“Travel when something good happens, to celebrate. Travel when something bad happens, to forget it. If nothing happens, travel to make things happen.”
This is a travel quote I wrote down few years back and has always been in my mind and in today´s situation it came back to me as right now none of this applies. OECD is estimating 45-70% decline in international tourism economy 2020, something no one could have predicted in the beginning of this year.
Destinations and travel companies are aware that people will still dream about travelling despite having to be at home right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) encourages travelers and the tourism industry to stay at home because with the hashtag #traveltomorrow. The World Travel & Tourism Council, has a worldwide campaign #TogetherInTravel, on staying safe, stay inspired and share travel stories. As, destinations all over are trying to find their ways in the middle of the pandemic, to give inspiration and a spark for their destination, in the hope travelers will buy a ticket in the future.
Many predict that a second wave of Covid-19 will hit around November 2020 and then Covid-19 should fade out in 2021 as soon as vaccines comes available. Until then people will not be ready to travel. Issues that will face travelers are e.g. that the world is hitting a large economy downturn, so less or even no household budget to travel and those that will travel will have a strong focus on cancellation policies as well as travel insurances. Health and safety will be a large issue as well as possible fear of getting stuck in an unknown country if Covid-19 hits again without a notice, as the world saw happening so quickly in the last months. However, just as quickly an innovative solution to travel might come into side – who knows in this fast-changing world?
My belief is that people will start travelling again this year but this year the choices will be different. So, why do I think people travel mainly in this year 2020?
· To meet family and friends: people will travel to their loved ones, the ones that they have not been able to see while the pandemic is on. Also, the ones that they have been planning to see for a long time and been postponing.
· To known places: people will travel to places that they know and know what to expect from, regions and places that they have been before and feel safe and comfortable. Places that are not overcrowded but have cultural and natural experiences.
· To take a break: people will travel to places that will give them a break from the stress the crisis has caught. Meditation, yoga, hiking, cycling and other exercising that will give wellness and sense of freedom and peace.
People have realized that travelling is not something that can be taken for granted anymore. Sadly, I think the next 1 - 2 years in travel and tourism will still be confusing and no new norm will be found. So, going back to the quote, it will be relevant in the future, but it is not just possible to add to it and say “travel when things go back to normal”. As, I don´t think there will be any normal for now. There will likely be backlashes and challenges that no one wants to be dealing with, but some might create opportunities if handled in creative and innovative way. I think, therefore destinations will have to have a lot of resilient, patient and be able to adopt easily in this time. After that, there might be some kind of norm with sustainability and responsibility at heart.
First published on LinkedIn 22 April 2020