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Luxury travel news this week: Coronavirus update

Here’s a round-up of luxury travel stories that have caught the eye this week. To make sure you receive these new weekly alerts in your web browser, please click on the red bell icon in the bottom right hand corner of the page and click ‘subscribe’ (works on desktop only – for other ways to subscribe, please click here). This will also alert you to any other posts on the blog. Should you wish, you can unsubscribe at any time, by clicking on the icon again and selecting ‘unsubscribe’. Why the travel industry will be stronger and better after coronavirus The travel industry has been decimated by the coronavirus — with estimates of over $24 billion lost as 825,000 jobs have been wiped out and more than 8.2 million visitors stay away from the United States alone. But with the storm clouds come a silver lining. Without the steady stream of cruise ships (some of the worst polluters in the world), the canals of Venice have become clear for the first time in centuries; pollution around the world has dropped dramatically and cities that had been trampled by overtourism are recovering… [read more] Yes, we will travel again — here’s how and when to plan your next trip These are not normal times. These are not normal times for the people of Wuhan, Milan, Seoul, New York, or any other region hit hard by COVID-19. And these times are not normal for those seeing the pandemic on the horizon, feeling the anxiety of battling the invisible enemy that’s rattling our world physically, emotionally, economically, and culturally. With the world under lockdown, and with increasingly stringent restrictions coming into place across North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia, and beyond, many are asking how they can still plan travel — and have something hopeful to look forward to — in a time of ongoing and ever-accelerating shutdown… [read more] Billionaires are chartering superyachts for months at a time to ride out the coronavirus pandemic Billionaires are hoping to avoid the coronavirus pandemic by self-isolating on superyachts, The Telegraph’s Alan Tovey reports. Tovey spoke with Jonathan Beckett, the CEO of yacht broker Burgess. Beckett told The Telegraph that wealthy people are looking for ways to “weather the storm” and that a yacht “in a nice climate isn’t a bad place to self-isolate.” Large yachts have enough storage room to hold supplies that can last for months, Tovey notes, meaning the vessel can spend a longer amount of time at sea without docking. Of course, renting superyachts for months at a time is pricey, with some charging £100,000 ($118,944) a week plus crew costs and the largest of yachts costing over £500,000 (almost $600,000) a week… [read more] Private-jet operators fly high, before requesting bailout First, private-jet operators touted a surge in demand, sending them scrambling to keep up with the “biggest month” in their corporate histories. Then, within the same month, they were forced to turn customers away as governments around the world closed their borders, hotels shuttered, and citizens entered a surreal new reality: quarantine by mandate. Now, these symbols of high-flying wealth are joining America’s commercial airlines in asking for a $54 billion U.S. government bailout. Without hotel partnerships and open airstrips, they too are facing bankruptcy… [read more] Coronavirus rocks the luxury hotel industry The ever-expanding fallout surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has shocked the hotel industry, forcing dozens of the world’s most famous hotels to cease operations. While some closures are open-ended, others have been accompanied by a fixed reopening date, though uncertainty grows with each day as the outbreak spreads across the globe… [read more] We really enjoy hearing from our readers and would love to hear your views on any of these stories! Please click on the comments below and share your thoughts. Thank you. Have a story you’d like to share? Please contact us for details.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. There is lot of emotional and cultural damage in the wake of everything that’s happening now with such terrible public health crises. I am living abroad and feel a little trapped as lockdown procedures are only getting started here in Vietnam. Most of my plans have been uprooted and I’m a little worried about some of the societal effects back home in the U.S. with regard to racism and people losing their humanity. People have been nice here but the societal pressures around the world I hope don’t get too out of hand and people can look to themselves to be a little nice to each other to get through these tough times.

  2. Will it be a case of small is beautiful when the travel industry rebuilds? Everybody’s capital has taken a hammering, we can expect to see even some of the biggest hotel brands bankrupt. Will the first shoots of green growth come from individuals opening up small properties or putting together their own micro-tours?

    1. That’s pretty wild to think about the world’s biggest hotel brands going bankrupt. Maybe they’ll find more affordable options to expand in areas that need development and sort of start anew from there? There will also be people who aren’t spending any money who haven’t been as hard hit by this, I’m sure they will be able to contribute to the economy of travel once things get going again.

    2. Although it’s going to be hard on a lot of staff, when hotels open up again, it will be the best and experienced staff who are put back to work first. Hotel service will be pretty awesome for the first few months back. Things will be so competitive that there won’t be much room for complacency.

    3. Most industry experts would expect the majority of hotel chains to emerge intact. The problem is that some chains, looking to expand aggressively, may have taken risks with their capital gearing, having borrowed extensively to fund new hotels. I doubt if any of their business plans allowed for a period of a few months with very little sales revenue.

  3. The impact of COVID-19 is significant on the global travel. The coronavirus effect on the travel and tourism industry is unprecedented. And it’s really going to hurt thousands of people who make up the supply chain of ancillary industries. The world is doing what’s necessary to stem the spread of coronavirus but don’t cancel your trips. Instead, POSTPONE to new dates after the crisis passes.

  4. It’s interesting, and quite heartening, to see the silver linings to this awful time where pollution levels are concerned. To see some benefit to the world is certainly a positive not to be overlooked. And I do think that while the travel industry has been undeniably hit hard, that story is right with saying it’ll come back stronger for it. I think people generally will also be more appreciative for their freedoms, their ability to travel and do as they wish compared to life with the current restrictions in place. I actually quite like the idea of self isolating on a yacht, doesn’t even have to be a superyacht, providing you can leave your own tiny cabin. I feel bad for those in small flats without gardens or much ability to get out if they’re highly vulnerable.

    It’s sad to see the rise and fall of the private jets. I remember seeing on here before how well they were doing as they were in such high demand with public airlines being under restrictions and yet now they’ve faced the same problems with borders shutting. Aside from supermarkets and hand wash companies, I don’t think there will be many businesses to come away unscathed from this crisis.

  5. I’ve just read about Sweden’s carry on as normal policy. To be absolutely honest I feel far safer with the British lock-down but it’s good to have an example of another way of going about things.

    There is a very interesting piece in The Spectator putting an alternative point of view that statistically Covid 19 is not as great a threat as the media make out.

    Sweden may be an interesting test case. All countries are different and Swedish hospitals may have more spare capacity than their Italian and Spanish counterparts and most Scandinavians usually highly socially responsible too.

    1. I think in Sweden they are still going out and about, but observing a degree of social distancing. In Belarus, on the other hand, they appear to be paying it no attention whatsoever – still holding football matches, etc. Admittedly they have relatively few cases at this point in time, so I would expect that change.

      Once everything does settle down, it will be interesting to see how each approach has succeeded or failed. I think they are already citing South Korea as an example where the response has been effective in combatting the pandemic.

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