LOTUS CORONAVIRUS UPDATE (4.12)
GLOBAL CO-OPERATION FOR TOURISM RECOVERY
Industry leaders from 95 countries have committed to international protocols for COVID-19 testing on departure, travel corridors and contact tracing, reports Travel Weekly.
- More than 100 companies made the ‘La Palma Declaration’ at a hybrid conference hosted by the Spanish government and the World Travel & Tourism Council in La Palma in the Canary Islands.
- UK tourism minister Nigel Huddleston participated alongside Spanish industry, trade and tourism minister Reyes Maroto, who committed billions of euros to support the country’s tourism sector. Maroto said: “It is essential to have a co-ordinated international response that allows international travel to be restarted in a safe and viable manner, as this will allow the travel and tourism sector to recover more quickly.”
- The Declaration calls for the adoption of international protocols for COVID-19 tests prior to departure, and acceptance of results on arrival.
- Such health control measures will allow shorter quarantine periods when returning to the country of origin or could lead to the complete elimination of self-isolation.
- The declaration also proposes international travel corridors to allow the return travel between countries or cities in similar epidemiological states.
- Travel firms must also ensure flexible bookings, payment terms, or changes due to positive virus tests or offer affordable or higher value offerings to incentivise domestic and international travel.
- Business models should be adjusted to the new global situation and new products developed to drive travel and tourism as well as training on the digital skills needed to adapt to the “new normal”.
WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said it was the first time that the public and private sectors have committed to working together for the recovery of global tourism.
GLOBAL TRAVEL TASKFORCE
The government is expected to move forward on all the Global Travel Taskforce recommendations, released last week, reports Travel Weekly in a special report.
The ‘test to release’ scheme in England, which will allow arrivals to take a COVID test after five days’ self‑isolation from 15 December, is just one of 14 recommendations.
Others include pre-departure testing, a short-stay quarantine exemption for international business travellers and ‘tour bubbles’ for inbound tour groups – all proposals put forward by sections of the industry.
Pre-departure testing could reopen markets currently closed, but would need to be agreed with other governments, with agreements piloted on certain routes such as to the Canary Islands or New York.
On Wednesday 2 December, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in the UK, Heath Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed, paving the way for mass vaccination to start as early as next week. The UK has hit back at claims from the USA that it has approved the drug too soon and its approval followed “an extremely thorough and scientifically rigorous review of all the evidence of safety, of effectiveness and of quality,” according to Dr June Raine, chief executive of British regulator the MHRA.
The European Medicines Agency has pushed back formal safety assessments of the Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, meaning vaccinations will not take place on the continent until next year.
Vaccine news is expected to further boost confidence in travel. Pablo Caspers, chief travel officer at European OTA eDreams ODIGEO, said: “Vaccine development is acting as a shot in the arm for consumer confidence; when the positive news was first announced we registered a jump in searches of 22% in the UK,” reported Travel Weekly.
Airline chiefs have hailed the news on vaccines and said they are ready to distribute vaccination doses worldwide, but they insist COVID testing remains the priority for restarting travel.
IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said: “We had very good news on the vaccine, but it is a bit premature to say how it [vaccination] will be done. The requirement now is for testing.
“We need testing now and when the vaccine will be there. Testing is the key priority.”
Two thirds (65%) of people would be prepared to have a COVID-19 vaccine that has passed all necessary tests if it meant they could travel abroad, a new poll from travel insurer Battleface found.
Sojern, a data research company on the travel industry reported in its November blog that news of a vaccine had a positive impact on travel intent around the globe, initiating a clear demand for travel in March 2021.
Agents have also reported an upturn in bookings with a 23% rise in bookings in the two weeks following Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement compared with the fortnight before.
Travel Weekly reports that ‘Vaccine stamps’ in passports could be provided to British travellers who have been inoculated against COVID-19.
Tourists would then avoid being held up at borders if the international travel industry starts to pick up in the middle of next year as the pandemic subsides.
