Travel experts say the devastation to the industry caused by the global pandemic of the coronavirus will only make the sector stronger – and entice more people to travel – when the pandemic finally ends.
Paula Froelich, founder and editor of the online travel magazine for women ‘A Broad Abroad,’ recently wrote a piece in the New York Post on this topic. She talked about the situation with fellow pundits who all agree that, while it will take time, there will be an appreciation for travel that will help bring the airlines, cruise lines, hotels and restaurants back to life.
“I think when this has finally come under control it will create a huge need to travel,” said Samantha Brown, who hosts the PBS travel show ‘Places to Love.’ “And I’m not talking just travel to far places … but small trips to more local and state destinations. We will want to move and most importantly reconnect to people.”
Pavia Rosati, who founded the travel site Fathom, agreed and said there will likely be an “increased interest in local travel, for those who want to stay relatively close to home. This might be the year that New Yorkers who usually go to Greece make their way to Nantucket or the Gullah Islands instead.”
Froelich wrote that while the industry has been decimated by the virus, it has allowed tourist destinations around the world to catch their breath. By that she meant, for example, that the city of Venice, Italy has seen its famous canals become clear for the first time in centuries without the constant influx in its waters of pollution from cruise ships, water taxis and boats transporting tourists.
Tom Marchant, a co-founder of luxury travel operator Black Tomato, said he believes there will be a new appreciation for the destinations we visit.
“…This longing for authentic human connection and togetherness will be stronger than ever … but there will be less of a cookie-cutter travel mentality,” he said.
In part that’s because airlines, especially, have said they will become smaller. Getting from Point A to Point B might not be as frequent or easy as it has been in the past.
“One upside is that people will not take for granted the ease of travel and the freedom to explore so many places,” said Melissa Biggs Bradley, CEO and Founder of boutique travel planning company Indagare. “There will be less over-tourism, but that is also going to be a consequence of fewer travel options, which will have shrunk when we come out of this. There is no way that you will have the quantity of flights or the range of flights when travel comes back. I doubt that the smaller regional areas are going to have the same kind of flight lift that they had in early 2020 for another 10 years. Airlines everywhere have been decimated and they are going to cut routes and many of the hotels and businesses that existed because of arriving tourists are going to disappear.”
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