The coronavirus pandemic has changed all our worlds, not least in the short term. Outside of healthcare – where togas-clad heroes fight on the front lines – few industries have suffered like travel. In my own company, bookings have dropped by more than 95 percent. However, the scale of the problem cannot be ignored.
Entire nations have been ordered to stay at home, airlines have gone bankrupt, travel companies are laying off huge amounts of workers, and hotels are now hospitals. When things begin to return to normal travel, especially international travel will be very different. Here are some of the most important changes that we are expecting to come.
The million-dollar question is that when the travel will fully recover. In simple words, the answer is that no one can tell with complete surety. Travel will come back gradually, and freedom to travel will vary not only from country to country but also from region to region. In addition, there are many factors that will influence travel, such as whether social distancing on board an airplane is economically viable for carriers. For example, the reliability of antibody testing, and whether immunity is durable, just to name a few. International travel can even take about a year more to fully recover. Moreover, domestic travel is now recovering fast as you can take flight or to any other city.
What About Immigration Queue?
We are already seeing that many countries that feel at the height of their epidemics, that the biggest concern now is new external infections. All the airlines including PIA are issuing guidelines to combat COVID-19. People without a permanent place of residence are referred directly to an isolation ward. Thermal camera manufacturers are seeing a sharp increase in demand.
Even when the blockades in Europe are over and we start traveling again, countries will test at the border. If you previously thought that the queue at JFK’s immigration control was torture, now think about what it will be like when you are in the line, take a swab and wait for the results. For that matter, many of the airports have even started virtual queues.
Just a Passport Won’t Be enough!
Some countries won’t even take the chance to test at the border. Especially if you come from an epidemic. Admission will not be admitted unless you have a certificate of immunity for recovery from infection or vaccination. Whether it’s flight deals that you take or any other travel plan, you’ll need to prove your healthiness.
Certainly, in the short term, journeys will become more goal-specific. Any business trip will need to be strictly approved as a business and companies will limit the number of employees that travel for them. Countries are likely to open their borders only when warranted and travelers pass safely. This could mean temporary visas and additional documents that you will need to take with you when traveling.
You’ll have to Pack Differently
We can see a relaxation of fluid restrictions as travelers want to take more than 100 milliliters, especially on long haul routes. With travel hand sanitizer packs, it is easy to predict that many more people will be traveling with masks. In the same way that companies like Away have created luxurious, fashionable travel luggage, we will most likely see the “coveted” travel masks worn by Instagram influencers.
Hygiene and Sanitation
If you weren’t a compulsive handwashing man before the coronavirus outbreak, we’ll assume you will. And those “germs” that regularly wiped down airplane seats? In retrospect, they will not seem so excessive. But not only personal hygiene goes under the microscope. The travel industry is also under tremendous control, with many travel service providers already adjusting to being able to prove to guests that they are safe when the journey starts again. For the hospitality industry to restart successfully, the key to success is to instill confidence among consumers that the hotel campus is clean, safe, and secure.
Specialists, going from making a trip industry examiners to disease transmission experts, seem to accept the Covid could introduce a progression of lasting changes to the manner in which we travel. At least in the near term, this is likely to include pre-boarding airport health checks and face mask requirements for flight crew and passengers.
From check-in to security checks and boarding, airline travelers cross the fairway only. From PIA to British airways all the airlines are applying more spacing conditions for social distancing and that will eventually become a norm. The same goes for customs and immigration queues. We expect travelers to value their vacation even more.
Hopefully, those who missed in the past will have more time to plan their trip ahead and take advantage of the days they have. Travel experts agree that when Americans resume their leisure travels, they will finally get the vacation they deserve.