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Quest Means Business
France to Relax Entry Rules for U.K. Travelers; Delta Air Lines Expects Q1 Loss Because of Omicron; E.U.'s Airport Slot Policy Under Fire; Prince Andrew Stripped of Royal Titles; IMF Chief Says Countries Should Prepare Debt Strategies Now; Call to Earth: Hong Kong's Corals; Robo- Barista Serves Coffee. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 13, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: There is an hour to go of trading and markets are struggling. U.S. inflation continues to
dominate the headlines. Look at the big board, the Dow basically flat, but that's not telling you the whole picture because the NASDAQ is off more
than one percent. Obviously tech stocks, more concerned about inflationary pressures.
Those are the markets and the main events driving those markets: France is welcoming back the Brits. Vaccinated U.K. travelers once again allowed
Prince Andrew is no longer His Royal Highness. The sex scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein leads the Queen's son to lose his military titles.
And I hop on a bike for a tour of Expo 2020 with the man who is paid to predict Dubai's future.
We all live in Dubai on Thursday. It's January the 13th. I'm Richard Quest. And here of course in Dubai at Expo 2020, of course, I mean business.
Good evening from Dubai. If you are vaccinated in the U.K., you can now go ahead and book a holiday or at least a trip or anything really on the
Eurostar across to France.
The French Tourism Minister says entry rules are to be relaxed starting on Friday, that's tomorrow.
Bookings have reportedly surged even before the change has taken effect. Fully vaccinated tourists arriving from U.K. will still need to test
negative for COVID a day before their departure. Non-vaccinated travelers will need to register beforehand and face a strict 10-day quarantine.
In England, people with COVID will be able to leave self-isolation after just five days -- another major change -- long as they receive two negative
The British Health Secretary told Parliament, the new guidance will take effect on Monday. Melissa Bell is with me from Paris. We have a whole
variety then of new measures, all of which, let's start with the French one and reopening to the Brits or to those from the U.K. Is this a relaxation
because omicron is everywhere?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think that's exactly right, Richard, and this is the kinds of changes that we're seeing governments make at a
national level as well to how their systems work, their education systems, their healthcare systems, the travel, of course, as well simply to come to
terms with the fact that this is a wave -- a variant more contagious than anyone would have seen before -- that we've seen previously, with people
getting sick in extraordinary numbers.
When you look at the figures here in France, Richard, we're talking that record that was sent on Tuesday, nearly 370,000 cases in a single 24-hour
Think back to the first and second waves when 50,000 was considered alarming and requiring measures. It is accepting, dealing with, and
legislating for the fact that this is a variant that many people will get.
The World Health Organization says that half of Europeans could have it within the next six to eight weeks. In order to try and keep economies as
open as they can, but very, very different than any we've seen before and governments trying to stay open even though people are getting sick, even
if those people are not going into hospital in the great numbers that we saw in the first or second ways or indeed into ICUs crucially -- Richard.
QUEST: Okay, so we've got that what's happening with Britain and France, if you will, but then you have the British also reducing the number of
days, and this is a trend we're seeing again and again, not only in close contacts, but also for those who actually have it. That economic pain of
losing large numbers in the workforce, albeit temporarily.
BELL: That's right, and the idea is that again, keeping up with the fact that people are getting this in massive numbers, and they're desperately
trying to keep things as open as they can.
Here in France as well, changes that were announced at the beginning of the week that have drawn school teachers to the streets of French cities in
pretty large numbers, 77,000 people demonstrated today against the latest changes, school teachers that is, Richard, who are objecting to the fact
that they have made it easier for children to stay in school.
Again, like those changes you mentioned in the U.K., making it easier for people, accepting the fact that the virus is out there, that it is out
there in huge numbers making it easier for kids to stay in schools.
School teachers not happy about that. They say they weren't informed and that they are being put in danger, but it is all about governments
desperately trying to stay open even as they are submerged by the French Health Minister, now positive himself, has described not so much as a wave
this time, but as it is a tsunami -- Richard.
QUEST: That's Melissa Bell. Melissa is in Paris for us tonight.
In the United States, Delta Air Lines says it will likely lose money in Q1 because of omicron, but the worst disruptions would appear to have passed.
