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Where and how the wealthy travel is changing

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Heli-skiing on virgin snow in Antarctica for a cool $2.2 million. A polar bear safari in an “off-limits” area of Norway’s Svalbard for $300,000. How about tracking snow leopards in the Himalayas with renowned explorers for $100,000? 

Big-ticket travel experiences like those are indicative of the “quiet luxury” trend which began in the world of fashion, with timeless lines trumping brand-blaring outfits.

Now, stealth wealth is spilling into the travel industry, as one-percenters are increasingly forgoing glitzy see-and-be-seen destinations, such as Capri, for more discreet getaways. 

Less limelight, more connection

Jaclyn Sienna India, the founder of the ultra-luxury travel company Sienna Charles, said she considers herself a longtime quiet luxury disciple.

While others may prefer the boulevards of Paris or the shores of Monaco, she escapes to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City once a year.

Monaco has long been a playground for the elite, but wealthy travelers are increasingly opting for more remote locations, say luxury travel advisors. 

Alexander Spatari | Moment | Getty Images

She said her clients are focused more than ever on their families, well-being and mental health “because the world is a lot more stressful.” As a result, they seek more connection than limelight when they travel.

But another important aspect of the quiet luxury movement concerns security. Since celebrity homes have been a target for thieves of late, high-profile events like the Super Bowl are less attractive, India said. 

Consequently, clients are seeking remote destinations, often at a moment’s notice, she said.

“We just booked a billionaire family on an island in a villa in Brazil. Brazil is not a place that immediately comes to mind … But, to me, it’s a place that still holds authenticity and soul. It’s got great food and an incredible spa and wellness culture,” India said.

Jaclyn Sienna India said she recently booked a “billionaire family” on a trip to a remote Brazilian island, despite Brazil not being “a place that immediately comes to mind.”

Sean De Burca | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Africa is another place where clients can seek solitude, she said. It was the choice of former U.S. President George W. Bush, whom she accompanied on a painstakingly organized personal trip to Ethiopia in 2015, she said.

Exclusivity and privacy

Roman & Erica is a luxury lifestyle company run by husband-and-wife team Erica Jackowitz and Roman Chiporukha. Jackowitz, a New York City native, compared quiet luxury to the understated elegance of cashmere, contrasting it with the Noughties trend of “wearing Chanel across your chest.”

Jackowitz manages the lifestyle needs of 30 families, from politicians and tech CEOs to hedge fund executives, she said. For them, quiet luxury travel is about exclusivity and privacy, she said.

Africa is also a popular spot for wealthy travelers looking for solitude, said Sienna India.

Thomas Barwick | Digitalvision | Getty Images

But the pandemic accelerated a desire among wealthy travelers to have meaningful experiences — which can range from requests for recommendations on where to take a quiet morning hike to organizing a game of tennis with Roger Federer, she said.

The next frontier

Yachts are more popular than ever because “more people … can afford these kinds of experiences,” said Roman & Erica’s Erica Jackowitz.

Anastasiia Krivenok | Moment | Getty Images

Jackowitz said her clients never opt for conventional cruises, as they prefer chartering private yachts. In fact, she said the booming charter market recently prevented her from securing a last-minute booking. 

“You’re now competing with 10 other people traveling with friends and family,” she said. “There are just so many more people who can afford these kinds of experiences.”

That’s leading moneyed travelers to search for new places for solitude, she said.

Wealthy clients are focused more than ever on their families, well-being and mental health “because the world is a lot more stressful,” said Sienna India. 

Thomas Barwick | Digitalvision | Getty Images

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United Airlines (UAL) 1Q 2024 earnings

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A United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lands at San Francisco International Airport.

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United Airlines on Tuesday cut its aircraft-delivery expectations for the year as it grapples with delays from Boeing, the latest airline to face growth challenges because of the plane-maker’s safety crisis.

United expects to receive just 61 new narrow-body planes this year, down from 101 it said it had expected at the beginning of the year and contracts for as many as 183 planes in 2024.

“We’ve adjusted our fleet plan to better reflect the reality of what the manufacturers are able to deliver,” CEO Scott Kirby said in an earnings release. “And, we’ll use those planes to capitalize on an opportunity that only United has: profitably grow our mid-continent hubs and expand our highly profitable international network from our best in the industry coastal hubs.”

