Many people find themselves wondering when life will return to normal. The better question is if life will return to normal, and what does “normal” mean anyway? We will see a “new normal” emerge as we return to work and play following the coronavirus outbreak – in many respects, life will be radically and forever altered by the outbreak in terms of how we work, how we interact, and how we travel.
Travel will likely be altered forever. Here are the changes that we can expect to see in the coming years.
In an effort to protect their local populations, many nations will implement new visa restrictions. These might include mandatory testing and/or vaccination against COVID-19 to be granted access at border crossings.
Many governments will likely require visitors to undergo an observation period prior to entering, for days or perhaps weeks as they attempt to determine whether a foreigner has an active infection. Quarantine requirements have already been established across the globe as people try to return to their home countries. Some quarantine restrictions might be lifted, but others might continue for the foreseeable future.
In an effort to avoid the onerous new requirements for commercial travel, many people will begin planning trips using their personal means, including cars. The groups that people normally travel in will also likely become smaller. We can expect to see a decline in large tourist groups that dot the landscape at famous destinations around the world.
Changes in Destinations
The tourism management arms of governments around the world have already begun preparations for how to effectively manage tourists as their borders re-open. Many countries like Thailand rely heavily on the money that tourists bring in, so scrapping or drastically reducing tourist numbers is not an ideal solution for them. Instead, they have begun adapting their models of tourism to encourage visitors to travel to “lesser-known,” (read: less-populated) areas rather than the standard high-traffic destinations of antiquity. Also, natural attractions like national parks offer the kind of social distancing that experts say will become more routine moving forward.
In the same vein, tourists in the future will be encouraged to utilize alternative means of travel while they are exploring their destinations, as subways and buses are fertile breeding grounds for the COVID-19 virus and other pathogens.