Travel News

Canada tops America as the world’s favorite workplace - YAHOO FINANCE

MARCH 04, 2021

BY  Rick Newman

America didn’t do so great in 2020. The national response to the coronavirus pandemic was haphazard, with foolish fights over masks and distancing. The George Floyd killing triggered a ferocious outpouring of rage, violence and racist counter-protests. Then President Trump refused to admit he lost the presidential election, fomenting an anti-democratic uprising that culminated in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol early this year.

The world noticed this shabby performance. The United States dropped from first to second place among the best countries to relocate to, in a survey of 209,000 workers in 190 countries by Boston Consulting Group and Appcast, a job advertising firm. Canada ranked No. 1. Boston Consulting has done the survey twice before, in 2014 and in 2018. The United States ranked first both times, while Canada ranked third.

The report attributes the U.S. drop to “an inconsistent pandemic response, the adoption of more nationalistic policies, and social unrest.” It doesn’t cite Trump by name, but Trump’s “America first” approach included a reduction in legal immigration, a cutback in temporary skilled workers allowed into the country, and anti-immigrant rhetoric dating to the beginning of his presidential campaign in 2015. It’s hardly a surprise that would have made the United States seem less welcoming.

The surveys took place from October to December of last year, a period of time when Trump himself contracted Covid-19 and the Trump White House was the source of at least one superspreader event. At 1,600 deaths per 1 million people, the U.S. has the 10th worst coronavirus death rate out of more than 200 countries. Canada’s death rate is 581 per million, 64% lower than in the U.S.

The United States wasn’t the only country to lose luster in the survey. Germany fell from second in 2018 to fourth in 2020, probably because of a spurt of anti-immigration sentiment. The UK ranked second in 2014, but fell to fifth in 2019 and 2020. The UK’s chaotic exit from the European Union – Brexit – occurred in 2016 and wasn’t finalized until the end of 2020. The UK also struggled with a high coronavirus death rate.

Countries moving up in the BCG welcome index include No. 3 Australia, No. 6 Japan and No. 10 New Zealand. Each has a coronavirus death rate far lower than the global average.

Here’s how the top 10 have changed since 2014:

Source: Boston Consulting Group
Source: Boston Consulting Group

Workers in general were less willing to relocate to another country in 2020, most likely because of the coronavirus. The portion of survey respondents working abroad or willing to work abroad fell from 63.8% in 2014 to 57.1% in 2018 to 50.4% last year. Most of the respondents were young or mid-career workers with a college education, since those are the types of workers needed by the big firms BCG does consulting work for.

The United States is rebounding better from the coronavirus downturn than many countries, thanks to aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus and a generally resilient economy. But America is hardly the best at everything, as some Americans might think. It fell from first to second in the 2019 World Economic Forum global competitiveness report, behind Singapore. In 2020, the WEF ranked countries on their pathway to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, with the U.S. ranking 5th. The World Bank, in its ease-of-doing-business assessment, ranks the U.S. 6th.

On health care, the U.S. performs much worse. The United States endures higher mortality and disease rates than wealthy countries do, on average, with the highest costs in the world, by far. That’s one of the problems President Joe Biden has vowed to tackle, but he faces daunting challenges. The world’s most celebrated democracy only ranks 19th in government effectiveness, in part because of the difficulty passing legislation in the U.S. Senate. For anybody wondering, Canada ranks 10th.

Five arrested with fake COVID-19 certificate in Lagos airport - PUNCH

MARCH 05, 2021

BY  Joseph Olaoluwa

The Nigeria Police, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos Command has arrested and paraded five COVID-19 certificate suspects at the airport, while two others are still at large.

The suspects, Achibong Idonrenyin, Moses Samuel, Popoola Adewala, Wale Aderele and Abdulmalik Ibrahim, the police said deal in selling fake COVID-19 negative certificates to unsuspecting travellers within the international wing of the airport.

The suspects at large are Shehu Imam and Adeola Dalington who work with Sky Blue Services Limited, a cleaning service at the airport.

