Our life has been on hiatus for almost 2 months. The coronavirus sets the pace for everything: economy, work, social life and travel plans. We don’t know exactly when this will end or how will the future of travel be after the pandemic. We only have one thing clear: at least until there is a vaccine, travel will radically change.
The impact of COVID-19 on tourism
Deserted airports, empty tourist places, streets and a whole world on pause. From March 11, 2020 (the day the coronavirus changed from epidemic to pandemic), many activities have been cancelled, shops have closed and countries started quarantine.
The tourism industry is one of the most affected by this pandemic. The pause in the tourism sector generated millions of losses for many countries, airlines, and any company related to travel. Unfortunately, many companies won’t survive the crisis.
Everyone who works in the tourism industry, including travel bloggers, are trying to adapt to this world without travel, diversifying their sales and trying to get through the moment in the best possible way.
When will we be able to travel again?
The great doubt for travelers. We can’t travel now, but when can we start planning our next adventure?
The outlook for international travel in 2020 remains uncertain. In Argentina, the authorities determined that airplane tickets can’t be sold prior to September 1st. Although this date may change in the near future, that day has been marked as the return to “normality” in terms of flights.
In Spain, the government estimates that it will be possible to travel within the country at the end of June, but it is not yet certain when it will be possible to travel internationally.
We can make all kinds of predictions but the reality is that nobody knows exactly when we will be able to travel again. Everything changes day by day and the news can be totally different tomorrow. Each country will open its borders on different dates according to its situation.
Local tourism first
The travel industry will return to their usual rhythm very slowly, like the rest of the activities. It is not known exactly when but it is certain that countries will open their local borders first, and then the international ones.
Staycations will increase as people will surely choose to travel to destinations not so far away and make shorter trips so that they can return home quickly in the event of a new outbreak (remember that this pandemic left thousands of people stranded outside their country and to this day there are still many who weren’t able to return).
“Everything will change” vs. “Everything will stay the same”
A few weeks ago I did a survey on my Instagram to see what the blog community thought about the future of travel. Almost equally, people replied that “everything will change” and that “everything will stay the same.”
Some people believe coronavirus will change the world permanently and this is a unique chance for society to change and build a better future.
In my opinion, travel will change dramatically, at least until there is a vaccine. Taking into account how all countries (except China) became infected with travelers coming from abroad, we can expect great changes in terms of hygiene in accommodation, distance in flights and activities, greater controls at airports and more.
Once the vaccine is available, it is possible that some of these implemented changes will remain permanently or that, as the other half thought, everything will return to pre-Covid-19 normality.
Changes in flights
A few days ago, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released an analysis of the strategies being considered for aviation following COVID-19.
Here is a summary of the expected changes:
- Temperature screening: although this method is not capable of identifying all those infected, temperature controls will be carried out at the entrance of airports and when arriving a destination.
- Symptom screening: as it is already being done in several countries, travelers will have to complete a questionnaire about symptoms of the coronavirus.
- Use of masks: the use of masks and other protection elements are recommended for all passengers.
- Social distancing: a distance of between 1 and 2 meters is recommended. Regarding boarding, it will be done respecting these distances and in a more organized way. As for the social distance inside the plane, there is still nothing very clear, since leaving a large number of seats free would directly impact on the price of tickets and airlines will probably oppose to this measure.
- Disinfection: disinfection of airport and aircraft infrastructure will be carried out more frequently.
- Tests: If the effectiveness of the quick tests improves, they will be implemented at the airports entrance.
- Immunity passports: if it’s proved that immunity is generated after getting the virus, special passports could be issued for those who have immunity and thus be exempt from certain controls.
- Safety measures for crew members: measures will be implemented for the aircraft crew, always trying to avoid or reduce close contact with passengers. The same will be done for staff working at airports.
The future of travel after the pandemic
Obviously changes will also be made to activities during trips. There is still nothing confirmed but accommodation will surely have to comply with new, much stricter hygiene standards. It is also possible that hotels will set new rules for check-in and other activities such as breakfast to avoid contact between employees and tourists as much as possible.
We can also imagine that the number of people allowed in tours, museums and other places that we usually visit during a trip will be reduced. The number of people, hygiene standards and control on public transport will also change worldwide.
We are living an extreme situation that forced everything to stop. I think this is an opportune moment to rethink how our way of traveling impacts on the world and if necessary, modify it. Everything happens. And the coronavirus will too. We will soon return to the route in search of new adventures.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you want to see what I’m doing these days, follow me on Instagram:@postcardsfromivi
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