The stamps are being considered by ministers at the Department for Transport as a method to boost the aviation industry by giving a degree of certainty to travellers planning overseas holidays next summer, The Telegraph reported.
Airlines are considering proof of inoculation a necessity before flying. Qantas’ chief executive Alan Joyce announced last week that it would be. Korean Air and Air Zealand said it was a “real possibility”.
Boris Johnson said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was “looking at all such schemes.”
IATA is in the latter stages of preparing a digital travel pass that would function as a way of guaranteeing the COVID-19 status of passengers. The solution is being developed in conjunction with British Airways owner International Airlines Group.
An academic has said that policymakers need to ensure that digital health passports should only be introduced when COVID-19 tests and vaccines are readily available, otherwise vulnerable people could be excluded from the freedoms the passports afford.
The Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove says there are no plans to introduce a "vaccine passport" to give people access to places such as pubs and restaurants.
DETAIL NEEDED ON TEST AND RELEASE
The industry is awaiting key information on the ‘test to release scheme’ to reduce quarantine less than a fortnight before it starts. An airline source said: ”It’s already December and we’re not there on the detail. We need to know who the test providers are.”
TESTS TO RID QUARANTINE
While the test and release system has attracted a broad welcome, the industry has already set its sights on the next step – that of pre-departure testing to get rid of any need to quarantine. It will require a global acceptance of antigen LAMP tests that are cheaper and quicker so that tests can be done at airports.
Heathrow is working with four transatlantic carriers on a trial of pre-departure COVID testing which it hopes will pave the way for the method to be accepted worldwide.
The industry-funded study is being commissioned in a bid to resume international aviation routes using “real-world data” from American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
Using the already-installed Collinson and Swissport testing facilities in terminals two and five, the study hopes to demonstrate pre-departure testing is a safe and effective alternative to quarantine and travel restrictions, reports Travel Weekly.
The final report will be shared with governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
PRE-DEPARTURE TEST TRIAL ON BARBADOS ROUTE
Rapid free pre-departure COVID tests will be offered by Virgin Atlantic on flights to Barbados in a six-week trial.
The lateral flow antigen tests will be available at Heathrow from 9 December as part of an airline-led scheme to gather data on the logistics and effectiveness of pre-departure testing.
PRE-DEPARTURE TESTING AT MAG AIRPORTS
A full range of PCR, LAMP, rapid antigen and antibody tests for COVID will be available to passengers from a single location at each MAG airport - Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, reports TTG.
CORPORATE TRAVEL UPDATE
A new "business traveller" exemption from quarantine has been announced. From Saturday, people in a number of categories will no longer have to self-isolate upon returning to England, even if they are travelling from a country not on the travel corridors list. These include performers, TV production staff, journalists, elite sportspeople and “high value” business travellers.
“Individuals undertaking specific business activity which would deliver a significant benefit to the UK economy – including activity that creates or preserves 50+ UK jobs – will no longer need to self-isolate when travelling or returning from non-exempt countries. Individuals will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity.”
Clive Wratten, CEO of Business Travel Association said: “The announcement that government-selected categories of business travellers returning to the UK are exempt from quarantine is a step in the right direction.
“However, business travel takes many forms and all should be exempt.
“Engineers, humanitarian workers, retail buyers and many other professionals travelling for work are all crucial to the UK economy.”
Abby Penston, CEO of Focus Travel Partnership said: “Unfortunately the new rule does not include those in middle management or even those representing small businesses, which fuel this economy and will be key to unlocking recovery.”
On Wednesday 2 December, Lockdown 2.0 came to an end in England to be replaced by the government's contentious new tier system, meaning that the majority of regions are now subject to restrictions.
Britons in tier 1 and 2 are once again allowed to go on domestic and international holidays and there are several destinations with travel corridors to the UK, meaning arrivals won't have to quarantine upon return. Many destinations do have their own restrictions and the FCDO is advising consumers to do their research if travelling overseas during the festive period.
