If there’s anything we’ve learned recently, it’s that nothing is for certain – timelines very much included. But with coronavirus infections flattening around the world, there are positive signs that travel will slowly start in the coming weeks. Here’s what to expect.
If you’re hoping that travel will return to normal this year, don’t hold your breath, experts say. That said, you will likely be able to vacation on a reduced basis later this year. Although not ideal, that’s better than the “do not travel” orders the world has endured since March.
So what might a travel reopening look like?
The travel industry is a huge part of the economic health of so many countries, so I imagine by the end of the summer tourism will begin again,” says Jorge Branco, director of the World Travelers Association. “I don’t think schedules will be as they were pre-coronavirus right away, but there will be options available to begin the transition.”
In other words, we won’t hit the “on” switch as quickly as we hit the “off” switch. Rather, governments, health experts and tourism providers will metaphorically install “dimmers” to gradually increase lifestyles and travel to normal levels.
Staycations and business travel to return first
Business travel will likely begin before consumer travel. According to the Global Business Travel Association, one-third of businesses expect to resume travel by the end of summer, with another third by the end of the year. (The rest simply don’t know or are waiting until 2021). In light of this, many governments are planning for an increase in domestic staycations in the coming months.
International travel might not return until 2021
In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, international flight routes have been cancelled by as much as 95% over the last two months. Coupled with the fact that airlines are only flying with about 5% of their normal passenger load, international travel will likely take much longer to open up.
In short, a return to travel normalcy will thankfully begin this summer. But sadly it will probably take years to fully recover, and international travel will be the slowest to rebound.
This article was first published on www.lonelyplanet.com