At some point, the international travel industry has to get back on its feet, with or without the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve waited for far too long and any further delays could spell the end of their sector for a very long time.

This is the position being held by The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and several other worldwide travel organizations. WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara recently issued a statement about the dangers of waiting until the population is fully vaccinated:

“Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will be critical to combatting COVID-19 and restoring confidence for people to interact with one another. However, it will take considerable time to vaccinate the world and for the vaccines to have a significant effect on the global population, and the global Travel & Tourism sector simply cannot wait.

Vaccination must not be a requirement to travel but should co-exist with testing regimes and be considered as a progressive enhancement to already safe travel.”

The last sentence was echoed by Airports Council International (ACI) world director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira, who mentioned that mandatory vaccinations would kill the travel sector in the same way that quarantines did:

“Just as quarantine effectively halted the industry, a universal requirement for vaccines could do the same and a coordinated and risk-based approach to testing and vaccination going forward will provide passengers with a safe travel environment and foster confidence in air travel.”

The position of these bodies seems to be the same as it was before: The way to go is universal COVID-19 testing that is both fast in execution and reliable in the results it delivers.

Millions of jobs have already been terminated and several travel companies have had to close up shop for good. WTTC research shows that as of today, 174 million jobs in the global tourism sector are at risk of being eliminated.

This is not a rant against vaccines. This is a rant against USING vaccines in a political and obviously divisive manner that could ruin an entire industry responsible for contributed multiple trillions of dollars to the world economy.

Vaccines can be a part of air travel without taking over every other initiative, but they certainly should not become a mandatory part of the “digital health passports” being rolled out by several airports.

Because the last thing we need to do right is provide travelers with yet another reason to stay home.

What do YOU think about COVID-19 vaccinations and air travel? Should they become mandatory or voluntary? Reply to this newsletter and share your answer with us!

VST Enterprises’ “Digital Health Passport” Combats Fake COVID-19 Certificates 

In due time, there will be an emerging black market for individuals who want to fake their COVID-19 test results and vaccination status. Not just through paper certificates, but also through fraudulent digital signatures.

To combat this, cybersecurity company VST Enterprises has released their “V-Health Passport” app that can be downloaded on your iPhone or Android smartphone. CEO Louis-James Davis describes the function of this passport as something far greater than showing your vaccination status:

“We developed and built the V-Health Passport and health wallet to be the most secure technology on the planet that you could use as a health passport where you could combine your test status, vaccination record, boarding pass, airline ticket, music or sports ticket all in one app.

Agility PR reports on this new technology, citing that it is the most secure health passport for air travel developed to date:

“It is the world’s first publicly available secure digital health passport that the public can download and use alongside any form of COVID 19 testing and vaccination that does NOT use unsecure bar codes and QR code technology. Airlines and transport carriers can also download and use the system. 

Using the most advanced closed loop technology with end to end encryption, V-Health Passport™ has 2.2 Quintillion collision free combination codes. These decode based on geo location, time & date, device type and user login… meaning it cannot be hacked.”

This is both good news and bad news. Good news because we now have the technology needed to stop illegal activity and avoid having to carry a paper passport with us at all times. Bad news, however, because if COVID-19 vaccinations ever become mandatory for air travel, there will be absolutely no way for you to cheat the system…

Is United Airlines’ Stock a SELL or a BUY?

United Airlines seems to be in quite a troubling situation. Their average daily cash burn rate of $25 million in Q3 2020 was an improvement from $40 million in Q2 2020, but it is now expected to go up to $34-36 million for Q4 2020 (not including an additional $10 million per day in service payments and debt principal).

Combined with revenue expected to fall by 70% year-over-year in Q4 2020, year-end liquidity projected to be at $18 billion, and over $19 billion in lease liabilities and debt, their path towards a full recovery looks very bleak. It’s not that they can’t do it, but it’s not exactly the type of signal that screams “BUY.”

But several analysts disagree with putting the “SELL” recommendation on United Airlines.

Citing the possibility of a demand recovery in Q 2021, combined with the widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to jumpstart the economy again, they claim United is poised for a much-needed comeback. Commercial travel will be the first to resurge while business travel lags behind.

One analyst even projected that United will earn anywhere from $9 to $10 per share in 2022, allowing them to pace themselves with the recovery of the international travel industry.

What do YOU think about all of this? Is United Airlines a long-term investment, or should people sell all of their shares as soon as possible? Reply to this newsletter and share your recommendations with us!

These Airlines Are Offering COVID-19 Insurance to Passengers Right Now

We’ve seen little hints of the airline industry offering some form of COVID-19 insurance to passengers. One airline here, one hotel resort here, and so on. But we’ve heard a number of announcements to the point where a list can be created. So for the time being, here are the airlines who will cover expenses related to COVID-19…

Japan Airlines: From December 23rd to June 30th of next year, you get $121 per day for a 14-day quarantine, a maximum of $1,820 for repatriation, and $182,000 in medical coverage.

Cathay Pacific: Offered until February 28th, 2021. $100 per day for a 14-day quarantine and up to $200,000 covered in medical costs.

Emirates: $182,300 in covered medical costs and $121 per day for a 14-day quarantine, lasting until December 31st (subject to further extension).

Finnair: Up to $60,700 in medical costs and $121 per day for a 14-day quarantine.

Virgin Atlantic: $671,000 for medical expenses, up to $4,030 for anybody who must quarantine for 14 days or gets denied boarding.

WestJet: $118 per day for a 14-day quarantine, $78,500 in medical coverage, repatriation cover of $3,900, and ambulance evacuation cover of $78,500.

Worldwide, this is becoming a trend. These few airlines are the pioneers and you can expect many more to follow in 2021.

Canada, USA, and Mexico Extend Land Border Restrictions… AGAIN!

Until January 21, 2021, all non-essential land border crossings between US-Canada and US-Mexico will be prohibited. This has been going on since March and the time of expiry keeps getting pushed back by 30 days. At this point, they might as well declare the ban to be indefinite until they can give us a FINAL deadline.

Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in Canada, had this to say:

 “…current restrictions for all non-essential travel between Canada and the US will remain in effect until January 21… Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

Chad Wolf, the Department Secretary for US Homeland Security, also chimed in:

“In order to continue to prevent the spread of COVID, [the three nations have extended the ban]… We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to keep essential trade & travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus.”

Quite the odd restriction if you ask me. You can’t travel by land, but you can easily fly between all three countries by plane!

A Little-Known Tax Haven That Norwegians Love

The island known as Bø i Vesterålen has become the favorite retreat for ultra-rich Norwegians, and for a very good reason: Lower wealth taxes.

Forbes reports with this new development, citing the difference between how this island works and how the country of Norway works:

“Norway levies a 0.85% wealth tax on a resident’s global assets above 1.5 million Norwegian kroner ($172,000). Of the wealth tax take, 0.15% goes to the state, with the remaining 0.7% going to the municipality in which the individual lives.

Bø has decided that from January 2021, it will charge just 0.2% wealth tax, meaning a drop from 0.85% to 0.35% for its residents. For [celebrity Bjørn Dæhlie], the annual tax saving will amount to around 2 million Norwegian kroner ($230,000), according to an NRK estimate.”

Unfortunately, Forbes also points out that there is a consequence to this new decision:

“The equalization process means Bø will not receive the full amount of wealth tax immediately. Combined with the reduced wealth tax paid by residents already living in Bø, the municipality has been left with an income gap they had not foreseen.”

In a way, lower taxes aren’t always a good thing. They ONLY work when they are implemented properly. Don’t always believe the hype about tax havens, because the benefits always come with costs.

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