Hotels and self-catering accommodation in England can reopen for leisure purposes in tiers 1 and 2, but those in tier 3 should avoid leaving the area other than for reasons such as work, education or caring responsibilities under government regulations.
The React study by Imperial College London, the country’s biggest coronavirus study, has concluded that the number of people with the infection fell by 30% across England since the lockdown was introduced at the start of November.
In Scotland, 11 areas will remain in the most strict tier of restrictions until 11 December.
From Friday 4 December, Wales will face new stricter rules, including a 6pm closure and ban on serving alcohol for pubs, restaurants and cafes and Indoor entertainments will also have to close.
Jersey has announced a "hospitality circuit breaker" after the R rate spiked to between 1.6 and 2. The measures will take force from today, with warnings that the Nightingale Ward on the island may have to be reopened if the situation does not improve. All hospitality venues will be forced to shut, as well as gyms and indoor sport and fitness classes. The Jersey government said support will be available to businesses affected.
The Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism Fernando Valdés was interviewed by Travel Weekly. He said the following:
- COVID has had the largest impact on the tourism sector in recent history
- First nine months of 2020 saw a 75% decrease in international tourism from the 84 million welcomed in 2019
- Arrivals from the UK were down 80%. Spain biggest outbound market for the UK travel industry
- Impact on tourism worldwide is shared. Spain’s dependence on tourism is greater than some economies
- The pandemic has impacted two key elements of the tourism experience: confidence and mobility
- With a travel corridor back in place between the UK and the Canary Islands from the end of the current England-wide lockdown, Valdés sees the archipelago as the best bet for Europe’s winter season
- Until a vaccine is rolled out far and wide, Valdés’ hopes are pinned on a move to pre-departure testing to boost confidence in travel. He called for a pilot regime for pre-departure tests from 15 December. “We have to move forward to be more agile and put in place measures that are more flexible, more cheap and more accessible to the population. It has to change.”
- Quarantine is a barrier to tourism recovery
- With progress in testing and vaccines, Spain is on course for a good summer 2021, but not as good as 2019 because of the challenges in the return of visitors from long haul markets
- New anti-COVID protocols have been implemented across the tourism sector “covering all the different segments”.
- Tourism recovery as we knew it will be by 2022
- Easter 2021 will be a test of protocols
- Trends have accelerated and sustainable practices in terms of the environment, use of land and social aspects will be key
CANARY ISLANDS WANT QUICKER TESTS
The government of the Canary Islands is preparing to pass new rules that would see cheaper and quicker antigen tests accepted as proof of travellers’ negative COVID status, reports TTG. Arrivals into both the Canary Islands and mainland Spain are currently required to provide proof of a negative PCR test for coronavirus taken up to 72 hours prior to departure.
The official website of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a warning that foreigners with tourist visas will not be able to enter the country, reports Travel Daily.
Previously, foreign tourists were allowed to enter Croatia upon presentation of a certificate of absence of COVID-19 virus.
Hotelplan UK has suspended all ski holidays across its Inghams, Ski Total and Flexiski brands until 30 January owing to ongoing uncertainty over when Europe’s ski resorts will reopen, reports TTG.
A new law has been passed in Italy that prohibits travel between towns and regions this Christmas – a final blow for ski resorts that will likely not be able to reopen this year, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The new rules will apply across the country and ban anybody from travelling between provinces over the festive period until January. Restrictions will be tightened even further on particular days when people will not be able to leave their local towns.
Ski slopes in Catalonia will not open in early December due to worsening infection rates. Public ski resorts had planned to open after a 8 December bank holiday. But these ski slopes will not open until Catalonia relaxes restrictions, among other conditions, said a spokeswoman from the public company that operates the resorts.
