The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated countries worldwide and disrupted our lives in unimaginable ways. This includes the tourism industry that continues to be one of the sectors hit the hardest by the sudden change of events.
When the tourism sector went down, everything happened so fast. Cancellations surged in, flights got grounded, and ships continue to sail with no country allowing them to dock. Other countries ordered major lockdowns and travel restrictions nationwide. This left many travelers abroad feeling abandoned and isolated after getting stuck in a global pandemic.
Over a year into the pandemic, many things have changed as pandemic restrictions continue to ease down in many countries. With the increased distribution of vaccines, people have glimmers of hope that everything will return to normal again. Thus, more travelers are now expecting they’ll be traveling the world again in no time.
Tourist hotspots, popular destinations, and even food establishments such as lunch and dinner restaurants are now gradually opening their doors to patrons and travelers. But despite the good news, COVID-19 will still affect the quality of traveling as governments impose country-specific restrictions. So before packing your bags on your first post-pandemic destination, here’s what you need to know how to travel safely after the pandemic.
Experts predict that post-pandemic tourism will be putting more emphasis on people than the destination itself. Those who want to escape the restricting measures of social distancing will resort to traveling to rebuild their relationships with their friends and families abroad or even create new encounters. For this reason, post-pandemic tourism will revolve around prioritizing dialogue, peace, and human development. Popular forms of tourism would include volunteer tourism and peace tourism.
Volunteer tourism, also known as “voluntourism,” is a tourist activity that involves volunteering in other countries. While others question whether it contributes positively to underprivileged communities and developing countries, volunteerism opens opportunities for humanitarian work. The economic challenges of COVID-19 have severely affected developing countries, so effective voluntourism is not only favored but necessary.
Meanwhile, peace tourism means traveling to specific destinations based on interest. It aims to discover how people celebrate and develop peace through studying or contributing to the development of the destination to build peace. This includes visiting conflict zones or peace memorials while learning from history and preventing or resolving existing conflict.
Although safety protocols remain in place, advertisements from travel agencies are getting more frequent. People are looking beyond the end of lockdowns, so many are starting to make holiday plans again.
Sadly, travel conditions will further complicate our travel plans for a long while, including safety measures, such as requiring travelers to get their vaccines. Many fear these restrictions will limit travel options, especially for those who aren’t yet vaccinated. Economic concerns will also affect domestic and global traveling since many businesses lost their income and shut down during the pandemic.
These limitations will likely change our travel-related decisions when picking destinations and organizing travel plans. It’s not surprising attractions and destinations will no longer be a priority for the holidays. Instead, travelers and the industry will focus on personal needs.
With the practical obstacles of the pandemic and the excitement of traveling, more people will be more careful when making travel choices. Travelers in the post-pandemic era are setting higher expectations from hospitality services and maybe even more demanding. To satisfy the changing consumer needs, the industry must focus on experiences, facilities, and services that ensure health, well-being, and wellness. Hygiene standards will also take center stage.
It’s worth noting that countries will remain on guard as new infections and variants are emerging from outside. More foreign countries will remain closed to several destinations, particularly in Europe. Other countries are requiring a two-week quarantine for passengers from international arrivals despite having a negative COVID-19 test.
Some countries will require not only passports but also vaccination cards. But immigration authorities can still refuse passengers, especially those coming from outbreak hotspots. Others may even set restrictions depending on the vaccine brand you received. For example, several countries are not allowing travelers to enter if they’ve been injected with Chinese-made Sinovac.
The post-pandemic tourism industry opens many unique opportunities for entrepreneurs to create short- and long-term adjustments to stay in business. People will go on holiday, but they’ll travel smarter. In turn, the tourism industry should provide affordable, quality experiences and customer-centric services if they truly want to create an impact. With more people getting vaccinated, we’re expecting more travelers to be optimistic about the ability to travel again in the post-pandemic world.