Coronavirus Puts Travel Advisors to the Test

Mark Schiefelbein  / Associated Press

A couple wearing face masks walk along a deserted pedestrian shopping street during a snowfall in Beijing. Travel advisors have had to step up and manage their clients’ increasingly growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press

Skift Take: Confusion and fears surrounding the coronavirus are putting travelers on edge and travel advisors in a difficult spot. Travel advisors can present the facts but should not try to influence cancellation decisions.

— Maria Lenhart

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Hilton CEO Says Business Could Be Impacted for Up to a Year From Coronavirus

Hilton

Hilton has had to close about 150 hotels in China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This is the Hilton Wuhan Optics Valley in Wuhan, which is at the epicenter of the outbreak. It had already been closed for renovations. Hilton

Skift Take: Hilton and many other major hotel companies have had to close hundreds of hotels in China in response to the coronavirus. The outbreak could have long-lasting effects on the hotel industry, which has already been grappling with a slowing global economy and other geopolitical issues.

— Nancy Trejos

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Mondee Buys Airfare Wholesaler in Play for Ethnic Travel Agencies

Discover Dominica Authority

The village of Soufrière on the Caribbean island of Dominica, as seen from a viewpoint in Gallion, Dominica. Airfare wholesalers like Mondee help airlines sell tickets to agencies in ethnic communities, such as immigrants to the U.S. who may want to visit extended family in their hometowns in places like the Caribbean. Discover Dominica Authority

Skift Take: Mondee’s acquisition of fast-growing CTS (Cosmopolitan Travel Service) makes the group North America’s largest airfare wholesaler by market size. Notably, Mondee could afford the deal thanks to fresh backing by TCW Group, a giant asset management firm. Lots of insitutional money is seeking opportunities in travel this year.

— Sean O’Neill

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