Coronavirus: Apple tracks changes in travel behaviour


Apple has launched a tool that reveals changes in the travel behavior of people who use its Maps app.

The Mobility Trends Report produces three daily percentage figures, showing how many fewer people are driving, walking and using public transport compared with on 13 January, before the coronavirus lockdowns came into effect.

Apple data

It covers major cities and national figures for 63 countries. Hong Kong is included but not mainland China.

It follows a similar effort by Google.

Google’s Covid-19 Community Mobility reports are arguably more detailed – they cover 130 countries and also report on how busy different types of locations are – however, the search firm has only provided such data for two dates since its launch on 3 April.

Apple also provides a way to export its records as a spreadsheet, making it easy for researchers and the media to make use of the data within their own models.

The UK cities covered include London, Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham.

The iPhone-maker does not believe that sharing the information compromises its users’ privacy.

“The information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions,” it blogged.

“Maps does not associate mobility data with a user’s Apple ID, and Apple does not keep a history of where a user has been.”

Even so, some privacy experts have noted that Google and Apple’s initiatives highlight the insights they are able to glean, but do not usually share, from people using their products.

“I wonder will ‘mobility data’ used and published by telecom networks, Google and now Apple, make any difference to how individuals view these companies and to their trustworthiness?” commented Pat Walshe, a consultant who was previously director of privacy at mobile industry trade body the GSMA.

Apple is a couple of weeks behind Google in publishing this data, and at first glance, it provides a less granular picture.

There are just three categories of activity – walking, driving, and transit – as opposed to Google’s measurement of visits to shops, grocery stores, parks, offices, and other locations.

But unlike Google, Apple allows you to export the raw data, and rather than just giving a snapshot, it provides daily readings from early January right up to last Sunday.

The story the two sets of figures tell is broadly consistent – France and Italy have bigger declines in activity than the UK, reflecting their tighter lockdowns, and the US is slightly further back.

And although there was a bit of a surge in activity in the UK on Good Friday, with driving up to 65% of normal levels, by Sunday it had sunk back again.

Just how good a picture this log of Apple Maps requests provides must be open to question, particularly when it comes to walking – how many of us are requesting directions for our short walks from home?

And Apple will have far less data than Google, which is using information from every Android user who has agreed to turn on location tracking as well as iPhones that have Google Maps installed.

But in general, this data will provide the government with more reassurance that people are complying with the lockdown restrictions.



Dubai prepares to welcome tourists from July, with Emirates on 48-hour standby


Hotels, malls, and restaurants reopen as Dubai completes sterilization drive – but when will its airline resume service?

Acrossroad between East and West, Dubai attracted 16.7 million visitors last year, while state-owned Emirates airline – the world’s fourth-largest carrier in terms of miles flown – transported close to 58 million passengers.



Now, after the UAE canceled tourist visas in March, Dubai’s plans for a post-Covid-19 future are slowly unfolding. Its ambitious goal is to welcome tourists back by July. Since April 24, restaurants and retail outlets have been permitted to reopen under strict safety guidelines, and Emirates President, Sir Tim Clark has said that the airline is ready to resume service with just 48 hours’ notice.


Helal Al Marri, Director General of DTCM (Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing), says: “July would be the time we start to see the air open up.” However, in an interview with Bloomberg TV this week, he warned that the process could be delayed until September. “Many international airports remain closed and really it’s about the bilateral discussions underway to have a coordinated approach to reopening.”


Each country’s quarantine period, Covid-19 testing facilities, and social distancing laws will impact travelers’ ability to cross borders. Unless an effective vaccine becomes available, airline bosses fear that future travel plans may be foiled.


The close proximity of airplane seating will make social distancing tricky, and it remains to be seen how international airport protocols will be set – but Dubai and its state airline are braced for business returning.


Dragon Mart: Hotels, attractions, and malls have joined in the efforts to sanitize premises during the lockdown
Currently only operating one-way repatriation flights to five destinations, including London Heathrow, Emirates is providing a modified in-flight service that reduces the risk of infection. Meals are served in prepacked boxes and magazines are no longer supplied. Where possible, vacant seats are placed between groups of passengers, cabin baggage isn’t permitted, and carry-on items are limited to laptops, handbags or briefcases, and essential items for infants.


