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What Will Travel Look Like After Coronavirus?
In a matter of weeks, life as we know it has come to a screeching halt in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. From work, school, and personal care, the current pandemic has impacted our lives to the point it may be hard to visualize what things will be like once it’s all over.
Of the many challenges the virus has imposed, the travel industry has taken the hardest hit.
Recent legislation passed by Congress will offer some relief for companies on the brink collapse and some economic experts are confident that the tourism sector will bounce back.
“People haven’t changed in that they still want to go places, but they’re going to necessarily be a lot more cautious about what they do,” said Adam Blake, a professor of economics and head of research in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom told CNN. “And they’re going to need not just persuading that it is safe to travel, but they’ll need to see actual physical changes made to make travel safer.”
Here are some things experts told CNN that travelers are likely to see once the industry opens back up for business:
1. Cruises will be cheap
Travelers who are comfortable with going on a cruise will find very low prices as cruise lines restart service, Christopher Anderson, professor of business at Cornell University’s Hotel School in Ithaca, New York, said.
2. Cleaning practices will be addressed
Whether that means hand sanitizers everywhere or regularly disinfecting hard surfaces, “there will be a clearly communicated regimen to let the customers know, ‘here’s what we’re doing to keep you safe,'” said Jan Freitag, senior vice president of Lodging Insights for hospitality analysis firm STR.
3. Travelers may feel safer in hotels than vacation rentals
Anderson said that travelers may feel safer in hotels because companies will be able to clearly communicate their cleaning standards versus hosts on vacation rental platforms.
4. Anticipate lower airfares and emptier planes
People will be more comfortable traveling by air if planes are less full, Anderson added.
“If we really want to turn this around, airlines have to be flying with empty middle seats and prices dramatically lower than what we had last summer,” he said.
5. Air travelers will have more booking flexibility
Anderson expects that airlines will continue to be less stringent with cancellation and change fees – for a period of time.