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TRAVELERS CALL FOR CHANGE AS TOURISM RECOVERS FROM PANDEMIC, FACES UNCERTAINTY: FUTURE TOURISM SURVEY

TRAVELERS CALL FOR CHANGE AS TOURISM RECOVERS FROM PANDEMIC, FACES UNCERTAINTY: FUTURE TOURISM SURVEY
Canada NewsWire
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, June 2, 2022

44% of public want new rules and technology to ease travel, YouGov poll of 11 countries finds3…

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TRAVELERS CALL FOR CHANGE AS TOURISM RECOVERS FROM PANDEMIC, FACES UNCERTAINTY: FUTURE TOURISM SURVEY

Canada NewsWire

  • 44% of public want new rules and technology to ease travel, YouGov poll of 11 countries finds
  • 34% want travel to be more sustainable and 29% call for planet and health to come before profit
  • Amid economic uncertainty 42% of people still plan international holidays in next 6 months
  • 64% do not expect to travel for business reflecting concerns of a global slowdown

JEDDAH,  Saudi Arabia, June 2, 2022 /CNW/ -- Travelers want the global tourism sector to learn the lessons of the pandemic, and to change for the better, a brand-new global survey has found.

The Future of Tourism Survey explored attitudes to travel and the expectations of consumers in 11 countries around the world. It found that:

  • 44% of respondents called for greater harmonization of health protocols and the use of technology to enable seamless travel.
  • 34% wanted to see greater sustainability at the heart of tourism.
  • 29% wanted to see health and sustainability prioritized over profits for the travel sector.
  • 33% called for greater financial protections for travelers – likely in response to the experience of the pandemic.

People from China, India, and South Korea were most in favor of greater harmonization of safety protocols and use of technology to make travel simpler.

Conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, almost 14,000 people were polled, across China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.

His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia said: "The pandemic has a profound impact on the global tourism sector. It has shown us all – travelers, tourists, businesses and governments, that we can do things differently.

"The Future of Tourism Survey shows that the public want us to learn the lessons of the pandemic and to make changes that put health, sustainability, and the better use of technology, at the heart of future tourism."

The Survey found that the travelers' attitudes have changed following two years of pandemic and lock downs which have constrained travel. 55% of respondents are now more likely to travel domestically. And 32% of people are more willing to make an international trip than they were before COVID.

Economic uncertainty and rising prices have damped enthusiasm for travel over the next 6 months. Globally, 42% of people are either likely or very likely to travel internationally for a holiday, compared with 39% who are either unlikely or very unlikely to do so.

The biggest impact, however, has been on business travel. Just 18% of respondents consider themselves likely or very likely to travel for internationally for business.

Chinese, Japanese and Americans were least optimistic about the prospect of international travel. By contrast British, Indians and Saudis considered themselves most likely to travel internationally in the next 6 months

The Future of Tourism Survey was released ahead of the 116th meeting of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia next week, hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism.

Strengthening the tourism sector and adapting to future demands for greater sustainability and resilience are high on the agenda.

Prior to the pandemic, Travel and Tourism (including its direct, indirect and induced impacts) accounted for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created across the world, 10.3% of all jobs (333 million), and 10.3% of global GDP (US$9.6 trillion).

His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia said: "Saudi Arabia is a brand-new tourism destination. We opened our doors to international tourism just before the pandemic, and because of that we are willing and able to think and act in new and different ways.

"By aligning vision, leadership and resources we have been able to create a new model for tourism which is more resilient and more sustainable by design. We look forward to sharing our insights and to working with our international partners to build a brighter future for tourism."

Last week the World Economic Forum released its Travel and Tourism Development Index. Saudi Arabia moved up 10 places to 33rd in the world overall.  The independent index benchmarks 117 countries on 17 pillars crucial to the development and resiliency of their travel and tourism industries.

Saudi moved from 43rd in 2019 to 33rd in 2021, the second largest rise in rankings, as a result of improvements across almost all indicators.  This was the first report to be produced since Saudi opened for international tourism in September 2019.

