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13 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR THE ‘CORONAVIRUS ECONOMY’


As the industry faces an unprecedented crisis, Jonathan Wall, of travel specialist chartered accountants Elman Wall, has a baker’s dozen of tips on how to make it to the other side


W


hat a difference 80 days makes. We welcomed a new decade with hope and


optimism, but I don’t believe we have seen a global shock as bad as Covid-19 since the outbreak of the first Gulf War, when clients also reported zero-revenue months. As we hurtle into what will be a very depressing period, I want to summarise what we are seeing into a manageable list of key points.


1 It will end There is a global short-term


collapse of tourism and international travel, but we will come out of it. We all need to survive and be in the best possible position for when the recovery starts.


2 There’s very little you can do right now


In reality, there is almost nothing individual companies can do to change the outcome. Just accept the fact you will hardly


take a booking until at least after Easter. Keep yourself, your colleagues, customers and suppliers safe and your business operating.


3 This is a national and global crisis


Airlines, other transport infrastructures and major accommodation providers are big beasts, and with travel and tourism such a significant industry in so many countries, governments must support many of them temporarily, both with cash and legislative protection, which will ease pressure on the supply chain down to wholesalers, operators and agents.


4 We’re in this together Everyone is having the same


ultimate issues. However, companies face a variety of differing challenges


14 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 23.03.2020


depending on the sector; type of services delivered; destinations covered; seasonality of bookings; and departures. All routes, however, end in a severely weakened business.


5 Well-run companies will get by – for now


Most well-run companies can get by for a few months. The big fear for many is if this lasts for six months or more. Very few companies can comfortably


survive decimated trading for that long. There has to be governmental action to return to normality as soon as possible. There are no winners here.


6 Knee-jerk reactions won’t help


It’s all about cash flow conservation in a calm, orderly way. Making knee-jerk reactions with mass redundancies and being unreasonable with contract terms is unlikely to be beneficial. When normality returns, you will be


looking to rehire many of your valued colleagues, while poorly treated customers and suppliers will remember your actions long after coronavirus is forgotten. Most of our clients are acting responsibly


and proportionately and have made key decisions collaboratively, including on flexible employment arrangements. Most teams of employees would


prefer to collectively take a temporary salary cut and work fewer hours


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