Covid-19 Update: July

Bannikin | August 4, 2020


Welcome to our July media and communications newsletter, designed to help you track travel- and coronavirus-related developments that continue to affect our industry at large. We’ve decided to follow a monthly schedule with our newsletter moving forward, but rest assured—we’re tracking the news every day, so please reach out if you’re in need of insights.

It’s been roughly 20 weeks since the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and while a vaccine has now begun late-stage trials, the changes this crisis has brought upon the tourism industry—not to mention the world at large—continue to evolve each day.

A number of destinations are continuing to turn their interests inward, offering incentives to residents to explore—and spend—at home in lieu of international vacations. A domestic approach may be for the best, at least in the short-term; epidemiologists and the CDC have decried international travel this month, stating “it’s just not wise right now. We don’t have enough information, and we don’t have the provisions in place to be able to do that safely.”

Still, the tourism industry seems to be split into diametrically opposed viewpoints: those who believe international travel will contribute needlessly to the spread of the virus, and those who believe it to be necessary for economic recovery. Hotels and airlines tout their safety measures—a practice which has brought about the term “Hygiene Theatre“—and some destinations are welcoming travellers from the U.S., even as cases in the country surged past 4.3 million.

There’s no denying the drop in tourism has been especially devastating for many tourism-reliant, developing countries. In Bali, for instance, resort workers are turning to farming and fishing to earn a living.

That said, there is also a clear disparity between what science has taught us about this airborne virus and the industry’s desire to kick travel back into gear—and ignoring that science is taking its toll on the most vulnerable in the sector. Travel professionals around the world report being forced to balance their understanding of public health with their need to pay their bills. As Jalayne Jones, a bartender from the U.S. Virgin Islands with a majority Black population put it:

“I feel like opening back up is incredibly detrimental to the community, but you know: tourism.

…Our jobs are in this industry that, at the same time, is killing us.”

Below is our now-monthly roundup of news, expert insights and food for thought about what has been happening in the travel industry. If you can’t access an article due to a pay wall, let us know and we may be able to send it through to you.

Keep well,
Your friends at Bannikin


The week at a glance

June 28-July 4

July 5-11

July 12-18

July 19-25

July 26 – July 31


What the media is saying…

New York Times — Voices From Travel’s Front Lines: ‘We Walk in Fear, We Work in Fear’
Snippet: Workspaces in the tourism industry are now filled with restrictions and health measures, uncertainty and new procedures. With new coronavirus cases rising in many regions, those just returning to work wonder, yet again, how long they will be employed and if they are safe.

TravelWeekly — The travel industry begins to split on health vs. economics
Snippet: I worry that criticizing Europe for extending a not-unreasonable travel ban could undermine the credibility of the industry and its focused messaging that “your safety comes first.” Perhaps consumers’ pent-up demand for travel overseas is rising in parallel with industry impatience to meet that demand, and health considerations are secondary. But perhaps not.

The Atlantic — Hygiene theater is a huge waste of time
Snippet: Hygiene theater builds a false sense of security, which can ironically lead to more infections. Many bars, indoor restaurants, and gyms, where patrons are huffing and puffing one another’s stale air, shouldn’t be open at all. They should be shut down and bailed out by the government until the pandemic is under control. No amount of soap and bleach changes this calculation.

New York Times — With tourists gone, Bali workers return to farms; fishing
Snippet: “People are depending on it like opium. Tourism is fragile, and we have gone too far. We have been abandoning the fundamental things that mobilize the economy.”

Washington Post — Need some good news about Covid-19? Here are six reasons for optimism.
Snippet: For the first time in history, nearly every scientist in the world is focused on the same problem. This is starting to pay real dividends.

Reuters — Touchless: How the world’s busiest airport envisions post-Covid travel
Snippet: With Covid-19 ravaging the aviation industry, airlines and airports worldwide are reining in costs and halting new spending, except in one area: reassuring pandemic-wary passengers about travel.


What experts are saying…

Longwoods Intl — Travelers prefer destinations which require face masks
Snippet: According to the survey, the percentage of American travelers who now feel safe traveling outside their community has fallen to 38%, the lowest level since mid-May.

TravelWeekly — Epidemiologist says time isn’t right for travel’s restart
Snippet: We are not ready, and all of the provisions that people are trying to put in place and these recommendations that are being made are not fueled by science or public health, they’re fueled by people’s desires to get back to business and get back to the lives they had before this.

Skift — Cruise lines’ pandemic booking practices are ‘astonishing’: CDC official
Snippet: Only they can tell you what they’re thinking about. Or maybe there is a level of denial of the magnitude of the problem and there’s a certain amount of wishful thinking in recovery.

Agility PR — Beyond Covid: 5 consumer segments that will shape demand beyond the pandemic
Snippet: New research from tax, transaction and advisory services firm EY helps shed some light on life beyond the clutch of COVID. The firm’s new study identifies five new consumer segments (Affordability; Health; Planet; Society; Experience) that will emerge in the post-COVID world.


What made us smile this month…

The pandemic has forced me into an endless staycation – by Sergio Peçanha



For questions or comments, email us:

Visit Bannikin’s dedicated COVID-19 page for our library of updates.