According to a recent study, the travel industry is set to take a large economic hit in the coming months as the seasons change and more tourists opt to cancel their holiday trips.
Antonia Wilson is a travel journalist based in the United Kingdom who recently reported on a survey performed by the company YouGov regarding pandemic-travel trends. The survey found that about 65% of travelers would rather cancel their trips than be forced to wear a mask or quarantine for 14 days; depending on where they were planning on traveling to.
43% of travelers stated they would still cancel even if mask-wearing was only mandatory in indoor venues, and 70% said they would cancel if they knew they would have to quarantine for two weeks when they returned home. The survey was taken as a means of giving the travel industry a better insight into the thought process of their clients, as the industry has taken a major economic toll due to massive waves of cancellations and refunds.
For the UK tourism industry specifically, 93% of all travelers claimed they would cancel their trips if they would have to quarantine upon arrival to their destination. Wilson reported that it’s currently predicted over 3 million jobs will be lost in the coming months due to the even greater waves of cancellations that are to be expected in the fall and winter months.
“Rules on quarantine measures can change without warning. Travelers are being advised to carry a mask at all times, and be prepared to wear it in public and in hotels.”
In France, authorities have now been granted permission to hand out fines to any individual not wearing facial coverings in public spaces such as parks or markets. Countries like Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Poland have also implemented mandatory facial covering requirements in public spaces with various fines and punishments for individuals who refuse as well.
In the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Greece masks are currently only required on public transport and “strongly recommended” in public spaces, but not mandatory. Recently, the UK also implemented quarantine requirements for any travelers coming from Spain based on rises in case numbers. This shift has caused major tour operators and airlines to lose hundreds of customers for the coming months.
Certain airports in the UK aren’t even offering flights to Spain, however, some businesses have expanded their summer schedules to account for the loss in flights. EasyJet is a company that expanded flight offers for countries like Greece or Turkey, with less of a risk, however, Chief Executive John Lundgren recently claimed that the industry needs to start taking a new approach to travelling during quarantine.
“We urgently need to target quarantine requirements to where spikes have occurred rather than at a national level.”
As previously mentioned it’s been predicted that up to 3 million jobs within the industry will be lost for UK workers alone. Globally, it’s projected that 197 million jobs in the travel industry will be lost if all current quarantine measures remain how they are at this moment.
“The UK alone is set to lose three million jobs in the sector, creating an economic black hole of £142 billion in the country’s finances. This is due to an international failure to implement proper coordination to combat the pandemic,” said Gloria Guevara the Chief Executive Officer for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The WTTC believes that if the health and safety measures were more universal across the world, travelling while wearing a mask would be more accepted, and thus, the industry wouldn’t be struggling as much as it is now. Guevara still believes that this can happen if our world leaders choose to unite in the coming months as case numbers begin to rise in various countries.
“We still have time to turn this around if we act together now and replace ineffective quarantines with comprehensive rapid testing, a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread face mask usage.” Guevara also believes that implementing all the new technology and procedures created to curve the spread of infection will give travellers the confidence they need to get back out there.
Wilson believes that the US and Europe are very similar in the sense that if they decided to unite more on the health and safety/ lockdown procedures for all states/countries, returning to a life of semi-normalcy would be a more feasible reality. For now, however, it’s mainly up to the individual to listen to the world’s healthcare leaders and protect themselves from possible infection.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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