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.

Education City Golf Club Officially Opens in Qatar

Education City Golf Club Officially Opens in Qatar

Doha (Qatar) – March 26, 2020 /travelindex.com/ Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, attended the official opening of the Education City Golf Club as it hosted its first international tournament, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 2020 on the European Tour.

Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, also attended the opening ceremony, as golf stars from around the world played their opening rounds in the latest edition of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which has moved from its previous home at Doha Golf Club for the first time in its 23-year history.

“We look forward to welcoming people from across Qatar and beyond to experience the Education City Golf Club, which adds to the array of publicly-available, community-focused facilities at Qatar Foundation while also supporting Qatar’s national tourism goals and enhancing the nation’s global profile as a sporting destination,” said Machaille Hassan Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation.

Also participating in the tour at the official opening of the Education City Golf Club were Hassan Al Naimi, President of Qatar Golf Association; Joseph Abraham, Group CEO of Commercial Bank of Qatar; Omar Hussain Alfardan, Managing Director, Commercial Bank of Qatar; Keith Pelley, CEO of the PGA European Tour; and leading professional golfer and Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew.

“The Education City Golf Club is an inclusive facility on many levels, especially the academic level, as it offers many opportunities for those aspiring to practice golf, whether they are beginners, advanced, or professional players,” said Mr. Al Naimi.

“We decided to move the 23rd edition of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters tournament to the Education City Golf Club for the first time to enhance community involvement, and to further highlight how Qatar is a global destination for golf lovers.”

Speaking at the official opening, Keith Pelley European Tour CEO said: “It is my first time in Qatar, and my first opportunity to visit the Education City Golf Club. The course is excellent, the facilities are brilliant, and the immediate reaction from the players has been incredibly positive.

“This is a big step in the right direction for the game in Qatar. Golf is the most inclusive sport in the world, as you can play with anybody of any age, ability, and gender. Golf is very healthy and can teach you life skills. We think it is the best-kept secret here in Qatar and hopefully, it will grow over the coming years.”

Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthews also visited for the opening state “This is my first time here at this amazing golf course at Education City. It has all the high-tech equipment necessary to play golf, and it is great to see young girls and boys practicing the game here. It is also great to have this facility next to universities, schools, and research centers.”

Does Airplane Air Spread Corona Virus?

Does Airplane Air Spread Corona Virus?

Montreal (Canada) – March 26, 2020 /travelindex.com/ Traveling by plane doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of contracting a communicable disease more than another kind of mass transit, according to the World Health Organization, as ventilation systems on aircraft use filters to trap bacteria and viruses before air is recirculated.

“Ventilation rates provide a total change of air 20 to 30 times per hour. Most modern aircraft have re-circulation systems, which recycle up to 50% of cabin air. The recirculated air is usually passed through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, of the type used in hospital operating theatres and intensive care units, which trap dust particles, bacteria, fungi and viruses.”

Airplane air is usually recirculated through the kind of filters used in ICUs.

“Transmission of infection may occur between passengers who are seated in the same area of an aircraft, usually as a result of the infected individual coughing or sneezing or by touch,” WHO noted on its website. “This is no different from any other situation in which people are close to each other, such as on a train or bus or in a theater.”

Others say such filters are imperfect. “HEPA filters are commonly thought to be impenetrable, but in fact they are only 99.97% efficient at collecting the most-penetrating particle,” one 2009 study concluded. “While this is an impressive collection efficiency, HEPA filters may not provide adequate protection for all threats: viruses are sub-micron in size and have small minimum infections doses.”

Travelers should still disinfect where they are seated, wash their hands often, avoid touching their face and try to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing, regardless of where or how they travel. Travel company AAA also recommends that people traveling abroad bring all necessary documentation including health-insurance cards, hand sanitizer and additional doses of medication.

First published at www.traveltourism.news

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.

WTTC Implores G20 Leaders to Save Travel and Tourism Sector

WTTC Implores G20 Leaders to Save Travel and Tourism Sector

London (United Kingdom) – March 26, 2020 (travelindex.com) – World tourism leaders have been urged to execute crucial measures to save the travel and tourism sector, ahead of a special meeting of the G20 hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today. The call was made by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, to prevent a catastrophic collapse following the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, putting up to 75 million jobs at immediate risk.

WTTC implored the G20 leaders to assign resources and coordinate efforts to rescue major travel businesses such as airlines, cruises, hotels, GDS and technology companies, as well as the SME’s, such as travel agents, tour operators, restaurants, independent workers and the entire supply chain, in order to save the jobs of the 330 million people who rely on Travel & Tourism for their livelihoods.

WTTC welcomes the special virtual meeting, hosted by His Royal Highness King Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which takes place as WTTC releases its latest annual Economic Impact Report.

