By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” — Zig Ziglar, An American author, salesman, and motivational speaker.
“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.” — James Baldwin
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” — Colin Powell
The goal of this newsletter is to provide an update on the economic and business situation around the world. 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.
Several newsletter readers have asked what our company has been doing during the COVID-19 crisis. We are currently working with U.S. franchisors in the auto service, education, fitness, F&B, senior care and other service sectors, expanding their brands into new global markets. Since March 2020 we have kept in touch with existing Client licensee candidates in Australia, China, Italy, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom. We have increased our market research and market intelligence efforts, using our on-the-ground team covering 43 countries. We are able to provide in-country Mystery Shopper services, as well as unit franchise audits using our in-country Associates.
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 20+ countries that impact consumer spending, business investment and travel. A few highlights:
- At the request of several international readers, we are also including updates on what is happening in the U.S., while staying far away from politics.
- See the important multi-sector report from McKinsey on the COVID-19 Implications for business and download the excellent telecommuting infographic during the COVID-19 crisis near the end of this newsletter.
- A global analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on franchising is also included by John Wiley and Sons legal firm under the Brazil entry.
- Saudi Arabia will limit the annual Hajj to 1,000 pilgrims, down from the normal more than 2 million who attend in one year.
- The return to international air travel remains spotty and restricted as international airlines slowly start adding cross border flights.
The coronavirus effect on global economic sentiment
“Since early April, a growing number of businesses and governments around the world have begun to reopen, ushering in a new—if tenuous—phase of the coronavirus situation. Likewise, the results from our latest McKinsey Global Survey on the economy (conducted from May 4 to May 8, 2020) point to an and increased growth rates in the months ahead The online survey.….. garnered responses from 2,514 participants representing the full range of regions, industries, company sizes, functional specialties, and tenures.”, McKinsey report, June 2020
International Travel Updates
“How To Safely Fly On An Airplane: Airlines have stepped up cleaning and social distancing measures at the airport and on the plane. Travelers should bring a mask and check with their carrier for new policies on seat assignment, boarding, and food and beverage service on the plane. Pro tip: Open the air vent above your seat.”, Chelsey Zhu, Forbes, June 26, 2020
“Europe Travel: US Banned, But Here’s 54 Countries Who Can Visit: Americans remain banned from Europe travel as the EU opens its borders to international tourism in July. A draft list of 54 low-risk Covid-19 countries to be welcome includes Australia, Canada and Costa Rica. The US along with Brazil, Russia and Qatar are not included.”, Forbes, June 28, 2020
“Asia-Pacific makes a tentative return to international travel: Asia will embark on an ultra-cautious return to international travel when about 440 Japanese businesspeople will take “exceptional” flights to Vietnam over the next three days. According to officials involved in the negotiations, countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are struggling to agree on broader rules for travel as they try to protect the advances they made in controlling coronavirus.”, The Financial Times, June 24, 2020
“With travel restrictions set to be lifted, sales of air tickets are rocketing: The rush to the beach is back on after the government allowed summer holidays to go ahead, with travel operators seeing an explosion in bookings in the past 24 hours. Demand was so high that the Eurotunnel website crashed briefly yesterday, with the channel tunnel operator reporting three times the usual level of bookings for this day of the year. Ministers are expected to announce this week the opening of quarantine-free “air corridors” to at least 15 countries including Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Germany and Croatia from July 6.”, The Times of London, June 28, 2020
“Turkish Airlines (TK) has announced the restart of flights to the U.S. The announcement comes just days after international flights were resumed to some destinations within the North American country. All destinations will be operated with three weekly flights, with the exception of New York, which will be served with five weekly flights. The airline will increase the number of services to 24 per week during July.”, Airways magazine, June 22, 2020
“EasyJet Returns Route Network To 75% Of Capacity Amidst Coronavirus Recovery: One of Europe’s largest low cost carriers is scaling up its route network and capacity as passenger traffic returns to the continent.”, Forbes, June 27, 2020
A new global dining Trend, post-COVID-19?
“First Paris, soon London, what of Hong Kong? Outdoor dining expands after the Covid-19 lockdown, and for the French the change could be here to stay. Paris has brought in temporary rules allowing bistros and cafes to extend their pavement terraces to help them recoup earnings after a coronavirus lockdown. Outdoor seating has taken over car parks and whole streets. A Parisian restaurateur until recently in Hong Kong says city could allow more al fresco dining too.”, South China Morning Post
“The foodservice, gym, yoga, and personal services like hair and beauty, spas and retail businesses were effectively shut down by Government direction and the population was advised to stay isolated at home. Working from home was widely adopted and printer sales went through the roof.
