UNFCCC Decides to Postpone Global Climate Conference COP26

UNFCCC Decides to Postpone Global Climate Conference COP26

Glasgow, Sctotland, United Kingdom, April 2, 2020 /travelindex/ The COP26 UN climate change conference set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed due to COVID-19. This decision has been taken by the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), with the UK and its Italian partners.

Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow by the UK in partnership with Italy, will be set out in due course following further discussion with parties.

In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.

Rescheduling will ensure all parties can focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference and allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions.

COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said:

“The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26.

“We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing a new date for the conference.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said:

“COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.

“Soon, economies will restart. This is a chance for nations to recover better, to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and a chance to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient.

“In the meantime, we continue to support and to urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.”

Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Sergio Costa, said:

“Whilst we have decided to postpone COP26, including the Pre-COP and ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, we remain fully committed to meeting the challenge of climate change.

“Tackling climate change requires strong, global and ambitious action. Participation from the younger generations is imperative, and we are determined to host the ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, together with the Pre-COP and outreach events.

“We will continue to work with our British partners to deliver a successful COP26.”

COP25 President, Minister Carolina Schmidt, said:

“The decision of the Bureau on the postponement of COP26 is unfortunately a needed measure to protect all delegates and observers.

“Our determination is to make sure that the momentum for climate ambition will continue, particularly for the preparation and submissions of new NDCs this year”.

World Economic Forum Steps Up Coordinating Efforts on COVID Response

World Economic Forum Steps Up Coordinating Efforts on COVID Response

Geneva, Switzerland, April 2 2020 /travelindex/ – Leading World Economic Forum representatives and members, including Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, Siemens and Maersk Chairman Jim Snabe, and Royal DSM Hon. Chairman Feike Sijbesma, on Wednesday asked the global business community to step up their coordination in the response to COVID-19. In a written statement, they called on their peers to voice support for a set of “Stakeholder Principles” to manage the economic impacts from the public health emergency, and work towards economic recovery when the virus is defeated.

The Principles are based on the recognition that businesses’ coordinated actions today, including those to keep our business ecosystem up and running and our employees’ workplace protected, will help determine how fast the policy-shaped short-term economic standstill can be followed by a market-based economic recovery. They are meant to align business actions, including those to suppliers, customers and employees, to allow for business continuity once the health emergency subsides.

The Stakeholder Principles in the COVID Era put forth by the business leaders are:

– To employees, our principle is to keep you safe: We will continue do everything we can to protect your workplace, and to help you to adapt to the new working conditions
– To our ecosystem of suppliers and customers, our principle is to secure our shared business continuity: We will continue to work to keep supply chains open and integrate you into our business response
– To our end consumers, our principle is to maintain fair prices and commercial terms for essential supplies
– To governments and society, our principle is to offer our full support: We stand ready and will continue to complement public action with our resources, capabilities and know-how
– To our shareholders, our principle remains the long-term viability of the company and its potential to create sustained value

The “Stakeholder Principles” were distributed by the World Economic Forum to 140 members of its “International Business Community” and presented to another 450 business leaders of the Forum’s COVID Action Platform on Wednesday. They were devised after World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on the COVID Action Platform members to take a responsible stand.

“This is a real test for the stakeholder concept which the Forum and its members are committed to since a long time,” Klaus Schwab said. “If we do not pass it, the world will disintegrate, and be incapable to deliver on all the other challenges we have as an interconnected society, such as climate change and social inclusion. The objective of this global effort should not only be to fight the virus, but to alleviate its dire economic and social consequences.”

As part of its coordinating role, the World Economic Forum will offer support to companies implementing the Stakeholder Principles in their daily operations. A first White Paper, “Workforce Principles for the COVID-19 Pandemic”, released on Wednesday, provides guiding principles and four workforce management imperatives. It is intended to serve as a tool for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) and other business leaders. The Forum will bring together CHROs on a fortnightly basis to share best practices as they seek to support their workers and protect jobs.

About the COVID Action Platform: The COVID Action Platform gathers global businesses and industry groups, governments, NGOs and academia committed to contributing to the fight against COVID-19. It consists of a virtual network and weekly meetings where chief executive officers and other stakeholders offer their help, team up on specific projects and share best practices. The World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the COVID Action Platform in early March. To date, the Platform has more than 700 members.

