Global Business Development

EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 26, Monday, March 22, 2021

By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

“As the case counts are coming down … and the vaccinations are starting to grow, people are ready to reclaim their lives. And we’re seeing bookings pick up. … They’re ready to reclaim that lost period.”, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, INC., March 21, 2021

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”, Zig Ziglar

“Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, Positive Life.”, Anonymous


Our biweekly newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment and travel.  

Highlights in issue #26:

Starting with this, our 1st anniversary issue, the first line of each update is a link to the article, where available

We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.

Please feel free to send us your input and sources of information. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

First, a few Personal Comments

This is the first anniversary of our biweekly newsletter. Today almost 500 people receive our biweekly newsletter in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.

The world has come a long way since our first COVID-19 era newsletter. The USA and UK economies are recovering fast. While proven vaccines are beginning to be given around the world and the projections for 2021 world GDP growth are sitting at 6%, we still have a way to go to get back to open businesses and international travel are back to an acceptable level.  I am very encouraged by a statement this week by Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines, “People are ready to reclaim their lives.” 

Global Vaccine Update

The biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway. More than 447 million doses have been administered across 133 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 11 million doses a day.”, Bloomberg, March 21, 2021

Interesting Data and Studies

Numbers tell a story, but we know there’s more to most stories than numbers. That’s why we’ve combined the findings from our 5,050 survey responses, gathered in January and February of 2021, with qualitative insights: interviews with chief executives conducted as part of our Inside the Mind of the CEO series and analysis from our Take on Tomorrow series, published between January and March, which tackles today’s most pressing issues to help leaders as they think about what’s next.”, PWC, mid-March 2011

Countries are now able to assess the damage to economic growth wrought in 2020 by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All GEI-surveyed economies went into reverse gear in the early months of the year., McKinsey, March 8, 2021

The massive ten- to 20-percentage-point spike in the savings rate across the United States and Western Europe (amounting to a doubling of annual savings in the United States in 2020) left many households in a strong position to spend. That means an effective vaccine rollout to bring the pandemic to an end could restore consumer demand to pre-pandemic levels, fueled by rising consumer confidence, pent-up demand, and accumulated savings.”, McKinsey, March 17, 2021

Global and Regional Travel Updates

Your most prized travel accessory is about to become your vaccine passport: Travel is definitely beginning to pick back up, but depending on where you’re headed and what type of trip you want to take, you may need to pack more than just your photo ID and wallet. Now, you might also need a vaccine or digital health passport before you hit the road.”, The Points Guy, March 22, 2021

When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery: Coronavirus has us frozen in place for the most part and dreaming of when we can start booking travel again. In the meantime, we’ve been doing a lot of stories at The Points Guy about what those dream trips look like.”, The Points Guy, March 15, 2021

Magic is Back at Disneyland Resort! Theme Parks Plan to Reopen on April 30: After being closed for more than one year, magic is finally returning to the Disneyland Resort theme parks! Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park are planning to officially reopen to the public on April 30, with limited capacity.”, Disney Park Blogs, March 17, 2021

“Is Travel Coming Back? Airports Have Busiest Days Since March 2020: While CDC still advises against travel, bookings rise as airline executives voice optimism for demand rebound: ‘This seems like it’s real,’ says Delta chief….Airports screened nearly 1.36 million people Friday and more than 1.34 million people on Sunday, two of the busiest days since March 2020.”, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2021

Desperate to Revive Tourism, the EU Proposes a Digital COVID-19 Certificate: The European Commission’s proposed Digital Green Certificate will have a modest impact on the European Union’s tourism and hospitality sectors in the short term. But lingering questions on how COVID-19 immunity works and data privacy issues could complicate the implementation process. The European Commission unveiled on March 17 a plan to create a Digital Green Certificate with verified information on people’s COVID-19 status.”, Stratfor, March 18, 2021

