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Quest Means Business
Fans React To USA Goal In Must-Win Match Against Iran; Police Quash Protests In Beijing And Shanghai; Travel Industry Weighs Effects Of China Lockdowns; Twitter Drops Its COVID-19 Misinformation Policy; Travel Industry Missing Chinese Travelers In Southeast Asia; Iran And U.S. Face Off At World Cup. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 29, 2022 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS HOST: A second day of losses on Wall Street, seeing red across the board. Those are the markets and these are the main
events. The US is in the lead in Qatar, where they battle it out with Iran in a bid to advance to the next round of the World Cup.
As travel and tourism leaders gather in Riyadh, the Radisson CEO explains how the pandemic changed the mindset of the industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEDERICO J. GONZALEZ, CEO, RADISSON HOTEL GROUP: I think in 19, part of the industry was heavy at this point, like, you know, this is what I sell,
and people buy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Live from New York, it is Tuesday, November 29th. I`m Alison Kosik in for Richard Quest, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
There`s a game going on at the World Cup that means much more than just sport. After days of political tension, fiery barbs between the teams and
plenty of history between these two countries, the United States is taking on Iran in a must-win match.
In the last few moments the US has taken the lead.
KOSIK: Right before kickoff, all the focus was on Iran`s players. They sung their National Anthem. That matters because their refusal to do so in
their first match was seen as a show of solidarity with protesters back home.
A World Cup security source says that led to threats of violence toward the players` families, if the team doesn`t "behave." And in the lead up to the
match, Iran state media called for the US to be kicked out of the tournament for altering Iran`s flag, also in support for Iranian
There is also of course, a game going on here and we`re at halftime and I`m joined by Andy Scholes now who is with fans in Atlanta and Nick watt, who
has joined Iranian-American fans just outside Los Angeles.
Andy, let`s start with you because I want to get a catch up on all the action.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, I`ll tell you what, Alison. You know, all the fans here at Fado`s Irish Pub in Atlanta,
Georgia, really anxious at the beginning of this game. Team USA, you know, they only scored one goal in this World Cup. They`ve only scored one goal
since June and they were dominating this game. They`re getting opportunity after opportunity in this.
This crowd was just ready to erupt, and they got that chance in the 38th minute as Christian Pulisic was able to get a goal for Team USA, and that
was important because Team USA cannot tie this game like they did their first two.
They have to win in order to move on. Iran, meanwhile, they can come away with a tie and move on. So, that first goal was monumental for Team USA.
I`ve been having fans around me the whole game. Here`s Daniel right here, Daniel.
DANIEL, FAN: Hey, how are you doing?
SCHOLES: We finally got that goal, Team USA, Daniel.
DANIEL: Andy, God bless America, baby. God bless, America.
(PEOPLE chanting "USA. USA. USA. USA.")
SCHOLES: Daniel, just your thoughts. They finally got the goal. How are you feeling right now? Are they going to hold on and get the win?
DANIEL: I feel very confident. I`m in Atlanta, Georgia with a thousand of my best friends. God bless, America. We`re going to win the whole thing,
and we`re having a good time. Jeremy, what do you think?
SCHOLES: All right, thanks guys. Put it up. All right, there you have it.
As you can see, Alison, having a good time here in Atlanta, because Team USA is up one to zero and if that holds, they will move on to the knockout
KOSIK: I can certainly feel that excitement and I can almost see a live shot gone awry there. It`s good you cut that off there, Andy.
Nick, let me go to you. I want to talk to you about the fans who you`re with. I know Los Angeles is home to a large population of Iranian-born
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Alison. And the emotions here are a little bit more complex than what we just saw with Andy
in that bar. It`s not just "USA, USA." A lot of these people -- most of these people are dual Iranian and US citizens.
It`s half time now, so there`s a bit of lunch. It`s a very lovely way to watch a soccer game, I`ve got to tell you. A bit of a hookah, a bit of
lamb, a bit of bread, a bit of tea. But you know what was really interesting is that when Pulisic rolled in that goal, the reaction here, a
lot of people jumped up in support of the US team and there was a man sitting right here, he jumped up, the woman behind them slapped him in the
I said to her, "Is that your husband?" And she said "No, but if it was, we would be divorced now."
