As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip much of the world, countless industries and professional sectors have felt its impact — both in a present and future sense. Among the most affected industries is travel, which has generally remained in flux since the virus initially spread. For now, travel itself has been nearly nonexistent, with many countries urging its citizens to stay put — even mandating it in certain cases.
While it is hard to say how the virus will change travel in the foreseeable future, for now, here are a few immediate ways the industry has been impacted.
A gradual slowdown
Travel-based companies have been “pummeled” since the coronavirus pandemic took off, and now many are reporting the early signs of a slowdown in travel activity. Flight bookings, for instance, continue to drop as fears grow and regulations change. Australia and the United States are just two of many areas cracking down on international travel on at least an interim basis. Some have likened this impact to that of 9/11, a time when tourism and general long-distance travel were marred by a lingering sense of dread and unease. It is fair to assume that a similar long term effect will be observed even after the pandemic has receded.
Cruise ship shutdown
Cruise ships are one the most directly impacted forms of travel within the coronavirus pandemic — at least in terms of negative connotation. This effect is mostly rooted in Princess Cruises, which recently had two ships suffer micro-outbreaks in which many passengers contracted the virus in a short period of time. As a result, the cruise ship industry is now in limbo, with many calling for changes to ship medical protocol.
Sadly, with many workplaces unable to function due to widespread quarantine protocol, the coronavirus has already made a devastating impact on employment and long term job security, and the travel industry has been hit especially hard in this manner. Without an end currently in sight, the WTTC predicts that up to 50 million travel-based jobs could be at risk in the coming months.
For now, a broad pandemic solution has been hard to formulate due to the indefinite nature of the situation’s future. That said, as social distancing, increased personal hygiene, and other best practices remain a collective point of emphasis, it is hoped that the virus’s curve will flatten in the coming months, alleviating pressure placed on the travel industry (and the professional world at large).