Many companies remain optimistic that the world can somehow go back to pre-coronavirus in terms of traveling. But that is not the case. Even if we discover a vaccine tomorrow, there are still going to be a lot of changes in the way we travel, the way we dine, the way we wait in line at the airport, and the way we shop. Simply put, our very concept of traveling and vacation will have to adjust massively. It’s not going back to pre-coronavirus levels. It’s charting a new path for the travel industry.
If you are used to long-term traveling and hiring a residential lawn care company to manage your yard while you’re away, you’d have to stay put for now. Although some flights are now being allowed, leisurely travel will remain halted for the foreseeable future. Besides, virtually all countries are in lockdown anyway. Even if you do manage to catch a flight to a Southeast Asian country or a European city, chances are that you won’t enjoy your time there. You’ll be stuck in a hotel room with only minimal movement outside.
Airports and Planes
It’s going to be a long road for airports and airlines. Even if a vaccine is somehow discovered tomorrow, people will be initially wary about venturing out of their homes. They know what’s at stake. They have seen the news. They don’t want to be another number. If they ever want to take a break, they’ll settle for long-drives and staycations. Countries that have experienced a massive spike in coronavirus cases will take a hit. Forget about seeing the Colosseum for now. Italy would be off a traveler’s radar for the next year.
And if travel does return, what changes should you expect in airports and planes? For one, you’re going to have to pay more because flights will be limited. Airlines can’t sit people together, so there’s a plan to remove the middle seat completely. You might not be served your favorite wine for now because airline companies are also limiting the interaction between passengers and crew members.
There will be a massive spike in the need for private villas. Travelers are not going to feel safe in motels, apartments, and hotels. How sure are you that these places are well-sanitized? Villas will be more probable because the interaction is minimal. It’s also easier to clean and sanitize private places compared to hotel rooms that cater to different groups of people every couple of days.
A lot of safety guidelines will be imposed on hotels. They need to digitize ordering and checking in and out. They have to regularly sanitize the rooms, as well as common areas such as the lobby, elevators, spa, and restrooms.
One of the many things that tourists want to do when they travel is to sample different cuisines. How will this be possible right now? Food stalls are closed, and unless they can prove sanitation measures are in place, they won’t be allowed to operate. So forget about eating tteokbokki in a South Korean street. Experimenting and discovering food won’t be possible until authorities feel safe enough to let restaurants, food stalls, and buffets operate.
Then, there’s also a large number of people in popular tourist sites such as the Venice Canal and Times Square. It is expected that governments will impose limited accessibility to these places. This means only a limited number of tourists will be allowed to visit these places. You might have to schedule everything in your itinerary because lining up for hours will not cut it. Forget those long lines leading to the top of the Empire State Building. That’s not possible right now.
Of course, the cruise industry will take a huge hit, too. Sick passengers have been stranded at sea for weeks. Some of the crew have been stuck there for months. The $50-billion-a-year industry has lost the confidence of the public. It will take a long time before you see your grandparents embarking on a cruise again.
Also, things have to change in the destinations of these cruise ships. Thousands of people embark and disembark to and from these ships. That process will have to change. The interaction while on a cruise would have to change, too. No more of those ballroom dancing lessons at night.
Earlier this year, it felt like the world has never been as interconnected as it was. The tourism sector is on a massive boom. Businesses are flourishing. People are going about their business. And then, the pandemic happened. While travel will come back, people will need to do it right this time.