Australia’s borders were shut and every arrival required to pay for 14 days of isolation in a government allocated hotel secured by the armed services. Only supermarkets were open and enjoyed record online and in-store sales. City streets were deserted and offices, schools, childcare and shopping centres were closed.
Money formerly spent on travel and dining out was diverted to online entertainment and home improvements as families worked and cocooned at home. Home delivery skyrocketed with fast food and restaurant home delivery increasing by 100 to 150% while eat-in was completely banned.
The imposition of a lockdown has contained the virus and the number of cases detected from mass testing is less than 80 per day Australia-wide with the southern State of Victoria responsible for 80% of new cases detected over the last week of June as restaurants and bars and family gatherings contributing to a small spike in detected Covid cases as restrictions lifted since early June. From early June the economy has slowly reopened, kids are back at school and day care and franchise and economic activity is picking up.
About 1 million people (about 10% of the workforce) are on the government-funded JobSeeker unemployment benefit program which is providing another form of economic stimulus. This widespread Government support will continue to the end of September where it is likely that while some sectors will lose these grants at that time, a new suite of stimulus initiatives are expected to continue to provide liquidity into Christmas and the New Year.”, Rod Young, Chairman, DC Strategy Group, Melbourne and Sydney
“A number of large Australia retailers are refusing to re-open marginal stores while rent relief negotiations remain unresolved, according to a media report. Despite an increase in consumer spending and foot traffic at shopping centres, and an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, chains such as Sussan Group which operates Sussan and Sportsgirl are keeping a significant number of stores closed and are trading on reduced hours at others.”, news.com.au, compliments of Jason Gehrke, Managing Director, Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane
“Bahrain’s government said on Monday it would pay 50% of salaries for private company workers in sectors that were hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, state news agency BNA reported. The new payments would start in July, BNA said, adding that the government would extend its assistance to Bahraini citizens by also paying electricity and water bills. Bahrain had said it was spending $570 million on paying salaries to all 100,000 of its citizens employed in the private sector from April to June to help soften the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak.”, Reuters, June 29, 2020
“Belgium to reopen pools, cinemas, theme parks from July: Belgium will further ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions on July 1, allowing swimming pools, theme parks and party venues to reopen, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said on Wednesday, although social distancing measures will remain.”, Reuters, June 24, 2020
“The impact of COVID ‐19 on franchising in emerging markets: An example from Brazil”, a detailed global COVID-19 impact report on franchising from John Wiley and Sons legal firm, USA
“Cambodia’s New Tourism Rules Include $3,000 Entry Deposit to Cover Coronavirus Costs: Like many nations, Cambodia is figuring out just what its tourism future looks like in a world dealing with coronavirus. But, rather than limit guests or ban tourism altogether, it came up with a new idea. And that new idea includes travelers plunking down a $3,000 travel deposit before entering the country to cover any coronavirus-related costs while you’re there.”, Travel And Leisure magazine, June 22, 2020
“Air travel is about to go through its biggest transformation since 9/11 — and passengers will pay for it. Reopening Canada: ‘Faster, cleaner’ experience could include facial scans so passengers can glide through airports in less time.”, Financial News
“China starts reconnecting to the world by air as pandemic eases: Travelers in Europe and New Zealand will find more China options as airlines resume scheduled service after Chinese regulators relaxed strict, months-long restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the largest German airline, Wednesday operated its first scheduled passenger flight since January after obtaining approval from Chinese regulators to resume services. The weekly flight took off from Frankfurt Wednesday afternoon to land at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai Thursday noon local time. A return flight was to depart from Shanghai the next day. Lufthansa is among four European airlines approved to resume passenger services to China over the past week. Air New Zealand restarted weekly passenger services linking Auckland and Shanghai. American carriers Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Airlines Inc. also received approval to resume flights to China.”, Caixin, June 26, 2020
