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“Do I think people will start traveling again?”
I’m getting that question a lot these days. The short answer: of course. The long answer is a bit more complicated.
As of press time, a recent survey shows that 75% of respondents are willing to stay in a hotel before we have a vaccine for COVID-19, and 70% are willing to fly domestically. There’s no doubt that travel will resume — at some point consumers will demand it, because travel is no longer a luxury, but a necessary part of a happy life.
But research has also shown that clients will only start booking trips again when they feel safe.
Fortunately, we all know that the travel industry is full of smart people who are not afraid of a challenge. If the key to filling hotels is making guests feel safe, hoteliers will do whatever it takes to make sure that their guestrooms are virus-free. If tour operators have to make major changes in their offerings to protect travelers, I guarantee they are working on those plans at this very moment. Is there any doubt that every cruise line executive throughout the industry is laser-focused on restoring consumer confidence? I even have hope that airlines will ultimately figure out ways to accommodate the new normal.
The travel industry has shown time and time again that it is resilient and able to survive whatever difficulty it faces, even if that means significant changes to the way in which it operates.
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In so many ways, this pandemic has been chronicled through the lens of travel. From the difficulties onboard cruise ships to stranded tourists, deserted destinations and closed borders, travel has taken center stage in the COVID-19 drama. Only when we see bustling airports, full hotels and tourists visiting major attractions again will we know the world is getting back to some semblance of normal.
And, yes, I know that time will come.