This was an explosive story that broke last night and has the entirety of the United Kingdom in a state of complete panic. 

The Financial Times has reported on the emergence of a new strain of COVID-19 known as “B117”:

“Scientists say two aspects of B.1.1.7 give cause for concern. One is the unprecedented number of mutations it carries. The other is the speed with which it is supplanting other strains of the Sars-Cov-2 virus in south-east England.

Computer modelling suggests that it is 70 per cent more transmissible than other Sars-Cov-2 strains circulating in the UK and raises the R value — the average number of people to whom someone with Covid-19 passes the infection — by 0.4, which makes the pandemic far harder to control without stringent lockdown measures.”

(By the way, our current COVID-19 tests are not reliable for detecting mutated versions of the original virus)

And when that news came about, the sh*t hit the fan. Here is what happened, according to numerous news outlets:

“A growing number of EU countries including Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands moved over the weekend to halt travel [from the UK]”

“Boris Johnson said Saturday that the capital and other areas in southern England currently under Tier 3, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, will move to an even stricter new Tier 4 that requires non-essential shops, hairdressers and indoor leisure venues to close after the end of business hours Saturday”

“…a planned five-day easing of socializing rules that would allow up to three households to meet in “Christmas bubbles” will be canceled for Tier 4 areas. No mixing of households will be allowed except for under very limited conditions outside in public places”

THOUSANDS of Londoners are attempting to escape the country by boarding an emergency flight as fast as possible. Some videos online show the airports with lines extending all of the way outside, with several people standing in the cold for hours before even being allowed in. But they may soon come to regret their decision:

“Londoners could risk being arrested for trying to escape the city as travel in and out of Tier 4 is outlawed from today. The strict new travel rules come into place after midnight as the capital and South East England are plunged into the new harshest restrictions.”

We’ll report to you with more breaking news about this situation as developments arise. 

What do YOU think about the Tier 4 lockdown in London? Is it an over-reaction, or is it time for the country to buckle down and prepare for a second round of arguably worse lockdowns? Reply to this newsletter and share your opinions with us!

Which Travel Stocks Were the BEST Investments This Year!?

The Motley Fool has consistently reported on the never-ending decline of stocks in the travel sector, particularly those belonging to aviation and cruise lines. But in spite of their never-ending focus on all the bad things that are happening, they note that a few unexpected companies were worthwhile buys in the year 2020:

Bally’s, formerly Twin River Holdings (+74%): “Bally’s acquisition of Bet.works for $125 million… allow [the company] to launch its own online gambling app, which it will integrate with its 14 million member omnichannel rewards program.”

“… [Bally’s] inked a strategic partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting. Sinclair Broadcasting is massive in local regional sports networks (RSNs) , with 190 television stations in 88 markets, including 21 Fox-branded RSNs that account for more than half of the U.S. MLB, NBA and NHL teams.”

Both of the moves mentioned above were enough to take them out of breakeven territory and cause investors to be bullish on them. 

Penn National Gaming (+174%): “… in January 2020, just before the pandemic struck, Penn bought a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, the massively popular online sports website, podcast, and video purveyor. 

With Barstool’s 66 million monthly active users at the time of the acquisition, Penn was in a prime position to launch its own online sports betting app under the Barstool Sports brand.”

“At launch in September, the Barstool Sportsbook app quickly became the number one downloaded sports betting app, despite launching in only one state – Pennsylvania… With Michigan on the way and another 10 states launching by the end of 2021, Penn and its uber-bullish investors are looking to carry the momentum into the new year.”

Airbnb (+131%): “The leading home rental brand received huge interest around its Dec. 10 initial public offering, in which the company raised $3.5 billion by selling 51.5 million shares at a price of $68. However, as soon as shares hit the market, they immediately skyrocketed, more than doubling on their first day of trading and even holding those gains to this day.”

The entire travel industry may be in shambles, but at least a few companies are around and still breathing!

Psychics Predict the Future of the Travel Industry in 2021

I’m not one to predict the future or pretend to know what will happen in 2021, especially not considering everything that has transpired this year. But in an unexpected move, travel magazine Travel + Leisure had the oddball idea of asking psychics how they see the travel industry recovering next year.

