POSSIBLE FUTURES FOR A POST-PANDEMIC TRAVEL INDUSTRY, PART 3 Comments Off on POSSIBLE FUTURES FOR A POST-PANDEMIC TRAVEL INDUSTRY, PART 3 984

This series is focusing on how the industry might emerge from the disastrous set of circumstances that the travel, tourism and hospitality sector finds itself in.

The first of four scenarios – Travel swings back to normal in 2021 – was followed by a second idea: The end of mass tourism as we know it.

We continue with the next theory…

Scenario 3: Big is beautiful in the new travel order

This scenario sketches a fundamentally different outcome to the previous scenarios: the virus will prove to be more resilient than expected and the discovery and mass production of an effective vaccine will only become a reality in 2023.

Containment measures, including lockdowns and border closures, will be switched on and off during three years and overwhelmed healthcare systems all over the world will fall into a constant breaking point.

The virus brings the world economy to its knees

This asynchronous cycle of lockdowns across all regions will have devastating ripple effects on the world economy.

The desperate fiscal and monetary policy measures taken by governments and world agencies to try to absorb the shock will prove insufficient to break the downward spiral.

Supply chains across the world will not keep up with the on-and-off nature of the lockdowns, consumer confidence will fall off a cliff and monstrous jobless numbers will reach 1920s Depression-era levels.

Self-reinforcing recession dynamics will kick in, triggering widespread bankruptcies and credit defaults, and humanity will remain in a heightened state of anxiety between 2020 and 2023. 

The travel industry’s odyssey

Travel, deeply intertwined with the global economy and everything that moves this world, will be staring down the barrel of a deep recession for a long period.

With households in the middle and lower classes experiencing significant financial pain and foreign travelers being stigmatized as a sanitary threat, the industry will face a long and winding road before reaching the end of the crisis.

But, eventually, with a vaccine finally available at global scale and economies slowly getting back on their feet, the miracle will happen: human curiosity to explore the planet and connect with other cultures and people will prove to be stronger than any virus or economic downturn, and travel, like the proverbial Phoenix, rises from the ashes.

The travel industry, after an hibernation period of over two years, will look very different. The deep and dislocating shock and the path to recovery will be littered with bodies of companies that didn’t make the cut.

Companies with short cash runways, weak balance sheets or strong debt levels will struggle to stay in business with revenues down 60% to 90% over nearly 36 months. When revolving credit lines are shut down and taxpayer money from relief packages dries out, numerous travel firms will collapse or consolidate.

On the winning side, firms with deep pockets, resilient business models, superior marketing positions and strong public support, will manage to muddle through the economic meltdown and come out alive.

Who’s in, who’s out?
 
In accommodation, size will be a decisive factor in who survives the slump. Large hotel chains sitting on fat cash buffers and with a solid balance sheet will be in a good position to renegotiate their property lease terms with tenants and open and close properties across the world, based on the intensity of outbreaks in each region.

They will also have the capacity to leverage investments in their technology, integrating new systems such as sterilization robots and touchless devices. These global brands also have the firepower to implement and promote new hygiene protocols and certificates. 

Consumers, after the long crisis, will naturally gravitate towards trusted household brands, making large hotel groups the go-to option once travelers hit the road again.  

Many small- and medium-size hotel groups, after years of travel demand at minimum level, become cut-price acquisition targets for larger groups, sparking a strong consolidation process in the hospitality sector.

Numerous independent hotel properties will also decide to affiliate to larger groups, allowing them to tap into the power and reach of global brands. 

Hospitality unicorns like OYO or Sonder, enjoying hordes of venture capital cash in the pre-coronavirus era, will see the ground fall out from underneath their feet. Massive losses before entering the downturn combined with inconsistent guest standards linked to their frantic growth strategy will prove too much to survive the long downturn crush.

Turbulence in the air

Literally overnight, the virus outbreak reset the clock on an aviation boom that was the engine to the increase of global tourist figures from 818 million in 2010 to 1.3 billion in 2019.

Some governments will apply the “whatever it takes” mantra, conceding from unlimited loans up to renationalization, such as for perennially unprofitable Alitalia.
  
In stark contrast, low-cost carriers all over the world will be mostly left to their own fate, sparking a wave of consolidation.

A few of them will emerge out of the bloodbath thanks to their strong balance sheets, less crowded skies and low dependence on business travelers.

One or two mega low-cost carriers per continent will control most of the point-to-point intraregional traffic between countries, while domestic air travel will mostly be operated by publicly owned national carriers. 

Long-haul business will be concentrated into a handful global network carriers mainly from the Middle East and Asia, and the pre-crisis short-haul feeder system of international hubs based historically on airline alliances and interlining agreements will be been mostly replaced by loosely tied flight combinations connected through the NDC technology standard. 

With airline traffic experiencing a five- to six-year recovery cycle from the 2019 peak, aviation in 2025 will turn out to be a veritable smorgasbord of a few mega-carriers and a handful low-cost carriers co-living with state subsidized flag carriers that mainly operate money-losing domestic routes.

OTAs go shopping

As with the rest of the industry, travel intermediaries were busy during the crisis, reducing fixed costs and offloading struggling assets.   

