TRAVEL IN 2020 – by Prachi Sardeshmukh

They say change is the only constant thing in our lives, but no one had ever in their wildest of dreams anticipated such a huge drastic change in our lifestyles, across the seven seas. Corona Virus, aka COVID – 19 took over the entire globe and smeared its nasty hands over every continent, country and city known to man. People were forced to seal themselves indoors and stay isolated, quarantined from one another. Offices, schools, colleges, malls, theatres, parks, everything got shut down. Curfews were being put into practice. The evolution of wearing masks and the demand for sanitizers dominated the market.

Like a vengeful warrior on a mission, the virus attacked all and sundry, but without a doubt, the industry that has been struck down the most by it, is the tourism and hospitality industry. Travel came to a standstill, for months. People were stuck in one place, without any means of transport to even go from one city to the next.   As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the global travel and tourism market is predicted to see a loss of 100.8 million jobs worldwide in 2020. The region that is supposed to see the biggest loss from COVID-19 is the Asia Pacific region, losing approximately 63.4 million jobs, while Europe is forecast to be the second hardest hit with a forecasted employment drop of 13 million. The estimated forecast on the global revenue obtained from the tourism industry was aimed at a whopping 712 million US dollars, but now stands at a mere 447 million US dollars after a 34.7% decrease.

Slowly, rules against travel were lifted, and travel resumed, with extra cautionary measures. What was once considered to be a leisure filled, relaxing experiences, has now turned out to be the most stressful and scary experiences. Globally, companies have opted to go online and use apps such as Zoom and Google Meet to conduct and host meetings. It has dawned on various industries that a huge chunk of their employees don’t need to actually come into a work space to complete their tasks or duties, and can very well work from home. Chief People Officer of Randstad India, Anjali Raghuvanshi, feels that from an organizational standpoint, people are in a wait-and-watch mode because it is all about employee safety. “The way the pandemic is you won’t see companies operating at a100 percent strength. In fact, the guidelines are around 10% or 25% to begin with and then move to a larger strength if need be. Lots of organizations are toying with the idea of whether it actually makes sense to work at a 100% capacity,” she adds.
Keeping this scenario in mind, one tends to question whether or not tourism will ever pick up the pace post COVID. Avoiding as much as social and human contact is of utmost priority right now as safety comes first. With cases increasing at an alarming rate, it is but natural for people to fear and risk travelling at the moment. The upside to reduced travelling, is that it has decreased the amount of carbon footprint and pollution in tourist places, allowing them to revive and get a much-needed do-over by mother nature herself.

Air travel has slowly begun, following heath guidelines published by WHO and is picking up the pace after a long gap of two whole months. Both domestic and international airlines are up and running. Flights have started operating at 60% capacity in India. Railways have also been swung into operation post lockdown with keeping in mind that only asymptomatic persons, who wear a mask and underwent screening were allowed to travel.

Although, experts predict that by late 2021, things will get back to normalcy and travel will resume without hindrance. After being cooped up within the four walls of our homes for months together, one would definitely look forward to a vacation or two. As Maya Angelou has perfectly put into words, “If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. We must stop complaining about the current situation and understand that it’s not going to last. We are the victims of a pandemic and are going to go down in history. Despite the circumstances, the tourism industry is keeping afloat. With advanced technology and apps, we can manage to get by our lives and adjust to the new normal. Until then we’ve got to learn to adapt and overcome our challenges in ways, we never thought we’d have to. Here’s hoping for a better and safer future!

Author: Prachi Sardeshmukh, Culture Expert with Culture Rings

Bibliography

Statista.com –    As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the global travel and tourism market is predicted to see a loss of 100.8 million jobs worldwide in 2020. The region that is supposed to see the biggest loss from COVID-19 is the Asia Pacific region, losing approximately 63.4 million jobs, while Europe is forecast to be the second hardest hit with a forecasted employment drop of 13 million.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/sme-sector/will-work-from-home-be-the-new-normal-for-india/articleshow/75592738.cms)

 

 

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