On the ground, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has completed its three-week around-the-clock sterilization drive, spraying the streets of Dubai with 75,000 liters of disinfectant a day while residents remained on lockdown. Hotels, attractions, and malls joined in the efforts, sanitizing premises in line with UAE requirements.


Omar Khoory, Managing Director, of Nakheel Malls, says: “We’re leaving no stone unturned in getting ready to welcome back our visitors. Customer safety – and confidence – is crucial, and we’re going the extra mile, following government guidance, with supplementary measures in place for added security.”


Nakheel Malls’ vigilant reopening strategy has included Covid-19 tests for all customer service desk staff, a 30 percent increase in security staff, customer temperature screening at mall entrances and strict pre- and post-opening disinfection regimes, with ‘high touch point sterilization’ – the cleaning of surfaces commonly touched, such as door handles – every 30 minutes.

Shahab Shayan, Senior Manager of DTCM’s UK & Ireland International Operations, says: “Our approach has been two-pronged: to manage the current situation we find ourselves in and to plan for the future when we welcome visitors back to Dubai.”


By then, travel trends will have changed, impacted by the pandemic. Analysts predict that holidaymakers will be drawn to open spaces, while extended families separated by periods of isolation will book holidays together, packing kids, parents, and grandparents into one trip.


“Families have always been an important segment of the market here,” says Shayan, “We have a huge variety of accommodation for extended family groups from private villas to hotels with four-bedroom suites. Those looking for peace and quiet can escape to Bab Al Shams in the desert or Hatta, nestled in the Hajar Mountains, where they can book their own Airstream trailer or a lodge overlooking the turquoise waters of Hatta Dam.”


Intensified sanitation measures will result in higher running costs for hotels, but the UAE government is supporting the industry by reducing other costs, such as municipality fees, which have been halved. Meanwhile, hotel managers are devising ways to offer better value amid economic uncertainty. Special deals will be available for those ready and able to enjoy Dubai’s five-star hotels sit alongside pristine beaches and dunes.

But, for now, like most countries, the UAE is being measured by its Covid-19 statistics – 12,481 confirmed cases, 2,429 recoveries, and 105 deaths; not by its miles of uninterrupted sand.



Virtual Reality Travel: How it will affect the travel and tour industry


Have you ever imagined a situation where you can enjoy the amazing vacation experience of your dream destination without even flying? I mean, an experience that makes you travel to your dream destination, in a first-class flight, a four-course dinner, and a city tour — right from your seat on a stationary plane that never moved an inch.

Simply amazing right?

Woman Using Vr Goggles

Yes, I am talking about the future of air travel according to First Airlines, a Japanese company that has been able to capture the power of virtual reality to enable travelers to experience dream vacation come true!

This is an experience that saves you from the stress of enduring long queues at the airport, absolute no baggage expenses, or costly airport transfers.


Hiroaki Abe, the First Airlines manager claimed that “it’s quite difficult to have a trip because of the cost of time and money”, but with virtual reality travel experience, a first-class ticket could cost as low as $56 while a business class could cost $46. “This is far more affordable than physical travel.” He said.


Read More: What the experts are saying about traveling Post-Covid.

Coronavirus: Nigeria’s travel industry shaky after N180 billion loss from pandemic


The two-hour flight experience will require guests to settle down into the state-of-the-art Airbus seat — surrounded by decorations that look exactly like the inside of an aircraft for maximum realism. Passengers will enjoy delicious meals alongside drinks and other snacks by the air hostess based on the menu peculiar to their destination. Guests will also get to enjoy upon arrival, a 360-degree tour of the destination via the effective projection mapping and video imaging devices.


Virtual travel is the future, and it is the reality of a stress-free vacation that does not limit the traveler’s health or budget.
Travelers can book their tickets from the website of First Airlines and enjoy the wonders of the world without leaving their houses.


While we wait a little bit more for the Covid-19 curve to flatten, we are enthusiastic about the future and the threshold of how things unfold. Many are waiting for brand new experiences Post-Covid. What are you waiting for?


Drop your comments in the box below…..Let’s hear from you.

What the experts are saying about traveling Post-Covid.


Grandeur Travels took a look at the possible medical risks and the way the pandemic has shifted consumers thinking attitude towards traveling due to this pandemic.

