• “Born in the USA” Need Not be a Barrier to a UAE Passport: In a move that seems to have surprised the world of international business, the United Arab Emirates has announced that Emirati nationality will now be officially attainable for foreigners—a major first for the Gulf state. As reported by the business news channel CNBC, the UAE passport will be offered to select foreigners and professionals including “investors, doctors, specialists, inventors, scientists, talents, intellectuals, artists and their families.”
The move is likely to enhance the UAE’s position as a major connecting point for international air travel. There are two major international airports in the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) as well as a number of regional airports. In its official statement on the action, the UAE government news agency WAM said,
“The United Arab Emirates has approved amendments … allowing investors, professionals, special talents and their families to acquire the Emirati nationality and passport under certain conditions.” The move is likely to further enhance the reputation of a UAE passport, which is ranked number one on the Arton Capital Passport Index. Go here for the complete CNBC news item.
• Changes at CVC: From the Brazilian travel trade publication PANROTAS, we learned last week of a major overhaul in CVC’s company structure (The headline read: “In new restructuring, CVC Corp announces layoffs and promotions.”) resulting from deep cuts in revenues due to the global pandemic. The restructuring has affected the roles of more than 20 senior-level managers, as well resulting in the departure of at least three individuals. Read here for the complete article.
• What Global Luxury Brands Need to Know About the China Market In 2021: Great article in Jing Daily by Adina-Laura Achim, who writes: “January marked the demise of four turbulent years. However, ending Trump’s dreams of a second term didn’t bring the prospect of a reconciliation between China and the US. And consumers on both sides are becoming increasingly fearful, angry, and distrustful of the other side. Chinese consumers, in particular, are shifting away from American brands.” Click here for complete article.
• The 70-Plus “Silent Generation” is Key to Recovery of Travel & Tourism: According to a report from GlobalData, a London-based data analytics and consulting company, the 70-plus demographic ought not be overlooked as businesses and companies plan for a recovery from the impact of the global pandemic. In sum, as reported by TTG Asia, the argument is this: 70-plus travelers have the time and, second, they are being vaccinated first. The same cannot be said of the highly touted Millennial Travelers (people who reached young adulthood in the early 21st century).
Said Johanna Bonhill-Smith, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, “Not only is this demographic one of the first to be vaccinated, they are also typically big spenders and less hindered by time constraints. This makes this a lucrative demographic to target in order to boost post-pandemic travel.”
Only 26 per cent of respondents from the Silent Generation (70-plus) declared they are “extremely” or “quite concerned” about their personal financial situation, as compared to 77 per cent of Millennials in GlobalData’s C0VID-19 Recovery Survey, which surveyed 5,500 respondents in December 2020.
Roughly 50 per cent of silent generation respondents “somewhat” or “strongly” disagreed they would buy products only from their favorite brands. As well, the survey found that 30 per cent will now buy more products online rather than visiting a store, and 48 per cent consider supporting small or local businesses as more important than before to this pandemic—indicating additional opportunity for brand development. Click here For the complete TTG article.
• Pandemic claims another tour operator victim in UK: Tour operator Tucan Travel has ceased doing business and shut down. The company, which specialized in trips to South America, had been in business for 33 years. Said Tucan Travel CEO Mark Gannan: “We have had to make difficult decisions to keep the business operational throughout the COVID crisis, including many staff redundancies and suspending tour operations in March last year … But with little prospect of a return to normal international leisure travel on the horizon, the challenge has sadly proven too great and, with a heavy heart, the decision was taken to place the company into administration.”
• TripAdvisor Introduces Virtual Voice Tours for Amazon Alexa: Working with tourism authorities in Abu Dhabi, TripAdvisor recently launched what it says is the first virtual destination voice tour for Amazon Alexa. Users in the UK can summon the voice tour by asking their Alexa-enabled device “to explore Abu Dhabi.” The voice tour is part of a larger campaign between Abu Dhabi and the review/distribution platform and, according to TripAdvisor, the feature will be made to other destination partners. (“TripAdvisor creates virtual destination tour via Amazon Alexa,” January 29, 2021 via Phocus Wire. Borrowed from Lexology.com website.)
• TUI’s CEO, Franz Joussen, said last week that more than half of operator’s 2.8 million bookings for summer 2021 are from the UK market, according to the boss of Europe’s largest tour operator. According to Travel Week UK, Joussen applauded the progress of the UK in treating its population with COVID-19 vaccinations. Joussen forecast “a good summer season,” adding that TUI is “very positive. We believe borders will open in the UK first, so good we have over half our bookings in the UK. People are sitting on their suitcases waiting to see what will open.” Read here for the complete TW article.
• What Global Luxury Brands Need to Know About the China Market In 2021: Great article in Jing Daily by Adina-Laura Achim, who writes: “January marked the demise of four turbulent years. However, ending Trump’s dreams of a second term didn’t bring the prospect of a reconciliation between China and the US. And consumers on both sides are becoming increasingly fearful, angry, and distrustful of the other side. Chinese consumers, in particular, are shifting away from American brands.” Click herefor complete article.
• From the Orange County Register: More than 40 U.S. theme parks set 2021 reopening dates.
“More than 40 theme parks across the United States have set 2021 reopening dates after the coronavirus pandemic forced many of the amusement wonderlands to postpone their 2020 season openings or remain closed for the entire year. Individual states in the U.S. have set their own COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines with California theme parks unlikely to return to full operation until spring or summer. Some California theme parks have partially reopened for special events without rides.” Read here for complete article.
• Comment from the Social Media Trenches—Alfredo Gonzalez, AG Hospitality Group: “There is no doubt to the damage this virus has caused the travel industry. My company lost 75 percent of its business in a matter of weeks. I know business will come back, but it won’t look anything like it did pre-COVID. Hopefully, companies will see the value of experience and relationships when they start to rehire. Hopefully companies will look past the opportunity to save money by hiring available, inexpensive and inexperienced staff. That might work in the short term, but not in our industry. The hospitality industry is about people, talking to people and understanding people… there is no APP for that.”