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UPDATED MARCH 30: Rail Group News Staff Report: Global railway industry response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In two weeks, I was meant to depart for an around the world trip: Thailand-Egypt-Athens and the Greek Islands- Milan- Malaga- Morocco- New York- Seattle and Spokane- Los Angeles-Taipei-Bangkok-Sydney.
All carefully planned from late last year, it was going to be a fun trip that included three bucket list items and a new One World partner Royal Air Maroc. Seeing many of those destinations are now “COVID19 hotspots”, this would now be an insane and impossible trip.Instead, I am grateful that I am safe and healthy and, I’m looking forward to voyaging from MBR to BTH to LVG after two weeks in self -isolation.
Thank you to Anna Harrison for this clever listTo cancel my 2020 plans. I have been dealing with nine airlines, two ferry companies, multiple bus and train operators and hoteliers. They have all had different strategies for handling changes and refunds in this crisis. This has been an “interesting” challenge in itself. In some cases, the process has been delightful. In others, the companies (I am looking at you Premier Inn and Virgin Atlantic) has been abysmal. It has made me more and more concerned for the 305 million people globally that rely on the travel industry for jobs and equally curious as to how many of the companies I have been dealing with, will be operating when I eventually can do this trip?Just three months ago, it was expected that 2020 would set new records for tourism. The number of scheduled air passengers was expected to be over 4.72 billion. Air profits were tipped to be over $US29 billion globally. Forecast Hotel room bookings mirrored this growth, as did homestay programs. In January, it was stated that: “in these times of uncertainty and volatility, tourism remains a reliable economic sector”.The travel industry has not proved to be resilient and has collapsed into a mammoth black hole, in effectively a month. In the most recent assessment, the airline industry is now heading to a loss of revenue of US$252bn as a result of COVID-19. The value of the three largest cruise line companies in the USA: Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean has collapsed. Hotel occupancy is way down and revenue per available room has fallen to the lowest for years.
Planes sitting on the tarmac at Hong Kong internationalAs plane after plane has been grounded, ships mothballed, hotels shut, attractions locked up and staff laid off, many companies are delaying their inevitable collapse. IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac said: “The airline industry faces its gravest crisis…Without immediate government relief measures, there will not be an industry left standing.”
Me on an empty Airport bus at Dublin Airport, a month ago. Passenger numbers disappeared in days. I had plenty of social distance but was not always wearing a mask then.The travel industry won’t have a rapid restart as most of the planet will be in an economic downturn for a long, long time.What will this mean?
This pic: Above the clouds between LAX & DFW- the climate ahead remains bumpy for allThe impact of COVID19 will eventually pass but it will fundamentally change the status quo policy, socially and economically across the globe. Travelers and travel providers will need to be ready for the “new normal” whatever it looks like.Which of my predictions do you think are accurate?Stay Safe. Related Posts
This article first appeared on wildabouttravel.boardingarea.com
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