The COVID-19 has struck the entire planet like lightning, so fast that almost no country had enough time to prepare and fight back. Killing not only people, it even forced numerous governments to close their borders, thus affecting severely global trade and economy.
As for the tourism industry, it is gradually sinking under the crushing weight of travel bans, impacting harshly all of its sectors. Epicurean travelers are perplexed and wondering if traveling will ever be the same. However, everyone is rhetorically facing this apprehension, because we all know when a crisis strikes, people’s lives change, for better or worse, especially when it comes to a global crisis.
Be ready to travel a different way
After the pandemic, traveling will almost be a new experience, just like if the whole planet were entering in a new «geological era». Nothing will ever be the same again because tougher measures will be adopted worldwide.
More people wearing masks
No matter where you’ll go, you will see a lot of people wearing a mask, not only because their government will ask them to, but also because they will care about protecting you and themselves. It will be a matter of good hygiene and also a way of diminishing the residues left by the pandemic.
Being under surveillance
Geolocation of data, surveillance by facial recognition camera, tracking of movements are aspects that are likely to become more widespread. Some Western governments will probably follow the example of South Korea and Taiwan, which have developed a digital tracking system to geo-locate infected people. You might say it is an invasion of privacy, but that issue isn’t new. A mobile phone is a very good tool to detect someone’s geolocation; and nowadays, who doesn’t have one?
Plane tickets more expensive
Buying a plane ticket will cost even more because the outcome of the crisis will be fatal for some airline companies. Those who will survive, will eventually increase their prices, evoking first the law of supply and demand, then, the disinfection of their planes and the airports. People who will have to travel for work and those who won’t be able to resist traveling won’t have much of a choice.
Needless to say the further the destination, the more expensive the ticket. It won’t be a surprise either to see some destinations severely reinforcing their hygiene measures, especially those that were at one time the epicenter of the pandemic.
Hotel rooms more expensive
The hotel industry, which is highly dependent on international tourism will also suffer serious consequences. Just like for some airline companies, some hotels will not survive the crisis. Those who will get back on their feet will increase their prices, for the same reasons: the law of supply and demand and an impeccable disinfections of their rooms daily.
The cruise travels less popular
Boat cruises, which until then had been very popular, will decline in popularity (to make a euphemism) because of all the issues we’ve heard about that. Consequently, only a few of those giants will be navigating the seas. The thought of being on a boat with thousands of people will be enough to make some persons refuse to embark.
However, it doesn’t mean cruises will not return to normal; they will, but probably slower than air travel. No matter how big the ship might be to allow an optimal social distancing, the fear of contracting the virus will still haunt some people's minds. Moreover, the fact of not knowing who might have the symptoms of the virus it's another argument to dissuade some people from taking a cruise ship trip.
Activities involving gatherings will take time to return to normal, especially if it is tourist activities. Gatherings with people who don’t necessarily know each other (eg. marathon, festivals, sports games) are not exceptions. The concept of social distancing will still be in some people’s minds because they will still be afraid of contracting the virus, especially if they suffer from agoraphobia.
But, the tourism industry will rise from the ashes as usual
It is true that the tourism industry is severely affected by the pandemic, probably more than any other industry; so hurt that some people believe it may never get back on its feet. The industry will prove them wrong because it’s not the first time that it faces a crisis, and it always got back on its feet.
Countless popular destinations have faced crises in the past; political, social or natural catastrophes; whether it was for a time or not. Leaders will do anything to find a way to attract back tourists and make them feel safe. In a way, isn’t tourism the economical soul of a country?
Indeed some people will not travel anymore, and others who, before the pandemic planned to do it, won’t do it anymore. However, there are 7,6 billion people on the planet, so not everyone will be afraid to travel. There are still a lot of people who have this thirst to discover the world. Precisely, who says «discover the world», says «traveling», and traveling is tourism.
So international tourism is not dead; it is simply in a coma from which it will emerge. The «medicine» that's going to help it out of this coma is that people start discovering places they never discover in their own country.
Local tourism, the temporary «medicine»
Before international tourism starts to flourish again, local tourism is bound to be a temporary solution for many destinations. After the confinement, one of the first things that will be on everyone's mind is to evacuate all the stress that will have accumulated and, in most cases, local tourism will be the only option for those who will want to make this pandemic a distant memory.
Let’s mention, however, that local does not necessarily mean in the city where they live, it can also be another region within the country or another city in the region. Not everyone knows every region of their country. In a sense, this mandatory confinement also has positive consequences. It probably allows some people to kill boredom by being more creative, and others to learn about the next destinations they plan to visit.
In the meantime, during this forced confinement, take time for a virtual trip. In fact, when the time will come to travel physically, you will have already planned this trip... smarter.