Companies can register for the COVID Action Platform here
Follow World Economic Forum coverage of COVID-19 here

UNWTO Launches Call for Action for COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery

UNWTO Launches Call for Action for COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery

Madrid (Spain) – April 1, 2020 /travelindex/ The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a set of recommendations calling for urgent and strong support to help the global tourism sector not only recover from the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 but to ‘grow back better’. The Recommendations are the first output of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, established by UNWTO with high-level representatives from across the tourism sector and from within the wider United Nations system.

Recognizing that tourism and transport has been among the hardest hit of all sectors, the Recommendations are designed to support governments, the private sector and the international community in navigating the unparalleled social and economic emergency that is COVID-19.

“These specific recommendations give countries a check-list of possible measures to help our sector sustain the jobs and support the companies at risk at this very moment. Mitigating the impact on employment and liquidity, protecting the most vulnerable and preparing for recovery, must be our key priorities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Recognising the diverse realities in each country as well as the evolving nature of this crisis, the document will continue to be updated.

Preparing for recovery now

We must support the sector now while we prepare for it to come back stronger and more sustainable.

“We still do not know what the full impact of COVID-19 will be on global tourism. However, we must support the sector now while we prepare for it to come back stronger and more sustainable. Recovery plans and programmes for tourism will translate into jobs and economic growth.” added the Secretary-General.

The Recommendations for Action are the first comprehensive set of actions governments and private sector actors can take now and in the challenging months ahead. Mr Pololikashvili stressed that “for tourism to fulfil its potential to help societies and whole countries recover from this crisis, our response needs to be quick, consistent, united and ambitious”.

Responding today and preparing for tomorrow

In all, this new guide provides 23 actionable recommendations, divided into three key areas:

– Managing the Crisis and Mitigating the Impact: Key recommendations relate to retaining jobs, supporting self-employed workers, ensuring liquidity, promoting skills development and reviewing taxes, charges and regulations relating to travel and tourism. The Recommendations are made as a global economic recession looks likely. Given its labor-intensive nature, tourism will be hard hit, with millions of jobs at risk, especially those held by women and youth as well as marginalised groups.

– Providing Stimulus and Accelerating Recovery: This set of Recommendations emphasises the importance of providing financial stimulus, including favourable tax policies, lifting travel restrictions as soon as the health emergency allows for it, promoting visa facilitation, boosting marketing and consumer confidence, in order to accelerate recovery. The Recommendations also call for tourism to be placed at the centre of national recovery policies and action plans.

– Preparing for Tomorrow: Emphasising tourism’s unique ability to lead local and national growth, the Recommendations call for greater emphasis to be placed on the sector’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda and to build resilience learning from the lessons of the current crisis. The Recommendations call on governments and private sector actors to become build preparedness plans, and to use this opportunity to transition to the circular economy.

About the Global Tourism Crisis Committee
UNWTO formed the Global Tourism Crisis Committee to guide the sector as it responds to the COVID-19 crisis and to build the foundations for future resilience and sustainable growth. The Committee comprises representatives of UNWTO’s Member States and Affiliate Members, alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The private sector is represented by Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to ensure a coordinated and effective response.

To get the latest UNWTO News, in particular to read updates on the Covid-19 pandemic, click here…

Villa de Pranakorn Joins Relais et Châteaux

Villa de Pranakorn Joins Relais et Châteaux

Bangkok (Thailand) – April 1, 2020 /Travelindex/ Newly opened Villa de Pranakorn, the only luxury boutique hotel in Bangkok’s historic Sam Yot district, has just become a member of Relais & Châteaux, the leading global hotel and restaurant association. Villa de Pranakorn is the first hotel to join their collection in the country’s capital.

Known for its exclusivity, Relais & Châteaux is often compared to the hotel industry’s Michelin rating. Established in 1954, the brand has since aspired to offer the finest in local offerings from independently run properties and restaurants across the world. Relais & Châteaux members have a driving desire to protect and promote the richness and diversity of the world’s cuisine and traditions of hospitality. They are committed to preserving local heritage and the environment, as encompassed in the Charter presented to UNESCO in November 2014.

Discover the World’s Best Luxury Hotels at Top25Hotels.com

“We are committed to continually offer luxury hospitality and local anchorage in unique places and as such are extremely excited for this partnership with Villa de Pranakorn. This first hotel in Bangkok in our collection, perfectly located in the historic district of the city, definitely offers a delicious Thai immersion for our guests. In a few words, history, food and culture come together elegantly at Villa de Pranakorn,” said Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux.

