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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Since the start of the pandemic, hoteliers have had to rethink many aspects of their business to accommodate new safety procedures, cater to changing guest needs and survive in an extremely complex operating environment.

New research from Amadeus reveals how the hospitality industry worldwide has adapted, as well as the trends hoteliers think are likely to stay as the industry rebuilds.

Amadeus’ Demand360® business intelligence data shows that hotel occupancy levels are now on an upward trajectory. Worldwide occupancy reached 46% in April 2021, up from the low point of just 13% in April last year. This means that global hospitality occupancy has climbed two-thirds of the way back to pre-pandemic norms of around 70% for this time of year.

Australia and New Zealand, in particular, recorded a steady increase in occupancy levels from 30% to 60% in February – April 2021, surpassing global occupancy rates. The results are aligned with the recent quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand which sparks international travel for holidays and family reunions between the two countries. 

On a global level, the data shows the booking lead time is lengthening, indicating growing consumer confidence to plan ahead. For much of the past year, nearly all reservations across the world were made within 0-7 days of travel. In recent weeks, bookings made on the same day of travel, which are the most problematic for the industry to accommodate, have shrunk globally from 39% the first week of 2021 to 23% the week of April 25, 2021, and 31-60 days bookings increased from 6% the first week of 2021 to 11% the week of April 25, 2021.

The Rebuilding Hospitality report incorporates a survey of 688 global hoteliers delivering new insights into current sentiment and plans:

  Significant growth optimism: There is a sense of optimism as 30% of hoteliers anticipate opening one or multiple sites in 2021.

  Leisure travelers are driving recovery: The majority (63%) of hoteliers worldwide think that leisure travel will drive their recovery with domestic leisure by far the highest contributor (45%). In line with this, Amadeus data shows that US, China, and the rest of Asia are starting to see an increase in OTA booking volume, shifting the focus away from a dependence on direct bookings during the pandemic.

• Recruiting will be a high priority: Over half (59%) of global hoteliers anticipate that they will need to hire new staff in 2021. 

• Opinion on vaccine passports divided amongst hoteliers: Over half of Asian hoteliers say they are considering asking for vaccine passports before permitting guests to stay whereas just under half of hoteliers in the Americas say they will definitely not be adopting this approach. In EMEA, nearly half of hoteliers are uncertain on their strategy in this area.

When considering the aspects of the pandemic pivots that will be here for the longer term, the report reveals:

  Enhanced hygiene measures are here to stay: A third (32%) of hoteliers think that they will always need significant social distancing, sanitization and visible hygiene measures.

  Long-term reduction in guest contact and stayover cleans: 20% of global hoteliers indicate they will keep interaction between staff and guests to a minimum for the long term, and 21% plan to reduce daily housekeeping for guests.

  Personalization could help cross the contactless hospitality divide: Over a quarter of respondents (30%) said that contactless tech to support personalized guest experiences was one of the developments in hospitality they were most excited about as we emerge from the pandemic. Around one in four hoteliers (24%) went on to say they would be turning to technology to support personalized experiences making sure the ‘human touch’ of hospitality is not lost.

  Work ‘staycations’ and long stay rental investments: Creative business pivots like offering work ‘staycations’ and investment in facilities that help travelers elongate stays have helped hoteliers test out new strategies to access new guest segments. Hoteliers report that these will stay as part of the portfolio for the long-term.

Maria Taylor, Head of Commercial, Asia-Pacific, Hospitality, Amadeus, “From our survey, nearly half of hoteliers (48%) across Asia-Pacific said they expect pre-pandemic levels of occupancy to return in 2022. And those expectations are supported by our data, as Australia and New Zealand’s occupancy growth in the first months of this year reflect that strong appetite for travel. Meanwhile, technology continues to play a central role to help hoteliers adapt to changing traveler needs, as 1 in 3 hoteliers surveyed in Asia Pacific (33%) are turning to contactless technology to enhance guest experiences. At Amadeus, we will continue to support our partners as we continue to rebuild the travel industry together.”

