Globus MD Stéphanie Bishop: “When You Sell The World, Challenges Will Arise”
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
As the number of those infected with COVID-19 continues to grow around the world, Globus family of brands is reassuring travel advisors that it is working diligently to stay on top of the "fluid, evolving situation."
"We can't take anything lightly," Stéphanie Bishop, Managing Director of Globus family of brands, told trade media yesterday. "We have to monitor the situation closely, which we are doing, and let calm prevail. I am proud to work for an organization that takes safety of our travellers in mind."
The coronavirus epidemic has broken out of Asia after a dramatic uptick in cases in Italy – one of Globus' top three markets -- this week. As of 27FEB, Italy had 650 people who are infected with the virus, and a total of 17 deaths, according to alocal news outlet.
It was a twist that came out of left field.
"The situation has taken on a different dimension that took the world by surprise with the events in Italy," said Bishop. "But when you sell the world, challenges will arise. Italy is the backbone [for Globus], and what happens there is close to our hearts."
To date, the tour operator has suspended tours to China, where the new coronavirus first emerged, until the end of APR across all its brands (Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms) and continues to monitor the situation closely. Globus has rebooked some clients on alternate trips, but Bishop says it's impossible to have a "one size fits all" policy, as each client's needs are different.
Bishop says its call centre is fielding an increase in phone calls from concerned customers, but at this time all other tours are going forward as planned. Since Globus itineraries are booked so far out, there hasn't been a large amount of cancellations, but Bishop says they expect the coronavirus to "dampen" Asia profits, and new bookings might slow down. She added that the likelihood of someone planning a trip to China at this time “is not very high.”
Overall, Bishop reiterated that it is impossible to predict a trend in this situation that has "so many moving parts."
"We don't have a crystal ball and we can't have one policy for everything, but it's top of mind. What happens every day changes, so we are taking it one day at a time," she said.
Leaving off on a positive note, Bishop noted the travel industry has been though many challenges over the years – 9/11, the SARS outbreak, the 2008 stock market crash, the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster…
When turmoil strikes, it's the travel industry that's hit first, she says, but it's also usually the first one to bounce back.
Her message to travel advisors? "We always keep safety and security of our travellers top of mind. We hope people have bought insurance."
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.