The emotions here are complex, nobody really in this bar supports the current Iranian regime, and you can tell by the old Iranian flags there.
That it`s from the era of the Shah, not of the Ayatollah.
So some people are saying, listen, we cannot support this team, because the Iranian regime uses this team as a propaganda tool, which they did back in
1998, the last time these two teams met. So, they say we cannot support this team.
Other people are saying, listen, it`s not about the regime, and the team themselves, they`ve been threatened. So, they are forced to play for the
regime, they wouldn`t if they didn`t have to. So, it`s really a mixed bag here, and it is very interesting to see the dual emotions.
But when a goal is scored, you always get the real truth of who is behind which team, and when we saw that, it caused a little bit of friction among
But lunchtime now, waiting for the second half as it is, of course, Iran would go out. Iran is going to have to play a more expansive, aggressive
game in the second half. If they draw, Iran goes through.
A lot of people here say diplomatically, we hope it`s going to be a draw. If it is a draw, it is Iran that goes through to the next round -- Alison.
KOSIK: Okay, Nick Watt, thanks for going through all that context there. Your site over there is definitely a little more complex than what Andy is
going through there.
We`re going to check back with both of you. Thanks very much.
US markets have struggled for direction today stocks falling again, after sharp losses Monday over worries about China and global supply chains. The
Dow Jones has whipsawed throughout the day.
Traders are looking ahead. Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, he is going to be speaking tomorrow and we`ll get jobs data on Friday.
Global markets caught a brief reprieve on signs China may be changing its COVID ways, but that optimism may be short lived. The Beijing government is
vowing to strike hard to maintain order, and there are signs of that on the streets of Beijing.
Police flooding areas where there had been gatherings of protesters at the weekend. Beijing is distancing itself from the issues that sparked this
crisis three years of severe restrictions on movement.
China`s health officials are blaming local governments for the way lockdowns have been imposed, and authorities reaffirm the government`s
commitment to Zero COVID.
CNN`s Ivan Watson reports from Hong Kong.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We`re getting the first sense of how the Chinese government views the protests that erupted
in cities across China over the weekend in at least 15 different locations against the government`s strict Zero-COVID Policy which is aimed at
eradicating the coronavirus completely from Chinese territory.
The Chinese powerful Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission issued a statement calling on authorities to "Resolutely strike hard against
infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces, as well as criminal activities that destabilize social order."
It appears there is no message of tolerance or compromise for people who came out into the streets to voice their opinions, and I think that`s being
reflected in the shows of force that we`ve seen with police flooding the streets of the capital, Beijing, Monday night where there had been protests
the previous night; also flooding the streets of Shanghai, erecting barriers to stop people from being able to congregate.
And eyewitnesses say, stopping pedestrians in Subway stations searching their phones and we`ve even seen some video evidence of this. One
eyewitness saying that phones were being searched by police looking for images of the protests, or apps or VPNs that allow people to circumvent the
great Chinese Firewall, that system of censorship that prevents Chinese people from being able to use things like Google or Facebook or Instagram.
While this crackdown is taking place, we also saw some signs of attempts at protests in the Eastern city of Hangzhou, for example, where videos emerged
showing police detaining people in a Central Square Monday night.
We`ve also heard from top health officials who are kind of tacitly acknowledging the enormous burden that the COVID restrictions have put on
society, with top officials calling on authorities to lessen the length of lockdowns. We`ll just have to see if they actually follow through with this
as China continues to count tens of thousands of new cases of COVID-19 a day in a country where the government says COVID shouldn`t exist at all.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
KOSIK: When we return, Richard is in Riyadh tonight where he has spent the day at the World Tourism and Travel -- I guess, a conference there --
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Good evening from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
You`re going to hear from the top hoteliers who will tell us why things are looking so good, even without China playing its part, and also British
Airways, the big move at Kennedy. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, we`re in Riyadh, after the break.
KOSIK: The World Travel and Tourism Council Summit is well underway in Riyadh, and Saudi Arabia is pulling out all of the stops. Drones and
fireworks lit up the sky on its opening night. Attendees are enjoying world class food and drink and strolling chandelier-lit halls.
