COVID-19 Weekly Recap: September 12 – 18

COVID-19 Weekly Recap: September 12 – 18

This article is intended to provide travel professionals and business leaders with an objective perspective on the evolving situation through facts, statistics, official statements and key resources from international regulatory bodies and government ministries. The outbreak is moving quickly, and some of the articles may fall rapidly out of date. We will provide updates on a weekly basis as the outbreak evolves.

Bangkok Post: Long-stay tourism in sight: First Steps Agreed to Reopen for Foreigners – 16 September, 2020 

Thailand is moving cautiously to reopen its borders with a new plan to allow foreign visitors to stay in the country for 90 days, extendable up to 270 days under a special tourist visa scheme (STV), which is projected to generate 12 billion baht a year. 

UNWTO: International Tourist Numbers Down 65% in First Half of 2020, UNWTO REPORTS – 15 September, 2020 

International tourist arrivals plunged 93% in June when compared to 2019, with the latest data from the World Tourism Organization showing the severe impact COVID-19 has had on the sector. According to the new issue of the World Tourism Barometer from the United Nations specialized agency, international tourist arrivals dropped by 65% during the first half of the year. 

CNBC: Some Airline Are Introducing “Flights to Nowhere” –  and People Are Paying to Take Them – 14 September, 2020 

Singapore Airlines is said to be considering a new route next month — what media reports are calling a “flight to nowhere.” Flights that take off and land from the same place — in this case, Singapore Changi Airport — may start as early as next month, according to a report in the local Straits Times and elsewhere. Singapore Airlines has not confirmed the flights and told CNBC that “none of these plans have been firmed up.” But if it does debut destination-free flying, it will not be the only carrier in Asia that’s doing it.

OAG: OAG Coronavirus Update – Week Thirty-Five Waving Goodbye to The Recovery – 14 September, 2020 

The increasing fear, or indeed reality of a second wave of Covid-19 in the last week appears to have had little immediate impact on weekly capacity. The headline numbers are stark; global capacity remains at 46% of that operated this week last year, 1.25 billion fewer scheduled seats operated since January than the previous year, sixty fewer airlines operating and sadly many airlines are making further redundancies as they prepare for the winter season. 

CNN: Is the great Covid-19 Airplane Seat Overhaul Happening? – 14 September, 2020 

Despite close quarters, the aircraft environment does not seem to be much higher risk than other inside spaces. Flights have continued in many parts of the world, and very few have turned out to be infection clusters themselves.It seems that the widespread requirement to wear face masks onboard aircraft, high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filtration on many aircraft and some unique aspects of the inflight environment, are likely to have contributed here.

IATA: IATA Economic’s Chart of the Week: Cargo Capacity Shortage Driving Trade Lane Differences – 11 September 

The air cargo business is one of the few bright spots today, in an airline industry under enormous pressure from COVID-19. Cargo revenues had been growing as the capacity shortage caused by the grounding of the passenger fleet (which carried half of cargo volumes in normal times) forced yields higher. Now volumes are rising significantly, with worldwide cargo tonne-kilometers flown much improved in July at -13.5% versus the same month last year. 


UNWTO: UNWTO Report: 7th Report of Travel Restrictions – 10 September, 2020

UNWTO resealed the seventh issue of a series of reports on COVID-19 Related Travel Restriction – A Global Review for Tourism. The reports aim to support the tourism sector and address the global health crisis of COVID-19 by providing an overview and analysis of the travel restrictions implemented by governments. The reports are updated on a regular basis to support the mitigation and recovery efforts of the tourism sector. 

Dragon Trail: How to Market Tourism to Chinese Overseas – 9 September, 2020 

Chinese living overseas are an often overlooked but important and influential tourism market. In the COVID-induced absence of Chinese outbound tourism, some destinations and tourism businesses are now focusing more attention on local Chinese. This is a good move both in the short-term – depending on the destination, many might be traveling again already – and in the long run. 

IATA: Slow Expansion of Air Travel in July – 1 September, 2020 

The IATA report on July Air Travel shows that air travel upturn continued in July but remains weak in  global RPKs -79.8% yoy in July vs -94.1% yoy at April low point. Air travel increase due to stronger domestic markets back to -57.5% yoy showing demand to travel by a


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