Are we headed towards a vacation drought?
COVID-19 got the tourism industry on its knees, begging us please - get out of your homes already. Well, it’s not our fault that we are currently bound to government regulations... and frankly, our bank accounts have seen better days.
On the bright side, slow recovery signs are starting to be shown in Europe and the US, especially in the domestic tourism sector. Domestic vacations are likely to be the first option for travelers. Airbnb CEO Chesky said that “Travel in the new world will look different, and we need to evolve accordingly. People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable”.
But what about international destinations?
in the short term - UNWTO presents three scenarios of the monthly change in arrivals from April to December assuming that that national borders will be lifted in early July (Scenario 1: -58%), in early September (Scenario 2: -70%) or in early December (Scenario 3: -78%).
In the long term - aviation and accommodation industries are likely to reach 2019’s volume in 2-5 years. The relevant question for us travellers is how these changes are going to inflict our pockets.
Personal travel expenditure is divided into 3 main categories (Normalized statistics from Statista.com, 2017):
In our obscure situation, we cannot be sure how the pie will be divided into the post-COVID era, However we could sure speculate - and I must say, it doesn’t look that promising.
Aviation fares - according to Forbes magazine, it is likely that we can expect a drop in flight fares to attract the early wave of post-COVID leisure travellers and set the industry back on its feet. But don’t get too excited because the arrow could shift upward quickly:
Social distancing regulations might reduce the number of passengers on a single flight.
Major and budget airlines might withdraw from unprofitable markets or routes. On routes they maintain, flight frequency might be reduced to maintain higher seat occupation percent.
Major airline price drops might blur the differentiation between budget airlines, a fact that could force them out of the markets.
Accommodation fares - In early June, major hotel corporations indicated that their occupation rate is recovering slowly and is currently at about 20-30%. Some hotels dropped their prices by an estimated 20%, however, that indication is likely to take effect only in the near future:
History shows that hotels that were the fastest to drop their rates can be the last ones to recover.
In addition to their maintenance costs, hotels will need to adapt sterilization guidelines and tools.
Millennials who are important contributors to the travel industry were inflicted financially and are likely to search for more affordable accommodation types.
You might wonder where the bright side is. Well, as Einstein said: "in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity". And that leaves us to the grace of creative entrepreneurs. One way to cut up to 33% of travel expenses is to do home swapping as an accommodation alternative.
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