Top executives told investors they expect travel to rebound, and the company is on track to turn a meaningful profit this year.
Now, as you can see, the markets like that. Shares have been up more than five percent. Paul La Monica is with us.
The news from delta, which of course contrasts marginally, I would say with that letter from Scott Kirby at United, who basically said the number of
people that they had out as a result of omicron, or as a result of COVID, which is the direction going here?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, I think Delta to be fair, has said still that the COVID issues and omicron are not over just yet.
The hope, though, is that after President's Day weekend, you might start to see cases wane and travel improve, and that is why delta is predicting a
pretty solid 2022, even though they may lose money in the first quarter, Richard.
So I think that it is a case where delta and the rest of the airline industry have a couple more weeks of tough sledding, but that things
hopefully will improve mid-February and beyond.
QUEST: And the idea of passports -- vaccine passport -- which continues to bedevil policymakers, certainly on international flights, that is what it
is, but domestic flights, still it is not , and there is no movement on that yet.
LA MONICA: No, not yet. Obviously, I think it is a bit of a controversial topic, but the hope will be, I think, for the airlines that the more people
that are traveling that are vaccinated, that could lead to fewer instances of employees getting sick. And obviously, no one at Delta or any other
major airline wants to have a type of situation like the cruise lines have had where there have been mass outbreaks, obviously, it's a big difference,
a cruise line and an airline.
Airlines are going from Point A to Point B and is not the place where you're staying as your vacation of course, but still no one wants to see a
pandemic get worse because of travel.
QUEST: Paul La Monica joining us from New York.
Some European airlines say that they are operating unnecessary flights in order to protect slots at airports. The E.U.'s use it or lose it policy,
which was lifted, suspended during the first part of the pandemic requires airlines to use half of the allocated slots. That number is set to rise
this summer to 80 percent as there is a normalization of policy. The critics say it's bad for business and the environment.
The airport say it is good for competition. Jozsef Varadi is the Chief Executive of Wizz Air, who supports the rule, and is also very much at the
center of European, and now, I would say the Middle East and Gulf aviation.
Joe, good to see you, sir.
JOZSEF VARADI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WIZZ AIR: Good to see you, too.
QUEST: First of all, before we talk slots, let's just talk about this idea, how many -- how is your flying being affected by the number of people
who are out as a result of omicron or close contacts or the like?
VARADI: It's exactly zero at this point in time, we have not canceled a single flight because of crew shortage. We have been able to manage our
resources according to demand of flying. So we have not been affected by this.
Now, that doesn't mean that you know if the wave goes, like as it is expected that we would be totally immune from that, but we have been very
carefully designing our organization in order to make sure that we don't cancel passengers and we don't cancel flights.
QUEST: But when Scott Kirby of United says he has several thousand staff who are out at the moment, what do your numbers look like for those who are
out across the network.
VARADI: We are basically having roughly around one or two percent of the organization out on a continuous basis. So, we are a company with five and
a half thousand people of which we are seeing roughly around a hundred people being affected by COVID at a given time.
QUEST: On the return to something approaching normality, and you have been very much at the forefront. You didn't make as many cuts and you didn't
make as many -- I mean, in terms of moves and things, you tried to preserve as much as possible. How is that playing out now?
VARADI: It's been a roller coaster experience, I would say. I mean, clearly we weren't very challenged when we saw the market reports given
demand started coming back in summer or into Christmas peak.
VARADI: But at the same time when governments imposed new waves of restrictions, we also had to react to it by removing capacity from the
market. But overall, given our cost base, our efficiency, we've been able to maintain our flying program a lot better and a lot more than our
QUEST: What do you want now from government? You just heard me introduce this talking about firstly, France now saying it's open for this. That all
and the other. Britain is saying it is reducing the number of days. What is it that you need?
VARADI: Governments should stop restricting travel. It is not prone to the spread of COVID-19. The virus is not going to stop at the border. It's not
the travel industry that is infecting the world. I mean, this is the nature of the pandemic. This is what we have to deal with.
The industry itself I think is self-governed and really governed to deal with the situation. We are a very safe place for people to travel, and
governments should not be restricting travel.
