The world cannot stop spinning, even if there’s a pandemic that constantly threatens the general population. Indeed, economies have opened up and border restrictions have been lifted in order to save the industries affected by COVID-19. However, some are having a hard time adapting to the new normal — namely the tourism and travel industry.
Despite this, key players like airlines and hotels have been doing their best to get the ball rolling and keep themselves afloat. In this post, we’ll take a look at how hotels and airlines have been affected by the pandemic and the safety measures they’re taking in order to keep people safe and survive the current global economic crisis.
The Impact of COVID19 on the Travel and Hospitality Sector
It’s not hard to see why the tourism and travel industry is still struggling despite the lifting of strict restrictions. As countries desperately tried to contain the virus, all unnecessary travel has been strongly discouraged. Indeed, the International Air Transport Association notes that 2020 will go down as the worst year for aviation in history as it's expected to lose $84.3 billion. The tourism industry’s situation is no different, with more than 120 million jobs at risk and economic damage placed at over $1 trillion.
In the US, many industries have succumbed to the virus as late border restrictions resulted in high cases. However, this effect on the economy isn’t limited to the US and the same shock can be felt across the globe. In Asia, for instance, countries heavily reliant on tourism have felt the shock of the pandemic more than others. Case in point: As much as 12.7% of the Philippine GDP is typically credited to the tourism sector, and public health and safety measures have closed its thriving tourist hotspots to local and international travelers alike. Europe hasn’t been spared as well, as hotel and restaurant revenue in countries like Spain and Greece is expected to drop by 50%. While all of this sounds bleak, the tourism and travel industry is working hard to encourage people to travel again.
What Airlines are Doing
In order to keep passengers safe, airlines have been strictly enforcing the basics like requiring a face mask in-flight and frequent disinfection. However, it’s important to note that these safety measures vary in strictness depending on the airline. For example, while Allegiant requires passengers to wear face masks during all phases of travel, from check-in until arrival, American Airlines only requires face masks in-flight.
Disinfection measures also differ depending on the airline, as while some deep clean all high-touch areas on the plane, others have limited their disinfection measures to only tray tables and bathrooms. Thankfully, all airplanes are required to be fitted with HEPA filters in order to purify the air from the virus. So if you’re planning to travel, be sure to check an airline’s safety measures first before booking a flight.
What Hotels are Doing
Many hotels have been pretty straightforward with their safety measures. In the new normal, hotels have mandatory temperature checks by the door and hand sanitizer dispensers will be found everywhere in the hotel’s vicinity. Additionally, many hotels have been requiring a negative COVID-19 test result before accepting a guest. Aside from frequently sanitizing all areas of the hotel by using both liquid disinfectant and UV light, hotel staff are also required to wear PPE, especially if they often directly interact with the guests.
If you must absolutely travel, be sure to keep yourself safe by proactively practicing good hygiene and socially distancing yourself from other people. However, nothing can keep you safer than staying at home and putting off unnecessary travel. If you’re sick of being isolated and confined in your homes, you can look to virtual tourism as famous tourism hotspots like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China are now offering VR tours.
Article written by Lindsay Green