* Beijing warns against US travel
* France sees a 30%-40% fall in tourists
* Shanghai carrier postpones European expansion
* IHG ready to take on Marriott in luxury
China issues US travel alert
>> The Ministry of Culture And Tourism, China's travel regulator, alerted its citizens on Monday that they should improve the awareness of security and precautions, and avoid traveling to the United States, since America has taken "overreacted measures in preventing the coronavirus" and the Chinese travelers may be "unfairly treated", according to a notice released on the regulator's website.
Shanghai carrier postpones European expansion
>> Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines announced that it will be indefinitely postponing the launch of new European routes due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In November, the airline announced that it would be expanding in Europe with new links from Shanghai to Manchester, Dublin and Reykjavik through Helsinki, where it already flies to.
HK carrier to extend frequent-flier perks
>> Cathay Pacific is set to offer loyal customers extensions of their business and first-class benefits, as the epidemic leaves frequent fliers unable to travel and more likely to fall short of keeping exclusive travel perks.
The airline confirmed it was mulling plans to help its customers in its Marco Polo Club (MPC) travel scheme – a vital and reliable source of revenue for the embattled airline – to “achieve and maintain” their benefits.
Chinese airlines resume operations
>> Major Chinese carriers including Hainan Airlines, China Eastern, Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern and Air China have announced to restore air services. Hainan Airlines announced last week that it will resume more than 450 flights and China Eastern decided to resume over 800 flights, with gradual recovery on both domestic and international routes.
Travel bookings in China down 79%
>> Travel reservations in China fell 79% last month, according to travel network TravelgateX. The Spain-based company also finds that the volume of reservations registered in its marketplace to China is already 90% less in February compared to January, representing a 95% fall if compared to the volume in February, 2019.
Chinese outdoor scenic sites reopen
>> As the coronavirus outbreak shows signs of abating, more tourist attractions in China have reopened for tourists, with measures taken for continued epidemic prevention and control.
Mount Huangshan has started receiving visitors from Friday, with the daily visitor number limited to 10,000. Renowned Xi'an attractions including the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Small Wild Goose Pagoda and Datang Everbright City have also resumed operations. The number of visitors entering the sites is limited to a daily volume less than 50% of its regular capacity.
Travel businesses blaze a trail
>> The travel industry is one of the sectors that were significantly impacted by the coronavirus, according to consulting firm Kantar. About 75% of the surveyed travel companies' clients canceled their plans, and 17% of their consumers cut back spending.
But the industry is biding its time with innovations and waiting for a v-shaped recovery. Trip.com facilitated cloud tourism of over 3,000 attractions in 832 cities of 48 countries in the world. Baidu.com launched around 300 online museums while Travelgo.com carried out free online promotion of travel destinations using virtual reality technology.
Cloud Tourism replaced on-site traveling to meet people's demand, which ranked in the top 10 activities of home-stranded youth, according to Xiaohongshu, an Instagram-like Chinese fashion and lifestyle sharing platform.
France sees a 30%-40% fall in tourists
>> France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire said the country has received 30%-40% less visitor arrivals due to the covid-19 outbreak. Le Maire said France welcomes around 2.7 million Chinese tourists to the country each year, but it “won’t be the same” in 2020.
France is one of the most visited countries in the world. In 2018, 89.4 million visitors toured France. Tourism accounts for nearly 8% of its gross domestic product.
US, Australia update travel alert to Japan, Korea
>> The US State Department raised the travel alert level to Japan from Level 1 to Level 2, calling for increased caution for American citizens traveling to the country. Officials said the coronavirus originating in China is spreading in Japanese communities via unknown infection routes.
Australia has updated its official travel advice for Japan and South Korea amid growing concerns about the spread of the deadly coronavirus outside China. It has imposed a travel entry ban for Chinese passengers, but relaxed the rules for year 11 and 12 students, apart from anyone who remains in the Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
Air New Zealand hit by up to $75 million
>> Air New Zealand's earnings could be hit by up to $75 million, the airline warned ahead of its half-year result on Thursday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand's China travel ban is likely to be extended as Iran, South Korea and Italy grapple with major outbreaks.
Last week Auckland International Airport said coronavirus could hit its full-year profit by as much as $10 million.
IHG ready to take on Marriott in luxury hotels
>> After consolidating its luxury hotel collection with Regent, Six Senses, Kimpton and InterContinental, IHG is ready to take on the likes of Marriott in the high-end category, according to its Director of Design Benjamin Hu.
The UK-based hotelier is looking to expand in the mid-scale hotel sector in China where it has enormous potential.
Rural travel firm raises $28 million
>> Rural holiday opeartor Xband Club announced that the company has raised USD 28.45 million (RMB 200 million) in its Series B round of funding. The round was backed by Shanghai-based TrustBridge Partners.
Established in May 2015, Xband operates with a full range of capacities in developing countryside developments on non-state-owned land – from planning to construction, developing cultural and creative attractions, integrating multiple business concepts, operation and IT support.
The company received USD 9 million (RMB 63.5 million) in its Series A round in 2018.
AI tech firm lands $42 million in funding
>> Laiye Technology, a Microsoft-backed Chinese artificial intelligence company, announced that it has received USD 42 million in its Series C round of financing, which had Lightspeed Global Fund and Lightspeed China Growth Fund as the lead investors.
The company builds robotic process automation (RPA) products to help corporate clients handle high-volume and repetitive tasks like customer service via message conversations. It raised USD 35 million in its Series B+ funding round last June, led by Cathay Innovation, an affiliate of Cathay Capital Private Equity.