It’s #TravelTuesday, and I’m back again! Dave Williams here, and today, I’m going to summarise the implications of the biggest news worldwide right now, and the effect it’s having on travel and photography. It’s not exactly a fun topic, but it’s one we need to be aware of.
First, though, I implore the Americans reading to take heed of what DJI has recently released, relating to the news that the FAA has plans to require drones to have the equivalent of a transponder. You can read about it here and sign against the requirement here.
So, Coronavirus! If you hadn’t already done the background reading, it’s a virus not dissimilar to MERS and SARS. It can cause illnesses ranging from a mild cold to a severe, acute respiratory difficulty. It’s been causing problems since its discovery by doctors in December 2019 of the strain COVID-19. Now, on March 3rd, there are more than 87,000 confirmed cases worldwide.
It’s having an effect on our industry, with Peak Design sending out an e-mail just a couple of days ago warning of delays in shipping of their new travel tripod.
Let’s start with Apple. Issues with production caused by Coronavirus have led to Apple releasing a statement about this quarter’s revenue, with warnings suggesting a low. Manufacturing throughout China, which accounts for some 28% of global manufacturing output, has also hit a record low.
Over to Fujifilm, who closed production for a period. They are unable to confirm when they will be able to begin shipping the new X-T4, and are experiencing delays in the production of the X-T3 and X-T30 due to operating at a reduced level since re-opening.
Canon has announced that they are closing (or have closed) five factories because the supply chain has been so disrupted they simply don’t have the components available.
Nikon and Sony are also feeling the effects, along with everyone else who manufacturers in China. Despite many of these companies being Japanese, they outsource production to China for the vast majority of their ranges, aside from the exception of Sigma who are the only notable photographic company to manufacturer their entire range inside Japan.
Unfortunately, we don’t know what happens next. The re-opening of factories and restarting of production depends entirely on what happens with regard to containing COVID-19.
In terms of travel, that also depends on containment. I have plans to travel, but I’m watching very closely to see whether I actually can. We need to be aware of this—just aware, not in fear. Precautions are necessary to ensure our health, and to support the industry we love so dearly. We know there’s a lot of support for our industry and it demonstrates great resilience when it needs to, so let’s hope it gets to nothing more than a few late orders.