EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 30, Monday, May 17, 2021

By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, compliments of Christie Brockhage on LinkedIn

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, compliments of Larry Putterman on LinkedIn

“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”, Abraham Joshua Heschel

Highlights in issue #30:

First, a few Personal Comments

International travel capacity continues to increase with many countries opening to tourists. My first international trip this year is now scheduled to Europe to meet with candidates in September. Then to Asia in late November. Progress! There is slow, but consistent vaccination progress across the world with a few developed countries lagging behind.  Surveys of global executives show continuing optimism for 2021 and 2022. 

On the other hand, India remains a huge problem as does development ion new vaccine strains. Brands continue the immense innovation we have seen for over a year as customers are slowing coming back to retail locations. Demand for consumer products outstrips the ability of brands to get supplies. Inflation is a natural outcome of this challenge.

Our Information Sources

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, economic development and travel. 

We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.  Please feel free to send us your input and sources of information. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

Interesting Data and Studies

In our latest McKinsey Global Survey on the economy, executives’ views are as decidedly positive as they were in March—even as the pandemic continues to dwarf other risks to growth. Globally, 73 percent of all respondents believe that conditions in the world economy will improve in the next six months. It’s the largest share to say so all year, while the share of executives expecting worsening conditions has shrunk by more than half in the past three months: 10 percent say so now, down from 23 percent in January”, McKinsey, April 30, 2021

Visualizing Interest Rates by Country in 2021 – Going as far back as the 14th century, pandemics have been found to have a negative effect on interest rates. History shows that this effect is even greater than that of financial crises. Across a study of 19 pandemics since the mid-1300s, real interest rates fell an average of 1.5 percentage points lower in the following two decades than they would have otherwise. And yet, even before COVID-19, structural forces, such as rising debt, were causing interest rates to fall.”, Visual Capitalist, May 2021

Axios Harris Poll 100: Pfizer, Moderna reputations soar post-vaccine – Moderna and Pfizer shot up the ranks this year in the Axios/Harris 100, our annual survey of corporate reputations. Moderna is Americans’ third-favorite company this year, and Pfizer came in at seventh — up from No. 61 a year ago.”, Axios, May 13, 2021

The best countries for digital nomads Iceland, Barbados, Latvia and the Cayman Islands are just some of the countries actively inviting remote workers and entrepreneurs to work from their shores. With tourism revenue down, many countries are scrambling to lure ‘digital nomads’ to their shores to explore exciting new places and build their networks.”, Regus, May 12, 2021

Global Vaccine Update

IBM Surveys 15,000 Globally on Life After the Covid-19 Vaccine – The survey found that, overall, most respondents were confident in the safety, effectiveness, and distribution of the vaccines. One reason cited is that greater transparency helped drive consumer confidence. More than half of respondents said they expect the vaccine to keep them protected even as variants appear.”, and, May 10, 2021

Forget vaccine jabs—next-generation COVID-19 pills and nasal sprays are on their way – Even as the world tries to inject billions of people’s arms to fight against COVID-19, the next generation of coronavirus vaccines could make some of that massively complicated rollout unnecessary—perhaps as early as next spring. Instead of vials shipped around the world, and having to be stored at sub-zero temperatures, the new drugs would look more like this: blister-pack tablets and nasal sprays.”, Fortune, May 4, 2021

This map shows the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people within a given population. Note that this is counted as a single dose, and may not equal the total number of people vaccinated, depending on the specific dose regime as several available COVID vaccines require multiple doses.”, Our World in Data, May 17, 2021

Global and Regional Travel Updates

Rethinking Post-Pandemic Business Travel to China – As the prospect of renewed international travel returns over the course of 2021, companies and individuals find themselves at a potential inflection point when it comes to travel to China.”, Stratfor, May 12, 2021

U.S./U.K. Travel Ban: Airlines Beg To Restart Flights, Worried That June Decision Is Too Late The news on the reopening of the U.K./U.S. border is gradually becoming more promising–the U.S. has downgraded the U.K. from a Level 4: ‘Do Not Travel’ to a Level 3: ‘Reconsider Travel’ and the U.K. is reopening its borders to some countries on 17 May. However, industry professionals are begging the countries to make a decision before it becomes too late to really profit from the summer travel season.”, Forbes, May 14, 2021

