ITB Berlin canceled; indebted airline group seeks help | Weekly Review
02/29/2020|6:06:54 PM|ChinaTravelNews

ITB Berlin 2020 is officially canceled

>> The world's biggest travel trade show operator Messe Berlin announced that this year's ITB Berlin event will not take place, after taking advice from Germany's Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Economics and considering the rapid spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Airline conglomerate asks government for help on liquidity risks

>> HNA Group, a once-acquisitive Chinese travel conglomerate and the parent group of Hainan Airlines, has asked the government of China’s Hainan province to lead a work group dedicated to resolving its liquidity risks, the company said on its official Wechat account on Saturday. Group-backed Tujia changes CEO

>> Chinese vacation rental platform Tujia has appointed Gang Chen, CEO of, as the platform's CEO on February 23. Mr. Gang Chen will retain his CEO post at after adding the responsibility as Tujia’s new CEO.

Both Tujia and Qunar are backed by online travel powerhouse Group (formerly Ctrip).

Booking projects a 5%-10% drop in room nights

>> Booking Holdings said the coronavirus has had a significant and negative impact on business during the first quarter this year. The company anticipates a 5%-10% drop in room nights in the quarter. Total gross travel bookings are to fall by 10%-15% during the time, and revenues may decline by 3%-7%. 

Expedia starts global lay-offs in Hong Kong, Singapore

>> Expedia Group has kicked off its global lay-off of 3,000 staff this week in Asia, with the first dismissals taking place in Hong Kong and Singapore where the company has totally 449 employees.

The company expects to record all of the USD 135 million to USD 185 million in total pre-tax charges during 2020, which are comprised of employee severance and compensation benefits costs of USD 120 million to USD 150 million and other related costs of USD 15 million to USD 35 million.

Marriot's RevPAR in Greater China drops 90%

>> Marriott expects a USD 25 million impact to its monthly fee revenue, as the hotel operator faces low occupancy rates in the Asia Pacific region due to the coronavirus outbreak. The world's largest hotel group said room additions in 2020 could also be delayed as a result of the outbreak.

Rural travel operator secures $28.6M in funding

>> Shanghai-based rural holiday operator Xband Club landed RMB 200 million (USD 28.6 million) in its Series B funding led by Trustbridge Partners. Xband Club specializes in developing rural townships near suburban areas. It also provides a full chain of services on developing and operating alternative accommodation.  

Lightspeed leads Laiye’s $42M round 

>> Laiye, a Chinese startup that offers robotic process automation services to several major tech firms and government agencies, has raised USD 42 million in new funding round. China has been the hub for some of the cheapest labor in the world. But in recent years, a number of companies and government agencies have started to improve their efficiency with the help of technology.

Hotel data show virus impact on Asia

>> Top Asia Pacific destinations for Chinese outbound travelers continue to report a hotel occupancy impact amid the virus outbreak, according to data from STR.

Macao saw the steepest occupancy decline of 97% in February, falling from absolute level of 96% to just 3% in six weeks. Hong Kong dropped by 64% to an occupancy rate of 25%. Australia (+11% to 73%) and Indonesia (+4% to 58%) reported increases in the metric thanks to more recent gains.