The Rebuilding Hospitality report highlights the opportunities for hoteliers to rebuild and thrive in 2021 by combining survey data of 688 hoteliers worldwide with the latest insight from Amadeus’ Demand360® business intelligence solution. The survey was managed by Amadeus and conducted anonymously with global hoteliers in March and April 2021. The report seeks to surface hospitality trends that have defined the industry during the pandemic and the best practice examples and advice on how hoteliers can plan for recovery.

Indian Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC) Prahlad Singh Patel virtually met with the Mongolian Minister of Culture Chinbat Nomin was held today in virtual mode, to discuss various issues under cultural exchange program between the two countries, and other areas of common interest.

It was reaffirmed that our strategic partnership, which was established during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mongolia in May 2015, would continue to be sustained and strengthened.

Patel said that the Cultural Exchange Program (CEP) between India and Mongolia stands renewed until 2023, and that cooperation under specific areas would be discussed in detailed meetings between senior officers of the Culture Ministries of India and Mongolia.

It was also emphasized that India’s historical connect and convergence in Buddhism with Mongolia forms the basis of our deep, spiritual friendship.

Patel thanked Nomin for the special prayers conducted by some of the leading monasteries in Ulaanbaatar for India during the pandemic. Ms. Nomin took the opportunity to express solidarity of Mongolia with India and Indian people in their fight against Covid pandemic.

Patel stated that to further consolidate our shared legacy, 10 dedicated ICCR scholarships for studying ‘Tibetan Buddhism’ have been allocated for Mongolians to study in specialized institutes of CIBS, Leh and CUTS, Varanasi, starting from 2020-2021.

Patel reiterated India's commitment for digitization of Buddhist manuscripts in Gandan monastery and said India would consider Mongolia’s request for assistance in setting up a museum-cum-library there.

He further stated that Ministry of Culture is likely to complete reprinting of about 100 sets of sacred Mongolian Kanjur (108 volumes each) by next year for distribution in the main centers of Buddhism in Mongolia.

Both sides expressed deep satisfaction at the strong cultural bonds and spiritual connection that has been developed between the two countries and reaffirmed their commitment to take forward the mutual cooperation as soon as the situation of COVID eases in the two countries.

Everyday country's airports are transporting medical essential and equipment across the country to strengthen nation’s fight against COVID19. AAI`s Bhubaneswar Airport and its stakeholders have also been playing an active role by facilitating seamless transportation of medical equipment and materials 24x7.

A total 669 boxes (20.53 MT) of Covid Vaccine have been transported through various airlines till 09th May 2021 through the Bhubaneswar Airport. To overcome the oxygen crisis for the country, a total of 156 empty oxygen tankers, 526 oxygen concentrators, 140 oxygen cylinders were transported by 75 Indian Airforce aircraft like C17, C130J, AN 32 from 23rd April 2021 to 11th May 2021. 41 pieces of oxygen concentrator were transported through various airlines also. Transportation of 3500 pieces of 10 Litre Seamless Cylinder and 1520 pieces of 46.7 L seamless cylinders are in pipeline and the consignment is expected within a week from foreign countries.

Apart from this, Bhubaneswar Airport is also following all the COVID19 related guidelines and protocols as per the instructions of Central and State Governments to ensure a safe journey for passengers. The airport staff makes continuous requests to all the passengers, stakeholders, visitors, employees etc. to always follow COVID appropriate behaviour and maintain staggered timing to minimise crowding. To create awareness regarding COVID appropriate behaviour, ensuring safety of passengers, the airport is also displaying instructions through several electronic and permanent displays at the terminal.

All Airports are trying and joining every battle they can. Bhubaneswar Airport has also organised Covid vaccination camp for employees of AAI and other stakeholders in collaboration and with support from Government of Odisha, taking all safety measures into consideration.

GoAir has rebranded to become Go First. Go First is determined to be part of the socio-economic momentum to chart its next phase of growth. Go First also dons a rebranded identity. The new identity is complete with contemporary graphics and a bolder, brighter blue. With this change, Go First is poised for its next phase of growth as an ultra-low-cost carrier. The airline is in the process of transitioning all its operations under this new brand.