IATA Travel Pass Trialed on First International Flight: The International Air transport Association(IATA) Travel Pass is a reality, successfully trialed on a Singapore Airline (SG) flight to London where a group of passengers used the new travel credential system to enter the UK.”, Airways, March 18, 2021

British Airways rolls out vaccine passports (and free snacks) to get us flying again: British Airways will launch a digital global vaccine passport in time for the planned resumption of international travel on May 17. Passengers who have had two Covid-19 jabs will be able to upload their vaccination details to the BA app on their smartphone to prove that they are safe to fly.”, The Sunday Times of London, March 14, 2021

Disney to offer summer cruises from Miami — a first for the line: Disney’s cruising arm on Thursday said its 2,500-passenger Disney Dream would sail a series of three- and four-night summer voyages to the Bahamas out of the city starting on June 7, 2022. The trips will feature calls at Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.”, The Points Guy, March 19, 2021

Hawaiian Airlines Begins Offering Quarantine Free Travel From Japan: Beginning last weekend, Hawaiian Airlines passengers out of Narita who use Hawaii’s Pre-Clear Program and meet its requirements can now avoid a 10-day quarantine after arriving in Hawaii. On Thursday, Hawaiian Airlines will start checking-in Pre-Clear passengers at Kansai International Airport in Osaka. On Friday, Seoul’s Incheon International Airport will join the club.”, Simple Flying, March 16, 2021

The American Express Travel Trends Report Says Exactly What We’re All Thinking — People Want to Travel: In March, American Express released its report, providing a glimpse into consumer sentiment toward travel. The biggest takeaway is that people not only want to travel again but are already hard at work planning their dream post-pandemic getaways. Who isn’t ready for a vacation?”, Travel + Leisure, March 10, 2021

Delta offers more quarantine-free flights to Italy with new services from New York-JFK to Milan and Rome: Delta will offer quarantine-free flights from New York-JFK to Milan Malpensa airport starting April 2, 2021, a day after it launches to Rome Fiumicino. The services will enable customers eligible to travel to Italy to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival, following a rigorous testing protocol before and after travel.”, Delta News Hub, March 17, 2021

Country & Regional Updates

Latin America

For emerging and developing economies, foreign direct investment plays a crucial role in financing major development projects and growing their economies. This is especially true of Latin America. FDI into Latin America hit historical highs between 2011 and 2012, totaling almost $220 billion and accounting for 14 percent of the global total. But since then, FDI has been trending downward, and in 2019 it dropped by 7.8 percent.”, Geopolitical Futures, March 19, 2021


Australia unveils $928 million COVID-19 stimulus package for tourism industry: The basket of airline ticket subsidies for travellers, cheap loans to small tour companies and financial aid for the country’s two largest airlines is designed to keep the critical sector ticking over until foreign tourists return.”, Reuters, March 10, 2021


Brazil economy its largest since 2015, central bank activity index shows: Brazilian economic activity rose sharply in January, a central bank index showed on Monday, indicating that Latin America’s largest economy has not only recovered all its pandemic-related decline but is now back to the size it was over five years ago.”, Reuters, March 15, 2021


“A return to patio dining — and sunny spring weather — inspires excitement in Toronto and Peel: Excitement was on the menu for patrons and staff alike as outdoor dining returned to Toronto and Peel Region this weekend with the help of spring sunshine and double-digit temperatures. ‘We are really excited to see our neighbours again,’ said Shahd Moustafa, manager of Eggstatic on Bayview Ave., in Toronto.”, The Star, March 21, 2021

Walmart opens its first ghost kitchen in Canada: The retail giant’s Canada division has partnered with Ghost Kitchen Brands to open a delivery and pickup-only restaurant — also called a ghost kitchen — at its location in St. Catharines, Ontario. The companies plan to open four more locations in Woodstock, Ontario; Toronto; Lachenaie, Quebec; and Saint-Constant, Quebec, “in the coming months,” an announcement said.”, FOX Business, March 13, 2021


