Note: This conversation was before the restart of TUI Cruising
Have you and the shorex team returned to the office on a regular basis? Parts of my team are on furlough and the rest on short-time work. This is a helpful tool in Germany to save the jobs but also to relieve the company from the financial burden in times with very low revenues. Our offices have never been closed but we implemented a lot of hygiene measures. Furthermore, we are organized quite well and its currently optional to us if we want to work from home or in the office.
What have you and your team been working on during the shutdown? Have you gotten to those “if we only had time” projects? Many of us were doing many different jobs. In the beginning it was about getting passengers home. Once this was finished, we were working on crew repatriation and as soon we saw some light at the end of the tunnel we worked on a very comprehensive return to service document which were presented to ports where we now are sailing from or intend to sail from. Additionally, we have created an own return to service document for the save and healthy operation for shore excursions which have been approved by our medical experts and which are in line or even above and beyond the rules in places for Germany.
How have you kept your team engaged and motivated? Are you Zooming and Skyping? My team has done an extraordinary job and I am proud of them. We are using Skype and GoTo Meeting in order to stay in contact and as already said, I also meet many personally on these days when I am in the office.
Can you share any return to service updates or tips for the global shorex operators? We are reaching out to those tour operators which now are based in the short-term destinations of call and are comparing our requirements and try to align them with the local rules. It is important to say that tour operators are exactly aware of how their local rules are for shore excursion operation as we cannot overrule those. We are trying to align the local rules with ours and were we have differences; the higher requirement will be followed. A good example is how many seats are used in the busses. This varies a lot from country to country.
Have you heard of any operators who are not going to make it through the shutdown? How many? I am aware of only two so far.
How do you think the global shut down will affect the operations of shore excursions worldwide? For the time being there are many things running different and I strongly believe, that some changes will remain post-Covid.
Please share anything else you would like operators to know Worldwide or regional crisis are never good but they help to change the world and without those changes we wouldn’t have the same safety and health standards as we do have them today.