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Travel’s Covid-19 blues likely to stick around – “People are going to go out of business” | Instant News



The pandemic travel crisis that has hit tourism dependent economies may only be beginning. Travel destinations from Thailand to Iceland were hoping that the Covid-19 vaccines would allow countries to reopen their borders and lead to a much-needed recovery in 2021. Now, with the vaccine rollout delayed in some places and the emergence of new viral strains, it seems more likely that international travel could be blocked for years. After declaring that 2020 was the worst year on record for tourism, with a billion fewer international arrivals, the United Nations World Tourism Organization says the prospects for a rebound for 2021 have deteriorated. In October, 79% of experts polled by the agency believed that a rebound in 2021 was possible. Only 50% said they believed in January, and around 41% did not believe travel would reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or beyond. James Sowane, who owns a transport company for tourists in Fiji, called a staff meeting earlier this month and told employees to start looking for other jobs. He recently took advantage of a government aid package and brought home laid-off workers, optimistic vaccines could trigger a resumption of travel as early as April. But now Mr Sowane doesn’t think tourists will be back until next year, and he and his wife can’t afford to continue paying salaries at their business, Pacific Destinations Fiji. He borrows from his bank to keep a few basic employees. .



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Trivago bonus offer shows when and how the trip will return | Instant News


Text size Trivago’s CFO says the key period to watch is the third quarter of this year. Courtesy of Trivago Vaccines are being rolled out worldwide, but the travel industry remains depressed and could remain so for months to come. Variants of the coronavirus have led to new travel restrictions, and even people who have been vaccinated have shown minimal interest in fleeing. Travel research site Trivago (ticker: TRVG) released results on Tuesday after the market closed. The results came before most of the other big travel players report their income, so her findings offer a good look at what’s next. The company has not softened the situation. Demand for leisure travel weakened in the fourth quarter and the first quarter could be just as bad. Nonetheless, Trivago’s optimistic outlook for the second half of the year appears to be boosting investor morale. Shares rose 3% on Wednesday. A senior Trivago executive believes the time to understand the future of travel will be the third quarter of this year, the peak of the summer tourist season. Trivago CFO Matthias Tillmann said in an interview with Barron’s in Germany on Wednesday that the company did not expect a rebound in the current quarter, and probably not in the next quarter either. But the third quarter could see a significant return to activity. “We saw it last year in Europe when the weather is improving the numbers tend to be lower,” he said of statistics on the spread of Covid-19. Vaccines combined with good weather should make all the difference. “In Germany, the government announced last week that with the current plan everyone will be vaccinated by the end of September,” he said. “So that means that by July, a large majority should be vaccinated.” He believes international travel and business travel may remain depressed, but pleasure travel to nearby destinations should pick up. Already, Trivago is seeing a resurgence of interest in US travel searches, although that hasn’t translated into a rebound in bookings. People tend to look nearby, often for ways to get out into nature. About 40% of Trivago’s business comes from Europe, and 40% from the Americas. “Trivago’s takeover outlook bodes well for the performance of online travel agencies after the first quarter (and particularly the second half of 2021), in our opinion,” wrote Truist analyst Naved Khan, who rates the action at Hold. Khan believes other online travel agencies, including Booking Holdings (BKNG), should be able to weather this difficult time and wait for demand to return. Tillman and other Trivago executives also believe regulatory changes could upend the travel industry in the coming year. “There has been a very strong and noticeable shift in political and public sentiment towards big tech,” the company said in a letter to shareholders. Large “gatekeeper” platforms are under increased scrutiny around the world, with concerns arising in areas such as influence of public opinion, anti-competitive behavior and data protection. The biggest player in travel is Google, where a lot of people start their travel research. Google has its own travel meta-search product that directs users to different accommodations. But companies like Trivago say it takes market share away from them, essentially abusing Google’s status as a search leader to make it harder for Trivago to succeed. Asked whether Google will need to change how it works, Tillman said, “This will likely happen given the current momentum and how regulators view it.” The US is starting to consider taking action against big tech companies, and Europe is moving closer to action, with the European Commission issuing a digital markets bill and digital services law. A Google spokesperson told Barron’s it developed its travel site because “people want fast access to information to help them get things done quickly and easily” and “removing these results would create a worse experience. for consumers and send less traffic to travel agencies. “Write to Avi Salzman at [email protected]



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In Covid-Era Travel Scam, Scammers Offer Fake Test Results | Instant News