Austria has bowed to pressure from other alpine nations and ski resorts in Austria will be allowed to reopen on Christmas Eve as lockdown restrictions in the country are eased, but only to locals. Resorts such as Obergurgl and Sölden, which were hoping to reopen on 11 December, and Ischgl, Lech and St Anton, who were all preparing to welcome skiers from 17 December, will now have to postpone their plans.
When they do reopen the maximum capacity in gondolas will be reduced to 50 per cent and an extensive list of safety measures will be in place, including compulsory face coverings and social distancing.
A survey carried out by retailer Snow+Rock found that 60 per cent of skiers and snowboarders who live in London have considered moving to the mountains permanently this winter, having researched long-term lets in the Alps.
Club Med’s annual ski report has found that 69% of customers were looking to book within a month of travel, in “stark contrast” to 5% who booked less than three months out for last season – and that customers are opting for shorter durations, but were happy to spend more. 80% of Club Med clients with ski holiday holidays cancelled as a result of COVID had rebooked for between December 2020 and April 2021, showing an itch to get back to the slopes.
Craig Burton, managing director of Ski Solutions, said skiers were “desperate” to travel and there “certainly is demand”.
REST OF THE WORLD
Canada has extended the temporary restrictions on entry into the country until January 2021, reports Travelmole. It applies to all travellers except those coming from the US.
Japan will allow 'large-scale' numbers of spectators at the Tokyo Olympic Games - even without a COVID vaccination or mandatory quarantine, reports Travelmole,
They must have a negative test result and download a smartphone tracking app on arrival, according to a Nikkei business daily report, citing an unnamed source.
Around one million tickets have been sold to international sports fans, and more than four million to Japanese residents.
Minister for Sports and Tourism, Pipat Ratchakitprakan, has announced that Thailand’s tourism is closed until the second quarter of next year, reports Travel Daily.
International flights will resume to Melbourne on 7 December, in a move that will also ease the capacity constraints on Australians returning home from overseas. Arriving passengers will still be required to spend 14 days in quarantine, but travel corridors on a traffic light regime are being proposed.
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK HEADLINES
The Daily Telegraph reports that Boris Johnson is promising an overhaul of red tape and business taxes to turbocharge Britain’s recovery next year.
UK BUSINESS IN GOOD SHAPE
The Office for Budget Responsibility expects the corporate sector to save about £30 billion over the final six months of this year and the first three months of next, even though profits are forecast to remain “subdued”. That equals money for investment if vaccines do spark an economic revival, comments The Times’ Philip Aldrick.
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE LOW DURING LOCKDOWN
A new survey shows confidence among British businesses fell to its lowest level in November since July as companies faced new COVID-19 restrictions but firms turned less pessimistic after news of a breakthrough in developing a vaccine. Lloyds Bank’s business barometer sank by 3 points to -21 for the month as a whole, hit by nervousness about Britain’s chances of a post-Brexit trade deal as well as the pandemic measures.
London has suffered the biggest fall in job opportunities among Europe’s biggest cities, according to a report from Indeed showing that national capitals across the continent have been damaged most by COVID-19. Job postings in London have plummeted by 50%, compared to a 42% decline for the rest of the UK. Pawel Adrjan, economist and head of European research at Indeed, warned: “Staying at home is sucking the life out of these major cities.”
UK FACES DEEPEST ECONOMIC SLUMP
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said the global economy will shrink by considerably less than expected this year and its prospects in the coming years now look brighter thanks to the development of promising new COVID-19 vaccines. However, it added that the UK will nonetheless face one of the deepest economic slumps of all developed economies, with Brexit contributing to its weak GDP prospects.
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IMPROVED
British consumer confidence has improved slightly as the prospect of vaccines for COVID-19 grows. YouGov’s index for consumer confidence increased to 102.3, up from 101.4 a month ago. Darren Yaxley, director of reputation research at YouGov, said; “November’s consumer confidence index shows that despite England’s lockdown, Wales’ ‘fire breaker’ and increased restrictions in Scotland, consumer confidence has increased across the UK albeit marginally.”
