By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)
“Every day is an opportunity to be a better version of ourselves. Progress is more important than perfection.” Simon Sinek.
“Great leaders believe they work for their team. Average leaders believe their team works for them.” Alexander Den Heijer
“Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond our reach.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
We monitor 30+ countries, 25 daily international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our team on the ground covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.
Many of our newsletter readers send us their input and perspectives to help us publish a balanced overview about the world every other week. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.
Highlights In This Issue
This issue focuses on what is happening in more than 20 countries that impact new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment and travel. A few highlights:
- What global brands are doing to survive COVID-19
- S. State Department lifts the ‘do not travel’ advisory in place since March 19
- Reimagining European restaurants post COVID-19
- the June Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Business Barometer (GBB), tracked sentiment as global executives started thinking about recovery. Readings reveal a variety of views.
- Several updates on international travel ups and down
- The new Global Markets Complexity Index (GMCI) launches to helps multinationals navigate international expansion and contraction
Coping With COVID – What Global Brands are Doing to Survive
In 46 years of doing international business and living in 7 countries, I have seen numerous wars, natural disasters, political meltdowns, and trade disputes. But nothing prepared us for the 2020 Covid-19 global disaster. I have been monitoring what franchisors have done from February to July to manage their international operations. Restaurant, retail, and fitness franchisors have seen their units shut down worldwide, resulting in drastically lower sales and royalties. Unit revenues often fell to zero for several months, as they did in the U.S. My recent article on Franchising.com shows best practice examples of what top international franchisors have done to save their international business and prepare for a better future.
Cell Phone Technology Now and Then
Ashley Short, Director of Operations for Tim Hortons®, published this graphic on LinkedIn. Having owned one of these phones when living in Central Europe in 2000, this is self-explanatory!
The Growth of Digital Business Due to COVID-19
“Yum!’s Digital Business Has Gained Over $1 Billion: Yum! generated $3.5 billion in digital sales in Q2, a 40 percent year-over-year boom that equated to a $1 billion step-up from 2019 levels.”, QSR Magazine, July 2020.
It took the COVID-19 crisis to cause an uptick in e-commerce sales in the U.S.
International Travel Updates
“US State Dept. lifts “do not travel” global travel advisory, but COVID-19 is still a worldwide risk. The U.S. State Department just revoked the emergency “Level 4: Do Not Travel” global advisory implemented on March 19. ‘With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice,’ the department stated in a press release dated Thursday, Aug. 6. ‘We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.’”, The Points Guy, August 6, 2020
This is NOT a joke: “Taiwanese airlines offer fun flights to Japan, but don’t expect to land: Carriers and cruise lines seek to give people an escape from Covid-19 with a range of local holiday packages. Idea comes after Songshan Airport in Taipei began offering airport tours and the chance to sit on a stationary plane on a runway.”, South China Morning Post, August 2, 2020
“When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery: The bad news is very few countries are open to tourism right now. The good news is that some countries are slowly opening up again and more are providing timelines on when travel might again be possible.”, The Points Guy, July 31, 2020
“What to Look for If You Have to Travel for Business: Take these factors into consideration when planning your accommodations during business travel. For a business traveler, traveling and staying in a hotel during the coronavirus pandemic might be a cause for concern. While you may have prepared the company for business travel, it may still feel overwhelming trying to keep up with all of the information that is constantly changing. If you might have to book a business flight soon and find accommodations, you’ll want to be sure you are doing it safely.”, INC.com, August 9, 2020
“This is what it’s like to fly across the Pacific during COVID: The flying experience has been turned upside down since the coronavirus pandemic began affecting travel earlier this year. Perhaps nowhere is the disruption to air travel more pronounced than on international flights, which have borne the worst fallout of the pandemic. So, what is it like to fly overseas right now?”, The Points Guy, August 4, 2020
“The Path Forward: The Airline Industry with Delta CEO Ed Bastian: ‘We are focused on restoring confidence in air travel, particularly the safety and the health of our people, our employees as well as our customers.’”, The Washington Post, August 4, 2020
“Lufthansa Boosts Its Fall Destinations: Boosting its fall season, Lufthansa (LH) has announced that it will operate five further European destinations. The services are set to begin in September and October. Starting on September 7, the carrier will offer services from Munich (MUC) to Marseille (France), Gothenburg (Sweden), Kiev (Ukraine) and Sibiu (Romania). In addition, on October 5, the German company will fly again to Graz (Austria). With these additions, LH expects to operate an increased MUC timetable by the end of October. These include 86 destinations in Germany and Europe and 13 long-haul destinations.”, Airways Magazine, August 4, 2020