The UNWTO Executive Council will meet in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 7-8 June.

NOTE TO EDITORS

About the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Tourism leads the Saudi Tourism ecosystem, with support from the Saudi Tourism Authority and the Tourism Development Fund. The Ministry sets the Kingdom's tourism sector strategy and is responsible for the development of policies and regulations, developing human capital, gathering statistics, and attracting investment.  It works in partnership with the Saudi Tourism Authority, which promotes Saudi Arabia as a global tourism destination, and the Tourism Development Fund, which executes the Ministry's investment strategy by providing funding for the sector's development.

Headed by His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, the Ministry was founded in February 2020, following the opening of Saudi Arabia to international leisure tourists for the first time in its history in 2019. Saudi Arabia aims to welcome 100 million tourism visits by 2030, increasing the sector's contribution to GDP from 3% to 10%. Digital initiatives, providing technical solutions for tourism promotion, research and development to improve the tourism sector, innovation for emerging technologies.

About the United Nations World Tourism Organization

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

YouGov Polling: Methodology:

  • Online interviews via YouGov's proprietary panel + partner panels

Target Profile:

  • Residents of markets listed below
  • Males & females aged 18+ (general population sample)

Sample Size:

Country                                               

Sample  

Representation

US

1000

Nat rep

UK 

2000

Nat rep

Spain

1000

Nat rep

India

1000

Urban rep

China

1000

Online rep

KSA

1000

Urban rep

Mexico

1000

Urban rep

Germany

2000

Nat rep

Japan

1000

Nat rep

South Korea

1000

Nat rep

Sweden

1000

Nat rep

TOTAL

13,000


Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1830563/YouGov_tourism_survey.jpg
PDF - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1830562/Future_tourism_survey.pdf

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/travelers-call-for-change-as-tourism-recovers-from-pandemic-faces-uncertainty-future-tourism-survey-301560371.html

SOURCE YouGov

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Spread & Containment

War, peace and security: The pandemic’s impact on women and girls in Nepal and Sri Lanka

The impacts of COVID-19 must be incorporated into women, peace and security planning in order to improve the lives of women and girls in postwar countries…

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Nepalese girls rest for observation after receiving the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 in Kathmandu, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Attention to the pandemic’s impacts on women has largely focused on the Global North, ignoring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka, which continue to deal with prolonged effects of war. While the Nepalese Civil War concluded in 2006 and the Sri Lankan Civil War concluded in 2009, internal conflicts continue.

As scholars of gender and war, our work focuses on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. And our recently published paper examines COVID-19’s impacts on women and girls in Nepal and Sri Lanka, looking at policy responses and their repercussions on the women, peace and security agenda.

COVID-19 has disproportionately and negatively impacted women in part because most are the primary family caregivers and the pandemic has increased women’s caring duties.

This pattern is even more pronounced in war-affected countries where the compounding factors of war and the pandemic leave women generally more vulnerable. These nations exist at the margins of the international system and suffer from what the World Bank terms “fragility, conflict and violence.”

Women, labour and gender-based violence

Gendered labour precarity is not new to Nepal or Sri Lanka and the pandemic has only eroded women’s already poor economic prospects.

Prior to COVID-19, Tharshani (pseudonym), a Sri Lankan mother of three and head of her household, was able to make ends meet. But when the pandemic hit, lockdowns prevented Tharshani from selling the chickens she raises for market. She was forced to take loans from her neighbours and her family had to skip meals.

Some 1.7 million women in Sri Lanka work in the informal sector, where no state employment protections exist and not working means no wages. COVID-19 is exacerbating women’s struggles with poverty and forcing them to take on debilitating debts.

Although Sri Lankan men also face increased labour precarity, due to gender discrimination and sexism in the job market, women are forced into the informal sector — the jobs hardest hit by the pandemic.

Two women sit in chairs, wearing face masks
Sri Lankan women chat after getting inoculated against the coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in August 2021. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The pandemic has also led to women and girls facing increased gender-based violence.

