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Messages - Sharmin Sultana

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1
Tourism Concept / New Normal-Tourism
« on: July 11, 2020, 08:19:55 PM »
Tourism: what’s our new normal?
Newswise — After months of lockdown, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about. But with ongoing debates about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, it’s hard to know what to expect.

According to global tourism expert, UniSA’s Professor Marianna Sigala it’s not just tourists who are unsure about next steps, it’s also tourism businesses. And, with change continuing to dictate the immediate future, knowing the likely trends is imperative for operators in the sector.

Prof Sigala says while South Australians can now travel regionally, their travel behaviours will certainly change; accommodating these changes will be a key step in rebuilding the industry.

“There’s a real tug of war going on – people are keen to get out and about, and away from their lockdown locations, but at the same time they’re guided by Covid-19 restrictions and are cautious of protecting their personal health,” Prof Sigala says.

“What this means is that a sense of safety and security will really drive tourists’ choices, affecting not only how and where they travel, but also what they do on holiday.

“Post lockdown, we’re likely to see a revival of the driving holiday – the family road trip…the car packed to the brim with kids and bags – as well as caravans, motorhomes, and even cycling tourism may experience a new surge.

“People will also be travelling for shorter periods and in smaller groups, preferably with family and friends, as the proximity of loved ones creates a sense of reassurance and reduces perceived risks.

“Nature and the outdoors are expected to dominate travel plans, with an end to group tours and experiences, including theme parks, casinos, and to some extent, even visits to capital cities.

“A return to travel will all be about small, safe, manageable steps.”

At the end of 2019, tourism in South Australia was worth $8.1 billion. Now, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, forecasts suggest the tourism industry is losing almost $430 million a month. Recovery will require the industry to adapt to the new conditions.

With risk reduction driving tourist choices, Prof Sigala says tourism operators must adapt.

“Operators that instil trust are likely to lead the revival of tourism,” Prof Sigala says. “Already, we’ve seen wineries, restaurants and museums modify and redesign experiences to accommodate social distancing and hygiene issues, and this is what will need to continue.

“Some savvy players have even taken to marketing limited numbers as ‘exclusives’ or ‘private’ experiences, which can be a drawcard for tourists.

“Flexibility will also be important, as tourists are keen to keep control of their travel plans – right up to the last minute – in case substances require them to change. This is a clear call for tourism operators to amend rigid booking or cancellation policies if they wish to appeal to the new tourists.”

Prof Sigala says that while innovation and creativity will be valuable assets for all tourism operators, those that embrace technology will undoubtedly be one step ahead of the competition.

“Covid-19 has deepened people’s connection with digital services, so much so, that technology is no longer an option or a luxury for a tourism provider, but a survival necessity,” Prof Sigala says.

“Contract-free services and experiences – including mobile check-ins, payments and room ‘keys’; self-service kiosks; in-room technologies for entertainment and e-shopping; as well as virtual visits to museums, galleries and movies – will all be in demand.

“Equally, technologies that can monitor crowds, as well as identify and track health profiles are likely to be a desirable feature for destinations. Combine this with future ‘health passports’ that will allow people more easily travel and work in destinations, and a whole new normal could be at our doorstep.

“The root causes and new realities imposed by the pandemic have caused fundamental changes to the way we think, live, work and play, which in turn, are transforming the nature of tourism demand and supply alike.

“Some of these changes may be temporary, but others are here to stay and will redefine the way we practice and experience tourism for years to come.”

source: https://www.newswise.com/coronavirus/tourism-what-s-our-new-normal/?article_id=732338

2
The major theme park companies had all gotten off to strong starts in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and sent profits spiralling downward. Promising attendance and revenue increases quickly turned to big losses as the coronavirus outbreak forced theme parks around the world to close indefinitely.

“Prior to the closure of our parks, we had a strong start to 2020, with record-setting results through February,” SeaWorld Entertainment interim CEO Marc Swanson said in a statement.  “This performance was a continuation of the strong financial results we have delivered over the last two years.”

Recent quarterly reports from the major theme park companies offer a glimpse at the financial pain the pandemic has inflicted. But more economic troubles are expected as the theme park giants begin missing out on attendance and revenue from the busy summer season.

