The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the world as a scary nightmare. Everyone wants it to be over but no really knows when it is going to end. It has impacted almost every aspect of our lives significantly, ruined businesses and halted entire industries. However, the most devastating impact has been on the tourism industry.
All vacations and holidays have been put on an indefinite hold, thanks to this contagion. The tourism industry is struggling hard to afloat. If you are a wanderlust, then we understand how hard it must be for you to stay indoors. While you cannot travel the traditional way, there is always a way around to make up for the loss of travel.
The implementation of travel restrictions have had a domino affect on several industries since they all are quite interlinked with the the tourism sector. The most prominent of them include the airline industry, hotel industry, rental car industry, and the hospitality industry. We will discuss each one of them in a bit more detail.
The most common mode of travel for the majority of tourists is by air. Thus, this industry was sure to take a major hit. Airlines have subsequently laid off people, and is scheduling either minimum or no flights, and relocating the assets in order to survive.
As per The Guardian, the pandemic has endangered around 750,000 jobs employees of US airlines. Furthermore, in May it was announced that Air Canada will lay off up to 22,800 employees, which makes up for 60% of its total workforce.
This downward graph isn’t about to slow down here. Even after the pandemic is truly over, people will still be reluctant to travel due to the fear COVID-19 injected into their minds. The World Tourism Organization states that international tourism could fall down by 80% over this whole year.
If you are looking to experience the true pleasures of your vacation, you would probably go to a nice hotel. When there is no tourism, hotels are bound to take a huge shot in the chest. Since tourism is at a halt, hotels are forced to make some harsh decisions, such as laying off personnel, cutting costs, and in some cases, even closing down for good.
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, an average of 60% of hotel rooms are empty in hotels throughout the country. Furthermore, employee layoffs in hotels have increased by almost 470%, which is of great concern.
Rental Car Industry
No matter where you go, you need a vehicle at your disposal to move around the city without depending on anyone to help you out. As an extension of the effects of closed hotel bookings and lack of travel, rental car companies are also suffering greatly.
Share value of The Hertz Corporation, one of the biggest car rental companies of the United States, has eroded by 83% this year, while Avis has witnessed an 80% fall in its revenue in April alone.
Companies such as Uber and Lyft are no exception either. Uber even announced that it will let go of around 3700 fulltime employees, which makes up for 14% of its total workforce.
No holiday or vacation is complete without fancy cuisines and scrumptious fast food. Restaurants and food chains all over the globe are forced to reinvent their strategies, and come up with new ways to cater to their customers. While some are surviving by turning to takeaway and delivery services, others are not so lucky.
However, all these efforts are unable to make up for the loss due to the lack of tourists that used to come in. As of 21 June, the state of New York alone has faced more than 57% decline in their daily restaurant sales.
It is even predicted that many restaurants will not survive this pandemic and will be forced to shut down for good. Unless they come up with a completely new strategy for generating revenue, this is the end of the line for them.
Detail by Country
Every economy is suffering greatly from this pandemic. But some countries have made it to the top of this list just because tourism contributed significantly to their overall revenue. Have a look at a few of the countries that have been affected the most.
In 2019, travel and tourism contributed to 8.6% of the country’s total GDP. The figure may not seem that big, but the results have been close to catastrophic. According to the US Travel Association, the United States is expected to face a fall of more than $500 billion on travel expenditures by the end of this year.
All major tourist attractions have been closed due to the lockdown. People are holding back on their visits to the Walt Disney World Resort, San Diego Zoo, or even a walk to Central Park in New York. While the Walt Disney World Resort has started to open its theme park in phases, it is still holding back on several facilities such as dining and Behind-the-Scene tours.
Keeping in mind that the COVID-19 virus originated in China, it only makes sense that it suffered the most in terms of tourism. No one is willing to risk their lives just for a view of The Great Wall or The Forbidden City.
Even domestic travel has been postponed at least until the pandemic is over. Domestic tourism is even expected to fall by more than 20% in the whole year. Additionally, as per the National Bureau of Statistics of China, tourist arrival fell more than 25% in 2020 as compared to 2019 and will take an even bigger hit in 2021.
Spain quickly climbed to the third position on the list of countries with most COVID-19 affected cases. Even though restrictions and precautionary measures were implemented, the virus still found a way.
Spain is one of the most popular destinations in terms of tourism and the tourism industry contributes more than 11% of the total GDP of the country. The spread of the pandemic has led to numerous hotels, restaurants, theme parks, and many other tourist hotspots to either close temporarily or for good.
What Can You Do?
Even though physical travel is almost impossible because of the prevailing pandemic, there are still a few ways you can enjoy those far off destinations. If you happen to be residing in the United States, then you are in luck because now you can travel to several places, albeit virtually, but something is better than nothing right. All you need is a high-speed internet connection like Spectrum internet, that gives you reliable speeds and with the help of Spectrum servicio al cliente, ensures minimum downtime. These are some of the ways you can enjoy your favourite destinations.
Augmented Reality Apps
Augmented reality has really changed everyone’s lives with its mesmerising and immersive capabilities. You can turn to the best augmented reality travel apps to get the best digital view of famous destinations.
The best part about travelling virtually is that there is no threat of COVID lurking on your head and you will get to experience these destinations as if you are actually there. All you need are the best VR Goggles and an app like Ascape VR, VeeR or Qantas, and the journey begins.
The Power of Google Street View
Google has made it abundantly clear that no matter what you need in your life, Google has an answer for it. This leads us to the amazing Google Street View. Even though you cannot use Google Maps to make your way to a famous monument or a popular food joint, you can still tour a lot of places using Google Street View.
Google Street View lets you visit famous tourist spots such as The Grand Canyon, the Stonehenge, Pena National Palace, with a simple tap on the screen. All you need to do is find your desired spot on the Google Map and drop the Street View pin on your location of choice, and you will be touring the world in no time.
For those of you who like to spend their free time in art galleries, museums, and exotic exhibition, you too can enjoy all those attractions from the comfort of your home. Different museums and exhibits are hosting online shows and exhibits for the world to see.
Places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum of London, The Metropolitan Opera, and many more are hosting live shows and/or exhibits for the fans to enjoy. You just need to search in the right direction and you will find a world of digital art and architecture.
A Visit to Your Favourite Theme Park
For those who enjoy a little more thrill and adrenaline in their lives, there is a digital way for you guys as well. You won’t be able to ride those blazing-fast roller coasters with complex twists and turns but you can still manage to make up for some of the excitement lost.
Many famous theme parks including the Walt Disney World Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and others are offering a virtual experience for you to indulge in. You can even visit zoos and aquariums like the San Diego Zoo and Georgia Aquarium.
Summing It Up
No one really knows when we will be truly free from the horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic. While life all over the globe has taken a drastic hit from this phenomenon, we will still find a way. Until then, we just have to make the best of what we have available.