Impact of Coronavirus on Travel Industry Job Losses Worsens

The U.S. Travel Association says that projections of job losses in the travel industry from the coronavirus outbreak are direr than previously thought.

The organization has revised projections, which now show a loss of 5.9 million jobs by the end of April due to declining travel, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.

Last week, the data showed 4.6 million jobs lost to travel declines before May.

Travel supports 15.8 million American jobs in total—employment for one out of every 10 Americans and the loss of this many jobs will more than double the U.S. unemployment rate from 3.5 percent to 7.1 percent by the end of April.

“The coronavirus crisis is hitting the travel economy hard, and it’s also hitting fast,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “These new figures underscore the extreme urgency of financial relief for travel businesses—83 percent of which are small businesses—so they can keep paying their employees. Not only are workers suffering right now, but if employers are forced to close their doors, it is unknown when or if those jobs will ever come back.”

The association is advocating for several measures in the “Phase III” coronavirus package that is currently being negotiated in Congress. Among their requests are:

—Access to more significant small business loans, and ensure immediate access to retain employees and cover basic costs during the shutdown.

—A Workforce Stabilization Fund to help medium and larger travel businesses retain their workers and remain solvent.

—Tax relief to help mitigate economic losses.

The new U.S. Travel Association data also forecasts an expected loss of $910 billion in travel-related economic output in 2020, which would be seven times the impact of 9/11 and the organization predicts that the slowdown in the travel sector alone will push the U.S. economy into a protracted recession.

“The health crisis deserves the government’s full attention, but the economic crisis will be worse and longer without aggressive action to confront it right now,” Dow said. “Businesses can’t keep their lights on if they don’t have any customers, and they don’t have any customers because of the actions that are necessary to stem the spread of coronavirus. The resulting closures will take the greatest toll on the frontline employees who can least afford to lose their jobs—wait staff, housekeepers, concession workers, etc.

“Robust intervention by the federal government is the only avenue to make sure those outcomes are minimized.”

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List of airlines refund policies coronavirus

Airlines have canceled enormous portions of their scheduled
flights for the remainder of March, April and going into May due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the U.S. carriers’
policies widely vary when it comes to refunds. 

The following is a list of the current refund policies of
the 10 largest U.S. airlines. The list is based upon the carriers’ explanation
of their policies to Travel Weekly and is augmented in some cases by the
airline’s contract of carriage. 

International carriers aren’t included here. Under European
Union law, carriers are required to refund passengers whose flights have been canceled,
according to Christian Nielsen, chief legal officer for Air Help. 

Aside from refunds, carriers around the world have largely
waived change fees and are issuing flight credits for cancellations initiated
by passengers, though the specific terms of those credits vary. This list
includes links to the policies of many large U.S. and foreign carriers. 

For those who want refunds, it’s important not to reschedule
travel until an airline formally cancels a flight. 

With refunds easily outpacing sales right now, some carriers
have begun managing all agent channel refunds themselves and are prohibiting
refunds through the GDSs or ARC. 

Alaska Airlines will refund international tickets for
flights that it cancels due to current network cuts. The carrier says it will
also refund tickets for the “majority” of canceled domestic flights.

American Airlines customers can receive a full refund in any
case in which a flight, domestic or international, is canceled. American’s
contract of carriage guarantees such refunds.

Allegiant says that when it cancels a flight, “we work with
each individual on best options for them, including re-accommodating to another
flight, providing a full credit voucher or a refund. This has not changed.”
Refunds are guaranteed as an option under Allegiant’s contract of carriage.

Delta customers are eligible for a refund if a flight is
canceled. Delta’s contract of a carriage guarantees refunds at the passenger’s
request for all cancellations, delays and diversions of more than 90 minutes.

Frontier said that if a customer’s flight is canceled due to
Covid-19, they are entitled to a refund or may opt for a future credit. 

Hawaiian Airlines customers can request refunds for all
flights canceled due to Covid-19 capacity cuts.

JetBlue said customers are eligible for waived cancellations
and change fees when flights are canceled. However, JetBlue’s Jan. 16, 2020
contract of carriage says that when a flight is canceled, passengers can opt
for a full refund. 

Southwest Airlines will provide refunds for impacted flights at the
customer’s request, but the carrier cautions that the policy is subject to
change. Refunds aren’t guaranteed in the Southwest contract of carriage.

Spirit Airlines answered questions about its refund policy
for canceled flights by referencing its website, which only says that travel
credits can be used to make bookings in the next six months (though the flights
themselves can be for beyond six months away.) However, Spirit’s contract of
carriage says customers have the option to get a refund for cancellations.