In many parts of the world, travelers are required to test negative for Covid-19 before boarding a flight, but a number of recent arrests suggest not all results will be genuine. Indonesian, French and British authorities claim to have arrested the supplier of falsified coronavirus tests. “As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the Covid-19 situation, it is highly likely that the production and sale of bogus test certificates will prevail,” said Europol, the EU police agency European this month. Allegations of Covid-19 test fraud are growing around the world. A man was arrested outside London Luton Airport in late January in connection with the sale of fake Covid-19 test certificates. In November, French authorities arrested seven people for selling false certificates to travelers at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris. Police first learned of the fraud after discovering a passenger with a fake certificate on a flight to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. After the arrests, police found more than 200 fake certificates on suspects’ phones, which allowed people to steal abroad, according to French prosecutors. Airports in Paris and Singapore, as well as airlines like United and JetBlue, are experimenting with apps that verify travelers are not Covid before boarding. The WSJ goes to an airport in Rome to see how a digital health passport works. Photo credit: AOKpass At the end of January, police in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, said they had arrested eight people allegedly involved in a scam to sell fabricated negative test results to travelers. That month, Indonesian authorities arrested 15 people in a separate program, accusing them of offering false results for around $ 70 each. Police said a former employee of the health office at the city’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport got hold of an electronic copy of a negative test certificate and, from October, the used to print about 20 forged test results per day. In the Philippines, a government research institute affiliated with the health department warned last month that people posing as its employees were selling fake Covid-19 test results. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS What solutions could be implemented to ensure the authenticity of a Covid-19 test before traveling? Join the conversation below. Taiwan banned Indonesian migrant workers in December, saying it couldn’t trust the country’s Covid-19 test results. Earlier that month, four-fifths of Indonesian workers who provided Taiwanese authorities with test results showing they were not infected with the virus then tested positive for Covid-19 after being sampled in Taiwan . “These reports are increasingly inaccurate,” Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s health minister, said in December. “We really have no idea what kinds of problems they are having.” The Indonesian government agency that deals with the affairs of migrant workers has said it will step up monitoring of migrant workers’ tests to avoid false tests. The potential for fraud is pervasive in a patchwork of international travel restrictions that were enacted during the pandemic. “The results of the paper tests are not only available in different formats and languages, but they can also be easily manipulated,” said Albert Tjoeng, spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association, which represents around 290 airlines in the world. He said check-in officers should “try to determine the authenticity of several non-standard test documents that passengers present to them.” The problem has no simple solution. Some governments have warned against action. Singapore, for example, says travelers who produce fake test certificates will face restrictions on their ability to reside in the city-state in the future, while the Chinese government has warned of “liability. legal ”. Receive a coronavirus briefing six days a week and a weekly health newsletter once the crisis subsides: sign up here. CommonPass, a project supported by the nonprofit The Commons Project Foundation, where each country will be invited to share their testing and vaccination requirements for travelers, as well as the names of facilities to which authorities are trusted to administer Covid-19 tests. Designated facilities will then enter travelers’ Covid-19 testing and vaccination information into data systems accessible by CommonPass, allowing individuals to share that data with airlines and border authorities. “It’s a way to efficiently issue a certificate – a digital certificate, like a test certificate or vaccination record – but in a tamper-proof manner,” said Paul Meyer, general manager of the Commons project. This month, a passenger presents documents at a Covid-19 test center in the arrivals area of ​​Charles de Gaulle airport. In November, French authorities arrested seven people for selling false certificates to travelers at the airport. Photo: christophe archambault / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images The CommonPass was tested on several international flights last year, and Project Commons says it is coordinating its efforts with more than 20 governments. IATA says it is also developing a mobile app, called the IATA Travel Pass, which will allow passengers to share test results with authorities in a way the association says will make traveling with bogus nearly impossible. documents. But getting all countries to accept the same digital passes is a challenge, creating obstacles in an already difficult travel regime. “Without the ability to trust Covid-19 tests – and possibly vaccine registries – across international borders, many countries will feel pressured to maintain comprehensive travel bans and mandatory quarantines for as long as the pandemic persists.” said Bradley Perkins, Project Commons chief medical officer and a former director of strategy and innovation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. —Lekai Liu and Sam Schechner contributed to this article. Write to Jon Emont at [email protected] Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8.