Here is what they had to say:

“… psychic medium and reiki healer Kelly Dillon predicts we will all be able to travel more generally in the summer of 2021. Around this time, she sees the pandemic winding down and many people picking up their old routines and habits”

“With international borders largely closed to travel this year, many people chose to hit the road and visit domestic destinations instead. According to psychic medium Karen Kilmartin, this trend will continue into 2021 and pick up steam starting in April.”

“[Kilmartin] also predicts that travelers will opt for easy-access motels, Airbnbs, short-term rentals, campgrounds, and cabin stays, rather than busy hotels and resorts.

[Kilmartin] says COVID-related documentation will be required, either proof of testing and/or proof of vaccination. She foresees a new stamp within our passports that verifies vaccinations for exit and entry into new countries.”

“Because the virtual work model has been excelling, business travel will take some time to return to normal again, according to Linda Lauren, a fourth-generation psychic medium. She doesn’t think employers will ask employees to travel to fulfill their professional responsibilities, at least not through the first half of 2021.”

In other words… arguably mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, several years of mandatory face mask wearing, delayed business travel, a rise in domestic travel at the expense of international travel, and a complete shift in the personal preferences of travelers with respect to where they stay and how they travel.

I don’t know how much worth I would place in the predictions of a psychic, especially since many of these narratives have been parroted in mainstream news outlets for the past 3 months. But at the very least, nothing they have said seems entirely unreasonable.

Travel Volumes for December Holidays May be TWICE What We Saw on Thanksgiving…

I’m not one to predict the future or pretend to know what will happen in 2021, especially not considering everything that has transpired this year. But in an unexpected move, travel magazine Travel + Leisure had the oddball idea of asking psychics how they see the travel industry recovering next year. 

Here is what they had to say:

“… psychic medium and reiki healer Kelly Dillon predicts we will all be able to travel more generally in the summer of 2021. Around this time, she sees the pandemic winding down and many people picking up their old routines and habits.”

“With international borders largely closed to travel this year, many people chose to hit the road and visit domestic destinations instead. According to psychic medium Karen Kilmartin, this trend will continue into 2021 and pick up steam starting in April.”

“[Kilmartin] also predicts that travelers will opt for easy-access motels, Airbnbs, short-term rentals, campgrounds, and cabin stays, rather than busy hotels and resorts.

[Kilmartin] says COVID-related documentation will be required, either proof of testing and/or proof of vaccination. She foresees a new stamp within our passports that verifies vaccinations for exit and entry into new countries.”

“Because the virtual work model has been excelling, business travel will take some time to return to normal again, according to Linda Lauren, a fourth-generation psychic medium. She doesn’t think employers will ask employees to travel to fulfill their professional responsibilities, at least not through the first half of 2021.”

In other words… arguably mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, several years of mandatory face mask wearing, delayed business travel, a rise in domestic travel at the expense of international travel, and a complete shift in the personal preferences of travelers with respect to where they stay and how they travel. 

I don’t know how much worth I would place in the predictions of a psychic, especially since many of these narratives have been parroted in mainstream news outlets for the past 3 months. But at the very least, nothing they have said seems entirely unreasonable. 

Travel Volumes for December Holidays May be TWICE What We Saw on Thanksgiving…

As part of the new $900 stimulus bill package that was passed late last night, airline executives celebrated as another round of emergency funding would be made available for their industry.

From CNBC:

“U.S. airlines would receive $15 billion in additional federal aid to pay their workers under a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal bipartisan lawmakers reached on Sunday.

Under the new round of aid, carriers would have to call back more than 32,000 workers who were furloughed this fall [and keep airline workers on payroll until the end of March 2021.].”

“In addition to airline aid, the new coronavirus package includes $1 billion for airline contractors, $2 billion for airports and concessionaires, $14 billion for transit, $10 billion for state highways, $1 billion for Amtrak and $2 billion for private bus, school bus and ferry companies.”

In a way, this is temporary sigh of relief. Workers who were disenfranchised by the furloughing will have another shot at making a full-time income to support themselves and their families. But it’s only 90 days’ worth of employment, and I seriously doubt Congress will approve another package to the tune of $15 billion for airlines. 

Either this is a move towards a full recovery for the US airline industry, or a band-aid on a problem that keeps growing in size and won’t go away until the root cause is fixed. Until March 2021 comes around, I’m biting my tongue. 

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