What a year! It’s been an unprecedented year for every industry, especially the travel industry.
Anyone within the travel industry, from pilots to hotel receptionists, experienced industry-shaping shifts in 2020. Travel and tourism industries have been devastated by Covid-19 pandemic effects. Billions and billions of dollars have been wiped from the domestic and international sectors. And, the evidence of these devastating effects is too evident.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was once the go-to spot in Milan, with thousands of visitors daily. But now, pigeons have taken over space. The Cambodian Angkor Wat receives just a fraction of the visitors that normally would flock to the temple, especially during the holiday season.
But, it has also been a year that the industry showed its resilience. Despite the gloomy backdrop, the industry has continued to explore the opportunities presented. Innovative solutions from rethinking travel and reimagining holiday-making have been behind this resilience. During this period, the plunging carbon emissions have also offered a fresh opportunity to revitalize the industry in a more environmentally friendly way.
Have a look at four lessons the industry has picked in 2020!
Rebuilding Better For the Better
Unique opportunities to rebuild the industry better for both the clients and investors have been presented this year. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the awareness for making flying more environmentally friendly was growing. The people just understood the impact of emissions. And, with the passenger traffic now expected to normalize until 2023, companies have been allowed to rethink their growth model and reposition themselves for a tech-driven future.
Italy was one of the worst-hit western countries by the Covid-19 pandemic. Economists estimated that it lost as much as 13% of its GDP due to tanking tourism numbers. To revitalize the industry, the government offered to pay a third of hotel charges, free entries to archeological sites and museums and halved plane ticket prices. It was a great move to encourage a return to normalcy.
All over the world, governments have taken measures to cheapen travel to inject some energy back into the travel industry. Many people searching how to find cheap flights right now are increasingly finding it easier than ever before. While such moves have raised questions on sustainability, they have shown that it’s the right strategy to move the industry towards greatness.
Air Travel Becoming Cleaner and Safer
It is perhaps the airline industry that has been worst hit by the pandemic. Lockdowns have restricted air travel, and thousands of jobs have been lost as a result. Airline giants across the globe have filed for bankruptcy, famous among them being Virgin Atlantic. Airbus has reduced its orders. And, to get people on the skies again, the central goal has been making air travel cleaner and safer by enhancing air flows and significantly minimizing germs. Companies are seeking to avoid air recycling among patients and created more concrete plans towards reducing their carbon footprint.
Other companies have redone their meal plan and significantly reduced servings of palm oil and beef. Different airlines have successfully eliminated single-use plastics as the industry moves towards developing cleaner and safer operating standards. While the progress has been commendable, more needs to be done to offer the industry so reliant on carbon better and reliable alternatives. It is a challenge that everyone in the industry has taken head-on, especially after the pandemic.
While cycling holidays have come to a halt, bike sales have been on the rise. People have found ingenious ways of avoiding Covid-19 risks by rethinking their transport means. Bike sales had seen growth like never seen before as people not only used them as transport means but also as a way to promote fitness. Cycling tourists have also embraced virtual activities to circumvent the lockdowns. Sitting in front of a screen, people can race through the streets of Bologna through various multiplayer training apps.
Virtual activities have continued to offer great experiences to tourists that want to experience cities without exerting themselves. For instance, virtual tours provided by the Faroe Islands have allowed visitors to experience the landscapes of the islands. This has been made possible by camera-wearing locals that liaise with you from your couch. This has not only served to give visitors a taste of what they could go to after lockdowns but has also created employment among the local communities. Such innovations have mitigated the effects of the pandemic.
Even in crisis, the travel industry has shown incredible momentum towards sustainability. It has continued to explore new products, new markets and remodeled the way of doing business.