According to WTTC’s 2019 research, Saudi Arabia’s new tourism strategy has made it the fastest growing and best performer. A growth of 14% in Travel & Tourism, contributed 9.5%, including direct, indirect and induced impacts, to the Kingdom’s total economy, supporting 1.45m jobs (11.2% of the country’s total).

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “We thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its outstanding leadership and commitment by prioritising the development of Travel & Tourism with extraordinary results in a short time frame. We hope that with its leadership and recognition of the Travel & Tourism sector, which contributes to one in 10 jobs in the planet, the Kingdom under its Presidency, will work with the largest economies of the world to implement critical measures for its survival.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has put the sector in unprecedented danger of collapse, which is looking increasingly likely unless a global rescue package is agreed to bolster what has become the backbone of the global economy.

“WTTC’s Economic Impact Report for 2020 reveals that this vital sector was responsible for generating one in four of all new jobs globally in 2019 and will have a crucial part to play in powering the global recovery.

“It is therefore of paramount importance that the G20 take urgent action now to preserve the 75 million jobs at immediate risk, which would represent a crushing Travel & Tourism GDP loss to the world economy of up to US$2.1 trillion in 2020 alone.

“A determined and decisive action by the G20 could reverse this, save millions from misery, and bolster one of the main engines of future economic growth.

On behalf of millions of families and businesses, large and small around the world, we implore the G20 to take this vital step. We also recognise the efforts from all G20 countries in supporting a sector that alleviates poverty, provides opportunity, especially for women and the youth, and is an engine for growth.” The importance of the Travel & Tourism sector for aiding the world economic recovery is revealed in WTTC’s latest Economic Impact Report, which shows that throughout 2019 the sector supported one in 10 jobs (330 million), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating a quarter, one in four, of all new jobs.

The Travel & Tourism sector also outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%.

A breakdown by WTTC shows Asia Pacific to be the top performing region worldwide with a growth rate of 5.5%, followed by the Middle East at 5.3%. The US demonstrated a growth rate of 3.4% and the EU 2.4%.

However, the country showing the best performance was Saudi Arabia, growing four times than the global average.

IATA Thanks Governments for Support but More Need to Step Up

IATA Thanks Governments for Support but More Need to Step Up

Geneva (Switzerland) – March 26, 2020 (travelindex.com) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the support of those governments around the world that have provided financial relief to airlines and urged other governments to follow suit before more damage is done.

“Airlines are fighting for survival in every corner of the world. Travel restrictions and evaporating demand mean that, aside from cargo, there is almost no passenger business. For airlines, it’s apocalypse now. And there is a small and shrinking window for governments to provide a lifeline of financial support to prevent a liquidity crisis from shuttering the industry,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

According to IATA’s latest analysis, released today, annual passenger revenues will fall by $252 billion if severe travel restrictions remain in place for three months. That represents a 44% decline compared to 2019. This is well-over double IATA’s previous analysis of a $113 billion revenue hit that was made before countries around the world introduced sweeping travel restrictions.

“It did not seem possible, but in a matter of days, the crisis facing airlines worsened dramatically. We are 100% behind governments in supporting measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. But we need them to understand that without urgent relief, many airlines will not be around to lead the recovery stage. Failure to act now will make this crisis longer and more painful. Some 2.7 million airline jobs are at risk. And each of those jobs supports a further 24 in the travel and tourism value chain. Some governments are already responding to our urgent calls, but not enough to make up the $200 billion needed,” said de Juniac.

In urging more government action, de Juniac cited examples of state support:

Australia has announced an A$715 million (US$430 million) aid package comprising refunds and forward waivers on fuel taxes, and domestic air navigation and regional aviation security charges.
Brazil is allowing airlines to postpone payments of air navigation and airport fees.
China has introduced a number of measures, including reductions in landing, parking and air navigation charges as well as subsidies for airlines that continued to mount flights to the country.
Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA), with government support, is providing a total relief package valued at HK$1.6 billion (US$206 million) for the airport community including waivers on airport and air navigation fees and charges, and certain licensing fees, rent reductions for aviation services providers and other measures.
New Zealand’s government will open a NZ$900 million (US$580 million) loan facility to the national carrier as well as an additional NZ$600 million relief package for the aviation sector.
Norway’s government is providing a conditional state loan-guarantee for its aviation industry totaling NKr6 billion (US$533 million).
Qatar’s Minister of Finance has issued a statement of support for the national carrier.
Singapore has undertaken relief measures valued at S$112 million (US$82 million) including rebates on airport charges, assistance to ground handling agents, and rental rebates at Changi Airport.
Sweden and Denmark announced $300m in state loan guarantees for the national carrier.

