First Movers

Being a few months ahead of us throughout this Covid period, China is a good source of clues, indicators and pointers that, in theory, should help us all plan our way out. This is taxing politicians around the world who have recognised that, arguably, the way down the mountain is harder than the way up. We didn’t pay much attention to China when preparing for the crisis so we now have a second chance to watch and learn as they take tentative steps to restart their economy, starting with domestic travel.

McKinsey have, in typical fashion, helped us with a timely report entitled “The way back: What the world can learn from China’s travel restart after COVID-19”, and tells us that confidence is slowly returning: “Mainland China’s lockdown is over; new domestic reported cases of COVID-19 are practically zero. Businesses remain cautious, but almost all offices, factories, schools, and retail outlets have reopened. So have most tourist attractions. Our recent China consumer-sentiment survey shows that confidence is coming back: more people feel safe returning to work than did just two weeks ago. When a lockdown ends, the first thing people want to spend money on is eating out. The second is travel. Our consumer survey shows that confidence in domestic travel rose by 60% over the past two weeks”.

Politics aside, this would be a good time for the group of countries known as the “First Movers COVID Group” which includes Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Czech Republic, Israel and Singapore, to explore opportunities to open their borders and relax quarantine measures for ‘Covid-free’ Chinese travellers (students, tourists, shoppers, investors, businesses) as a means to kick-start their Covid-ravaged economies.

Just because it’s never going to happen, doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea?!


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