Many airlines will run out of cash before a vaccine becomes widely available next year, IATA has warned. The result will be failures and an overhang of debt for many carriers that will take years to pay down, according to IATA chief economist Brian Pearce: “A cash injection of $173 billion from governments this year has kept airlines alive… The problem now is airlines are finding traffic just too low to support services. It is going to slow down expansion. It could slow down fleet renewal.
“It’s inevitable we will see a more consolidated industry. We’ll get consolidation through some airline failures and also though mergers and joint ventures of the kind we have seen before.”
Wizz Air is about to become one of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange, with a market value of nearly £4 billion and its shares climbing to peaks during the aviation industry’s biggest crisis. Wizz is valued higher on the stock market now than easyJet, a carrier with nearly three times as many aircraft and that last year flew more than twice as many passengers.
EasyJet is working with restructuring firm Alix Partners in an attempt to refinance its debt. The airline must repay a £600m loan from the Bank of England under its Covid Corporate Financing Facility, as well as £800m to various banks.
EasyJet said it will partner with COVID-19 testing companies to offer passengers discounted tests to try to encourage more travel, following similar moves by Wizz Air and London’s Gatwick Airport. Travel rules in England will change from 15 December so that if a traveller receives a negative test result from a self-funded test, they can reduce their quarantine from 14 to 5 days. The airline has also updated its cabin bag policy for flights from 10 February. All customers will only be able to take a “small under seat cabin bag” onboard, which must be able to fit under the seat in front and has maximum dimensions of 45x36x20cm.
Customers who have booked an Up front or Extra legroom seat will be allowed to bring an additional “large cabin bag”, which will be placed in an overhead locker and must not exceed 56x45x25cm.
A further 2,000 job losses at Qantas will see ground handling across ten Australian airports outsourced, reports Aviation Week.
The latest round of cuts means that numbers will have been slashed by 8,500 from the airline group’s pre-COVID workforce of 29,000.
Qantas domestic and international chief executive Andrew David said: “Unfortunately, COVID has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair.
“While there has been some good news recently with domestic borders, international travel isn’t expected to return to pre-COVID levels until at least 2024.”
US hedge fund Cyrus Capital, which bought the Flybe brand out of administration in October has now applied to the CAA for a UK operating licence.
RYANAIR saw passenger numbers drop by 82% to two million passengers in the month from 10.9 million in November 2019. The airline’s rolling annual total was down by 60% to 61.4 million.
WIZZ AIR flew less than 500,000 passengers in November as the COVID-19 crisis saw capacity slashed.
Budget carrier Norwegian Air has proposed a new restructuring and share sale and has asked investors for a £340 million cash injection.
Norwegian has been hit hard by the pandemic as its business model focuses on offering cheap transatlantic travel, which has been suspended since the outset of the crisis. Only six of the carrier’s 140 planes are currently in use.
TRAVEL COMPANIES UPDATE
ABTA members can receive free advice from financial experts from two new advice helplines set up by the association to cover how best to dispute a chargeback, and how to get protection against data breaches and other issues relating to cyber security. The two new helplines, each providing 30 minutes of support, join existing helplines on mergers, acquisitions and finance, employment law, crisis support, training and recruitment, and VAT.
WENDY WU TOURS
The long haul operator Wendy Wu Tours has reported the beginnings of a bounce back in bookings to China.
TUI secured a third bailout on Wednesday, striking a deal with the German government, private investors and banks for an extra $2.2 billion as the world’s largest holiday company tries to ride out the coronavirus-linked travel slump. This year the company has received nearly $6 billion in bailouts, reports Skift.
SYKES HOLIDAY COTTAGES
The UK rental company has reported a106% uplift in bookings for the festive period last week compared to the week prior; and a 59 per cent uplift in all future bookings generally.