All of the big industry players have slashed cash expenditures. They’ve cut labour costs, reduced operating expenses and chopped capital expenditures on new attractions. And most of them have headed to Wall Street in search of new capital to weather the storm.

Let’s take a closer look at the financial impact of coronavirus on the big theme park companies.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on theme parks
Disney
Disney’s theme park division suffered a $1 billion loss in operating income in the second quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak. Revenue dropped $628 million for the quarter for Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products division. Disney has halted $900 million in theme park refurbishment and construction projects as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.About half of the $1 billion loss occurred during the last two weeks of March at Disney’s U.S. theme parks in California and Florida. The other half of the loss was the result of the closure of Disney’s international theme parks and the shuttering of its cruise line.

The $250 million loss per week at Disney’s six U.S. theme parks is staggering. That works out to a $36.6 million loss per day for Disney’s U.S. parks. On average, that’s a $6.1 million loss per park per day.

Significant losses
The Walt Disney World resort in Florida lost nearly $25 million per day, based on 2018 attendance data from the Themed Entertainment Association. This is the breakdown by theme park of the financial impact of the COVID-19 closures:

Magic Kingdom ($8.8 million per day), Disney’s Animal Kingdom ($5.8 million), Epcot ($5.2 million) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios ($4.8 million).The Disneyland resort in California lost $12 million per day, based on the 2018 TEA attendance data. The coronavirus closures cost Disneyland $7.9 million per day and Disney California Adventure $4.1 million per day.

Those numbers have almost certainly dropped significantly since mid-March when Disney’s U.S. parks first closed. Since then, Disney has furloughed 120,000 employees and slashed spending on new attractions. The belt-tightening has continued as the theme park closures extended from weeks to months.

Shanghai Disneyland recently reopened after a three month-plus coronavirus closure. Disney’s other 11 theme parks around the world remain closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Universal Studios
The financial impact of COVID-19 on Universal Studios is also sizable – it stands to lose $500 million if its theme parks remain closed through the end of June.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced Universal to halt work on its Epic Universe theme park planned for 2023. Work still continues on more than $300 million in theme park construction projects already underway.Universal’s $500 million loss in three months looks small compared to Disney’s $500 million loss in two weeks. But Universal’s financial hit is a projection going forward. Universal’s economic hardship was likely worse just after the coronavirus closures of its parks. The company has had time to tighten its belt since then.

Nonetheless, the numbers are still eye-popping. Universal stands to lose $167 million per month in April, May and June if its theme parks remain shuttered. That works out to $5.5 million per day.

The Universal Studios theme parks in Florida, California, Japan and Singapore remain closed through at least May 31 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six Flags
Six Flags attendance had been up 19% and spending had increased 17% in the first quarter before the coronavirus closures of the company’s amusement parks. However, the last two weeks of the quarter hint at the scale of the financial impact on the theme park operator. Attendance dropped 27% and revenue was down 20% for the quarter.Cedar Fair
Attendance and revenues were heading upward in the first quarter when Cedar Fair was forced to indefinitely close its parks or delay openings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Cedar Fair lost more than $20 million in revenues. It saw a steep decline in attendance for the quarter with its parks closed.

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic created conditions which led to the closure of our operations in mid-March, we are nevertheless pleased that the record pace we established in 2019 carried well into the first quarter of 2020,” Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman said in a statement.The financial impact of COVID-19 on Cedar Fair theme parks
The operator estimates its average cash burn rate will be approximately $30 million to 40 million per month. This is with all of its parks closed.

“Once given the green lights to reopen our parks, startup costs to do so would push this monthly burn rate up,” Cedar Fair CFO Brian Witherow said on a conference call with analysts.

Cedar Fair’s monthly burn rate works out to $1 million to $1.3 million per day.SeaWorld
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens got off to strong starts in 2020 with record attendance and revenues. But this was before COVID-19 forced the closure of the theme parks and began to have a financial impact.

