COVID-19 made a huge dent in the tourism industry as travel all over the world almost completely stopped. Despite the ongoing pandemic, people still express a desire to travel.
Experts predict that the travel industry will shrink by 50 percent in 2020. This includes airlines, restaurants, hotels, and cruise lines. Major events for the rest of the year have also been canceled such as seminars, concerts, events, and even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The fear of getting infected along with the government lockdowns has put everyone’s travel plans on hold.
Fortunately, experts and surveys show that people are still willing to travel, even if it means pushing their plans to later or to the next year. Though it would be some time before numbers go back to before the pandemic, demand is expected to be high after recovery with people itching to see the world and reconnect after being stuck at home for months.
A survey by the University of Florida reveals that interest in travel has been picking up as fewer Americans are postponing their travel plans. Also, it found that those below the age of 25 have less travel anxiety than older generations.
However, the reopening of businesses and tourist destinations will largely depend on how they have been affected and their response to the pandemic in the past months.
“It’s really important that destinations realize their particular destination may be at a different stage of the crisis wave than other destinations,” says Lori Pennington-Gray, director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.
Change in Travel Behavior
In another survey by the Future of Travel, it revealed that 30 percent are planning to travel as soon as they are allowed, but they will go on more domestic tips. For safety reasons, people will prefer to go on vacations closer to home. If they are going to fly international, travelers would likely be going to nearby countries or those within their region.
Whether it’s for their hotels or their flights, booking flexibility will also become a valuable asset to travels. In the past few months, a lot of travelers had trouble booking cancellations and the refunding process. One way to reassure travelers is by offering them proper customer services and flexibility to allow them to reschedule or cancel their plans on short notice.
Even with decreased anxiety, travellers are still likely to practice zero contact. That means companies and businesses would benefit greatly from cashless transactions.
Which Countries Are Reopening
Slowly but surely, countries are starting to reopen their borders to tourism. Out of all of them, those whose governments responded well to the pandemic are going to first to make a comeback.
As one of the most recent European countries to open their borders, Germany cautions potential tourists to maintain safety protocols to prevent further spread of the virus. Restrictions for certain ‘third-world’ countries still apply, but those with low infection rates can enter.
Last June 15, President Emmanuel Macron opened France’s border to travelers from European Union countries and started allowing non-EU travelers last July 1. Famous tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre will be allowed to operate as long as strict sanitation guidelines are followed.
One of the first countries to ease travel restrictions, Italy opened its borders to European citizens last June. For this July, it also lifted restrictions to 14 other countries that were deemed safe for travel by the EU. This includes citizens of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.
For Greece, entering the country is only allowed for these 29 approved countries: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Finland. Travelers coming from countries not part of the list will have to undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine.
Spain is also restarting tourism by allowing football leagues to resume and international tourists. However, travel between provinces is still prohibited, and travelers are only allowed to go in through direct entry.
With the approval of the government, several tourist sites, attractions, and hotels got the green light to start opening again. This includes the Singapore Zoo, Universal Studios, and Sands SkyPark.
On July 15, Maldives will be opening its islands to international tourists, which includes Americans. However, guests are only allowed to stay in resorts, liveaboard vessels, and hotels on uninhabited islands. Guesthouses and hotels on inhabited islands will open at the start of August.
- Bali, Indonesia
The local government of Bali in Indonesia will soon be accepting travelers again starting September 11 of this year. However, there is no confirmation yet if the rest of the country will follow.
Countries all over the world rely heavily on tourism to maintain their economy, so most of them invest heavily in helping the industry bounce back. Rest assured that establishments and attraction sights are doubling their efforts to sanitize their facilities to help people regain their trust in the industry.
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