Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Cathay Pacific’s Richard Jones

This week, Travel Weekly caught up with Richard Jones, regional head of marketing and sales at Cathay Pacific, to find out how he’s been faring since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

What are you reading?

Mostly my emails and Microsoft Teams messages, but I do wake up with the online version of the daily newspapers. When it comes to books, I generally catch up on those when I’m on holiday. Nothing too heavy – usually a Lee Child or Michael Crichton.

What are you watching?

Just finished Clickbait. I also watched Shadow & Bone with my daughter.

What are you listening to?

I have a broad range of tastes from dance/electronic to Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac! It varies on any given day.

What are you cooking?

I enjoy cooking a good roast, and lately, I’ve been getting into brisket with a rub and homemade barbeque sauce. Although, I did just get my hands on a dan dan noodle recipe, inspired by a dish we serve in the Cathay Pacific lounge at the noodle bar, so I expect that’ll be next on my list for me to try!

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

For fitness, I tend to use my treadmill (sporadically)! And on the mental side, it’s a struggle. My two kids tend to drive me insane, especially while we home school.

In all seriousness, I’ve been doing a couple of projects around the house – restoring an old seat, attacking the garden. I’m contemplating replacing the decking in the backyard, although I suspect the skill level I have is not matched to what’s required for that project.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

I am amazed at the resilience of people. Having to go through lockdown for extended periods and still answer calls and work with customers with a smile on their faces has been amazing – not just here, but with colleagues and friends interstate and overseas. It makes me want to get on that plane even more, to go and catch up with everyone in person.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

That I wouldn’t have the patience to be a school teacher! And that I also need to be mindful of the stresses and pressures we are all feeling.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the crisis?

I think everyone has their own ways of coping. For me, it is making sure I know when to switch off for the day while working from home. That and getting into my projects around the house has helped me.

Where is your favourite domestic travel destination?

Right before the most recent lockdown in NSW, I visited Broken Hill with the family and that has given me the bug to see more of the Australian outback. We have family on the south coast of NSW at Bermagui, and we love heading down there and catching up with them.

For me, travel is about connecting with family and friends, and discovering new places or things, be it food, architecture or scenery.

What is the one international travel memory keeping you going through this time?

I’m fortunate to have more than one, but my last trip to Hawaii is an absolute highlight for total R&R. Anzac Day at Villers-Brettoneux was a solemn occasion and one I will never forget, as was driving around the French countryside and seeing the many war memorials on the side of the road.

Where do you want to travel to once international travel restrictions ease up?

Italy with a stopover in Hong Kong…or Hawaii…again! Maybe I can squeeze in both?


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