One of the phrases that we cannot escape from as part of the global pandemic is ‘new normal’, which points to how the world will look and function post-COVID-19. Although this may only be a temporary state, before we all return to normality as we knew it in 2019, this ‘new normal’ is set to stick around for a good while yet.
So, what does that mean for the travel and tourism industry?
It means that the days of crowded planes, travelling freely across borders and mixing with strangers are gone for now. In fact, with many countries employing strict travel restrictions, or having closed the borders in their entirety, holidaymakers are being forced to look closer to home this summer.
Where airlines and resorts reliant on foreign tourism will suffer, there is a glimmer of hope for those in the hospitality sector that cater to domestic tourists. This is, predominantly, businesses such as holiday and caravan parks that offer hospitality, mostly taken up by those that either is not so keen on travelling abroad or simply have not the means to do so.
In the United Kingdom where, as of the time of writing, the country has one of the worst infection rates in the world, holidaymakers realistically have no other option than to travel domestically. This is because, due to tough travel restrictions, to travel abroad they would likely face 14 days of self-isolation coming and going – that’s almost an entire month, just to go overseas. For most, that simply is not feasible, especially if they are unable to work from home.
This is why there is hope within the hospitality sector, particularly for holiday parks set up near local tourist attractions that, while summer 2020 may not be quite as fruitful as originally hopes, things will begin to pick up. For families that have been stuck inside their cramped London home, static caravans to rent in Worcestershire may be far more appealing than usual this year.
Will We Ever Get Back to Normal?
Yes, eventually we will, at least as far as in terms of what we are and aren’t allowed to do. Undoubtedly, our behaviours will have changed over the last few months and the lifting of restrictions won’t immediately see the masses returning to old habits. It is going to take time, longer for some than for others, to feel confident of venturing out into the world post-COVID.
However that comes, whether it is through the discovery of a vaccine, an effective treatment or the virus simply runs out of steam, things are likely to be different for a while. Even looking ahead to summer 2021, when (hopefully) this is all a distant memory, it would take a brave person to predict that the normal levels of international tourism will return.
To try and tempt tourists back into flying and travelling abroad, you are going to see a lot of cut-price holidays being advertised as and when it is deemed safe to book. The travel industry and, with that, the economy needs people to spend their money, which might be money that they do not have as a result of being out of work throughout the global crisis.
If you are determined to feel the sand between your toes on foreign land, you might be better to wait it out until travel agents and airlines begin falling over themselves to offer the best price. This is a sector that has felt the pinch more than most, so they will be desperate to get customers through the door.
If you aren’t quite yet ready to contemplate international travel for a little while yet, then that’s okay, as there will be many resorts and hotels at home delighted to welcome you in.