Having officially opened its doors to guests in February, this intimate 47-key hotel provides the perfect base to escape the hustle and bustle of this 21st Century metropolis. Nestled in the Thai capital’s captivating old quarter, Villa de Pranakorn blends a refined urban style and luxury amenities with Thailand’s rich heritage, culture and cuisine. Set around an open-air courtyard pool, the hotel features an urban, chic, minimalist design inspired by the area’s Sino-Portuguese architecture.

“It gives us great pleasure to join the Relais & Châteaux portfolio of worldwide properties known for their unique local offerings. A few weeks after our opening, this new milestone acknowledges the charm of our architecture, our marvellous location and the talents of our staff and of our chef in particular. From Sam Yot historic district, Villa de Pranakorn is the ideal luxury accommodation to soak up all the excitement of the Thai capital and to rest in style,” said Erik Lannge, the hotel’s General Manager.

Villa de Pranakorn features a choice of accommodation for every occasion, from solo-friendly Superior Rooms to couple-focused Premium and Grand Deluxe Rooms, all the way up to the luxurious Mahachai and Pranakorn Suites. Every room is equipped with contemporary amenities and adorned with a modern yet understated design and images of old Bangkok. Comfortable beds, rain showers and complimentary Wi-Fi ensure that guests can stay well rested, refreshed and fully connected throughout their stay, and some rooms even offer standalone or circular bathtubs.

Circling back to the ground floor, the Samranraj Cuisine restaurant pays homage to the owner’s ancestors who arrived from southern China in the early 20th century. Offering a journey between past and present, it combines traditional recipes with exciting culinary experimentation. The juxtaposition continues with the light wood, rattan and wicker furniture contrasted against superb black-and-white earthenware tiles, a foretaste of the elegant decor awaiting in the rooms and suites. Complimented by a discreet and attentive staff, Villa de Pranakorn offers the perfect balance to the city’s boundless energy. Other facilities include a lobby and pool bar, courtyard pool, treatment room, gym and most notably, an Ancestral Hall unique to the space.

Villa de Pranakorn is committed to a plastic-free future. Working with local eco-friendly company, Panpuri, in-room guest amenities are made from bamboo or packed in stone paper. The hotel also works with Nordaq, a water filtration company, to produce its own still drinking water onsite. This enables every guest to refill their own glass water bottle free-of-charge during their stay, rather than using harmful plastic versions. Every room will be equipped with two complimentary water bottles – one still and one sparkling.

Discover the World’s Best Luxury Hotels at Top25Hotels.com

About Villa de Pranakorn
Villa de Pranakorn is an elegant new boutique hotel in old Bangkok’s Sam Yot district, close to the newly opened MRT subway station. Opening mid-February 2020, this stylish property features 47 rooms and suites and exceptional amenities for discerning guests, including a swimming pool. The hotel is nestled in one of the Thai capital’s most enchanting areas, surrounded by historic attractions such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Operated by Unicorn Hospitality, the forward-thinking Thai hotel management company, Villa de Pranakorn introduces a new era of upscale comfort to the heritage heart of Bangkok.

About Relais & Châteaux
Established in 1954, Relais & Châteaux is an association of more than 550 landmark hotels and restaurants operated by independent innkeepers, chefs, and owners who share a passion for their businesses and a desire for authenticity in their relationships with their clientele.

Relais & Châteaux is established around the globe, from the Napa Valley vineyards and French Provence to the beaches of the Indian Ocean. It offers an introduction to a lifestyle inspired by local culture and a unique dip into human history. Relais & Châteaux members have a driving desire to protect and promote the richness and diversity of the world’s cuisine and traditions of hospitality. They are committed to preserving local heritage and the environment, as encompassed in the Charter presented to UNESCO in November 2014.

StayHome and Stay Healthy with Pullman Luang Prabang

StayHome and Stay Healthy with Pullman Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang (Laos PDR) – March 31, 2020 /travelindex.com/ The eco-friendly five-star resort in northern Laos offers tips and techniques on how to stay fit at home, and creates a special Wellness Retreat for when life returns to normal. During the unprecedented times in which we currently live, it is more important than ever that we take care of ourselves, and each other. All around the world, people are being responsible and self-isolating. At Pullman Luang Prabang, we urge everyone to #StayHome.

