MAURITIUS MTPA OFFICE LAUNCHES #MAURITIUS NOW CAMPAIGN 0 161

The MTPA is pleased to announce the launch today, 27 October 2020, of the #MauritiusNow campaign, the inception, elaboration and implementation of which is the result of an unprecedented public-private collaborative approach. The campaign aims at restoring the image of Mauritius as a prime destination in the wake of the announcement of a phased reopening of the island’s borders.

In addition to safeguarding Mauritius’s brand positioning in our various markets, the campaign has been designed to boost the destination image and restore facts in the aftermath of the recent oil spill incident.

As ‘seeing is believing’, the campaign uses engaging visuals to remind the world that our island remains a prime tourist destination with pristine lagoons, lush vegetation and a welcoming population. A dedicated #MauritiusNow microsite is now live while its contents will also be disseminated via social media platforms, e-newsletters and blogs. The site includes live videos captured by webcams installed at key locations of the island to show the lagoons and beaches of Mauritius as they are NOW. This is complemented with spectacular drone footage shot over various parts of the island.

A series of videos portrays Mauritians in their daily activities showing that our island is a safe destination buzzing with life. The campaign also includes a series of reports on projects currently underway to rehabilitate the environment in the south eastern part of the island.

Consult the #MauritiusNow landing page at: www.mauritiusnow.com

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IT’S NOW OR NEVER INDUSTRY GLOBAL RESET BY MARC WILLIAMS Comments Off on IT’S NOW OR NEVER INDUSTRY GLOBAL RESET BY MARC WILLIAMS 479

IT’S NOW OR NEVER, I am only tired, as the song goes and so says mother Earth after years and years of succumbing to the filth that are being spilled into her bosom by the 7 billion of us.

 We are at a crossroad and an eye-opening moment that have to be reckoned with. The changes to the way we live, the way we do business and the way we conduct ourselves in this world will happen whether we like it or not. It will be subtle and forcing us to be the architect of this change – it’s another industrial revolution enabling humans to evolve into a more conscientious being for the benefit of all and mother nature. And it’s worth mentioning here the abrupt change we are witnessing in the hospitality industry. 

Being reliant on large number of human capitals, the hospitality industry has been the most affected by the global pandemic, like no other. Think about it, its an industry that needs an intensive labour force to serve its consumers, it needs the use of fossil fuel to allow its consumers to travel and at the core of the travel industry there is the need for the Oil & Gas producers to power the planes and run the establishment that serves the hospitality industry. So, it’s an industry that at the core, survives and becomes profitable on the demands and supply within the Petroleum Market – for instance, when we see a low cost of crude, the demand rises, consumption rises and tourist travels. On the other hand, as the demand for Petroleum products rises, we see a rise in production which accompanies the rise in crude price. At the same time industrial catering contracts are signed in numbers around the Middle Eastern oil producing countries to support the crude majors, like BP or Total, and their service partners.

Then sometime in March 2020 the world stopped…

As every human activity came to a standstill, the price of crude oil stumbled and crashed as the demands crumbled. Unfortunately, we have made crude oil the center of our existential activities; that businesses linked to its production, whether directly or indirectly, are struggling to keep afloat during this pandemic period. This is a true portrait of our vulnerability as humans who have become too dependent on fossil fuel – the only matter that is damaging our beloved mother Earth.

In light of the new normal as we fashionably call it these days, the only way forward for the hospitality industry, but more certainly for the industrial catering sector, is automation and robotics with a change in attitude within the concept by all stakeholders and consumers. This in turn will reduce the heavy reliance on large manpower thereby improving profitability which has hit the industry since the fall of crude price. Although change is a pill hardly accepted by people entrenched within a certain framework and mindset, and unless changes are actuated, the hospitality industry may lose the precious backing of the investors. 

How can we forge this sudden change then…? One aspect with the labour intensive hospitality industry is to use automation and robotics wherever possible but still remain within the framework of good practice. For instance, within the kitchen we have already started using automation when it comes to the processing of veggies, washing up of cutleries, pots and pans. What we need now would be the autonomous self-cleaning equipment – in the domestic market we already have self-cleaning oven – with a bit of imagination we can have self-cleaning combo oven and cooking plates inserted on a stainless free stove where every debris or liquids drops into an underlying tray from where they are sucked into garbage cannisters. The idea here is to reduce the manpower wherever possible and keep only the chef and a small brigade to assist him in the mass production. 

The other crucial change within the industrial catering facility, most appropriately, would be the implementation of self-service as a general rule of the game. This will limit human contact and adheres to the on-going rule of distancing as applied in the pandemic situation. The onus will then be on the catering team to properly and intelligently prepare the plated layout which is then collected by the consumers. This process will help on portion control amongst other things, which is important in controlling the cost. 

Obviously, the arguments for change and innovation within the hospitality industry is a hot subject at the moment and should be for quite some time. After all we do not know when the pandemic will subside nor when will a real cure be found! However, we have already engaged in a new way of living and a new way of doing business, which in the industrial catering sector it means finding innovative ways to reduce the reliance on large manpower and engaging strategic actions to reduce the cost of doing business in order to be more profitable.

Let’s hope at the end of the day, the right course of action is taken with the interest of all the stakeholders considered and enough investments are made to meet up the challenge of considerable change. 

Marc WILLIAMS

EXPEDIA REVENUE DOWN 82% AS COVID-19 HAMMERS TRAVEL 0 310

By Olivia Carville Bloomberg

Expedia Group’s whopping 82% decline in revenue in the second quarter has laid bare the devastation the coronavirus has wreaked on the travel sector. Shares dipped as much as 4.8% in post-market trading.

The Seattle-based online travel giant reported total gross bookings of $2.71 billion for the three-month period ended June 30, a decline of 90% from the same period a year earlier. Revenue fell to $566 million — the lowest it’s been in about a decade — and missed Wall Street’s already reduced expectations of $680 million for the quarter. The adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $436 million, missing average analyst estimates of a $288 million loss.

“The second quarter of 2020 represented likely the worst quarter the travel industry has seen in modern history and Expedia was of course not spared,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Kern said in a statement. He also said that after hitting a low point in April, the company saw gross bookings improve slightly in May and June as cancellations abated.

Vrbo, Expedia’s vacation rental unit, led that tentative recovery as antsy city dwellers have started exploring the mountains, lakes and national parks within driving distance of their homes. Domestic vacation rentals are the one segment of the travel industry that’s bouncing back, however Kern acknowledged it will be “a bumpy and inconsistent recovery” for the entire sector.

On a conference call with analysts Thursday, executives said Expedia has seen air travel bounce back faster in the U.S. than in Europe, and said domestic vacation rentals will likely lead the recovery. 

Expedia had been struggling in the months leading up to the pandemic, as competition ramped up from startups like Airbnb and the choke-hold on advertising from companies like Alphabet’s Google began to sting. The board ousted the former chief executive late last year and cut 3,000 jobs in February. Kern, then vice chairman, was appointed as the new CEO in April. That same month, Expedia announced it was raising $3.2 billion to withstand COVID-19 impacts. Other rivals were also scrambling to survive: TripAdvisor and Airbnb each wound up eliminating about a quarter of their workforce, while Booking Holdings was forced to apply for government aid.

Global coronavirus lockdowns varied in severity and timing, but the pandemic shut down much of the U.S. starting in mid-March, affecting only the tail end of Expedia’s first-quarter sales. The second-quarter results represent the first time Expedia has reported the full force of COVID-19 on its bottom line.