A travel industry round table in Sydney has put the idea forward that the world needs to learn how to live with Covid-19, which would imply accepting a higher risk in their lives.
According to Travel Weekly Asia, Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison affirmed that governments are currently too focused on the eradication of the virus, which “was never the intention”. She went on to say that, according to research, people these days seem to be more worried about being stranded somewhere without being able to come back home due to a sudden change in border control procedures.
“I think we have a job to do to move public opinion from a Covid-zero environment to living in a Covid-normal environment where we live with this thing,” Harrison said.
Travel restrictions are having an impact not only on the economy, but also on the psyche of millions of individuals. Global accommodations search platform trivago recently conducted a survey to see how consumers are planning, dreaming and considering travel in 2021. The results were quite revealing.
As long as the risk of a new wave of Covid-19 (likely caused by a variant) exists, the way travel is planned and experienced will continue to have a different component compared to what it once was. “People actually aren’t so worried about the health and safety of travelling any more. It’s about flexibility and disruption,” Qantas chief marketing officer, Jo Boundy said.
Many travelers will understand and accept that there are new things to consider when planning a trip, such as the risks involved. They might be looking for flexibility from airlines, tour operators, hotels, etc. Among stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry, there’s been more and more talk about the feasibility of a ‘Vaccine Passport’, which could pave the way a safer and more streamlined return to international travel.
As an alternative to provide some form of increased protection, both to tourists and locals, safe corridors have been implemented in different parts of the world. Some examples include Australia and New Zealand, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Madeira, and many others.
“The travel industry can live with this virus, we just need a level playing field and some sanity around border arrangements,” said Simon Westaway, executive director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council.