• 03 Dec, 2021

After COVID-19 you will be able to travel, but it won’t be the same

All of our lives have been changed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2013.

All of our lives have been changed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019. Not just for the short-term. Except for healthcare, where heroes in gowns fight on the frontlines, few sectors have been as hard hit as the travel industry. My company saw bookings drop by more than 95% during the height of the pandemic in May. Our support staff worked hard to assist admins and travelers. We also created a COVID-19 Resource Center. The scale of the problem can't be overlooked.

Several countries were told to stay home. Airlines have been bankrupted, travel companies have laid off large numbers of workers, and hotels turned into hospitals. The vaccination rollout is now underway and it's thankfully progressing well. Israel is almost back to pre-pandemic status. Over 30 million people have been vaccinated in the UK. The world seems to be getting back on its feet. Many are now asking about international travel as things slowly return to normal. It will be very different. These are the top changes that I see.

When is travel possible?

The million-dollar question. The million-dollar question. We don't know the answer. We see travel recovery in stages at the moment. First, it is happening locally. Then, it happens between regions. And finally, international travel will be the last. There are many factors that can influence travel, including whether social distancing is financially feasible for airlines, different entry requirements from country-to-country, vaccine rollouts and recognition of different vaccine "brands".


This is what we believe to be:

Some countries are already seeing domestic travel reopen. It is expected to resume full swing in the summer of 2021.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine will have an impact on international travel. However, we expect that it will increase around the summer of 2021, just like it did in 2020. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue or if it will be interrupted by another slump as we approach the winter season.

Travelers who have been vaccinated will be the first to return home with open arms.



Immigration will have a longer wait than ever

This is already happening in countries who feel they are at the top of their epidemics. New infections and variants are still a concern. Many destinations are still not open to travelers from the United States, particularly Europe. International arrivals from countries like Singapore must be held for two weeks, even if they have passed a COVID-19 negative test. Individuals without permanent residence are sent to an isolation unit. Heat cameras are in high demand. Many countries are conducting border testing. You might have thought that the JFK immigration control line was long and tedious. Now, imagine what it will be like when you stand in line, wait for your results, and then take a swab test.

Only passport is not enough.

Some countries won't even allow border testing. Particularly if you are coming from an area that is prone to outbreaks. If you don't have a certificate proving your immunity, you might be denied entry. This could happen because you've either recovered from an illness or been vaccinated. If you have been vaccinated with Sputnik rather than Moderna or Pfizer, some countries may not allow you in. You can get wristbands with barcodes, such as those seen in Contagion.

In the short-term, it is clear that travel will be more defined by its purpose. Business travel must be validated as an economic activity. Companies will tighten their restrictions on the number of employees who travel to work for them. Travelers will be allowed to enter countries only if there is merit. You may need temporary visas or additional documentation to travel with you.

There will be different seasons (expensive and unpredictable).

According to an influential paper by Imperial College London, governments may need to adjust lockdowns according to spikes in COVID-19 cases to maintain a manageable demand on healthcare systems. These will mean that there will be travel opportunities that last only weeks, or even days. Even though airlines are desperate to fly again, there will be limited seats and prices could rise during these windows. Travel restrictions will continue to influence travel in the coming months. Having quick and reliable access will be crucial to making travel plans.


Recovery will not be even

Already, we can see that there are many factors that influence this pandemic. The timing and strictness of lockdown measures, robustness of public healthcare systems, weather, luck, among other factors, all play a role in this pandemic. This means that some countries and regions will be the first to recover. One by one, we will see the corridors of recovery reopen.

It is hard to predict exactly how this will turn out. In terms of vaccine rollout, Israel and the UK lead other countries by a long shot. Could this mean they will be the first to reopen? What about countries such as Spain and Italy, which were the worst hit by the virus? These countries rely heavily on tourism. Are they more likely to want to travel again, or are they more afraid to allow foreigners in because of the horrors they have experienced?


You can pack differently

Have you seen the TikTok video where a man takes out a bag full of wet wipes before wiping down his table? It could be something you actually see in person. Even though it isn't quite so funny, we are told to wash our hands when on the go. Hand sanitizer is the only solution. As long-haul travelers are looking to bring more than 100ml on long-haul flights, we may see liquid carry-on restrictions being relaxed.

Airlines are now requiring passengers to carry face masks in addition to hand sanitizer travel bags. As A way has made fashionable, luxury travel bags, it is likely that we will see Instagram influencers wearing "desirable” travel masks. Make sure to read the guidelines of your airline or local health authority regarding what masks you should wear while traveling (CDC, NHS, etc.).

John Smith

Footman remarked, 'till tomorrow--' At this moment the King, 'that saves a world of trouble, you.