QUEST: If we look at the sort of trends that we're seeing at the moment, you have for example, Ryanair, announcing it is pulling out of Frankfurt,
because it's not -- the charges are too high. You have other airlines saying that they are having -- for example, the new ITA, an airline in
So, do you find it -- where do you stand on these issues, for example?
VARADI: Look I mean, I kind of understand it is difficult to compete with the German government or compete with the Italian government. I mean, they
have a lot of resources they are prepared to throw into this business to distort the market.
QUEST: Let me explain. That is a veiled not or not so veiled comment that the German government bailed out Lufthansa, which has paid back the money
and certainly bailed out Alitalia, which then became ITA.
VARADI: Yes. No, absolutely. Look, I mean, I think countries don't need state-sponsored national airlines to raise taxpayers' money. Countries need
airlines that are committed to the market, that are viable businesses, they are prepared to invest. They have the capacity to invest and grow the
business, grow the markets, grow connectivity for the country. That's what they need.
Look at Hungary. Hungary is one of the best examples. Hungary lost its national carrier, we stepped in and other airlines stepped in and Hungary
today is a much better connected country than ever before. Aviation have been up like two times three times the size of the national airline times.
This is a model. You need good airlines who are capable of growing the market and capable of investing into markets. That's what we do.
QUEST: Look, there is a strong argument that would say there could be almost no new entrant in Hungary because you are now dominant. You are --
you have such a stranglehold on Budapest.
VARADI: True, but at the same time --
QUEST: Oh, so you admit it?
VARADI: No, but to say, Richard, at the same time, the traffic of Budapest Airport doubled down over the course of the last eight years.
QUEST: In which case, do we see further consolidation, which is a polite way of asking you, are you going to buy EasyJet or attempt to buy it?
Because that was the rumor a year or two ago -- last year.
VARADI: We don't talk about this. Wizz Air is set up as an organic business growing organically. We are growing in Central and Eastern Europe,
in Western Europe, here in the Gulf. We are buying assets as in that is one of the ways of consolidating the marketplace.
We've just acquired slots at Gatwick Airport, which we are going to use for growing the business in the U.K.
Of course, we are looking at the market dynamics. We are looking at consolidation opportunities, but we are designed to grow on the basis of
QUEST: He has been very kind, Joe, joining me tonight. He hasn't reminded me of the very first interview we did the day -- you remember?
VARADI: I do.
QUEST: The day Wizz Air launched. What year was that?
VARADI: Oh, I mean --
QUEST: It was a long time ago.
VARADI: It was 2004, Richard, and you told me that if I survive one more year, I'm going to come back to your studio.
QUEST: I said, do come back next year if you're still in business -- still in business. Do come back next year where you will be still in business
with the largest growth.
VARADI: I will be back.
QUEST: Thank you very much. Good to see you, sir.
VARADI: Thank you.
QUEST: I appreciate it.
It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight from Dubai.
Coming up, leading the way. We talk to -- a conversation with the head of the Future Foundation and his strategy on how to turn Dubai into one of the
world's most innovative cities and did it riding bikes -- bikes, by the way, rented from Careem and we've also got Careem's CEO on tonight's
QUEST: The Expo grounds behind me are truly vast. You can do some good shoe leather in walking around, and the best way to explore, I discovered
only after I've walked the good few miles is by bike. It keeps up with the theme of Expo of sustainability.
The ride-hailing app Careem has got hundreds of bikes to help get visitors around and I'll speak to Careem's Managing Director in just a moment.
Before that, I took one of their bikes for a ride. I was in good company. I was joined by the head of Dubai's Future Foundation. Khalfan Belhoul told
me how his group is working to make the Emirate, one of the world's most innovative cities.
QUEST: The Expo Explorer. Good news for you. This is how we're seeing Expo.
When did you last ride a bike?
KHALFAN BELHOUL, CEO, DUBAI FUTURE FOUNDATION: Last week. Not this kind of bike, but the mountain bike.
QUEST: Oh, it's an e-bike.
In your role as head of the Future Foundation, I mean, that's such an airy fairy phrase. It can be anything to anybody. What is it to you?
BELHOUL: To me, basically, Dubai Future Foundation is Dubai's lab. It's literally that's what His Highness Sheikh Mohammed likes to call it. It's
Dubai's lab. We test things.