This year`s conference is brimming with optimism and the group`s latest survey shows why. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they plan to take a
leisure trip in the next 12 months. More than a quarter plan to travel internationally at least three times.
The WTTC`s President Julia Simpson says travel demand is close to pre pandemic levels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA SIMPSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WTTC: Travel has come back with a vengeance. I think after two years of all of us being locked in, you know,
people were really, really keen to get back out and travel.
The interesting thing is that bookings are high; demand is actually, you know, exceeding the abilities in some areas, as you know, for travel and
tourism to meet that demand.
So actually, there really isn`t a problem. The only -- if you look at our big numbers, the big numbers, so we were about a $9.2 trillion business in
2019. We`re now about $8.4 trillion, $8.5 trillion, so you`ll say, what`s that gap? What`s the problem? And the problem actually is China. So, we`re
still waiting for China to reopen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Richard Quest joins me now from the World Travel and Tourism Council Summit in Riyadh.
Richard, take it away.
QUEST: Yes, Alison, what`s fascinating about the lack of China is the way in which the industry has responded. Europe is very strong. The US is
strong, other parts of the world are, and yet even though there is recession on the horizon for developed markets, they still believe that the
only shift or change that will take place is people will choose to trade down or have staycations instead of long haul travel.
I discussed this with the Radisson Chief Executive. Now, he knows that China is an important -- (AUDIO GAP).
KOSIK: Okay, we`re going to get Richard back in just a little bit. He says that he has talked to travel industry, various people in the travel
industry, they`re making up losses, let`s roll to his story.
GONZALEZ: If you think from a layman`s point of view, the consumer is ready to pay higher price for a better service, and be ready to change last
minute what they want to do.
So, they are asking us for more flexibility, more quality, and more availability of different things that they didn`t ask for before.
QUEST: How easy is that for a large group like you to provide, bearing in mind, essentially, the model has changed.
GONZALEZ: We made an event. In 2019, you would have a Congress, you will get a reservation six months in advance. You would know how many would
come, what would be the foods, and when they will start and then when they finish?
Today, you get that book in six months in advance, but they tell you, we are, maybe going to come between 800 and 1,500, we don`t know. We may know
the last month. Regarding food, we may need options, then regarding technology, we need to have connectivity in such a way that if people
connect from abroad, they will have it, and you will not know, so with the six months you had before. That demands more complexity, more planning,
more flexibility in the workforce.
QUEST: Does you require a mindset change for the industry?
GONZALEZ: Completely. It is -- I think in `19, part of the industry was heavy at this point, like you know, this is what I sell, and people buy.
Today, I think people is becoming much more choiceful and I have the right, you know.
I have not traveled for two years, I have not had my meeting and events. Now, you know what, now I`m making -- I`m taking my trip, I will choose
what I want to do.
So, I think that`s very important, but I think it`s good. I think that will make us better. If you`re not able to adapt, you die.
QUEST: China is still not a player again. How damaging is that?
GONZALEZ: It is not in our --
QUEST: Have you written off China for the foreseeable future?
GONZALEZ: No, no, no, no. I think if we look at our business in China, I think, it is not doing well, because the country is not yet open, but it is
easily compensated, for example, by how well India is doing.
So if you look, we have hundreds of hotels in India. India is booming. It is really, really booming. So, I think that more than compensates what is
happening in China.
Now, I think, at the same time, the fact that China is not back into travel, this makes us think how the future may come. Seeing that during
this summer, for example, larger destinations were full, and at a very high price.
Think of London, Venice, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona. There was no Chinese across Europe. So when the Chinese come back --
QUEST: Then you`ve got a problem.
GONZALEZ: Then we`ll have more opportunities.
QUEST: Finally, I do wonder if you look at Saudi Arabia?
QUEST: We`ve never seen anything like it.
GONZALEZ: Never. I think this is unique, extremely unique. There is a country with a vision, behind the vision, there is talent and behind the
talent, there is money.
Because it is not one single destination. It is not that they are talking about a new resort or a new area. No, you`re talking about seven to 10
different destinations and a determined community to make it happen.
QUEST: But can Saudi change the rules by which everybody is or at least say the rules by which the rest of you play do not apply here because of X,
GONZALEZ: I think Saudi will have to take the decisions of which are the rules that are relevant for the tourists to come. I have my point of view.
