“Keeping a Business Alive that’s Generating No Revenues is an Uphill Struggle”: Friend and Hostel Owner in Barcelona. An Industry Collapses

Bankruptcies, glut of hotels for sale, few buyers, prices plunge. Nobu, de Niro, and Teper take big loss on sale of luxury hotel Nobu Barcelona that was open for only six months.

By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET:

“Keeping a business alive that is generating no revenues is an uphill struggle,” Pol told me. He and two partners own Hostal Live Barcelona, a small two-floor hostel in the center of Barcelona that has been closed since March. “The only reason we are still going is that we qualified for the emergency loan in March. As our bank manager told us at the time, the only reason we qualified for that loan is that we had no debt and some savings, which we had planned to spend on expanding the business. Now those savings are being used just to keep the business alive.”

“It was such an easy business to run,” Pol says. “So many tourists were coming to Barcelona that all you needed to do was offer a clean, comfortable bed in a central location and market it online and someone was bound to fill it.”

Bankruptcy proceedings in the sector were up 60% in November on a year ago. Most of the hotels affected are small or medium-sized, with fewer than 100 rooms. Many other hotel owners now face the problem of trying to sell their business at a time that many others are trying to do the same.

“We have seen prices on some websites that blow your mind,” says Pol. “Some places we’ve seen are being offered at barely over half the price they would have gone for just a year ago.”

Pol is not a full-time hotelier. He’s an automotive engineer who recently returned to his job after months on furlough. His partners are in the IT business. They entered the hotel business together in 2013 with the purchase of a small one-floor licensed hostel on Barcelona’s Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. In 2015, they expanded the business by purchasing a license to convert another floor in the same building into tourist accommodation space. By that time, the hostel had 17 beds and six workers on their payroll.

Big luxury hotels too. A few days ago, the international restaurant and hotel chain Nobu Global, co-founded by Hollywood veteran Robert de Niro, Japanese celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, and movie producer Meir Teper, together with the Spanish hotel group Selenta, sold the 259-room luxury hotel Nobu Barcelona to German private equity fund ASG.

The hotel was open for only six months, from its inauguration in September 2019 until March 2020, when it closed due to the Pandemic, and hasn’t reopened since, like roughly three quarters of the hotels in Barcelona. ASG, which will lease the building back to Nobu Global, has not disclosed the price of the deal, but industry sources cited by El País say that Selenta originally acquired the property for around €100 million and has now sold it for approximately €80 million.

In 2020 through November, tourist arrivals by air, land, and sea collapsed by 77% from the prior year, to just 18.3 million foreign tourists, according to Spain’s National Statistics Institute. During April and May, the two months of total lockdown, “zero” foreign tourists arrived in Spain, and foreign tourists spent “zero” money in the country. After the borders were reopened in June, foreign tourists began returning but only at a fraction of normal numbers. In November, just 456,000 foreign visitors arrived in Spain, down 90% from November 2019. Foreign tourist expenditure collapsed to less than €20 billion, from €92 billion in 2019:

For the hotels that have stayed open since March, revenues have collapsed by roughly half, according to the industry group Hosteleria de España. Smaller family-run hotels have been particularly hard hit. They have had to keep paying fixed costs such as rent and taxes while generating zero or next-to-zero income. Having exhausted their rainy day funds (assuming they had any) and then burned through the largely government-guaranteed Covid-19 emergency loans (assuming they were lucky enough to qualify for one), many of them cannot hold on any longer, or are simply throwing in the towel.

The problem is not just the growing glut of hotels hitting the market but also the paucity of buyers. In 2020, just 77 hotels changed hands in a country of over 17,000. And almost all the buyers were institutional investors like ASG.

For Pol and his partners things were going so well that they had begun planning to further expand the business, setting aside much of the money they made for reinvestment. The long-term plan was to make enough money to be able to stop doing their day jobs and dedicate all their time and energy to the hostel business. But then Covid hit.

“We haven’t reopened since March 15, though we thought about it during the summer,” Pol says. “It costs a lot of money to open a business like this and so few people were coming to the city that it made more financial sense to stay closed and try to weather the storm by cutting costs as much as possible.”

Pol and his partners have not had to pay their workers’ wages, which represent around 40-45% of fixed costs, as all of the workers have been furloughed since March. As a result, 70% of their wages and most of their social security costs have been paid by the government. But the hostel has still had to pay taxes on the income it generated in 2019. And it has continued to pay rent throughout this period, although in the Fall Pol and his partners managed to negotiate a 50% reduction.

“We made the landlord, who owns both properties, an offer he chose not to refuse. We said, ‘if you let us off half of the rent for six months you will be doubling our chances of survival.’ We still have eight years left on our contract and he knows we are good tenants. He also knows that finding someone to replace us at this present juncture is not going to be easy.”

But the savings are running low. Pol says they have should have enough funds to hold out for six more months, as long as the government extends the furlough program for the worst-hit sectors until the summer, as is expected.

“It doesn’t look like we are going to have a normal Spring or Summer. Like many people in this sector, our big hope is that the Mobile World Congress (MWC) goes ahead.”

The world’s biggest mobile trade fair, MWC used to generate around half a billion euros for Barcelona each year, much of which ended up in the pockets of hoteliers. The four-day event normally takes place at the end of February, in the middle of Barcelona’s low tourist season. Last year, however, it was cancelled at the last minute, as the pandemic spread around the world. This year, it is scheduled to take take place at the end of June, in the hope that business travel will begin to pick up in the interim.

“Even if it goes ahead with just a third of the normal number of attendees (110,000), it might give a chance for the city to begin to get back on its feet,” Pol says. “For us, it might mean being able to finally fill four or five of our beds. Right now, that’s about as much as we can hope for.” By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET.

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  168 comments for ““Keeping a Business Alive that’s Generating No Revenues is an Uphill Struggle”: Friend and Hostel Owner in Barcelona. An Industry Collapses

  1. Sit23 says:

    In my own town, very much tourism oriented, we are missing the $17billion the foreigners used to bring us, but have gained the $10billion that Kiwis used to spend overseas each year. So our business model is now about 7/10ths of that previously. Down but by no means out. Maybe Barcelona could take advantage of domestic visitors, especially now that the place is not packed with those ghastly foreigners.

    • Nick Corbishley says:

      It’s been trying the best it can. Catalonia’s regional government even launched a big promotional video (in Spanish) to lure Spanish vacationers, most of whom spent their holidays in Spain this year. But with a pandemic raging, most of them opted for smaller towns or cities.

