As economies struggle to remain afloat, in the last few months, the travel industry has taken an enormous hit due to COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky stated that ‘global travel may never fully recover, and people are more likely to travel within their own countries in the future’.
Travel is probably going to recover piecemeal. Freedom to travel will not only varycross- border but also between regions. Travel is expected to be less frequent, more difficult and, undoubtedly more expensive in the near future. Global air travel is down by 95 per cent. There are still unanswered questions on how any business that relies on placing people in a confined space, will overcome the hurdle of physical distancing alongwith the economic viability for such carriers.
For each one of these examples, thousands of individuals are being directly impacted; the taxi drivers, baggage handlers, pilots, waiters, ticket takers, have all taken a direct hit. The entire travel industry, from check-in, to check-out, now faces an equivalent existential problem of keeping travellers from infecting one another, while convincing them that it’s safe to travel again because this pandemic has been apocalyptic for the entire travel industry.
There are multiple factors that will influence travel in the future including the reliability of antibody tests. Health checks will become a part of every trip. Anyone moving about should expect to have their temperature taken. All these changes, which seem to be a sudden shock to the system will eventually come to feel routine.These are just a couple of ways the travel experience would change forever.
Business travel may also take a hit as organizations will be more particular about employee safety and advocate only essential business travel. The number of professionals travelling may reduce, the duration of trips might be longer to prevent repeated trips. Travelling abroad for higher studies is now an obstacle for most students, lack of finances being the major challenge to student travel, this gap may increase with the ongoing pandemic.
The coronavirus epidemic is triggering stress and anxiety. Quarantine or self-isolation is taking a toll on the population’s mental wellbeing.To no one’s surprise, according to the ‘Travel Anxiety Index’, fear and worry have shot through the roof – up 311 per cent at their peak. Travel around the world has come to a screeching halt.
India witnessed over 10.5 million foreign tourist arrivals last year. Data further shows that 1.8 billion Indians had travelled within the country.However, numbers have significantly come down this year. To revive the tourism sector, India too is following in the footsteps of WTTC.
After each of the previous crises faced by the world – the GFC, 9/11, SARS – travel bounced back stronger than ever. As COVID restrictions are being eased around the globe, this sector will have to regain the trust of tourists. Travellers also need to be smart, smaller groups will become the main norm for this sector. The sector should reopen in a phased manner to gain back the confidence of the travellers’.