In Nepal, between March 2020 and June 2021, there was an increase in cases of gender-based violence. Over 1,750 incidents were reported in the media, of which rape and sexual assault represented 82 per cent. Pandemic lockdowns also led to new vulnerabilities for women who sought out quarantine shelters — in Lamkichuha, Nepal, a woman was allegedly gang-raped at a quarantine facility.

Gender-based violence is more prevalent among women and girls of low caste in Nepal and the pandemic has made it worse. The Samata Foundation reported 90 cases of gender-based violence faced by women and girls of low caste within the first six months of the pandemic.

What’s next?

While COVID-19 recovery efforts are generally focused on preparing for future pandemics and economic recovery, the women, peace and security agenda can also address the needs of some of those most marginalized when it comes to COVID-19 recovery.

The women, peace and security agenda promotes women’s participation in peace and security matters with a focus on helping women facing violent conflict. By incorporating women’s perspectives, issues and concerns in the context of COVID-19 recovery, policies and activities can help address issues that disproportionately impact most women in war-affected countries.

These issues are: precarious gendered labor market, a surge in care work, the rising feminization of poverty and increased gender-based violence.

A girl in a face mask stares out a window
The women, peace and security agenda can help address the needs of some of those most marginalized. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Policies could include efforts to create living-wage jobs for women that come with state benefits, emergency funding for women heads of household (so they can avoid taking out predatory loans) and increasing the number of resources (like shelters and legal services) for women experiencing domestic gender-based violence.

The impacts of COVID-19 must be incorporated into women, peace and security planning in order to achieve the agenda’s aims of improving the lives of women and girls in postwar countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Luna KC is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Research Network-Women Peace Security, McGill University. This project is funded by the Government of Canada Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program.

Crystal Whetstone does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

Target Sets Sights on Holiday Season, Has Plan for High Inventory

Target said that it still expects spillover from inventory rightsizing to the tune of $200 million in the third quarter.

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Target said that it still expects spillover from inventory rightsizing to the tune of $200 million in the third quarter.

Target's  (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report strategy is paying off as the company's stock falls on heavy volume following its earnings release. 

Normally, a profit miss as wide as Target's, 39 cents per share vs. expectations of 72 cents per share, would result in a bigger drop than Target's, but the retailer has been prepping the market for this miss all summer. 

The inventory the company built up during the height of the pandemic, as Americans shopped more from home, needs to go, and the only way get rid of the excess product is deep discounts. 

"Back in June, we announced that our team would be undertaking a bold effort to rightsize our inventory position in the categories for which demand patterns have radically changed," CEO Brian Cornell said during the company's earnings call. "While this decision had a meaningful short-term impact on our financial results, we strongly believe it was the best path forward."

Now, looking forward the company sees some overhang for the third quarter, but expects a big holiday season ahead. 

While some fear a recession and what it might do to the economy, Target is convinced that the holiday season will be strong.

Image source: John Smith/VIEWpress.

Target Aims for Holiday Season

While Target is focused on the back-to-school season currently underway, the company expects "spillover" from its inventory issues to be present during the third quarter to the tune of $200 million. 

But the company's own checks suggest that its shoppers are excited about the holiday season. 

"The one thing that seems to be very consistent is a guest and consumer who says they want to celebrate the holiday seasons so we certainly expect that they are going to be celebrating Halloween this year and actively trick or treating and hosting parties with friends and family," Cornell said.

"We know they're looking forward to Thanksgiving and they're going to look forward to celebrating the Christmas holidays and that comes down each and every week as we survey consumers and talk to our guests so that gives us great optimism for our ability to perform during these key holiday seasons"

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Not only does Target expect a strong quarter, but the company also expects favorable comps as fourth quarter headwinds from a year ago aren't present this time around. 

"Guests already have their sights set on upcoming holidays and seasonal moments in Q3 and beyond," Cornell said.

Target's Q2 Collapse

Target said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in July were pegged at 39 cents per share, down 89% from the same period last year and well shy of the Street consensus forecast of 72 cents per share.