And when I say test, it's not science test or chemistry, it is literally policy tests, different sectors -- testing different sectors and trying to
explore to basically promote the Emirates as the leading city of the future because without testing and trying new things, you can never be a leader in
QUEST: I am a great fan of what to Dubai has done, the progress it has made. But I'm also aware this is a place that talks big. And you sometimes
wonder after all the talk of money was spent, what was gained? Is there a risk of that with the foundation?
BELHOUL: Absolutely. I mean, Richard, high risk comes with high reward and that's exactly what the Dubai Future Foundation does. You need to take big
bets, you need to be forward thinking. You need to be bold in your decisions, and I think this is what made Dubai what it is.
We need to think big, and like -- when you think big, you do sometimes make mistakes, but that's normal.
QUEST: Dubai talks big, and I wonder for something like yourself and your foundation, the ability to deliver on an amorphous concept like a future.
BELHOUL: Yes, I mean you hit it right on the nail, Richard, because when you talk big, you talk about extremely bold ideas and decisions. But I
think the beauty about the foundation is, it is literally, Richard, given the greenlight, to apply projects that are as bold as the talk and
understanding that things like this are extremely risky.
But if we prove to be successful in those initiatives, we become leaders in deploying blockchain or dealing with artificial intelligence and what comes
with it, or autonomous mobility.
So you need to try those things and you need to understand how they work, and if you succeed, you become a pioneer and a leading city of the future.
QUEST: A certain way of looking at things now to Careem, I'm joined by the Managing Director, Bassel Al Nahlaoui. You were wincing at our slow
progress there on your bicycles, I have to tell you, it's because the camera had to be -- it technically required it to be, but it was not easy.
Careem is part of Uber, and now -- and I'm wondering where you go next with it, because you were, and you would tell me that that you are still perhaps
the region's leader.
So, now you're part of the bigger group? How does that affect you?
BASSEL AL NAHLAOUI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CAREEM: Yes, it actually supports the super app vision we have for the region. Uber has been very supportive
of keeping us independent, and chasing that super app vision. Super app vision is pretty much having multiple services on a single app with a
subscription program that actually lets the customer get a lot more value from everyday services.
QUEST: What does that mean in real life? What does that mean?
AL NAHLAOUI: Yes, so if you opened the app two years ago, you'd see a ride-hailing service.
QUEST: Yes. It is still the biggest part, by the way.
AL NAHLAOUI: Still. It still is, yes.
QUEST: And still makes the most money.
AL NAHLAOUI: Yes, definitely. It's what funds the growth for the other verticals we have.
AL NAHLAOUI: But if you opened up then, in Dubai, you'll see 12 different services. We have ride hailing, we have taxi, we have food, we have
groceries, we have payments, we have PCR tests, cleaning services, groceries, and the list goes on and this is just the beginning.
QUEST: Why don't you stick to what you do best?
AL NAHLAOUI: What we do best, we started somewhere creating impact on the region simplifying people's lives, and we said, how can we expand and do
more of that to our customers?
And it was easier to say, look, we have this user base, we have the infrastructure across the region. Let's introduce more services for the
same customer. He doesn't need to have to add a new address, he doesn't need to add a new payment form. He just needs to transact on the new
service that he is looking to do.
And that value is, you know, we had a hypothesis, is this something that will work in the region? Because we've seen it in the East, we haven't seen
it in the West.
And we said, let's take 2021 and validate that hypothesis. And I'll tell you that the results are exciting. Yes.
So multi-service users, users that use more than one service in Careem. Their retention rates grew 30 percent.
QUEST: So what are they using? I can see that they're using the ride service.
AL NAHLAOUI: Yes.
QUEST: And maybe they are getting a bicycle. What's the number one after that? Is it food delivery?
AL NAHLAOUI: It is food delivery, and we've introduced groceries. Now, there is bicycle sharing. You've used that. There are payments. Payments
alone, we've done 66 million transactions last year.
QUEST: Now I get it -- I'm getting the impression that payments will be which is Fintech, essentially.
AL NAHLAOUI: It is.
QUEST: It is going to be the big growth. It is going to be the thing that will make you the most money, arguably more than ride sharing, because, you
know, Venmo in the U.S., Munzo in the U.K., and all of these other various payment mechanisms.