      • Stefano says:

        Without mentioning that people from Madrid and other affluent areas do not desire to spend their money or leisure time in Catalunya. Catalunya is way more dependent on foreign tourism. I am living myself in Barcelona and the whole hospitality sector is collapsed. Restaurants have been on his knees since the second wave, not sure how they can make money when you are only open for lunch or take away, while in other regions like madrid you can still have dinner. Let s hope the vaccination process will allow tourism to get somehow back to normal within this summer. All my best wishes nick, hang in there

      • Gerrard White says:

        With respect if one may say it was that easy it merely looked that easy – one ‘negative externality’ blew it up, as they used to say the town was wide open

        Tourism can be a benefit, but it is also invariably a plague, a business which by definition depends on a host of externalities

        And creates a lot of resentment in lower income countries, oftener the sunny ones, selected by cash rich northerners to ‘to relax in’

        Medieval Romans complained about and ransacked the pilgrims, modern Barcelon-ians ? have taken to the streets to protest

        Globalism’s multiple fragilities have been exposed by this pandemic, time to do business better

    • char says:

      Local tourists spend their money very differently from foreign tourists. Barcelona is a very typical Spanish city which looks like every other Spanish city with the same shops and food and weather that is the same but slightly less extreme. But i think they have a better theater scene than the average Spanish town. But my Spanish is way, way to bad to enjoy the theater. But than i’m a foreigner.

    • Javert Chip says:

      Sit123

      “…we are missing the $17billion the foreigners used to bring us, but have gained the $10billion that Kiwis used to spend overseas each year…”

      For the above statement to be true, each and every one of the 4,700,000 Kiwis would have had to spend $2,127 in Barcelona 2020.

      That simply didn’t happen. Not even close.

      You appear to get your statistics from the same place you get your charm for foreign visitors.

      • Javert Chip says:

        …and Spain has been closed to tourists for most of 2020.

        • Joe Saba says:

          in 2019 I would routinely read about how Spain hated it’s tourists and that airbnb was making workers live further away from work

          now they have clean streets and cheaper rentals with many an airbnb going bankrupt

          a little cleansing can go long way

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Javert Chip,

        I think Sit123’s comment is a little confusing. The way I read it is that Sit123 is in a tourist town in New Zealand, and that domestic NZ tourism is providing 70% of what foreign tourism used to provide.

        But your math still holds, it seems.

    • c1ue says:

      $10b vs. $17b isn’t 7/10ths. More like 5.8 tenths.
      We used to bemoan 2% falls in GDP – interesting how a 42% fall in one sector seems to be ok now.

  2. Disciple of Infinite Growth says:

    They should have done IPOs as electric green hotels and grow the ballance sheets through periodic offerings until they own the entire planet.

  3. Travelling Man says:

    I think, if you have had Covid-19,20 or 21. Now is a great time to travel. Cheap, quiet, odd and a very intense feeling of freedom compared to lockdown.

    Governments are scaring people in order to stop the spread and keep patient numbers manageable. However, if you have had it, been vaccinated or are young and reckless, the world is at your feet now.

    • char says:

      Getting hospital sick in a foreign country is not fun

      • Yossi says:

        Me and the lady live in Israel, we’re going to get vaccinated soon and we are considering taking a break from life – and traveling for 3 months cheaply around the world.
        The problem is that the vaccine is 95% effective, means that there’s a 10% chance that one of us would get sick :-/

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          The probability of one of the two of you becoming ill is greater than simply summing individual probabilities. Sorry. If you’re young it still might be worth it.

        • BillS says:

          P(at least one sick) = 1.0 – P(lady not sick) * P(gent not sick)
          0.0975 = 1.0 – (0.95) * (0.95) … or 9.75% chance of one being sick.

          Can also be computed from
          P(at least one sick) = P(lady sick) * P(gent not sick) + P(gent sick) * P(lady not sick) + P(lady sick) *P(gent sick)
          0.0975 = (0.05) * (0.95) + (0.05) * (0.95) + (0.05) * (0.05)

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          @BillS – Isn’t the real problem with repeated exposures? Does the same probability work for 100 coin flips as for 1 coin flip? 1000? Just asking, not a stats pro.

    • Wisoot says:

      Rather than a sense of freedom, there is a type of good old fashioned pure freedom ~ from tyranny lies thieves – people who are addicted to lauding power ~ that is ours for the taking…now.

    • Covey says:

      But where are you going to travel to? Most countries have restrictions on arrivals and many require Covid tests up to 72hrs before travel which generally cost over $100 per test. Australia requires all arrivals to spend 2 weeks at a quarantine hotel, confined to your room and at your own expense.

      Here in Spain, we were restricted to our local government area before Christmas and only those with jobs in adjoining areas were permitted to travel outside your home town. Andalucia has a huge number of empty hotels because tourists are either blocked from leaving their home countries or banned from entering Spain.

    • Argus says:

      Remember that, even if you have been vaccinated, you are capable of spreading the virus to others. Masks and distancing will be with us for a while.

  4. joe2 says:

    Couple points:
    ” trying to sell their business” ain’t gonna happen now. I know some small businesses that tried and then gave up. The theory that large businesses are waiting to scoop up small businesses does not seem to be happening. It looks like the big businesses are waiting for small businesses to fail and customers to come out of the woodwork and then they will be the only alternative.
    The author is right that the small businesses that have not closed are running on PPP and SBA loans. He is also right that taxing authorities are raping businesses with higher taxes on gross and property.

    Personal observation: Nobu was over-rated. I hosted a dinner in one of their restaurants, very flashy service and mediocre food. The chef’s specialty fish was just some fish marinated in Korean Kalbi sauce which I make my self basically just from soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and crushed garlic. But I use it on beef ribs like everyone else.

    • RightNYer says:

      You talking about the black miso cod?

      • joe2 says:

        Probably. This was at the Nobu at Caesars. It tasted like fish kalbi to me, not much like miso. I asked the waiter to order a number of specialties for the table and most dishes were just different types of fish poke although they said it was sashimi. I know fish poke from Hawaii and I’m not fond of the oil.

  5. Beardawg says:

    Good article Nick. This is a sad state of affairs for a pure tourist destination. I truly hope Pol’s place can still be a dream realized once the Summer season hits. :-[

    • Wisoot says:

      Before planes and cars, speed of entering and exiting Barcelona was limited by boat horse train and foot.Impact on local life attenuated. Residents who remember these times also remember better health and quality of life. The sooner Barcelona becomes sustainable to its surroundings regards water energy waste and air pollution, the more stable life there will be. Consequences of internet on cities without the local governance to cope is the change to move Barcelona forward.

      • char says:

        Barcelona was a small unimportant 10k town before the train IIRC and no city is sustainable to its surroundings unless those surroundings are big

        • MooMoo says:

          Get Woke – – go Broke.

          We have achieved ‘sustainability’ right now. Everyone is either locked up at home or restricted from moving in a free manner. How great! How Green!

          Industrialization is the best way for a society to normalize population growth and use of resources. Those who choose can live on a self-sustaining farm, with their wokeness… but don’t foist it on those who don’t want it by writing your Green Prescriptions for Barcelona and telling everyone how great it will be.

          The Spaniards have had their lives ruined…for good.

          And no amount of Greeness is going to ameliorate their suffering…not now…and not in the future.

