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No American Tourists = BILLIONS in Losses for Countries

While the desire to travel is prevalent around the world, you would be shocked in realizing that Americans play a heavy hand in keeping the international tourism industry well and alive. 

The hard data backs this up, according to data taken from the US National Travel & Tourism Office. 

When travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip crunched the numbers, there were 10 countries that were hit the hardest. We’re talking about BILLIONS of dollars in losses per individual country as of this writing. 

Here are the losses suffered by the top 10 most negatively affected countries over the past six months, in order: 

  • Italy: $8.3 billion
  • France: $8.1 billion
  • Spain: $5.8 billion
  • Germany: $5.7 billion
  • China: $4 billion
  • Japan: $3.6 billion
  • Bahamas: $3.5 billion
  • Netherlands: $3.5 billion
  • India: $3.5 billion
  • Ireland: $3.3 billion

All of this financial destruction is solely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing travel restrictions that have been brought about. The 14-day quarantines, the border lockdowns, the mandatory face mask rules, the non-stop testing for COVID-19, and the list goes on. 

What we’re finally starting to realize is just how interconnected and fragile the travel industry can be. Without a steady influx of millions of people a day from the world’s most well developed nations, several countries find their economies are just not as prosperous anymore. 

This is not a call for extreme nationalism or the promotion of such. But for many countries, it’s a warning sign that tourism CANNOT account for a significant amount of their economic well-being. It has to be a part of it, with other tourism-free industries making up the bulk of their GDP. 

What do YOU think about this news? Will the losses only continue to get worse over the next six months, or is there a path towards regaining some of the lost money? Reply to this newsletter and share your thoughts with us!

Four European Countries That American Travelers Can Visit Right Now

So with the introduction of today’s newsletter in mind, you have to wonder if some European countries are going against the grain and allowing US-based travelers to pay them a visit (thus going against the common action to close borders altogether). 

The good news is that there are some countries doing just that. The bad news is there are only four at the time of this writing. 

Albania: You will have to undergo a measurement of your body temperature upon arriving, and a doctor will personally inspect you if your reading is above 37.5 degrees Celsius. But at least you won’t have to quarantine or present any negative COVID-19 test results!

Montenegro: All travelers from America MUST show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving in the country. 

Serbia: You have to take an online self-assessment of your health on days 1 and 10 of your stay. Your results on day 1 will dictate whether you have to take a COVID-19 test at a clinic (or not).

Croatia: A negative COVID-19 test must be taken within 48 hours of your arrival. If you refuse the test option or fail to present it, you must undergo a 14-day quarantine. 

Keep in mind that the US Department of State has classified all four countries as “Travel Advisory Level 3.” This means you should be aware of the COVID-19 risks in traveling there and perhaps re-consider your decision to do so. 

But if you don’t mind the risks and are desperate to flee to the EU for some time, these would be the places for any American traveler to go!

SkyWest: A PROFITABLE US-Based Airline During COVID-19?

SkyWest may not seen like an airline company you would invest into at first glance, especially since their shares have gone done 55% over the calendar year of 2020. 

But unlike other airlines that posted massive losses during Q3 2020, SkyWest was the ONLY US airline to post a profit. To be more specific, a “generally accepted accounting principles” profit of $34 million. 

Yet this isn’t the only success they’ve had: Not only has their balance sheet been virtually free of any damages, but they’ve barely burned through any of their cash reserves ($822 million left to date). They’re also buying 21 used CRJ700 regional jets that will be leased to another airline, along with operated 20 more of these jets for American Airlines in 2021. 

Cash burn for Q4 2020 is projected to be at $23 million (or $250,000/day), and they’ve only used $190 million of payroll support funds from the CARES Act. Even with a Q4 2020 loss looking to be the most likely outcome, the loss will be marginal compared to other regional airlines and major airlines (such as Delta, United, etc.). 

They may very well be one of the airlines worth adding to a travel-focused portfolio that is betting on the recovery of the airline industry. Due to their business model of relying on used jets and fixed-fee flying contracts with larger airlines, they’ve managed to avoid severe losses and are more than primed for a comeback. 

Just Like Face Masks, COVID-19 Testing Will Now Be Mandatory for Airlines

From November 16th until December 11th, all crew members and passengers older than two years old taking flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow via United Airlines must subject themselves to a free rapid COVID-19 test. 

United Airlines’ chief customer officer Toby Enqvist had this to say about the new initiative:

“We believe the ability to provide fast, same-day COVID-19 testing will play a vital role in safely reopening travel around the world and navigating quarantines and travel restrictions, particularly to key international destinations like London.

Through this pilot program, we’ll guarantee that everyone* onboard has tested negative for COVID-19, adding another element to our layered approach to safety. United will continue to lead on testing, while at the same time exploring new solutions that contribute to the safest travel experience possible.” 

All of this sounds good and well, especially since results will be available on the same day the test is taken. 

But there IS a catch to all of this: If you refuse to take the test, you will be placed on a different flight. No word exists on whether refusal could lead to a temporary travel blacklist. And given the controversy behind passengers who have been banned for not wearing face masks, you have to wonder how the new rules around COVID-19 tests will play out. 

What do YOU think about this? Should pre-flight COVID-19 testing become a mandatory part of the travel experience associated with every major airline? Share your thoughts on this matter with us by replying to the newsletter!

England’s SECOND Lockdown: Everything You Must Know

With over 1 million COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom, the country is putting their foot down and traveling back in time to March. By that, I mean they are officially enforcing a second nation-wide lockdown on its citizens. 

Exceptions are made for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland as they have their own rules. But from November 5th until December 2nd, here are the rules:

  • Restaurants and bars must shut down except for deliveries and take-out (alcohol cannot be ordered as part of either service)
  • Non-essential retail stores must shut down, except for deliveries and click-and-collect orders
  • No mixing of different households either inside or outside (exceptions made for exercising and childcare)
  • Leaving the household is not allowed except for essential activities (outdoors exercise, seeking medical attention, shopping for food, caring for the elderly, education, and essential work that cannot be done at home)
  • Outside of work, all international travel out of the UK is banned
  • No more than two people can meet outside at any given time
  • A maximum of 30 people can attend funerals

There are MANY more rules set in place, but those are the main ones you should know about. 

It’s going to be a miserable 30 days for everyone living in the UK, and possibly more if the government feels the lockdown needs to be extended even further…

Over 2.5 Million Slovaks Tested for COVID-19 in Just 24 Hours

The federal government in Slovakia did something completely unprecedented during this entire COVID-19 crisis: They attempted to test EVERY single resident for COVID-19 over the span of Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, the test was free.

On Saturday alone, HALF of the entire population (2.5 million people) had to take the test. And of those people, 1% (25,850 people) were positive for COVID-19 and were forced to enter quarantine. Those who refused the test were subjected to a harsh lockdown, which includes being unable to go to work. 

Using rapid antigen tests that deliver same-day results via swab sampling, 40,000 personnel (soldiers, police, volunteers, medics) were tasked to helped across 5,000 separate sites. 

All remaining residents will be tested next weekend, but the government is already under heavy fire for their testing methods. 

The antigen test supposedly delivers too many false positives (i.e. testing positive for COVID-19 when you don’t have it) and false negatives (i.e. testing negative for COVID-19 when you actually have it), and is apparently inferior to the laboratory PCR test.

I applaud this initiative, as the government is claiming this extreme method can avoid the necessity or a hard lockdown and reverse the rise in COVID-19 infections seen over the past few weeks. But I do hope they’ll keep their word, as the small country is in no economic shape to endure a second lockdown like the one happening in the UK right now. 

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