The SeaWorld Entertainment company saw a 30% decline in total attendance and total revenue for the first quarter as the company shuttered all of its theme parks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company closed its Busch Gardens parks in Florida and Virginia on 16 March. It also closed SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Florida and Texas on the same date. SeaWorld Entertainment’s quarterly results only reflect two weeks of park closures.

source: https://blooloop.com/features/theme-park-financial-impact-covid-19/

3
Tour & Travel Management / Airlines Industry
« on: July 11, 2020, 08:00:27 PM »
“The worst may be yet to come” – Impacts of COVID-19 on European Aviation and Economy Increasing
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed new research showing the impacts on the European aviation industry and on economies caused by the shutdown of air traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened over recent weeks.

Airlines in Europe are set to lose $21.5 billion in 2020, with passenger demand declining by over half. This puts at risk between 6-7 million jobs supported by aviation in Europe alone. An accelerated recovery of air transport in Europe is vital if the worst of these impacts is to be avoided. This can be achieved through government action in two priority areas:

1. A coordinated restart of air travel, with the opening up borders (including elimination of quarantine) and operating rules based on the health guidance set down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and at European level by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).

2. Continued financial and regulatory support, particularly direct financial aid, an extension of the waiver to the 80-20 slot rule, and relief from taxes and charges.

"Europe’s economies have been brought to their knees by COVID-19, and the aviation industry has been especially hard-hit. Recent optimism over the opening of the Schengen borders should not obscure the critical seriousness of the situation. Across Europe, more than six million jobs in the airline industry and those businesses supported by aviation are at risk. Thousands of jobs have already been lost due to the shutdown of air traffic. For our future prosperity it is imperative that the industry recovers as soon as possible,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

1. Coordinated restart
It is essential that governments coordinate to restart air connectivity consistently and in line with international best practice. The guidance set out by ICAO is broadly consistent with measures recommended by EASA/ECDC and strikes the right balance between safeguarding public health while permitting viable air services. The measures, including more thorough and frequent cleaning, and the wearing of face masks, further reduce the already low risk of transmission on board. Other measures, such as airport screening where appropriate, discouraging symptomatic passengers from travelling, and safe destination protocols, can also reduce the role of aviation as a potential source of international re-infection, and render quarantine unnecessary.


"Quarantine measures are a huge impediment to a recovery in air traffic. Our latest passenger survey shows that 78% of people in France, 76% in Germany and 83% in the UK will not travel if a quarantine is in place. Therefore, governments looking to reopen their economies need an alternative, risk-based solution. The answer is a strategy that combines coordinated, internationally-consistent health measures for air travel with effective national plans for managing COVID-19,” said Schvartzman.

2. Continued financial and regulatory aid
Many European governments have recognized the strategic importance of their aviation industries and provided support. It is important to note, however, that much of the financial aid has been in the form of loans, which are adding to the debt burden for airlines and which will hinder their ability to invest in new services, cleaner aircraft, and expanded employment going forward.

"We are grateful to governments who have provided assistance so far to our industry. Those actions have saved thousands of jobs and are enabling airlines to keep connectivity going. But I’m afraid the worst may be yet to come. Airlines rely on the summer season to provide a financial cushion for the more challenging winter months. But we know that European airlines are set to lose $21 billion this year. There will be no summer cushion. Continued relief measures will be essential to minimize job losses and maintain transport links. We would urge European regulators to prioritize an extension to the waiver granted for the slot use rules, and to consider other forms of financial aid that will not add to the growing debt burden weighing airlines down,” said Schvartzman.
source: https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-06-18-01/

4
COVID-19 has impacted nearly every industry and everyone living and working across the globe. It’s no secret the hospitality industry is among those who have been hit the hardest with a real economic impact. Hotels employ approximately 4% of the total U.S. workforce, nearly 8.3 million people, according to AHLA. And with so many of these employees currently being out of work or losing hours due to limited travel as a result of Covid-19, the economic impact is just as huge and people are really feeling the effects quickly. This article will discuss COVID-19’s impact, how the hotel industry can make the most of their time now and how they can prepare for the future.