WALT DISNEY CO said it is cutting an additional 4,000 jobs, which will mostly impact its theme parks division. Disney said it will lay off 32,000 by March 2021, after previously announcing 28,000 positions would go, reports Travelmole.
ETOA & UKINBOUND will join forces to host the first online Britain and Ireland Marketplace in January.
BARCLAYS STATE OF THE NATION
More travel companies would have failed if they'd known at the start of the pandemic there would still be so much uncertainty at the end of 2020, the latest Barclays State of the Nation webcast has heard. Speakers Martin Alcock and Alistair Pritchard agreed that, although the number of failures is higher than usual, there have been fewer than expected. However, more are likely to go under once furlough and other government schemes have ended. Alcock, Director of the Travel Trade Consultancy, said: "The reason we haven't seen more is partly grit and resilience of the sector. Hats off to people for showing up every day on the front line. It has been brutal."
Travel has been the hardest hit consumer sector in 2020 said Alistair Pritchard, travel and aviation lead partner at Deloitte, but the industry was likely to see a faster recovery than other areas of the economy. “It’s the area that’s fallen most significantly in the last six to nine months. But the rebound for holiday spending will be more accelerated than leisure spending more broadly,” reported TTG.
TRENDS & CUSTOMER SENTIMENT
EUROPEAN TRAVEL COMMISSION
Europeans are still interested in travelling and appear to be planning trips in 2021 despite the resurgence in COVID-19 but more are postponing trips this year, according to a European Travel Commission (ETC) study.
“We expect some restrictions – not least, proof of vaccination to travel and cross borders and the continued use of masks in public places until infection rates are seen to be under control. However, we don’t see a full return to ‘normality’ until 2022 when confidence may return and we will look to trade in a more traditional way”.
A survey conducted by #WeCreateExperiences found that the absence of live events and experiences due to the COVID‐19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on staff’s engagement and internal communications. However, 96 per cent of survey respondents said events and experiences were still integral to their businesses and that they added value, reports MI&T.
US digital lifestyle publishing group Red Ventures has acquired the iconic Lonely Planet guidebook brand, reports Travolution.
THE ECONOMIST: ‘A LOOK AHEAD TO THE WORLD IN 2021.’
Deputy Editor Tom Standage presented The Economist’s ‘A Look Ahead to the World In 2021.’
The Top 10 Trends for 21 were:
- Economic recovery dependent on efficacy of vaccines and its distribution
- There will be fights in and between countries as to who is prioritised
- Anti-vaxxers will change minds if they can re-enter normal life with a health passport
- USA, Germany and Japan are all changing leaders in/for 2021. The interaction between new leaders and how they handle the logistics of distribution is crucial to economic recovery
- Economic recovery unpredictable and uneven
- The economy roared back when restrictions were released earlier in the year
- China’s rebound so rapid that they won’t suffer economic scarring
- China’s swift recovery assisted by authoritarian rule that got on top of the disease and manufacturing power to make what was wanted: PPE, large screens and hot tubs
- China re-opened its factories by the time the rest of the world went into lockdown. The timing was good for them
- Conversely, countries going in and out of lockdowns result in stop/start recovery
- Bounce back patchy elsewhere – countries like India and Australia not been in recession for a long time
- Uncertain economic outlook and actual impact masked by government interventions, which are protecting jobs. Once support is withdrawn, the full impact will be revealed
- Geo-political world order…who rules the world now?
- Crumbling of post-war rules-based international order continues Globalisation peaked more than ten years ago in the financial crisis. Trade in Asia and Europe now more regionalised.
- Globalisation is in reverse, accelerated by Trump who took USA out of NATO, Paris Agreement; Open Skies Agreement etc. Biden will put some of it back, but not possible to go back to the system before. New order has to be created. Hopefully a fitter, happier one.
