Impact of COVID-19 on International travel

The perspective of impact of covid-19 on international travel   

 Welcome  

Dear reader,  

Hello and welcome to our blog! In this blog we would like to tell you about our perspective of impact of covid-19 on international level and give you all the necessary information related to the topic and our experience in particular.   

Who we are  

Since we are talking about the pandemic and its impact on the travel industry, let us briefly tell you who we are and why this topic has such an important role in our lives. We are Alina and Lara, two 3rd year International Hospitality Management students, currently studying International Relations as one of our minors.  

Image from NHL Senden Thailand website. Source: NHL Stenden

We both come from different countries, have different backgrounds and cultures but passion for hospitality is one thing we have in common. Our interest in hospitality and desire to study the field brought us to the Netherlands. We have been exploring the world of Hospitality Management for almost 3 years and keep looking for new information to broaden our horizons. Since we are studying International relations at the moment, we have to consider everything that affects our industry on international level, what events impact it all over the world and how it is related to International Relations. We have learned a lot of new things throughout this minor and really excited to tell you more since travel industry all over the world is directly linked to our field.  

Travel industry and its importance 

  

It is not a secret that travel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world, think of something and it is definitely related to the industry, people move around the world all the time. We visit other cities, countries, continents for different reasons; some of us want to explore new things and experience new cultures, others travel for business purposes, some people want to become specialists and go abroad to study, some of us visit family and friends in other countries, the list can go on and on.  

This image presents top reasons to travel Source: Hospitality school 

 

As you can see, travelling is very important for us, people. Moreover, it has an essential role in economy of countries worldwide. It is crucial for a country’s GDP and its local economy. Millions of people work in the field all over the world, that provides millions jobs and contributes to overall development. In addition, some countries and regions like The Caribbean islands, Maldives, Seychelles etc. rely on the travel and tourism industry.  

This year has been a good example of how important it is for everyone in the world to have access to travel. Speaking from our own experience, we can tell that being a student abroad during the pandemic is very hard. One of us could not travel back home and was stuck in the Netherlands for over a year and had to go through a lot of procedures to go home when it was possible again. Most of the people we know, had similar problems, the pandemic caused a lot of changes in the travel industry. 

History of the Virus 

To give you more inside knowledge, we will briefly introduce the history of COVID-19. Since late 2019 the world has experienced a drastic discovery of a deadly disease to all of us. Not only deadly but also high transmissible. This virus later was diagnosed and called as SARS-CoV-2 virus (WHO,2021).  

May 15, 2020, Wuhan, file photo, people line up for medical workers to take swabs for the coronavirus test (First Corona case was spotted in Wuhan, China). Source: The Indian EXPRESS 

 

This virus when infecting other people, these will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without the need of special treatment. However, this disease can also turn around and generate serious adverse effects that can require immediate medical attention. These cases are often amongst the elderly people or those underlying serious medical conditions such as respiratory failures, diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease. Eventhough it is not frequent that this happens to the younger generation, it has been studied and observed that at this stage anyone can get infected with COVID-10 and subsequently die at any age. For many months, researchers, doctors, specialists have been trying to fulfil a full diagnose following by a global shutdown. Since then, a worldwide pandemic has been called. Since January 2020, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of International Concern where adopted laws and restrictions had to be taken into place.  

Ongoing situation 

It has been since late 2020 that the World Health Organization has stated over 4.92 million losses and 290 million cases worldwide. Fortunately, with the early introduction of studied solution, possible vaccinations urged the need of vaccinating people in order to control and hopefully eliminate the virus. At late stages of 2020 several vaccines have been approved and therefore the initiation of mass vaccination in several countries was introduced (WHO,2021). 

Unprecedented covid impacts in other industries 

As tourism is one of the major industries in the world, it is the third largest export category and therefore up to late 2019 occupied 7% of the global trade rate. Therefore, tourism supports 1 in 10 jobs and provides livelihood to many million others. Due to the appearance of this disease, this industry experienced a fall on their revenue as well as the ability to stay open and present service to guests. Since then, covid has impacted us all, from our livelihood to financial statements, to entertainment and more. Since mid 2020, many jobs were seen at risk not just from tourism but also from the labour-intensive accommodation and food services such as restaurants. The categories in risk rely on women who currently occupy 54% of the industry as well as youth and workers in the informal economy (Who,2021). 

Impact in travel 

For many consecutive years, the travel sector has experienced an exponential growth by declaring then as one of the fastest growing economic sectors globally. By claiming a 59% growth over 10 years in international tourism from 1.5 billion in 2019 comparing to 888 million in 2009. Since mid 2021, this sector was seen forced to close its boarders and ban international travel. Countries all over the over introduced restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. Airport closures, suspension on incoming or outgoing flights and nation-wide lockdowns were the new life for societies. After the first wave of the pandemic, it was recorded that at least 93% of the global population lived in a covid related restriction countries making it a total of 3 billion people residing in countries where covid restrictions were introduced (Aref,2021). 

The number of international travelers has suffered a major decline of 22% in Q1 and 65% in the half of 2020.  

  

Latest news and restrictions 

As we all know from the latest news, the impact of the COVID outbreak has ravaged the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Countries around the world are still fighting the deadly virus, but communities and industries are trying to rebuild and recover from the crisis. It is obvious that the travel industry’s revival will be difficult and time consuming. 

Several nations saw a 99 percent drop in bookings on popular lodging sites like Airbnb, Expedia, and Booking.com during the peak of the lockdown measures in the world compared to 2019. 

 Many countries and regions have implemented quarantines, entry bans, or other restrictions for inhabitants of or recent visitors to the most impacted areas as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. [1] Other governments and areas have implemented worldwide travel restrictions that apply to all foreign countries and territories, or have made it illegal for their residents to travel internationally. The travel restrictions have harmed the tourism business in terms of lost revenue, as well as harmed those who were unable to travel due to family obligations or other reasons. Many people are anticipated to resume traveling once the travel bans are lifted. 

Probably most of us already have some experience travelling during the pandemic, as you may know, most countries closed their borders and went under complete lockdown. When the situation got better, some people were allowed to travel but certain restrictions were still in place.  

People had to keep 1.5m distance, wear a face mask and gloves, get tested for COVID-19 etc. At the moment, those restrictions still must be followed.  

Some countries are going back to normal, but it is not easy to recover from an epidemic. As we found out, currently, when travelling to another country, it is mandatory to prove that a person was vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19, in addition, some countries are still in red zone and you can enter only if you are a citizen or have a valid reason to cross the border.  

Since both of us travel quite often, we definitely had to face those difficulties.  

 

Schiphol airport 2020.                                Source: REUTERS 

 

 As it can be concluded, COVID-19 has caused a lot of changes in the world and travel industry suffered the most, we have to get used to the new normal but hopefully we all can back to travelling and exploring the world very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

References 

https://www.unwto.org/tourism-and-covid-19-unprecedented-economic-impacts 

 

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus 

 

https://infomineo.com/covid-19-impacted-travel-tourism-industry/ 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic 

 

 

 

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