From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Biden likely to reverse Trump’s travel openings
- US airport hotels feel pinch of travel restrictions
- Dubai stock exchange starts trading REITs
- UK’s CBI asks for continued business relief
- Despite COVID-19, China grows 2020 GDP by 2.3%
Biden likely to reverse Trump’s travel openings: On Jan. 18, President Donald Trump lifted the ban on travelers arriving in the United States from Europe and Brazil, with the decision to come into effect on Jan. 26, but the decision is likely to be overturned by President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, The New York Times reports.
The United Kingdom on Jan. 18 closed all travel corridors to the country, citing an alarming rise in U.K. coronavirus patients and new, more virulent strains of COVID-19 both inside and outside its borders. Those arriving in the U.K. now have to show a negative, pre-departure COVID-19 test and on entry self-isolate for 10 days or face a £500 ($681) fine.
U.S. airport hotels feel pinch of travel restrictions: With U.S. airline traffic rebounding slowly as effects of the COVID-19 pandemic persist, hotels that typically rely heavily on demand from those passengers are feeling the pinch and having to get creative to shore up business, writes Hotel News Now contributor Laura Koss-Feder.
Kannan Sankaran, senior director at business advisory CBRE Hotels, said airport markets have a concentration of higher-priced hotels and were more adversely impacted by COVID-19 due to a dependence on group and corporate demand. Sankaran said he believed airport markets will return to 2019 levels for occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room by 2024.
Dubai stock exchange starts trading REITs: The Dubai Financial Market on Jan. 18 began trading in real estate investment trusts, with the first being one from Al Mal Capital, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments, Arabian Business reports. The move is key to diversifying sources of capital in the United Arab Emirates.
The news source said the launch of the REIT—being in a Muslim country and stock market, trading is compliant with Islamic Shariah law—raised 350 million United Arab Emirates dirhams ($95.27 million).
U.K.’s CBI asks for continued business relief: The principal British organization representing business, the Confederation of British Industry, has called for an extension of government aid, stating that business cannot wait until the annual budget, which is due to occur in March.
Tony Danker, its director-general, has called for extending the Job Retention Scheme until the end of June. Danker has also recommended lengthening repayment periods for existing value-added/sales tax deferrals, also until June; allowing firms to defer first-quarter 2021 VAT bills due now for twelve months; and extending the business-rates holiday for at least another three months.
Despite COVID-19, China grows 2020 GDP by 2.3%: Despite 2020 being a year like no other, China grew its 2020 gross domestic product by 2.3%, The Wall Street Journal reports. Though the positive number is the “weakest annual rate of growth since the Mao [Tse-tung] era, it was enough to make China the only major world economy to gain any ground at all last year.”
The newspaper reports the World Bank projects the global economy in 2020 to have declined by 4.3%, “dragged down by a 7.4% contraction in the Eurozone, noting the U.S. “is expected to have shrunk by 3.6%.”
Compiled by Terence Baker.