With Coronavirus pushing the entire world into a global lockdown, people are struggling with issues that they’ve never experienced before. There is a lot of anxiety, questions and worries.
Currently infections are over a million, an estimated 20% of the global population is in lockdown, and the majority of the countries have banned to travel.
Have you an idea of how crazy that is?
So of course it makes us wonder: what would the travel industry be like after Covid-19?
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Is this really serious? What do I have to do?
Before making assumptions, let’s talk about what has happened so far.
A virus that appeared in Wuhan, China in early December 2019 took the world by surprise and in just 3 months there were 150.000 cases with a horrifying number of 6.000 deceased, and these numbers have been increasing since then.
While China is slowly recovering from the virus and the economic impact of the lockdowns, European countries like Italy are just heading to the worst, and the US has just became the new epicenter of covid-19.
Stay safe, stay at home: what makes Covid-19 so dangerous?
When comparing the numbers of the infected persons and the deceased, we notice that the fatality rate is low.
Anyone can get the virus, but some people can go through it even without presenting symptoms, it tends to do more damage in elderly people and persons with previous health conditions.
This means that the real issue is not the rate of deadly cases but the velocity which this virus spreads, because you can infect others without even knowing.
And that’s the biggest problem, this pandemic can grow so fast that the sanitary system can’t hold it, and could provoke “ration care” forcing doctors to decide in which persons they should invest resources.
Staying home is staying safe and protecting others. The better we follow this rules, the sooner we could get back to normal. But things will get difficult first.
China proved that lockdowns and social distancing does help to decrease the curve of infections and eventually isolate all cases. This April 8, the country is going to end the lockdown.
As society we are going to pass over it, but we need to make smart actions and cooperate to minimize the long term consequences.
When will it be available to travel again?
“… We are in it for at least two months or more.”
That’s what Eric Feigl-Ding, a global health economist has said to the CNBC.
With this quarantine lifestyle, “travel” sounds like an odd word, but for those who love travelling (like we do) it brings some concerns.
How fast would the travel industry recover?
What changes will travelers face?
We do our best to stay ready for the coming obstacles, and health experts agree that this pandemic could last more than just a month. Yeah, is insane but it’s still a reality.
How’s Coronavirus outbreak impacting travel?
With this unprecedented drop in mobilization and tourism, the industry is facing one of its worst crisis.
In almost every country, none essential travel has been banned due to the pandemic and the instructions are clear: do not travel if you don’t need to and stay home as much as possible.
The economy is always sensible to uncertainty, even with references of other pandemics like H1N1 and SARS, Coronavirus is at a different scale.
Every sector is struggling with this challenge.
Cruise lines have suspended operations and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that global air transport revenues will be reduced by 5% this year.
This organization also called on governments to consider ideas as extending lines of credit, reducing infrastructure costs and cutting taxes.
With lower demand of travel and the restrictions to Europe, China and other countries, Airlines have cut flights and some of them have rethought policies for cancellations, being one of the sectors suffering the early consequences.
Car rentals services have seen a drop too, according to the American Car Rental Association the drop started in March, and to April reservations are 60% down.
“Within the U.S., domestic car rentals have fallen between 50 percent and 80 percent month over month from February into March, according to the American Car Rental Association. Earlier this week, Avis Budget Group said that while it had started the year with strong revenue growth, reservations began to fall off in March. In April and beyond, reservations are down 60 percent and appear likely to decline further.”
This is another sector facing immediate effects of Covid-19, AirBnB has applicate an “extenuating circumstances policy” to allow refundable cancellations in most cases.
Reservations made before March 14, with check-in dates from March 14 through April 14, qualify for penalty-free cancellations. Both hosts and guests may choose to cancel the booking.
In other hand, the rental Company Vrbo doesn’t have a similar policy. In this case travelers have to reach out to homeowners to ask and coordinate a free-free cancellation.
Marriott International Hotel Company has outlined penalty-free cancellation for rooms, and most hotels have flexible policies too, but you have to check with your hotel to verify its booking and cancellation policies.
Other sectors: Coordination, Tour Operators, Travel agents, insurance services…
The travel industry is one of the largest industries, with 5.7 trillions in revenue and it’s responsible for more of 200M Jobs. It’s a fundamental part of the global economy.
An estimated of 50 million jobs are at risk due to Covid-19, according to the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council). They expect a contraction of the industry of 25%. There are already people being unpaid or with a reduction of their salary in expectation of what will happen in the near future.
Tourism represents a high percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for most countries, so it’s important for governments to find solutions to the future obstacles.
What to expect of the travel industry after Coronavirus?
By understanding how this industry works and how this crisis affects it, we can build ideas about what would probably happen, at least in the foreseen future.
Instead of panicking we have to remember that this is a new crisis but not the first one, and yes, governments didn’t take it enough attention and now Covid-19 is causing unexpected consequences.
We were talking about what could be the most probable reactions of both, users and business, and to contrast perspectives we reached out a relevant figure of the travel industry: Valerie Joy Wilson, founder of Trusted Travel Girl.
Valerie is an adventurer and content creator that helps others by giving advices to make travel more easy. A couple of weeks ago she received the shocking news that she tested positive for Covid-19. Thankfully she’s all good now, and she’s using her voice to spread awareness.
Q: What are your expectations or concerns about the current situation?
Valerie: Expectations are that the governments around the world come up with a solution together to eradicate or control this virus.
JK comment: as this pandemic is a treat to global economy, all countries are supposed to do their best, but we need to know when to listen medical experts and the OMS and when to listen about governments plans on protecting the economy. In these times we have to put a lot of trust in people, that’s one of the reasons it all feels so scary.
Q: What do you think would be the biggest changes in the travel industry after this?
Valerie: Travel will be smaller. Airlines that do come back will be smaller. You’ll see less people in the travel space (including bloggers) who weren’t able to survive this from a business standpoint.
Q: As a traveler, how does this lockdown make you feel? And what would you say to other travelers?
Valerie: It’s difficult. I miss the world. But, this is necessary and we must stay at home.
Q: Do you think that with the pandemic impacting the economy it would make more difficult and expensive to travel or the opposite?
Valerie: Initially you’ll see a lot of deals to get people traveling again. Then I think you’ll see a spike in prices especially holiday travel because everyone will be trying to make up for this huge loss.
JK comment: travel is a very resilient industry, once that things get back to normal the industry will start to recover, even without a vaccine ready. That’s because travel is a necessity to people and makes slight to ignore the anguish that Covid-19 will leave.
Q: After experiencing this virus at first hand and seeing how fast it’s spreading in the US, what important message should we sent to others?
Valerie: Take this seriously, stay home, make sure your family and your friends are staying home as well. We will get through this together, but everyone needs to do their part. The sooner we can get everybody to stay home, the sooner we can get back to normal.
A message from the Jupiter’s Kingdom team about Covid-19 and travel
We hope this information helps you make a smart plan for the days ahead. In these times we have to show support to others, be patience and help spread awareness.
What are your thoughts on the future of the travel industry after Coronavirus?