Some industry experts think it could take up to 18 to 24 months before any substantial travel could take effect as many airlines are struggling to recover. Meanwhile, there is very limited outdoor activities as many countries mandated the stay at home order, with some enforcing it even with military presence.

People Inside Airport

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Coronavirus: Nigeria’s travel industry shaky after N180 billion loss from pandemic


Nigeria’s fledgling tourism industry is losing money and many jobs are being cut as employees are unable to pay wages, raising fears that the industry could collapse by the time the coronavirus pandemic ends.

So far, African airlines have lost nearly $5 billion in revenue following the spread of coronavirus on the continent due to low passenger demand, according to a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

A look at the impacts of coronavirus on aviation

International bookings in Africa went down by 20% in March and April, while domestic bookings fell by about 15% in March and 25% in April, according to data from IATA.


Nigerian market

In the first two months since the global lockdown went into effect, the Nigerian travel industry lost more than N180 billion and thousands of jobs, according to Bankole Bernard, Chief Executive Officer of Finchglow Travels Limited/FCm Nigeria and former President, National Associations of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA).

World wide, the deadly coronavirus could cut 75 million jobs in the travel and tourism industry, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In Nigeria, already some 24,000 jobs have been cut, while employees have ceased payments for those who still have jobs until business situations improve, according to players in the market.


READ MORE: Are you spending too much during this lockdown? Try these 4 tips to manage your finances better.



With the slump in sales, especially as the global lockdown drags on and the Nigerian government extends airport closures by two weeks to contain the spread of the virus, IATA-accredited passenger sales agents are facing a peculiar challenge of remittance shortages.

Closed airports and airspace

Nigeria expanded its restrictions on 21 March announcing it will close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from 23 March for one month. On 20 April, the country of 200 million people closed its airspace and airports by two weeks, in an announcement by aviation minister Hadi Sirika.

“Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, ticket sales and packages have gone down significantly which makes it difficult to meet our bi-monthly payment obligation to IATA. The growing fear is that more than 50% of the travel and tourism business may likely collapse and more jobs will be lost if this continues and many travel agents lose their accreditations because they are unable to make payments,” said Kayode Adeshola, Executive Director, Capstone Travels and Tours in Abuja.


Don’t Miss: Here’s what traveling could be like after COVID-19


“IATA is asking us to pay for all tickets issued before the lockdown as all weren’t used by passengers due to cancellations by airlines. If IATA is mandating us to pay for tickets issued why can’t the same IATA/Airline pay the agents back the value of all pending refunds applications with the airlines? We feel cheated.”

“We also need Airlines to cooperate with us by paying us back the refunds of unused tickets instead of the proposed voucher,”  said Adeshola .

Travel agents are asking for a bailout of N5bn to help manage the pandemic shocks, as the work on rebuilding passenger confidence after the pandemic is eradicated, said a top official in the travel association.




Here’s what travelling could be like after COVID-19


• Airlines, travel companies, and the tourism sector as a whole face an unprecedented challenge from the coronavirus pandemic.

• For the industry to recover, travelers will need to feel safe and confident that their health is protected.

• There will be a shift to touchless travel and a new health safety regime, supported by digital tools such as the Known Traveller Digital Identity initiative.

A plane is seen during sunrise at the international airport in Munich, Germany, January 9, 2018.    REUTERS/Michaela Rehle - RC1F196A4500

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Are you spending too much during this lockdown? Try these 4 tips to manage your finances better.


Many countries across the globe are facing serious financial difficulties during this pandemic and many families are struggling to feed on 3 meals a day. Millions of people are out of jobs while many businesses are on standstill due to the lockdown. In the face of this hardship, this could be the best time for you to learn the best approach to handling your finances

Rolled 20 U.s Dollar Bill

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5 changes that could happen to your travel life Post-Covid


The Corona Virus pandemic has altered a whole lot of things across many industries all over the world and the truth is many of these abrupt changes are here to stay. Among the many industries that were hit is the travel industry that has lost billions of dollars in revenue since many countries started adopting the lockdown strategy to curb the spread of the virus.

Woman Sitting on Luggage

It is projected that ticket bookings have declined by about 95%, while many airlines have gone bankrupt, many travel companies are massively laying of their workers and hotels are also doing the same. Read more