Covid-19 Update: August in Review

Bannikin | September 2, 2020

Science & secret vacations 

Welcome to our August media and communications newsletter, designed to help you track travel- and coronavirus-related developments that continue to affect our industry at large.

As summer comes to a close and the pandemic moves people indoors and back to school, past predictions regarding Covid-19’s impact on global tourism are being replaced with retrospective reports and findings only possible after five months of trial and error.

As governments around the world continue to evaluate and re-evaluate what’s allowed, what’s safe and what’s even possible, the U.S.—which topped 6 million cases on August 30—lifted its global advisory on international travel and dropped its 14-day self-quarantine recommendation.

Within the industry itself, cruising remains in its CLIA-imposed purgatory following positive coronavirus tests on two small ship lines early in the month and the suspension of several cruise lines’ 2020 seasons. Formerly niche markets such as solo travel are seeing a boon among tour operators and adventure travel brands who are forced to get creative with their offerings, while destination marketers struggle to strategize without a crystal ball.

Meanwhile, the ethical dilemma of whether or not travel should be encouraged rages on. While industry figures weigh in and pose tough questions, travel professionals report a rise in strange new concepts such as “travel shaming” and “secret vacations” as concerns for economic loss brush up against a constant stream of new information driving public sentiment.

While the future remains uncertain, there’s also a push for those with the resources to rebuild the industry by using the current slow down to introduce some long-needed innovations.

At five months in, nobody would say we’re out of the woods—quite the opposite—but there is something to be said for knowing more than we did when it all began, and how we might be able to use that information to our advantage. The question is: will we?

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 month at a glance

Aug 1-8

Aug 9-15

Aug 16-22

Aug 23-31


What the media is saying…

New York Times — The Caribbean Dilemma
Snippet: Everyone I talked to about a post-Covid Caribbean mentioned one thing: a hope that the pandemic might result in a different kind of tourist: a traveler, not necessarily richer in money, but more conscious, more of an explorer and less of a sybarite… For the Caribbean, a long history of being seen as a playground for visitors from the mainland United States might make things harder.

Skift — The travel industry needs to talk about ventilation in coronavirus fight
Snippet: Much of travel’s emphasis has been on surface sanitation, hand-washing, mask-wearing, contactless interactions, and the promotion of social distancing. However, they don’t account for the increasing consensus that the vast majority of Covid-19 outbreaks or super spreading events are happening in indoor settings.

The Economist – Air travel’s sudden collapse will reshape a trillion-dollar industry
Snippet: The coronavirus has lopped $460bn from this market value. Airline bosses are reassessing trends in passenger numbers, which had been expected to double in the next 15 years, just as they had with metronomic regularity since 1988, despite blips after the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 and the financial crisis of 2007-09. Rather than increase by 4% this year, air-transport revenues will fall by 50%, to $419bn.

Travel Weekly – A pandemic-era ethics question: Should travel sellers sell travel?
Snippet: As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, the growing uncertainties about how long it will last, what aspects of travel are safe and what the travel experience will be like put focus on the fine line that advisors and travel suppliers are walking between keeping their businesses afloat and risking long-term damage to their reputation and customer relationships by selling the wrong trip, or selling too soon.

Time – You might not catch Coronavirus on an airplane. But air travel is still probably spreading Covid-19
Snippet: So far, the U.S. aviation industry has said little about the macro-level threat of people spreading the virus around the country via air travel—the business of offering cheap tickets during a global pandemic is one thing, the ethics are another.


What experts are saying…

Oxford EconomicsGlobal travel forecast 2020-2024
Snippet: Global inbound travel is forecast to decline 57% in 2020, with 2019 levels not being reached again until 2024.

Adventure Travel Trade Association — U.S. adventure traveler sentiment – June-July 2020 report
Snippet: In June-July 2020, the ATTA surveyed U.S. customers of ATTA adventure tour operator members to understand their sentiment on a host of topics and gauge their travel and spending preferences in the next 12 months.

Skift — How will emerging economies reliant on tourism survive the crisis?
Snippet: There are several factors that make some countries particularly vulnerable to a long-term upset — so much so that they may have to turn to a new economic growth strategy. An analysis done by Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer, separates emerging markets into two main categories: defensive and vulnerable.

Bloomberg — Using the downturn to reduce mass tourism’s carbon impact
Snippet: There’s no way to know what will happen once international travel picks up. The lack of serious demands from governments and the tokenistic announcements by airlines, hotel owners and cruise ship operators make it so tempting to think all is lost, that tourism is missing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to transform itself radically and contribute to fighting climate change.

Travel Weekly AU — Essential travel must be prioritized when international travel resumes, says WHO
Snippet: The WHO maintained that travel restrictions alone are not effective in “dealing with the movement” of the coronavirus, stating that there is no “zero risk” when considering the potential importation or exportation of cases when resuming international travel.


What made us smile this month…

Restaurants in Italy are reopening ancient ‘wine windows’ used during the plague – Washington Post
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