THE IMPACT
At Hotel Effectiveness we look at data daily. Of the 8.3 million Americans employed by the hotel industry, 85% are paid hourly. Knowing that the majority of employees are paid hourly, we have seen a drastic 71% drop in hours worked over the last two weeks. So what’s the potential economic impact of a drop like this? Considering most hourly employees receive an average hourly wage rate of $13, and assuming a typical 36-hour week, this would mean hourly hotel employees in the United States have lost about $2.3 billion of income per week. But we also know that in many markets, hotels had been struggling to find enough staff which meant the staff they did have were receiving a lot of overtime hours. All of that extra pay is also lost, so the real weekly impact is even bigger. Meanwhile, the volume of employee terminations over the same period has increased by nearly 470%, mostly the result of layoffs, furloughs and hotel closures.

 source: https://hospitalitytech.com/economic-impact-covid-19-hotel-industry

5
Faced with the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the global hotel industry turned to the data benchmarking experts at STR to remain connected with performance trends and track the early signs of recovery. Having built the world's largest hotel performance database, we understand our role in providing the solutions needed to help the industry operate through the best and worst of times. With that, we have been pleased to provide a significant amount of complimentary insights via the webinars, press releases, blogs and social posts below.

We continue to update this page daily with a weekly newsletter send. In order to present the most up-to-date information available, content is transitioned off of this page after a two-week window. If you're looking for information not included on this landing page, please contact us.

source: https://str.com/data-insights-blog/coronavirus-hotel-industry-data-news

6
Tourism & Hospitality Management (THM) / Impact of Covid 19
« on: July 11, 2020, 07:52:33 PM »
BANGLADESH, April 13, 2020 – Bangladesh tourism in not publicized much in overseas markets but millions of people are involved in it with about in 10 million domestic tourism and around 35 million in turnover a year. Hundreds of travel and tour companies will close; a significant number of small hotels, motels, resorts and restaurants will shut down and thousands of people will be jobless due to the impact of COVID-19. As part of its efforts to create awareness amongst public and private sectors on the implications of COVID-19 on the tourism industry in Bangladesh, the PATA  Bangladesh Chapter prepared a video outlining statistics and the tourism situation in Bangladesh. -
See more at: https://www.pata.org/pata-bangladesh-chapter-covid-19-impact-on-the-tourism-industry-in-bangladesh/#sthash.svkNR5jq.dpuf

7
COVID-19 hit the travel industry like a tidal wave, and hotels have spent the past several months being tossed around like a cork. Now, for hoteliers, it's time to find the surface and start swimming.

Make no mistake, hoteliers will need to adjust to a new normal going forward. But there are ways to power full steam ahead toward profitability.

Here’s how hotels can succeed in a post-COVID-19 world:

1. Construct a Recession-Proof Operation
Hoteliers need to prepare for a bumpy ride. U.N. jobs reports put global job losses close to 200 million. Chances are that as things level off, many of those jobs will come back — but many won’t.

Alarmingly, all signs point to an extended global recession. One World Bank report suggests the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year.

Luckily, hoteliers don’t have to sit back and watch their operations crumble. They can use data to recession-proof their hotels now and reap higher profits during tough economic times. Here’s how:

2. Focus on Profit 

Relying on revenue numbers alone to set hotel strategies has never been a good idea. During a recession, it’s easy to see how limiting metrics like RevPAR really are. As hoteliers see less and less cash coming in, it’s critical to focus on how much money is flowing to the bottom line. That means using more complete metrics, such as gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR), to benchmark performance.

3. Improve Operations 

With less revenue to work with, hoteliers need to make up ground elsewhere. The best way to boost profit during tough economic times is to lower operating costs and increase productivity. By diving into operational figures, hoteliers can see which parts of the operation are profitable, and which operations to pull back in order to free up cash.

4. Trim Costs

The leaner a hotel operation is, the more easily it can roll with the punches. That’s why hoteliers need to take time now to reexamine costs, such as:

Food and beverage (F&B) costs
Maintenance and property costs
Utility costs
Payroll
Cutting costs across the board may not make sense. But by looking at where money is flowing, hoteliers can see where cutting back makes the most sense.


Make Customer Safety and Experience a Priority
Regardless of how drastically visitors’ behaviors change in the wake of COVID-19, one thing will remain a linchpin of hotel success: customer experience.