Size, once again, will play a critical role. Asset-light online travel agencies with a global footprint, household names and a thick wad of cash will have the staying power to survive the long cash crunch and expand their footprint through bargain acquisition targets, such as regional brands and technology providers, to beef up their market dominance.

As Mauricio Prieto points out, they also were in pole position to capture the demand once travelers hit the road again: “Truly global intermediaries like Booking.com or Airbnb, which do not have a high dependency on any single geography, can quickly and opportunistically redirect business to the most promising geographies”

A driving force in the market will be large private equity companies, awash with cash and sharp deal-forging capabilities. Debt refinancing vehicles come with preferred stock clauses, allowing a selected group of private equity firms to jump into the boardrooms of the largest OTAs in the West. These new power brokers will spark a string of M&A deals in the industry, profoundly reshaping the travel distribution landscape.

Smaller intermediaries with limited refinancing capabilities cannot sit out nine to 12 months of a revenue drought. Many will stumble and fall.

A new kid in travel tech town

Amazon will come out of the crisis even stronger, thanks to the formidable capacity to flex its supply chain machinery to provide households with the most basic services during the lockdown.

After years of toying with the idea of entering travel, the retail giant will finally get serious with a string of acquisitions of struggling travel tech players, reshuffling the cards among the worldwide travel giants. 

Digital gatekeepers, Google and Facebook, which commanded more than half of the $330 billion online advertising business in the pre-COVID-19 world, will see travel-related revenue fall off a cliff once lockdowns spread across the world.

eMarketer’s 2020 pre-crisis prediction of $13 billion digital media spend in the travel industry is re-forecast to less than $5 annual billion between 2020 and 2022.

As a result, Google will quickly shelve its plans to keep expanding into the travel ecosystem and refocus its engineering resources to more promising verticals, such as telemedicine and e-learning.

Google and Facebook will keep playing a dominant role in the top of the travel user funnel, but the rest of the travel tech players will gain ground in the rest of digital ecosystem.

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Mauritius B2B Hospitality magazine, a quarterly publication and blog for the industry professionals. Want to reach the hospitality decision makers in Mauritius/Rodrigues? Contact us +230 57 94 64 37 or [email protected]

MAURITIUS INTRODUCES PREMIUM TRAVEL VISA FOR LONG STAYS Comments Off on MAURITIUS INTRODUCES PREMIUM TRAVEL VISA FOR LONG STAYS 1142

Mauritius, one of the most beautiful islands in the world, has introduced a Premium Travel Visa, valid for a period of one year, renewable, to welcome esteemed travellers seeking to prolong their feeling of wellness arising from the gorgeous turquoise blue sea with silky sand beaches, tropical lagoons, the lush greens, the warmth and friendliness of locals, all in a COVID-safe destination.

The experience of natural beauty and balanced lifestyle that could only be encountered on a rare holiday has now been made available under the Premium Travel Visa to any non-citizen who intends to stay in Mauritius for a maximum period of one year as a tourist, retiree or a professional willing to come with his/her family and carry out his business or work remotely from Mauritius.

To qualify for the Premium Visa, interested visitors should produce proof of their long stay plans and sufficient travel and health insurance for the initial period of stay while meeting the following criteria:

  • the applicants should not enter the Mauritius Labour Market;
  • the main place of business and source of income and profits should be outside Mauritius;
  • documentary evidence to support application such as purpose of visit, accommodation etc.; and
  • other basic immigration requirements.

An online platform for the e-Visa application will be available shortly.

We invite you to come and live with us in Mauritius.

Looking for a property to buy visit www.real-estate-mauritius.com

HOSPITALITY SENTIMENT SURVEY 2020 – DELOITTE Comments Off on HOSPITALITY SENTIMENT SURVEY 2020 – DELOITTE 1126

The COVID-19 outbreak brought the world to a standstill, and the hospitality sector is one of the hardest hit economic sectors, mainly due to the introduction of travel restrictions. In Mauritius, the hospitality sector represents a fair share of the economy and one of many forecasts made about the impacts of the pandemic is a contraction of 20 percent, which will span over the next three to five years.

The sanitary crisis has also other unquantifiable impacts on the tourism sector including the loss of livelihoods of locals, loan repayment commitment of impacted businesses, low to no occupancy rates of hotels that may lead to temporary or permanent closure, and cash flow issues.

In the face of these hardships, the Government has come forward with certain supporting measures such as the extended Wage Assistance Scheme for tourism sector, prolonged loan moratoriums and low interest rates, the waiver of the rental payment of state lands for the upcoming financial year to tide over the liquidity issues. The Mauritius Investment Corporation (MIC) has also been set up to propose investments in eligible companies through different investment tools including both equity and quasi-equity instruments. 

The Deloitte Hospitality Survey report provides the market sentiment of the leaders from the major hotels, resorts, villas, and business hotels in Mauritius on the budgetary measures, the current challenges, key focus areas, and the way forward for hospitality industry in the current and post-COVID times. Whilst the report conveys what people shared during the survey, it also provides Deloitte’s point of view based on our global and industry expertise.

DOWNLOAD SURVEY – CLICK HERE.

Source – https://www2.deloitte.com/mu/en/pages/life-sciences-and-healthcare/articles/hospitality-sentiment-survey-covid19.html