  6. Memento mori says:

    …In 2020, just 77 hotels changed hands in a country of over 17,000. And almost all the buyers were institutional investors like ASG…
    No chance for the oppressed saver to bid on distressed assets.
    Commercial listings for sale in California are at all time high prices, no chance to get a bargain.
    I don’t know where the author got the evidence that hotels are selling at 50% off. If anything the pandemic has driven asset prices as high as ever. Wake me up when Powell stops buying MBS.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Memento mori,

      This is in Spain. And it’s about hotels. It’s not about industrial buildings or offices in California. Even in California, hotel properties are now defaulting and are in the process of going back to the lender. Some have been sold to the state of California and to cities (such as San Francisco and LA) to house the homeless. Many defaulted mortgages are so high that the hotel owner cannot sell the property and pay off the mortgage with the proceeds.

    • Wisoot says:

      Agreed memento mori greedy consolidators want it all under the investment thumb. Then they can move their puppet strings for past time while they lie on their backs getting fed grapes and massaged.

  7. Gerry says:

    Fill in the empty space below –

    In Spain: 70% of workers’ wages and most of their social security costs have been paid by the government.

    In —: 0% of workers’ wages and none of their social security costs have been paid by the government.

    Our next question will be on which countries have freedom of speech.

    • Cas127 says:

      Gerry,

      What the hell are you talking about?

      The US has had a huge forgivable loan program for business’ *not* laying people off.

      Did you forget about that?

      • timbers says:

        Is that supposed to be a down payment on 40 years of US tax subsidies to relocate American jobs to foreign nations and official policy to jobs overseas? He’s referring not to Covid policy but long term policy.

        • GotCollateral says:

          Here i was thinking long term policy was bail out all the zombies uber alles… lol

      • Rowen says:

        The way that worked in the hospitality industry: PPP loans paid for the salaries and benefits of full time management staff. The majority of workers, mostly part-time, were laid off since they weren’t considered in the PPP calculations.

      • Gerry says:

        No. The PPP gave money to employers, not employees. When the real history of this payment protection system is written, it will turn out to be a looters’ paradise. How can you say how wonderful things are while there are car lines miles long waiting to pick up free food at food banks? Ever other major Western country, from Japan to Italy to Canada, provides direct payments to workers who have lost their jobs due to lockdowns. In California, they are still trying to figure out how many hundreds of millions of dollars Nigerian fraudsters looted from the UI system. Probably unlike you, I had a job where I came into direct contact with employers, claimants and government workers involved with the Labor Law concerning unpaid wages. You don’t know what you are talking about. Obviously, you never heard the contemptuous phrase, “good enough for government work.”

        • Candyman says:

          PPP money went to employers to pay employees, keeping them employed. The loans are only forgivable by showing actual payroll documentation. If a company decided not to follow this rule, yes money could buy a new car, but rmember, it has a loan!! Only way it is to default and go bankrupt

    • MCH says:

      Free speech sound very nice as long as one’s energy isn’t dedicated to trying to survive.

      Remember, plenty of people live in places without free speech, mostly their lives tend to just continue.

      Even in places where there is draconian control of information, there are still ways of seeing past the sponsored lies if one tried hard enough.

      • Javert Chip says:

        MCH

        Perhaps you could offer a few words of advice to the 1,000,000 (and growing) Uygurs in China on exactly how to do that “…seeing past the sponsored lies…” stuff you speak so fondly of.

        • timbers says:

          Personally, I’m a tad more concerned about the 300,000,000+ millions in US being fed sponsored lies which frequently result in an adverse affect on 10s of millions of lives every few years or so..

        • Javert Chip says:

          Timbers

          I’m confident MCH will address both those issue

        • MCH says:

          JC,

          How many years did Saddam stay in power after the first gulf war? People still managed to eke out a living there. How about that theocracy in Iran? Or the crappy situation in Venezuela… I could go on, but you get the point.

          People understand the truth of the situation, mostly what they aim for is to best survive under those situations.

          Others will do there best to see that they don’t piss off their market, NBA, Disney, Apple, Starbucks, a few of the more liberal organizations who are absolutely outspoken here in the US about all sorts of stuff know which side their bread is buttered on when it comes to China. What does Bob Iger say about Hong Kong’s democracy efforts, or how does LeBron James vocalize his feelings about the Uygurs. Yep, exactly, their paychecks matter more than their vague feelings about “Justice”.

          The same can be said for all those people who have to live under far more horrifying regimes, their day to day survival matters a little more than how vocal they can be about the dictator sitting at the top of the pile.

        • timbers says:

          Not likely. Comment was directed at yours.

        • Javert Chip says:

          Timbers

          Well, I share your concern. Our society thought we’d solved this problem once (read The Federalist papers).

          What we’re experiencing now is life under tech monopoly power. Google, et al, manipulate access to public wire & airwaves to screen for “preferred” political opinions. Note: it’s illegal for the government to curtail speech; however, current law allows monopoly commercial organizations to aggressively discriminate against legitimate access to public wire & airways.

          Just as the US public accommodations law criminalizes housing (and other) discrimination on certain factors (race, sex…), the US now needs to consider similar prohibitions criminalizing discrimination in use of public wire & airwaves (yea, there will be some difficulty in managing extremist speech).

          It will be interesting to see if our society has the political will to act.

        • NBay says:

          The Black folks in Georgia saw past the sponsored lies of one of our slightly less right wing parties and had the political will to do something. Maybe the ball will keep rolling.

          Green New Industry!

        • NBay says:

          I meant slightly more right wing.

  8. MonkeyBusiness says:

    2 or 3 years ago I visited Barcelona for the first time. I arrived the day there was a big demonstration against foreign tourists :(

    As they say you have to be careful when making wishes, because you might just get them.

    Given how resistant the citizens of some European countries are to getting vaccine shots, I wonder how tourism in Europe will look like this coming year. Vaccination passports to be checked at hotels?

    • Implicit says:

      There will be a good business for counterfeit vaccine passports

      • timbers says:

        Maybe they will be made in China and eligible for US tax credits. But if made in the USA, will send them to jail. Gee, wonder why so many out of job and in US jail?

        • Implicit says:

          Ha,Ha The good old USA has some great black market craftsman, digital and otherwise.

        • Javert Chip says:

          Timbers

          a) The government put them out of work with the Covid lockdown

          b) because they have been convicted of committing crimes

      • stan6565 says:

        In my corner of SW London, there are people already advertising by email, COVID vaccination. Delivered to your door, cash in hand, no queues.

        Looking a few months forward, Ryanair is also advertising “jab and go”. Only £19 for both.

        Aaahhh, marvels of modern life, what’s not to like.

    • Dannywhite says:

      When we were there in 2017 lots of signs on balconies:
      “Tourismo Mata Nuestra communidades”

      “Tourism kills communities”

      Notice this in the article:
      “they expanded the business by purchasing a license to convert another floor in the same building into tourist accommodation space” Unless that was an industrial or commercial building, it means they took over at least five apartments where people used to live to do that.

      Back home, we know many people whose apartments were turned into commercial spaces. When you see a Victorian with a business sign in the window, that’s a place where people used to live.

      Now is the time for renter’s revenge in San Francisco. See your old neighbors apartment listed on Craigslist? Are they charging several thousands or more for a studio? Flag it to disappear the ad and let it sit empty for a few more months or, until they lower the rent to a reasonable level.

