Vaccination is underway in countries around the world. However, when it comes to recovering from leisure travel, we are far from out of the woods.
While travel experts are optimistic that things will slowly start to clear up this year, how quickly that happens depends on where you are, where you want to travel, and whether the virus and its variants can be controlled.
With so much uncertainty, the best thing to do in most parts of the world is to stay safe at home.
However, there is no danger in looking to the future. We asked experts for their input on when the world can go on vacation again and when, if ever, travel could return to normal.
When can I take a long-haul flight?
“There are some destinations that travelers can still book a long-haul flight to right now if they want to,” says Bryce Conway, travel benefits expert and founder of 10xTravel.
“For example, there are flights open for American passengers to destinations like Albania and many parts of the Caribbean. But I don’t expect the volume of long-distance (travel) routes to increase to pre-covid-19 levels until 2022,” he explains.
Alexis Barnekow, founder and CEO of the Chatflights booking app, agrees. “Almost everything can still be reserved, with a few exceptions,” he says. “New Zealand / Australia is more difficult to book because airlines like Qantas have greatly reduced their inventory,” he explains.
“Two other airlines that have reduced their reserve inventory are Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines, although this is due more to financial reasons,” he says.
“Basically all the other airlines are struggling to keep supply at the same levels as before to maintain their cash flow. It can be reserved, but the risk of cancellation and rescheduling of flights is much higher. In this way, airlines can continue to sell their inventory and have cash on their balance sheets, and when travel dates approach use rescheduling to try to fill some planes and keep others on the ground, ”he explains.
The rules for entering a country, of course, vary according to the destination and also according to the country from which you depart. Dubai, for example, is one of the most open destinations in the world, while New Zealand is one of the most closed.
Travelers should check the regulations when making reservations and again before traveling. Also, they should avoid taking unnecessary trips when it goes against official guidelines.
If we think about when long-distance pleasure trips will be more permissible and advisable, in optimistic terms we can speak of the end of 2021.
Australia’s Qantas airline, one of the largest in aviation, announced last week that it plans to resume international flights, on a reduced scale, at the end of October.
On the other side of the world, the UK government – which has had the highest covid-19 death rate in Europe – has said it won’t lift its restrictions on international travel until May at the earliest.
“The blockade is probably tighter than ever, particularly in Europe, the United States, etc.,” says Chris Goater, head of corporate communications for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global air transport body. aviation trade.
IATA App Helps Travel in Pandemic“We are hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” although “we do hope that long-distance travel is the last to recover,” he adds.
Linking distant destinations carries the risk of exposing potential new variants, of which governments are understandably wary, Goater says. “Much of business travel is long distance and that can take time to recover as companies take care of their cash,” he adds.
What about “travel bubbles” and short-haul trips?
IATA’s Goater is more optimistic about the resurgence of short-haul flights. Governments will face “greater pressure to relax quarantine restrictions for travel to a neighboring country than to a long-distance destination,” he says. In Europe, “you can imagine that we could end up with some kind of agreement at the level of the European Union that would allow the borders to be reopened if the contagion of the pandemic is low when summer arrives,” he explains.
Ohio-based Conway says “short-haul flights will pick up quickly, with most resuming by fall 2021.” “Although there are destinations that will accept American travelers – some with a negative result in a coronavirus test – I do not anticipate that many travel bubbles will open to American travelers until the pandemic is controlled,” he adds.
Stockholm-based Barnekow says: ‘The travel bubbles seem not to have materialized. The UK had one with Dubai in the summer, but we haven’t heard of any other examples that have worked. There have been rumors for the Hong Kong-Singapore and Australia-New Zealand cases, but they have not materialized. We have the impression that they are not doing it simply because it is too complex to keep track of everything,” he explains.
Can I travel within the country?
“Some parts of the world, such as China, India and Russia, recovered strongly last year, and in some cases returned to pre-pandemic levels,” says IATA’s Goater.
Based on this evidence, he is optimistic that, as restrictions are relaxed, domestic travel will pick up quickly. “When the confinement is not that strong, the demand for domestic travel increases,” he explains.
According to Conway from the United States, “Domestic travel has already started to pick up quickly and we will see this trend continue as vaccines become widely available to the population. We are seeing high demand for travel to US destinations in California, Florida and Nevada for summer travel. For now, it appears that there will be no additional restrictions on domestic travel under the new administration.