In addition to this support, the European Central Bank, and the United States Congress are expected to enact significant measures to aid the airline industry in their respective jurisdictions as part of large packages of broader economic measures.

“This shows that states around the globe, recognize the critical role that aviation plays in the modern world. But many others have still to act to preserve the important role of this sector. Airlines are an economic and employment engine. This is demonstrated even as passenger operations shrink, as airlines continue to deliver cargo that is keeping the economy going and getting relief supplies where they are needed most. The ability for airlines to be a catalyst for economic activity will be vital in repairing the economic and social damage that COVID-19 is now causing,” said de Juniac.

IATA is calling for:

– Direct financial support to passenger and cargo carriers to compensate for reduced revenues and liquidity attributable to travel restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19;
– Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market by the Government or Central Banks. The corporate bond market is a vital source of finance, but the eligibility of corporate bonds for central bank support needs to be extended and guaranteed by governments to provide access for a wider range of companies.
– Tax relief: Rebates on payroll taxes paid to date in 2020 and/or an extension of payment terms for the rest of 2020, along with a temporary waiver of ticket taxes and other government-imposed levies.

UNWTO: Calling Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Accelerate Tourism Recovery

UNWTO: Calling Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Accelerate Tourism Recovery

Madrid (Spain) – March 26, 2020 (travelindex.com) – In the face of an unprecedented challenge, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), calls on innovators and entrepreneurs to put forward new solutions to help the tourism sector recover from COVID-19.

With millions of jobs at risk as the pandemic hits tourism harder than any other sector, the United Nations specialized tourism agency has included innovation in its wider response to the pandemic. That response has seen UNWTO work closely alongside WHO to mitigate the impact and place tourism at the centre of future recovery efforts and liaise closely with governments and the private sector to boost collaboration and international solidarity.

Tourism is the sector that has been hit the hardest by COVID-19. Our response needs to be strong and united.

The “Healing Solutions” challenge is launched in collaboration with WHO, further advancing the united response of the wider United Nations system to COVID-19. This global call for entrepreneurs and innovators asks them to submit ideas that can help the tourism sector mitigate the impact of the pandemic and kickstart recovery efforts. In particular, the challenge is aimed at finding ideas that can make a difference right away: for destinations, for businesses and for public health efforts.

Ideas that are ready to implement

Participants should be able to demonstrate how their ideas can help tourism in its response to COVID-19. Ideas must also have been piloted and be ready to scale-up, with a business plan in place and the potential to be implemented in several countries.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili explains: “Tourism is the sector that has been hit the hardest by COVID-19. Our response needs to be strong and united. We also need to embrace innovation. I call on all entrepreneurs and innovators with ideas that are developed and ready to be put into action to share them with us. In particular, we want to hear ideas that will help communities recover from this crisis, economically and socially, as well as ideas that can contribute to the public health response.”

The competition is now live and applications close on 10 April 2020. The winners of the Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge will be invited to pitch their ideas to representatives of more than 150 governments They will also enjoy access to the UNWTO Innovation Network, which includes hundreds of start-ups and leading businesses from across the tourism sector.

More information on the competition and on how to apply can be found at the
Healing Solutions for Tourism Challenge webpage…

Alain St.Ange of One Seychelles On Island President’s Covid-19 Measures

Alain St.Ange of One Seychelles On Island President’s Covid-19 Measures

Victoria, Mahé (Seychelles) – March 25, 2020 (travelindex.com) – One Seychelles reacts to statements made by President Danny Faure in his televised address to the Nation. One Seychelles, a political party representing Seychellois in the 26 electoral districts in Seychelles, is under the leadership of former Minister of Tourism Alain St.Ange.

It is important to state that our call to the Government of Seychelles for an open dialogue between the Head of State, Leaders of Political Parties and the relevant authorities and stakeholders, to discuss and agree upon immediate affirmative action moving forward as our vulnerable Nation grapples with COVID-19.

One Seychelles is again advocating for a needed strategy of containment to ensure the health and livelihood of the Seychellois is protected.

Our call has thus far gone unanswered and unacknowledged by the other politicians, with our Head of State continuing to operate in isolation and in the shadows. The fear and anxiety being felt by the public is escalating steadily, with many businesses, as well as private and Governmental bodies, taking matters into their own hands and closing their doors for two weeks.

Different countries reliant upon tourism have taken drastic measures to preserve and safeguard their citizens by closing their borders, including Mauritius and Madagascar our sister islands. Meanwhile, Seychelles continued for much longer to receive visitors daily from Europe, which had become the epicenter of the coronavirus. Seychelles must now move to curtail tourism arrivals from all coronavirus-infected areas while simultaneously working to keep businesses afloat and continue providing employment for the people of Seychelles.