Briefing journalists on Thursday,  the Commissioner, Airports Command, Mr Bature Umar, said the incident occurred on February 19 at the airport where a British Airways passenger, Michael Osagbogun, was defrauded of the sum of N50,000 for COVID-19 test.

According to the commissioner, one of the suspects had approached Osagbogun promising to produce a Covid-19 test negative certificate for him.

Umar explained that one of the suspects took the victim to DAT Cybercafe at No. 4, Oriyomi Street, Ikeja where a fake COVID-19 negative certificate was eventually procured for him.

Despite the payment, he said, the victim who was on his way to London, the United Kingdom was denied boarding by the officials of the airline based on the fake COVID-19 negative certificate he presented at the counters.

Airlines are changing their flight destinations after the devastating shock of Covid - CNBC

MARCH 05, 2021

BY  Silvia Amaro


  • “European carriers will pivot to leisure travel,” Adrian Yanoshik, an equity analyst at Berenberg, told CNBC.
  • Budget airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet have always lured costumers to take breaks in sunny European destinations, such as Greece, Spain and Italy.
  • However, more airlines could do the same, such as Lufthansa and British Airways, which have traditionally catered to those traveling for work purposes.

A picture taken on February 28, 2021 shows palm trees on the empty "Promenade des anglais" in Nice, on the French riviera. A picture taken on February 28, 2021 shows palm trees on the empty “Promenade des anglais” in Nice, on the French riviera. VALERY HACHE | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Airlines in Europe are looking at sunshine and beaches as their route to making money again.

The sector has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with people being advised to stay at home. Lufthansa said on Thursday that it registered a 75% drop in the number of passengers between 2019 and 2020 — highlighting the devastating impact experienced by many airlines since Covid hit.

However, they are now studying ways to adjust business models as economies attempt to reopen in the coming months.

“European carriers will pivot to leisure travel,” Adrian Yanoshik, an equity analyst at Berenberg, told CNBC Wednesday. “This is a tactical response. You follow the flow of people,” he said.

As European economies look at easing restrictions, it’s expected that people will try to go on vacation as soon as possible, after about a year of being stuck at home. In contrast, business travel is seen as taking longer to recover.

I think we will see somewhat less corporate travel and more leisure travel. Rickard Gustafson CEO OF SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES

“Am I gonna do the one-day trip from London to New York for a three-hour meeting? Probably not, so there will be some impact on business travel,” Keith Barr, CEO of IHG Hotels & Resorts, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” last month.

Rickard Gustafson, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, is also expecting “some significant shifts in the dynamics of the (airline) market.”

“I think we will see somewhat less corporate travel and more leisure travel,” he told CNBC. “We need to adapt our operation more towards seasonality to a larger extent than we do today,” he added.

Budget airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet have always lured costumers to take breaks in sunny European destinations, such as Greece, Spain and Italy. However, more airlines could do the same, such as Lufthansa and British Airways, which have traditionally catered to those traveling for work purposes.

“Corporate travel will be above 2019 levels by the end of the decade,” Stephen Furlong, senior analyst at wealth management firm Davy, told CNBC over the phone, adding that on the other hand leisure travel could snap back “very quickly.”

A different cabin mix

Corporate travel has led airlines to develop business class, premium seats and loyalty cards. But as part of a new focus toward leisure, analysts are expecting a different plane layout.

“You’re going to get a cabin reconfiguration,” Furlong said, mentioning how business class will be a much smaller part of the airplane. “The size of the aircraft is (also) smaller,” he added.

Looking at how budget airlines have traditionally organized their aircraft, there is clearly a much smaller focus on premium clients. In fact, Ryanair, for instance, doesn’t have a loyalty card for frequent flyers.

People sit on the "Castel" beach along the "Promenade des anglais" on the French Riviera city of Nice, southern France. People sit on the “Castel” beach along the “Promenade des anglais” on the French Riviera city of Nice, southern France. VALERY HACHE | AFP | Getty Images

“This is likely to be a temporary phenomenon. They are going to repivot to corporate (travel),” Yanoshik from Berenberg also said.