But staying at home does not mean you need to stop living! There are many ways to stay fit and healthy without going out. Taking inspiration from our natural surroundings and most popular pastimes, Pullman Luang Prabang has created a series of tips and techniques for guests who want to keep their bodies and minds active.

Surrounded by jungle-clad hills, northern Laos is the ideal destination for people to come together, reunite and revive their bodies and minds. Until this can happen however, try taking part in our daily activities from the comfort of your home. And when life returns to normal, all guests are invited to take a rewarding Wellness Retreat at Pullman Luang Prabang.

Enjoy a Morning Yoga Class: One of the most popular guest activities at Pullman Luang Prabang is an invigorating morning yoga session on the resort’s rooftop, overlooking the lush landscaped gardens. If you’re confined to your home, try learning some simple yoga poses and stretching techniques in your garden, balcony or terrace – you are sure to feel more relaxed.

Create Your Own Organic Garden: Many guests like to take a stroll through Pullman Luang Prabang’s working farmstead, where local farmers use water buffalo to tend rice paddies and where Lao herbs, vegetables and tropical fruit are all grown onsite. You may not have 16 hectares of gardens, but you can still be organic – try planting your own seeds and watching them grow.

Learn the Art of Lao Cuisine: The resort’s expert chefs use our organically-grown produce and other sustainable ingredients to create delicious Lao cuisine. Why not go online and learn how to make a simple Lao dish, such as laab salad? Then, when you arrive at our resort, you can hone your skills with a cooking class and savour authentic dishes at L’Atelier, our lakeside restaurant.

Unwind with a Massage: The Pullman Spa is the perfect place to be pampered, with a wide range of soothing body treatments. We understand that not everyone is a trained massage therapist, but you could try giving your partner a simple foot massage. This is a wonderful way of connecting with your loved one while also helping you both to remain calm and relaxed.

Be Community Spirited: Most important of all in these uncertain times, we need to look out for each other. Pullman Luang Prabang supports a wide range of valuable CSR initiatives that transform the lives of local people, but even the smallest gestures can make a big difference. Just pick up the telephone and let someone know they’re not alone.

“At Pullman Luang Prabang, we understand this is a difficult time for everyone. It is vital that we all follow official advice and #StayHome. But life does not have to stop completely; this is a great opportunity to learn new skills, reconnect with loved ones and show support for your community. We will get through this situation together, and perhaps become a closer and kinder society afterwards. When live gets back to normal, Pullman Luang Prabang will be here to give guests a well-deserved vacation in the fresh, mountainous air northern Laos,” said Denis Dupart, the resort’s general manager.

Pullman Luang Prabang has created a sublime Wellness Retreat Package for when guests are ready to travel again. Starting from US$160 net per person or US$200 net per couple per night, for a minimum two-night stay, this soothing promotion includes Deluxe Room accommodation, a wellness consultation, roundtrip airport transfers, two yoga sessions, a daily 30-minute fitness session and meditation class, a 60-minute spa treatment, a wellness turndown with gluten-free sugar free cookies and herbal teas, a bathing ritual, in-room fitness equipment such as a yoga mat, skipping rope and dumbbells, a healthy three-course dinner, a “wellness minibar”, evening mocktails and more.

UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee Set of Recommendations

UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee Set of Recommendations

Madrid (Spain) – March 31, 2020 /travelindex.com/ Supporting jobs and the economy through tourism: set of recommendations on measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and accelerate recovery to be approved and announced soon.

A new meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, chaired by UWTO Secretary General Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, took place on Thursday, 26 March 2020.

The meeting, hosted in Madrid and conducted virtually for obvious reasons of public health, had as objective to debate and defines a set of recommendations on measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and accelerate recovery.

The debate carried out, with the participation of UN Agencies, Governments and private sector, allow to carry out a consistent exchange evaluations and proposals to serve as basis for the set of recommendations under elaboration.

The participants agreed on the diagnostic that tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the COVID 19 crisis, underlying at the same time that past crises showed us that tourism has the capacity to bounce back strongly and quickly after external shocks.

Therefore, the recommendations aim to support governments, the private sector and the international community in navigating the unparalleled social and economic emergency of COVID 19.