    • Gerrard White says:

      @MonkeyBusiness

      I am sure you have heard of the problems caused by tourism, or by an ‘excess’ of tourism above certain levels

      The rich, the banks, the large corporations, the landowners invariably benefit: the poor invariably suffer

      The town is in the end segregated, the poor all moved far away, the rich local and the rich visitor occupy what remains

      And – When they find somewhere else they’d prefer to go? – ghost town?

      • Jeff says:

        I’m quite undecided on this idea that tourism is a net negative for an area. Compare Haiti to the Dominican Republic. How much of the difference is due to the DR’s tourism?

        Perhaps the anti-tourism argument should only be limited to first world countries.

        • Gerrard White says:

          @Jeff

          I have no specific knowledge about Haiti and DR – but obviously different pros and cons can be listed for Third World and First

          Much TW tourism is of little net benefit to the countries involved despite investment in the ‘resorts’ and the creation of a number of jobs, the TW countries often pony up infra costs, and give very favourable tax breaks incentives – most/very nearly all profit is exfiltrated

          As for the jobs – some, beggars can not be choosers; but the resort corps make AMZN look benevolent

          Then consider all the ancillary ‘services’ which includes a lot of prostitution

          It is said that Thailand when re opening tourism will be to Chinese plus other Asian, inhibiting white EU because of the sex drugs and drinking problems, big plus the Chinese spend more

          The argument is not anti tourism, it is caution against over reliance on tourism, or ‘too much’, which is the problem – it is relying on a market over which the host country has little control, and which is often a race to the bottom

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Gerrard-‘overreliance’ is a great observation, and, i believe, can be applied to our technoindustrial society as a whole, given it’s current drive and broad constant demand for ‘just-in-time’ efficiencies. System redundancies appear as enraging on a balance sheet until one realizes the column for resiliency has been omitted…

          may we all find a better day.

    • Texas23 says:

      Having tourism is not a binary decision, yes or no, black or white
      Tourism can be good for a community, but to much can kill a community. To much of almost anything can have negative effects, whether it be tourist, beer or (fill in the blank).
      Parts of Barcelona got overwhelmed with tourists, hence the negative effect and the pushback from locals.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        This.

      • MooMoo says:

        …never forget… tourist taxes filled Catalan Coffers that paid quality pensions for people who did very little work. The desire for “MORE” by the government and their employees was and is insatiable…which is why they did nothing to ever modify the amount of tourists. They easily could have.

        But is Spain, the displaced/poorly housed part-time employees, who can’t get a long-term job (because of tax implications that are completely generous to the employer) never vent their anger at the government…it is always the tourist that is to blame…government is fed by the tourist industry. The people are NOT!

        (ask anyone from Magaluf)

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      I am not against or for tourism. As someone who likes traveling, I certainly have a bias ;)

      I can certainly see a future whereby tourism will be more limited in scope, possibly through the use of a quota system.

  9. Ron says:

    So sorry for these people at least they have a job many don’t lost mine but I feel like they should have walked away with savings will be many opportunities in future as virus keeps mutating makes me wonder if man was involved

    • NBay says:

      Ron-

      https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02039/full

      Other than that response, I’m mainly just here learning what some 1% 5%, and maybe 10%ers, whine about, as I no longer know any since my DC lobbyist uncle and others died….he was a a sleaze ball 0.1%er. He walked the golf course at San Ramon (another uncle’s house who drank but stayed out of it) one night at 2am in the early 70’s following a long scotch fueled argument, because he was afraid he’d have to “knock my block off”…..I still wish he’d tried that.

  10. Engin-ear says:

    A heartbreaking illustration of the convulsions of tourism sector.

    To add insult to injury, still no understanding for how long more the international tourism will stay suspended.

    Spanish flu struck the world in two big waves a century ago (1.5 years) – that makes a possible scenario for current situation.

    We’ll see in 6 months.

    • Anthony A. says:

      Once the vaccine gets rolled out in these countries things will get better. Although that will take a good while.

      Here in Texas, some of us had our first shot of it this last week (two dose regiment). Health care workers first, followed by us old goats. My second shot is set for early February.

      Can anybody here comment on the status of vaccinations being implemented in Europe?

      • Engin-ear says:

        I heard that the EU purchased a huge number of vaccine doses (great initiative) and the vaccinations started.

        I have no clue about the end date for the vaccinations. And that should be the key.

        • Covey says:

          The EU were persuaded to order the bulk of their vaccine requirement from Sanofi which is a French company. The current estimate for approval of the Sanofi vaccine is December 2021.

          The 26 other EU Members are none too happy.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Covey,

          That is total nonsense. All European countries have been vaccinating people. EU members have bought very large quantities of all available vaccines — same as the US. In France, lots of unused vaccines because many people refuse to get vaccinated, same as in some parts of the US. Germany has been vaccinating in special vaccination centers, not without the usual wtf mishaps. Spain and Italy have been vaccinating…. In Spain, vaccinations were slowed by a freak heavy snowfall that brought traffic to a halt…. It’s all out there. All you have to do is inform yourself.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Covey, that’s just crazy. If Dec 2021 is the first time vaccines are available in the EU, good luck with people’s lives….forget tourism.

        • Happy1 says:

          Bloomberg has a handy vaccine tracker for your reference. I is doing great, the rest of the EU is way, way behind.

        • Happy1 says:

          That should read UK is doing great…

      • Apple says:

        It may be another 8 months before the vaccine is rolled out to everyone in the US that wants one.

      • Prof. Emeritus says:

        It varies by country hugely, there are trackers measuring the overall vaccination rate, but in general it’s pretty slow, most countries won’t reach 1% by the end of January. It’s hard to tell how much the programmes may speed up, but at least 1 more virus wave is predicted on most part of the continent (the late winter used to be harsher in the last few years, March-April with lots of cold weather is what most politicans fear).

      • MCH says:

        Well, Biden did say he was going to release all of the vaccine on hand, right?

        I listened to a short interview with a doctor this morning on KCBS radio where the local reporters were pressing the guest to say how wonderful that plan is compared to what the current administration was doing, they offered him several juicy questions and the guy just wouldn’t provide the answers that the hosts seem to be angling for.

        I think the biggest problem with this isn’t the vaccine itself, but all of the talk around it over the past year. From the experts in May who said a vaccine isn’t possible within a year no matter how much money you throw at it, and how people shouldn’t trust a vaccine approve under the Trump administration.

        Now, it’s full speed ahead with vaccination, and a miracle that we have 90% plus effectiveness, if you don’t do it, that endangering others.

        The doublespeak is really tiring, and this is coming from someone who takes the flu vaccine every year.

      • Anthony says:

        Europe is not yet doing well, in giving out the vaccine, apart from the UK which has charged ahead and is doing similar numbers to the US….. Holland, for instance, doesn’t start until Wednesday, with both France and Ireland giving out really tiny amounts up to now….