EU Travel: An Explainer On What You Need To Visit–Testing, Vaccinations, Digital Green CertificatesThe list of dates when European countries have or are expecting to relax borders is growing and now is the time that most people are locking down summer travel plans……Here’s an explainer on what has been announced so far in regard to traveling internationally to a country in the EU over the summer in terms of what you need to have to travel.”, Forbes, May 16, 2021

Germany Will Allow Vaccinated Travelers to Skip Quarantine and Testing – The German government plans to allow visitors who have been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19 to skip mandatory testing and quarantines.”, Travel and Leisure, May 12, 2021

Delta will require COVID-19 vaccine for new employees – ‘Any person joining Delta in the future, future employees, we’re going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company,’ Chief Executive Ed Bastian told CNN in an interview late Thursday.”, Reuters, May 14, 2021

Italy is reopening to all Americans aboard Delta’s COVID-tested flights – The country, which is in the process of reopening, is ready to welcome all travelers, but only if they’re flying on a COVID-tested flight from the U.S., Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. The policy change is effective from May 16 through July 30, per the Italian health ministry.”, The Points Guy, May 14, 2021

Qantas’ International Flight Resumption Delayed – The Australian Federal Government has revised its options on a significant border re-opening, delaying it to the middle of 2022 in view of its vaccine program completion by end of 2021. As a consequence, QF is revising its plans for the resumption of international flights from the end of October to late December 2021.”, Airways Magazine, May 13, 2021

“BA reveals how airports will look ahead of return of holidays – Online check-in systems, virtual queuing schemes and even a virus-busting UV robot are among a raft of new measures lined up at Heathrow Airport ahead of the lifting of restrictions on non-essential travel next week. Britons will be given the green light to legally leave the UK on Monday when the Government finally opens the airport gates for holidays and trips abroad.”, The London Daily Mail, May 13, 2021

Singapore Announces Lockdown-Like Restrictions As Local Covid Cases Flare Up – Singapore has currently detected 11 active clusters of Covid-19 cases according to the Straits Times and 46 of the country’s current active cases are linked to the city’s Changi Airport. The government is concerned that there may be several hidden cases that have not been detected yet and those could lead to a spread in the larger community.”, Forbes, May 14, 2021

No alternative to vaccine passports, says Dubai airport boss – Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths told the BBC: ‘I don’t think there is an alternative.’”, BBC News, May 15, 2021

The Road Ahead: How COVID-19 has changed the way we travel – Americans are poised to begin traveling again. But how we travel and where we go will not be the same. As vaccinations roll out across the United States and other parts of the world, Americans are poised to begin traveling again. But, as we explore in this package, how we travel and where we go will not be the same. And the places we visit will be inexorably altered.”, Fast Company, May 10, 2021

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble postponed for a second time – ‘In light of the recent increase in unlinked community cases, Singapore is unable to meet the criteria to start the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB,’ Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement. But both sides remained committed to launching the bubble safely, it said. The Hong Kong government said another announcement would come on or before June 13.”, Reuters, May 17, 2021

Country & Regional Updates


Covid-19 jab to be given to every Australian by end of year, Peter Dutton saysThe defence minister told the Today show on Friday the only adults who would not be vaccinated by Christmas would be the ones who did not want the vaccine.“, The London Daily Mail, May 13, 2021

Australia sticks by plan to re-open border in mid-2022 –  ‘All the way through we will be guided by the medical advice,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a televised briefing. “We will be guided by the economic advice.’”, Reuters, May 15, 2021


China’s Services Activity Expands at Fastest Pace in Five Months, Caixin PMI Shows –  The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index, which gives an independent snapshot of operating conditions in the services sector, rose to 56.3 in April from 54.3 the previous month.”, Caixing Global, May 7, 2021

China’s Labor Day Tourism Rebounds to Near Pre-Covid Levels – As many as 230 million domestic trips were made during the five-day holiday that ended 0n May 5, an increase of 119.7% from a year ago…..”, Caixing Global, May 6, 2021

China’s factory output slows as bottlenecks crimp production – Factory output grew 9.8% in April from a year ago, in line with forecasts but slower than the 14.1% surge in March, National Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday. Retail sales, meanwhile, rose 17.7%, much weaker than a forecast 24.9% uptick and the 34.2% surge in March.”, Reuters, May 16, 2021

