What travel plan did you have to cancel because of this pandemic? We know you have your own story to share. With flights being canceled and countries on lock-down, the tourism industry is one of the most affected by the current pandemic.
According to the data on the website Flightradar, there was a drastic decrease in the number of flights – from 200,00 last February to only 64,000 by march. The reduced flights are also because 96% of countries worldwide are implementing different lock-down measures.
With the border closed down and people asking to stay at home, it is expected that there will be a 30% decrease in world tourist arrivals in 2020.
This is particularly challenging for places that rely heavily on tourism. For example, in France, they recorded 89.4 million tourists last 2018, and it counts for 8% of their GDP. With tourism out of the picture. How will they make up for the loss percentage?
On a more concrete level, people working in the tourism industry are very much affected too. With the movement of everyone being restricted, it is no surprise that a lot of people in the tourism industry lost their job.
Yuval Ben-Ami. A tour guide lost his job because of the virus. He didn’t know that his last tour will be in March 2020 when he accompanied tourists in Finnish Lapland, a city known as Santa Claus’ home. Good thing, he and his wife were able to qualify for the given aid by the French government.
With all this happening, we can’t help but ask, what will travel look like in the future?
The Director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative at the University of Florida Lori Pennington-Gray shared the results of a survey conducted. The study had 517 participants, and 74% of them said they feel anxious about travelling with the US.
She also shared other exciting results.
Younger people have lesser travel anxiety compared to older people.
According to Pennington-Gray, younger people feel less travel anxiety compared to older ones. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that older people are more vulnerable to the virus.
This is evident in the scenes we have seen on the beaches where young people still have the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) mentality. This shows that the youth are more open and accepting to risk.
It can also be attributed to the initial messaging, which said that the virus is not that of a big deal, and young people are less vulnerable.
Older populations, on the other hand, are more concerned about the virus’s impact on them.
People will travel domestically after this pandemic.
Once travel restriction ease, it is foreseen that people will travel close to home at first. This forecast can be conducive to boost the local tourism industry.
This can help local businesses recover and get back on their feet. Also, people are more familiar with the measures done in their area, so they will be more confident to resume travelling nearby first.
However, there will be a segment of the population who are willing to travel overseas.
People earning $125,000 are more interested in travelling than those with lower incomes.
Pennington-Gray said this isn’t surprising. People who travel know the risks that come with it. However, if they feel that they are equipped to deal with it, their perception of risk decreases, and they will be more willing to travel.
However, those who think that they don’t have enough to deal with the consequences are more likely to prefer not to travel and be safe.
Many people enjoy travelling. It’s part of people’s lives, and for some, it’s even their way of life. It’s just unfortunate that we can’t do it at the moment. With the nature of the virus being infectious, we’ll always have that worry at the back of our minds.
The experience will have some differences, too. With airline industries putting up additional measures and with you bringing and wearing additional protection, there will be an extra layer in travelling that you’ll have to add to what used to be healthy.
Without vaccines, travelers will still have that hesitation. But, the tourism industry is resilient. It can bounce back quickly. As a social being, staying at home will probably pique people’s yearning to travel again
Once things are safe, we will see tourists crowd popular spots still, and Ben-Ami will happily bring them around.