Tourist Corridors: Alternative to Reactivate TourismBy MBN Staff | Mon, 05/11/2020 - 13:02
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed crises never before seen in different industries. Among the most affected are the tourism and aerospace sectors. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, international tourism could decrease up to 80 percent this year compared to 2019, putting 100 million jobs at risk. Faced with this scenario, governments, companies and even tourists are thinking of a safe way to resume activities so companies and small businesses that live off tourism do not go bankrupt in the medium term.
New Zealand and Austria, for example, pledged to create a "travel bubble" that would allow visits. China has begun to allow domestic travel, although its borders are still closed to most foreigners. Thailand is considering special tourist centers that function as quarantine zones. In Mexico, the Ministry of Tourism is devising a strategy with the private sector to focus on tourism from Canada and the US, once the contingency passes, as travelers will prefer short flights.
According to analysts, Mexico's strategy is not far from the new reality that tourists will face, since "regional travel bubbles" will be a trend. Vietnam and Thailand are currently considering creating a travel corridor in the coming months, according to the executive director of the Asia Pacific Travel Association (PATA) Mario Hardy. On the other hand, in Europe, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, governments plan to open their internal borders to citizens of the three countries from May 15. For Mexico, a travel corridor for North America is the most viable option to revive the industry.
Experts also agree that for countries that rely heavily on tourism, it is necessary to balance health with economic concerns. But even if countries feel the pressure to open up beyond a bubble, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll see an avalanche of visitors. As of 2019, tourist activity in Mexico contributes 8.7 percent of GDP, according to INEGI data.