>> The Trump Administration demanded Chinese PMS service provider Shiji to divest its acquisition of StayNTouch, a maker of hotel operational software. President Donald Trump said the acquisition of the US-based startup might “threaten to impair the national security of the United States.” The order didn’t explain details of the threat.
Shiji announced earlier in the week that its major contract with Oracle Hospitality will end on May 31 this year, and the two companies will not further extend their partnership.
>> ChinaTravelNews learned that Booking.com's head of China unit has been ousted. The world's largest online travel booking website announced that Marsha Ma, Vice President of Booking.com and Managing Director of Booking.com China, has stepped down. Booking.com said it "fully recognizes and appreciates the contributions Marsha has made".
The independent China business unit will be restructured and will report to the Asia Pacific and global leadership.
>> Indian hotel chain OYO is laying off 60% of its workforce in China as it struggles to contend with a number of setbacks, the most recent being the deadly Covid-19 virus which has immobilized the country for weeks.
The current novel coronavirus outbreak has weighed on the troubled hotel chain, which has seen widening losses as well as an increasing number of partner hotels exit and rising user complaints over the past year.
>> ChinaTravelNews has learned that outbound travel service provider Beijing Baicheng International Travel has held an internal meeting for liquidation, following its announcement to wind up operation and prepare for liquidation.
The company was once an investors’ darling, having brought in USD 20 million in its series B funding led by the Alibaba Group and China Broadband Capital, and USD 29 million (RMB 200 million) in its series C funding from Qianhe Capital and Alibaba-backed Fliggy in July 2015.
>> The coronavirus could cut USD 560 billion from spending on corporate travel this year, a 37% drop from its 2020 global expenditure forecast, as meetings and events are canceled and companies limit travel to protect employees.
US-based Global Business Travel Association said two-thirds of polled members had postponed at least a few events, while 95% had suspended or canceled most or all trips to China and 23% to European countries such as France, Germany and Italy.
>> In an attempt to reboot the aviation industry and boost the economy, the Chinese government has announced it will provide financial support to airlines.
China has said it will pay 0.0176 yuan ($0.0025) per seat per kilometer for any airline which reopens routes that are shared by multiple carriers. This number jumps up to 0.0528 yuan ($0.0076) for any carrier willing to open a route which they alone operate.
>> Japan will request that people arriving from South Korea and China be quarantined for two weeks at designated local facilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday.
The measure will take effect at 12:00 a.m. on March 9 and last through March 31, he said.
>> Russia's tourism sector has already taken a 27 billion rouble (USD 406 million) hit from the impact of coronavirus, the head of the Russian Association of Tour Operators said on Thursday in a plea for government support.
Russia has restricted flights to China, Iran and South Korea and warned against travel to those countries, as well as to Italy which is a popular destination for Russian tourists.