Commenting on this brand restage, Vice Chairman, Ben Baldanza said, “I am excited by the revamp of GoAir to Go First. India is a fast-developing airline market. Consumers in India is hugely value-conscious but is quite demanding when it comes to the flying experience. The combinations of attractive airfares, a squeaky-clean flying experience, well-sanitized flights, and on-time performance is what Go First is designed to deliver. And that is exactly at the core of our brand and service. At Go First, our Consumers Come First.”

Community networks have emerged as a lifeline during the pandemic as people stepped up to extend support, volunteer or offer services to communities they live in. To help meet essential travel and medical assistance needs during the pandemic, MakeMyTrip foundation has launched CoviRide, an open, peer-to-peer community platform designed to help individuals, organizations and larger community to seek and provide transport related assistance during this difficult time.

Available on mobile web and desktop <https://coviride.com/>, the community platform aims to solve for one of the biggest challenges of finding transport options (intercity or intracity) including ambulance services for COVID-19 infected patients. Additionally, it helps user locate a ride to a vaccination centre, drive through oxygen centres, to and from the hospital and for medical equipment transfer such as oxygen cylinder, concentrator, medicines, among others.  

Updated real-time, the platform enables private vendors and organizations to reach out to users directly as soon as a transport related query matches their service. Further the ‘Offer a ride’ feature allows individuals to volunteer and offer a ride to anyone in need for any transport assistance. Currently, the platform lists transport leads and sources in New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Agra and will be expanding reach to other cities shortly.

To help address medical equipment needs, MakeMyTrip foundation is procuring 300 Oxygen Concentrators and the initial set of Oxygen Concentrators have already been shared with Gurgaon Administration, Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital, Delhi; NGOs like Hemkunt Foundation and National Association for the Blind (NAB). To better support communities directly, the foundation is also collaborating with RWAs across Delhi-NCR to assist in setting-up Covid-Care facilities at large residential areas by providing oxygen concentrators.

In parallel, MakeMyTrip Foundation is extending support to Gurugram administration through manpower deployment for contract tracing and data management services.

IndiGo has announced a host of initiatives to support its employees and their families in these trying times. From getting together a dedicated Covid Care Centre, to vaccination, IndiGo has put together holistic initiatives to help its people and families every step of the way. Details of those initiatives are appended below.

A dedicated Covid Care Centre, in collaboration with Columbia Asia Hospital, in Gurgaon. This 13-bedded Covid Care Centre is being set-up to help those COVID-19 positive employees who may need access to an oxygen bed with related medical facilities. This is available for use both by IndiGo employees and their immediate family members.

IndiGo has already commenced vaccination drives across 40 stations in its network and IndiGo Support Centre at Gurgaon. There are drives planned for some additional stations later this month. This is however also dependent on vaccine supplies and how quickly these will be made available by the Government and private hospitals.

IndiGo has launched a Plasma Donor Bank initiative last week, with assistance from employees  who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past three months.  Approximately 110 employees came forward to volunteer for donating plasma.

IndiGo has come up with “The Wellness Corner” mobile application and 24*7 helpline for doctor consultation, in partnership with Truworth Health Technologies. This App can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Some of the key features of the Wellness Corner app and 24*7 helpline are: The 24*7 helpline is a dedicated, round the clock, support helpline to assist IndiGo employees and their immediate family members with Covid-19 and other basic medical queries and the Wellness Corner” mobile application offers unlimited complimentary General Physician consultation for all  employees and up to five immediate family members. Through this App, the employees and their families can connect with a certified doctor over a phone call, on a one-to-one chat or a video call, schedule health check-ups, book an RTPCR test or order medicines at your doorstep

In the last two weeks, IndiGo set up a central taskforce to establish, monitor and review response strategies and create programs to support its people. This taskforce is further supported by a regional taskforce network.

To support its employees and their family members, IndiGo has  partnered with hotels, which will serve as a safe and hygienic place for any of their employees who are Covid+ with mild symptoms or are asymptomatic or are staying away from their hometown and want to safely distance from their housemates/family members.