“China Adds Flights From Japan and South Korea as Travel Curbs Ease: China allowed more scheduled passenger flights from Japan and South Korea as the Asian countries gradually ease coronavirus travel curbs. But finding affordable tickets is still difficult for many travelers as average prices are up nearly tenfold amid high demand. There will be 15 passenger flights between China and Japan every week in August, up from 12 a week last month, according to the Japanese embassy in China and airline companies.”, Caixin, August 6, 2020
“A growing number of cruise lines are canceling sailings into 2021: The first Crystal voyage now available for booking isn’t until Jan. 5, 2021. Crystal isn’t alone. A growing number of cruise lines are giving up on efforts to bring back voyages before the end of the year. Among them are Celestyal Cruises, which recently canceled all sailings through March 6, 2021, and Victory Cruise Lines, which has dropped all sailings until April 24, 2021. Canada cruise specialist Adventure Canada also has canceled all 2020 departures. One of the world’s biggest cruise lines, Princess Cruises, recently canceled nearly all its sailings in the Caribbean and many other regions through at least Dec. 15.”, The Points Guy, August 8, 2020
“Covid-19 Derails Latin America’s Bid for Middle-Class Prosperity: Region faces a record GDP decline this year and will likely lag behind other emerging markets in any recovery. The pandemic has devastated hundreds of thousands of businesses across Latin America, setting back the clock on the social and economic gains made over the past two decades when a global commodities boom powered breakneck growth. Now Latin America’s economy is expected to contract 9.4% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, the worst downfall on record for a region that was already wrestling with political turmoil and social unrest before it became a hot spot for Covid-19.”, The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2020
The state of Victoria is on a Stage 4 lock down. “A curfew is in place between the hours of 8pm until 5am. This means you must be at your home during these hours. The only reasons to leave home between 8pm and 5am will be work, medical care and caregiving.
The four reasons that you can leave home remain, but further limitations are now in place for: shopping for food or other essential items; exercise (applies to outdoor exercise, and with only one other person); permitted work; and caregiving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment also remains a permitted reason to leave home. As much as you can, you must stay at home. When you leave home, you must use a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so.”, Victoria State Government, Health and Human Services, August 2, 2020
“Restructuring Virgin Australia to shed wide-body jets, shrink to an all-Boeing 737 airline. The Brisbane-based carrier will prune its more fleet of more than 130 planes to just about around 75 Boeing 737s and will shrink its network to include only domestic Australia and short-haul international routes, Virgin Australia said Wednesday.”, The Points Guy, August 5, 2020
“McDonald’s closes restaurants and moves to delivery only in Melbourne while the city is under coronavirus curfew: McDonald’s stores in Melbourne move to delivery-only under Stage 4 lockdown. Popular fast food restaurant said there doors will be shut between 8pm and 5am. Those looking to fix their French fry craving will need to download an app.”, Daily Mail, August 6, 2020
“Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment: Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced that the pandemic leave offer of $1500 may extend to states and territories outside of Victoria. The Prime Minister this week announced a new $1500 payment which will be available to workers who have exhausted, or do not have, sick leave and have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine by a public health official. People will be able to access the payment more than once, if they need to self-isolate more than once. The payment does not apply to people on JobKeeper or JobSeeker.”, Australian Retailers Association, August 5, 2020
“Brazil’s economy: nowhere to go but up?: Brazil’s central bank is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate today to 2%—a record low— amid a devastating recession and the world’s second-highest number of covid-19 deaths. Paulo Guedes, the economy minister, has had to abandon his trademark austerity in favour of measures to help businesses and boost spending, including a monthly payment of 600 reais ($115) to more than 60m Brazilians. The central bank has sought to dispel gloomy predictions. Its president said recently that the economy has started a “V-shaped” recovery and that a previous GDP forecast of -6.4% for 2020 was too pessimistic. The economy ministry thinks the drop will be -4.7%. It is betting on congress to pass an ambitious tax reform that would simplify accounting for businesses and attract more foreign investment. The reform has been years in the making—and has spent years on the shelf—but during a pandemic, anything is possible.”, The Economist, August 5, 2020
“China factory activity expands at fastest rate in 9 years: Manufacturing survey data beat expectations….The Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, a private sector survey, beat expectations to hit 52.8 in July, its highest level in more than nine years. A figure of more than 50 indicates expansion compared with the previous month. The reading reflects a bounce back of activity after a sharp contraction earlier this year, when the country was under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. China’s economy returned to growth in the second quarter and factory activity has increased in each of the past three months.”, The Financial Times, August 3, 2020