      • Gerrard White says:

        @Anthony A

        Vaccine roll out quite quick in UK, if you can count it in as a vital part of intra EU tourism, approx 2million

        EU very slow both authorisation wise and roll out – in France (a few hundred) they say it’s easier to buy a car than to get a vaccine, they have so complex a prioritisation and application system that they can not figure it out – a bit like NY State

        Although some say it’s ‘really because’ they can not figure out the Pfizer required cold chain, which ain’t easy

        End dates are very hypothetical – multi mutant strains emergent, and nobody has any idea of how long vaccine induced protection will last, nor whether any will be effective in preventing transmission

        Could last years

        • Anthony A. says:

          Gerrard: Thanks for the explanation of the complicated roll-out over in the EU. Sounds like a mess.

          The U.S. may be similar in handling the vaccine implementation as I would guess each state has their idea of how to do it.

          Our experience: Last week, I got an email from a local hospital where we have previous experience with. The email allowed us (wife and I) to register and reserve a time slot to get the vaccine. We went at the appointed time and got in a line for non-hospital staff. We were inoculated in 15 minutes and have appointments for early Feb for the second shot.

          The hospital was nice enough to provide this for non-medical workers, us being over 75 years of age. There was a separate line for medical personnel and their families.

          The hospital ran out of vaccine within 4 days of the start. No word yet on when they will get more vaccine.

        • Gerrard White says:

          @Anthony A

          It is very hard to work out efficient delivery schedules if the information as to vaccine effectiveness is unclear (as per illness prevention and/or transmission prevention) which it is due to speed ed up trialing and testing and emergency authorisation of a brand new manner of vaccine creation, mrna

          Add to which the necessity to order far ahead for limited production, plus cold chain of exceptional logistical complexity for the first on the market, plus in the US distribution being organised by the CDC to states and then each state having to construct a delivery system added to which the complexities of a prioritisation program which is in at least partly based on the politics of special victim sub groups

          The whole based on no clear idea of whom the vaccine will best serve and how, and what is the maximum distribution efficiency to serve what is hence a political decision, to save lives quickly (the very old) or to save more lives perhaps over time with a distinct distribution division (very old but also essential, health care etc)

          In the EU there is a a slightly similar disjunct and lack of co ordination

          But in both EU and US a large of the populations polled say they will not take the vaccine, up to 60% no in France for example

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Are they recording all these individual vaccinations for follow up so we can get more comprehensive statistics on a vaccine’s efficacy? FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization should require that.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          All we need to do is vaccinate 1,000,000 folks per day, every day without fail, to have America done before year’s end. Starting right now.

        • Happy1 says:

          About a million people a day are being infected in the US (estimates vary but probably 4 times the number of reported cases), so vaccine or not, we’ll be near herd immunity sometime this summer in the US.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          St. Quentin state prison achieved herd immunity when about 85% of the inmates were infected. Over 1% died of covid. Like most Americans, inmates have shitty healthcare and don’t get helicoptered to the hospital. They get sent to the hospital when it’s pretty late in the game, like most Americans. If this were to happen in the US overall, 3.5 people would die of covid before herd immunity is achieved. And then it may not last, and it starts all over again.

    • char says:

      Spanish flu was another time in which it was still normal to loose half your (big) family on a disease.

    • Wisoot says:

      Engin ear the timeline you are looking to understand has absolutely zero diddley squat to do with vaccines. More research.

    • Gandalf says:

      Spanish flu eventually evolved into a milder but still potentially lethal seasonal flu which never went away, and so here we are in the modern era with annual flu season, annual flu vaccines, and still an estimated 12,000-60,000 deaths from flu every year.

      Different mutant strains of the Sars-Cov2 have already changed the spike protein in multiple areas – that’s the active part of the virus that all the COVID vaccines are designed to attack. So far the currently released vaccines still appear to be effective against the variants that have appeared, but EVENTUALLY, a mutant strain will appear that will not be neutralized by the current vaccines.

      Well, the process for changing the vaccines to attack the new mutated spike proteins will be much quicker, since the basic concept of these vaccines have now been more or less proven to work, and it will just be like the flu vaccines – quickly altering the basic formula to attack a different strain of virus.

      But that does mean annual COVID vaccines, and a much longer period before people will feel safe to travel all over the world again.

      That’s my prediction.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        I predict that pharma will do exceptionally well with a new vaccine to sell to everyone everywhere. Every year or two from now on.

        • NBay says:

          Your prediction is likely correct, along with most all the other crap they have been selling, Rx or OTC.

          I was in Pharmacy School at Oregon State 78-79.

          Yeah, I dropped out after I learned all they had to teach me, plus saw the writing on the wall for the whole medical industry. (cost me a fine 5′ 10 1/2″ ex model fiancé, too). But I’ve hung with it and can speak their lingo.

          Erlich’s “magic bullet” has been kicked down the road almost as far as the Econ can has….way over their skis….but profitable as hell.

          Take Wolf’s advice and swim or walk up hills if you want “take” something for your ills. Nothing wrong with a multi-vitamin and some extra C, either.

      • NBay says:

        https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.565521/full

        I can’t recall the name of that diagnosis (something to do with lethargy) than lasted for maybe ten years after the Spanish Flu 1918. Wish I could, maybe you can. But I’m betting it was related.

        Either way, the current pandemic is going likely be VERY tough times for a while for a lot of people.

        • NBay says:

          Never mind, I re-read my own damned link again, more thoroughly.
          Encephalitis Lethargica was the diagnosis I was asking about.

  11. Petunia says:

    I keep hearing hyperinflation is just around the corner. Doesn’t look like it to me. Looks like global deflation is the new world order. If you can’t work, can’t travel, can’t run your small business, don’t consume, they can price it high, but it will sell low.

    • Robert says:

      Inflation is the way things are heading, but supply destruction will figure heavily here, as much as currency devaluation. Those few Hotels still open in Barcelona after covid will likely be charging much higher rates.

      One of the most expensive 7-11’s I have ever visited was not in Manhattan ot San Fran but in some pit of hell neighborhood in Baltimore. It was the only store around in that blighted landscape, and as such, it could charge anything it liked. If you want to witness poverty and despair, take a trip to Baltimore.

      • Rowen says:

        Inflation is tradeable assets in financial markets.
        Deflation for everything else.

      • Petunia says:

        At the same time I see retail being destroyed, I see the second hand markets expanding rapidly, even preferred. The young generation has embraced minimalism and sustainability. This less is more lifestyle is already having a big impact on housing, furnishings, and clothing. Another reason why I don’t see inflation being sustainable overall.

        And I’ve been to Baltimore, possibly the worst place I’ve ever visited.

        • Wisoot says:

          Yes Petunia

        • Anthony A. says:

          Petunia, everything you stated is so true as young people in our extended family don’t even want family our heirlooms. We even have a 24 year old grandson who has no drivers license and could care less about driving.

          I’m starting to wonder if the young generation wants to travel to foreign lands as a vacation?

          Oh, and Baltimore…right on from personal experience.

