Tourism’s Recovery Post Pandemic

This is the final segment of our three-part series on COVID 19 and the tourism industry. You can read parts 1 and 2 here. 
The tourism industry lost approximately $1.3 trillion in 2020. The shelter-in-place orders caused hotels and tourism agencies to shut down and the industry came to an unprecedented halt.
The first question that comes to mind is will Tourism and Hospitality ever recover? To that our answer is yes! Experts believe that the road to recovery will be long and difficult but the industry will bounce back to its full potential.
Since the loss was so great, it will be some time before we can expect large profits and a booming labour market once again.
There are a few different perspectives to consider when talking about a recovering industry. In this article we will look at the Tourism and Hospitality industry’s recovery from three angles:

  • Increase in Demand from the 2020 Levels 

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there was a 40% increase in international travel during May-August 2021. This increase is from the 2020 levels, which is still an average of 63% lower than in 2019 and earlier years.
The third quarter (Q3) of 2021 should see a sudden increase in travel since most developed countries would have reached herd immunity by then.

  • Recovery of Tourism and Hospitality to pre-COVID-19 levels 

Based on the previous crisis, especially the 2009 financial crisis, we can expect the industry to reach its pre-COVID levels in 3 years. Hence expert predictions put this recovery around Q2 of 2023 or in 2024 for different countries.
But since the economic situation of 2021 is much worse than it was in 2009, recovery could take longer. UNWTO estimates that the tourism and hospitality industry will not return to their pre-pandemic levels before 2024.

  • Recovery of Tourism and Hospitality: The best-case scenarios

According to Euler Hermes Global experts, if the European Union (EU) can come up with a functional vaccine passport model and the counties unite to create a data system to track new variants and transmission, then the region will likely see a 55% rise in tourist activity by 2024.
For comparison, this number was 51% in 2019.
In mid to late 2020, experts were predicting that international travel will resume once the people were vaccinated, but that scenario is unlikely now because of economic recession and lack of travellers’ confidence.

In Conclusion

Some people have classified 2020 as the worst year ever for the Tourism and Hospitality industry with a drop in international travel by 73%. Recovery from the blow of the pandemic is not likely to be easy, nor quick.
As working professionals with years of experience in this field, it can be difficult to look at the bright side of things when the market is down. But you can make the most out of this situation by advancing your expertise and upscaling your career.
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