All along Brand USA has been working toward “Re-entry and Recovery.” Brand USA is making it known that it is not just waiting to get the coronavirus-driven global pandemic behind us. It is working to have programs ready-to-launch once it is safe to do so. Addressing hundreds who attended a webinar session—COVID-19 Research Update—that featured Carroll Rheem, Brand USA’s vice president, research and analytics.
As he introduced Rheem, Brand USA president and CEO Chris Thompson said, “We are building specific and measurable and actionable and relevant and time-bound marketing tools that, when the time is appropriate, when we get clearance from our health experts and our public officials, we can start looking at re-entry and recovery. When that will actually happen, when that time will come is open to conversation and discussion.”
At the webinar, which took place just after the publication of the last issue of INBOUND, Rheem focused on an analysis of COVID-19 and how key source markets for inbound tourism at dealing with it; and the statistical portrait of how the tour and travel industry is faring midst the near total shutdown of international travel
“A lot of things have changed over the past few months,” Rheem said, referring to the period from mid-March to mid-May. And though the number of virus cases is nearing 5 million, she added, “what we can see in recent weeks is the beginning sign of a downward trend. Still, with 20,000 or more new cases a day since the beginning of April … (we are) still very much in the thick of battle.”
At the time of Rheem’s presentation, Brazil had begun to experience a steep increase in new active cases of COVID-19. Rheem showed the following char, which suggested that the UK and Canada seemed to have “flattened the curve” in the rate at which new cases of the coronavirus have been increasing, while China, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany and Australia.
Current Conditions Relative to Initial Peak
Selected Key Markets
Expect a Tradeoff: Rheem walked viewers through a number of instances in which governments, health care experts and travelers will be engaging in tradeoffs between factors such convenience, effectiveness, cost and personal privacy (For instance: Will people consent to having their cellphone movements and location tracked?) and other situations. And the tradeoff “is something that everyone is going to have to grapple with.”
In the big picture for inbound traffic to USA—Europe Suffers Most: Brand USA last year embraced a different strategic course by treating Europe as a single market. As such, it comprises the Number 3 source of international visitors to the USA, behind only Canada and Mexico. And as a spending market, it is Number 1, generating $53 billion in spend vs. a $35 billion from Chinese visitors to the U.S. The next two tables give some dimension to Europe’s position.
Whether it’s uncertainty or a lack of financial resources—why people aren’t traveling internationally.
Women are less likely than men to travel internationally.
If there are children in the household, its occupants will be less likely to travel.
The next two charts suggest that seniors, as well as those who are a part of the key 45-54-year-old demographic, will be less likely to travel internationally.
Following is what it’s going to take to create an environment for international travel.
Because a number of the charts and tables used by Carroll Rheem in her presentation had so much statistical information, we were unable to use it here, as colors and their resolution were difficult to pick up and some of the data were/are too small to be easily read on a cellphone screen. Be sure to visit here (ctrl + click) for the presentation and its more than 50 charts, tables and graphs and images.