The sudden progress of COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global tourist industry immeasurably. High virus-related hazard reduced the sense of safety during travelling to a significant degree.
Many travellers, even the keen ones, resigns from their scheduled trips in connection with the extraordinary situation and the growing fear. The number of international trips fell by as much as 72% during the initial ten months of the coronavirus pandemics. This resulted not only from the fear of infection, but also from significant travelling restrictions.
Loss worth 935 billion. What did the restrictions change?
Year 2020 will surely be remembered as the difficult and extraordinary one by many of us. For the tourist industry it has been one of the worst periods in terms of income and accommodation use for a long time. The global hazard caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the reduced interest in the strictly tourist trips, all the same changing the global tourist industry dramatically.
According to the latest data provided by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in the short period from January to October the tourist offer was used by 900 million tourists fewer than in the analogous period in the previous year. This brought about the loss equivalent to USD 935 billion for the global economy, i.e. more than 10 times higher financial loss than during the international economic crisis.
Based on the up-to-date data provided by UNWTO, we can expect that this is not the end of the crisis. During the whole year 2020, the number of foreign trips fell by ca. 70% and the global tourist industry will feel the pandemic effects for a long time. All that will entail immense losses for the global tourist sector, bringing about economic losses of up to 2 trillion dollars in the global GDP.
It is worst in Asia
The first region of the world which suffered during the pandemic is Asia. Here, as a result of the highest level of restrictions connected with travelling so far, more than 80% decrease of arrivals was registered in the initial months of 2020. In the Middle East, the decrease is more than 70%, in Africa 69%, and in Europe and Americas 68%.
Although Europe recorded a bit smaller decrease than the other regions in the world thanks to the tourist revival in summer, another virus stroke brought about new restrictions in this sector.
Unfortunately, even considering the fact that in some regions of the world we can notice a slight improvement, the interest in foreign trips has remained low.
Poor situation connected with international expenses for the tourist sector is reflected by data collected by specialists. However, some areas of the world, including the U.S., France or Germany, have noticed periodic signs of revival recently. What is more, the interest in local tourism has been growing e.g. in Russia or China.
Are vaccines going to revive the tourist industry?
The situation may improve in line with the growing opportunity to get vaccinated. Such a protection starts increasing the trust of tourists. According to the studies by UNWTO, the percentage of tourist centers closed in connection with COVID-19 pandemic fell from April to November 2020.
The forecast for 2021–2024 presented by a dedicated UN tourist agency indicates the improvement in the second half of 2021. Unfortunately, however, this does not mean returning to the circumstances from before the pandemic. When it comes to international trips, the balance will return in two and a half to up to four years.
What should you remember when you plan your trips during the pandemic?
Uncertain circumstances and temporary difficulties related to travelling need not discourage from foreign trips at all. Following restrictions adopted by global organizations and state authorities, reasonable, responsible behavior and appropriate protection from adversities will enable to spend safe holidays abroad.
However, in such a case it is crucial to find an appropriate way to ensure protection if you fall sick or if the situation deteriorates. The first and probably the most important step is to choose the relevant travel insurance which will guarantee assistance during any unforeseeable adversities. It is worth stressing that such a policy shall include the major components, important if you have any health-related problems, such as the insurance from the costs of treatment, costs of rescue actions, medical transport or transport of the injured person to Poland.
It is worth following the dynamic situation in the country we are going to visit on an ongoing basis. The up-to-date information will enable us to plan the trip appropriately, minimizing the hazard and problems. Going on holiday, let us remember to follow all the rules of conduct during the pandemic.