United Airlines customers whose travel is disrupted by more
than six hours because of schedule changes are eligible for a refund on
domestic flights. On international flights, United will provide a credit for
travel disrupted by 6 hours or more. The credit is good for 12 months from time
of purchase. Customers who don’t use the credit will get a refund at the end of
those 12 months.

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Emirates, Etihad, flydubai to suspend all flights immediately from Tuesday night

Suspension of flights follows a new directive from the General Civil Aviation Authority

Airlines in the UAE have announced they will bring forward plans to suspend all flights in and out of the country, following a directive from government authorities late on Tuesday.

“The UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), have brought forward their directive to suspend all inbound, outbound, and transit passenger flights in the UAE to today. This decision has been made to limit the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and to protect citizens, residents, and international travellers,” Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Etihad Airways initially announced on Monday it would temporarily suspend all flights to, from, and via Abu Dhabi from the end of Wednesday.

Travel Update: The UAE Government has made the decision to bring forward the date of suspension for all inbound, outbound, and transit flights to Abu Dhabi. Per this directive, Etihad will be temporarily suspending all flights departing Abu Dhabi effective immediately. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/Ig1TABXbDZ— Etihad (@etihad) March 24, 2020

The ban on flights, including transit flights, will be in place for 14 days, subject to further directives by the relevant authorities. 

The airline said any of its aircraft currently outside the UAE from Tuesday, March 24, will continue to operate to Abu Dhabi as planned, with the final arrival on Wednesday, March 25.

“We deeply regret any inconvenience and disruption this will cause our customers during this challenging period. Our teams will continue to make every effort to assist its customers and to advise them of their options,” Etihad said in its statement.

Dubai’s Emirates airline also issued a statement on its website stating that “as per the UAE government’s directive, Emirates will temporarily suspend all passenger services from 25 March 2020. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to our customers and travellers. These measures are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, and we hope to resume services as soon as feasible”.

The Dubai carrier had also announced on Monday it planned to suspend flights from March 25.

Low-cost carrier flydubai also confirmed it will suspend flights from Tuesday, March 24

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Cruise Ship With Sick Passengers and Crew is Traveling to Florida

Holland America Line has reported that 42 individuals—13 guests and 29 crew members—aboard the cruise ship Zaandam have been experiencing “influenza-like symptoms.” The ship is expected to dock in Florida next week.

COVID-19 testing kits are not currently available on board Zaandam.

“Since it is flu season, and COVID-19 testing is not available on board, it is difficult to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time,” Holland America Line said in a statement on Sunday.

According to FOX News, the ship originally departed from Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 7 and was scheduled for a two-week South American itinerary before disembarking in San Antonio, Chile on March 2.

The cruise line suspended all sailing for 30 days on March 13 and planned to end “its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible.” Zaandam planned to dock in Punta Arenas, Chile to allow passengers to disembark for flights home. However, passengers were ultimately not permitted to leave the ship.

Zaandam later docked in Valparaiso, Chile for supplies and medicine.

According to CNN, all 1,243 passengers have been asked to remain in their staterooms until the ship arrives in Florida. To minimize the risk of spreading the illness to other guests, all sick guests have been isolated, and meals are delivered to guests in their cabins.

All non-essential crew members have been quarantined, and the ship is expected to dock in Fort Lauderdale on March 30.

“The safety and well-being of our guests and crew is one of our highest priorities,” Holland America confirmed in their statement.

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Velas Resorts' At-Home Activities for All Ages

WHY IT RATES: Velas Resorts is helping to keep everyone busy while they await their next vacation opportunity. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor

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Starting today, Velas Resorts in Mexico will be sharing a program of activities for all ages to do at home to stay productive and have fun. On magazine.velasresorts.com and its social media, content ranges from magic and arts & crafts to massage lessons.

In addition to recipes of your favorite food and drinks at the resorts, Velas’ 25 world-class chefs are also available to create recipes based on what you already have in your pantry. Followers can also request what they’d like to learn. Over the next 40 days, new activities, tips and workshops will be shared daily.

For the Family:

—Coloring and Activities Book

—Mexican Toy Workshops

—Arts & Crafts

—Making Dreamcatchers

In the Kitchen:

—What’s in Your Pantry? – Send in What You Have in Your Cupboard and Resort Chefs will Create Recipe

—Quick Recipes to do at home

—Kids Cooking Lessons

—Unique Cocktail and Margarita Recipes to Make at Home*

Wellnessing:

—Mandala coloring book

—Kids Yoga

—DIY body scrubs

—Kids Relaxation

—Feet Reflexology

—Make Your Own Mandalas With your Kids

—Back and Shoulder Massage

And More:

—Creating a Serene Environment

—Hotel-Style Bed-Making

—Discover Velas’ Flora & Fauna

Follow hashtag #BetterTogether on Velas Resorts’ social media channels for more!

