by Seth BUTERA July 11, 2021
Depending on where you are in the world right now, travel’s apparent recovery will feel very different.
The billion-dollar question that everyone in the travel industry or even other concerned friends of the sectors asks themselves is ‘’Who will save the travel industry as Covid19 becomes a blame game between countries’’?
Countries across Africa are struggling to believe what has befallen them as many are recording exorbitant numbers of infections daily and can hardly cope up. Some opt to close their borders and restrict the usual socially and economically interdependent societies with limited or no idea at all of when things will get back to normal
The United States is playing the big boy’s role in the house as it has been opening up gradually for a few months, with increasing numbers of passengers flying again and, for many, COVID-19 being put in the rearview mirror.
In Europe the situation is a lot more complicated, inevitably, as countries open their doors to citizens of some countries but not others.
There is a similar pattern of opening and closing borders, lockdowns, and other social measures across Asia, too.
The U.K., stubborn as ever to go it alone, is ending its community and travel restrictions just as infection rates soar once more. There are very few nations that have taken such a decision – and certainly not one that has such an influence on the sector, given its important hub status in aviation.
This complicated and sometimes unsettling situation, as the world and the industry hits the 18-month mark with the coronavirus pandemic, is why the supposed “reentry” issue is such an important one to consider.
The media will lead their readers and viewers to believe that pent-up demand is widespread, travelers simply cannot wait to get on the road, in the air, and sleeping in places that aren’t their homes once more.
There are, of course, millions of people who are desperate to do so. But there are many others who are not, who are nervous about their trips, who are anxious about returning to normality.
This is a genuine by-product of a situation that society has not found itself in before, perhaps since the end of widespread military conflicts.
So-called “long COVID” is often framed around the prolonged physical impact of the virus – but there are the mental effects to consider, too.
Travel brands need to ensure that they are aware of the psychological impact that lockdown has had on people and reassure their customers that they recognize that a gung-ho approach to recovery does not marginalize them.
Their customers will remember that attention to detail and the care shown that acknowledges not everyone is comfortable about the world (hopefully) reopening.
Like social reentry, we need to find a way to take awkwardness and fear out of the travel industry