- US / China relations with companies in the crossfire
- Trump picked fights with Canada, Mexico, Europe and China. Biden will mend fences with traditional allies but will hold on to tariffs and continue tensions with China
- Other countries in different parts of the world keen to avoid picking sides (particularly those in the Middle East and countries like Vietnam)
- Companies get stuck in crossfire – such as TikTok and Huawei – the latter which is now out of the UK, despite British politicians’ attempt to stay neutral
- Companies on the frontline on issues from climate change to social justice
- Corporates now the surrogate battlefield. Eg a border spat between India and China saw Chinese apps banned rather than heightened military tension
- CEOS have to navigate the political environment. If Donald Trump sends negative tweets, defending yourself might alienate some customers
- Companies can no longer make purely straightforward business decisions. They are expected to step up on climate change, racial and social justice because politicians aren’t doing anything. Pressure on companies instead. Eg. Microsoft has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030
- Previously, as recessions have hit – politics pushed aside. Not now. Possible that the Black Lives Matter movement blew up because people felt frustrated in general and more people than usual available to go out on streets because of COVID-19
- Climate change moved up the agenda because of similarities with the pandemic. Both are global problems that can only be solved globally.
- Tech-celeration: Pandemic sped up existing trends. How many will stick?
- Years’ worth technical development jumped forward in a space of a few weeks during the pandemic. Eg, working from home; online learning; online events; medical consultation
- Only 45% work from home during lockdown. Whether it will last will depend on what country and what sector you work on. China want people back in the office for eg. The tech and finance sectors are fine about teams working from home.
- E-commerce a particular jump in Italy. It will stay to a certain extent, but companies need to be agile and have access to accurate data, which will be more important than ever to establish the extent of shifting trends
- A less footloose world. Fewer migrants; tourists, foreign students and business travellers
- Pattern of travel changed. For eg. 80% of Airbnb bookings are now domestic bookings – within 200km. Staying at home. Consumers shunning magnet cities like Paris, Lisbon and Amsterdam and want to go to the middle of nowhere, in a cabin by a lake. There is far less out of country tourism. There has been complete change during the pandemic and Airbnb has proved to be flexible. It looked like its stock market launch was doomed, but it has now launched.
- Right now there is less out of country tourism. Airline capacity taken away and the airlines will be able to put up their prices. There are also stronger green curbs
- Green recovery?
- The pandemic has created an opportunity to do something about climate change, but not in because flying reduced CO2 emissions. It did, but it didn’t make much difference. Emissions will be down by 8% this year. The world has been putting Carbon Dioxide in the air for about 250 years and it needs to get them down by 100% by 2050, which means a cumulative 8% cut for the next 20 years. But as well as stopping putting CO2 in the air, we need to remove the carbon there too.
- The pandemic provided that governments can take extraordinary actions when required – and so there is pressure for governments to take action for climate change and they in turn will put pressure on companies, which includes investing in green economies and green stimulus bills. Europe is tabling a €750 one and Joe Biden is hoping to provide a $2 trillion package China has pledged to be net carbon zero by 2060.
- When pandemic support is gone, lots of companies will not be viable, and there will be high unemployment. But the green economy offers opportunities to create lots of jobs.
- The year of déjà vu
- Lots of things which were meant to happen in 2020 will happen in 2021 – like the Dubai Expo and the Tokyo Olympics and they plan to run them with the same logos (with date) and merchandise. Delayed weddings and postponed holidays will also be re-enacted, creating a strange mood
- Pandemic is a wake up call for other foreseeable threats
Policymakers are now all well aware of the threats from a pandemic and will be better prepared – as many Asian countries were due to SARS. Britain had a pandemic plan but didn’t use it, Singapore used the British plan.
2021 will provide a window to get policymakers to pay attention to other threats such as nucelar proliferation; bio terrorism, and antibiotic resistance.
- It will be possible to suppress the virus in 12 months if there are enough needles, glass and people to administer the vaccinations
- Back to normal by Easter is too optimistic but it will be a different normal
- Enforced new technology has worked well.
- Crisis prompts innovation.
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