        • Anthony says:

          Petunia

          When you print money, if you look in history, very often you get a thing called stagflation, that is when there is no growth in the economy but at the same time massive inflation. It happened in the 1970’s, in the Uk, when we had 26% inflation a year and high unemployment…. It was solved, eventually, by Maggie and interest rates of 20%……..ouch……

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          We won’t get inflation until folks can afford to pay more. The new Pres and Congress will probably make that possible.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Young people have no money full stop.

          Give them money and they’ll consume the world faster than their predecessor.

        • MooMoo says:

          The young generation has no choice. Its not a freely chosen alternative lifestyle.

          Roll on UBI, a 300sq flat and free Netflix….from birth to death. No job, no future and no Fun …which is now considered an eco-crime.

      • timbers says:

        Robert, regarding your comment about inflation and production destruction, and this opening line:

        “Keeping a business alive that is generating no revenues is an uphill struggle,” Pol told me.

        Maybe Pol is hurting because he hasn’t figured out a way to lose big enough? Compare Pol’s comment to someone who is in a way doing the same thing but on a grander scale: Tesla. She losses money on every care she sells, correct? And in our perverse Fed created world of finance, that helps make Elon the richest man in world. Because he loses (the most?) money on Earth.

        Add Netflix, Lyft, Uber, and others to that category.

        Don’t have be be a genius to see that a society that creates a system in which the biggest losers on Earth are the most rewarded, has to be a society that will implode in some way so or later.

        • Javert Chip says:

          Actually, Tesla has made a profit for at least the last 4 quarters, and yes, at part of it comes from taxpayer-paid EV subsidy (available to, and used by, most car makers).

          Apparently this is required to get people into EVs (which, among other things, requires a $7-9,000 non-warranty battery change after a number of years).

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Not sure in these modern times, but, with certainty, various cities in various parts of Asia 50-60 years ago, fresh dead bodies in the streets every morning, mostly from no food.
        Never seen anything similar in any era in any city in USA, and although we seem to be having a lot of shooting deaths lately, not certain how that stacks up against ”depression formerly known as greatest” era?
        Maybe someone on here knows about such depths/deaths of poverty in 1930s versus today?
        Dorothea Lange’s photos of folks of that era sure don’t look like folks today, eh?
        Oakland Museum of CA has a great show of her work on net if link below is gone.
        https://dorothealange.museumca.org/

        • Texas23 says:

          The lines at the current day food banks don’t convey the same feeling of despair as in Dorothea Lange’s photos.
          An image of an able bodied, overweight person smoking a cigarette while sitting in their new SUV just doesn’t pull at the heart strings like the depression era black and white photos.

        • NBay says:

          Thanks Vet- Didn’t know about her works.
          Like Steinbeck in pictures. My dad rode the rails from Ohio out to CA age 16 in the late 30’s and soon after he got out of the Army I was here. Will always be grateful to him for that, among many other things.
          Also good posts by Timbers and Texas23

    • Old School says:

      I keep learning and I am 64. Looks like the latest thinking is to keep pumping income and public debt into the economy even if certain sectors are basically closed. Sometimes it gets laughable.

      Backstop a kid getting a $100,000 student loan. Shut down business and pay recent graduate not to work. Forgive student loan. Now that’s getting a high on printed money.

      Stockman had a good article today on the divergence between the real economy and financial assets since Greenspan started the interest rate repression after 1987 crash. The real economy has stumbled along and the financial asset holding elite 1% and 0.1% were rained on with wealth.

      • GotCollateral says:

        > Now that’s getting a high on printed money.

        Yet the government still has the debt on its books… and more debt will be required to pay off the old debt… and more of that new debt will go to paying the old debt than actually being put to productive use…

        Zimbabwe and Venezuela is money printing… more money but no new debt… lol

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        We can recoup some of that money by limiting retiree’s Social Security increases to one half, or a third, or less of what’s needed. 10,000 Boomers a day.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Yeah, that will really help. Cutting my $18/month SS increase for 2021 will certainly recoup some of that money.

        • Petunia says:

          Your next prez voted to tax SS payments twice. Once when they taxed 50%, and again when they taxed up to 85% of the benefit. So we already know he will do it again.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          @Anthony – I received only $17. I’m going to try to not spend it all in one place. ;-)

        • Anthony A. says:

          @Lisa_Hooker: I just figured out that my $18/month SS increase will cover slightly over half of my Medicare Part D drug plan deductible of $445/yr. Gotta love this stuff.

  12. timbers says:

    Maybe reverse gentrification should be put (back) on the table. I realize this focuses on travel/vacation biz, but that can be similar to rapidly gentrifying communities. In Boston, the South End was way more interesting and diverse pre-gentrification up to abt mid-gentrification. Now fully gentrified is not only hostile to affordabability access and income diversity but totally B-O-R-I-N-G.

    • Petunia says:

      Reverse gentrification is the norm now in major liberal cities. I remember seeing ghettos in Philly as a teen, they were bad, but people still had a roof over their heads, not anymore. And California is worse, because they had the money to stop it, and let it happen anyway.

    • MCH says:

      That’s right, the neighborhoods are much more “interesting” ungentrified, there is this old Translated Chinese saying, may be you heard of it, it goes something like this: “MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES.” Actually it’s more of a curse, just substitute place in for times, and well… you get the idea.

      Now, let me live in uninteresting and boring places. I am ok with that.

      • timbers says:

        True, that. I guess I live in a boring place too, now.

        But thinking back, non gentrified areas were always the go-to areas, the fun places to be and know, to go places and do things and interesting parties, in my youth.

        Never, ever in places like I live now.

        Never.

      • timbers says:

        “Each day the future gets a little bit dimmer. But the past – even the grimy parts – keeps getting brighter.” – The Watchmen

        • MCH says:

          Yep, it certainly feels that way these days. And given the present atmosphere of let’s get Trump supporters because they can’t be allowed to get away with it… whatever “it” was, I don’t imagine things will get better.

          The lasting imprint each side has now is that the “other” side is the enemy, courtesy of our “news organizations.” And the media keeps propagating that idea of the “other” side, now it’s all about how to keep shaming Trump supporters and reminding them their guy lost and why they are wrong.

          Love how much “non-partisan” organizations like NPR has been using the term Trump supporters and constantly casting them in a negative light, seems like they feel there is a need to permanently create a class of people who must be constantly reminded that they are deplorable and must be educated… way to get people to listen.

        • Dave says:

          Cheer up, and don’t forget George W’s inspiring words; “The future will be better tomorrow.”

    • Wisoot says:

      Does reverse gentrification you are thinking about include guillotines?

      • Conan Dillon says:

        Include guillotines. Yes, for the folks in DC at least.

        Have you noticed? They found a new topic to waste their time on and distract us with (look at that shiny ball over there!). Anything that lets them not talk about what they’re not doing for working folk living in not-yet and probably not-to-be-gentrified areas.

    • Candtman says:

      So true. And now struggling. The latest is John Hancock corp. office being converted to lab space. That seems to be the current belief in Boston, lab space will get us out of this hole!

