Travel Industry After Pandemic ( Covid -19 )
“Viruses pose the biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet.”
– Joshua Lederberg, 1958 Nobel Prize
This pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and disrupted the economic and social sectors. According to a survey by WHO in October 2020, nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforces are at risk of losing their livelihoods. The global economy is seeing one of the worst recessions in the past decade. But now, after the start of the new year in 2021, people are pinning their hopes on vaccines against the coronavirus disease as they look forward to returning to normalcy.
The new novel coronavirus did not spare any sector. Tourism has been no exception. At the onset of the Coronavirus, no one in the travel industry anticipated the future of the industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), 50 million people lost their jobs globally in the travel and tourism industry due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus is hitting the industry hard from all over the world. They face a challenging year ahead, and it will take years for the sector to return to its normal situation.
World Travel and Tourism Council works closely with sector associations, their members, and governments to restart the Travel & Tourism sector. They have calls with all the key associations in the sector, including; Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Duty-Free World Council (DFWC), International Air Transport Association (IATA), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and World Economic Forum (WEF). They participate in webinars with our WTTC members, during which governments worldwide have been presenting what they are doing in their countries to help restart the sector alongside associations, governments, and our members discussing recovery and restart.
They started various campaigns such as:
They have been part of many industry campaigns, including the latest campaign, #OpenUpToEurope, from the European Tourism Commission (ETC), focusing on reopening European tourism and a revival of travel confidence this summer.
The events of 2020 completely paralyzed the Travel Industry and will have a profound change in different ways after the pandemic:
Sustainability will be a driving force.
Sustainability has become more prominent in travel choices due to more emphasis on climate change and the adverse effects of tourism. Natural areas and regional and local destinations are expected to lead to recovery. Travellers are doubling down on sustainability. Consumers will demand policies concerning a healthy environment, and the travel industry will respond with measures to provide them with a healthy world over profit margins.
The road trip will kick into high gear.
While air travel has declined due to the pandemic, the classic road trip has become more popular. In this situation, road trips are the most feasible option for travelling. Driving across state lines can be just as exciting as flying across international borders; it’s about the mindset. Road Trips has all the core of travel. Although air travel is cheaper and more comfortable, federal travel restrictions have geared up road trips to destinations that aren’t so distant. This is one of the reasons why road trips are making a solid comeback.
Travel advisors will become indispensable.
There can be a shift in booking travel through travel agents and experienced operators, noting their invaluable knowledge and connections in the industry, which justify the commissions they get. It also gives immense pleasure to plan trips and prospects of returning to life before the pandemic.
From 2020 we have learned the expertization and financial protection of booking through a travel agent often outweighs the amount you pay in commission. Moreover, consumers tend to look to advisors who specialize in the environment.
We’ll appreciate staying closer to home.
Domestic tourism is expected to benefit, as people prefer to stay local and visit destinations within their own country. Domestic tourists are often more price-sensitive and tend to have lower spending patterns. Some are even exploring the benefits of travelling by sitting at their homes and keeping the spirit of travelling alive.
We’ll seek quality over quantity.
Travellers have become more thoughtful about their bucket lists. The evolution of the crisis will influence their travelling behaviour; people are rethinking how and why they travel. This will result in new market segments and more focus on safety protocol and contactless tourism experiences. Safety and hygiene have become significant factors in selecting destinations and travel options. People are likely to prefer ‘private solutions’ when travelling, avoiding big gatherings, and prioritizing private means of transport, which may hurt the environment.
Small communities will play a more significant role.
Skills shortages in the tourism sector may be exacerbated, as many jobs are lost, and workers will redeploy to different sectors. Travellers can make a difference for small communities struggling economically due to pandemics. People are travelling to lesser-known areas, avoiding mass tourism, focusing on the places that need it, and patronizing local businesses.
Planning trips will become joyful again.
Even though people try their best to be grounded, this adverse situation reminds them that travel is crucial for reviving their mental health and personal development. According to a survey of 483 U.S., 2013, It was found that travel improves empathy, energy, attention, and focus. And as per a Cornell study,2014, Planning a trip is just as effective as just looking forward to travelling substantially increases happiness more than anticipating buying material goods.
Innovation and Technology
Traveller confidence has been hit hard by the crisis and the ongoing uncertainty. This may lead to a decline in demand and tourism consumption long after the initial shock. Structural change in tourism supply is expected across the ecosystem. Not all businesses will survive the crisis, and capacity in the sector will likely be reduced for a period, limiting the recovery. The reduced investment will call for active policies to incentivize and restore investment in the tourism sector to maintain the quality of the tourism offer and promote sustainable recovery. Amid stay-at-home orders, digital adoption and consumption are on the rise. Consumers now expect contactless technologies, among others, as an essential prerequisite for a safe and seamless travel experience.
While digitization has been an emerging trend within the Travel & Tourism sector in recent years, stay-at-home orders have led to Digitalisation in tourism services, which is expected to accelerate, including a higher use of automation, contact-less payments and services, virtual experiences, real-time information provision.
While innovation and technology are undoubtedly crucial for the travel sector, the proper human interaction is equally important. We will likely see more use of virtual technologies to support the new normal. However, the emotional element is imperative.
The future of the tours and travel industry remains highly uncertain. The coronavirus pandemic continues to hit hard, with international tourism expected to decrease by around 80% in 2021. Domestic tourism is helping flatten the curve, at least partially. Governments and WTTC have taken impressive immediate action to restore and re-activate the industry while protecting jobs and businesses. Different countries are also taking measures to build a more resilient post-pandemic tourism economy. These include preparing plans to support the sustainable recovery of tourism, moving to a greener tourism system promoting the digital transition, and rethinking tourism for the future.
Tourism policy will need to be more reactive, and in the long term, it will move to more flexible systems, able to adapt faster to changes in policy focus. Crisis management will be a particular area of focus with Safety and health policies.
Written By: Nidhi Kumari