For years, the working professionals in the travel sector have extended their services to the tourists and welcomed them with open arms. In the year 2018, the travel and tourism sector was in its booming phase compared to other economic sectors. It contributed $8.8 trillion towards the globe’s combined GDP, a growth of $0.5 trillion on the pcp.
Travel sector amid COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has put travel sector in the eye of the storm, driving the industry in utter frenzy since worldwide the nations have sealed their borders and the flights are grounded. Currently, the travel and tourism sector is in shambles, and has been ravaging the economies dependent on them.
Along the same lines, we are sure there must be several queries sprouting in the minds of people every now and then. Some of them must be – How would travel shape up after the coronavirus is contained to an extent? Would the travel industry be the same as before the virus outbreak? What would be the new normal while travelling?
Let us now find out the answers to these questions-
What lies ahead for the travel sector?
COVID-19 induced crisis has one of its worst sufferers in the travel and tourism sector, which has impacted lives and livelihoods of millions across the world. Since the time lockdown has been imposed by several nations in the global arena, people have stopped venturing out of their homes.
The European Commission assessed EU hotels and restaurants to incur a loss of almost half of their income this year. Business owners are asking for further action, but the governments do not seem to be too positive on it. Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel has asserted that holidays in different parts of European nations are not a near possibility for the German natives.
The Prime Minister of France, Edouard Philippe echoed the similar sentiment and mentioned that it was not realistic to think of travelling overseas almost immediately.
While the Spanish Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzales Laya said that the nation would slowly open to tourism sector again, but only when they are in a place to ensure the welfare of the travellers. Italy’s Premier, Giuseppe Conte mentioned that the natives should take a holiday trip in the country, but they would not gain permission to travel amid regions yet.
As per WTTC or World Travel & Tourism Council, representing the international travel and tourism private sector, there is a possibility of 50 million job reductions in the travel and tourism sector, worldwide as a result of the coronavirus. Also, global travelling could have an effect of ~25 percent in 2020.
It also stated that the sector would be witnessing a gradual return to travel in the period of the next few months.
In addition, it is being projected that initially travelling within the domestic markets would begin, followed by nations’ nearby countries, extending to other regions, ultimately across continents, which would mark the full-fledged return of the expeditions to long-haul world-wide destinations.
The non-profit organisation also deems that the travellers falling in the age group of 18-35, who happen to be less susceptible to coronavirus might, be the first ones to commence travelling.
Travelling in the post COVID-19 world
A new set of protocols are being framed post receiving the feedback and initiating conversation with other WTTC members, along with the alliance from organisations representing the various travel sectors.
IATA (Air Transport Association), ACI (Airport Council International) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) are bringing together their key skills to characterise the best protocols in order to keep both the travellers and employees secure in an attempt to facilitate the aviation sector to recuperate.
Health experts along with WHO have also offered their experience that arose from several international medical crisis.
Changes in the offing
The world should be prepared to witness a new trend while travelling in the near future. Some of the changes can be as following:
- Digital technology would play an important role during the check-in procedure;
- Hand sanitiser would make its presence felt at every nook and corner;
- Cash is going to be replaced by digital mode of payment;
- Since lifts barely have any space between individuals, people might opt for stairs where a 2 meter distance can be maintained;
- Speaking about cruises, operators would implement ways that ships are free from coronavirus;
- Wearing masks and gloves would be a new normal among people and on-duty personnel;
- At the airports, people would be tested before the flight and upon the arrival to the destination airport;
- Frequent cleaning and intensive cleaning methods of the public transport, aircrafts, cruises would be a norm;
- As per TSA or Transport Security Administration, going forth travellers should clean up their hands for twenty seconds straight, as per the guidelines, both before and post security screening procedure;
- Also, testing is ongoing in Hong Kong International Airport on a complete body-disinfectant tool.
Speaking of Australia, the economists of the country have opined that the restriction on the Australian borders would not be lifted until the beginning of the year 2021. However, travelling amid the neighbouring countries Australia and New Zealand, discussed by the governments is possible to take place once they are assured with the coronavirus containment.
In the past, travel industry had faced challenges in terms of natural calamities and air crashes. However, people have always kept their faith intact in the sector while travelling, and the sector has revived like a boomerang amid the chaos.
It can be said that there would be a sweeping impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry, but the sector has a way of directing its wings and moving on, mostly because people love to travel and for some of them business trips are unavoidable. So, with time it can be hoped that travel industry would come out of the crisis stronger.