AL NAHLAOUI: Definitely. Payments is a lot of things. It's not just the financial services. Keep in mind, this region is mainly using cash for all
transactions. There's a way to simplify people using a digital wallet to use transactions. We can move more offline services online.
QUEST: Oh, don't worry, our viewers, our dear viewer is well familiar with M-PESA, of course, and we've done many stories on M-PESA. We like M-PESA a
great deal, and as being the way forward.
I wonder though, what do you think won't work? What do you think does not work that you could not put into the app that you think to yourself, this
is just a stretch too far?
AL NAHLAOUI: Yes, you know, Richard, we're not testing services and seeing if customers are biting, we're actually checking what do customers need in
QUEST: Chicken and egg. That's a chicken and egg. That's sophistry, your perspective. You're testing things to see whether they like them, and
you're saying, well, we give them to see what they need. Same thing.
AL NAHLAOUI: You know, the consumer internet opportunity is massive here. The spend is nearly $2 trillion and of that, only two percent is happening
digitally. So there's a lot for -- a lot room to grow, a lot of these services that are happening offline and online and they come with the
simplicity and the convenience of it being online.
AL NAHLAOUI: So there is so much room to grow. We're not worried today if something will work or not. The path at least for the next couple of years
is pretty clear for us.
QUEST: Good to have you with us, sir. I promise you, I will -- I will get a bicycle and I will ride it properly.
AL NAHLAOUI: Let me know how it goes.
QUEST: You'll see it on your bills. With all the millions of transactions, you'll be there looking to see.
AL NAHLAOUI: Where is Richard?
QUEST: Where is Richard? Did Richard actually do that? Thank you.
Good to see you, sir. I appreciate it. Thank you.
It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight.
National debts are ballooning around the world. The second part of my interview with the I.M.F. Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: Think of your best strategy now, not when your feet are burning because the
problem is already a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest live at Expo 2020 in Dubai. There is a great deal more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Tonight, we'll have part two of my
interview with the Managing Director of the I.M.F., Kristalina Georgieva when she tells me that Central Bank increases in interest rates in the
United States would seriously hurt economies around the world that have taken on too much debt.
And Jordan's Tourism Minister is with me tonight to discuss how omicron is hurting Jordan's travel industry.
We'll get to it all, I promise you, but only after I told you what's happening in the world. Because this is CNN and on this network, the news
always comes first.
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Biden administration's vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses whilst at the same time allowing a
vaccine mandate aimed at certain healthcare workers to go into effect nationwide.
The court was split 6-3, the three liberal justices dissented.
U.S. prosecutors have filed sedition charges for the first time in relation to last year's attack on the Capitol building last year; 11 people are
accused of conspiring to block the lawful transfer of presidential power. One of the accused is the leader of the far right group, the Oath Keepers.
More than 700 people have been charged in some way or another in connection to the January 6 riot.
Novak Djokovic is waiting to hear if Australia's immigration minister will allow him to play in the Australia open. The number one seed, the reigning
champion, was included in the draw that was unveiled today. He is slated to play a fellow Serb in the first round. The Australian government could
still deport him over COVID-19 vaccination dispute.
Britain's domestic spy agency MI-5 is warning that, in their words, an agent of the Chinese government is active in Parliament, according to a
senior lawmaker, Conservative MP.
Lawmakers have been warned that the agent is working to subvert the process of Parliament. CNN reached out to the Chinese embassy in London for
QUEST: A startling development tonight from Buckingham Palace: Prince Andrew is being stripped of his military titles and royal patronages amid
the sexual abuse lawsuit against him in the United States. He will no longer be addressed as His Royal Highness.
The palace says the queen has approved and agreed to the prince's change in status. Andrew is defending himself in a civil case, they say, as a private
citizen. Our royal correspondent Max Foster joins me from Hampshire in England.
Max, this is as close as you can get to the palace saying, well, he may be a member of the family but he's not an official royal.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean some people are saying he's effectively been fired, which, you know, sounds excessive but kind of
true. He had a public role. And the queen has effectively stripped him of that public royal role.
