Coronavirus outbreak jostled travel industry

Published on : Thursday, March 12, 2020

The novel coronavirus has gone global reaching most of the Asian nations and European countries. This outburst in China now becomes a worldwide pandemic. Since it was first identified in mid-December (Wuhan Province in China), the virus has killed more than 4012 people worldwide. It is also reported that 113702 confirmed (4125 new) infected with 203 new deaths. The vast majority of those deaths have occurred in Hubei, the province at the center of the initial outbreak; new clusters are fast expanding outside of China, in countries as diverse as Iran, Italy and South Korea.

 

As of 9 March 2020, a total of 45 states parties informed WHO of additional health measures they implemented in relation to COVID-19 and provided the public health rationale for these measures. WHO reiterates that the measures that restrict the movement of people during this coronavirus outbreak should be balanced to the public health risk, short in duration and reviewed regularly as more information about the virus, the disease epidemiology and clinical characteristics becomes available. The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili led a high- delegation to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva to further advance the two agencies’ coordinated response to the worldwide Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Travel ban due to virus outbreak

Travel bans to affected countries or denial of entry to passengers coming from affected areas like China, Italy, Spain, Portugal, India and many other countries are usually not effective in preventing the importation of cases but may have a significant economic and social impact. Several countries around the world like Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Philippines, Viet Nam, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, San Marino, Estonia are deeply affected and suspended the flights to and from China or other affected countries

 

Airlines Industry affected by coronavirus

The aviation industry, hospitality industry and cruise line operators that have relied on consumers and business professionals who have been spending freely on travel are again telling most of the global investors to prepare for a financial hit as the COVID-19 outbreaks in most of the European countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, San Marino, Estonia) and most of the American countries (United States of America, Canada, Brazil,  Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama and Paraguay)have worsened. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Norwegian Air Shuttle are cutting capacity. Delta Airline put hiring on hold, Norwegian Airlines has temporarily laid off workers, and Qantas Airways has asked all staff to take paid or unpaid leave.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is contacting aviation regulators worldwide to request that the rules governing use of airport slots be suspended immediately and for the 2020 season, due to the impact of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus).

 

Around 43% of all passengers depart from over 200 slot coordinated airports worldwide. At present, the rules for slot allocation mean that airlines must operate at least 80% of their allocated slots under normal circumstances. Failure to comply with this means the airline loses its right to the slot the next equivalent season. In exceptional circumstances, regulators can relax this requirement.

 

Travel Industry crippled; events scrapped

The slowdown in travel industry has been spurred by a number of factors, including nations putting into place travel restrictions for countries with large infection clusters, first for mainland China and then for Iran, Italy, and South Korea, among others. Large employers have told employees to stop non-essential international and domestic travel and in some cases work from home at the same time most of the events like ITB Berlin, IMEX FRANKFRUT, IAAPA Expo Asia 2020, ITB China, ATM Dubai and many other events from other sectors also  have been cancelled or postponed.

 

Huge loss for cruise industry

The cruise industry has been deeply affected due to corona virus outbreak. There are large number of people in confined spaces on cruise ships make onboard tourists prone to infectious diseases such as the coronavirus. In 2019 alone, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported ten outbreaks on cruise ships. In 2020, the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, is the latest threat to the cruise industry where bookings are done much in advance. Nine cruise ships including Diamond Princess, World Dream, Anthem of Seas, Westerdam, and Costa Smeralda have been quarantined after news about possible infections emerged. The cruise operators have started to either cancel or change their itineraries as countries across the world implement travel restrictions to curb the disease spread. Ports are refusing to accept cruise ships that have been either to Chinese ports or carrying Chinese passengers during the outbreak.

 

Coronavirus hurting hotel industry

Hospitality industry is deeply affected by COVID 19. The national association for the hospitality industry in the Netherlands KHN is concerned about the impact the coronavirus Covid-19 is having. The number of cancellations in hotels is increasing nationwide, and the occupancy rate is falling down. The mid-scale hotels is command pricing from $50-$70 which can go upto $100 a night — have also exhibited highest RevPAR growth of 4.6% during 2013-18. Increasing demand for midscale hotels allowed the Midscale hotels to narrow the RevPAR gap with Upscale and Upper Upscale hotels between the period 2013 and 2018.For the immediate quarter and probably the next, growth numbers are likely to get impacted as most witness a dip in occupancy and revenues this month following the virus outbreak.

 


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