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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts that over 50 million (yes, million) travel and tourism related jobs will be lost and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses are shutting down, mom & pop restaurants are in dire need of help, hotels and hostels are sitting empty, Expedia alone will lose about $57 million in profits just in 2020, 90% of passenger planes around the globe are sitting idle at airports and people’s vacations are halted until further notice. For the entire travel industry, this is a scary time and those are pretty unsettling facts to read about.
People around the world are asking themselves, “Will we ever travel again and what’s the future of tourism going forward?”
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Right now, it may seem that we’ll never travel again, but the good news is, we will travel again, but things will change in my opinion.
Here’s how I think tourism will change in the future and how tourists will approach travelling moving forward.
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What To Expect When Arriving At The Airport
Long gone are the days of arriving an hour before boarding and casually making your way to your gate ten before before taking off. I usually get to the airport three hours early anyway to help me prepare for long security lines and to ease stress and of course, to grab a drink before flying. Well, now with Coronavirus throwing a wrench into everyone’s travel plans and it being unofficially dubbed the “traveller’s virus,” expect longer security lines upon entry to the airport and I’m even thinking that they will take your temperature before entering the airport doors to the terminal. I predict at least three points of temperature taking throughout the terminal before flying. Once before terminal entry, once at security and once again before boarding. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took your temperature once again while moving through customs upon landing in the country of your destination. I get a hot head (literally) when I have a migraine, so would that mean that I would register as “sick” to them when they take my temps? Who knows. In the end, transiting through airports will now take a lot longer, so I would suggest getting there earlier than later in the future to avoid hassle, or potentially missing a flight.
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Way More Precautions Will Be Taken
I believe that social distancing, as much as it’s good for prevention of getting others sick, has also made people absolutely terrified of anyone and everyone and actually lowers people’s immune systems by staying indoors constantly. This is the biggest social experiment of our entire lives, whether you believe it or not, that’s up to you. People will be fearful of others coughing, sneezing, or simply just having a slight sniffle around them going forward. It’s a fact. Look at how people stare at each other while walking through a grocery store now. It’s sad. Every turn around an aisle is like turning the corner of a damn haunted house these days. Sick people travel all the time, whether they have a fever, cold, stomachache, or not. I think that people will be way more cautious going forward though. Face masks will be worn on planes, sanitizer will be used more frequently on a plane and same with sanitary wipes to wipe down plane surfaces, handles, food trays and anything that you’d regularly touch within a flight. I also believe that medical gloves will be worn more frequently, but this will result in far more trash and plastic waste ending up on the streets and in garbage cans. It’s already happening now. People will also be stocking up and taking regular vitamins with them on their travels. I always travel with a little first aid kit everywhere I go. I always have alcohol travel wipes, sanitizer and a week’s worth of vitamins with me. I’ve always travelled this way, not just during flu and cold season. I even wipe down hotel room door handles, phones, toilet etc. People used to call me crazy, but…who is crazy now? 😉
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Travel Insurance Will Be Purchased More Than Ever
I also believe that travel insurance, which should be purchased anyway, will become the new normal for traveller’s, especially after seeing and hearing about all of the nightmares of tourists being stranded overseas in a foreign country awaiting flights back to their homeland once the outbreak became what it became. Travellers will also get full medical insurance as well, especially if travelling during cold and flu season. That being said, I can see that if you travel during a known flu and cold outbreak, travel insurance companies will probably list that no refund, or coverage is possible, since it was a known outbreak at the time. Read that sneaky fine print. A lot of insurance companies made sudden changes to their policies after the restrictions went out this year for Coronavirus. The insurance companies will take forever to refund you, or help you, since they will lose millions of dollars to travellers. I got lucky when I booked my Poland trip early this year before it became a full blown issue worldwide. I was offered a full refund with my airline, since I booked before March 2020.
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Tourist Attractions & Tour Groups
Having people socially distance themselves from others for long periods of time will increase people’s anxiety around others for sure. Going forward, I strongly believe tour groups will be capped off at smaller numbers and tourist attractions will only let a certain amount of people inside the attraction at a time to avoid crowding. As someone who already hates crowds, to me, this may be a positive thing. 😛
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Hardest Hit In The Travel Industry
Without a doubt, the hardest hit industry in tourism will be the cruise industry. After seeing dozens of cruise ships filled with up to 3,000 passengers being denied port of entry in numerous cruise ports around the world and basically sat stranded at sea, I truly believe this turned people off cruising for quite some time. Another factor that will turn tourists off travelling by cruise ship for while is the fact that you are confined to the ship and if one person gets sick on board, chances are extremely high that it will spread. Cruise ships have now been associated with basically being giant floating Petri dishes. I’ve never been a fan of taking a cruise and one of the reasons is because the huge crowds and this kind of confirms my choice. 🙂
One of the incredible perks of many jobs is travelling for business purposes. Being put up in fancy hotels with grand buffets, airport lounge access, a hot tub and a cozy king size bed all paid for by your employer sounds divine, but wait…business travel may just be a thing of the past unless deemed absolutely necessary. With a huge group of employers now having their employees working from home recently, companies are saving big bucks, especially if they let go of a chunk of their employees for whatever reason during these times. *Ahem* Businesses will condone working from home and attending meetings virtually through Zoom, Skype and other online outlets to save money by not having to pay to put up employees at hotels and pay for meals and transportation anymore. I also see that employers will urge their employees to work from home even during cold and flu season each year as a preventive measure.
Domestic Vs. International Travel
Those who currently have a vacation on hold, myself included, are patiently awaiting the day that we are allowed to board a plane and fly freely to other countries, states and provinces without issues. I believe that domestic travel will open up well before international due to the lack of borders and people will choose to take land travel such as cars and trains before flying in planes comfortably again. Each province, state and country will open on their own terms and at different speeds and stages. We are already starting to see it happen, since the economy and people cannot be on lock down forever. It’s not wise at all. I, for one, am not worried and will travel internationally without concern the moment they allow planes to take off. Peace out!
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Now, this is a pretty touchy subject, but I’ve always been one not to shy away from controversial discussions, so here goes. First thing’s first, I am NOT an anti-vaxxer (I have received vaccinations before), BUT I am extremely against the thought of a future with a mandatory vaccine in order to travel, or go to work. I think it’s ridiculous, not needed and totally goes against our Charter of Rights as humans. If you so wish to get a vaccine, than so be it. You do you. I will happily opt out of letting anyone inject anything into my body that I do not consent to. I don’t get the seasonal flu shot and I barely get a cold. I chalk that up to constantly improving and strengthening my own immune system all throughout the year, not pure luck. It’s like how I haven’t worn a winter coat in over 6 years and I live in Canada. I have made myself immune to the cold and layer up, so the cold doesn’t affect me as much as others. Same same, but different. Apologies to those who disagree, but it’s a free country (for now), so my opinion is just that…my opinion. 🙂 *kiss kiss*
Have any of you guys had travel plans disrupted because of COVID-19? If you have, did you straight up cancel your plans, or have you shifted them to later in the year? Will you change anything about the way you travel domestically, or internationally? If so, let me know how and why in the comments below! xo