The Travel Industry into the FutureBy Raymond Zeitouni Saba | Wed, 02/03/2021 - 09:24
What's in store for the tourism industry in 2021? As we welcome the year full of hope, momentum and a vaccine for COVID-19, some questions remain about what will happen to the economy, business and the way we live each day.
Many people believe that the “new normal” is here to stay. This will be our new way of life and all businesses in all industries will have to adapt, evolve and transform. And they are probably right.
That is surely the case in the tourism industry. We have already started seeing these changes, these adaptations, in the last few months. Each business has made changes that they see as necessary to boost their sales without putting their customers at risk.
Hotels and airlines are restricting occupancy according to each country’s stipulations. They require the use of face masks at all times, temperature-controlled access and a 1.5m distance between tables and beach beds. There are even some countries where hotels no longer offer room service and sometimes the clients need to clean and make the bed themselves.
But what comes next?
These are only the first changes the industry has made and there are many more to come, especially since the vaccine arrived.
Elizabeth Becker, the author of Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism,
believes that travelers will look for places with good governance and a great health system.
They will book fewer trips but with longer durations.
Rolf Potts, the author of four books, including the bestselling travel-philosophy primer Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, thinks that the desire to travel abroad will change. He says the domestic travel industry will see a boom because people will avoid international travel due to long flights and government restrictions in the destination country.
Potts is not the only one who thinks that. According to the “Annual Travel Trends Report for 2021” by Expedia, the travel industry in Mexico will bet on domestic tourism even after borders are opened.
Some countries are talking about “COVID-FREE passports,” the idea being that people who have received the shot, will have a COVID FREE passport that will allow them not only to travel freely and easily, but also let them enjoy restaurants, movies, theaters or amusement parks. As nice as this idea sounds and as much as we want it to be true, we will have to wait to see what decision the governments and leaders of the tourism industry make.