“International airlines are starting to resume flights to China after a loosening of aviation restrictions brought in as part of the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lufthansa, part of Europe’s largest airline group, restarted flights to the mainland this week, flying once a week between Frankfurt and Shanghai in the first regular scheduled flights operated by the German carrier since the pandemic began. United Airlines will resume its route between San Francisco and Shanghai, via Seoul, beginning July 8, according to a company statement, while fellow US carrier Delta Air Lines restarted its China flights this week with twice-weekly trips into Shanghai.”, South China Morning Post, June 27, 2020
“Colombia’s lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus will continue until July 15, President Ivan Duque said in a nightly broadcast on Tuesday. ‘The current conditions of obligatory isolation, where we are returning to productivity and moving towards the re-opening of businesses, will continue as they are today until July 15,’ Duque said.”, Reuters, June 23, 2020
“The Hungarian government has lifted almost all the restrictions for Hungarian citizens with regards to the COVID-19 virus. Shop, restaurants, companies, government offices are open, although they have to ensure social distancing, and people have to wear face masks in public places (e.g. shopping malls, customer service offices, etc.). Certain travel limitations still apply: in general, EU citizens can enter Hungary without restrictions, and people from Japan and South Korea can enter for justified business purposes. People from other countries (e.g. US, Canada, etc.) can only enter if they file an exemption request with the Hungarian authorities – once it’s approved, they can travel to Hungary. Unfortunately, the request can only be submitted in Hungarian – for assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. For more information about the regulations, please visit the website of the Hungarian Consular Service at https://konzuliszolgalat.kormany.hu/information-on-hungarian-entry-requirements-due-to-covid-19-situation.”, Gabor Kaczmarczyk, Your Concierge, Budapest
“While rules differ in each state, guidelines released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on June 4 direct restaurants to run at 50% of their capacity. Many states have allowed restaurants to open from June 6, but the restrictions imposed are making it unviable for them to operate. Social distancing, sanitization at the time of opening and closing of the restaurant, curfew (restricted movement) after late evening, restricted use of air-conditioning to maintain temperature and average temperature of 24C to 30C with a humidity level between 40% to 70% in many states is impacting dine-in business, which is why restaurant are trying to sustain on delivery and takeout orders. Moreover, as the people working in the F&B sector went back to their hometowns amidst lockdown, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the restaurant owners and operators to find staff to run these establishments after they reopen. The problem of getting migrant workers back to big cities to revive the economy is turning out to be as big of a problem as handling Covid-19 throughout the country.
On the other hand, as malls reopen, many retailers are finding it difficult to get customers because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in big cities, while retailers who have not yet reopened their stores are negotiating rent with the mall owners in a bid to make their operations viable. Gaming areas, cinema, play areas are still not allowed to open.”, Rajeev Manchanda, Managing Director, Inventure, Delhi
“Tokyo Disney Resort to reopen July 1 after coronavirus shutdown; Three types of tickets will be offered with different entry times. For the time being, Oriental Land Co., the operator of the resort, announced Tuesday that Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, will run under limited capacity and guests will have to reserve tickets online prior to arrival.”, Fox Business, June 23, 2020
“Currently, 85 percent of businesses in Japanese retail industry have experienced an negative impact from COVID 19, pandemic on their corporate activities. In Japan, there are over 60,000 convenient stores and majority of those stores are represented by independent franchisees. In order to protect their customer from virus, majority of those stores are now taken specific measures by installing transparent plastic sheets hanging between cashiers and customers to block any pathogen – laced droplets produced by coughing and sneezing. Local people are coming to convenient stores to get their daily minimum necessities rather than visiting supermarkets which are typically located in distance. Deliveries of meal kits are also becoming very popular as well.
Major trends are more cooking at home, shopping online and working remotely utilizing zoom or skype, avoiding direct contacts with the people. Eat-at-home demand is soaring as e-commerce sites draw numbers of customers. This is not a temporary trend but could be call as permanent trend. Drug stores have climbed 7.5 percent in monthly basis. Simultaneously, supermarket continue to grow a well with 7.4% in monthly basis due to “Stay home “ lifestyle for the past several month.