“China becomes a refuge for U.S. companies after overcoming COVID-19: U.S. companies, including Nuke and tesla, have been buoyed by strong results from China.”, The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2020
“Costa Rica to begin staggered reopening as July coronavirus cases jump: The Costa Rican government will begin an economic reopening on Saturday in a bid to reverse a sharp coronavirus-induced slowdown, the president said on Wednesday, even though the official tally shows the COVID-19 caseload continuing to rise. The government will allow businesses and restaurants to reopen during the first nine days of August, but will then pause the effort for the following 12 days and resume restrictions, according to Alvarado’s plan, who added that the cycle was expected to be repeated.”, Reuters, July 29, 2020
“Reimagining European restaurants for the next normal: To win in the next normal, European restaurants will need to embrace innovation in their channel strategy, menu offerings, and business model.”, McKinsey, August 5, 2020
“Paris Rolls Out Red Carpet for Those Who Can Make It: Travel restrictions on the U.S. and China, and the threat of a coronavirus rebound, have kept most foreigners away. How desperate is the City of Light for tourists these days? Even the waiters are friendly. The lines are gone. Public transportation is a breeze, with plenty of seating and social-distancing. Hotels and restaurants—bereft of deep-pocketed American, Chinese and Middle Eastern clientele—are hustling to fill rooms and tables. The main beneficiaries: other Europeans.”, The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2020
“Ireland to Introduce COVID-19 Testing at Airports: The Irish government is to introduce COVID-19 testing at airports. The measure is a response to the rise in cases in other countries. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said, ‘We’re introducing random testing at the airports and an increased public health presence…We’re examining other options as well for further restrictions on non-essential travel.’”, Airways Magazine, August 2, 2020
“Japan Sees 1,000-Plus Daily Hikes In Coronavirus Cases As Economy Slowly Rebounds: Japan, which initially saw success in keeping the coronavirus from swamping the nation, posted more than 1,000 new cases for at least five consecutive days between July 29 and Aug. 2, according to local reports, even as the nation eases some portions of a travel ban to boost its economic recovery…the Japanese case counts have been rising, according to Kyodo News and Nipon.com, as the Tokyo metropolitan government on Tuesday reported 309 new cases, with people in their 20s and 30s accounting for about 62% of Tuesday’s cases in the capital.”, Forbes, August 4, 2020
“Kenya Airways Restarts International Flights: Kenya Airways (KO) resumed today its international flights. The carrier is set to fly to about 30 destinations since the routes were suspended due to COVID-19 in March. The airline resumed domestic flights in mid-July after the government cleared local air travel. Air France KLM holds a small stake in KO.”, Airways Magazine, August 1, 2020
“Kuwait Bans Commercial Flights from 31 Countries Over Covid-19: While other flights will resume, countries on the barred list include India, Iran, China, Brazil, Lebanon, Spain, Singapore, Egypt and Sri Lanka, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement. The airport resumed commercial flights on Saturday as part of a phased re-opening after a five-month suspension when the country imposed measures to control the spread of the coronavirus. It plans to reach full capacity by mid-2021.”, Bloomberg, August 1, 2020
“Carl’s Jr. to open new restaurants in Baja California Sur: Outlets to open soon Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo. At a time when restaurants are failing worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, American fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. says it is expanding in Baja California Sur (BCS).”, Mexico News Daily, July 28, 2020
“Coronavirus: New Zealand marks 100 days without community spread: New Zealand has gone 100 days without recording a locally transmitted Covid-19 case, a milestone that has both been welcomed and brought warnings against complacency. The last case of community transmission was detected on 1 May, days after the country started easing its lockdown. Sunday was the fourth day in a row that no new cases of Covid-19 were reported.”, BB News, August 9, 2020
“Copa Airlines will resume commercial operations in mid-August, bringing to an end an almost five-month period where the Star Alliance member’s entire fleet has been grounded because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A wider network expansion is planned from early September, providing additional coronavirus-related travel restrictions are not imposed. The August flight program will only include 10 cities in the region. Copa plans to reach 30%-40% of the company operation by December 2020.”, Enrique Tellez, Franchise Consultant, Panama City
“Philippine Airlines Suspends Domestic Service from Manila: Following the Philippines’ decision to resume lockdown, Philippine Airlines (PR) announced the suspension of its domestic flights at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) until August 18. However, the airline will continue to fly between the capital and international destinations when circumstances allow it. Apart from Manila, PR has not announced the suspension of any other domestic route.”, Airways Magazine, August 5, 2020
