Travel industry journal "Travel Research Online's" Cheryl Rosen quoted Travel Dominion's founder Nathan Boyle's prognostication on the impact of vaccines on travel agents and their industry. Reflecting his business and travel consultancy's cautious outlook and fact grounded knowlege of the current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.
Perhaps only the British would create a jibe about a jab, but the "Oxford Jab" is a go. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health of the United Kingdom, announced approval of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine produced by Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca. The one hundred million doses will vaccinate at least fifty million people in the UK as it presently requires two injections. There is some early suggestion from early results during testing prior to approval that a single dose may be enough however for now two will be the norm. This is a key point to consider as a single does regime would double the effective production capacity. The Oxford Jab also is welcome tool in the fight against COVID-19 because it requires conventional and common refrigeration, verse the unusually low temperatures the vaccines now entering use in the United States. It is expected that future iterations of all vaccines in development will require progressively less delicate handling however and likely fewer does eventually.
Little this week isn't tied to some aspect of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19's viral cause.) That is certain to continue for most of 2020 depsite optimistic hopes to the contrary. Politics being unwelcome on Travelers Dominion we stick to rational and informed supisition and discussion. To that end, there are some updates to consider carefully.
Endgame and Recovery Planning
Several contries, Germany in particular are discussing "travel passports" which would be issued and require undetermined health validations. This mirrors comments in the U.S. alluding to use of antibody testing to certify people can return to work or travel. The thinking in the latter being that one gains immunity from having been exposed to the COVID-19 virus (thus the antibodies.) However it would require months for such testing and documentation to matriculate through the U.S. and beyond. This again lends weight to 2020 being a bad year for travel. While some parts of regional travel industry and services maybe able to begin operation again before the end of summer, it is going to be a slow process for major industries to resume full operations before the end of the year.
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is extending the "no sail" mandate for an additional 100 days unless contraviened by another authority. This effectively means crusies on ships carrying more than 250 people are over until at least mid-July. Even a July re-start presumes response planning by the cruise industry is approved by the CDC and the state of the pandemic allows for it. The cruise lines are continuing to be generous with rebooking options however.
The Strip remains shut-down and the major hotel and casino operators are girding for months more of the same. Several journals following Las Vegas expect that major buffets will not re-open after the current crisis ends. However it is expected that pricing for hotels will be low for a year or more after operations resume.
The Department of Homeland Security reports that present air travel is down 96% from normal. Social distancing and work-from-home mandates have added to the near total shut-down of the travel industry to leave airports devoid of passengers.