COVID 19 has been forcing the global travel and tourism industry to its knees. Organizations including UNWTO, WTTC, ETOA, PATA, US Travel, and many others announce their own path to a solution, but very few approaches are hands-on and believable.
The truth is, no one has a solution at this time. No one knows what is next for our industry. The tourism industry will not restart without many different countries, many different organizations, and voices singing in a quire.
Tourism bubbles, regional tourism are all good ideas, but they are temporary. Such initiatives may minimize the danger of catching the virus when traveling, but there is no guarantee.
The truth is the industry is on a path to disaster, bankruptcy and human suffering. Voices from those involved in this industry want to work, they want to get back to normal, but is this really possible?
Europe is reopening their borders as of today to allow travel between EU countries and approved overseas destinations. A quick survey eTurboNews in Germany did show most people asked on the street prefer to stay home this summer.
It’s understandable that destinations, airlines, hotels, travel agents, tour operators, bus and taxi companies are getting desperate. They all know the only way to relaunch travel is to guarantee safety for travelers. Travelers need to be encouraged to get on a plane and must feel comfortable doing this.
Protocols to sanitize aircraft, hotel rooms, and shopping malls is great. Keeping your distance on the beach, the pool, in bars and restaurants, or in shopping malls is necessary, but does it make travel really safe and desirable?
United Airlines and American Airlines today went a step further and are again selling their middle seats. Social distancing is simply not possible on an aircraft – and airlines know it. It’s not possible with a middle seat open either.
Some countries try to guarantee safety, Corona free zones, or other initiatives. Just today Turkey announced a “Safe Tourism Program“.
Every destination, every hotel, every airline making such promises know clearly that safety simply cannot be guaranteed at this time. Until we have a vaccine any guarantee of safety is a hoax and will remain a hoax.
Announcing safe destinations, safe hotels, and safe travel altogether is always misleading, until we fully understand how the virus works.
Of course, liabilities are future worries. Today many industry players are simply desperate to find an immediate way out of this crisis and want to reopen.
Looking at the 2% number of fatalities it may be time for all countries to accept and continue to open to rescue their economies. Survivors and future generations may be thankful after all.
Many governments are running out of resources and elected officials are worried about elections.
eTurboNews questioned readers working both in the private and public sectors of the travel and tourism industry.
1,720 responses were received from 58 countries in North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the Gulf Region, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Responses are not at all surprising. They reflect desperation and frustration of travel industry professionals. No one is alone here.
Do responses also reflect the feeling of the consumers, the travelers?
Just today United States officials warned that 100,000 new cases a day could become normal. Beaches in Florida opened but will be closed on the busy 4th of July US Independence day. Destinations moving forward are forced to go backward and we don’t know what the next move has to be.
The problem is a short term financial gain in the travel industry may result in a long-term even more catastrophic loss.
It appears the rebuilding.travel survey by eTurboNews is reflecting the desires of the industry today.
eTN Survey results:
The time period for the survey June 23-30,2020
Q: When earning confidence to travelers, what word is best to use in regards to making visitors comfortable to travel again:
Corona Safe Tourism: 37.84%
Corona Resilient Tourism: 18.92%
Corona Certified Tourism: 16.22%
Corona Free Tourism: 10.81%
None of the above: 16.22%
Within 3 years: 43.24%
Within 1 year: 27.03%
Within a few months: 10.81%
Q: Opening Tourism is necessary. Economic damages otherwise will cause even more harm compared to the health issues (and fatalities)
Somewhat Agree: 22.68%
Q: Is it time and safe to relaunch international tourism now?
Regional or domestic tourism only: 35.14%
Prepare, observe and study only: 13.51%
Rebuilding.travel is an independent conversation in 117 countries. Participants are discussing a workable way forward, and everyone is welcome to participate.
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