But with more airlines focusing on leisure travel in the short to medium-term, he added that ticket pricing “will be weak.”

Vaccine passports

European airlines are hoping that vaccine passports will be used as a way to recover some lost business this year.

The idea of a vaccine passport is still being discussed by European politicians, but the travel industry sees it as a must to allow some travel to return during this summer season.

“Within the industry, IATA is pushing extremely hard” for this idea, Andrew Lobbenberg, an equity analyst at HSBC, told CNBC.

The International Air Transport Association is actually working on a travel pass, a digital platform where passengers can upload their health information. It has asked EU leaders to introduce vaccine passports so customers can feel safe traveling again.

Vaccine passports “will end up being part of the reopening of air travel,” Lobbenberg said.

Travel industry bets on vaccine passports to draw Brits to the Mediterranean - REUTERS

MARCH 05, 2021

By Sarah Young, Clara-Laeila Laudette, Laurence Frost

LONDON/MADRID/PARIS (Reuters) - The race to roll out vaccination passports is spurring competition among travel companies and tourist destinations for the large number of Britons set to receive COVID-19 shots before the summer.

Thanks to its swift vaccine deployment here, Britain is the only major European country likely to inoculate a large share of working-age adults by the peak season. They may become the first big regional test of digital health credentials in development.

Airlines such as easyJet saw outbound bookings from Britain surge last week as the government raised the prospect of a return to quarantine-free summer travel, and the European Union agreed to develop vaccine passports under pressure from tourism-dependent southern countries.

But cooped-up consumers’ getaway plans face reality checks – from unpredictable virus variants to lingering EU divisions over vaccine passports, with France leading resistance from several states over political and discrimination concerns.

Britain’s tentative move towards restoring travel “puts pressure on other countries to do the same, which is good for us”, said Grigoris Tasios of the Greek Hoteliers’ Federation. Greece has eased restrictions for vaccinated Israelis and is discussing a similar arrangement with the UK.

Tourism from Germany, another big travel market lagging the UK on vaccinations, hinges on Berlin dropping quarantines for tested passengers, Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said this week.

In the aftermath of Britain’s departure from the EU, its reputedly unruly tourists are at the centre of a battered travel industry’s summer hopes.

Spain, typically Britons’ number-one destination by far, has pushed hard for EU vaccination certificates. The island of Mallorca’s mostly shuttered hotels anxiously await details, their spokeswoman Maria Duran said.

“We’re paying very close attention to the UK, the first country to design and share a roadmap for restoring mobility,” she said. Spain saw UK visitor numbers plunge to 3.1 million last year from more than 18 million in 2019.


Athens is appealing directly to British consumers.

Those with shots will be spared tests, with or without the EU’s blessing, tourism minister Harry Theocharis said in UK media interviews.

Tourism sustains a fifth of Greece’s workforce and economy, hit by a 76% drop in international arrivals last year and 14 billion euros ($17 billion) in lost sector revenue.

Greece’s position, and similar Spanish assurances, contrast with the message from France, the second-ranked destination for Britons – which is in no hurry to welcome them back.

“Don’t come,” the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi advised potential overseas visitors last month as the Mediterranean city grappled with a faster-spreading COVID-19 variant first identified in Britain. “It’s not the time.”

As a result, airlines and tour operators are pushing “sun-and-sea” bookings to Spain, Greece and Portugal in a bid to bring in much-needed cash.

“The trend now is towards what’s likely to be open,” said Toby Kelly, CEO of UK travel agency Trailfinders, pointing to a “massive pickup in demand” to Greek destinations.

“Greece has been the big story, with its government totally behind vaccine certificates.”

Without waiting for Brussels, Cyprus joined the rush on Thursday, announcing that vaccinated UK tourists could enter from May 1 without testing or quarantine.

Andy Davies, a 43-year-old British company director who booked a Mallorca villa for July after getting vaccinated, said he was reassured by Britain’s reopening plans and “noises coming out of Europe about the vaccine passport”.