For more information on Velas Resorts, visit https://www.velasresorts.com.

SOURCE: Velas Resorts press release.

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Arabian Business Podcast: Covid-19 and airlines – a trillion dollar crisis

Aviation analyst Saj Ahmad believes that forecasts that air travel sector losses will be in the hundreds of billions will soon look “ridiculous in the grand scheme of things”

The Arabian Business podcast discusses the impact the coronavirus will have on the long-running Open Skies debate, the impact on manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus,

The potential costs to the global air travel sector caused by the coronavirus pandemic may run into the trillions, with government bailouts of airlines potentially “not being enough” to mitigate the colossal losses, Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, said in the latest episode of the Arabian Business podcast.

According to recent forecasts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines around the world are facing losses of up to $113 billion as a result of drastic drops in demand and travel restrictions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

IATA has said at least $200 billion will be needed to rescue the world’s airline amid the crisis.

In an episode of the recently launched Arabian Business podcast, Ahmad said he believes the total losses will be far greater than what IATA has so far forecast – meaning that government efforts to bolster the sector may prove costlier than anticipated.

Catalyst

“Assistance by various governments will help to a certain degree, but the reality is that it may not be enough,” he said. “Whatever IATA is talking about in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, to be honest it may run into tens of trillions, because you’ve got to factor in the supply chains of hotels, leisure centres and associated supply chains with those that rely on aviation as a catalyst for their own industries.”

“It’s going to run into trillions, and I really don’t see that we’ve reached the bottom of this yet,” he added.

IATA forecasts show that airlines in the Gulf region are already bracing for a $7 billion financial hit and the loss of up to 347,000 jobs due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

“The critical thing to remember here is that a lot of the carriers, particularly in the GCC, have hedged their bets on O&D [origin and destination] traffic, picking up in one place, transiting through home hubs…and shipping off to Europe, North America and beyond,” he added.

“If countries are on lockdown and there’s no demand, where are these aircraft flying?” Ahmad added. “Eventually these figures IATA has put out will look very ridiculous in the grand scheme of things.”

Over the course of the podcast, Ahmad also discusses the impact the coronavirus will have on the long-running Open Skies debate, the impact on manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus, what airlines could have done differently, and what long-term changes we may see as travelers in the future.

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National parks plea for social distancing after busy weekend




  • Living alone on a paradise island

    Living alone on a paradise island
    In 1989, Mauro Morandi's boat docked on Budelli Island in Italy. Discovering that the island's caretaker was retiring within the next two days, Mauro decided to extend his stay indefinitely. – Great Big Story

    CNN Logo
    CNN

  • Determined to still travel, then a forced change

    Determined to still travel, then a forced change
    Maria Cousins, who's from New Zealand, was set to start some big travel plans despite the coronavirus outbreak, but a development beyond her control halted her plans.

    CNN Logo
    CNN

  • Often visitors are taken aback by Uruguay's distinct lack of mountains, and yet, rock climbing is a growing activity in the South American country -- once people realise it's possible. ARRANGED IN SEQUENCESN°1PR5U9

    The surprising rise of climbing in 'flat' Uruguay
    Often visitors are taken aback by Uruguay's distinct lack of mountains, and yet, rock climbing is a growing activity in the South American country — once people realise it's possible. ARRANGED IN SEQUENCESN°1PR5U9

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    AFP


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Report: Airlines Drafting Plans to Completely Shut Down




  • Living alone on a paradise island

    Living alone on a paradise island
    In 1989, Mauro Morandi's boat docked on Budelli Island in Italy. Discovering that the island's caretaker was retiring within the next two days, Mauro decided to extend his stay indefinitely. – Great Big Story

    CNN Logo
    CNN

  • Determined to still travel, then a forced change

    Determined to still travel, then a forced change
    Maria Cousins, who's from New Zealand, was set to start some big travel plans despite the coronavirus outbreak, but a development beyond her control halted her plans.

    CNN Logo
    CNN

  • Often visitors are taken aback by Uruguay's distinct lack of mountains, and yet, rock climbing is a growing activity in the South American country -- once people realise it's possible. ARRANGED IN SEQUENCESN°1PR5U9

    The surprising rise of climbing in 'flat' Uruguay
    Often visitors are taken aback by Uruguay's distinct lack of mountains, and yet, rock climbing is a growing activity in the South American country — once people realise it's possible. ARRANGED IN SEQUENCESN°1PR5U9

    AFP Logo
    AFP


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Coronavirus: Cruise ships ‘not a source’ for virus insists Carnival boss

Cruise ship holidays have long been a popular option for many British holidaymakers. However, the cruise industry has suffered in 2020 as cruise lines come under fire for their handling of coronavirus outbreaks onboard. Now, the CEO of major company Carnival Corporation has defended cruises.

