How fortunate am I to enjoy another Saturday morning, live, on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel; this time, alongside Elmer Kim, Dennis Mitchell, and John Northcott.
- Travel bubbles and opening up the economy. As Atlantic Canada launches its new travel bubble and provinces take their next steps to open up their economies, what can we expect to see and experience? Will tourism and hospitality finally catch a much needed break (as in, some good news)?
- Airlines bring back the middle seat. It’s no secret that airlines have been highly impacted by COVID19, with travel down almost 100% in some cases. As Canada’s airlines seek to increase capacity, will travelers be on board?
- A new fund promoting diversity. A group of Black executives is launching a new fund to invest in Black-led companies. As we take a first look, how can this approach impact diversity going forward?
Canadians are certainly feeling restless, with much of our communities and local economies having been locked down for months. As COVID19 rates stabilize, an opportunity exists to re-open parts of Canada; a new example being the travel bubble in Atlantic Canada (count me in!). As tourism and hospitality have suffered immensely, locales with well managed COVID19 rates represent an opportunity to bring much needed traffic to these industries, in a manner in which travelers feel comfortable; this is key. I will be watching this coastal bubble very closely, with fingers crossed for good news and results, in terms of both business recovery and COVID19 rates that stay under control.
Speaking of travel, Westjet and Air Canada recently announced that they will be ending the middle seat moratorium in order to increase capacity on flights (I’m sure that a lot of travelers were hoping that these seats would be permanently removed, but that’s another discussion). Part of the rationale relates to travelers being subject to temperature checks and masks, as well as the enhanced aircraft cleaning and reduced food service on board. Everything I have seen or read in recent months indicates that air travel levels are down by as much as 98%, year over year, with current activity remaining slow. I can’t help but wonder why this move is desirable for all flights, as an absence of consumer confidence will not fill airplanes. Couple this with the nostalgia of Summer road trips, RV’s, and drive ins, suggesting that Canadians have an interest in trying something new (old, actually) over the next couple of months; it’s back to the future, for some of us!
Diversity has made news on a global level in recent months, particularly in terms of the stories coming out of the United States involving racism against members of the Black community. The launch of the Black Opportunity Fund, investing in Black-led companies, is an important development for Canada and has the potential to help grow a sector of the economy that has been relatively overlooked. Diversity is an issue of importance across many groups, and we all have a role to play in combating systemic bias; are you doing your part?
It’s a privilege to bring the week in business news to our audience across Canada and streaming globally. Thanks for watching and see you again, soon, CBC!