For hoteliers, now’s the time to reexamine spaces and invest in subtle changes that will create a more pleasant customer experience. Here’s a short list of additions to consider:

Sanitation stations — Visitors will have germs on their minds for long after the COVID-19 era is over. By adding sanitation stations at entrances and exits and other public spaces, hoteliers can encourage better hygiene and peace of mind.
Self-service payment systems — Hoteliers don’t need to eliminate cash altogether, but adding self-service payment options keeps hotel guests from passing germs on to employees. Plus, it adds a layer of convenience for guests who want independence.
F&B mobile app deliveries — By adding mobile ordering options to F&B or other room-service functions, hoteliers don’t just ease the fears of guests who are uncomfortable congregating. They can also open up new revenue streams from customers who aren’t staying at the hotel.
Before making big investments in new infrastructure, it’s best that hoteliers familiarize themselves with current maintenance costs. By understanding how much is being spent now, it will be easier to see where it’s feasible to add new resources in the future.

Keep a Close Eye on Labor
In the months and years ahead, employers across the hospitality industry will need to rehire staff and bring employees back into the fold. Unfortunately, it’s tough to build a successful hiring plan when the future is murky. And there are many questions floating in the air:

Will there be a second wave of COVID-19 cases?
How long will it take for the global economy to recover?
What will travel demand look like in the future?
With many unknowns lingering, hoteliers need to be prepared to adjust their labor strategies quickly. That all starts by examining key metrics:

Management wages and salaries
Nonmanagement wages and salaries
Outsourced labor totals
Admin and general labor costs
Sales and marketing labor costs
Going forward, successful hoteliers will use data to drive payroll decisions. By keeping a finger on the pulse of labor costs, they’ll have the raw materials to set up hiring plans for every scenario.

Use Data to Steer Post-COVID-19 Decisions
It may take a while before travel markets stabilize. When they do, the hoteliers who have a firm grasp of their operational benchmarking will come out ahead. Even if the hospitality industry continues to face choppy waters, hoteliers who use data to chart a clear course will have everything they need to convert higher profit.

source: https://www.hotstats.com/blog/how-hotels-can-succeed-in-a-post-covid-world

9
Several travel agencies and tour operators said many foreign tourists' planned trips to Bangladesh had been cancelled. The government has also advised to cancel all non-essential travels.

Besides cancelling almost all scheduled tours to China, many Bangladeshis cancelled tours to India, Bhutan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

One of the biggest setbacks is indefinite postponement of Dhaka Travel Mart 2020. The biggest travel and tourism extravaganza in Bangladesh, was the 17th such event, organised by The Bangladesh Monitor. Uncertainty of the situation forced postponement of the fair, scheduled to be held between March 12-14.

Mohibul Haque, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism told reporters at his office on February 13 that the impact of coronavirus had spread across the world. "We can't deny the fact that it will have some impact on Bangladesh."

Masud Hossain, Managing Director of The Bengal Tours Ltd said three popular celebrities were scheduled to come to Dhaka from Japan in March which has been postponed for an indefinite period of time.

Another fam trip of 10 leading tour operators and media representatives from Japan has been cancelled. Because China Southern, the airline partner of the trip, has cut its capacity to Dhaka from seven to three flights a week over coronavirus concerns. The Bengal Tours was the local hospitality partner.

Furthermore, the trips of Japanese tourists scheduled to take place in March-April also have high chances to be postponed as well, said Hossain.

The Bengal Tours also organises a weeklong wildlife sighting tour every year with Japanese tourists at Sundarban. Scheduled on March 26, it, too, has been cancelled.

Not only tourists from Japan but also from Europe are refraining from travel to Bangladesh or anywhere whatsoever. Hossain mentioned that six to seven trips of Bengal Tours with European tourists have been cancelled so far.

Speaking of the recovering measures, Hossain urged formation of an emergency crisis team to deal with this coronavirus situation. Bangladesh and Japan should send out press releases mentioning that Bangladesh is safe from coronavirus.

Impact on hotels and tourism loss

Taufiq Rahman, CEO of Journey Plus informed that till now four groups have cancelled bookings due to coronavirus epidemic. One group of tourists of Journey Plus was scheduled to come from Slovenia to Bangladesh on February 14 which was later cancelled even though neither of the countries have witnessed any coronavirus case so far. Because tourists are not feeling comfortable to fly anywhere right now.

