As we all now know movement of citizens in every country is severely monitored and in several places extremely restricted due to regional or local lockdown rules.
For most people in the northern hemisphere just starting to surface out of the enforced 'safe' bubble of a national lockdown we saw many people focused on not only on going out, but also the possibility of getting that well earned foreign holiday with the family.
Whilst many people opted for the 'staycation' trusting car travel in their own country to that of air travel it seems COVID-19 has hit the travel retail sector hard, which has been reflected by the rock bottom first-half 2020 earnings results.
As a result, revenue for the Selective Retailing sector, which includes the DFS business, dropped by 33% and its profit shrunk by 143% when compared with the same period in 2019. Kering, which owns Gucci and Bottega Veneta, cited the “almost stoppage of travel retail” the next day as a main reason for its 49.3% second-quarter sales decline. (link below).
Without a doubt this is the most challenging decade for all business sectors, and what might seem on the surface to be a discretionary spend sector for some it does have major implications due to the ripple effect on the job market and economy of every single nation.
Sure the environmentalist will say this is a great move to reduce the carbon emission footprint, and we all see the logic in doing that - but isn't this something that the airline industry was looking to address anyway?.
We're all living in a heightened sense of anxiety, the last time I was as acutely aware of this was post 9/11 when every airport around the world came to a grinding halt overnight and we all secretly asked ourselves the question - "do I really need to travel"
Business can’t wait for a super vaccine to be developed and then rolled out on a global basis to everyone - time isn't with industry and the economy on this one.
Alternatively we can look to introduce ideas and solutions that can ease the anxieties with movement around our own country in a safe and secure manner.
For example; - if you knew you were in a ‘Covid free’ environment and you and your family could prove you were Covid free would that get things moving again?
Could we slowly start to open up air travel, live sport and music events in a safe and emotionally secure way?
To 'get things going' requires a holistic, scalable, affordable, and reliable solution that unblocks the biggest concern for governments and travellers alike which is;
"How do we get people to move around in a safe manner for all whilst this virus can catch us out at any time?"Mass testing is clearly the answer, but for mass testing to be of any use there is the need for;
- on site qualified expertise
- approved testing kits
- related medical infrastructure
- ID and health status software
- and, approved hardware to carry out the test
Something that can deliver a test result with 99% accuracy in 15 minutes!
Something that can also leverage the free to access, free to use social networks to build awareness and confidence.
I'm not talking paid adverts I'm talking about building genuine and authentic messaging that provide 'safe to travel' messages to the potential traveller.
So it's fortunate that I've been working with a company since early April that are already doing all of this in several countries around the world, as well as providing the funding for any airport around the world.
All at a price and process that unblocks the key problem of 'safe to travel' issue.
Please drop me a DM if this is something you would like to discuss further to get airports and travel retail back in business.
To qualify for flying, we first have to: Answer a digital questionnaire through a WeChat Mini Program for at least 14 days before the flight, it includes questions like temperature and symptoms. Some, like me, who slipped up and ticked the wrong box and spent the last week calling the irresponsive embassy and consulate, where we were told to get a COVID-19 test and report 72 hours before the flight as most test centers in New York City can only churn out results in 10 days. When you are about to take a breather after having successfully checked-in, you find another person eager to take your temperature at the walkway to the plane and realize that you can still be turned away. I don’t think anyone wants to go through this with an armful of shopping bags.