I hope you all are well and safe. Right now is not an easy time, things are pretty messed up around the world due to Covid-19. Many countries are lifting their lockdowns, but international travel is still prohibited in all European countries as well as in many Asian countries. At this moment, the last thing we want is to book a flight, an international flight.
However, the adventure is not over, it is just postponed and even if it is hard to see a silver lining right now, it is important to look at things optimistically and consider a variety of possibilities. Here are a few possibilities for travellers and travelling industry after this is all over. These predictions might change with time, but this is what I see on the skyline.
DESIGNER MASKS WILL BECOME A NEW TREND.
Unfortunately, it is true and we must admit that masks are going to be a part of our life for a few years. In lieu of risking our lives, we can simply make it a new trend and buy a few to match it with our clothes, just like a tie.
While my first step out after 65 days of lockdown, I visited a market and encountered a roadside shop selling vibrant masks in a market in Delhi. In the same way that companies have made luxury, fashionable travel baggage, we will most likely see “desirable” travel masks worn by Instagram influencers.
DOMESTIC TRAVEL WILL BE PREFERRED.
For a quite some time, everyone would avoid travel for leisure but once we can safely move around, people are going to be looking to get out a bit. The first option would be to travel in a personal space as it provides extra safety and you will not be in a closed cabin with a lot of people around you. Thus, everyone’s first choice will be a car. In European countries, people would also prefer vélos (cycles) available everywhere to move around the city. I know I’d love to head to Uttarakhand after this is all over since it’s near by and offers nature, fresh air, and it’s not difficult to get to.
The airline industry has taken a hit due to the pandemic and will have a hard time recovering it since people will be avoiding international travel for sometime. Moreover, the fear of boarding a crowded airplane where someone can be sick, people are less likely to spend money on an international trip with so much economic uncertainty.
AIRPORT AND VISA RULES
The International as well as Indian airports are Covid prepared as the domestic travel commenced on 27th May in India. The airport authority is making sure that the rules are followed. Touchless scanning of boarding pass is in place and chairs and sofas in seating areas are marked out to maintain social distancing.
I am more concerned about the international travel. Some countries will not even take the chance of testing at the border. Especially if you’re coming from an outbreak hotspot. There is a possibility that we may need to provide a covid test report before entering an international border or the countries may even add it in the visa document list. Who knows? Just a plausible fact.
Sri Lanka has already come up with a bunch of rules for Indian tourists such as the minimum duration of the stay must be at least 5 days. Furthermore, Sri Lanka relaunched free visa on arrival for Indian nationals in January, but now it is annulled and you will have to pay 100$ (7700rs, I was really hoping dollar to be 71-72) to get a visa valid for 30 days. You will also have to get tested for coronavirus before you board the flight. A negative PCR test is required prior to boarding the flight and on arrival. The test should be no older than 72 hours before you board. The PCR test on arrival will be conducted free of charge.
HOTELS WOULD BE PREFERRED OVER AIRBNB AND HOSTELS.
The hotel industry especially the average star hotels have been suffering for years because of the rise of Airbnb and other rental options. Once the movement becomes better, they will come out of this positively as they are likely to have tighter restrictions when it comes to cleaning. Airbnb may not always deliver what it promises and taking a risk is not what people are going to prefer now.
BUDGET TRAVELLERS WILL SUFFER
Unfortunately, Budget Travellers are either most likely to drop their plans for a while or end up taking luxury trips. Everything is going to be expensive for sometime and even though there will be deals available, it won’t match a budget traveller’s pocket except if they wanna pour money down the drains.
What breaks my heart is that people will be avoiding Couchsurfing for a long time. Even when travelling will become a little normal, you will not see many offers on Couchsurfing as people will be cautious and this is what they should do though but it still breaks my heart. I travel for the travel’s sake- to make human connection and that probably will not be the case for a few months.
Hitchhikers will no longer be seen on the roads. Budget travellers prefer to hitchhike often to save money on the commute but after covid-19, this is less likely to happen as they might end up not getting any ride at all.
FIVE TRAVEL GEAR TO BE ADDED AFTER COVID.
3. HAND GLOVES.
4. TISSUES AND NOT HANDKERCHIEF.
This one is crucial. Since the virus outbreak, there have been several reports about how people have been giving hard time to Chinese nationals or to people from North East India. Moreover, soon there will be more issues as the movement becomes better with fellow passengers in a metro or a local train. Sneezing and Coughing will be seen as grave sins and people who would do it, will be scorned down by every passenger.
I would like to request you to be compassionate to others. Sneezing and Coughing happening in a certain manner like under a mask must not be frowned upon. People used to sneeze and cough before as well and that’s common but now what we need is to keep a distance from others and take the precautions required. We should not make someone feel uncomfortable because of a cough or a sneeze. We don’t have to look and tell just because someone sneezed a mile away from us. I know we are very good at reflexes when it comes to mock someone.
Same goes for someone’s origin, let’s not be a racist and take all the precautions we need to for our safety. Moreover, keep in mind that once we move out, we put our lives in risk even before pandemic. Don’t let Covid ruin our manners or else just stay at home until the situation becomes better for you.
Finally, yes the possibilities do look quite blue at the moment for travellers and for the whole travel community, however it is important to stay optimistic and believe that this too shall pass. We will travel again and that too like never before. Heha, this is in fact true as a lot of things have already changed. As I mentioned earlier –
Now while bidding you a good day, I’d suggest you to read my post about “Hitchhike in Europe”, if you haven’t read it yet.
P.s. I will keep updating this post with the changes I observe as I start to go out more often.
Update on 7 June
Uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has caused nearly half (54%) of Indians to cancel their summer travel plans for this year leading to more distress for the travel industry. Additionally, 1 in 5 affluent Indians also said they would wait a full year before traveling again.
Update on 10 June
Japan to offer subsidy on domestic travel.
Last month, the Italian island of Sicily announced that it will pay a portion of traveller’s post coronavirus trips costs by covering half of airline tickets plus one out of every three hotel nights.
Now, Japan is looking for similar creative ways to fill its empty ryokans, bullet trains and sushi restaurants. The head of the Japan Tourism Agency recently announced that the government is creating a plan called the “Go to travel” initiative, which aims to boost tourism by offering to subsidize a portion of travelers’ expenses. Travelers were initially led to believe that it was going to cover international travel expenses. Japan Tourism is currently saying that the program will only apply to domestic travel, but off-the-record sources say the program could follow Italy’s lead by extending the subsidy to international visitors when travel restrictions are lifted.