United said it plans to lease 35 Airbus A321neos in 2026 and 2027, turning to Boeing’s rival for new planes as the U.S. manufacturer faces caps on its production and increased federal scrutiny. In January, United said it was taking Boeing’s not-yet-certified Max 10 out of its fleet plan. The airline said it has converted some Max 10 planes for Max 9s.

It lowered its annual capital expenditure estimate to $6.5 billion from about $9 billion.

United is also facing a Federal Aviation Administration safety review, which has prevented some of its planned growth. A spokeswoman told CNBC earlier this month that the carrier will have to postpone its planned service from Newark, New Jersey, to Faro, Portugal, and service between Tokyo and Cebu, Philippines.

United earlier this month postponed its investor day, which was scheduled for May, “because our entire team is focused on cooperating with the FAA to review our safety protocols and it would simply send the wrong message to our team to have an exciting investor day focused primarily on financial results.”

The airline said it would have reported a profit for the quarter if not for a $200 million hit from the temporary grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 in January.

The FAA temporarily grounded those jets after a door plug blew out minutes into an Alaska Airlines flight, sparking a new safety crisis for Boeing and slowing deliveries of its planes to customers including United, Southwest and others.

The airline posted a net loss of $124 million, or a loss of 38 cents a share, in the first quarter compared with a $194 million loss, or 59 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose nearly 10% in the first quarter compared with the year-earlier period to $12.54 billion, with capacity up more than 9% on the year.

Here’s what United reported in the first quarter compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by LSEG:

  • Loss per share: 15 cents adjusted vs. a loss of 57 cents expected
  • Revenue: $12.54 billion vs. $12.45 billion expected

The airline expects to post earnings of between $3.75 and $4.25 in the second quarter, ahead of analysts’ estimates of about $3.76 a share. Airlines make the bulk of their profits in the second and third quarters, during peak travel season.

The carrier also reiterated its full-year earnings forecast of between $9 and $11 a share.

United’s shares were up more than 4% in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

United executives will hold a call with analysts at 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Don’t miss these exclusives from CNBC PRO

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Ex-Post Office boss regrets ‘missed opportunity’ to halt Horizon scandal

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“On reflection, and I have reflected on this very hard, when I finished being the Horizon programme director [in early 2000] it would have been very beneficial if I had notified both the lawyers and the [investigations team] that Horizon was a new system coming in, and that they should be very cautious about evidence coming out of that system,” he said.

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Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and debt restructuring efforts By Reuters

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COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s government rejected a proposal from its international bondholders on Tuesday on restructuring the more than $12 billion the country owes to them.

It means a near two-year spell in default will drag on for Sri Lanka and that the country’s next tranche of vital IMF support money could potentially get delayed.

Below is a timeline of the key events in the crisis and the efforts to resolve it:

2021-2022: Sri Lanka’s economy crumbles after years of overspending leaves its foreign exchange reserves critically low and the government unable to pay for essentials, such as fuel and medicine.

The country’s bonds suffer from multiple downgrades by credit rating agencies warning of the increasing risk of default. At the start of 2022 it manages to make a $500 million bond payment but it leaves its foreign exchange reserves precariously low.

MAY, 2022 – Sri Lanka is declared in default after it fails to make a smaller $78 million bond coupon payment.

JULY, 2022 – Public anger drives protesters to storm then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office and residence. Rajapaksa flees to the Maldives, before moving on to Singapore.

Current President Ranil Wickremesinghe is voted into power by Sri Lankan lawmakers.

MARCH, 2023 – The International Monetary Fund approves a near $3 billion bailout for Sri Lanka after talks with Wickremesinghe’s government and assurances about its plans to repair the country’s finances.

OCTOBER, 2023

Sri Lanka announces an agreement with China’s EXIM (export/import) Bank to delay payments on about $4.2 billion worth of loans the Chinese lender it has extended to the country.

NOVEMBER, 2023

Other creditor nations including India, Japan and France agree to restructure about $5.9 billion in debt.

MARCH, 2024

A group of Sri Lankan officials arrives in London to meet with a number of investment funds that hold its more than $12 billion worth of government bonds. Talks advance to the key “restricted” phase where proposals are discussed privately and those involved agree not to buy or sell any of the debt on the open market.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the main business district as rain clouds gather above in Colombo, Sri Lanka, November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

APRIL, 2024

The government rejects a proposal tabled by the bondholders. The main stumbling blocks are that some the “baseline” assumptions used differ to those of the IMF and that the plan did not include a contingency option for the government in case the economy fails to recover as expected.



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