European Union

The EU’s Economy Bounces BackGDP growth will accelerate in the European Union in the coming months, but risks connected to high debt and deficit levels, along with uncertainty about the future of the economy, will persist. On May 12, the European Commission predicted that the bloc’s GDP will expand by 4.2% in 2021, up from its previous 3.7% growth forecast.”, Stratfor, May 12, 2021

“Europe looks hopefully past infection rates to reopen economies –  Over little more than a week, France lifted its travel ban, Spain allowed its six-month old “state of alert” to lapse and Germany eased lockdown. Italy has also steadily loosened restrictions over the past month, with people anticipating returning soon to gyms and indoor pools.”, The Financial Times, May 16, 2021


India: Individual States Look to Import Foreign Vaccines – The governments of the Indian states of Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana, among others, have placed global tenders for COVID-19 vaccines as domestic supplies fail to meet growing demand, Asian Age reported May 12.”, Stratfor, May 12, 2021


Come visit Italy, Draghi says after G20 tourism meeting – Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged foreigners on Tuesday to book their summer holidays in Italy, saying it was set to introduce travel passes from the middle of May, sooner than much of the rest of Europe.”, Reuters, May 4, 2021


Heading to Mexico? These Are the COVID Restrictions in Place – From Tulum to Oaxaca, here’s what to expect if you’re visiting Mexico, from pre-departure requirements to what’s open on the ground.”, CNN Traveler, May 13, 2021

New Zealand

New Zealand PM sets out plans to re-connect with post-pandemic world – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday her government will explore more travel “bubbles” and lead trade delegations later this year to re-connect with a post-pandemic world after more than a year of border closures.”, Reuters, May 12, 2021


Oman ends coronavirus night curfew, orders overnight trading ban – Oman will end a nightly curfew on Saturday designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, but shops and commercial activities will be banned from 8pm until 4am, the Supreme Committee for Combating Coronavirus said.”, Reuters, May 13, 2021


Portugal opens borders to British tourists for travel from Monday – Portugal, whose economy heavily depends on tourism, made the move despite an EU ban on non-essential travel from countries outside the bloc. It said that tourists from Britain will have to present evidence of a negative PCR Covid test taken 72 hours before they depart.”, The London Times, May 7, 2021

Portugal’s hotels see huge spike in booking requests after UK gives green light on international travel – The U.K. government said on Friday that from May 17 travelers from England will not need to quarantine when returning from Portugal. They will have to take a Covid PCR test within two days of their arrival in the U.K.— but this is a much simpler process compared to the rules applied to other destinations.”, CNBC, May 13, 2021


Singapore Announces Lockdown-Like Restrictions As Local Covid Cases Flare Up – Singapore has currently detected 11 active clusters of Covid-19 cases according to the Straits Times and 46 of the country’s current active cases are linked to the city’s Changi Airport.”, Forbes, May 14, 2021


Vaccination, Improved External Environment Reduce Economic Risks for Spanish Economy, Central Bank Says – An acceleration in the vaccination pace in Europe and the improvement of economic prospects abroad reduce the risks for the outlook of the Spanish economy, according to the annual report of the central bank of Spain published on Thursday.”, The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2021


Pandemic tourism in Turkey – Turks are stuck indoors. Foreigners have the country to themselves. As of May 15th, travellers from more than a dozen countries, including Britain, will no longer be required to produce a negative covid-19 test on arrival in Turkey.”, The Economist, May 15, 2021

United Kingdom

UK economy set to grow at fastest rate in more than 70 years – The economy is expected to expand by 7.25% this year, with extra government spending helping to limit job losses. However, it follows a contraction of 9.9% in 2020, the biggest in 300 years. Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, said the recovery was “strong” but likened it to ‘more of a bounce back’ than a boom.”, BBC News

Pubs and restaurants welcome you in from the cold from May 17 – The prime minister will formally announce this afternoon that England will move to stage three of its road map out of lockdown, with mixing allowed indoors in groups of six from Monday. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve inside again.”, The Times of London, May 10, 2021

United States

Optimism rises among (U.S) small business owners even as many struggle to hire – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.6 points in April, to 99.8, from a month before. The index is up from a reading of 95 in January, but down from 104 in the fall. The reading is about 2 points above the historical average.”, Axios, May 12, 2021

Vaccinated Americans are raring to travel, survey shows, and are booking up summer vacations97% of users surveyed by TripIt, the travel management platform, said they plan to travel in 2021, with more than half planning to fly somewhere within the United States by June.”, The Points Guy, May 12, 2021