Raj Raghavan, Senior VP & Head of Human Resources, IndiGo said, “Our people are at the heart of all that we do.  The safety and well-being of our people and their families is not only paramount, but it is a sense of duty for all of us at IndiGo to be there for them- physically, financially, and emotionally. Needless to say, our people have stood with us like a rock, and that’s what inspires us to do more. We do hope that all these measures help them and their families in these challenging times. It is really a moment to express our gratitude to all our people who have demonstrated exemplary resilience, grit and empathy in this current scenario.”

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today opened for sale the first of six ships within its highly anticipated next class of vessels, Prima Class, the Brand’s first new class of ships in nearly 10 years.

With voyages beginning in summer 2022, Norwegian Prima, the first of the six ships, will be 965 feet long, 142,500 gross tons and able to accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy. The vessel will be a game-changer for NCL, offering guests exciting itineraries, more wide-open spaces, thoughtful and stunning design, a variety of new experiences as well as NCL’s exceptional service.

“Despite not having sailed in more than a year, we never stopped working and innovating, we never once pressed pause,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of NCL. “In fact, we doubled down on our brand investment in order to deliver unforgettable guest experiences that go well beyond expectations. Not only will we begin cruising this July, we’re so proud and so incredibly happy to announce the start of an exciting new chapter as we introduce the Prima Class and the first ship in a line of unrivaled vessels with Norwegian Prima.”

Sommer continued, “An exemplary representation of our brand evolution, bringing together our ‘Guest First’ philosophy and our spirit of innovation, Norwegian Prima personifies everything our guests love about NCL and raises the bar. This brand-new class of ships is truly designed to put our guests first.”

The show-stopping vessel built in Marghera, Italy by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri features striking hull artwork designed by Italian graffiti artist Manuel Di Rita, known commonly as “Peeta.” For the first time on any NCL vessel, the captivating hull art extends to the forward superstructure of the ship. World-class architects that helped design Norwegian Prima include Italian designer Piero Lissoni and powerhouse architectural firms Rockwell Group, SMC Design, Tillberg Design of Sweden, YSA DESIGN and Miami-based Studio Dado who conceptualized and composed the aesthetic of various restaurants, staterooms and public areas on board.

“The name ‘Prima,’ which means “first” in Italian, is a natural fit that ties into our legacy of firsts in the industry and a fitting tribute to our new Italian shipbuilding partners at Fincantieri,” added Sommer.

“We are very honored to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) for the development of its next class of ships,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “Norwegian Prima marks the beginning of our collaboration, which will see the delivery of six next-generation vessels that are designed to take guest experiences to a new level focusing on elevated, spacious and thoughtful design. As we emerge from this global crisis, this announcement marks a strong sign of hope for the cruise sector and is a testament to Fincantieri’s global leadership role in the industry.”

The Central government has approved transfer of 1500 square metres of land belonging to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at Mussoorie to the state government for infrastructure project, namely, 'Aerial Passenger Ropeway System' between Dehradun and Mussoorie.

The proposed Ropeway is a mono-cable ropeway which will work under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The height of the Lower Terminal will be 958.20 meter and height of the Upper Terminal Station will be 1996 meter. The project is being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs.285 crore with a carrying capacity of 1000 persons per hour per direction.

Tourism Minister Uttarakhand Satpal Maharaaz said, "This project will be a huge attraction for tourists which in turn will provide a boost to the tourism industry in the state and create additional employment opportunities in tourism sector.

Nearely 350 people will directly get employment from this project and 1500 people will be indirectly employed."

Secretary Tourism Dilip Jawalkar said, "The Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project is envisaged to be a model of infrastructure excellence for tourism in the state. It will be one of the fifth longest mono-cable detachable passenger ropeways in the world. This will also reduce travel time from Dehradun to Mussorie." 

Further adding in this he said that the project will run by public-private (PPP) partnership mode which will also become a major source of revenue for the state government in near future. This ropeway will be suitable for all seasons. This will also attract domestic and foreign tourists which will boost the economy and contribute to the GDP of the state.