Free cancellation guarantees on the rental and easyJet flights also helped, he said.

“Clearly there are still risks.”


Whether and how a EU vaccination passport would work with UK and other versions is unclear. Airlines are developing a Travel Pass app through industry body IATA, while the World Economic Forum is working on another alternative, CommonPass. See FACTBOX:

Without digitisation, document checks will quickly become unworkable when travel picks up, IATA warns. Even at 10% of pre-crisis traffic, test paperwork is already creating airport bottlenecks as staff spend 20 minutes with each passenger.

“Without automating these procedures (it’s) going to be very difficult to get everyone away over the summer,” Heathrow Airport boss John Holland-Kaye said. “All airports would have queues out the door.”

Even after the EU go-ahead at a Feb. 25 summit, ambivalence among governments like France, Germany and Belgium could hamper vaccine passports’ deployment.

“I would not accept a system that makes access to this or that country conditional on a (vaccine) certificate,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. “Our younger people will not have been vaccinated by the end of June or July.”

Airlines are aware of the sensitivities.

“I think we should not call it a vaccine passport,” Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said recently. “It’s really a digital health app.”

A government-issued pass with international backing “won’t come out quickly enough for this summer”, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary predicted this week. Instead, Ryanair plans to enable medical certificate uploads to its customer app, in the hope authorities will accept them.

Without faster progress towards an international standard, more governments are likely to go their own way.

French regional airports are usually thronged with the 10 million UK passengers who fly in each year – the biggest national contingent. But they are worried about losing another summer, their UAF association chief Thomas Juin said, unless Paris sets out its own terms for a tourism revival.

“The more time goes by with Spain and Greece taking action, the more France is going to be left behind,” he added.

Reporting by Sarah Young in London, Clara-Laeila Laudette in Madrid and Laurence Frost in Paris; Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris in Athens, Belen Carreno in Madrid, Conor Humphries in Dublin and Michel Rose in Paris; Writing by Laurence Frost; Editing by Pravin Char

London remains most desirable city in the world - CITY A.M

MARCH 05, 2021

A study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Totaljobs shows London remains the most attractive city to live and work in, despite uncertainty around Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Global Talent Survey was based on a study of over 200,000 participants in 190 countries.

London proved to be the most popular for workers from countries with historic and language links to the UK, such as South Africa and Nigeria, those with historic working links such as Portugal and Romania.

London also appealed most to the highly educated and people working in digital or professional roles.

The most favoured sectors in London were the legal (21 per cent), insurance (21 per cent), finance (20 per cent), and health and social care sectors (18 per cent).

The UK retained its fifth place in rankings of the most desirable countries for work.

The US lost its spot at the top of the list for the first time, now overtaken by Canada which is up from third in 2018.

Countries that had an efficient public health response such as Singapore and New Zealand were in the top ten most desirable countries for the first time.

New York also dropped from second place in 2018 to eighth place in 2020.

Overall willingness to move abroad decreased in light of the pandemic, travel restrictions and uncertain economic conditions.

Around 50 per cent of people surveyed were open to moving to another country for work, down from 64 per cent in 2014 and 57 per cent in 2018.

Young workers (64 per cent) were most open to moving abroad, as well as those working in the legal (73 per cent), IT and technology (66 per cent) and science and research industries (60 per cent).

The majority of workers globally (57 per cent) would be open to staying in their home country while working for an employer based abroad.

Openness to virtual work is especially high for people working in tech. 71 per cent of people with digital or analytics backgrounds said they would be willing to work for an overseas company.

Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs said: “London’s enduring popularity as a destination for work is great news for the UK. It’s encouraging to see that British employers can continue to attract the best talent from the global workforce, in part due to London’s long-standing reputation as a multi-cultural hub for international trade and its strong employment offering.”

“This said, there’s still work to do in remedying labour shortages in key industries which are less conducive to remote working, particularly social care, logistics, and hospitality. However, the rise and normalisation of global remote working will help to expand the available talent pool, which looks set to benefit employers governments and workers alike,” he added.

