Travel Markets Insider Newsletter Vol. 21 No. 9

The Travel Markets Insider newsletter is attached to this post as a PDF file. To open the PDF file, please click on this link.


Obviously, the COVID-19 coronavirus is the most disruptive development to hit the world in decades, with an impact now far beyond only travel and its related services.
Here is a link to an assessment from the International Monetary Fund about the potential impact of the coronavirus, and how the IMF plans to help, which reads in part: “The IMF is making available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low-income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support. Of this, $10 billion is available at zero interest for the poorest members through the Rapid Credit Facility.”

But with the cancellation of the Summit of the Americas in Orlando (page 1) and the TFWA Asia Pacific Show in Singapore (announced yesterday), travel retail is certainly suffering for the foreseeable future.

Today’s issue of TMI looks at a range of developments, with a focus on North America and the Caribbean.


ForwardKeys reports on the slump in outbound flight bookings due to COVID-19, (reported prior to the rapid spread of the virus now taking place in Europe and the United States.) Page 1.
Even though major travel restrictions in China did not begin until January 23, IATA reports that global passenger traffic in January delivered its slowest traffic growth in nearly a decade. The airline group estimates that global aviation could suffer revenue losses of between US$63 billion and US$113 billion, depending on containment. Pages 3 & 4.
IATA issued an excellent impact assessment, which can be accessed here.
Research firm GlobalData says that the coronavirus scare could wipe out as much as US$8.3 billion in the APAC duty free market alone. Page 3.
Organizations in all sectors are developing information tools.
Aviation industry group Airline for America (A4A) has launched a new webpage to serve as a streamlined resource on the COVID-19 virus and IWSR has developed a Coronavirus Risk Assessment Model tool for the global beverage alcohol market. Read more detail on both on page 4.
In related news, airlines are eliminating flights, airport foot traffic is dropping and cruise lines are easing their cancellation policies. Page 4.
In the Caribbean, where the first two cases of the virus have been confirmed on French Saint Martin, tourism and health stakeholders from throughout the region have forged an alliance to safeguard visitors and residents. Page 5.
But there are glimmers of positive news as well.
While all of the upcoming watch industry events in Switzerland have been cancelled or postponed until 2021, Bulgari’s CEO Jean-Christophe Babin has proposed an initiative called Geneva Watch Days in late April where a number of brands will hold a series of small meetings with customers. Watch industry specialist Mark Lewis-Jones comments and analyzes the proposal for TMI, which he reports sends an optimistic message that could benefit the industry. Page 2.
In more watch industry news, Duty Free Dynamics continues to enhance its portfolio, most recently integrating the Frederique Constant brand into its product offering. Page 2.
The Bahamas. In more positive developments, a Royal Caribbean joint venture has acquired the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport from the government of The Bahamas, and will invest as much as $300 million to redevelop two locations and establish a new cruise terminal. See full story on page 5.
Jamaica. In what is considered one of the largest investments in Jamaica’s hotel business ever, Karisma Hotels and Resorts has officially broken ground on a massive new destination hotel complex in the parish of St. Ann. The hotel company has a number of other projects in the pipeline in the region as well. See page 5.
Los Cabos, Mexico. Global food & beverage and travel retail company Areas has won 8 of 10 new outlets in Mexico’s Los Cabos International airport, which it says consolidates its lead in the sector in Mexico. See more details on page 6.