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Digital tourism in the lockdown era

Tourism was one of the sectors that suffered the most from the COVID-19 pandemic. As early as April 2020, the International Air Transport Association has reported that over twenty million jobs were at risk.

You’ve been dreaming about traveling throughout your college years, but you never could afford it. You rarely had any free time. Half of your time was devoted to studies, and all the free time you could’ve had was spent on odd jobs to support your living and pay your tuition. 

Yes, you could’ve gone for a weekend to another town or another state, but never to a different country. Despite digitalization providing you with many possibilities, you simply didn’t have enough time or money to do that. 

And then, suddenly, the whole idea of traveling was stolen from you by the novel coronavirus. If you haven’t been working remotely, you lost your job. All your college life has gone online. And you are watching the news and finding out that yet another country goes on lockdown. 

Previously, you thought that you could’ve saved enough money and used one of 24/7 homework help services to spend a weekend, at least, in another country. And the only reason to get homework help from online services is that you are too depressed to do it on your own. 

Tourism was one of the sectors that suffered the most from the COVID-19 pandemic. As early as April 2020, the International Air Transport Association has reported that over twenty million jobs were at risk. Countries and regions that were dependent on tourism were hit the hardest. 

Fatalists were quick to claim that nothing was going to be the same and that the world would never go back to the norm. And it, indeed, seems like mass tourism is unlikely to bounce back to an insane number of over a billion international tourists. But that doesn’t mean that the sector is dead beyond resurrection. 

Rebuilding tourism: Key priorities
Since the novel coronavirus had enveloped the world, things were looking pretty grim for tourism. The predicted drop was 80%, and the actual drop wasn’t far from that number. And governments from around the world have made impressive steps, enabling tourism to survive in the short and medium-term:

  • restoring traveler confidence;
  • helping tourism businesses to adjust;
  • supporting local tourism and facilitating international tourism recovery;
  • providing exhaustive information to travelers and businesses;
  • maintaining capacity in the sector and solving arising issues;
  • improving cooperation locally and internationally;
  • building more resilient, sustainable tourism.

But taking measures for short-term or medium-term survival wasn’t enough to help tourism continue. The pandemic is a lesson to learn from. And there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of changes expected in the post-pandemic world. 


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Main changes in traveling during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of tourism. The question of whether those changes will persist in the future or not is still debatable. But there are several things that you should know if you are planning to travel within the next several years. Let’s check them out. 

The popularity of travel agents is on the rise again
Previously, all you had to do was find the proper flight and accommodation. But nowadays, almost every destination has its own rules and regulations in terms of vaccine and testing requirements. Somewhere, you are allowed to cross the border if you were vaccinated with Pfizer. Certain destinations require tests done as recently as 72 hours before the flight; others don’t.

This led to the rise in the popularity of travel agents. They will provide you with all the information about the vaccine rules and regulations in your tourist destination. But it’s not only their knowledge of health and safety guidelines that attracts the tourists but the ability to change tickets or cancel flights if needed. 

More money is spent on flexibility and insurance
The COVID-19 continues to mutate and change. The Delta variant arrived in late 2020, and Omicron was discovered in November 2021. And it affected tourists’ habits, especially in terms of flexibility and insurance. And people are willing to pay more to be safe. 

Previously, people opted for lower prices for airfare tickets and hotel rooms rent because they were sure that once they booked everything, they were going to make the trip. Nowadays, people are willing to pay more to have flexibility. You might want to go somewhere else or cancel your flight if the outbreak of the new variant of COVID-19 occurs in your destination point. 

The same goes for insurance. Previously, a lot of people opted against tourist insurance. Now, realizing that you may not get home if you catch COVID-19, tourists started getting insurance. Thus, you do need to cover your staying costs while recovering from the disease in another country. 

The rise of the workation popularity
Remember how you couldn’t travel because of your work? Remember hard decisions between working and traveling? Well, you don’t have to decide anymore. Remote employment opportunities allow you to work from any corner of the world. Even on the go, if you have a strong Internet connection. 

This led to a thing known as workcations. You can’t be present in the office because all of you are working remotely. So, why not log in your workday while on the beach? You can easily work from Lombok or wherever you want to go. Based on Booking.com research, the idea to combine work and leisure during the COVID-19 pandemic led to the rise of workcations. 

Final thoughts
No one can say for sure how long the pandemic will last. The chances that it will come to an end within several years increase with the advances of vaccines. At the same time, the pandemic’s impact on tourism will remain. And not all of the effects are negative. 

Surprisingly, the pandemic had quite a positive effect on ethical tourism. Nowadays, tourists feel the actual need to help the local communities of the destination point. And instead of staying at large multinational hotels and eating at the international restaurant chains, they stay at local hotels and dine out in local cafes. 

Main photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

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