Tag: Rebound

Coronavirus vaccines may help travel recover, but it may take years to fully rebound, experts say

  • Forty-nine percent of travelers would be willing to travel after a proven Covid vaccine is released, a recent study found.
  • Many travel industry insiders urge caution but do think a rebound could be in sight should mass vaccination prove effective.
  • While personal practices like mask wearing and social distancing may fade with time, other industry wide changes introduced during the pandemic will likely prove durable.



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As news of several effective Covid-19 vaccines offers some light at the end of the tunnel that is 2020, will a beleaguered travel and tourism industry — one of the hardest hit by the pandemic — soon begin to recover?

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Possibly, say sources, but they caution that travel may take years to fully rebound and, no matter the timing, will likely look different than it did pre-pandemic.

“The news of a potential vaccine does hold promise for travel in 2021,” said Julie Hall, spokeswoman for AAA. “But … travelers need to be focused on knowing the risks of traveling and exposure in the here and now.”

Brian O’Connell, analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, takes an even more measured stance. “I’m just not bullish on travel for the first half of 2021 – even if a vaccine is mass produced in that timeframe,” he said. “Caution is the watchword, as the vaccine will take months to be fully distributed in the U.S. and abroad.”

Kayak.com CEO Steve Hafner said he thinks “people are taking more a wait-and-see approach … until one of these vaccines gets out there.”

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However, the online travel agency did see a spike in searches — if not purchases — right after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced 95% efficacy for its Covid vaccine on Nov. 10. The next day, searches were up 27% compared to the week prior, he said, but settled into a “more modest” 6% weekly growth rate in the days that followed.

Still, Hafner said the increased searches are good sign.

“I’m very optimistic that once these vaccines get distributed, people’s perceptions around travel are going to change toward the positive,” he added.

“I’m hopeful it comes by the second quarter [of 2021], knock on wood,” Hafner said, of a rebound in travel. “If we’re really lucky, we’ll see it in the first quarter.”

A survey of 4,300 customers earlier this year by travel insurer Allianz found that 49% would travel again given a proven vaccine. Meanwhile, 42% said the go-ahead from public health officials would suffice.

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“[The] promise of a highly effective vaccine is good news for the tremendous pent-up demand for travel, and should provide another reason for consumers to feel more confident booking trips for 2021,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz. He said he expected that luxury and experiential trips will be

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Hong Kong-Singapore Bubble Delay Hits Travel Rebound Hopes

(Bloomberg) — The shelving of the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble shows just how delicate the process of reopening borders is — even for places that have largely contained the coronavirus.

The cities’ virus outbreaks are far less intense than in places such as the U.S. and Europe, but a recent uptick in cases in Hong Kong proved enough to delay the start of the air corridor between the two financial hubs by two weeks, dashing the plans of those who booked flights that were due to begin Sunday.

The bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was heralded as a pandemic world-first, allowing people to travel to and from the two places without the need for quarantine. Authorities are reviewing a new launch date.



Ong Ye Kung standing in front of a crowd: Key Speakers at The Singapore FinTech Festival


© Bloomberg
Key Speakers at The Singapore FinTech Festival

Ong Ye Kung

Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs,” Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Saturday.

The two sides agreed that the bubble would be suspended if local infections exceeded five on a rolling seven-day average. That wasn’t even met in Hong Kong before the decision, but the recent jump in infections there was enough for authorities to apply the brakes, handing another setback to the aviation and travel industries of the two cities, which had some of the region’s busiest airports before the pandemic.



chart: Shares of Cathay and Singapore Air staged a recovery in November with bubble plan


© Bloomberg
Shares of Cathay and Singapore Air staged a recovery in November with bubble plan

Strict border curbs have helped Asia contain the coronavirus better than other parts of the world, with countries from China to New Zealand limiting the entry of travelers and imposing mandatory quarantines as a way of stopping the virus at their doors. But the approach — which has seen some all but eliminate Covid-19 — has come at a heavy cost, decimating tourism with cross-border travel basically paralyzed.

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While in-country containment of the virus has resulted in the world’s 10 busiest domestic air travel routes now all being in Asia, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd., Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Singapore Airlines Ltd. continue to struggle as they have no domestic travel market to fall back on. Cathay’s shares slid as much as 6.6% on Monday and Singapore Airlines dropped 1.7%

Even if the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor opens, the boost to the two aviation hubs will be limited, said Rico Merkert, professor of transport at the University of Sydney’s business school. Singapore Airlines and Cathay will continue to struggle because they can’t funnel onto the route those travelers who would normally arrive from Europe and the U.S., he said.

“Without that feeder traffic, those bubbles will at best be limited to the local population,” Merkert said. “International travel is going to remain a tricky affair.”

Cathay had described the bubble as “a hugely encouraging development and an important first step in

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Hong Kong-Singapore Bubble Delay Shows Travel Rebound Uncertain

(Bloomberg) — The shelving of the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble shows just how delicate the process of reopening borders is — even for places that have largely contained the coronavirus.

