When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic earlier this year, the travel industry experienced an instant halt as governments restricted movements. The industry has been by far the most hit by this pandemic. Even after movement restrictions started being relaxed, people were still wary of traveling. The industry is experiencing a rather slow recovery.
Perhaps what has given the industry a glimpse of hope is the announcement of a possible vaccine against the deadly disease made earlier this month. The vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech was reported to have recorded over 90% effectiveness in the clinical trials. For an industry that has experienced a prolonged downtime, this news is nothing but positive.
While it may take time for the vaccine to reach the general population due to complications in transportation and storage, its invention is the hope travel industry stakeholders are banking on. However, its invention could mean changing travel for good.
1. A vaccination certificate might become mandatory
If there is something devastating about COVID-19, it is the severity of it especially with vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. Countries that have been hard hit and those with a high percentage of vulnerable people will not take it lightly even with a vaccine available. They are likely to restrict entry until travelers can prove to have taken the vaccine from a recognized and accredited clinic. Likewise, other destinations will be asking for the same proof from travelers coming from these red zones.
This is to say that travelers need to start preparing. An international certificate of COVID-19 vaccine from a recognized clinic is a document that is highly likely to be mandatory for most destinations, if not all.
2. Self-protection will in the cards for a long time
Even with a vaccine available, people will still be careful of contracting the disease. The pandemic has woken the need for personal protection, and this might continue for a very long time. People are craving for travel and the news about the vaccine have seen increased bookings in travel.
However, the need for personal space is evident. People are going for high-end private rooms and vacation homes for accommodation. For those traveling in groups, they are doing so with family members. These trends will most likely continue post-vaccine.
Most people will be wary of crowded airports and public transport in cities that they travel to. This will see a rise in people driving to their destinations and a rise in car rentals. However, people driving will still need to stop at gas stations for fueling and at restaurants for their meals. In this case, it is prudent to bring along a facemask and hand sanitizer among other hygiene essentials. An international driver license should be in the checklist as a permit to drive in foreign countries, if you plan to get around through a private car, which would be more appropriate during this pandemic.
3. Travelling will still be not as before
Given the speculations around previous vaccinations, most people are highly likely to be skeptical about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. It will be a while until people are fully confident with the vaccine. Though most people are eager to start traveling again, they are likely to stick to traveling only when they must. This is especially when traveling to destinations that a vaccine certificate will be mandatory.
In addition, most people will reduce their rates of traveling. For people who were used to traveling every other weekend, that might change to something like 2 weeks vacations several months apart. Vacations to international destinations will reduce with most travelers sticking to traveling to see their families.
4. Those traveling will opt for lifetime experiences
One thing that is bound to happen is the bureaucracy of vaccine certificates at borders and flights. Testing will most likely continue with countries that will not demand a certificate of vaccination. The thought of endless queues at borders and checking points will limit people from hopping from one destination to another. People will take time picking the best destination or a couple of them, that they can immerse themselves fully and then head home. For this reason, most people will opt for trips of a lifetime. This will see a rise in demand for out of the ordinary experiences and destinations.
The prolonged time at home has made people appreciate the freedom of travel. Most are waiting for a time that the world will be opened up fully so they can resume their global trotting. However, the danger of coronavirus disease is still looming and people will be cautious about it for a long time. It will be a while until travel resumes normalcy. Nevertheless, a possible vaccine is the first step towards a bright future in travel.