I think they may have the other ones. But I think at the end, you know, consumers -- consumers like to we welcomed. I think people is extremely
respectful of habits, whenever they don`t think those habits exclude them.
The moment you feel excluded, a destination will not ever be successful.
QUEST: And they`re going to have to make changes, things like for example, alcohol.
GONZALEZ: Yes. I think they will have to measure and they will have to take a decision. I mean life is about what do you want to play and how do
you want to win? You may need to listen to the consumer and then understand.
QUEST: Right, but the Saudis` view tends to be drawn to -- because how would you want to play and how would you want to win? Their view is often
we will define that.
GONZALEZ: Nobody has a never done it before because when you think you can define the rules of the game, you may end playing alone.
KOSIK: As the Radisson CEO just mentioned, Saudis` massive tourism investment was a major topic of conversation at today`s event. Richard sat
down with the CEO of Saudi Tourism Authority and asked why they are building a new airport.
FAHD HAMIDADDIN, CEO, SAUDI TOURISM AUTHORITY: If you look at the ambition that we have, I think you would say, how can any of that be
realized without a new airports and an infrastructure that supports it? So the answer is definitely yes.
And I think this is a regional play, whatever Saudi is doing is not just doing it for its own country within its political borders. The spillover at
a regional level is what we believe the opportunity lies and it is our responsibility to make sure that the good of tourism serves the whole
QUEST: So you have all these projects, the Giga Projects as they`re called. I mean, what`s happening with them, besides large sums of money?
How many -- have you actually done anything yet?
HAMIDADDIN: You, however, were with us last night at the Duryea, and you saw the first, maybe three percent of the total development of that Giga
Project, and I will leave the judgment of how charming and beautiful it is to you. But right in the first quarter of next year, we`re going to see the
Red Sea Project also, opening its doors with three resorts.
QUEST: The big question is, if and when alcohol is going to be allowed to be served in all these Uber luxury resorts that you`re building? Because if
you`re going to try and attract the Western American visitor, they`d like a drink with dinner.
HAMIDADDIN: It`s a speculation. We have different scenarios. We`ll wait and see.
QUEST: You`re not going to tell me.
HAMIDADDIN: I`ve already told you, this is where -- you`ve asked me this question before, and we still believe that there is a lot to offer in Saudi
KOSIK: A big day for loyal transatlantic fliers, British Airways is moving its New York home. The airline has moved to a new terminal at JFK
Airport. British Airways is now based in Terminal 8 with American Airlines.
CEO Sean Doyle told Richard Quest about the move and how business is going.
SEAN DOYLE, CEO, BRITISH AIRWAYS: Bookings remain very resilient and leisure continues to perform ahead of 2019. Direct bookings are very strong
and the corporate sector which we expect it to lag, the other two sectors has continued to grow, albeit not at the pace of the other two, to demand
spaces that we look at.
So yes, I think we`re seeing resilience. I also think you will see airlines very focused on restoring capacity next year, and building back up
operations and that`s certainly the sentiment that we see, you know, within British Airways and across the industry.
QUEST: Arriving at Kennedy and seeing those words -- big words, British Airways across the building, the terminal had a feeling of BA, you are the
dominant carrier there. How do you manage to keep that when the new terminal or as you now join American?
DOYLE: Well, I think, you know, one of the first things which we maintain as a very strong network to and from JFK, so British Airways is flying 12
flights a day at the minute, you know, nine of those are into JFK, and we`ve another three out of Newark.
But also, if you commit to this facility, you will see, you know, a very strong presence of the British Airways brand. And we`ve worked closely with
American Airlines to make sure that things like the premium check and facility, the ground experience, the lounges, you know, are very, very fit
for purpose for the brand of British Airways and American and they work in the context of the customers that we do have.
QUEST: Essentially, across the Atlantic now with the joint venture, you are one airline, aren`t you?
DOYLE: Well, I think we`re individuals brands, but we do work very closely to give our customers what we would call a seamless proposition. So
whether it is recognizing people`s Frequent Flyer Programs, and rewarding them, whether they fly British Airways or American, or allowing people to
access things like premium check in and lounges, and coordinating schedules to give customers as many options as possible from getting from A to B.