The Japanese government continue to exercise 14 days of quarantine and restrict the travel people from certain countries including United States. The majority of retail and restaurant business are saying that their sales are now back by 60%-70% and hopefully 100% by July, providing the numbers of infected virus patients continue to slow down.”, Ichiro (Roy) Fujita, Founder and President, I. Fujita International, Tokyo and Torrance, California
“Japan Airlines (JAL) announced on June 18 that it will further increase its domestic flight offerings in July. During June, a 20% recovery is expected, and in the first half of July, 40%. At the peak in May 24- June 13, JAL reported a 72% reduction in flights flown within Japan. These numbers include all flights operated by the JAL Group. In comparison, between July 1-16 JAL Group expects a reduction of only 47% in its normally scheduled flights. Some unused passenger aircraft will be used to fly cargo-only flights.”, Airways magazine, June 21, 2020
“Mexico City reopening shops, street markets, sport complexes: Mexico says it will allow more businesses to reopen in parts of the country despite continued high infection and death rates.”, ABC News, June 26, 2020
“’Stronger Together’ is our theme for the latest issue of Franchise New Zealand – published today. We look at how franchises offer strength in numbers; finding funding; financial resilience; and the future for franchising. Get a free print or digital copy at https://lnkd.in/fydzwAD”, Simon Lord, Publisher, Franchise New Zealand, June 26, 2020
“Millions barred from 2020 hajj pilgrimage to Mecca due to pandemic: In normal years, more than 2 million of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims travel to Mecca to perform the hajj, which is considered the fifth and final Pillar of Islam. Every Muslim adult who is financially and physically capable must complete at least one hajj, and for many, it’s the trip of a lifetime. This year, however, experts estimate that only 1,000 of Saudi Arabia’s 29 million Muslim residents will be allowed to attend.”, National Geographic, June 23, 2020
Singapore and Malaysia
“Singapore and Malaysia to Create Rules for Cross-Border Travel: Singapore and Malaysia agreed to establish reciprocal arrangements for essential business travel and periodic commuting, following a call between their respective prime ministers on Friday.”, Bloomberg, June 28, 2020
“Singapore Residents Can Soon Collect Free Face Masks From Vending Machines
Starting on Monday, June 29, and running until July 12, each resident in Singapore will be able to collect two free masks at any one of the island’s 1,200 mask vending machines.”, Vice.com, June 35, 2020
“The Spanish government has agreed to extend the country’s emergency paid leave schemes for an additional three months to the end of September — a costly measure that business and unions say is essential to prevent the widespread collapse of companies and job destruction. The temporary schemes, known as ERTEs, had been due to expire on June 30 and currently cover more than 2m people who hope to return to their jobs as the crisis eases but who are far from sure of doing so. At their peak, the ERTEs provided payments to almost 3.5m people of up to 70 per cent of their normal salary.”, The Financial Times, June 25, 2020
“On June 27, 2020 Thailand has had 33 consecutive days without a domestic case of COVID-19. Thai Government set July 1st for the lift of all business and activity lockdowns across the country. School will be permitted to start the semester on July 1st. Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand director assumed that Thailand’s international flights are not likely to resume until September and may limit the number of foreign tourists. The domestic flights were previously allowed to return and to charge up almost twice the original fare since they had to leave many seats empty to ensure social distancing.
The Monetary Policy Committee, the Bank of Thailand decreases the GDP growth rate Y2020 to -8.1% from -5.3% while International Monetary Fund estimates the Thailand’s GDP growth rate will be contract by -7.7%. Thai Government has issued the economic policies to stimulus the consumptions, domestic investments, and government spending.”, Sethaphong Phadungpisuth, CFE, MD of Gnosis Company Limited, Bangkok
United Arab Emirates
“Dubai Will Reopen to International Travelers on July 7: According to a press release shared by the government on Sunday, international arrivals will be required to present the documentation of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within four days of departure, or undergo testing at a Dubai airport. Travelers from abroad will also have to download Dubai’s COVID-19 DXB app and register their details before arrival to facilitate, ‘easy coordination and communication with health authorities if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.’”, Travel And Leisure magazine, June 23, 2020
“”More lockdown restrictions are being lifted from Saturday 4th July, the most significant of which, is the reduction of the 2m social distancing requirement to 1m. This is very good news for the hospitality sector, and especially F&B franchises. A track & trace system is in place, but my own sense is that it is far from robust, but probably better than nothing! Consequently, although we all want to believe that the worst is behind us, there is a strong possibility of local ‘spikes’. We are required to wear face masks on public transport, and ‘use our common sense’. There is an expectation of many redundancies when the government support for employees’ wages finishes in the Autumn – historically, this has been good for franchisee recruitment.”, Iain Martin, QFP, Intentional Franchise Consultants, The Franchising Centre, United Kingdom
“Travelers arriving from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Greece are among those who will soon dodge UK quarantine. And vice versa. But the United States, Portugal and Croatia are not set to make it onto the list of countries with whom Britain is setting up quarantine-free “air bridges”, according to British media reports. Air bridges will be established with countries that have coronavirus testing and tracing systems on a par with Britain’s, transport secretary Grant Shapps said Wednesday. This means quarantine-free summer holidays for Brits, and for many travelers headed to the U.K.”, Forbes, June 25, 2020