So the military titles, the royal patronages she had handed to him will be taken back and redistributed to other members of the royal family. And I'm
told by a source that they will not go back to him.
And as you say, that, "Your Royal Highness," you know, styling, His Royal Highness, that would always go before his name, has also been taken away.
It does still exist but he's not going to be allowed to use it.
So this is everything the queen can do to take him out of the monarchy, as you say, still part of the royal family, still Prince Andrew, still the
Duke of York. But he can now go on and pursue this case as a private citizen.
And the queen clearly hoping, whatever comes out in that case, all that detail, all that embarrassment, will no longer reflect on the monarchy
because he's not part of it.
QUEST: He's finished in public life, isn't he?
FOSTER: Well, he could have a public life outside the monarchy, I guess. But public life as we know it, a public role, certainly, he can no longer
represent the queen. You know, we haven't been told this is permanent.
But those titles aren't going back to him and he's continuing in a private role. I think we can see it is permanent. In the past, he would step back
temporarily after that disastrous 2019 BBC interview.
But this does appear to be the permanent move. And there are people who feel the queen has not acted quickly enough on this. There are others who
feel she's been rash because he hasn't been found guilty in a court.
But she is doing as, you know, you and I know, what she always does, which is putting the monarchy above everything else and she clearly feels the
monarchy needs to be protected more than Andrew's association with it.
QUEST: And this idea of how this case goes forward, so, on the one hand, he's telling his place in (INAUDIBLE) maybe to pay a settlement but, at the
same time, Giuffre seems to want her day in court. It is very difficult to see that this doesn't end in a very nasty mess.
FOSTER: Well, one of the worst case scenarios is -- legal experts were talking yesterday -- that this would continue to trial in September. But as
you say, Giuffre's lawyer said last night on the BBC that she is not minded to reach a settlement, that's not a priority for her, the finances here.
She does want to go to court.
FOSTER: And then hearing from a source close to Andrew today, saying the duke will continue to defend himself against these claims. So they're both
suggesting a settlement is off the cards here.
So therefore, they will go to, you know, the discovery phase, which could reveal all sorts of embarrassing detail. But then potentially depositions
as well. Suggestion here, that Andrew may consider giving a deposition or at least appealing against the process in some way.
Ultimately, everything at the moment looks as though it's going toward trial in September. And that's something that the queen didn't feel would
reflect well on the monarchy, particularly, of course, in her jubilee year.
QUEST: Max Foster, who joins us this evening, thank you.
The markets and how they're trading tonight, the Dow was up more than 200 points, it's given back all the gains and now is down 77 points. The major
averages are down, all three of the major ones.
The biggest losses, serious losses on the Nasdaq, which is off some 2 percent. The markets, it's all about inflation. They weren't convinced by
President Biden, who, today argued that prices were starting to increase more slowly or the rate of inflation was starting to go up more slowly.
U.S. consumer prices rose half a percent from November to December, up 0.9 percent month to month in October. Inflation was up 7 percent year over
year in December.
Those inflation world numbers worldwide are forcing some countries, especially in emerging markets, to have to raise interest rates to keep the
money coming in. The IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva, was here to discuss with me what will happen to those countries and how it depends on how well
prepared they were before.
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, IMF: I think that we will see countries coming to the front, some, wisely brought for precautionary
instruments. So build a bigger cushion.
Some may have to come because that is not sustainable, they need to take action. They need a firm program. We actually have head of these countries
already, in these last two years.
What is important to remember, though, is that many emerging markets have built sound reserves. We have added a little bit to that, to the SDR
allocations (INAUDIBLE). So there is better protection.
And if you look at the emerging markets, some are forced to raise rates already -- Russia, Brazil, Mexico. Some are not -- Indonesia, you know; you
look at East Asia, the part of the world that was burned once very badly, very -- in a much sounder position with sounder reserves capacity.
So it would be really country specific and the old wisdom will again prevail, those who built sound fundamentals during good times can reach the
bad times better.
One important observation: we are going to have financial tightening after two very difficult years, coinciding with, also, withdrawal of some of the
fiscal policy support. So it is at the range that requires careful walk. And there will be surprises that we have to be ready to handle them.