A Taiwanese group of 21 was supposed to come to the country in March 12. But the recent ban imposed by the Bangladesh government on Taiwanese made them cancel the trip.

Taufiq said hotels are also suffering from the impact of coronavirus. Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel is witnessing a fall of 30 per cent in room occupancy. It is almost the same with any hotel in Bangladesh at present. More than 50 per cent fall has been witnessed in the entire hotel industry of the country.

"In the next one or two months, the tourism industry of our country will face a loss of at least BDT 100 crore, totalling airlines, hotels, tour operations, MICE, transportation, restaurants etc," said Taufiq.

Taufiq further claimed that the government should provide incentives to such organisations or waive their taxes so that they can cover the loss by a little bit which they are facing this year.

Impact on MICE

Meherun N Islam, Managing Director, CEMS Global said that 80 per cent of the country's tourism earnings come from business travellers who come for MICE purposes. Of which, tradeshows cover a huge portion, then, comes conferences followed by meetings of importers of other countries.

Even though a lion share of these business travellers are Chinese, there are many from India and Japan while some are even from uncommon countries like Namibia, Turkey, Ukraine and others, mentioned Meherun.

And this industry has been hit hard by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan in China. Overall the MICE market has witnessed a fall by 80 per cent due to coronavirus fears.

On February 27-29, CEMS Global's Dhaka International Fabric Fair Winter Edition, which was supposed to have 95 per cent of foreign participants, was cancelled over coronavirus, mentioned Meherun.

The Food and Agro Tech Fair as well as Medical and Laboratory Equipment Fair, organised by CEMS Global, both scheduled to take place in April have been postponed to July.

The cancellations of these three exhibitions have resulted in a loss of at least USD 1.1-1.2 million, said Meherun. However, they can recover 30 per cent of the loss if they are able to organise these later in the year once the scenario gets better.

Even global events organised by CEMS Global are facing cancellations. For instance, the Textile, Garments and Farbric Fair scheduled to take place on March 3-4 in Sri Lanka, has been cancelled.

"There are two more - one in October in Brazil and another in November in Morocco. However, there are not cancelled yet since there is still some time left. So if the world survives till then, they may take place," said the Managing Director.

"By March or April, if the unfortunate impacts of the coronavirus are not sorted or brought under controlled, we will never be able to overcome the loss," Meherun added.

Taslim Amin Shovon, CEO of tour operator Bizcon Holidays and former Director of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh, said that he was forced to cancel several group trips to Sikkim, Bhutan and Darjeeling in February and March as holidaymakers cancelled their bookings.

Abdus Salam Aref, former Secretary General of the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh, said the number of outbound passengers had reduced by around 70-80 per cent and inbound passengers by 35-40 per cent.

Adverse impact on aviation

China's China Southern and China Eastern airlines operate direct flights between Dhaka and cities in China.

China Southern used to operate seven flights between Dhaka and Guangzhou while China Eastern used to operate seven flights between Dhaka and Kunming every week.

But, both of the carriers have reduced flight frequency to three flights a week.

Other international carriers operating in Bangladesh are feeling the pinch too.

Singapore Airlines has also temporarily suspended one flight to Dhaka bringing its total number of flights operating in Bangladesh to eight from nine.

In addition, Thai Airways has also cut two frequencies to Dhaka from Thailand effective till most of March. Flight TG339 was cancelled from February 25 while flight TG340 was cancelled from February 26.

Hong Kong-based Dragon Air, which used to operate four flights a week between Dhaka and China via Hong Kong, also reduced its number of flights.

Also, due to the imposition of ban on Umrah pilgrims by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 40 per cent load dropped among all westbound airlines.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) earlier in February reported that 70 airlines have cancelled all international flights in and out of China and 50 others have reduced their flight operations.

This fall in passenger growth comes at the busiest period of the year, when air travel for both business and tourism is usually high.

Impact on local airlines

The plan for Bangladeshi airlines to expand to international routes with new aircraft has hit a brick wall due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has slashed outbound passenger growth by 40 per cent in recent weeks.

