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Breaking Travel News investigates: Where might recover from the Covid-19 pandemic first?

Breaking Travel News investigates: Where might recover from the Covid-19 pandemic first?

With over three million confirmed cases and upwards of 200,000 fatalities around the world, there are few signs of the Covid-19 pandemic slowing its rampage across the globe.

Thousands of people are contracting the virus every day, with tourism hot-spots the United States, Spain, Italy and France some of the worst-affected destinations.

However, some other countries appear to have managed to slow down the rate of new cases and now seem to be on a slow and possibly difficult path towards recovery.

With the help of Riskline, Breaking Travel News here takes a look which countries might bounce back first.

China, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, seems to have greatly controlled the transmission of the virus.

Around 89 per cent of coronavirus patients in China have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals, according to reports from the country’s national health commission.

The severity and scale of the containment measures implemented by the Chinese government have resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of daily cases.

The local aviation sector also appears to be in recovery, with over 30 per cent of its domestic capacity returning in the last two months, according to new analysis from Cirium.

Data from the travel and analytics company shows that domestic capacity has recovered from a peak year-on-year drop of 71 per cent on February 24th to down just 33 per cent on April 22, 2020.

As many countries in Asia have passed what is hoped to be the peak of the pandemic, data from Cirium shows trends of increased air travel capacity for the region, with intra-Asia capacity improving by ten per cent between April 14th and April 22nd.


Global regions still under lockdown—including the US and Europe—are yet to show signs of recovery, however Cirium analysis indicates a plateau is starting to emerge in airline capacity worldwide.

Rob Morris, head of consultancy at Ascend by Cirium, said in a recent webinar, Covid-19 – the Impact on Aviation: “While cancellations remain high and the recovery in domestic flights has plateaued over the last month, the ‘green shoots’ of recovery in China’s domestic market are a beacon of hope for the aviation industry.

“With airline fleets grounded around the world, the Covid-19 crisis represents an unprecedented collapse in demand for air travel.

“We need to see the current airline shutdown phase finally reach its end before we can assess how long the airline hibernation phase lasts – only then will we see the start-up of recovery and stabilisation.

“Even at this stage, growth will depend on a range of external factors, from the level of government support received by the industry to consumer confidence in the market post-lockdown.”

South Korea, is another country that has recovered in an efficient manner.

Their model of ‘trace, test and treat’ strategy has helped in flattening the Covid-19 curve significantly - a model that is admired by many other western countries.

Unlike most affected countries, South Korea has relied on widespread testing and digital tracking of suspected cases to contain the pandemic, instead of imposing lockdowns or curfews.

Despite its proximity to China, Hong Kong succeeded in containing the outbreak by taking measures to prevent transmissions internally.

Authorities implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming from China.

They were also quick to set up quarantine facilities and negative-pressure beds for proper isolation, and enforce social-distancing measures such as working from home, cancelling public events and closing schools.

From a hospitality perspective, the Hong Kong Tourism Board recently announced its recovery, to be put into practice at the end of the pandemic.

Dane Cheng, executive director of the tourist board, announced a three-phase plan to reinvigorate tourism to the city.

This plan has been designed to complement the HK$400 million (approximately £41.8 million) funds allocated to supporting promotions by the trade.

When the pandemic shows signs of abating, the tourist board will first focus on local market to promote positive ambience in Hong Kong by encouraging locals to rediscover different neighbourhoods and community cultures in order restore their confidence in the city.

Additionally, the body will launch tactical promotions with the trade in selected overseas markets based on the developments of individual markets to stimulate people’s interest to visit Hong Kong.

In the final phase, mega events and a new tourism brand campaign will be launched to rebuild the destination’s image. 

Pang said: “The tourism landscape will be reshaped.

“In the post-pandemic world, we will see a shift in preference and behaviour among travellers – the public health conditions of destinations, and the hygiene standards of transportations, hotels and other tourism facilities will become a top priority; people will prefer short-haul breaks and shorter itineraries; wellness-themed trips will become a new trend.

“It is in fact an ideal time for us to review and rethink Hong Kong’s position in the global tourism market and elevate service standard.”

Taiwan has managed to successfully contain the virus, even though it is located just over 80 miles from mainland China.

Learning from the previous SARS outbreak, the government sprang into action as soon as word broke about a pneumonia-like disease in Wuhan in December.

They began extensive screening of travellers from Wuhan from December 31st, set up a system to track those in self-quarantine, and ramped up production of medical equipment for domestic use in January.

They were also the first country to ban flights from Wuhan, on January 26th.

The utilisation of big-data for intensive health monitoring of the population as well as Taiwan’s excellent public healthcare system helped limit the spread of the virus.

Finally, while its geographic isolation and low-population density are inherent advantages, the Australian government’s strong public response has truly brought the pandemic well under-control in the country.

The country was one of the first western countries to ban flights from China on February 1st, a decision which helped stave-off the spread of the infection.

It also implemented a far-reaching indefinite ban on all international arrivals on March 20th, effectively cutting-off transmission of the virus from overseas, which accounted for the majority of cases in the country.

Strict social distancing measures such as stay-at-home orders also helped bring down community transmission.

Crucially, health authorities conducted extensive community testing for the virus in high-risk locations, resulting in one of the highest per capita rates of diagnostic pathology testing for Covid-19 in the world and allowing the infection curve to be dramatically suppressed in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Similarly, New Zealand appears well placed to recover, having begun to ease lockdown measures with few community transmissions now being recorded.

From today, some non-essential business, healthcare and education activity will be able to resume.

However, officials have warned against complacency, saying it does not mean a total end to new coronavirus cases.

Most people will still be required to remain at home at all times and avoid all social interactions.

More Information

Riskline is a travel risk intelligence company in operation since 2007 and based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Find out more on the official website.