Hotels and boarding houses may reopen as of May 24, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek told journalists after a cabinet meeting, adding that he will submit a proposal to the government next week so that they can reopen without capacity limits. The government has been relaxing the economic restrictions based on six packages and on the number of new Covid-19 infections per 100,000 in the past seven days, which was 102 on Sunday.

Under the package number four, which was on the agenda today, facilities and services including hotels and boarding houses might resume operations as of next Monday. A 25 percent capacity limit has been set for hotels and boarding houses. The condition was criticised by entrepreneurs, which is why the government decided to postpone their reopening by a week, Havlicek said.

Vaclav Starek, President, Association of Hotels and Restaurants, told CTK previously that hotels need more time to prepare for reopening, which also applies to making reservations. When it comes to holiday reservations, Czechs are cautious because of uncertainty in the tourism industry, Jan Herget, head of the state-run agency CzechTourism, told CTK.

Czechia's accommodation occupancy rate is 40 per cent at the end of July, said the agency. Popular holiday sites for Czechs are cottages, apartments and camping sites, and among regions, it is South Bohemia, South Moravia and Liberec, while their interest in visiting Prague is insignificant. Accommodation establishments were closed between Oct 22 and Dec 2 and from Dec 18 because of a coronavirus resurgence in Czechia. Now they can provide services only to people on business trips and those visiting a doctor.

The government modified its previous resolution and gave the green light to services like tattoo and piercing shops, Havlicek said.

Referring to the document, Seznam Zpravy website said at the weekend that these facilities cannot reopen as of May 10 but Havlicek said on Saturday the government would correct the mistake (on Monday), with tattoo and piercing shops to be able to provide services as of Tuesday. "Up until that time, only on the basis of consultations," Havlicek told Seznam Zpravy.

Outside seating areas of restaurants may reopen as of May 17, with four people at a table at most unless they are family members, and 1.5 meter distance between tables, Havlicek tweeted. Guests must present a test or a Covid vaccine certificate or must prove they have had Covid-19 and recovered, Havlicek said.

Guests can also have their own testing kits and perform a test on the spot themselves, Havlicek told journalists. The original plan of the government was to allow reopening of the outside seating areas of restaurants once the number of Covid infections falls to below 75 per 100,000 population in seven days. It is 101 confirmed cases today.

The government will allow indoor sports grounds to resume operations as of May 17 under a special regime, which involves one person per 15 square meters, two people in a group at most and a maximum of ten people altogether, Jana Havrdova, Head of the Czech Chamber of Fitness, told CTK today referring to an extraordinary measure of the Health Ministry.

Negative tests, vaccination certificates or a certificate that a person has had Covid-19 and recovered during the past 90 days are a must.

Swimming pools, wellness centers and saunas will stay closed.

Gloria Guevara had stepped down as chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council. A former tourism secretary of Mexico, she had led the private sector body since 2017. Guevara will be replaced by Julia Simpson, who currently sits on the executive committee of International Airlines Group (IAG).

Simpson, who will take up the role in August, brings extensive experience of the tourism sector, having served on the boards of British Airways, Iberia and most recently as chief of staff at IAG.

She also previously worked at senior levels in the UK government including advisor for the UK prime minister. Carnival Corporation chief executive, Arnold Donald, who was recently appointed as chairman of WTTC, paid tribute to Guevara and welcomed Simpson to her new role.

Donald said, “I would like to first thank Gloria for her dedication and commitment to WTTC, especially in these difficult times. Her contributions have been immeasurable, from helping to unite the sector as it manages and recovers from the pandemic, to providing a clear voice and direction for the safe restart of international travel.”

He added, “I am delighted to welcome Julia Simpson, an exceptional leader with experience both in the private sector and in government, to help guide WTTC at this critical juncture of the tourism sector.”

Guevara, who recently presided over a successful Global Summit in Cancun, said she was leaving with a heavy heart.

She said, “I am very proud to have led this diverse and talented team and to have worked with so many amazing industry leaders, who are our members, and built strong relationships with government heads of tourism around the world. I leave WTTC after completing my mandate, in a stronger position as the voice of the private sector and the leader of the global agenda.”

 

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