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How Artificial Intelligence Determines Which Airline Stories Go Viral

Associated Press

Passengers evacuate an American Airlines Boeing 767 at Chicago O’Hare in October 2016. Many journalists learned about the incident from an alert from Dataminr. Associated Press

Skift Take: As a Dataminr executive told us, “There is no such thing as a secret now.” If it happens on an airplane and someone puts it on social media, it is bound to become news. That’s just how it goes now, for better or worse.

— Brian Sumers

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South Africa’s Visa Policy Is Still Hurting Tourism

Richard Holmes / Skift

A South African passport and birth certificate are shown. The country has amended some visa regulations, but problems remain. Richard Holmes / Skift

Skift Take: South Africa’s onerous visa regime for minor travelers continues to hobble its all-important tourism industry. Amendments published last month may look like good news, but read them closely and – industry insiders say – not nearly enough has changed.

— Richard Holmes

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Paris Cultural Sites to Close Saturday Amid Riot Fears

Bob Edme / Associated Press

A demonstrator holds a sign reading “Join us” in Biarritz on Dec. 5. Concessions made by French president Emmanuel Macron’s government in a bid to stop violent anti-government demonstrations seemed to have failed to convince protesters. Bob Edme / Associated Press

Skift Take: Now is not the best time to be visiting Paris, though some of the biggest tourist draws in the city will remain open. It will be in the interest of residents and visitors alike for the government and protestors to reach an agreement that brings calm.

— Hannah Sampson

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Senior Buddy System and 9 Other Tourism Trends This Week

Jenni Konrad / Flickr

Strasbourg, France is shown in this photo from November taken by someone on a river cruise. A new matching site helps solo seniors find traveling partners. Jenni Konrad / Flickr

Skift Take: This week in tourism news, a new matching site could help solo seniors find buddies for their next trips. The Philadelphia tourism board also looks at under-appreciated demographics, targeting Latino travelers after yearlong dividends from a black-centric campaign.

— Sarah Enelow-Snyder

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Upgrading U.S. Highways Will Require Increased Gas Tax and Tolls


A car filling up at a gas pump somewhere in the U.S. Improving the nation’s highways will cost billions more than America is spending now. Bloomberg

Skift Take: President Trump’s pledge to invest in U.S. transportation infrastructure never materialized. It’s going to take a sustained, decades-long investment as traffic increases and puts increased pressure on bridges, tunnels, and highways.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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New Skift Research Explains What Repeat Tourists Want

Dom J /

Repeat travelers exhibit unique behaviors and preferences from non-repeat travelers. Here, tourists take pictures of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Dom J /

Skift Take: Keeping visitors loyal is often a complex task for destinations. Understanding those travelers who are most likely to go back to places they’ve visited is a crucial component of this equation.

— Meghan Carty

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Marriott CFO Refuses to Detail Potential Financial Impact of Hack

Peter Kaminski / Flickr

The Marriott Marquis hotel in San Diego, Calif. Peter Kaminski / Flickr

Skift Take: This hack is going to be extremely costly for Marriott, with costs inflated by whatever fines handed down by European regulators for privacy violations. One has to wonder whether an event like this was covered in Marriott’s agreement to purchase Starwood, too.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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UK Regulator Seeks to Force Ryanair to Compensate Strike-Hit Flyers

Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

A Ryanair aircraft on the tarmac at Dublin’s international airport. Ryanair is facing legal action from Britain’s aviation regulator after the discount carrier refused to pay compensation to passengers for strike disruption. Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

Skift Take: The Civil Aviation Authority’s move to consider an enforcement action comes after the Irish carrier declined to compensate passengers over strike-related disruptions this summer. Ryanair said that courts in Germany, Spain, and Italy have already ruled that the strikes were an exceptional circumstance and that the airline doesn’t owe compensation.

— Sean O’Neill

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Disney Makes CEO Bonus Target Harder to Reach


Disney CEO Bob Iger is pictured. The company made his bonus targets harder to achieve but also more lucrative. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Disney CEO Bob Iger has extended his contract multiple times, and he’s poised to reap a windfall when he finally leaves the company — in addition to the cash he’s pulling in during the rest of his tenure. Shareholders showed this year that they weren’t happy with his compensation plan, and the board has responded.

— Hannah Sampson

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