Even worse, this sharp fall in passenger growth comes at the busiest period of the year when air travel for both business and tourism is usually high.

Cargo imports also fell by more than 60 per cent as raw material import remain suspended in China-one of the largest business hubs for Bangladesh-according to airlines industry insiders.

Since airfreight demand has been weakening worldwide, the outbreak of coronavirus will further add woes if the crisis prolongs, industry insiders fear.

Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 3.5 per cent decrease in demand for airfreight last year compared to a 2.8 per cent increase in 2018, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has already begun to feel the pinch of a global slowdown as the fall in export-import growth has hit its cargo business, with revenue from goods transportation falling by 32 per cent in the first four months of the current fiscal year.

"The national carrier will have to bear more costs at the end of this year if the impact of coronavirus prolongs," said Md Mokabbir Hossain, Managing Director, Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

Biman was planning to open new routes to Guangzhou by March but the process was delayed due to the outbreak, he added.

Mokabbir said the Biman office in Guangzhou is ready but the inspection scheduled by the Chinese authority on February 12 was suspended.

"Moreover, outbound passengers to Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur have dropped by more than 40 per cent as tourists are avoiding travel over health concerns," he further said.

However, Biman did not take any decision to cut flights as inbound flights are still full, he added.

The coronavirus outbreak has also forced airlines operating in Bangladesh to backtrack from their flight expansion plans centering on the construction of the third terminal of the Dhaka airport.

For instance, US-Bangla Airlines-the only local airline company operating flights to China-moved to cut flight frequency to Guangzhou from seven to only three per week.

"US-Bangla decided to reduce flights in China as number of both inbound and outbound passengers declined substantially, causing losses," said Sikder Mezbahuddin Ahmed, CEO, US-Bangla.

"The load factor has also decreased in these flights. The seats on outbound flights to Guangzhou are filled only by 30-35 per cent, whereas previously the occupancy rate was at least 65 per cent," he further mentioned.

At the same time, the seats on incoming flights to Dhaka are filled by 60 per cent, down from 90-95 per cent before the coronavirus outbreak.

Mezbahuddin said that although the country's airline operators were doing well amid fast growth of the aviation industry, the sudden break brought by coronavirus is hurting the industry, which will eventually negatively impact the overall economy.

Regent Airways, which operates flights in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, also experienced a 15 per cent fall in outbound passenger growth in the last one week.

"Passengers are cancelling their ticket bookings due to safety concerns," said Hanif Zakaria, Chief Commercial Officer, Regent.

Though, outbound passenger growth has dropped, number of inbound passengers remains high as people consider Bangladesh safer since no cases of coronavirus have been reported yet, he added.

"Currently, we have three weekly flights on these international routes and we may cut flights if the crisis prolongs," he said.

The crisis hit the aviation industry at a time when international air passenger traffic has been slowing down in the global market.

In 2019, international passenger traffic in the global market climbed 4.1 per cent compared to a 7.1 per cent growth in 2018, according to IATA.

However, Bangladesh's fast growing economy, international business connections and tourism sector spared the local aviation industry from the global slowdown.

The IATA forecasts the air transport in Bangladesh to annually grow at 8.4 per cent until 2038 if the current trend continues. In 2018, air passenger flow in the country was 7.2 million, which will increase to 19.3 million by 2038.

Expecting future growth, airlines in the country are expanding their fleets.

source: Bangladesh Monitor

10
The Bangladeshi passport has seen a marginal improvement in rank as the year starts, moving up to the 98th position according to the Henley & Partners Passport Index. Last year, it ranked 99th.

Henley & Partners determine the rank of a passport based on the number of destinations that can be accessed by passport holders without a prior visa, based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Currently, Bangladeshi passport holders can travel to 41 destinations and enjoy visa-free access, while 185 destinations still require a visa prior to travel.

For green passport holders, destinations that can be accessed without a prior visa include Bhutan, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Bahamas, Bolivia, Haiti, and the British Virgin Islands, among others. For many of these destinations, travelers from Bangladesh can enjoy on-arrival visa benefits, while a few destinations have removed visas entirely, such as Bhutan. Other nations like Indonesia also offer visa-free access, but come with limitations on how long visitors can stay.