      • MCH says:

        Well, it will certainly get better rent from biotechs funded by investors vs the problem of leasing it out in the world of remote working.

        Last I checked, you have to actually be in a lab some of the time in order to claim to be a scientist.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        The scientists and engineers will invent “something” new and the economy will grow “tremendously.” Because they always do. – a politician. /s

  13. Rcohn says:

    Yet ABNB has a market cap of almost $90b.

  14. WES says:

    The new administration will probably have their Washington Post and New York Times tell everyone to “learn to code”!

    • OutWest says:

      Wes –
      You learned how to use a debit card, and to stream on line content as did I.

      Now, learning how to code is more common. It’s not political or something you should fear.

    • MCH says:

      Yes, and then you too can work at Google and Twitter and Facebook and all of those high tech companies.

      Wait… actually, that’s behind the times, i should get with it. This should be LEARN to do something something something with green technology. And we should all follow that advice, it comes from a source with a degree in economics even.

      Whatever that means and the accompanying training programs and student loans to help with those efforts. We must keep the slaves in debt, and then string them along to forgive their debt at some point as a means of keeping in power.

      • Wisoot says:

        First we must all monitor and have input into the one world gov enacting itself without asking your permission by orgs like UN which is a corporation, WHO and all the others. It is your job to research petition and understand the type of world we want for future of grandchildren. NOW. They will not ask foryour permission. You must roll up and start shaping your own future.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      But can you code as cheaply as an engineer in Bangalore or Beijing? Or Romania, or Brazil?

  15. YuShan says:

    Only fools invest money in a real business. It’s way too risky. Just buy stocks and the Fed will protect you when they drop more than 5%

    /s

    • RightNYer says:

      I can’t wait until the day that the Fed’s “tools” clearly no longer work and we have to sit down and make painful choices as to how we are going to make forward as a society in a way that doesn’t just mean more debt and more pretending.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        I can’t wait until the day that folks decide that they need cash money instead of stocks.

        • YuShan says:

          What about this:

          Boomers are going to need money for retirement, so they become net sellers of stocks. But who are they going to sell them to? Millennials are broke (thanks to boomer policies!) without affordable houses or stable employment and often student debt or a massive mortgage. At current price levels there may not be enough buying power from younger generations to absorb the selling of boomers at these price levels.

          So for the first time in more than a decade, you would get a downtrend in the stockmarket that lasts for more than a few months. Now boomers get worried, so they try to sell their shares, because at their age they cannot afford large downturns anymore. ZIRP is better than risking 50%+ loss of principal. A self-enforcing bearmarket takes hold….

          Of course I don’t know if this will happen, but stocks ownership is definitely concentrated in the older age groups that cannot afford to lose anymore. It’s not an unthinkable scenario at all.

        • Petunia says:

          During this crisis, retirement plans have taken a hit, with workers withdrawing funds to pay bills.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          @Petunia – in addition small businesses fortunate enough to have some equities are selling to try to hold on.

  16. YuShan says:

    While I feel very sorry for these business owners, I do hope that this pandemic will reverse the trend of turning already scarce residential property into hotels/ Air-B&B etc.

  17. Anthony says:

    A good example of money not going to Spain is my family and friends… My brother has a villa south of Valencia, near Denia. He normally visits for two months at a time, with my sisters also visiting on holiday twice a year.( I go to France as I own a pooch and need to drive.lol)
    My niece has an appartment in Southern Portugal which she visits between letting it out. Now, for the last twelve months none of us have been abroad…not good folks as we Brits need the sun and vitamin D……. We did have a amazing spring in 2020 just as we went into lockdown one….basically we had sun for eight weeks on the trot from March 23rd, which put many of us into shock….but we did not go to Spain and therefore did not spend any dosh…..basically money velocity is dead…

    • Mark says:

      Yes. Brexit travel restrictions for UK nationals having a second home in Spain will also have a large impact, in addition to the loss of tourism.

      Absent some kind of extended stay visa, this will further reduce income. We used to spend up to six months each winter in Spain, spending all our pension income in our area (builders, restaurants, shops, fuel etc).

      Times this by several hundred thousand households…..

      • MooMoo says:

        ….considering the British role in basically financing souther our. tourism (not to mention alpine skiing), it makes you wonder why Brussels was so Belligerent to them. I guess the politics meant more than people’s livelihood.

  18. BuySome says:

    A bird told me a tale. He said, “Once the slow reptiles thought they had it all. But they were replaced with faster dinosaurs who also came to believe in their superiority. And eventually they were left in the dust, and now we all fly free. At our end, one buzzard will have a final meal believing he can die in peace. Yet in his body is an organism that will consume what’s left.” I replied, “But what have you learned?” He ventured back, “The monkeys are always yacking about how they run the jungle. But even the lowly dog has them picking up poop. One day their streets will be abandoned, but the dogs will still drop it wherever and whenever it suits them.” I puzzled him, what is the point. He yelled back, “Sometimes it seems good to wait around for that next big meal. Other times it’s best to take flight while you can or you might wind up stepping in a big pile of crap.”

  19. rpbert edwards says:

    but what has happened to all the money the EU has given spain, not all been spent on the lay off system….WHERES IT ALL GONE…AGAIN…
    ALSO BANKS GIVEN CHEAP EU LOANES, DONT PASS IT ON,INFACT THEY ARE NOW STARTING TO CHARGE EVEN MORE FOR HAVING A ACCOUNT WITH THEM….YOU COULD NOT MAKE IT UP

  20. polistra says:

    Keeping a business alive without revenue is easy if you have the right credentials. The tech works that way. Shareholders ONLY buy when the company is losing money in its irrelevant “production” and “sales” hobbies. Shares are the only real revenue. Customers are anathema in the tech world.

    Obviously hotels haven’t got the magic touch. They need to find an Elon to give them magic.

  21. Stephen C. says:

    Can’t the Spanish government offer a digital nomad-type visa, let’s say one year, and you follow the rules about getting a test before departure and after arrival, and 12 day quarantine and such, and you rent one of these hotel rooms on a month-to-month lease at a reasonable price? I would seriously consider doing my zooming from Barcelona if given the opportunity. I’m sure the takeaway food is far better there than it is where I’m located here in the U.S. Is it really so hard for the government to make some adjustments to a new situation?

    • char says:

      Takeaway in Spain: Pizza, pizza and pizza (at least it was)

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      The Schengen Area visa max stay is 90 days within a 180 day period. If you’re not a resident within you’re out of luck for any long stay. There are some exceptions for registered students.

  22. Jim says:

    Thanks for mentioning hostels. As a former hostel owner I have watched the pandemic decimate the niche industry. Hostels were based on shared spaces and high density. Many with shared bathroom setups were unable to switch to private room accommodations. Hostels also focused on international budget travel. The only saving grace was a focus on young people which probably could have kept things going if they weren’t forced to stop moving around the world in an effort to save the vulnerable.
    Hostel owner/manger groups on FB are flooded with ‘hostel for sale’ “opportunities” in places where there are now no guests.
    A minor chain in California, USA Hostels, which had large hostels in Hollywood, San Diego, Ocean Beach, San Francisco, and at one time Las Vegas… is gone.
    Hosteling International USA, a non profit “dedicated” to fostering ‘a deeper understanding of people, places, and the world around.’ has shuttered and is selling many of its locations in USA.