“Uncancel culture: British arts reopen: After struggling through lockdown, Britain’s culture sector is finally returning. This week Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, announced that cinemas, galleries and museums could reopen from July 4th. One-way systems, pre-booked tickets and half-empty venues are likely to become part of cultural life. Theatres and music venues, which remain shut, have appealed for a similar reprieve.”, The Economist, June 28, 2020
“Holiday season back on with travel ‘traffic light’ plan: Britons are about to be given the go-ahead to have summer holidays in more than 15 countries in a significant easing of the government’s travel restrictions. Ministers will announce on Wednesday a new “traffic light” system that allows travel to certain low-risk countries without the need to go into quarantine for two weeks on return. Large parts of Europe will be open to British holidaymakers for the first time in more than three months, with quarantine-free travel allowed to countries…”, The Times of London, June 26, 2020
“Here are five charts illustrating the U.S. economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic: Though states are reporting new surges in Covid-19 cases, pausing reopening measures and even re-instituting business restrictions, specific economic sectors have continued to see improvement. Consumers are eating out at restaurants, traveling more and visiting hotels amid the official start to the busy summer season. These five charts illustrate trends in important industries that help track reopening progress in the U.S.”, CNBC, June 28, 2020
“Hair salons in New York City have long waitlists as coronavirus restrictions ease: Top hair salons in New York City are being bombarded with appointment requests now that salons and barber shops are allowed to reopen.”, Fix Business, June 28, 2020
“Last night, Disneyland indefinitely postponed its reopening plan. After being closed for four months since mid-March due to COVID-19, the California theme park was tentatively scheduled to reopen on July 17, the 65th anniversary of when the park first opened in 1955. Disneyland’s reopening plan was announced on June 10, but things move fast in 2020, and since then, coronavirus cases have spiked in several states around the country, including within California.”, The Points Guy, June 25, 2020
“Shake Shack returns to unit growth, sticks to limited menu for now: After pausing unit growth during the coronavirus pandemic, Shake Shack has started to open new locations, again…..Shake Shack is adjusting its service model by developing Shack Track stores. These restaurants have been modified to include drive up lanes designed for pickup of digital orders. Some will have walk-up windows as the brand pushes “convenience” at all Shacks. The company said it will continue to outfit stores with kiosks, though it will monitor usage given that some people might not want to touch screens during a pandemic. Throughout the health crisis, the chain has turned to a limited menu to ease operations for kitchen staff.”, Nation’s Restaurant News, June 25, 2020
“Texas puts reopening on hold in face of new Covid-19 outbreak: Texas slammed the brakes on its economic reopening in the face of a leap in coronavirus cases, halting plans to ease lockdown restrictions and banning elective surgeries in its four biggest cities to free up hospital beds.”, The Financial Times, June 25, 2020
“Coronavirus: Delta to extend caps on passenger numbers: The boss of Delta Air Lines says the carrier will continue to limit the number of people on its planes beyond September. So far the airline has been capping the numbers on board its flights to no more than 60% of capacity. Chief Executive Ed Bastian told the BBC that some of the details of the plan still need to be worked out. He told the BBC: “We will be extending the cap on the planes post September, whether it’s 60% or a slightly higher number I don’t know, but yes we absolutely will.”, BBC, June 26, 2020
“American, United Airlines Will Go Back To Packing Flights Despite Covid-19 Coronavirus.”, Forbes, June 28, 2020
“The (U.S.) federal government’s multibillion-dollar Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been very beneficial in helping KFC and Pizza Hut franchises stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kevin Hochman, who serves as KFC’s president and Pizza Hut’s interim president, said Thursday. The PPP program for our franchisees, who most are small business owners or entrepreneurs, have been really helpful to get us through this as well as keep people employed,” Hochman told Maria Bartiromo during an interview on ‘Mornings with Maria’.”, Fox Business, June 25, 2020
“Virus-Free Vietnam Would Like To Stay That Way and Won’t Welcome Tourists Yet: Despite successfully containing its COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam has no plans to open up to international tourists yet over fears that doing so could lead to a second wave of infections, the Southeast Asian country’s prime minister said on Wednesday. ‘There is no story of rushing to open the doors,; Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a statement posted to the government website on Wednesday.”, Skift.com, June 25, 2020
Articles About Doing Business in The Times Of COVID-19 and Beyond
Important multi-sector report from McKinsey on the COVID-19 Implications for business:
Click below for an excellent U.S. telecommuting Infographic at Global Political Futures:
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. EGS is known for our extensive country, cultural and sector research and publications, including our quarterly GlobalVue™ country ranking chart which can be found at the following link.
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. 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.
William Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor to Chief Executives, of Edwards Global Services (EGS). Contact Bill at email@example.com or +1 949 224 3896.