UNWTO will distribute within the coming days the set of measures and recommendations defined within this coordination mechanism – the Global Tourism Crisis Committee. We are pleased to inform that the foreseen measures will refer mainly to (a) managing the crisis and mitigating the impact, (b) providing stimulus & accelerating recovery and (c) preparing the sector for the future.

Some main pillars of the set of coming recommendations:

– Right now! Support companies’ liquidity through the creation a Tourism Emergency Fund to support most affected companies ensuring they can keep away from bankruptcy and restart operations after the emergency thus ensuring supply back in the market.

– Right now! Make sure tourism is part of the global emergency packages -Ensure national tourism administrations are included in the programmes stemming from international and regional organizations such as the World Bank, Regional Banks and the European Commission to support SMEs, infrastructure and other horizontal areas that impact on tourism.

– Right now! Review taxes and regulations and facilitate travel – facilitating new temporary exemptions or reductions of corporate taxes, air transport taxes (landing and parking fees, fuel charges), VAT on accommodation and restaurants, tourism taxes and other.

– Next steps! Place tourism firmly in the national agenda- ensure the inclusion of tourism in national priorities for its capacity to create jobs, promote economic growth and inclusion.

– Next steps! Promote new jobs and skills development -ensure measures are equally accessible to women and other groups, notably youth, people with disabilities, rural and indigenous communities, promoting a more inclusive and diversified local supply chain.

– Next steps! Domestic tourists are expected to be among the first to travel again and reinitiate demand- create plans for marketing activities and incentives that will facilitate domestic travel and encourage increased length of stay through competitive prices, special promotions or travel checks by employers especially to destinations heavily relied on tourism.

UNWTO will keep you informed and permanently updated on this important topic and will make available for you the approved content of the document soon.

To get the latest UNWTO News, in particular to read updates on the Covid-19 pandemic, click here…

Anantara Offers Guests Travel Escapism While Staying at Home

Anantara Offers Guests Travel Escapism While Staying at Home

Bangkok (Thailand) – March 31, 2020 /travelindex.com/ Anantara celebrates every day with an invitation to discover a new passion, whether it’s indigenous Spice Spoons cooking classes, Anantara Spa rituals that channel local wellness traditions, or unique travel experiences that are true memory makers. With the current situation worldwide, Anantara understands that it is a difficult time for most people to travel and so our global network of Anantara Experts will be bringing our signature indigenous experiences to you at home.

The philosophy of Anantara Hotels Resorts and Spas, the luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, is ‘Life Is a Journey.’ Until the time comes to start our travel journeys safely once again, the Anantara Nomads Blog will be continually connecting everyone with a steady stream of personable and authentic content and stories designed to inspire and provide a positive form of travel escapism during this period of global social distancing.

Using the hashtag, #AnantaraEscapism, our properties from all corners of the world will be sharing bitesize video content and healthy living tips to inspire and stimulate guests from our homes to theirs across our social media channels below. Whether it’s nourishing and immunity boosting recipes from our culinary chefs from the Maldives to Oman, wellness boosting home spa remedies, or home workouts and fitness tips from our exceptional team members, such as martial arts lessons from Vietnam’s Anantara Quy Nhon’s resident Việt Võ Đạo martial arts master, Mr Phuc. The Nomad’s blog will be regularly refreshed with fun and nourishing recipes, experiences and bucket-list ideas for future travels.

Now more than ever it’s time to look after ourselves and the world we live in and sustainable tourism has long been a key pillar of the Anantara ethos. The month of April will be devoted to Earth Month, with a series of nature stories highlighting some of the projects and the incredible team members and Anantara Experts that protect and support the communities which our properties are thankful to call home. Anantara guests play an integral role in supporting these, whether it’s planting rescued coral with the Holistic Approach to Reef Protection at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort or helping to clean beaches and release baby turtles with the Mai Khao Turtle Foundation at Anantara Layan Resort and Anantara Mai Khao Resort in Phuket, Thailand. For the next few weeks we will be sharing our stunning nature inspired experiences digitally.

To further calm nerves and put smiles on the faces of everyone at home, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort will be sharing twice daily live streams from the rescued elephants that reside in the onsite elephant camp supported by Anantara’s charitable non-profit organisation, The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). Guests will be able to virtually frolic in the Ruak River as the elephants go about their daily bathing and walk alongside the team of veterinarians fielding questions via Instagram and Facebook.