Nick South, managing director and partner at BCG said: “The long-term impact of Covid on the way we work has raised important questions about the future of cities. While people are looking for ore flexibility in how they work, a city like London still has huge global appeal for its dynamism, diversity and career opportunities.

“At the same time as designing future working models that tap into new talent pools, leaders need to recognise the magnetic power that cities like London have, and re-create and harness the buzz and energy that draws people to them.”

MMA2 takes delivery of $500,000 x-ray machines - PUNCH

MARCH 06, 2021

BY  Joseph Olaoluwa

The Management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Terminal 2 has received new x-ray machines and air conditioners from the United States.

Group Corporate Affairs Manager of BASL, operator of MMA2, Mikail Mumuni, in a statement on Friday said the equipment imported from the US arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos Wednesday night from where they were later moved to MMA2.

He added that installation of the x-ray machines and air conditioners would commence on Friday evening and that this would be completed within one week.

Prior to this development, BASL said it spent $500,000 importing x-ray machines to enhance and accelerate the screening of passengers and cargoes.

The BASL spokesman quoted the acting Head of Business of the company, Mr Ralph Uchegbu, as saying that ‘the installation of the new X-ray machines and air conditionals will further reinforce the status of MMA2 as the nation’s pre-eminent airport terminal in terms of customers security and comfort’.

Lagos State to close Marine Bridge for three months - PUNCH

MARCH 06, 2021

BY  Joseph Olaoluwa

The Lagos State Government has announced the partial closure of the Marine Bridge for three months for emergency repair works on the Apapa outward section of the bridge.

The closure date is expected to last from Tuesday, March 9 to Monday, June 21, 2021, according to a statement titled ‘LASG to close Marine Bridge for emergency repairs’.

The statement signed by the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde was released on Friday.

Oladeinde stated that the partial closure was necessary to maintain the bridge infrastructure.

The maintenance work includes removal and cleaning of the existing expansion joints to prevent further deterioration.

The commissioner explained that during the period of the partial closure, traffic would be diverted to alternative routes, while Apapa inward lane would be divided into two lanes to allow counter flow of traffic.

To ameliorate the effect of the expected traffic, palliative works had been completed on alternative routes to ease movement, the statement said.

Motorists inwards Apapa were advised to make use of Total underneath the bridge to connect Naval Dockyard to Danlami to Leventis corridor and/or to connect Marine Beach by Mobil through Federal Fire Service/Obanikoro to Naggaf/North Avenue to Wharf Road.

Similarly, motorists from Ajegunle inwards Iganmu/or Ijora were directed to use Agbo Malu to Tego Barracks to Total underneath the bridge and ascend Marine bridge to connect their desired destinations.

US Pledges Improvements in Visa Applicants’ Experience - THISDAY

MARCH 06, 2021

The United States Consulate General in Lagos has unveiled its newly expanded and renovated consular pavilion that seeks to improve the experience that visa applicants and American citizens in Nigeria.

Speaking during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, United States Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, noted that the renovated consular pavilion would provide a new safe space for visa applicants to socially distance while waiting for their appointment.

She said the Consulate was working hard to reschedule the visa applicants that were affected by the pandemic, adding that the new consular pavilion will go a long way in helping to achieve this goal.

“For most Nigerians and U.S. citizens in Nigeria, their main interaction with the U.S. Consulate is through our consular section. The consular customer experience is something we continuously improve on. This new pavilion is an example of that effort. From the pavilion to the interview, we want our customers to have a positive experience,” Consul General Pierangelo said.

In her remarks, Consular Chief, Liliane Hudspeth, explained that the new consular pavilion offers visitors a larger, more comfortable covered waiting area, protection from sun, rain, and inclement weather as well as a great view of the Lagos lagoon.

She added that the consular section had introduced a range of measures to meet the increased expectation of safety. “We have put in place safety measures that not only protect our visa applicants but also consular staff who serve those applicants,” Consular Chief Hudspeth said.