“Russia Resumes International Flights To Select Destinations: After approximately four months of international isolation, on Aug. 1 some airports in Russia were able to welcome international departure to a small number of foreign destinations. Earlier in the month, Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor had sent a memo to the Transport Ministry and the Federal Air Transport Agency containing a list of 13 countries that meet epidemiological safety requirements for safe welcome of travelers. The list included the U.K., Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Finland, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and Sri Lanka, online outlet eTN reported.”, Airline Geeks, August 2, 2020
“For the first time in Saudi history, the government barred Muslims from entering the kingdom from abroad for the (annual) Hajj. Some 2.5 million pilgrims usually visit the Saudi Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina for the week-long ritual – a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. But this year as few as 1,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia will take part in the gathering in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.”, Sky News, July 29, 2020
“Singapore Deploys Drones to Monitor Social Distancing: Will Other Tourist Destinations Follow? Singapore‘s police have been trialling two pilotless drones developed by Israel’s Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. The small machines weigh 10 kg (22 pounds) and are programmed to track anomalies such as gatherings and stream footage to the police.”, Skift, August 8, 2020
“The American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (AmCham Thailand) has presented a white paper in responding to the government’s “New Normal” initiative, offering advice about long-term measures to support sustainable economic growth in Thailand.
In the white paper “Better than Before — Creating Long Term Growth in Thailand Post-Covid-19”, AmCham demonstrates its support for the Thai government’s vision of making the nation a high-income country by 2037 and suggests cooperation in key areas such as trade relations, global supply chains, digital economy, small and medium enterprises, tourism, healthcare, and energy to accelerate US investment in the region.”, The Bangkok Post, July 31, 2020
United Arab Emirates
“Emirates Introduces COVID-19 Insurances to Passengers, Cuts Crew Costs: Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, is trying a new method to boost confidence for international travel by introducing a brand-new insurance to passengers. Emirates’ new program will compensate passengers if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel. According to an airline press release, the program is valid from now until the end of October and offered for free to Emirates customers regardless of the passenger’s nationality, class of travel or destination. Passengers will be covered for medical expenses up to 150,000 euros ($176,000) and quarantine costs of 100 euros per day for 14 days. The insurance is valid for 31 days from the start of the passenger’s journey. Passengers will be covered automatically when booking with the carrier and don’t need to register. ‘We are now taking it to a next level, by being the first in the industry to offer our customers free global cover for COVID-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel,’ said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group.”, Airline Geeks, July 29, 2020
“UK manufacturing began the third quarter on a stronger footing with output in July growing at its fastest pace in nearly three years. The closely watched manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 53.3 from 50.1 in June as the lockdown eased and demand picked up. A reading above 50 indicates growth. While the figure was slightly less than the flash estimate of 53.6, it is the highest since March 2019. Orders grew for the first time in five months and optimism increased by the most in two years. Economists cautioned that the sector would take a while to recover from the pandemic. Rob Dobson, at survey compiler IHS Markit, said: ‘There is a significant risk of further redundancies and of furloughed workers not returning unless demand and confidence stage more substantial and long-lasting rebounds in the months ahead.’”, The Times Of London, August 3, 2020
Trend? “Apple asks UK retail landlords to cut rent by 50% and offer a ‘rent-free period’ due to COVID-19. The report explains that Apple would like its rent to match what is being paid by other retailers amid the slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the COVID-19 shutdown and much lower foot traffic, many mall operators in the UK offered discounted rent to their tenants. Simply put, mall operators are looking to incentivize struggling tenants to stick to their lease despite the economic downturn.”, 9to5MAC, August 2, 2020
“More British workers are staying at home than in any other major European nations – but those who have gone back are doing so for longer. Little more than a third (34 per cent) of UK staff are back at their desks. Contrasts with 83 per cent of French office staff and 70 per cent of Germans. But Britons who have returned are doing so for more days a week than rivals.”, The Daily Mail, August 6, 2020
“The British Museum will be re-opening selected galleries to the public from Thursday 27 August. A new one-way route round the Ground Floor and Lower galleries will allow you to see objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Assyria, before exploring Africa, North America, Mexico and the Enlightenment Gallery. everyone – including Members – will need to book a free ticket in advance to visit the Museum. In recognition of your invaluable support, Members will have the opportunity to book ahead of the general public.”, British Museum Friends, August 7, 2020
“63% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay more to have seats blocked. Many airlines instituted blocking middle seats to increase safety for passengers amid the coronavirus, but some have already stopped. Here’s a roundup of airline policies.