At Anantara we pride ourselves in bringing story collecting travellers closer to the colourful local traditions, intriguing heritage and breathtaking topography of some of the world’s most exotic destinations and while we are waiting patiently to welcome you back to our hotels very soon we’ll be taking mobile technology to the next level delivering consistent experiences across all devices and enabling potential customers to enjoy a streamlined browsing experience across multiple languages on any screen size using responsive technology.

About Anantara Hotels and Resorts
Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

From cosmopolitan cities to desert sands to lush islands, Anantara connects travellers to the indigenous, grounds them in authentic luxury, and hosts them with passionate expertise. The portfolio currently boasts over 35 stunning properties located in Thailand, the Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Zambia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Portugal and Spain, with a pipeline of future properties across Asia, the Indian Ocean, Middle East and Africa.

Tourism after Corona Virus – Fast or Gradual Recovery?

Tourism after Corona Virus – Fast or Gradual Recovery?

Geneva (Switzerland) – March 30, 2020 /travelindex.com/ by Bernard Metzger, Founder, Travelindex – Aggressive containment measures by governments around the world had an immediate severe economic impact but are helping to contain the virus spread, leading to lesser long-term negative economic implications. Previous disease outbreaks recovered to pre-outbreak levels in six to ten months after the peak of the outbreak but for some destinations the visitor numbers recovered only after 19 months.

For tourism to bounce back, we need to see a normalization and all restrictions to be lifted as well as a rebound in consumer confidence.

Gradual recovery – How fast?

Is the covid-19 going to disappear completely in the near future or are we going to get into a period of cyclical virus-waves? Or are we going to end up with low-level endemic disease that we have to deal with in the long term?

The answers to these questions will also determine how governments will modify the current travel limitations or uplift restrictions therefore how tourism will recover.

In an ideal scenario, on September 1st, 2020 (hypothetically) the world will be declared corona virus free and all travel restrictions will be lifted, people start traveling again, airlines resume all their routes and hotel are re-opening.

The World Economic Forum forecasts that once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover. Tourism Economics expect a full recovery by 2023, based on how the travel industry recuperated from past slumps, once the situation has stabilized.

Several factors will have a direct impact on the speed of recovery (a) official travel restrictions, (b) events reinstatement, (c) travelers risk aversion or fear factor, (d) consumers disposable personal income.

People travel for distinct reasons: business and work, leisure and holidays, events and MICE, family and friends visits but most people don’t have to travel, they choose to. Each category will recover at a different pace, in line with national and international travel restrictions and on their free own choice.

States will modulate their restrictions according to the travel intend of each individual travelers. For economic reasons the “business traveler”, defined as a person contributing essential services to the community or to an enterprise, will be granted “travel privileges” before the leisure traveler. Initially, governments will weight benefits of lifting travel restrictions against traveler’s contribution to the national economy and well-being of its people.

Governments from around the world have to recognize the key role tourism can play in response and recovery of the covid-19 crisis.

Many countries have already enacted multi-billion-dollar fiscal stimulus measures to offset the massive, coronavirus-induced hits to their respective economies, including the tourism sector. In a number of countries, the state will control tourism assets (airlines) which will have a direct bearing on their decisions on travel restrictions and on the reopening of routes, which ones and how soon.

Destination marketing organizations are facing difficult times and 80 percent of destination organizations surveyed in North America have reduced or postponed sales and marketing spending. However, destinations have every reason to launch inventive and genuinely uplifting campaigns, now. Estonia launched a campaign “visit estonia…later…stayhome” in line with the hashtag #TravelTomorrow launched by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), trending on Twitter and emphasizing that we will travel tomorrow for the right reasons, creating opportunities for all, making positive change and building a better future for people and planet.

The tourism sector is resilient but economic, financial, psychological and even privacy concerns will make travel decision more difficult. The future of global tourism will be determined by us and our behavior, our governments as much as the virus.

Time Hotels to Boost Positivity in Workplace

Time Hotels to Boost Positivity in Workplace

Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – March 30, 2020 /travelindex.com/ UAE-headquartered hospitality company, Time Hotels, has implemented a number of new initiatives to boost morale and promote positive wellbeing among all of its staff members, as well as improving guest experience across its portfolio of properties. UAE-headquartered hospitality company to introduce new initiatives to promote positive wellbeing among all employees and improve overall guest service.

