The Covid-19 worldwide crisis has disadvantages for business and employees, but favors the well being of nature on planet Earth.
The travel and shipping industry cause a enormous amount of damage to society by polluting the air people need to breathe in an extreme and unprecedented manner.
In the wake of the Corona-virus pandemic, few industries have fallen as far and as fast as tourism sector. The spread of infectious diseases is invariably linked to travel. Today, tourism is a huge global business that accounts for 10.4% of global GDP.
The technological revolution that brought us closer together by making travel and tourism easy and affordable, a revolution that fueled one billion trips a year, is helpless in halting a virus that demands we shelter in place.
Taking a snapshot of tourism losses is difficult, as the data changes as quickly as the virus spreads.
If the pandemic continues for several more months, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the trade group representing major global travel companies, projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue.
America’s travel industry is among the hardest hit. Tourism decline is a driving reason for 4.6 million job losses in states including Nevada, where Las Vegas casinos and jumbo hotels have gone dark.
With so much at stake, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus that couldn’t have come at a more urgent time. The focus is to help those unemployed and to support businesses large and small.
But questions remain: Will the aid package be enough as the country slides into a recession, and what does it mean for travelers?
Much of the tourism industry built its financial strategy around a trouble-free future, planning for eternal blue skies: open borders; high tourism demand, an $8 trillion industry that defies the ups and downs of the market.
On average, international carriers, including Delta and United Airlines, had less than two months of cash on hand to cover expenses before the Corona-virus hit, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The lodging sector—which has suffered as much as transport, with companies such as Marriott losing as much as 75% in revenue—is also a big recipient of the bailout.
Hotels (and restaurants) can benefit from the $350 billion lending program for small businesses and from a small adjustment to a federal tax law that could save them as much as $15 billion.
But cruise companies face an uphill battle to recover. Cruises have become beleaguered poster children of the pandemic as news stories chronicle the plight of ships carrying infected passengers.
At press time, Holland America’s Zaandam and Rotterdam ships were finally granted permission to disembark at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after the Coast Guard balked at allowing them to dock.
On March 8, the Center for Disease Control and the State Department told Americans to stop taking cruises and published a detailed explanation why those ships increase the virus’s “risk and impact.”
Unlike the airlines and hotels, cruise companies aren’t eligible for the $500 billion in aid because they don’t count as American enterprises.
Major companies locate their primary headquarters overseas, with ships flagged and incorporated in other nations. This means they pay almost no federal taxes and avoid many U.S. regulations.
The cruising industry faces more hurdles in the future. “Governments may have an increased interest in illness reporting and sanitation inspections,” which means more regulations.
The Corona Virus has convulsed the world tourism industry, with large hotel chains and digital platforms such as Booking being forced to cancel reservations.
The tourism industry faces an unprecedented confluence of threats – made up of a global health alarm; the shortage of aircraft due to the crisis of the Boeing 737 Max.
But also the social demonetization of travel; climate catastrophes; sector taxes; bankruptcies of operators and airlines; and the political instability and economic slowdown in the large markets – which hints at least a global contraction for the tourism business in the near future.
WTTC supports WHO recommendations for travelers, and the general public, to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses including frequent hand cleaning.
But also covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow when sneezing or coughing; avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough; avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals as well as the consumption of raw or under-cooked animal products.
But as diagnoses tick upward again, travel agents, operators, and hoteliers are bracing for at least months, if not a full year, of economic disruption from the outbreak, with long-term effects that may ripple well into 2021.
National Geographic / ABC Flash Point News 2020.