This is the start of a new chapter because it is the start to have some deeper colocation, and I think there will be future customer benefits
coming up from projects like this in the future.
KOSIK: Any moment now, President Joe Biden is set to speak at a chip factory in Michigan. It comes hours after he called on Congress to take
action to prevent a potentially crippling rail strike.
Without an agreement, the walkout is set to begin in less than two weeks and could cost the US economy $60 million on the first day alone. Workers
say they want paid sick leave and more flexible shifts.
The CEO of Bank of America tell CNN, the rail strike could create even more economic uncertainty just as An economic recession looms.
Brian Moynihan spoke to Poppy Harlow on "CNN This Morning."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: Things like the rail strike or the war in Ukraine, and what happens in China with shutdowns, those are all
sorts of things that can really derail the economy, and everybody knows that. We`ve been dealing with them for quite a period of time.
But if you look at the core economy, our team has a mild recession predicted in the middle of 2023, and then coming back out of it later in
2023. Now, that was predicted to happen this year, earlier this year, there is going to be a real slowdown, the Fed was going to raise rates, and it`s
all pushed out largely because of one thing, which is the US consumer, who is spending money and we just got our spending from Thanksgiving to last
Saturday, and it was up three percent over last year, which was up 23 percent of the year before, 20 percent of where it was in `19.
You see booking travel and things like that. You see the consumers employed. You see them spending money. You see them having money in their
accounts. That means inflation has to be tackled by the Fed, but the consumer actually is both a buffer against that, and also it makes it
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: What I think is so interesting about you, Brian, is you`ve been like the, you know, the optimist in all of this. So
you just said yes, a mild recession next year, but we`ll get through it by the following year.
Jamie Dimon warned this summer, head of JPMorgan, that an economic hurricane, his words are coming. We just don`t know how strong a hurricane.
Do you see an economic hurricane?
MOYNIHAN: Well, hurricane seasons now close, so having a house in the Carolinas, I am used to dealing with that. But you know, at the end of the
day, the belief was, if any of those horribles came together, you could have really a different outcome than the Fed tightening. The Fed is
tightening in an unprecedented way because we have an unprecedented inflation, forty, fifty-year long inflation.
So what does that affect? First US housing; obviously, that`s changed dramatically. But rent increases are only coming through now. So, at the
end of the day, the consumer is held in well, and the end of the day, the consumer stays reasonably strong, because they`re employed.
HARLOW: So I`m hearing no economic hurricane from Brian Moynihan, am I right?
MOYNIHAN: A mild recession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: After the break, Elon Musk claims Apple threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store as the platform drops its COVID-19
KOSIK: Hello, I`m Alison Kosik. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
Elon Musk is picking a fight with Apple claiming it threatened to remove Twitter from the app store.
In the final minutes of the World Cup showdown, the final score and fan reaction.
The news headlines this hour:
KOSIK (voice-over): The United States is taking on Iran at the World Cup. The winner goes through to the knockout stages. At the moment, the USA is
There is another Group B game going on, England versus Wales. So far England`s leading 3-0.
The U.S. is considering sending the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, a senior U.S. official told reporters. The official said the
system would be intended to support Ukraine`s air defense capabilities against Russian attacks.
President Joe Biden says he is confident the U.S. can avoid a crippling rail strike if Congress intervenes immediately, voting to impose a labor
agreement on rail workers. Without legislation, the walkout is set to start in less than two weeks.
KOSIK: Twitter says it`s stopped enforcing its policy on COVID-19 misinformation. The sudden move may unnerve advertisers who fear Elon Musk
will let misinformation and harmful content run wild on the platform.
In a tweet, Musk claims that Apple has already pulled most of its advertising. He also claims that Apple threatened to yank Twitter from its
app store. Apple has not commented. Twitter`s former head of safety will soon speak at a conference in Florida. Our Donie O`Sullivan will be there.
In the meantime, he joins us now from Miami.
Great to see you, Donie.
What exactly does it mean that Twitter will be dropping this misinformation policy on COVID-19?
Is it going to be like the Wild West?
DONIE O`SULLIVAN, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot happening with Elon Musk`s Twitter, especially these past 24 hours. What we have learned
overnight is Twitter is removing its COVID-19 misinformation policy.
