By now, the coronavirus has affected most of us in some sort of way, whether it be health-related, financially or socially. From a travel perspective, the effects have been devastating.
Travel companies all over the globe are rushing to put out fires, providing refunds to travellers who’ve had their adventures cancelled because of the global pandemic.
Encounters Travel is just one of many travel companies to be in the same situation. We’ve put together a live blog to share the stories of the travel community during this tough period.
If you would like to submit your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The estimations are about 990 million loss of income per month, besides the indirect effect. More than 3,5 million Egyptians work in tourism directly and indirectly
The Egyptian Minister of Tourism addressed the private sector asking not to anticipate any layoff of the employees.
We had a really good enquiry flow and bookings right up until Friday 13 March from all source markets. There's been a substantial decrease in traffic and enquiries since the weekend of 14/15 March when our president made his announcement about travel restrictions. Our car rental stream via our Drive South Africa brand has been fairly resilient. For example, employers are hiring people movers / SUVs to transport staff rather than use public transport. Our luxury safari stream served by Discover Africa has slowed more significantly. We're still getting enquiries for late 2020 and 2021 - but near term, enquiries are understandably low.
Our team is extremely busy engaging with clients who were/are travelling right now. Also working hard to assist people who wish to cancel or reschedule their travels. We have been pleasantly surprised by how understanding and patient most of the clients have been - in a time that's challenging for both travellers and travel companies alike.
We're mindful that this is a very serious occurrence and will require a concerted team effort by the industry to limit the effect to lodges, operators and agents.
We're already working on a platform that will help accelerate bookings once borders and travel open up once again. This is vital because lodges must operate at capacity again soon, to ensure (a) lodge staff can return to work to keep putting food on the table at home -- and (b) to get safari vehicles and rangers back into the parks with safari-goers so that the likes of poachers, etc don't take advantage of the situation.
We're consulting with players in the industry to get behind this platform, so that when Africa comes "back online" we're going at full steam.
Since the outbreak of Covid19, we've been watching the demand for travel plummet. In a few short weeks, the airlines have gone from preparing for the busy spring break to almost a total shutdown in Canada.
Each airline has dealt with the rapidly changing world differently. Most airlines quickly reduced the number of flights and negotiated wage decreases with the higher paid staff as a stop-gap measure. Hundreds of aircraft were parked, and thousands of flights were cancelled in Asia. As the virus spread to Europe and North America, airlines in those areas quickly had to follow suit to try to stem the financial losses.
In my experience flying for a regional airline, we didn't really notice a change in passenger loads. The first 2 months of the year are usually the slow season for us. However, every day a new media story about the virus and new government regulations advising against travel, and large gatherings made it very clear that flying was no longer recommended.
Our airline had several cabin crew express serious concern with being exposed to the virus at work. It was very clear that the few passengers left travelling weren't the only people concerned about their safety. The company scrambled to find a way to safely operate. They considered a reduced schedule but realized that the safest option was to completely suspend operations.
Unfortunately for the employees, this means a temporary layoff. Most airlines that are continuing to fly, are operating the fights at a loss. There are already airlines in the US that are major financial trouble, and likely won't survive the long term effects of the global pandemic. While the layoff for us is a harsh change, we are confident that we will have a job to go back to.
Travel is typically a luxury. Booking that trip to Mexico, flying out to see grandma, or attending that meeting in person is rarely necessary. With this long term shutdown, many businesses are learning how to operate remotely, as well as making it the norm. I feel that the business travel market will likely never fully recover. As for vacation travellers, the economy will have to be recovered for a long time before people consider spending on these "luxuries" again.
From April, the company I work for and many others are dropping routes by around 45% and 75% in May - all subject to change.
Currently, the same routes are being either cancelled or flown but I haven't seen more than say 35 people on a plane that seats 180. In fact, the other day we picked up a plane which had one person on it.
In terms of personal health, our company will protect us and not take away from our sick time if we are found to have been infected with the coronavirus.
With regards to all aviation in general, if you are sick then stay home and you are in no way forced or pressured to do otherwise. This is at least the case in the USA.
In the future now they will be offering reduced lines of around 50 hours credit, where you will just stay at home. The minimum pay per month is 72 hours.
This is something that I would be interested in as it, of course, cuts down on the labour cost for the company and with hopes that it will extend the time of furloughing down the line.
Other than that, time will tell.
We are losing our business because of coronavirus. All of our bookings are cancelled for this season (March - April is the season). Next season is October - November but people need to book their tour for October this time of year so it is more likely that we only get booking for next year if the situation will come in control in a few months.
We have zero business for this season. We did have good bookings but all need to be cancelled. If the situation stays like this for another six months, then we might have to change our occupation because it will be hard to survive.