The personal development of all team members will also be a key focus, with TIME Hotels dedicating a set amount of working hours to allow employees to catch up on e-learning modules and develop their existing skill sets with the implementation of personal training and development plans as well as performance plans, on-the-job and a range of employee engagement activities.

Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels, said: “Boosting staff morale is essential during these challenging times and as a result we’re working to ensure we go that extra mile to create a warm and positive working environment, while looking at how we can best utilise each individual team member’s time and improve guest service and our overall offering.”

From the beginning of April, employees will also be invited to participate in a weekly initiative called ‘Wear your Happiness’, part of the ‘I’M happy’ campaign, which involves wearing an accessory or item of clothing or dressing in a way which makes them feel happy, while still being in line with personal hygiene protocol and following the grooming standards of the hotel, in addition to a range of precautionary measures that have been implemented throughout TIME Hotels properties to ensure the safety and wellbeing of guests and employees.

“At the very core of our success is our incredible team. Their commitment, energy and drive are paramount to our success as a business, and we want to take this opportunity to promote positive wellbeing by boosting morale and giving something back. The current crisis will pass, and I want our staff to be fully motivated when the travel and social restrictions are lifted,” Awadalla added.

TIME Hotels has always advocated a more flexible and personable approach to guest service, and over the coming weeks and months, management teams and staff will also review past customer feedback which could have been overlooked due to the busy period and look at ways to improve their overall guest offering.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, TIME Hotels has implemented all of the recommended measures to reinforce the practice of good sound hygiene by increasing its level of sanitation and intensifying cleaning procedures across all of its properties.

“These new standards are now being embedded into our daily operations making it standard practice rather than just a precautionary measure,” added Awadalla.

TIME Hotels will also focus on overall maintenance and back of house deep cleaning over the coming weeks as well as re-arranging storage units, stairwells, pantries and kitchens.

“In addition to this, we will be reviewing and redesigning our Standards of Performance (SOPs) to ensure we are in a strong position to drive our business forward, as soon as we reach the recovery phase of the crisis,” Awadalla said.

UNWTO: International Tourism Arrivals Could Fall by 20-30% in 2020

UNWTO: International Tourism Arrivals Could Fall by 20-30% in 2020

Madrid (Spain) – March 27, 2020 /travelindex.com/ – The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released its updated assessment of the likely impact of the COVID-19 on international tourism. Taking into account the unparalleled introduction of travel restrictions across the world, the United Nations specialized agency for tourism expects that international tourist arrivals will be down by 20% to 30% in 2020 when compared with 2019 figures. However, UNWTO stresses that these numbers are based on the latest developments as the global community faces up to an unprecedented social and economic challenge and should be interpreted with caution in view of the extreme uncertain nature of the current crisis.

An expected fall of between 20-30% could translate into a decline in international tourism receipts (exports) of between US$300-450 billion, almost one third of the US$ 1.5 trillion generated in 2019. Taking into account past market trends, this would mean that between five and seven years’ worth of growth will be lost to COVID-19. Putting this into context, UNWTO notes that in 2009, on the back of the global economic crisis, international tourist arrivals declined by 4%, while the SARS outbreak led to a decline of just 0.4% in 2003.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Tourism is among the hardest hit of all economic sectors. However, tourism is also united in helping to address this immense health emergency – our first and utmost priority – while working together to mitigate the impact of the crisis, particularly on employment, and to support the wider recovery efforts through providing jobs and driving economic welfare worldwide.”

Mitigating damage and planning for recovery

Tourism is among the hardest hit of all economic sectors. However, tourism is also united in helping to address this immense health emergency

Mr. Pololikashvili added that, while it is too early to make a full assessment of the likely impact of COVID-19 on tourism, it is clear that millions of jobs within the sector are at risk of being lost. Around 80% of all tourism businesses are small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the sector has been leading the way in providing employment and other opportunities for women, youth and rural communities.

Alongside this new assessment, UNWTO underlines tourism’s historic resilience and capacity to create jobs after crisis situations, while also emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and of ensuring the sector is made a central part of recovery efforts.

Since the start of the current crisis, UNWTO has been working closely with the wider United Nations system, including directly alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) to guide the sector, issuing key recommendations for both high-level leaders and individual tourists. To better consolidate and strengthen the response, the Organization has established the Global Tourism Crisis Committee.

To get the latest UNWTO News, in particular to read updates on the Covid-19 pandemic, click here…