Travelling is “becoming harder” for passengers, and the industry needs to “fight back” against the challenges being faced, Sun Country CEO Jude Bricker told Routes Americas.
Taking part in a conference session outlining how airlines and the travel and tourism industry can work better together, Bricker said that while demand for bookings is now stronger than any time in the airline’s history, “we’re struggling with the operational side” such as car rental and hospitality.
“We need to invest in the operational recovery so these passengers getting on a plane for the first time in two years have a good time,” he said.
Bricker also advised airports to “first and foremost” invest in making the travel experience “more convenient” for passengers, before spending in other areas.
“No one cares what art you have hanging on your walls,” he said.
Fellow speaker Marc Anderson, the president & CEO of Visit San Antonio, said that a fundamental “lack of understanding” of the power of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry exists in the US, which stakeholders should join forces to challenge.
“We’re economic drivers, we drive tax revenue and employment,” said Anderson. “Unlike in Asia there is not an appreciation of this industry in the US.”
“We need a strategic communication plan for the entire US on the importance of travel. We need to come together collectively to tell our story,” Anderson added.
Bricker also said that airlines and hotel groups could collaborate more closely, while other tourism-related business “in the markets that we serve could work well together.”
“We don’t really care where our travelers stay, but we want a strong hotel market in our destinations to create competition and value for them,” he said. “We want to make our customers happy.”