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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Pacific Asia Travel Association has launched the PATA Crisis Resource Centre and Tourism Recovery Monitor. The organisation hopes the system will become a unified platform that provides reliable and up-to-date policy statements, authoritative information and tourism indicators from around the globe. The aim is to provide a global centralised repository of reliable information for users based on their needs.

The PATA Crisis Resource Centre is a result of a pilot task force led by PATA immediate past chair, Sarah Mathews, to accumulate knowledge, generate support and help members and industry stakeholders across the globe access solutions by governments.

PATA vice chair, Soon Hwa Wong, also led a task force to establish the PATA Tourism Recovery Monitor, an integrated resource for strategic tourism planners and decision makers to keep fully abreast of the fast-changing environment.

Both initiatives are housed under one microsite.

Mathews said, “The travel and tourism industry has weathered many different types of crises; however, the current unprecedented pandemic poses a severe threat to the entire industry impacting the economic livelihood of millions of people around the world. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council up to 75 million jobs are at immediate risk globally, while travel and tourism GDP loss to the world economy is up to US$2.1 trillion. The centre will be a unified source of information for travel and tourism organisations to find solutions to the current crisis.”

The PATA Crisis Resource Centre and Tourism Recovery Monitor collates reliable data and information to assist all industry stakeholders as they deal with the current crisis.

The association is currently asking governments, and international and national organisations to seek their assistance in collecting information on aid and relief packages available to businesses in their respective destinations.

In addition, PATA will add further data and information that will be useful to organisations as they deal with the current situation.

Over the past three weeks, the COVID19 crisis has grown to almost unbelievable proportions, with over half of the world's population either confined and/or under lockdown. With so few people now travelling, more than half of Accor-branded hotels worldwide have already been closed, and this is likely to increase to over two thirds in the coming weeks. The company has over 5,000 hotels and residences across 110 countries in its portfolio.

One piece of good news is the hint of initial recovery of the Chinese hotel market, with mild improvements in occupancy and F&B activity.

In order to limit the impact on earnings and cash, and to prepare for the post-crisis recovery, the company has implemented the following measures:

- Travel ban, hiring freeze, reduced schedules and/or furloughing for 75 per cent of global head office teams for Q2, resulting in a minimum €60m reduction in G&A for 2020;

- Reviewed recurring investment plan for 2020 resulting in a €60m reduction in capital expenditures; and

 - Further streamlining all other costs (e.g. sales, marketing, IT), in line with lower system wide revenues.

Accor can today rely on a strong balance sheet, with more than €2.5bn in cash on hand and an undrawn revolving credit facility of €1.2bn.

While much uncertainty remains on the duration of this crisis, the group expects a severe impact on its 2020 performance but remains bullish on the long-term perspective of the hospitality industry, for Accor, its employees, its owners and shareholders.

In these unchartered territories, Accor’s Board of Directors has decided to complement the actions outlined above, by withdrawing its proposal for a 2019 dividend payment of c. €280m.

After consulting with the Group’s main shareholders, JinJiang International, Qatar Investment Authority, Kingdom Holding Company and Harris Associates, Accor has decided to allocate 25 per cent of the planned dividend (€70m) to the launch of the “ALL Heartist Fund”, a COVID19 special purpose vehicle. This fund will typically assist:

- the group’s 300,000 employees, pledging to pay for their COVID19-related hospital expenses, for those who do not have social security or medical insurance:

- on a case by case basis, furloughed employees suffering great financial distress;

- on a case by case basis, individual partners facing financial difficulty; and

- in addition, the group will further deploy its solidarity initiatives to support front-line healthcare professionals and non-profit organizations.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, said, “Welcoming, protecting and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do. In light of the urgency and the scale of the situation, we have decided to act in an immediate and meaningful way, in the spirit of our values and commitments. Through this impactful gesture, we wish to express our solidarity and gratitude to all those demonstrating courage and selflessness during this crisis. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank the group’s main shareholders. Without them, the “ALL Heartist Fund” would not have been possible. I also want to pay a special tribute to the Accor teams around the world. They are facing the current crisis with admirable courage, dedication and professionalism. As our industry is going through tough times, we have to make tough decisions, but Accor has a strong balance sheet which will enable it to withstand this crisis and emerge with strength during the recovery period. I am confident that Accor will soon rediscover the road to growth.”

In this unprecedented and difficult times due to COVID-19, Ritesh Agarwal, the Founder & Group CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes, has decided to forego 100 per cent of his salary for the rest of the year. The company’s entire executive leadership team has taken a voluntary pay cut starting at 25 per cent, with many opting for an additional uncapped amount, and some going up to 50 per cent to enable building the runway for the company. This would be effective April 2020 and the entire company is standing together to tide over these times.

Commenting on the development, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder   &   Group   CEO said, “The current situation the world over is deeply concerning to each and every one of us. OYO is doing everything to support the world with its limited resources in this pandemic from making isolation centres to finding a safe place for first responders. Given the current business situation, which is unprecedented for our industry globally, I am foregoing 100% of my salary for the rest of the year. I am grateful to my leadership team, that have also taken pay cuts and support the company during these tough times. We at OYO stand committed towards the fight against COVID-19 and will try to do everything in our control to reach out and help people while also ensuring long term success of the company, and our ability to continue delivering on our mission to bring better living spaces for all, at the right prices, globally. ”

In line with the Government’s direction, OYO has taken a series of measures to accommodate frontline medical staff, aircrew, corporates, tourists, PGs as well as foreign nationals stranded in the nationwide lockdown.

SriLankan Airlines has decided to temporarily suspend all its flights from 8th to 21st  April 2020 in view of the travel restrictions imposed by the destinations where it operates to.

