The effects of the pandemic still reverberate as businesses try to steady themselves after the harrowing two and half years. It is safe to say that the travel restrictions meant to curtail the spread of the pandemic had a severe effect on the travel and tourism industry worldwide.
As humans, our ability to adapt is one of our main strengths and the pandemic once again proved the notion right. And whereas the tourism industry is yet to hit top speed again, there has been a positive learning curve for many stakeholders looking to save their businesses. Coming up with innovations to supplement their revenue in rather harsh situations.
The industry has seen a wider adoption of technologies such as web3, NFT, crypto, new payments, and others that have vastly improved the travel experience for their clients.
There has also been wider adoption of green tech as firms look to reduce carbon emissions. In light of the torrid experience faced as the industry navigated the crisis, the adaptations leave the travel and tourism industry in a much better place than before the pandemic.
What were the positives of the Pandemic on the industry?
These are the positive impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on the tourism and travel industry.
Sustainability and Resilience
Since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, talks of sustainable tourism have been underway. However, the coming of the pandemic put extra emphasis on the travel industry’s need for change. The pandemic has brought technology, environmental protection, capacity building, and interdependence to the forefront of every country’s travel industry.
The industry has since then experienced a series of technological development, change, and overall improvement hence strengthening its sustainability and resilience in the face of challenges. Countries are more focused on promoting local tourism and embracing tech.
Digitalization/ New Technology
Due to the implementation of social and physical distance, the industry has gravitated towards the digitalization. Many destinations have resorted to using online platforms like social media to communicate with guests, and clients, and market different packages.
The rise of content creation has become one of the main marketing tools in the industry. The use of web platforms like Expedia, booking.com, Airbnb, google maps, and others has become key in the planning phase of the tourism industry. Hoteliers now use digital tools to communicate with suppliers, customers, contractors, and conduct other business.
The industry has witnessed the rise of artificial intelligence in a bid to create a more personalized, safe, and convenient environment. The pandemic has led to the introduction of digitalized products and services like online menus, 3D virtual travel, service robots, butler robots, digital guidebooks, menus, keycards, travel planning apps, and others.
The pandemic has transformed the originally manual industry by removing long processes with countless paper trails and simplifying the process altogether. The introduction of digital vaccine passports made it possible to make informed travel decisions in real-time.
The industry has thrived on the creation of contactless tech that is meant to keep travelers safe and provide instant access to assistance and information through digital solutions like contactless check-in, mobile applications, and concierge support through WhatsApp. Such tech help travelers feel safe, and at ease making it possible to enjoy their experience.
Local Tourism Trends
Many countries have embraced strategies to reimage their tourism and make it more appealing to the local market. The pandemic affected the tourism industry greatly and one of the ways to recover is through strategizing, supply chain management, and reimaging.
Local tourism has returned to its glory due to the travel restrictions that have limited international travel requirements. Travel restrictions on domestic tourism during the pandemic were significantly less as there was no requirement for vaccination or COVID tests.
People are now more interested in discovering the gems in their homelands, and neighboring countries. Travelers also generally feel safer when they are closer to home in case of any global changes like the pandemic thus the rise of the local tourism trends.
New Payment Methods Adopted
The relationship between the travel industry and the finance industry has for a long time been rather strained. However, since the pandemic, that has changed significantly. The industry faced a major setback that led to the loss of huge sums of money in the industry in 2020.
Mass refunds became the order of the day leaving a trail of losses globally. Due to these losses and the slow recovery, there have been adoptions of new payment methods to curb cases of mismanagement and make transactions straightforward. Travel businesses have embraced tech solutions to operate more fluidly and emerge at the forefront post-pandemic.
Some of the payment methods adopted include; cryptocurrencies, digital payment through mobile money, QR code payments, digital wallets, and other fintech solutions.
Less Crowding and Undiscovered Gems
The pandemic left many people uneasy and more interested in more secluded destinations. As a result, many destinations have taken up the concept of “undiscovered gem” where travelers can go to enjoy seclusion while they keep their distance from the rest of the world.
One destination that is benefiting from the trend is Southern Tanzania as an undiscovered gem since the Northern and Eastern parts have been the most advertised over the years. The parks in the South are home to some of the incredible big five wildlife including at least 10% of the world’s lion population and the country’s largest collection of bird species.
Travelers can enjoy great scenery, hidden gems, and authentic experiences with the locals. There are also breathtaking beaches and various marine attractions from the Indian Ocean. Remote destinations in the industry are more exposed and with a greater chance to succeed.
What were the negative Impact of the pandemic?
Below is the negative impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the tourism and travel industry.
Global Travel Collapse
The industry was accountable for 10% of the global GDP making it one of the most vital industries in the economy of the world. The pandemic in 2020 led to the global travel collapse which led to the loss of over 320 million jobs worldwide and putting millions more at risk.
Due to the enforcement of travel restrictions, the industry shut down leading to a global economic crisis that greatly affected countries that depend on the industry. There was a closure of airports, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in the hospitality industry thus major losses for many. The industry is currently recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
Which countries have revived their tourism industry?
Several countries around the world have experienced a major setback in their tourism and travel industry since the pandemic. However, the industry is now recovering and continuing to grow as we move on from the pandemic. Every country on earth has unique features to offer tourists but some countries have seen a faster recovery than the rest of the world.
Here are some of the countries whose tourism and travel industry has been resuscitated since the pandemic; Egypt, Norway, Cooke Islands, Belize, Mauritius, Slovenia, Anguilla, Oman, Nepal, and Malawi. Travelers are more interested in hidden gems than crowded locations that have been popular tourist attractions over the years before the pandemic.
This article was initially published by Trip Dhow.