How Chile’s vaccination push outpaced the rest of the Western Hemisphere: Between mass protests over inequality, a push for a constitutional overhaul and one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Latin America, Chile has weathered its share of turmoil over the past year. But the country’s virus vaccination campaign is going about as smoothly as anyone could hope. More than a quarter of Chile’s population has received at least one shot, a feat that only Britain, Israel and the Seychelles have managed to top. Chileans have not had to wait in long lines or navigate confusing signups. Anti-vaccine sentiment, a major hurdle elsewhere, remains low.”, The Washington Post, March 17, 2021


US-China relations: investment environment improving for American firms, AmCham survey shows. Only 12 percent of the 345 US firms surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in China said the investment environment was deteriorating. This represented the lowest proportion since the question was first introduced in the 2012 survey.”, South China Morning Post, March 9, 2021. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

China’s Factory Gate Prices Rise at Fastest Pace in More Than Two Years: The producer price index (PPI), which gauges changes in the prices of goods circulated among manufacturers and mining companies, rose 1.7% (link in Chinese) year-on-year last month, accelerating from 0.3% growth in January, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The figure marks the highest since November 2018 and exceeds the median estimate of a 1.5% rise (link in Chinese) by a Caixin survey of economists.”, Caixin, March 10, 2021

China’s Export Surge Fuels Global Buying Spree of Cargo Ships, Containers: As of March 1, global shipyards had received orders for 66 new container ships so far this year, representing 2.45 million in revised gross tonnage and driving up the total demand for containers to 530,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) at a cost of over $4.6 billion, according to data on Clarksons website published on Tuesday.”, Caixin, March 12, 2021


An interview with the Press Trust on India’s economic situation, its budget, bank privatization by Dr, Raghuran Rajan, Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India, LinkedIn post, March 14, 20211


International spectators to be barred from Olympics in Japan: International spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan for this summer’s Olympic Games amid public concerns over coronavirus, organisers said on Saturday, crushing many fans’ hopes and setting the stage for a drastically scaled-back event. Some 600,000 Olympic tickets purchased by overseas residents will be refunded, as will another 300,000 Paralympic tickets, Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, told a news conference.”, Reuters, March 20, 2021


Popeye’s coming to hundreds of locations in Mexico: Fried chicken chain Popeye’s announced on Friday a deal with the investors and business developers at JK Capital to bring hundreds of Popeye’s locations to Mexico. Currently, Popeye’s is only available in Guadalajara. There are 3,400 Popeye’s locations around the world. New locations in Mexico City will open this year. Popeye’s is part of the Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR) portfolio.”, MarketWatch, March 19, 2021

Saudi Arabia

Without Vaccines, Saudi Efforts to Restore Hajj 2021 Won’t Be Enough: On March 9, Saudi King Salman approved a series of measures designed to help restart the kingdom’s dormant hajj economy ahead of the annual pilgrimage, which this year will take place in July. The measures include easing fees for companies, residents and transport that rely on the annual hajj pilgrimage for income. This indicates that Saudi Arabia is preparing to restart its religious tourism industry after a quiet 2020……”, Stratfor Worldview, March 11, 2021

Saudia Signs Fleet Expansion Deal Worth US$3bn:  In a significant financial deal, Saudia (SV) has signed a loan agreement worth SR11.3bn (US$3bn) for the purchase of 73 new planes. This would be the largest aircraft purchase ever made in Saudi Arabia.”, Airways, March 19, 2021


Singapore PM says may reopen borders by year-end: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a TV interview he hoped Singapore would start re-opening its borders by the end of the year as more countries ramp up vaccination drives against COVID-19 infections. The Southeast Asian island nation has largely banned leisure travel, but has put in place some business and official travel programmes. It is also discussing the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates with other nations.”, Reuters, March 13, 2021


