Coronavirus, a name that has terrorized the whole world today. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has affected every aspect of our lives, especially the travel and social aspects. The travel industry has never seen uncertainty, change, and fear at this level. The World Travel & Tourism Council says, up to 50 million jobs in the Travel & Tourism sector are at risk due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, people associated with the travel industry have only one question in their mind these days- How Traveling after coronavirus will change?
Experts have predicted some changes after COVID-19 in the traveling aspect of our life. We can expect to see some of them soon as they look essential to redefine travel and recover the travel industry.
But there is one thing we can surely say is that the importance of health in travel preferences will be seen most in history so far.
Assurance of Health Safety
For the travel & tourism industry to recover, it needs to create an environment where travelers can feel safe in terms of their health. This assurance of health safety during travel would reawaken confidence among people to travel again.
A survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association pointed out that some visible measures like mask-wearing, sanitation, contactless technology in travel processes, and screening measures, all restore the confidence in travel.
But even after all these efforts, nothing can be said quickly and concretely about the emergence of the travel industry. As the survey also pointed people willing to travel again would like to return to travel to see family and friends (57%), vacation (56%) or to do business (55%). But, 66% said that they would travel less for leisure and business in the post-pandemic world. Reports show that leisure travel would take more time to recover.
The survey says that the top concern among the people willing to travel is “Sitting next to someone who might be infected”. Travelers do not want to come in close contact with fellow travelers.
Post-COVID-19, people are seeking for crowd-free and more spacious travel environment. It indicated that the travel industry needs to work on providing a touchless travel environment.
Adaptation of Touchless Travel
To prevent the spreading of the virus, the importance of social distance has been observed. The travel industry will also look forward to adopting touchless travel. This will give rise to new requirements and adjustments to be done in the travel industry which majorly include distanced seating arrangements in transportation.
But this is only a requirement, not yet included in the guidelines by the government of various administration departments related to aviation. So, do not expect to see new seats in airplanes soon. Under the current situation, airlines will not focus on anything other than generating revenue, unless it is a competitive necessity.
Hotel check-ins, immigration queues, public transports, and air travel will observe the quicker and perhaps most noticeable change. However, even after the new health safety and cleaning protocols, there are still some aspects (like exchanging documents for check-ins and security checks, boarding, and using common restrooms/toilet facilities) with active risk on infection for both travelers and staff.
These extensive safety and cleaning protocols along with social distance could lead to longer queues than ever. This will create demand for another adaptation, which is digitalization in the travel & tourism industry.
Digitalization in Travel & Tourism
The travel and tourism industry was in the early stages of promoting the use of digital technology in health protocols. This global pandemic has forced us to adopt digitalization and to fast forward several years into the future. Promoting the use of digital technology in the travel industry may include biometrics and digital identity. More adaptation of these kinds of technologies can restore trust among travelers.
Travel Insurance Will Change After Covid-19
This global pandemic has changed the travel insurance that it will never look the same as it was before COVID-19. Before 2020, people were more tend to ignore the importance of health safety. Especially, during their travel and didn’t give a think about travel insurance.
But things have changed, now people would be more aware in regards to their health and will value travel advisors. This will increase the awareness among people for travel insurance.
Coronavirus has impacted the travel insurance companies in such a way that some companies have stopped selling new policies, especially the policies covering “cancel-for-any-reason”. They were also facing an unprecedented increased volume of received claims. However, a few companies are still selling new policies but with more restrictions. But currently, no policy provides coverage on traveling to a country with a COVID-19 travel ban.
Some experts say that after coronavirus, only emergency hospitalization will be covered in the upcoming travel insurance policies. Mild symptoms or precautionary measures like quarantine and isolation will not be covered under travel insurance. They also predict that there will be a hike in the percent of travelers buying travel insurance.
COVID-19 has changed the way how travel insurance works. It is estimated that fewer travelers and a high health-risk during travel would cause the premiums and cost of travel insurance policies to increase.
Society Exclusion When You’re Sick
In the current situation, people are adopting social distance with great speed and confidence. It would become socially unacceptable to travel with someone sick or suffering from a cold.
Even in the present time, if you cough or sneeze in a public place, you have to face reactions as if you are a terrorist!
Nowadays, everyone behaves as if their sneeze and cough are just because of a cold, but if another person sneezes then that person has corona!
Earlier we used to get extra care and affection when we were sick, but now the circumstances are different. This social stigma would lead to conditions like exclusion for any sick person while traveling even in normal life.
But Travel Will Emerge Soon Or Later
It is proven from all these points that the travel industry will never look the same again. There are possibilities of many changes in the experience and manner of travel. But above all, it will certainly emerge and we will travel again soon or later.
Let me know if I missed something!
Nakul Hada is an SEO analyst and a travel blogger. He is a travel buff who especially loves road trips. He believes in research self-learning which makes his article informative and practical. You can find him on Linkedin or on Instagram @nakulsinghhada.