James Turner, CEO of the global travel service 360 Private Travel, says that for his companies’ offices in Singapore and for Hong Kong, domestic “staycations” will be “a big part of your business in the future”. In the UK, however, while staycations were popular last summer, “this year I think most of our clients really want to get away,” he says.
Can I take a road trip?
“Road trips have become incredibly popular in the last year because they appear to be the safest way to travel during a pandemic,” says Conway from the United States.
“There is an extremely low risk of exposure to COVID-19 if you take a road trip and stay in an Airbnb with those who live in the same house or in a hotel that follows the proper security protocols,” he says.
And the cruises?
“Cruises are by far the most affected travel segment, and it’s going to be a while before they get back to ‘normal’, if they ever happen,” says Conway. “The cruise industry made a mistake by trying to come back too fast, and thereby lost a lot of public confidence. Also, people are likely to be more health conscious in a post-coronavirus world, and I think this is going to do irreparable damage to the cruise industry, ”he explains.
Turner of 360 Private Travel takes a more optimistic view. “I think certain types of cruise ships will be among the first to (recover), contrary to what some might think,” he says. Style experiences boutique on small ships, with strict entry conditions and carefully tailored itineraries, they will attract customers “because the environment is more controlled,” he explains.
Is it safe to stay in a hotel or an Airbnb?
Turner says his company’s Hong Kong office has seen a tendency for customers to choose stays in “the more established brands.” Travelers are happiest in accommodations where they can be assured of strict policies on temperature controls, health declarations, use of masks, registration of visits through the QR code, etc. “Trust is very important,” he says.
However, as Conway points out, Airbnbs, vacation rentals and other options are fine, “as long as you do not share your accommodation with people who are not traveling with you or are not part of your household.”
Does it matter if I’m vaccinated?
“Not yet, but it will,” predicts Conway. “This will be one of the biggest problems facing the travel industry in the next 12-24 months,” he explains.
“Vaccination passports”, which could impose travel restrictions on those who are not vaccinated, are one of the hottest topics in the travel industry right now.
Some destinations – such as the Seychelles, Cyprus and Poland – have already lifted quarantine requirements for visitors who can show they are vaccinated.
However, fears remain about the protection that vaccines actually offer and how documentation related to inoculation can be abused. Also about what it means for those who are still waiting for their injections, or who cannot or do not want to receive them. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, does not support the concept of a “vaccination passport”.
“We envision some version of ‘proof’ of vaccination to re-enter society (boarding a flight, going to a concert, eating at a restaurant),” says Roderick Jones, CEO of risk consultancy Concentric Advisors, with based in San Francisco. “Even if the vaccine never becomes ‘mandatory’, it can be too disadvantageous not to receive it,” he adds.
Health passport, the possible solution to travel again
Will travel return to normal?
“Yes, absolutely,” says Conway. “I expect to see a huge rebound in travel in late 2021, when vaccines are available on a large scale. There will be some setbacks as the travel industry recovers and figures out how to approach the long-term strategy to deal with covid-19, but overall I expect things to return to a relatively normal state by mid-2022. ‘ Explain.
“We believe there will be fewer business trips than before, especially among white-collar workers in large corporations,” says Barnekow. “Large companies have many reasons beyond COVID-19 for people to travel less: environmental, cost and moral reasons. Although nothing beats face-to-face meetings in real life, the pandemic has shown that many problems can be solved using other means of communication. But I still think that it will be almost the same as before. If I had to guess, I would say that business travel will have a long-term reduction of 10%,” he adds.
Executive Traveler: What will it be like to travel by plane again?When it comes to leisure travel, Barnekow believes they will have “a short-term boost, and then we’ll see the same levels as before. We have never had as much traffic on the app as now, it seems that people really want to book trips. 90% of what we sell now is to go out after the summer. So people seem to be thinking that by then it will be safe to fly,” he explains.
Turner agrees and points out the high volume of customer interest. “We have evidence that there is a huge pent-up demand, people want to get out,” he says. Your clients think long-term and dream big. There is a tendency for people to be interested in booking longer, more luxurious trips with carefully curated itineraries. According to Turner, “2022, even 2023, they are thinking of reserving them now.”
Ashley Johnson is the lead reporter for Globe Live Media on things related to Astrology, Lifestyle and Music. Being a fitness enthusiast, her background involves growing up in Beverly Hills, where She often interacts with famous Artists and also talks about their ways for a Healthy Lifestyle. She is in fact a profound Yoga student. You can be well assured about the authenticity and quality of Lifestyle, Health, and Music reports published by her.