The Airline is constantly reviewing the market conditions and the restrictions imposed by the various authorities and will be ready recommence its operations at short notice even before the 21st April 2020 in the event such restrictions are lifted, SriLankan said in a media release.

The carrier is willing to operate special flights during this period to repatriate the Sri Lankan’s who are wanting to return to the Country if required. Further, the Airlines’ cargo services will continue to operate from its worldwide network special flights as and when required.

Despite various challenges faced by the Airline throughout its four-decade tenure, this is by far the most difficult and unfortunate period that the Airline is passing, similar to all its counterparts across the globe and communities in general, SriLankan said. It has also implemented a re-booking and reissue policy for its customers.

DCT Abu Dhabi has come up with a feel-good video campaign full of striking images of the emirate, hoping to inspire people to consider their newfound downtime in a positive light. The video encourages travellers across the globe to contemplate as the coronavirus pandemic forces people to shutter businesses and spend more time indoors.

 As the planet is resting and restoring now, the video comforts travellers to think of better times ahead and use this pausing period as an opportunity for reflection and a chance to remember the wisdom of the forefathers and all they have done and sacrificed.

 The wheels of life will turn again and Abu Dhabi's gates will open once more, welcoming the world.

 

Leading digital payments and financial services platform Paytm today announced that it has launched a special hotel listings page on its app to support temporary accommodation needs of the medical frontline forces fighting COVID-19. The company has rolled out this initiative in partnership with more than 300 hotels including acclaimed chains and star-rated properties that are pitching in to support healthcare heroes in 60 plus cities.

This initiative will enable medical practitioners to search and book a room in hotels nearest to the hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities they are working in. The list would be available on the app under the '#WESALUTEYOUALL' tag. Few of the most prominent chains in the country including OYO, Treebo, Ginger Hotels are participating in their initiative. The company is in talks with more hotels that would be added to the list in the days to come.

Abhinav Kumar, Vice President - Paytm said, "The healthcare professionals fighting on the frontlines of this battle against COVID-19 need all the support they can get during these extraordinary times. We will always be in debt for the exceptional service they are doing for mankind. Ensuring that these healthcare workers are provided with comfortable temporary accommodation is the least what we can do for them. We will keep on adding cities as well as properties who share our belief and help these heroes in every way possible.”

Healthcare professionals can go select and book a hotel on the Paytm app and check-in using a valid ID card to avail of a special rate. The rooms in these hotels are specially designated for medical staff.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has released a very crisp, relevant and powerful #visitmaldiveslater campaign that encourages everyone to stay home and Visit Maldives later.

MMPRC requests everyone to follow their country’s medical guidelines and rules during the pandemic so that we can defeat COVID-19; and #visitmaldiveslater.

The European Union has agreed to suspend the airport slot use rules for the whole of the summer season. Around 43 per cent of all passengers depart from over 200 slot coordinated airports worldwide.

Previously, the rules for slot allocation meant that airlines had to operate at least 80 per cent of their allocated slots under normal circumstances. Failure to comply with that meant the airline loses its right to the slot in the next equivalent season.

The European Commission had previously only suspended the 80-20 “use it or lose it” rule for airport slots until June 2020. This has now been expanded to cover the whole of the summer season which lasts until the end of October.

Rafael Schvartzman, Regional Vice President, Europe, IATA said, “The suspension of the 80-20 rule will enable airlines to plan their schedules with maximum flexibility during this time of great uncertainty. And it gives airlines and airports the certainty that the routes and network they have invested in will be valid next summer, protecting vital connectivity and preparing the way for recovery. We know that many regulators around the world have also suspended the slot use rule for this period. We hope that this decision from the EU will encourage any remaining regulators who have not yet done so to align with this important move. It’s critical all airlines and airports are able to benefit from the alleviation equally.”

The government of Dubai has offered its backing to Emirates, and will “inject equity into the company” in order to protect it from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, said the airline was vital to the strategic interests of the United Arab Emirates economy. “Dubai is fully committed to supporting Emirates airlines in the current critical period,” he added.

Further details on any financial package will be announced at a later stage.

The Dubai flag-carrier grounded the vast majority of its flights last month in response the global lockdown initiated to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Emirates is one of the largest airlines in the world, operating the largest biggest fleets of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 planes. It has been consistently profitable since its launch in 1985.

NYC & Company has begun highlighting ways to experience the iconic cultural scene of the city virtually, for those who may be seeking an escape in light of the current global Covid-19 situation.

Fred Dixon, Chief Executive, NYC & Company said, “During this unprecedented time, New York City’s world-class tourism community is offering a wide-ranging virtual taste of the destination’s renowned cultural experiences. We encourage New Yorkers and would-be travellers alike to show support and embrace escapism through the currently available, online offerings of the city’s attractions, museums, performing arts venues and beyond.”

From educational programmes to critically-acclaimed independent films; soaring orchestral arrangements to inspired choreography; innovative theatre to engaging visual arts; and digitised museum exhibitions to virtual neighbourhood tours, there is something for everyone interested in experiencing NYC from the comfort of their home.

Anne del Castillo, Commissioner of the Mayoral Office of Media and Entertainment said, “New York City is home to the world’s most talented, committed, and diverse arts and entertainment community who continue to find ways to inspire us even in the most difficult times. We’re proud to connect everyone to the best the creative capital has to offer and bring all of us together, even when we’re apart.”

NYC & Company is the official destination marketing organisation for the five boroughs of New York City, and launched the latest initiative in partnership with the department of cultural affairs and mayoral office for media and entertainment.

 

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