While the Country is feeling the mounting pressures associated with the virus that has now reached our shores and infiltrating society, the only constructive way forward is to strive for unity. Unity is our strength, division is our weakness. Our Government has a duty to prioritize the health and security of its People. It must also protect the public from the economic impact of this global health crisis; family-operated businesses in our tourism-reliant country will need support to weather the crisis.

“One Seychelles” acknowledges and joins the President in recognizing that we are now living in unprecedented times and unchartered waters that have never before been tried and tested in Seychelles.

Desperate times do indeed call for exceptional responses. The President has attempted to do just that, however, like every new and novel approaches, the devil usually lie in the practical and implementation details. Thus there would as a consequence be multiple queries to the rationale that substantiate the chosen approach.

The President of ‘One Seychelles’ Alain St.Ange did propose that the major representatives of the people of Seychelles do meet to be part of a consensual approach for SEYCHELLES. In the end of his speech the President of the Republic rightly requests all Seychellois to get on board and recognize that each and everyone has a role to play in this fight against the spread of Coronavirus in Seychelles.

However, the President declined to bring the various potical leaders and stakeholders to seek their input and secure their respective consensus that would today have all to support all his measures unreservedly. A lot of responses to doubts would have been given and we could all together focus on implementation. This was a missed opportunity. We do acknowledge that this is a national emergency and timely intervention is critical. However we still live in a young democracy where consultation and consensus are key. In fact, as a small country with relatively small population this task does not warrant much effort or time. Government’s presence in the National Assembly to respond to queries and concerns of the representatives of the people. This has gone a long way to ensure that wide support for the measures are assured. Nevertheless the President decision to go it all alone instead of being politically inclusive remains very unfortunate.

The mis-opportunity is ‘water under the bridge’ now. We are now going to move forward with what has been pronounced. One Seychelles have the following exhausting queries for clarification:

1. The guarantee of salary by Government for Seychellois and their foreign counterparts for three months in this trying period is welcomed. This will help local businesses.

2. What is the faith of the large number of Seychellois self-employed who earns their living in the informal sector inclusive of the performing industry are many in our society. They are not employed and do not earn a monthly salary yet their informal economic activities will also be affected and some have a personal loan too. With the decline in economic activities they will be affected too. Do they go to Agency for Social Protection? If that is the case, will the SCR 30 million allocated to ASP be sufficient?

3. Seychellois cannot travel – good idea – but will Seychelles still be receiving foreigners from abroad to come to our shores? If yes from which country?

4. We are by now aware that CoronaVirus is extremely contagious. The army reserves have been called in to increase our manpower and ensure security and stability. However, in this combat we need to ensure that all our manpower are very well equipped and protected. Yet in the speech we seem to be depending on ‘friendly countries’ and WHO for equipment and protective items. In our view, this is not sufficient. Our doctors, nurses, police officers, volunteers and every worker on the frontline MUST have easy access to equipment (ventilators, relevant medicine), protective gear and the necessary rapid training and instructions on how to operate in this new environment. We would have wished that more clarity was given to reassure all that the aforementioned is indeed a priority.

5. The speech and the measures are focussed on 6 months and assumes that by September 2020 normality would settle in and life will normalize as we know it yesterday. Assuming that this is really the case, it is our view that we may have underestimated the efforts that will be required for business to bounce back and begin to perform. But we at least have some time to cross this bridge when we get to it.

6. We call on the National Assembly to urgently move on the proposed stimulus package to develop measures, in consultation with the Seychelles Tourism Board, that will ensure businesses are kept alive and Seychellois employees do not lose their jobs. This as the tourism industry is being encouraged to offer a re-booking option, if they are unwilling to offer a refund, to clients who booked their accommodation or excursion packages prior to the pandemic.

7. The Central Bank needs on its part to urgently call for a drop in Interest Rates. This will help businesses remain afloat as loans are rescheduled and payments calculated on the new rates deferred for September 2020.

8. Seychellois have been encouraged to work from home and the local telecommunication companies are encouraged to do their part and drop the applicable rates.

9. Utilities charges (Electricity & Water) provided by PUC also needs to be reduced as more Seychellois are staying at home and would be burdened with extra costs is a period of national difficulty.

10. Daycare Centers must remain open as working parents have no other facilities to care for their babies. This is a necessity.

11. Finally, we feel that the President could have reserved some more space to emphasize the importance of ‘social distancing’ and all the novel behaviors that we have to adopt to ensure we limit transmission to the bare minimum.

In ending the economic measures are welcomed and we again put on record our appreciation for the work being done in this difficult time by the Team at the Department of Health.