Management Officer William Bridgeland lauded the cooperation between the U.S. Consulate Facility Maintenance team and the local Nigerian construction contractor. “Over the past six months, our team and the Nigerian contractor have worked tirelessly to construct this comfortable waiting area. We thank them for a job well done,” Bridgeland added.

The U.S. Consulate General Lagos is one of the busiest consular sections in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Consulate General Lagos received an average of 1,000 visa and American Citizen Services customers per day.

UK government unveils 'Declaration to Travel' permits for outbound travellers - YAHOO FINANCE

MARCH 06, 2021

BY  Suban Abdulla

Travellers from England face fines and being denied access to board flights under new travel rules coming into force from 8 March.

The UK government has unveiled a "Declaration to Travel" permit for anyone travelling abroad from England, requiring them to prove that they are allowed to travel.

The form states that outbound travellers from England can go overseas despite the lockdown and travel restrictions if they can prove they are doing so for legally exempt reasons including education and work purposes.

This means that those who enter "a port of departure to travel internationally" without the completed forms will be "committing a criminal offence," even if they are legally allowed to travel for work, education or medical reasons, the government said.

Those who fail to comply with the rules face a £200 ($277) to a maximum of £6,400 fine, the Department for Transport warned.

"You do not need to complete the form yourself if you are under the age of 18 or if you lack capacity to complete the form. If a responsible adult is travelling with you, they should complete a separate copy of the form on your behalf."

While those going overseas will have to fill in a form, travellers from England who are travelling within the UK, Ireland and Channel islands and the Island of Man do not need to complete a form.

Outbound England travellers have to fill in the three page form, which includes their personal details, address, passport number and destination, they also have to tick a box declaring that they are leaving the country.

It can be downloaded from the government's website, completed and signed before travel and people must carry a physical copy or download it onto a mobile phone.

Currently, all travel, whether in the UK or overseas, is not permitted under the "stay at home" order. The earliest possible date for international travel for leisure from England is 17 May.

Airlines will check travellers' forms before boarding or during check-in online or at the desk, and the government said that they are legally required to state on their website the requirement to fill out the form.

There are different rules for the devolved administrations and at present no declaration of travel forms are required in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Those arriving in the UK from abroad have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, some people are required to pay to self-isolate at a hotel upon return to the country.

Covid-19: English travellers face fines and losing flights without new permit - BBC

MARCH 06, 2021

By Simon Read Business reporter, BBC News

Anyone travelling overseas from England from Monday will have to prove they are allowed to travel, or risk being turned away from the airport and fined.

They will need to complete a "Declaration to Travel" document from a government website.

The form sets out that their trip is permitted under current restrictions, such as for education or work.

Police officers will be conducting spot checks and may ask travellers to produce a completed form.

It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine, the Department for Transport warned.

The form must be downloaded from the government's website, signed before travel and carried or downloaded on to a mobile phone.

The three-page form requires travellers to fill out their personal details and tick a box indicating why they are leaving the country.

Airlines will check the forms have been completed before boarding, either at check-in (online or check-in desk) or at the departure gate.

Passengers who do not have a valid form may be denied access to their flight.

Airlines are legally obliged to set out on their website that the form must be completed before travelling.

Current lockdown restrictions mean it is illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason, such as for work, volunteering, education, medical grounds or funerals.

Foreign holidays for people in England will not be permitted before 17 May under Boris Johnson's roadmap for easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Passengers who are identified by police as attempting to travel internationally for reasons that are not currently permitted will be asked to return home and risk being fined for breaking the rules.

The fines start at £200 and soar to a maximum of £6,400.

What about travelling from Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales?
There are slightly different restrictions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales but, as yet, no declaration for travel form is required.

Under current UK-wide Covid-19 restrictions, you must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

It is illegal to travel abroad from anywhere in the UK for holidays and other leisure purposes.

Travellers arriving anywhere in the UK now have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, while some must pay to self-isolate at a hotel.


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