The World, as we know it has dramatically changed since the month of March 2020. What we have witnessed is a World that is not ready to face a pandemic even with the best technology at its disposition. The way we communicate changed, the way we commute changed and so did the way we survive.
COVID19 had the worst impact on the already slowing economy. The global economy was on the downward graph since mid-2019 and 2020 only accelerated the downfall. It has spared nothing. Jobs have been lost, start-ups have pulled their shutter down and all industries are at a loss owing to the partial or complete lockdown across the globe.
Amid all the industries, tourism will be one of the worst-hit sectors. Now the question will arise why? All the other sectors are at the standstill too. So, why just the tourism industry of all?
Well, there is a simple explanation. Travel and tourism are considered luxury by majority. As soon as the virus started spreading, most of the governments imposed strict travel restrictions effective immediately as early as February. Though in some parts of the world the domestic traveling has started, international ones are still closed and for good reason. Also, domestic flights are hardly being used for casual traveling.
Travelling is seen as something that one can live without. As the duration of the crisis keeps extending, revised scenarios indicate that the potential shock for the sector could witness a 60-80% decline in the international tourism economy in 2020.
Since tourism is way back in the list of priorities in our lives, it has taken a backseat. However, after realising the intensity of the situation and how it is affecting the livelihood of the people involved sector, various governments have been introducing tourism specific measures. Governments and industry are focusing their efforts on:
- Lifting travel restrictions gradually and working with businesses to access liquidity supports. They are also focusing on applying new health protocols for safe travel, and help to diversify their markets.
- Efforts are also being made to restore the travelers’ confidence and stimulating demand with new safe and clean labels for the sector, introduction of new information apps for visitors, and domestic tourism promotion campaigns.
- Coming up with comprehensive tourism recovery plans, to rebuild affected destinations, encourage innovation and investment, in short, rethinking the tourism sector.
Having said all that, it will not be easy to regain what is already long lost. It’s the people’s confidence that has taken a hit. Also, the job cuts and the loss in business will make the masses think twice before they plan a holiday. The main mantra will be to survive. But this again becomes an issue for people who earn their bread and butter from the tourism and hospitality industry. So now you can see how this has become a vicious circle of misfortune.
One can only hope that everything will get back to normal and this phase will gradually end. But the question remains when and at what cost? Let us wait for time to reveal.