They have had that policy in place since 2020, basically banned posts that they viewed as dangerous misinformation about the virus and also about the
That policy is no more. That kind of segues into all this talk about Apple. As you mentioned, Apple has not responded at all publicly to what Musk is
saying. What we do know is Apple vets apps before they go into their app store and before those apps can go on to your phone.
They vet the apps to make sure they are safe, make sure they don`t have viruses or spyware. We have also seen them crack down on apps that promote
what they view as dangerous misinformation and also hate speech.
There was a right-wing social media platform here in the U.S. last year, Parler, that was removed from the app store for a few months last year
until it got its hate speech policies in place in a way that Apple was happy with.
It is possible that as Musk tears up this rulebook and tries to make Twitter what he would call a bastion of free speech, Apple might have some
concerns that there would be a lot of hate and other potentially dangerous posts on the platforms. So that could play a lot into it.
Also, finally as you mentioned, Alison, we are here in Florida, where Yoel Roth, who quit Twitter a few weeks ago, he was basically in charge of
enforcing a lot of Twitter`s rules. He will be speaking out here at this foundation conference in just a few hours.
It`s the first time we are hearing from a very senior Twitter employee who has left since Musk took over.
KOSIK: I want to go back to the Apple part of this. As you said, there are these guidelines that apps have to abide by to be listed in the app store.
What happens if Twitter is taken off the app store?
Where does Twitter go then?
Is it something that can be worked out between Tim Cook and Elon Musk?
I understand that they do have a relationship.
O`SULLIVAN: Yes, I mean it could be potentially devastating for Twitter. People could still obviously access Twitter through their browser,
different methods but it would definitely be a significant hit to Twitter.
Also worth noting, "The Washington Post" reported that in the first quarter of this year -- that is before Musk took over the company -- Apple was
actually one of the biggest advertisers on Twitter in the first quarter.
"The Washington Post" reported that Apple spent $48 million on ads on Twitter. What we know now is apparently Apple has pulled all ads from
Twitter. So it`s kind of a double whammy here, were it may, as Musk says, potentially get dropped from the app store but also that source of revenue,
those ads from Apple, that Twitter seemingly no longer has.
KOSIK: OK, Donie O`Sullivan, live for us from Florida. Thank you so much.
While some CEOs demand that workers come back to the office, the head of Accor Hotels says working from home is here to stay. CEO Sebastien Bazin
talks about the changes he has made since the pandemic. We are coming to you live from Riyadh next.
KOSIK: The World Cup isn`t the only major event lighting up the air world this week. In the Saudi capital, The World Travel and Tourism Council
summit is well underway. Let`s get back to Richard Quest in Riyadh. Richard.
QUEST: The WTTC is the private body, the organization that represents all the industry and companies that work in travel and tourism. It is a major
event, their annual summit.
It brings together all the top hoteliers. On the various panels that I did during the course of the day, there was one central theme. It was travel
and tourism is different. The quantum leap has changed. What happened before the pandemic is not happening now. We are traveling differently. We
have different demands. Companies have to respond.
But they, too, are understanding what is happening and making it up as they go along. I heard from Sebastien Bazin, who is the CEO of Accor Hotels, he
made it clear, you have to be prepared to do everything differently.
SEBASTIEN BAZIN, CEO, ACCOR HOTELS: Yes, it is. We are missing 130 million Chinese travelers. It is quite a bit.
But you know what?
We can actually adjust to it. They spend money in China. At the hotel of Accor in China we do pretty well.
But we are missing a lot of them in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia. We need them back. The sooner the better, unlikely before summer
QUEST: You see that?
That is the key part. You are not banking on it for anytime soon.
BAZIN: No, certainly not for Chinese new year. Probably six months. But it could be much longer. Again, we have been missing them for three years so -
- and I`ve been in China for 45 years. So we get another year, that is fine.
QUEST: You talked today about the change in the model, if you like. It is almost -- I wouldn`t say you went back to year zero after the pandemic. But
everything from the revenue models to the offering to the -- what the consumer wants are different now.
BAZIN: Well, it`s different because commodity products probably will shy away. No one wants the same room, the same levels, the same designs. You
need to have a different quality of team. People who we (INAUDIBLE) to the public have never been (INAUDIBLE) and that`s OK.