    “After an extensive review, HI USA determined that several were no longer feasible to continue operating and made the difficult decision to close select properties including HI Austin Hostel (in TX); HI Eastham Hostel (in Cape Cod, MA); HI Houston Hostel (in TX); HI LA South Bay Hostel (in CA); HI Madison Hostel (in WI); HI Monterey Hostel (in CA); HI Nantucket Hostel (in MA); and HI Portland Hawthorne Hostel (in OR).”

    https://www.prweb.com/releases/hi_usa_to_reopen_select_hostels/prweb17360349.htm

    When travelers are ready to travel again, will there be any hostels for them to go to? This is an opportunity for new entrants and larger chains to expand and homestay or small vacation rental style accommodations to grow.

    I can’t help thinking that by financializing EVERYTHING into long term mortgages, we have created a very fragile economy. If we had just given rent and commercial mortgage forbearance for a year to everyone, and a small basic income to everyone, we could have paused the economy until this was over and then gone right back to where we were. But the monthly payments of wages and financial product payments is crushing. Bring on the Star Trek economy where energy is free and everyone can just do what needs to be done.

    • MooMoo says:

      Ahem – the “Star Trek” economy is better known as Communism…in today’s world. Its why Y. Varifoukis is so fond of it…

      …of course, being a life long academic…what would he know of productive work?

      • Joey says:

        Start trek economy is based on free resources. How is it like communism?
        Unfettered Capitalism is institutionalized ‘wage’ slavery.

        • MooMoo says:

          Because in the Star Trek economy you are TOLD what to do…and freedom is an alien concept.

  23. Javert Chip says:

    Jim

    Pension funds own a huge share of those “commercial mortgage forbearances” you want.

    So, how many pensions (and whose) will also be suspended in your proposal?

    • YuShan says:

      What it all boils down to is that much of the “wealth” is a mirage. It only existed on paper.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        IMHO ys, that is true of almost all wealth that is not based on real stuff in real settings, such as ranches and, of course, homes and farms and ranches in locations where they are appreciated and honored for their very existence as well as their productivity.
        While I admire and hope and pray for their successes asap and longer, IMO those very rich folks, who are currently trying to make it possible for our species to travel to Mars and beyond, would be better served not only to help all of our species obtain at least some global understanding and the ability to act accordingly for their own benefit, but continue that educational effort to at least trying to help all of our species understand the general theory and the more recent efforts to expand that theory.
        While it can/may and should be debated by all sides, there is a very attractive longstanding and well considered theory that proposes that until there is at least a simple majority of shared consciousness of any concept, even the most abstruse theoretical physics concepts cannot proceed, and that is why the human species has/was created, to help Gaia succeed in the pantheon of planets. Take it for what YOU can, and good luck and may the Great Spirits bless us all in these interesting times!

    • Jim says:

      I would say saving businesses is more important than the pension funds. But that is my point about financialization leading to fragility and a cascade of problems. When this started I envisioned a Great Pause, where all debt obligations paused for a year. Sure there would be some new paperwork. Haha. But its all collapsing anyway, a pause would give a chance to keep businesses in place until we can resume the economy. Although if a mutation thwarts the vaccine, we may be in for another year.

  24. c1ue says:

    Pol needs to sell now for whatever they can get, or walk away.
    Things will NOT change in 6 months. They may not change in 1 year.
    It will take at least that long to get the vaccines manufactured and distributed at the 60%-80% level which is needed to “stop COVID in its tracks” – which the lockdowns have NOT done.
    And that assumes no anti-vax movement and that everyone asked, takes the vaccine.
    All this person is doing is killing their short and medium term financial future. Either get enough to survive 18 months, at which time the lower capacity will generate windfall, or get out.

  25. WSKJ says:

    The COVID-19 vaccines and vaccinations will very likely have much to do with revitalizing travel and hostels.

    Being old and dealing for most of my life with a disease pretty much universally considered to be caused by autoimmunity, I pay close attention to the COVID-19 studies.

    Had thought that I should here at Wolf Street summarize my go-to sites for quality information and thinking, but just now came across an excellent discussion on YouTube which covers many of the concerns etc.. (Why some of us are not in a hurry to be vaccinated)

    Listen to the whole thing, it’s only 20 min. long, and packed with good info:

    YouTube
    “mRNA Vaccines vs. Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine
    (from Livestream #61)”
    January 9, 2021

    Dark Horse Podcast Clips

  26. WSKJ says:

    Jan. 12, 2021
    Decided that I must add postscript:

    I was well impressed with the Darkhorse podcast, but Darkhorse is something I just came across. I had better list here some of the sources, for health info, that I know and trust:

    Dr Malcolm Kendrick- ready to admit that we don’t know all that much yet re COVID-19; like Wolf, has his blog at his own website

    Drbeen (Dr. Mobeen Syed)- multiple webcasts per week at YouTube and other sites; lots of detail and sketches; a feelgood place to get latest COVID info; likes the mRNA vaccines

    Ivor Cummins, covers major health topics; lots to say re shutdowns; seasonality of the COVID

    Hyperlipid- Peter’s blog where he gets into depth on low-carb diet and recently in post or comment said why he is not in a hurry to get the vaccine (he’s a veterinarian, so knows some stuff re vaccines)

    I am not anti-vaccine, but there are good reasons why some of us wish to wait and see what kind of effectiveness and safety record a vaccine exhibits before taking it. Like medicine in general, it should be a matter of informed choice.

    Pubmed and clinicaltrials.gov are U.S. websites for benefit of the public where you can set up your own online account, search, and save files. Tax dollars well spent.

    There may be others like me who look for other ways to stay well- and, – back to the main topic Nick- hope to do some travel before the very distant future, wo/, or, pre- vaccination-
    All the usual vitamins, minerals, diet, exercise, herbs u.s.w.

    And in the case of likely or known exposure:

    mega-dosing Vitamin C

    Ivermectin- would like to try as prophylactic; (see the flccc protocols) “health agencies” are likely delaying approval for COVID-19, because they see as competition for the vaccines, JMHO, and maybe it SHOULD be an alternative for some of us

    As usual, thx, Wolf
    Best of luck to your friend, Nick

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Make sure you understand WHERE your vitamin C is made before you do the “mega-dosing” every day thing, and then read up on the contamination scandals in the US about prescriptions drugs made in the same country.

  27. WSKJ says:

    Absolutely, Wolf.
    Steve Fowkes, “Natural Anti-Viral Self-Defense”, YouTube.
    I only do this when known or likely exposure (colds, flu etc.). Have never taken more than maybe 8 or 10 grams per day, but much higher amounts have been used by some. Use, e.g. by hospital for severe burn victims, has been reported, in very high amounts.
    You’re “on the money”, Wolf, as usual. Thx

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