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Carnival is the parent company of both Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.

CEO Arnold Donald told Axios on HBO that cruises weren’t to blame.

He said: ”20/20 hindsight, could everyone have done something sooner? Perhaps. But it was an evolving, learning situation.”

On March 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that Americans (especially those with underlying health conditions) “should not travel by cruise ship” because there was an “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”

Four days later, on March 12, Carnival suspended worldwide cruise operations.

Despite the delay in halting cruises following the health warning, Donald said Carnival followed “every protocol in place.”

“Cruise ships are not a source for coronavirus. We have hundreds of cruise ships out there. Very few had cases on them,” said Donald.

“The one that had the most cases was very early on when no one understood hardly anything.”

The CEO added: “There’s lots of natural social distancing. The ships are large.

“People are not always gathered and clumped together,” he said.

Donald pointed out that passengers on cruises who are unwell as taken to medical isolation.

He said that this “controls the spread.”

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Donald argued that cruise ships are not as risky as people think.

“All I’m suggesting is that a cruise ship is not a riskier environment,” he said.

“People perceive it that way. But the reality is, it’s not.”

The Carnival boss says he anticipates the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will “last all year” and the company is planning for this.

Donald added he was optimistic the cruise industry would eventually recover.

“I think cruises ultimately will be even better than they were before,” he said.

“People love cruising. Up until the day we paused people wanted to cruise.”

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Flight bookings to the UK for January 2021 up 229%

Good news FINALLY arrives for the travel industry: Flight bookings to the UK for January 2021 up 229% and to Spain they’re up 171%

  • Even Italy is showing an upward trend for January of next year 
  • Analysts say travellers are showing signs of confidence for end of the year, too
  • Travellers from Asia are more pessimistic about future travel to the UK 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Silver linings amid the coronavirus crisis are hard to come by right now for the travel industry – but they haven’t disappeared altogether.

Analysts have revealed that travellers are showing signs of confidence for January 2021 and the end of the year.

There has been a 229 per cent year-over-year increase in global flight bookings made in the past 14 days to the UK for January 2021 and a 171 per cent increase for bookings to Spain.

Analysts have revealed that travellers are showing signs of confidence for January 2021 and the end of the year

Even Italy is showing an upward trend for January of next year.

The number-crunching comes courtesy of digital travel marketing solutions firm Sojern, which presented a range of findings in a blog post.

It explains that when it looked at flight searches made in the past 14 days, it’s ‘the Middle Eastern, Western and Eastern European, and North American travellers who appear keener to reinstate their travel plans as soon as they can and are showing interest in travelling to the UK towards the end of the year’.

It continued: ‘Eastern and Western Europe show a very early increase in year-over-year travel intent for January 2021, with an above-average year-over-year increase of 144 per cent and 85 per cent (up from eight per cent and nine per cent last week) respectively compared to the same time last year.’

Travellers from Asia are more pessimistic about future travel to the UK, the data shows. 

There has been a 229 per cent year-over-year increase in global flight bookings made in the past 14 days to the UK for January 2021

Sojern’s explanation for the upturns is that it ‘could be a result of some airlines announcing their winter timetables early and also releasing a more flexible cancellation and booking policy’. This may have led to an increase in consumer confidence for booking trips for a date when it’s felt the pandemic could be in the recovery phase, the firm says.

Right now, though, the picture is bleak.

Sojern says: ‘Analysing consumers’ travel plans gives some sense of the gravity of the situation and it will come as no surprise that global flight bookings to Europe have declined drastically, with Italy seeing almost a 94 per cent year-over-year decline in flight bookings last week. This is to be expected given the travel restrictions currently in place as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The UK showed a 63 per cent decline in year-over-year flight bookings last week, down from 37 per cent the previous week.’

Chris Blaine, VP of EMEA at Sojern, said: ‘The covid-19 outbreak clearly presents a significant threat to the travel industry as a whole and it is unlike anything I have previously witnessed.

‘However, this isn’t going to last forever. The industry will recover, but it will take time. Travel marketers need to be prepared and ready for this recovery and while there is likely to be plenty of pent-up demand, travellers will also be initially very cautious. We are likely to see domestic tourism recover first and long-haul following later. It’s important to base your strategies on real-time consumer behaviour, which will inevitably follow the path to recovery.’

 

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