I mean, you want to be embedded in the local community. What I said to you earlier, I want a hotel company to plan and design and build there on
behalf of a local community, not only for travelers. Make your hotel the trendy place for the guys to work from or to basically go to the bar and go
and have a good concert and just enjoy the place.
If it is buzzing from 7:00 in the morning to 10 pm at night, then the travelers will know that place is buzzing and it happens to have rooms. The
rooms become not only the go-to but only 40 percent of the hotel`s revenue.
QUEST: When we met in Paris, we talked about this. I said it is very difficult to create a destination hotel in most cities.
BAZIN: But It works. It worked super well. Actually in 25 hours (ph), (INAUDIBLE) but we have 14 (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE). It works all the time.
The ingredient, the teams. It`s not the color or the design. Make sure your teams are the best ever. In terms of warmth, in terms of soul (INAUDIBLE).
They have to be different. They could not be introvert. They don`t have to be shy. You just want them to exist as a person.
QUEST: This leisure business where you go and you stay on for a few extra days. And you might work. It is this acceptance of remote working.
BAZIN: Yes, it is.
QUEST: So if I`ve got meetings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And I say I`m going to stay on but I`m going to continue working Thursday, Friday but
BAZIN: I will be candid, before the pandemic I was fully against anything which was remote working. And (INAUDIBLE) because I probably thought they
were playing tennis as opposed to working.
Since the pandemic happened, I have 2,400 people in the Accor headquarters. Maybe a couple hundred on Monday, a couple hundred on Friday. The building
And you know what?
They go out for four days, probably a couple hundred kilometers away. But they do work remotely and very efficiently. On that Friday and that Monday,
where I was afraid it would never work, it has actually worked super fine.
They are on time, they make decisions. They are accessible so they do spend the week in leisure time with the people they love. And that`s called
staycation. It is super, super, strong, all over the world.
QUEST: I am fascinated by what you told me about how, post pandemic, new evolution, you changed your traveling.
What do you do?
BAZIN: I am trying to regain my control of my (INAUDIBLE) my time. It`s -- I just started yes, I am going to 200 cities every year without doing
anything about any city because I have been spending only one or two nights.
I said, I am foolish. I am a big dummy. Let`s make sure that every trip I go now, I spend an extra half a day only for myself. I can go walk in the
streets and discover the town. Someone told me, Sebastien, there is three notions of time, short lime, long time and the road time.
Time where the watch does not matter. You build your own library. You discover museum, people, art. That time, the road time, is probably the
most valuable for you because it is a time where you will be invading your space and when everyone wants to travel.
QUEST: I love. It now, this is going to get tricky. You can do it. You are the CEO.
How do you let that dribble down to all your senior managers?
BAZIN: It is not difficult, zero. They will be better person, stronger person.
QUEST: No, but how do you send that message out, to say it is OK to take that extra half day or few extra hours?
BAZIN: But talking about. It by sharing my own experiences. Just do it. I`ll be extremely happy when they do it.
QUEST: Sebastien Bazin and his happy staff, who can take longer and maybe see more of the place that they are visiting. What I am finding fascinating
here is watching the industry discover what are the new rules of the road, if you will, what works, what doesn`t.
They can`t even rely necessarily on historical data, because we are doing things so differently.
That creates great opportunity; it creates risks for places like Saudi Arabia. It creates an entire new field upon which they can play.
And Alison, as for this question of pleasure, in the 30 odd years that I have been traveling professionally, I think that I have done pleasure,
combining leisure with business trips on a handful of occasions. I just don`t see that I would be able to take an afternoon -- I don`t know.
Maybe, Alison, that is something that I need to look at and try on my next trip.
KOSIK: Maybe you should. Before you go, Richard, I want to ask you, because I have been listening to a lot of these interviews that you have
done in Riyadh and these travel leaders, these tourism leaders, they are very confident about 2023.
But everyone is talking about a recession.
Is this too much optimism?
QUEST: No, I don`t think so, Alison. But I see where you are coming from. I think what they are saying is that we have discovered, when people can`t
travel and money is tight, then we know that they will have a staycation. They will travel domestically and domestic travel was the enormous growth
factor for many countries.
