Many businesses around the world have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but none as seriously as the travel industry.
You could say that the pandemic was actually made possible by cheap and easily accessible international travel which helped the virus rapidly propagate to virtually every corner of the world.
As governments closed borders and encourage their citizens to stay home as a means to slow the spread of the coronavirus, every facet of the tourist industry, from airlines to hotels, restaurants to tourist destinations have been slammed by the lockdown. It’s hard to overstate how big a deal this is as the United Nations World Tourism Organization estimates that 10 per cent of the world’s GDP, and a similar percentage of employment, is directly and indirectly related to travel and tourism.
With the industry pretty much paused, it’s causing experts and non-experts to opine on what the future of travel might look like when the pandemic passes.
The fact is, that no one really knows what’s going to happen in six months or a year when we don’t even know what’s going to happen in a week, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to guess where this is all going. After reading several of these predictions, certain common ideas are emerging.
People are going to seek out remote, outdoors locations
“After all this time at home, travelers are going to be craving fresh air and lots of it. I’m betting that the National Parks and campgrounds will see an increase in visitors once this is all over.” -Liz Hund, the PointsGuy.com
The idea of visiting a crowded place where germ and virus transmission remains a risk is going to inspire some travellers to get away from cities and visit remote, natural destinations.
For those who don’t want to spend time hiking and camping, private villas and isolated cottages in natural settings, whether they be tiny, tropical islands or beside mountain lakes, are going to become a lot more attractive to many.
Not only does ThePoints.Guy.com see us becoming more interested in visiting uncrowded places, they imagine that fewer of us are going to be stockpiling our vacation days and will instead take advantage of something that we had previously taken for granted.
Health screening will become part of the airport check-in process
“Technology already implemented in airport terminals to spot terrorism threats, including advanced CCTV and surveillance platforms, could be adapted to spot passengers who are indicating potential illness symptoms. ” – Future Travel Experience
Remember when you could carry a water bottle through airport security and no one blinked an eye? That all changed when someone tried to bomb an airplane with a liquid explosive fourteen years ago. Don’t be surprised if airports and airlines start screening passengers to make sure they are healthy.
Future Travel Experience envisions health testing being just one of many airport changes that will come out of the pandemic. Expect more contactless technology to limit personal interactions and social distancing measures to keep people from being too close to each other. Does this mean more leg room on airplanes?
Cities in China like Beijing are requiring #coronavirus test results from people before they leave Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus.@sharonchenhm takes us through the #COVIDー19 testing process pic.twitter.com/2nKKwBOK7n
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) April 10, 2020
Domestic travel will become more attractive
“We anticipate many travelers will still play it relatively safe by traveling in smaller groups and choosing closer-to-home, more familiar domestic travel after restrictions are lifted.” – Mary Quinn Ramer, President of VisitLEX
Re-discovering our backyard and staying closer to home in weekend getaways or staycations, will be the preference of many travellers who are scared off by going to international destinations.
Some envision road trips being the preferred way to go as we don’t have to enter crowded airports and airplanes. Nostalgic destinations from our youth might seem more comforting in a scary world.
For many, the economic impact of the lockdown is significant which means the affordability of domestic travel will make it even more attractive, at least in the short term.
The truth is, we really don’t know
It’s entirely possible that a lot of these predictions will be wrong or very short-lived. Making predictions is a fool’s game, but it gives everyone something to do while they remain grounded at home. Do you have any predictions of what will change in the months and years ahead for the travel world?
It's absurd for anyone–ANYONE–to talk about "future of travel." No one–NO ONE–knows enough about today to guess about tomorrow.
But I have prediction: Someone will create dual purpose item that works as both eye and face covering. It'll be standard in future C/F amenity kits
— Joe Brancatelli (@joesentme) April 12, 2020