Travel CEOs urge more COVID testing
Fourteen CEOs of travel-related companies in the U.S. sent a letter to the president and congressional leaders Monday stating that more and better COVID-19 testing is an indispensable component of pursuing an economic recovery and urging a stepped-up federal role in making effective testing more widely available. The letter stresses that a sustained recovery will depend on a comprehensive set of measures to provide relief, protection and stimulus for U.S. employers, but says that testing should be incorporated in the next legislative package – specifically the TEST Act that has been introduced in the Senate.
Shanghai billionaire Guo Guangchang’s flagship Fosun International and its tourism arm, Fosun Tourism, control Club Med and last year purchased hotel brands from Thomas Cook, one of the world’s oldest travel firms. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, Fosun Tourism, which is about 81% owned by Fosun International, now expects to lose at least ¥850 million (US$121 million) in the first six months of the year.
Spain’s hoteliers say they’ll pay for testing
Spain’s hard-hit hotels have offered to pay for foreign tourists to take coronavirus tests, in an effort to lure back visitors worried by a fresh wave of cases and put off by Britain’s sudden imposition of a two-week quarantine. Britain on Saturday shocked hoteliers and holidaymakers with an unexpected 14-day quarantine on people returning from Spain, a major hit to a tourist season already hanging on by a thread.
APG backs hotel fund’s initial US$700M raise
Dutch pension fund manager APG has backed a European value-add hotel fund managed by Madrid-based real estate manager Azora, according to sources. Azora said it has exceeded an initial €600 million (US$700 million) fundraising target for its newly launched Azora European Hotel & Lodging (Azora EH&L) fund. The initial capital raised was committed “throughout the lockdown period and demonstrate investors’ continued confidence in both the long-term performance of the tourism industry despite the impact of COVID-19,” the manager said.
While questions remain regarding the return of in-person learning in schools throughout the U.S., STR’s annual School Break Report shows only modest shifts in academic calendars for the upcoming year. The report summarizes vacation break dates in 2020-21 for a robust sample of U.S. public K-12 school districts, colleges and universities. One important finding during the calendar collection process was the shift toward remote e-Learning in many colleges and universities between Thanksgiving and Christmas, replacing the normal on-campus final exam schedule with a virtual wrap-up for the fall semester.
The Enterprise Singapore, Sentosa Development Corporation and Singapore Tourism Board have jointly launched “SingapoRediscovers,” a nine-month, SGD45 million (US$32.5 million) campaign to drive local spend on tourism and lifestyle offerings. Beginning at the end of July, the campaign focuses on partnering local communities to help locals curate Singapore staycation packages. For a start, around 40 businesses have come on board to offer some 80 promotions. The offers will be housed on the VisitSingapore app and the newly-launched SingapoRediscovers microsite.
Myanmar now has a plan to boost domestic tourism after previously closing its international borders until July 31, according to reporting from HVS. Plans include lifting all quarantine measures between states and regions, gradually opening tourism destinations in the country with safe distancing measures, establishing destination management organizations to enforce the measures, among other plans. Additionally, an ecotourism zone on 60 acres of land is being developed by the Magwe Region government. The project is expected to cost K2 billion (US$1.5 million), and upon approval, the development will commence in 2021 and take two years to complete. Another initiative to boost domestic tourism is by Myanmar National Airlines which is offering a 20% discount on local flight tickets.