Coronavirus outbreak to cost Asia $115 billion in lost tourism revenues

Asia’s main tourism hotspots have suffered thousands of cancellations, even as countries impose travel restrictions to try and halt the spread the virus. (AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

Coronavirus outbreak to cost Asia $115 billion in lost tourism revenues

  • From Bali to Bangkok, Asia’s main tourism hotspots have suffered thousands of cancelations
  • ‘Chinese tourists are still a very important source of income for other South East Asian economies’

SINGAPORE: Asian economies could lose $105-$115 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) this year due to a slump in tourism following the outbreak of the coronavirus, ING said in a report on Monday.
“If we assume that tourism to and from China basically grinds to a halt in 2020, and extra regional tourism also diminishes, then the cost to the region from lost tourism revenues alone is approximately $105-$115 billion,” said Robert Carnell, ING’s chief economist for Asia-Pacific.
In a report titled “Holidays in hell,” Carnell said the research assumed zero tourism receipts for Asian countries from inbound China visitors as it sought to calculate the total loss from the epidemic.
“That’s obviously a gross simplification, but it fits a scenario where the epidemic lingers long after it peaks. Official travel restrictions may be slow to be removed, and travelers may remain wary long after it is safe for them to travel again,” the report said.
Fears of a coronavirus pandemic grew on Monday after sharp rises in new cases reported in Iran, Italy and South Korea.
The virus has infected more than 77,000 people and killed more than 2,500 in China, most in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Outside mainland China, the outbreak has spread to about 29 countries and territories, with a death toll of about two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.
From Bali to Bangkok, Asia’s main tourism hotspots have suffered thousands of cancelations, even as countries impose travel restrictions to try and halt the spread the virus.
“While Thailand tops the poll for the region as a whole in terms of pure numbers, Chinese tourists are still a very important source of income for other South East Asian economies,” ING said.
As part of its analysis, ING included spending by outbound tourists to China, as well as the inbound Chinese tourists that will no longer be visiting countries in the region.


Mexican brewer of Corona beer producer halts production over virus

Updated 03 April 2020

Mexican brewer of Corona beer producer halts production over virus

  • Measure in line with the Mexican government’s order to suspend all non-essential activities until April 30
  • Corona beer has been the punchline of jokes and memes and online rumor

MEXICO CITY: The Mexican brewer of Corona beer said Thursday it was suspending production because of the health emergency in the country over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grupo Modelo — whose brands also include Pacifico and Modelo — said the measure was in line with the Mexican government’s order to suspend all non-essential activities until April 30 to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“We are in the process of lowering production at our plants to the bare minimum,” the company said in a statement, adding it would complete the suspension in the following days.
Mexico’s government has said that only key sectors such as agribusiness will be able to continue to function.
Grupo Modelo said it was ready to operate with 75 percent of its staff working remotely to guarantee the supply of beer, if the government agreed.
Mexico’s other major beer producer Heineken — which makes the Tecate and Dos Equis brands — could also stop activities on Friday, the Reforma newspaper said, although the company did not confirm the report.
On Wednesday, the northern state of Nuevo Leon, where Heineken’s Mexican operations are based, said it would stop the production and distribution of beer, which led to panic buying.
Since the start of the virus crisis, Corona beer has been the punchline of jokes and memes, and an online rumor said sales in the US dropped by around 40 percent after the outbreak.
However, in late February, Constellation Brands, which owns the Corona label, denied the rumor and said sales had stayed strong in the US even as the virus has spread internationally.
Mexico has so far registered over 1,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 50 deaths.

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