The U.S. particularly. So what they are saying is we will have a project ready. People will trade down. Airbnb instead of a hotel. A cheaper or less
stars of a hotel than a luxury one.
Don`t forget, also, people do have money in savings. Yes, the recession is going to hit a lot of people very hard. But there is also even more people
who will not necessarily be directly affected in terms of loss of jobs.
They have savings from the pandemic. I would say that it is trading down, it is new options. But the staycation and the travel industry thrives,
thrives in 2023.
KOSIK: OK, Richard Quest, thank you very much. Good to see you.
Coming up, there are only a few moments left in the World Cup game between the U.S. and Iran. We will bring you the latest updates after the break.
KOSIK: Iran`s players sung their national anthem before their crucial clash against the United States. That is still underway in Qatar. There
were reports the players` families have been threatened with imprisonment and torture if the team does not behave.
They all chose not to sing the anthem before their opening match in an apparent show of solidarity with protesters back home. Jomana Karadsheh has
been covering the Iran protest movement for us from the start and she joins us from Istanbul.
So the World Cup, you know, it is really putting a spotlight on the lengths the Iranian regime is going to, to stamp out dissent with these threats. I
am curious what more you are learning.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we are learning from a source that is involved in the security of the World Cup and has been
monitoring the activities of Iranian security agencies that are operating there, we understand from them telling CNN that there is a large number of
security personnel from the regime who are there, who are collecting information, who are monitoring the team.
And after that first match against England, as you mentioned, when the team did not sing the national anthem and that was seen as a show of protest,
supporting the protesters back home, quite an embarrassment and humiliation for the Iranian regime.
The source says that members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps met with the team members and intimidated and threatened them, saying that they will,
quote, "behave, sing the national anthem and not take part in any sort of protests or their families back home were going to face torture and
Then we saw what happened during that game against Wales, where they did sing the national anthem. And again tonight. So no surprise seeing them
sing the national anthem. Not so enthusiastically but understandable when we hear about these kinds of threats that they have been facing.
I could tell you a lot of Iranians, Alison, were looking to this moment. They were hoping that the team would use this moment, while they are on the
global stage, while all eyes were focused on them, to try to show support for the protest movement, this popular uprising that has entered its third
They feel very disappointed that the team didn`t carry on, didn`t really do that. When you see so many Iranian athletes over the past few weeks, who
have really courageously stood up to the regime and shown support for the protest movement in different championships.
But we know that those athletes were under a lot of pressure when they went back to Iran.
KOSIK: Yes, this has become more than just a game for these players.
Inside Iran, I am curious, who gets the credit or who gets the blame for today`s outcome of the game?
If Iran wins, does the protest movement claim it as their own victory, does the regime weaponize a loss?
KARADSHEH: I think that we need to look at what happened after the last game, when Iran did beat Wales. They turned it into a huge celebration,
claiming victory. We saw these surreal scenes on the streets of Tehran, while you have got this ongoing protest movement, you have got this brutal
crackdown, with hundreds of people who have been killed.
And then those images of security forces on the streets, celebrating; those same security forces that are accused of all of the violence and human
rights violations and the killing of hundreds of Iranians over the past few weeks, just out on the street celebrating and distributing candy.
I can tell you that really made so many Iranians angry, seeing that happening. And it kind of turned the sentiment that people felt so
conflicted. So many Iranians want to see their country win, want to see their national team win.
It is something that has united your Iranians, no matter how they felt about the regime all of these years. But for the first time, we are seeing
this change in sentiment, where you have Iranians who want to see the team lose because they do not want the regime to claim this as a victory.
And many feel like the regime would use this also to kind of distract from what is going on in the country. I can tell you, over the past few moments,
looking through social media, even human rights organizations like Amnesty International are saying, if the regime was trying to focus the world`s
attention on this football game.
But people need to be focusing on what is happening inside Iran. They should not forget about the people who have lost their lives. Today, we are
hearing that the death toll, according to one human rights organization, is at 448 people, including more than 60 children who have been killed since
the start of the protest in September.
And that crackdown is continuing. Protesters showing no sign of ending it anytime soon. So there is a lot of concern that this crackdown is only
going to intensify.
KOSIK: All right, Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much for all of that great context.