Neighbouring India's passport ranking slipped two places to 84th for 2020, with 58 destinations accessible visa-free for Indian passport holders. Out of the SAARC aligned countries, India ranks second, while the Maldives holds the top spot at 61st. Bhutan follows India with 89th and Sri Lanka with 97th, while Nepal (101st), Pakistan (104th) and Afghanistan (107th) rank below Bangladesh at the moment. 

source: daily star

11
Tourism Concept / Airlines industry fall down due to corona virus
« on: March 10, 2020, 03:44:32 PM »
Airlines globally are set to lose in passenger revenues of up to $113 billion, if the Corona Virus spreads further, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said today.

This scenario applies a similar methodology but to all markets that currently have 10 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 2 March). The outcome is a 19% loss in worldwide passenger revenues, which equates to $113 billion. Financially, that would be on a scale equivalent to what the industry experienced ..The airline body also added that the losses in passenger revenues would be about $63 billion, if the corona virus does not spread further and is contained at current levels.

IATA’s previous analysis (issued on 20 February 2020) had put loss in revenues at $29.3 billion based on a scenario that would see the impact of COVID-19 largely confined to markets associated with China.“Since that time, the virus has spread to over 80 countries and forward bookings have been severely impacted on routes beyond China. Financial markets have reacted strongly. Airline share prices have fallen nearly 25% since the outbreak began, some 21 percentage points greater than the decline that occurred at a similar point during the SARS crisis of 2003. To a large extent, this fall already prices in a shock to industry revenues much greater than our previous analysis,” the airline body said  ..

Read more at:
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/coronavirus-could-cost-airlines-usd-113-bn-revenue-in-2020-iata/articleshow/74492482.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

12
Tourism Concept / Religious Tourism
« on: March 10, 2020, 03:39:28 PM »
 Tourism is not only one of the pragmatic sectors of exploring new sights and unknown pleasures rather it plays ample roles in socio-cultural and economic developments too. Religious tourism is hence involved in exploring sights and spreading religious phenomenon along with religious journey, pilgrimage and other purposive perspectives. Islam is the largest monotheistic religion of the world. People specially the Muslims are involved in diverse religious tourism. Tabligh Jamat is one of the devoted religious tourist groups who pay their visits mosque to mosque from central to spatal areas both in home and abroad.

13
Hotel, Motel and Others Accommodation / Destination Abu Dhabi
« on: November 05, 2019, 03:09:58 PM »
 Inside its grounds, the Qasr Al Sarab hotel has all you'd expect from a high-class UAE resort -- luxury villas, private pools, top-notch restaurants and a fully equipped spa.
Beyond the walls, it's got one feature that few others can match -- sheer beautiful nothingness.
That's because the Qasr sits perched on the edge of the world. Or at least on the edge of the Empty Quarter -- Rub' al Khali in Arabic -- the planet's largest uninterrupted sand desert.
Stroll out past the hotel's Royal Pavilion and travel south: It's just mile after mile of shifting dunes, right up until the dusty highway and fence that marks the Saudi Arabian border.
That remoteness, and the staggering allure of this sun-scorched wilderness, are what make the Qasr one of the best hotels in Abu Dhabi, an emirate not short of five-star contenders.
For the folks running this distant outpost of civilization, it presents a very specific set of problems -- chiefly, how to stop the place being swallowed whole by the desert.
And how not to hurt the very environment that makes it so special.

-CNN

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Tourism & Hospitality Management (THM) / Best and worst passport!!!
« on: November 05, 2019, 02:59:21 PM »
The best passports to hold in 2019 are: They get on-arrival visa or visa-free access

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)
7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)
8. New Zealand (182)
9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180)

Worst passport to hold (2019)
1. Lebanon, North Korea (39 destinations)
2. Nepal (38)
3. Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan (37)
4. Yemen (33)
5. Somalia, Pakistan (31)
6. Syria (29)
7. Iraq (27)
8. Afghanistan (25)

Source: CNN

15
Tourism Concept / Re: Tourism and Terrorism
« on: October 09, 2019, 01:10:24 PM »
Thank you!

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