Locked-down Spaniards seethe with envy as Germans flock to Mallorca: Tens of thousands of Germans are planning last-minute Easter getaways to Spain’s sun-kissed islands, leaving many Spaniards, who are not allowed to do the same because of a travel ban, upset.”, Reuters, March 18, 2021

United Kingdom

Britain set to give Covid vaccines to all adults by early June: Being ahead of the EU by two months will save tens of billions. Every adult will be offered at least one jab by about June 10, beating the government target of the end of July, the research company Airfinity estimates.”, The Times of London, March 13, 2021

UK economy rebounds ahead of schedule, says Bank of England: Government borrowing costs hit a one-year high as markets repriced for recovery and inflation after the Bank of England said the economic rebound was ahead of schedule and kept monetary policy on hold yesterday.”, The Sunday Times of London, March 19, 2021

Britain says 26.85 million people have had first shot of vaccine: Britain said on Saturday that 26.85 million people had received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine, in line an earlier announcement that more than half the country’s adults had now had one shot.”, March 20, 2021

Gym Group predicts a healthy future after reopening: Shares in Gym Group strengthened this morning amid optimism that people will still want to go to the gym once lockdowns are over. Fewer members have cancelled in this lockdown than in previous ones and 97 percent of Gym Group customers have said that they expect to get back to the gym as soon as possible.”, The Sunday Times of London, March 18, 2021

“I’m ready to set up rural office hubs, says IWG boss: Mark Dixon, 61, chief executive of IWG, is convinced that the world of work has changed forever as a result of the pandemic, marking the end of the large corporate headquarters where thousands work for one company. ‘People are moving to nice places to live because they know they can work from there. They think that there’s a future of not having to go to the office every day,’ he said.”, The Times of London, March 10, 2021

United States

“(U.S.) Vaccine manufacturing output expected to have tripled from February to March: Vaccine makers have drastically increased their manufacturing capacity, and output of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S. is expected to in March be nearly triple the amount produced in February, the Wall Street Journal reports.”, Axios, March 22, 2021

“Economy Revs Up as Americans Increase Spending on Flights, Lodging, Dining Out: Forecasters have raised their predictions for growth as consumers gain confidence; ‘I’d rather travel than do almost anything.’ Restaurant and hotel bookings are up. Airplane tickets are selling fast. Consumers spent more on gyms, salons and spas in recent weeks than they have since the coronavirus pandemic began.”, The Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2021

New Small Business Report Has Silver Lining: The report finds small business optimism has emerged around several of President Biden’s PPP changes, and the new May timeline for widespread vaccine distribution. This shift in vaccine availability should help 28% more small businesses to recover in 2021, according to the Alignable poll taken during the first week of March.”,

Spring break boom boosts business owners’ hopes: ‘Noticeably busy’: Warmer weather and a loosening of restrictions has resulted in a spike in travel. Spring break crowds have brought a much-needed boost to the hopes of business owners across the country after more than a year of struggle and hardship under coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions.”, FOX Business, March 21, 2021

Air Travel in the U.S. Reached Highest Passenger Screenings in Nearly a Year, TSA Spokesperson Says. TSA officers screened 1,357,111 people at airport security checkpoints on Friday. The last time checkpoint throughput was that high was March 15, 2020.”, People Magazine, March 13, 2021

This chart, courtesy of ITR Economics is from a Vistage CEO webinar this week, shows how U.S. population is not only growing but moving. Most existing population movement is to lower tax states and to the south and west.

