: Corporate travel continues to grow as the global economy hums along immune to the geopolitical issues cropping up around the world. How long can it last? And will increasing hotel rates eat away at the increased spending made by corporations?

— Andrew Sheivachman

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U.S. Issues New Requirements for Russian Planes in Airspace Spat

Aeroflot and two other Russian airlines will have to share more information with the U.S. government. Pictured is an Aeroflot Airbus aircraft.

Skift Take: The State Department just closed the books on the last long-running airline-related diplomatic saga in Washington — Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Now, apparently, the government is turning its attention to a feud with Russia about so-called overflight rights.

— Brian Sumers

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Ryan Wolkov

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