QUEST: We talked before we started the interview that none of us really expected this to last so long. And, therefore, I'm guessing any projections
and forecasts that we would come up now would be foolish.
But if there is one thing that you are most worried about now, tonight, as we're talking, what would it be?
GEORGIEVA: I am most worried about countries that are already under a heavy burden of debt, not acting early to reduce the risk for themselves.
We have just published a blog, saying, simply, the following: if you are in this category, then look at extending maturities of the debt you have
Look at currency mismatches now. Think of your defense strategy now, not when your feet are burning, because the problem is already upon you. And
that is my prayers, that we do not end up with countries falling in a difficult place.
GEORGIEVA: Generating more risk aversion and then, as a result, seeing capital outflows to less risky destinations. Let me finish on that.
This dangerous divergence we have observed continues and deepens. Advanced economies and the small number of emerging markets are recovering
relatively well. They are close to their prepandemic levels; some are already at prepandemic levels.
The rest of the world is falling further behind. And that is happening at the time when the public's patience is really passive. And the phenomenon
from 2019 we have not seen much of, public unrest, is reappearing possibly on the larger scale. For policy makers, the most complex time, it begins.
QUEST: The managing director of the IMF there.
Just as tourism was picking up in the Middle East, the Omicron variant arrived. I'll talk to Jordan's tourism minister about how his country is
balancing the need for tourist dollars and the desire to protect people's health.
QUEST: Today, on Call to Earth, extraordinary biodiversity of Hong Kong's marine life which, of course, is under threat. So we will meet a marine
biologist, who is studying the ecological history of Hong Kong's corals to learn how they can be safe for future generations.
JONATHAN CYBULSKI, "NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC" EXPLORER (voice-over): You may not expect it in such a highly urbanized city but Hong Kong contains high
levels of biodiversity, over 25 percent of the recorded marine species for all of coastal China and it only makes up .03 percent of the coastline.
CYBULSKI (voice-over): And for corals, which is what I study, there's more species of coral in Hong Kong's waters than there are in the entire
My name is Jonathan Cybulski and I'm a marine biologist and historical economist. And I live in Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated
cities on Earth. But just 30 minutes from the city center, you can be in a place like this, surrounded by nature and ocean and biodiversity. It's
As a historical ecologist, it's my job to tell the story of an ecosystem through time. I look to the past to try and see what an ecosystem was like
before humans, so that we can identify its greatest threats and then help to alleviate that threat to give it the best chance for survival into the
In Hong Kong, we have two main types of coral. The first, this is known as a massive coral and, the other type, a branching coral. And this is what
really promotes biodiversity, because there's more areas for things to live.
But unfortunately, these corals are the most susceptible to human stress. So what we're left with is just the more massive corals, which don't
promote as much biodiversity.
First, I collected coral fossils from all around Hong Kong to see what coral communities were like in the past. And then, I monitored modern-day
corals to see where they were growing. And there's a very simple but very strong pattern.
In areas where there's really poor water quality, we have very low marine biodiversity. And then as you move to areas with better and better water
quality, that biodiversity increases.
Human waste, agricultural waste, your garbage: everything eventually falls and finds its way into the marine environment. Anything that you can do as
a human to be more sustainable will actually, in the long run, benefit the marine environment, even if you don't know it right away.
There needs to be as much diversity in our strategy of solving the problem as there is the diversity that we're trying to protect. And if we can get a
city like this to start making change, then we'll really see positive benefits for our Earth.
QUEST: Gosh, having been to Hong Kong so many times, I never even thought of all about what's going on under the water. And I'd like to know what
you're doing, answering the call, with the #CallToEarth. (MUSIC PLAYING)
QUEST: As we've been hearing over the last few days, in the Middle East, in the Gulf, Omicron has shaken the tourism industry just as it was seeing
signs of recovering. This week, travel agents told "The Jordan Times," the sector's on the verge of collapse.
Now you'll remember, "QUEST'S WORLD OF WONDER," when I visited Jordan back in September. Now then, the balance between staying open for tourism and
being responsible about people's health has now completely shifted and changed once again. It's taken its toll. I spoke about the latest with the
Jordanian minister of tourism and antiquities.
