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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Traveler’s Pandemic

Everyone’s travel plans are shattered, and it will not be incorrect to say that it could take years to return to normal

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

The world has already spent over three months of social distancing; how many more – is Unknown. Everyone’s travel plans are shattered, and it will not be incorrect to say that it could take years to return to normal. COVID-19 certainly has made the future look bleak for every traveler or for the matter of fact, for every travel writer and photographer.

Traveling today or in the days to come can be risky as it will involve exposure to public places like hotels, airlines, trains, buses, etc. Even though strict social distancing has been maintained, disinfection and lots of medical screening is being done, immediate local, as well as international traveling, will be very difficult.

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There already is a buzz on social media that a South American country is thinking of charging a hefty COVID-19 deposit for every international traveler.  These measures are signaling silent death for Travel and Hospitality industry. It’s almost certain to professionals in the industry that luxury Travel will almost be dead for the next year or so.

This is scary as the current situation is not going to be temporary, but will haunt potential travelers for many months to come.

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These are signals of dooms days for travel industry as well as the economies. Significance of travel and hospitality industry extends beyond simply being a source of revenue: it provides substantial employment opportunities, influences regional infrastructure, supports local industry, influences freight movements, and encourages urban development among others.

Yes, COVID-19 will certainly mean trying times ahead…

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This is urgent, because this is no ordinary crisis that the world is facing. It’s far bigger than anything ever experienced in one’s lifetime. It’s striking with far greater speed and the worst is still going to come.

Travel and Hospitality has already been hit hard in this crisis, as this deadly virus continues to trigger waves after waves of severe economic depression in sectors like: Airlines, Cruise operators, Restaurants, Hotel industry and many others.

Are you worried today!

Today there’s extreme fear in the world that this crisis will certainly impact the way world travels in future. It is envisaged that when the dust settles, the collapse of 2020 will destroy every travelers’ dream, and in the near future for most travelers, nothing will ever be the same again.

But travelers are the most optimistic tribe in the world; the travel industry runs on this optimism too. It’s true that people will not be travelling right away after un-lockdowns, but still – there’s Hope.

For travelers, it’s the time to sit down and recollect their journeys of past and the shortcomings faced during those journeys, and devise ways to rectify them. The travel business strategies too need to be re-designed and new plans have to be made, not only to survive but to come out unhurt too.

Traveler’s Pandemic

COVID-19 has correctly been called the Traveler’s Pandemic by people in the travel industry, as this has just helped them to come face to face with a crisis that began a long time ago with years of bad advice, tour operators’ manipulations, mushrooming of travel websites with centralized reservations for all – ticketing, hotels, sightseeing, years of dishonest ratings, incomplete and fraudulent information. These unfair practices have already lured millions of unhappy tourists to throw their hard-earned money to the wind.

The hidden methods of money extraction from tourists, non-transparency in schedules, mushrooming of fake and fraudulent websites, fake promotions on internet via paid influencers and so on were causing slowdown in revenues for most B2B and B2C organizations. It simply was a mad rush out there; tour operators minting money and online media happily enjoying the promotional vacations offered in return of reviews.

And the already crumbling industry has now been unexpectedly hit hard by the Travelers pandemic forcing it to fall flat on its face, triggering an unwanted shutdown far more quickly than at any time in history.

Genuine travelers are capable to overcome threats that were even worse in the past and they ultimately will overcome this threat too. Travel industry experts to are hoping that this crisis will not turn out to be as bad as the world fears. 

Trouble is, it will take quite a few months, may be years to do so.

This suffering can be quite long and painful and last not one year, maybe much more. The need of the hour is to patiently sit down and think it over, and devise newer business plans, and actually come out ahead of the game.

It’s not the time to worry, cheer up; when the economy is finally ready to recover, the industry will certainly need genuine travelers and influencers for all kinds of information and visual matter. And only people who are keen travelers can provide quality work through an individual’s personal experiences and help bring about a true, lasting recovery into travel.

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