As travel around the world becomes more and more restricted, it is difficult to imagine what it will look like when this process is over.
Even though the Coronavirus pandemic is globally disruptive, the experts still believe that the travel industry will recover from this crisis just like the past ones.
According to Adam Blake, professor of economics and research at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Bournemouth in the UK, people have not changed, they still want to travel, but they will surely be more careful about how they do it. They will look for the key factors making their trips safer and healthier.
For now, we do not know when or how the outbreak will pass. Analysts say that there should be price drops to re-activate the travelers after the crisis.
Here are some forecasts towards the recovery:
Cruises will be cheaper. But this may not be important for newcomers.
Christopher Anderson, a professor at Cornell University Hotel School in New York Ithaca, said that passengers who are comfortable with the cruise tours will find very low prices when the cruise lines start their services again.
The challenge will be to attract new customers to cruise travel as the outbreak ends, which is the key factor for their survival.
Anderson suggested that reconfiguring some of the new ships currently under construction with larger rooms and less passenger density may be a way to attract new customers. He said that reducing buffet foodservice and tendency to à la carte meals could be other ways to reassure passengers who are now afraid of cruise travel.
Cleaning will become more important
Christopher Anderson said whether it’s a cruise, lodging or hotels, everyone will have to change the way they clean up the interactive environments and notify guests to increase their comfort levels.
Jan Freitag, senior vice president of Lodging Insights for hospitality analysis firm STR, underlined sanitation as well, referencing “new, visible measures”. New measures should be taken and they should be clearly communicated to the passengers.
Whether that means hand sanitizers everywhere or regularly disinfecting hard surfaces, “there will be a clearly communicated regimen to let the customers know, ‘here’s what we’re doing to keep you safe,'” Freitag said.
Travelers may feel safer in hotels than vacation rentals
Anderson says: ‘’one “saving grace” for hotels may be traveler discomfort with alternative lodging options such as vacation rental sites because those properties may struggle to communicate and standardize rigorous cleaning standards.’’
Business travel can help the airline industry recover
While many businesses are currently meeting virtually and are comfortable with it, experts think that the desire to have face-to-face interviews is not lost. And when this process is over, business travel is expected to help airlines recover.
“I believe people need interaction, and it is possible a prolonged pause in regular business dealings may jump-start air travel as people look to get back to business and create opportunities,” Anderson said.
A silver lining for travel?
Before the spread of the coronavirus, the most discussed issues of the tourism sector were: Overtourism, sustainable travel, and the environment. This can be the opportunity to address these issues and try to create solutions for them.
Peter Greenberg said; “We can get back to this in a much more responsible and ethical way when this crisis ends.’’