Brand News

Restaurant Trends 2021: The Year of Reopening & Recovery: A new ebook, “Restaurant Trends 2021: The Year of Reopening & Recovery” from CAKE, takes a look into what the restaurant technology firm sees for the year ahead. The report gathered insights from culinary experts and market analysts to help restaurant operators find the information they need to make the most out of 2021.”,

Restaurant reopenings boost recovery in US jobs market: Lifting of restrictions on indoor dining and warmer weather fuel hopes for further growth. When combined with hotels and recreational facilities, restaurants accounted for the bulk of the 379,000 jobs added to the US economy last month, helping nudge the unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent.”, The Financial Times, March 8, 2021

Minor DKL is gearing up to be a leader in the virtual brand space: International & emerging brands general manager Jarrod Appleby talks to QSR Media about the food group’s approach in creating virtual brands, including Burgers with Bite – now the largest concept of its kind in Australia.”, QSR Media AU, March 14, 2021. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, The Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

Can Popeyes threaten KFC’s dominance in China? It’s going to try: Popeyes will debut in the U.K. this year, the company is expected to announce this week. That will expand its budding empire to about 30 countries, and Australia is also likely on the docket. Popeyes opened its first restaurant (in China) in May with a franchise partner and wants to reach 1,500 in a decade….”, Fortune, March 21, 2021

Shake Shack, Uber Eats expand delivery partnership nationwide: The fast-food company announced it is rolling out a delivery service that will be available through the Shake Shack app for iOS-enabled Apple devices starting Wednesday, March 17.”, FOX Business, March 17, 2021

Smoothie King Soars as a World-Class Brand Future-Focused on Even Greater Franchise Growth: The world’s largest smoothie brand is riding a global wave of momentum into 2021, poised for more expansion as an innovative operator and top health and wellness-focused franchise. After a record-shattering year of growth, Smoothie King shows no signs of slowing down.”,

Sonic Drive-In Finds the Fast Lane During COVID-19: In a year where eating in your car became cool again, the classic brand kept evolving. The brand’s pull-up design and throwback DNA became the ideal “old-is-new” outlet of a global pandemic. Crowd avoidance as the price to entry. A time when eating in your car became the new night out with friends or family.”,

White Castle Is Celebrating Its 100th Birthday with Events, Offers, & New Menu Items: White Castle is purportedly the very first fast food hamburger chain. Ever! And when your captive Zoom audience gamely asks, “how old is it,” you can tip your hat 1920s style and tell ‘em it’s celebrating 100 turns around the sun this very year. In honor of this august occasion, the slider capital of the world has packed 2021 with all manner of celebrations. ‘What started as a few little hamburger stands has turned into a successful family-owned fast-food hamburger chain and retail brand that has withstood the test of time,’ Lisa Ingram, White Castle’s president and CEO, said in a statement.”, Thrillist, March 12, 2021

Articles and Charts About Doing Business Going Forward

The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Exclusive research and expert insights into a year of work like no other reveal urgent trends leaders should consider as hybrid work unfolds. We’re on the brink of a disruption as great as last year’s sudden shift to remote work: the move to hybrid work — a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home. We’re experiencing this at Microsoft, and today we shared how we’re evolving our own hybrid work strategy for our 160,000+ employees around the world.”, Microsoft, March 2021

97% of Fortune 500 Companies Rely on Social Media. Here’s How You Should Use It for Maximum Impact. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest offer countless ways for brands to connect with customers (both old and new). Additionally, as of 2021, there are roughly 3.78 billion social media users all over the world, a 5 percent increase from 2020.”, Entrepreneur, March 18, 2021

Fast growth companies are the true powerhouses of the U.S. economy: A new study examines the economic multiplier effect of so-called “scale ups,” and the challenges these companies face. Executives of scaling companies are extremely optimistic about growth prospects, despite the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, according to the study, which surveyed 300 leaders of software companies, including 112 scaling companies…..these are companies increasing revenue and employees 20% or more each year.” Fast Company, February 2, 2021

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Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.

Find out more about how we help companies Going Global successfully at:

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Mid-March 2021 GlobalVue™

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William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor of Edwards Global Services (EGS). He has 46 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  Mr. Edwards advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands.

For truly global market research, operations and development support across 40 countries, contact Mr. Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.  Click here to schedule a call with Bill Edwards to discuss how to succeed in developing your company around the world.

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