Group revenues, Target said, rose 3.5% to $26 billion, essentially matching analysts' estimates of a $26.04 billion tally. Target said same-store sales rose 2.6%, again shy of the Refinitiv forecast of 3.2%, while operating margins fell to 1.2%, below the group's July guidance of a 2% level. 

Earlier this summer, Target cautioned that its bigger-than-expected 35% build-up in overall inventories over the first quarter would trigger price cuts, adding that deeper discounts would be needed to shift the excess goods onto a customer base that was already pulling back on discretionary spending.

Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, Target's larger big box rival, said Tuesday that improving spending trends, as well as actions the group has taken to shift excess inventory, will ease some of the pressures it expects to face in terms of overall profits over the back half of the year.

Walmart said adjusted earnings for the three months ended in July came in at $1.77 per share, down one penny from the same period last year but well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.62 per share.

Group revenues, the company said, were tabbed at $152.9 billion, an 8.4% increase from last year that topped analysts' estimates of $150.81 billion. U.S. same-store sales rose 6.5% from last year, the company said, firmly topping the Refinitiv forecast. 

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Economics

Why Is No One at Nike Working This Week?

And will the move gain broader acceptance among American employers?

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And will the move gain broader acceptance among American employers?

You go into an office, pull at the door and find that it doesn't give and nobody's there. 

It may sound like the start of the common rushing-to-the-office-on-a-Saturday nightmare but, more and more, collective time off is being embraced by employees as part of a push for a better work culture.

While professional social media platform LinkedIn  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report and dating app Bumble  (BMBL) - Get Bumble Inc. Report had already experimented with collective time off for workers, the corporate ripples truly began with Nike  (NKE) - Get Nike Inc. Report.

In August 2021, the activewear giant announced that it was giving the 11,000-plus employees at its Oregon headquarters the week off to "power down" and "destress" from stress brought on by the covid-19 pandemic.

"In a year (or two) unlike any other, taking time for rest and recovery is key to performing well and staying sane," Matt Marrazzos, Nike's senior manager of global marketing science, wrote to employees at the time.

Nike Is On Vacation Right Now

The experiment was, not exactly unexpectedly, very well-received — a year later, the company instituted its second annual "Well-Being Week." Both the corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., and three Air Manufacturing design labs with over 1,500 employees are closed for a collective paid vacation from Aug. 15 to 19.

"We knew it would be impactful, but I was blown away by the feedback from our teammates [...]," Nike's Chief Human Resources Officer Monique Matheson wrote in a LinkedIn post.

"Because everyone was away at the same time, teammates said they could unplug – really unplug, without worrying about what was happening back at the office or getting anxiety about the emails piling up."

Shutterstock/TheStreet

Of course, the time off only applies to corporate employees. To keep the stores running and online orders fulfilled but not exacerbate the differences between blue and white collar workers, Nike gave its retail and distribution employees a week's worth of paid days off that they can use as they see fit.

Nike has tied the change to its commitment to prioritize mental health. In the last year, it launched everything from a "marathon of mental health" to a podcast that discusses how exercise can be used to manage anxiety and depression.

Rippling Through the Corporate World?

But as corporations are often criticized for turning mental health into positive PR without actually doing much for employees, the collective week off was perhaps the most significant thing the company did for workers' mental health.

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The practice of set office closures has long been common practice in many European countries. In France, not only corporate offices but even restaurants and retail stores empty out over the month of August for what is culturally considered sacred vacation time. 

But as American work culture prioritizes individual choice and "keeping business going" above all else, the practice has been seen as radical by many corporate heads and particularly small businesses that may find it more difficult to have such a prolonged drop in business. 

But in many ways, the conversations mirror some companies' resistance to remote work despite the fact that one-fourth of white-collar jobs in the U.S. are expected to be fully remote by 2023

"This is the kind of perk that makes employees want to stay," industry analyst Shep Hyken wrote in a comment for RetailWire. "And knowing they can’t completely shut the entire company down, I like the way they are compensating the distribution and retail store employees."

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