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Oil falters as traders assess support for lower inventories under pressure from demand concerns | Instant News


Oil futures were slightly lower on Thursday as traders weighed support for a larger-than-expected drop in US crude supplies this week against concerns about slowing demand for energy. The slowdown in travel activity in China amid a resurgence of COVID-19 has fueled expectations of weaker demand from the world’s largest energy consumer. “A cycle of support from crude fundamentals is working to eclipse broader market pressure,” said Robbie Fraser, head of global research and analysis at Schneider Electric. On the bullish side, the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday released “a much stronger than expected draw for U.S. crude inventories as export levels increased,” he said in a daily note. . “This has helped counter some concerns about increasing storage levels in recent weeks, with stocks expected to gradually reduce their surplus to long-term averages over the next year.” The EIA last week reported a 10 million barrels drop in U.S. crude inventories, which analysts said was due to a rebound in U.S. crude exports and lower imports. However, “Wider market concerns continue to weigh on crude prices, particularly regarding weak demand over the next quarter amid a high number of new cases of COVID-19 and more. ‘a vaccine rollout that is still in its early stages,’ Fraser said. West Texas Intermediate crude for March CL.1 delivery, -0.74% CLH21, -0.74% edged down 14 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 52.71 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March Brent BRNH21, -0.34%, was down 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 55.71 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. April Brent BRNJ21, -0.58%, the most active contract, lost 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 55.35 per barrel. The production problems affecting AstraZeneca AZN, + 0.27% and Pfizer PFE, + 0.58% have slowed the deployment of vaccines in Europe. Chinese authorities have taken steps to deter travel around the Lunar New Year, the Associated Press reported, noting officials predict the Chinese will make 1.7 billion trips during the travel rush, down from 40 % from 2019. Travel was reduced in 2020 due to the coronavirus. “Short-term fundamental headwinds continue to weigh heavily,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi, said in a note. “Chinese road and air mobility data is declining for the Chinese New Year holiday due to travel restrictions and a spike in coronavirus infections. At the same time, concerns about vaccine deployments leading to prolonged lockdowns in Europe complete the carousel of negativity, ”he said. Meanwhile, natural gas futures lost more ground after the US Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas declined by 128 billion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 22. On average, the data is expected to show a decline of 136 billion cubic feet for the week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. March NGH21 natural gas, -0.52%, fell 8.3 cents, or 3.1%, to $ 2.619 per million British thermal units. Also on Nymex, February RBG21 Gasoline, + 0.39%, tacked 1.2% at $ 1.5957 per gallon and February HOG21 Heating Oil, -0.37% added 0.3 % at $ 1.6142 per gallon. .



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Where to travel after Covid? 25 inspiring getaways | Instant News



LINDA LAU can’t wait to be jet-lagged, sip soju and dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Seoul with a group of strangers. In October, she hopes to attend the kickoff dinner of a ‘culinary retreat’ in South Korea that she was supposed to take in the fall of 2020 – that is, before the pandemic stops cold traveling. . The deployment of the Covid vaccines gives him and many of us the confidence to start planning his travels again. In a survey conducted in December 2020 by research firm Destination Analysts, more than 53% of U.S. respondents said the vaccine made them optimistic about the possibility of safe travel in the next six months; over 80% said they currently have “at least provisional” plans. Getting the vaccine, however, shouldn’t be seen as an immediate passport to our old, laid-back travel habits, warns Dr Lin Chen, president of the International Society of Travel Medicine and director of the Travel Medicine Center at Mount Auburn Hospital. of Cambridge, Mass. “There is some data that suggests that we may have a reduced ability to transmit or transport ‘the virus after vaccination, Dr Chen said,’ but it is not enough. ‘ More encouraging data could emerge, but, for now, even vaccinated travelers who hit the road before herd immunity was achieved – something Dr Chen hopes will happen in the fall in some areas – should continue. to take precautions. This means wearing masks, taking distances and observing other safety measures to protect unvaccinated and vulnerable people. Yet planning abounds. Troy Haas, president and CEO of Birmingham, Alabama-based Brownell Travel, views people who plan their trip as a form of personal care. “People just want to be able to find small ways to bring some joy back to life through travel and human relationships,” he said. “The journey is a glass of water in a parched life.” Here, we outline six typical goals for this year – from planning a getaway with the extended family to getting away from the capsule for a late time alone – along with some suggestions on how to achieve them. And as the international travel landscape could change dramatically in the coming months, we also offer a few domestic travel options. Even if you’re not yet ready to commit to any vacation plans, the following should help quench some of that travel thirst. Chic Family Reunions Goal Zoom calls with extended family get more and more tiring. Your first priority is to get the whole gang together in the flesh. .



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