Industry Update
External Article16 March 2020

We haven't been here before

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Slowly, finally, the enormity of it all has started sinking in for many people.

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For too long, the COVID-19 coronavirus was that alarming but fairly distant and deadly health outbreak in a region of China that many hadn't even heard of before January this year.

This is fairly typical of the Western world and large swathes of the travel industry, it is disappointing to say.

Similar to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010, which paralyzed air traffic in northern Europe and curtailed many transatlantic routes for a few weeks, it was a problem that existed in another corner of the world.

For an industry - the world's biggest, lest we forget - that prides itself on connecting people to new experiences or business opportunities elsewhere on the planet, we can often be fairly forgetful or dismissive about how interlinked both the sector and the people it serves actually are.

In the eventual analyses that will chart how the coronavirus crisis unfolded in 2020, travel's "eureka moment" came not when the U.S. started getting hit with infections (although it clearly triggered an uptick in interest form the mainstream media) or when airlines started pulling flights off the schedules late last week and over the weekend.

It happened when ITB Berlin was cancelled on Friday, February 28 - just a few days before the world's biggest travel trade show was due to begin.

Read the full article at Phocuswright, Inc.

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