Asia’s virus outbreak is dwarfed by those in the U.S. and Europe, but a recent uptick in cases in Hong Kong proved enough to delay the start of the air corridor between the two financial hubs by two weeks, dashing the plans of those who booked flights that were due to begin Sunday. The bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was heralded as a pandemic world-first, allowing people to travel to and from the two places without the need for quarantine.



Ong Ye Kung standing in front of a crowd: Key Speakers at The Singapore FinTech Festival


© Bloomberg
Key Speakers at The Singapore FinTech Festival

Ong Ye Kung

Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs,” Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Saturday.

The two sides agreed that the bubble would be suspended if local infections exceeded five on a rolling seven-day average. That wasn’t even met in Hong Kong before the decision, but the recent jump in infections there was enough for authorities to apply the brakes, handing another setback to the aviation and travel industries of the two cities, which had some of the region’s busiest airports before the pandemic.



chart: Shares of Cathay and Singapore Air staged a recovery in November with bubble plan


© Bloomberg
Shares of Cathay and Singapore Air staged a recovery in November with bubble plan

Strict border curbs have helped Asia contain the coronavirus better than other parts of the world, with countries from China to New Zealand limiting the entry of travelers and imposing mandatory quarantines as a way of stopping the virus at their doors. But the approach — which has seen some all but eliminate Covid-19 — has come at a heavy cost, decimating tourism with cross-border travel basically paralyzed.

A Third of the World’s Air Routes Have Been Lost Due to Covid

While in-country containment of the virus has resulted in the world’s 10 busiest domestic air travel routes now all being in Asia, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd., Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Singapore Airlines Ltd. continue to struggle as they have no domestic travel market to fall back on.

Even if the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor opens, the boost to the two aviation hubs will be limited, said Rico Merkert, professor of transport at the University of Sydney’s business school. Singapore Air and Cathay will continue to struggle because they still can’t funnel onto the route those travelers who would normally arrive from Europe and the U.S., he said.

“Without that feeder traffic, those bubbles will at best be limited to the local population,” Merkert said. “International travel is going to remain a tricky affair.”

Video: Klook: ‘Really excited’ about Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble (CNBC)

Klook: ‘Really excited’ about Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble

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Cathay had described the

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Denver’s Hotel Industry Struggles to Rebound from COVID-19 Impacts

Business

Seven months after hotels temporarily closed, the industry is still making up for lost time—and revenue.

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Most businesses have taken a hit this year, and Denver’s hotel industry is no exception. Seven months after COVID-19 prompted stay-at-home orders and caused business travel to decline, hotels are still trying to make up for lost revenue.

According to Visit Denver, hotel occupancy in the metro area declined approximately 42 percent year-over-year, from September 2019 to September 2020. “In downtown Denver, the largest impact is the loss of convention and meeting business due to statewide meeting size mandates and the [Colorado] Convention Center being used as an alternate care facility,” says Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. “The traditionally high-volume, lucrative business traveler market has also been negatively impacted.”

Source Hotel
Courtesy of the Source Hotel

The average daily rate dropped 28 percent this year as hotels slashed prices to fill rooms, according to Visit Denver. The Source Hotel in RiNo dropped rates 30 percent to make up for the 40 percent decline in occupancy, says general manager David Stutz. “Business did rebound better as summer continued and we saw spikes in business on the weekends,” Stutz says.

Sage Hospitality Group—which manages 16 hotels in the state, such as the Crawford Hotel at Union Station and JW Marriott in Cherry Creek—temporarily closed all but two Colorado hotels in March and April. These hotels reopened in late May and early June as statewide restrictions were lifted. “I think most hotels in that early part of the pandemic recognized that you would lose less being closed than being open,” says Walter Isenberg, CEO of Sage Hospitality Group. “And as that calculus changed, people started opening.” (Year-over-year revenue was down 97 percent in April, he says.)

Isenberg says since April revenues have improved month-over-month, but company-wide Sage Hospitality, which manages 52 hotels, is still seeing occupancy rates down 65 to 70 percent. To rent rooms, several Sage properties are getting creative by offering day rates for those who want to work away from home. The company also has a contract with the University of Colorado Boulder to rent hotel rooms as dorm rooms.

Oxford Hotel
The exterior of the Oxford Hotel in LoDo. Courtesy of Sage Hospitality Group

The types of hotels people are staying at have also changed as visitors look for more amenities rather than conference rooms and convention spaces. JW Marriott in Cherry Creek, for example, outperformed many hotels downtown Denver, and hotels like the Oxford and the Crawford did better than branded hotels like the Courtyard by Marriott, Isenberg says. “The primary reason that properties are outperforming is because nearly 100 percent of the business that we’re seeing is leisure,” he says. “There are no conventions. There’s virtually no meeting business, and there’s no corporate travel.”

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention in Aurora is also seeing visitors book rooms for different reasons than normal. “Summer was a little

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