Fish Consulting has issued an update on the status of the U.S. restaurant, travel 7 hospitality, fitness, health & wellness, home services, retail and beauty sectors.
“Regal Crown theaters are schedule to reopen on August 21st in California”, Regal Crown Club member email, August 6, 2020
“Here are five charts illustrating U.S. economic trends amid the coronavirus pandemic: States are taking differing approaches to reopening and closing, and the economy is feeling the impact differently depending on the sector. The economic worry tied to rising coronavirus cases has impacted the health of certain areas of the economy.”, CNBC, August 2, 2020
Articles And Charts About Doing Business in The Times Of COVID-19 and Beyond
“COVID-19 seems to have changed lifestyles for good: Google search traffic for cooking, exercise and crafts remains above normal levels.”, The Economist, August 5, 2020
“The third edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Business Barometer (GBB), fielded in June, tracked sentiment as global executives started thinking about recovery. Readings reveal a variety of views. The most optimistic would create a V-shaped chart. Should more disruption follow, we might see a volatile W-shaped chart. More likely is a U-shape, where economies tred the bottom for a period before gradual upturn.”, Economist Intelligence Unit, July 2020
Innovation: “Panera’s Unlimited Coffee Subscription Program Is Already A Big Success: Panera launched an unlimited subscription coffee program in late February, a move CEO Niren Chaudhary called ‘disruptive.’ Indeed, no other chain had launched such a program without restrictions on size, daypart or channel. Then the pandemic hit. Workers stopped commuting to the office (and leaving their homes in general), and the only thing that was actually disrupted was business as usual. Still, Panera has so far managed to break the 835,000-subscriber level on its fledgling, $8.99-a-month program, including over 700,000 sign-ups alone in July.”, Forbes, August 4, 2020
Global Markets Complexity Index: A Guide for Multinationals Navigating Expansion and Contraction Developed in Association with The Wall Street Journal. The GMCI is a framework for geographic footprint strategy that helps multinationals navigate international expansion and contraction. Explore the analysis of market, operational, and regulatory complexity across 100 countries…”, Wilson Perumal & Company, August 10, 2020
“Your ultimate guide to working from home productively: As the remote work experiment drags on, here are five critical things you should be doing every day to maximize productivity. The remote work shift has crystallized into a long-term reality, with many workers accepting (and even looking forward to) this new way of life. Research shows that the longer workers operate remotely, the more likely this habit will stick. Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, anticipates 25-30% of the workforce will be working at home multiple days a week by the end of 2020.”, Fast Company, August 4, 2020
Who We Are And What We Do
Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for U.S. businesses Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets and providing operational support around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working in many countries. Our Associate network on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.
Founded in 2001, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) takes U.S. businesses global and currently has activity in 25 countries. Our Clients are all consumer-faced brands. Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence
Find out more about the services we provide U.S. companies Going Global at: www.edwardsglobal.com
William Edwards has 46 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East. Mr. Edwards was named to the District Export Council of Southern California by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2016 and again in 2019.
William Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor to Chief Executives, of Edwards Global Services (EGS). Contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 949 224 3896.