More than a dozen Las Vegas casinos cleared to operate at 100% capacity – Three of the biggest casino operators in Nevada — MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Station Casinos — were all approved to return to full casino capacity with no social distancing restrictions. The news, announced Wednesday, means 24 casinos across the valley can now immediately resume operating at 100% capacity.”, The Points Guy, May 13, 2021

CDC advances plan for resumption of U.S. passenger cruise operations – On Wednesday, it announced two new phases and said operators now have all necessary requirements needed ‘to start simulated voyages before resuming restricted passenger voyages and apply for a COVID-19 conditional sailing certificate to begin sailing with restricted passenger voyages.’ The CDC said on April 28 it was “committed” to the resumption of cruise industry passenger operations by mid-summer as it issued some clarifications of its earlier order.”, Reuters, May 5, 2021

Brand News

Carl’s Jr. Parent CKE Restaurants Evolves Into A ‘Global Operation’ With 1,000th International Milestone – In total, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have more than 3,900 restaurants in 44 U.S. states and 40 countries and U.S. territories. The company will enter Peru this year, making it 41 countries…..about 60% of CKE’s development from the past 10 years has come from international markets.”, Forbes, May 20, 2021

Maggiano’s Little Italy is #1 – Italian Chain Restaurants Ranked From Worst To Best. It doesn’t come as a surprise that one out of every eight restaurants in the United States serves Italian food, which means there are approximately 100,000 Italian restaurants in the country.”, Mashed, April 16, 2021

Applebee’s And IHOP Are ‘All In’ On Ghost Kitchens And Virtual Brands – Consider the company’s off-premise numbers, indicating that both Applebee’s and IHOP are now a balanced dine-in and off-premise business. Applebee’s off-premise sales are nearly 37% of the sales mix, with delivery accounting for 14.7% and takeout accounting for 22%. IHOP’s off-premise sales are more than 33%, with delivery at 16.4% and takeout at 16.9%.”, Forbes, May 6, 2021

Burger King (UK) launches first ever ‘dark kitchen’ as home delivery surges – The fast food chain is currently trialing the initiative at a kitchen in Kentish Town, London. If successful, the kitchen could mean that Burger King can serve roughly 400,000 customers in the north London area.”, The Independent, May 17, 2021

McDonald’s eyes 100 more restaurants over next three years as part of $600m investment plan. A majority of new restaurants will include a drive-thru, McDelivery and digital ordering. The fast food giant, which currently has 1,007 restaurants and employs over 106,000 people in the country (Australia).” QSR Media Australia, May 1, 2021. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, ‘Franchise News’

Articles & Studies About Doing Business Going Forward

Celebrating Small Businesses—The R&D Of The U.S. EconomyName a large successful firm that didn’t start off as a small innovative enterprise, there aren’t any. Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, McDonald’s etc.—their stories are inspirational and there are a million such stories of a different scale and flavor that populate Main Street across the country and employ about half our workforce. Entrepreneurs are free to try out their ideas. The market picks the winners, the losers go on to try other ideas.”, Forbes, May 4, 2021

“Restaurants Plan for Post-Covid Renewal: Smaller Menus, Merch Stores, Healthcare for Workers. The pandemic provided a window of experimentation. Here’s what chefs, restaurateurs and industry experts think will stick. For many restaurant owners, pandemic-related labor shortages laid bare what was no longer working in an industry defined by its unrelenting work culture, and provided a window for experimentation. Many restaurants reopened post-lockdown with permanently revised pay structures and operations, as well as new standards to address burnout.”, The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2021

10 Marketing Predictions for a New Decade – ‘What do the next 5 years have in store? Will buyers continue to crave more choice and personalization? Will technologies like AI and machine learning present new ways to market? Or will forward-looking businesses reinvent marketing in ways we haven’t even thought of yet?’”., May 13, 2021

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Mid-March 2021 GlobalVue™

William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor of Edwards Global Services (EGS). He 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 advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands.

My latest article:  “LEADERSHIP – We Spoke to William (Bill) Edwards of Edwards Global Services on Being an Effective Leader During Turbulent Times.”, Authority magazine, April 22, 2021

For truly global market research, operations and development support across 40 countries, contact Mr. Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.  Click here to schedule a call with Bill Edwards to discuss how to succeed in developing your company around the world.