It is now a known fact for everyone that coronavirus is not going away anytime soon. We must learn to live with it. Therefore, now, when all the countries in the world are easing down their lockdown rules, traveling will begin. The past two and a half months were nothing short of hell for all the wanderlusts out there. But baby steps will be taken towards giving a boost to the tourism industry.
Economies that depended on visitors are withering. The Safari parks are empty, the animals left in perpetual terror of the poachers, the Nepalese tea houses are quiet and the guides on the Inca Trail have no one to lead.
The global tourism industry was estimated to be around $700 billion in 2020. Now, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is forecasted to be around $447 billion. Europe is the hardest hit continent with predicted revenue dropping from $200 billion to $124 billion.
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CHANGES WHICH ONE WILL EXPERIENCE
We also know that the world might never go back to be the same. There will be changes all around us and we will have to get accommodated to these changes.
For starters, air travel is certainly going to get more difficult. The fares will increase exorbitantly. Social distancing measures will always be observed. Emirates has introduced pre-boarding blood tests, AirAsia has adopted new cabin-crew uniforms consisting of masks, visors, and protective suits. It is expected that non-flying trips will be more looked forward to, for example, by car or train, etc.
Second, many international tourists would like to put India on their international travel list. Since Goa only reported seven confirmed cases and all of them have fully recovered. Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have reported under 50 cases. This will attract domestic as well as international tourists.
Third, those hotels which offer minimum touchpoints will fare better. There will be no long lines during the time of check-in and check-out. All of this will be done digitally. Key cards will also not be in use anymore. No crowded buffet breakfasts anymore. Private homes, bungalows, and villas will top the preference options of the tourists.
Fourth, road trips will make a comeback. People will prefer to take short trips in the safety of their own vehicles. It is highly likely that car rental companies will offer great rates post-lockdown.
Fifth, people would like to return to nature in its most pristine form. After staying in their houses for so long, returning to nature is the most refreshing thing. Therefore, tourists are more likely to find such destinations where they will be closer to nature.
Sixth, the travel industry is going to make it easier to book, cancel, and postpone the trips in the near future. There will be numerous relaxations in the usual rules and conditions. You will also get to enjoy your loyalty programs for a longer time. Marriott International, whose Bonvoy program includes various perks like late check-outs, free-stays, upgrades, etc. Now, the Marriott has announced that it would extend members’ existing statuses from 2019 until February 2022.
Seventh, it has been an awfully long time since people have met their family members. Many of us have been quarantined or have lived for an awfully long time in the fear of catching the virus. We are scared to the core. We now know the fear of death. Therefore, we wish to be in the company of our family and close friends. It is highly likely that many people will make those long-procrastinated trips to their hometowns soon.
The Indian tourism and hospitality sector are exploring a range of options to revive the stalled business. From contactless travel to immunity passports and open-dated stay packages, they are trying everything to lure customers.
The European Commission has released a set of guidelines for how its member states can enable the beginning of tourism again. The Baltic States have created a travel bubble. It allows citizens to travel freely between them. New Zealand and Australia are introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone.
However, it is advised that one should avoid traveling with a group of people. Public transport should be avoided. You can travel in your own car for short distances. Basic principles of social distancing, sanitization must be followed. Everyone should always wear a mask. This is important for your own and other’s safety.
All the wanderlusts out there can now enjoy themselves by taking all the necessary precautions and staying safe.