NAYEF AL-FAYEZ, JORDANIAN MINISTER OF TOURISM AND ANTIQUITIES: Omicron is another variant that we have to deal with. I think that shows that we have
to be flexible enough, quick enough to take decisions and not to go back to this red and green countries, that you are allowed or not allowed as a
I think we have to put a procedure that's logical, that can be implemented and it makes it easier for people to travel. I think what Jordan has done,
with the PCR tests, makes sense today, as we are requesting PCR tests before you arrive and one upon arrival. So this makes sure that you are
traveling safe and the country is safe at the same time.
QUEST: But is that a -- I mean, this wholesale testing, is it -- is it realistic in the long run?
I mean, I was in Thailand recently and, yes, it's PCR testing upon arrival. Here I had to PCR test because I come from the United Kingdom but it
wouldn't have done if I come on the nonstop from New York.
AL-FAYEZ: To be honest with you, it doesn't make sense. I would understand one PCR test when you arrive, just to make you feel and the country feel
Other than that, I think, with Omicron and what's happening, I think it's going to be changing. And I see it changing soon. I think, in a couple
months, the whole procedure will be changing.
And I hope that, because of the severity of the Omicron, we don't have to worry as much as we used to worry. As long as you're vaccinated, it makes
sense. If you're not vaccinated, then the question becomes, you should take one or two PCRs.
QUEST: What's your strategy for 2022?
Because you're clearly not going to get the tourism numbers that you would like.
AL-FAYEZ: Well, we are not going to get the tourism numbers that we wanted or we had in 2019. But definitely, we have a number that we are aiming to
reach. We are aiming to reach an income of around 2.9 billion jidis (ph), which is a growth that is logical and, also, at the same time, we are able
to accomplish, I think.
We are taking into account that the variant is not away and the corona is not away so we have to deal with these things. We have put the target for
last year, we were able to meet that target with an increase of around more than 20 percent to 25 percent than what we had targeted.
So that's the progress, which shows you we're going in the right track. But again, not all -- we're not in control of all the different variants.
QUEST: So what markets are you targeting?
AL-FAYEZ: Well, we would like to say we targeted every one. But going back to where we're targeting, we're targeting -- you know, the U.S. is a source
market for us. Europe is an important and source market for us.
The Middle East, especially GCC countries, are market for us. We look, again, at those three different areas. We look at the situation and how
things are progressing. We are optimistic, we are optimistic that, in a couple of months, things will go back to where they were six months ago,
where things were under control.
So that gives us an opportunity for March to be able to receive the numbers that we like and build on it for summer and next fall.
QUEST: Jordan's tourism minister.
Every day, I'm trying to show you a little bit of something different from Expo 2020. Today, an eye-opening experience at a local cafe. Now imagine,
you get a cup of coffee served by an unusual barista and your find yourself staring at yourself.
QUEST: I want a cup of coffee and this contraption is going to make it for me. All right, here we go. And I'm going to choose a latte; regular milk.
(INAUDIBLE). OK. Checkout.
Do you want to take a picture?
Now then. (INAUDIBLE).
Now first of all, hang on. Sorry -- (INAUDIBLE). Clean.
QUEST: All right. Let's go.
QUEST: There's my coffee.
Where's it going to give it to me?
Here we are (INAUDIBLE).
I'm saying thank you to a robot.
Thank you very much. Cheers.
QUEST (voice-over): That is a thing of beauty.
QUEST: Although I must confess, it's a bit weird to drink your own face. But I do taste very good. Sorry, Richard.
QUEST: I actually destroyed my own coffee with my own face on it. A "Profitable Moment" after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment": we have two interesting developments within travel that you heard about on tonight's program. The
first, of course, was the CEO of Wizz Air, saying to governments, stop interfering in travel; it doesn't make any difference.
Then you have France, of course, which is reopening to the British and, of course, Britain which you've seen the number of days. So progress is being
made, albeit slowly.
I think the real test is going to be whether we learn from any of these mistakes or, like Omicron, at the first whiff of a new variant, do we all
skate back to that which we know and which has been very damaging in the world of travel to, perhaps, little benefit for public health.
Only time will tell on that but at least progress is being made.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight, I'm Richard Quest in Dubai. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, yes, hold it tight, I hope it's
profitable. What a treat (INAUDIBLE).