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Companies Canceling Trips Because of Coronavirus

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The coronavirus outbreak has already cost American travel-related businesses $7 billion as companies are canceling attendance at conferences and meetings.

From airlines to hotels to car rentals to convention centers, analysts say the effects are starting to be felt.

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“The cancellations are starting to move toward North America,” Scott Solombrino, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association, coronavirus-cancel-travel/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>told the Washington Post. “Obviously the concern is that this will have a long-term impact on the U.S. economy.”

The Post reported that hotels around the country have begun reporting a rise in group cancellations. And some air carriers, including Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways, are coronavirus-fears.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>doing away with cancellation fees as jittery travelers rethink their plans.

In fact, the Mobile World Congress canceled its conference in Barcelona last week, a gathering that usually draws 100,000 attendees from 200 countries.

Campbell Brown, the CEO and co-founder of PredictHQ, says there is a 500 percent increase (and growing) in the cancellation or postponement of significant events.

Brown’s company, which tracks event data and trends and how health and safety concerns have historically impacted events, has seen more than 220 significant and major events canceled in February of 2020. To give context, there were just 45 significant and major events canceled or postponed in February 2019.

“And, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Brown said in a statement. “We can all expect to see more global events canceled in the coming months related to the coronavirus concerns. The coronavirus is having a record-breaking, immediate impact as compared to historical spikes of other viruses, including Ebola and MERS.”

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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