Impact of Covid-19 on Travel and Tourism Industry

 

The Road Less Travelled

 

Since January 2020, almost all travel destinations all around the world have imposed restrictions in order to contain the virus. The most obvious impact of the outbreak has been on the global travel and tourism industry, as quarantine imposed put no one in a position to travel, with further restrictions from the government on all travel destinations and means of travel like airplanes and trains.

 

EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC ON THE INDUSTRY

 

This huge setback of the industry is detrimental for the country’s economic growth and development as well. Indian tourism industry is projecting a revenue loss of Rs 1.25 trillion, directly impacting the GDP. In addition to this, millions of employees are today unemployed as companies helplessly have shut down the operations. India, due to its lockdown, saw a loss of approximately 70% of the workforce in the travel industry.

There are different aspects of the impact of coronavirus outbreak as see in India and abroad:

  • Destination wedding will close down to only family members
  • Events organized will be divided into smaller ones with fewer audience, as said by the Marriott group
  • Along with huge losses in FY20-21, hotels would have to invest largely in sanitization, security, and hygiene products
  • Business of car rentals, tour guides, seems bleak
  • Air BNBs and guest rooms will become more popular, because of its minimal human contact

This shows that there is not just one sector in the industry which is hard hit, rather the value chain has been affected, and even in the future things don’t seem to be any better. All sectors have started working only at 15-20% capacity, which is worrisome for the economic growth of the countries.

The United Nations World tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is responsible for monitoring the travel industry and trends around the globe. They are expressing concerns about how 96% of all worldwide destinations had introduced travel restrictions in response to the pandemic. So, the UNWTO called on all governments to continuously review travel restrictions and ease or lift them as soon as it is safe to do so.

As governments slowly lift restrictions to support their economy, question about who should travel and what is a good enough reason is raised. A recent survey of over 500 industry leaders managing travel within their organisations found that 80 per cent of the respondents feel business travel is likely to restart as before within six months of the lockdown being lifted. It is safe to say leisure travelling is on the backseat now.

 

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

 

It is expected that in the future, something known as meaningful travel is going to emerge. Travellers will embrace slow and sustainable travel, immersing themselves into one destination deeply instead of trying to cover everything. There could be a surge in tourist destinations near cities since people might not travel beyond a 300km radius. As this pandemic has embedded on people’s psyche, they are going to be more cautious than ever, choosing places depending on safety instead of picturesque beauty. Just like Robert Frost chose ‘the road less travelled’. It seems we would all be doing so too, literally.

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