The Summer of 2020 may have songs written about it, but the COVID 19 pandemic would steal the show.
The world had come to a halt in the past couple of months and the tourism industry bore the brunt of it. Docked in the hangers for months now, the airlines have slowly started revving their engines up for a slow summer while many of the international airports resemble ghost towns.
The collapse of the tourism industry across the globe has bankrupted hotels, restaurants, bus companies, and online travel agencies in Qatar — and has put an estimated 100 million people out of jobs.
With uncertainty and fear hanging over travel, no one knows how fast tourism and business travel will recover, whether we will still fly as much and what the travel experience will look like once new health safety measures are in place. One thing is certain: it is going to change the way we knew it!
- COVID-19 History
While tourism will take some time to pick up, one of the major facts that will play into the decision-making process will be the COVID-19 history of the destination. Tourists will factor in how each country fought the pandemic. Their response and their current preventive measures to continue fighting it.
- QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS
Overlapping with the COVID history will be the quarantine rules that each country will place. While we can see some country relaxing their rules and not asking the tourists to quarantine. But the overtly cautious and the quick business traveller will ponder over the quarantine rules when deciding over destinations for getaways.
- LOCAL TRAVEL TO BOOST
While the paranoia regarding international travel might still be prevalent among the majority of the population. The inner tourist among the majority would take the opportunity to travel locally within the country. This would be a great opportunity for local markets to capture some of the lost business and the steppingstone in terms of confidence for the tourists to venture internationally!
- ROAD TRIPS & BACKPACKING TO GAIN TRACTION
While many would prefer to travel singularly or within small groups of known faces, road trips and backpacking shall see a boom. Local business should prepare for such and alter their business offerings for travels that are constantly on the move.
- TRAVEL VIA ROAD TO PICKUP BEFORE AIR TRAVEL, BUSSES AND CRUISES.
Congested modes of travel will be avoided for the beginning months as tourisms picks up space. Online travel agencies in Qatar and travel operators will have to curate holiday options that can be accessible via roads. While local businesses of countries that easily connected with other countries via roadways, should prep for an influx of tourists from your neighbouring countries.
- STAYCATIONS AND SANITIZATION
Hotels, private stays and resorts will have to up their ante and get certified that their sanitation methods are at par with international hygiene standards. They will also have to curate offers and promotional materials that target the local tourists. Weekend getaway staycations would be on the rise among families and small groups of friends.
Hotels would also have to prep for gatherings, weddings, and events with small crowds but large space requirements. The logistics would have to be planned out and implemented earlier.
- TRAVEL AGENTS WILL BE THE BUSIEST!
With the rise of online booking engines, travel agencies were hit hard. But during the pandemic, many of the travellers had to cancel and reschedule their tickets and itineraries by themselves. This inconvenience may fuel a renaissance in the fortunes of online travel agencies in Qatar, who have been gaining back their market with their dedicated customer service.
COVD-19 reminded us of how little we can say tomorrow or even tonight with confidence about it. But with a little hope, we can estimate that the tourism industry would resume its thriving traction by June 2021. And next season will be tricky with anxiety about travel, and higher prices. Yet globalism cannot be reversed since it has spread from person to person for too long and one can’t expunge cultural curiosity. Till then we need to innovate with time!