Podcast #56: The Pandemic’s One-Year Anniversary

Draper Startup House in Lisbon, Portugal
Draper Startup House in Lisbon, Portugal had to close after just two days. But there is now hope for the future. Photo: Matt Graham.

It’s exactly one year today since Tasmania became the first Australian state to close its border to interstate travel. Since then, there have been endless state border closures and changes to interstate travel restrictions. International borders remain shut for now but thankfully, as of last Monday, all domestic borders in Australia are now open again for the first time since March 2020. Things are looking up!

On this one-year anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic in most parts of the world, Episode 56 of the AFF on Air podcast returns to Lisbon, Portugal (via online call) to find out what happened to one of the world’s unluckiest tourism businesses. After months of construction and preparation work, and a large investment, this hostel opened on 10 March 2020 – only to close two days later due to coronavirus, having welcomed just two guests through the doors. The podcast’s host Matt Graham was one of those guests.

Matt originally interviewed the hostel’s manager Henrique Pereira on 12 March 2020, the day the hostel closed, which aired in Episode 32 of this podcast. One year later, find out whether the hostel was able to reopen, what changes it had to make to its business model to survive, and what the past year has been like for Europe’s tourism businesses.

Also in this episode, find out how airlines have turned to selling miles to generate pandemic income – creating new opportunities within many frequent flyer programs. And the episode finishes with a reminder of some upcoming changes to several frequent flyer programs coming at the end of March 2021.


Listen now to AFF on AIR Episode 56: “The Pandemic’s One-Year Anniversary”

You can also view the episode notes, which includes timings for each segment of the podcast should you wish to jump forward or backwards. If you’d like to discuss this episode, ask Matt a question or suggest a topic for a future episode, you can join the discussion on the AFF on Air Discussion thread.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]


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Also known as the first anniversary.

Maria Arends

Very informative content. Thank you Matt.