The holidays are coming, and people are getting stir-crazy.
And that has me wondering if we are going to see more people decide that it's finally time to travel.
Airlines aren’t promising empty seats anymore. And it looks as if people aren’t so scared of cabin confinement.
On October 18, the TSA saw over 1,000,000 daily screenings for the first time since March 16.
Last year, that number was 2,606,266.
So we’re still seeing about half as much travel as we normally would for this time of year, but it’s a great improvement over the low of 87,534 in April.
Cruise lines are anxious to get people back on board as well. Royal Caribbean has told travelers that they can expect the buffet to still be an option.
The twist will be that a crew member will have to serve the food, but passengers will be able to come back as many times as they would like.
But you’re with those people on a cruise ship a little while longer than you’re in the sky.
The solution is 100% testing for passengers and crew…but that statement leaves a lot of grey area.
One solution to all this confusion and inconsistency is CommonPass, which is designed to help global travel return to pre-pandemic levels.
Right now, countries all over the world are working to determine requirements for safe entry.
Some are requiring COVID tests and some are requiring vaccinations.
There are a number of factors that prevent this from being a simple request. The simplest is simply if your documentation is in a different language than that of the country you’re trying the enter.
But, there’s also the problem of validating the passenger was the one who took the test and that the test or vaccination came from a valid source.
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The Commons Project is an open, independent, sustainable not-for-profit that wants to unlock the potential of technology data for the common good.
Its CommonHealth platform is a way for people to collect and store their health data. Even better it lets the user control who and how to share that data.
The Commons Project began working together with The World Economic Forum to adapt that framework into a health passport that would allow users to safely store their health data, but also be able to easily be able to share it with a country they would like to enter.
I’ve talked about Big Data many times before.
Storing and analyzing data is never an easy task, plus here there’s the addition of protecting sensitive information.
Countries need to provide CommonPass with their entry requirements in a standardized format so the data can be added to the database.
There also needs to be a directory of which sites meet which requirements.
Then the data provided needs to be matched with the requirements so that a simple yes or no is given.
The end goal would be to integrate this into the check-in process of an airline or a cruise ship so there aren’t more steps required in an already tedious process.
United Airlines is part of the test group for CommonPass and recently tested it on flight traveling from London to Newark, New Jersey.
There could be a ton of potential, but it's still too early to tell.
How does this affect your portfolio?
First, airlines and cruise lines will take a long time to recover…and so will their shares.
United Airlines is down 62% this year. Southwest down 27%, Norwegian Cruise Lines is down 73%, and Royal Caribbean down 60%.
After 9/11, it took nearly 3 years, until July 2004, for the airline industry to match and finally surpass the pre 9/11 levels.
After that horrendous attack on our fellow Americans, we become divided on our views about the trade-off between security and personal privacy.
Two decades later, we face that same situation with coronavirus.
Our health privacy is under attack.
This is a concerning emerging trend, but as an investor, it’s something we need to keep an eye on.
If trials prove people are willing to surrender their privacy to have peace of mind, it will be hard for corporations to ignore and implement.
Second, this plays into the argument for improved connectivity…5G.
CommonPass and CommonHealth are solutions to many problems.
How many times have you had to call a previous doctor to get something transferred?
Keeping track of your own health and more importantly being able to securely share it when you need to is necessary.
It only works if everything is connected.
This is just one of the many trends I’m keeping an eye on.
It’s interesting technology and could mean big profits once the travel industry sees recovery.
But to be frank, I’m concerned and it scares the hell out of me.
To your prosperity and health,
Joshua M. Belanger
Executive Publisher & Founder