Covid-129: Travel faces a rein­ven­tion

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Jill Grant

What can we ex­pect and how will travel be dif­fer­ent when we find our­selves on the other side of Covid-19? A well-pub­li­cised pa­per from Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don has de­scribed the pandemic as “a unique crisis prompt­ing gov­ern­ment re­ac­tion to the threat posed to their health ser­vices”, It also goes on to say that “gov­ern­ments may need to turn lock­down mea­sures on and off in or­der to keep de­mands on health care sys­tems at a man­age­able level.”

Do­mes­tic travel with no bor­der con­trols will be the first sec­tor to re­turn. New Zealand’s ac­com­mo­da­tion and ser­vice providers, ac­cus­tomed to cater­ing to the now-ab­sent in­bound mar­ket, would do well to con­sider of­fer­ing ‘res­i­dent rates’ to lure lo­cal Kiwis and get some traf­fic through their doors. Neigh­bour­ing coun­tries like Aus­tralia may be next to join our ‘bub­ble’ when both coun­tries get on top of the virus.

If 2020 sees many con­fined to home, spend­ing a lot of time in­doors, 2021 could be the op­po­site with people get­ting ac­tive, cy­cling and walk­ing. Out­door ac­tive trav­ellers have less ne­ces­sity to so­cially dis­tance them­selves as their play­ground is na­ture rather than the crush­ing crowds and queues at busy stores, pop­u­lar tourist spots and re­sorts. Lucky for them, des­ti­na­tions less touristed are their do­main.

Af­ter liv­ing through a global pandemic, the trav­eller will want more re­as­sur­ance. Num­ber one would be a vac­cine which is bound to hap­pen some time in the fu­ture.

How­ever, new tech­nol­ogy is be­ing tri­aled by Eti­had Air­ways in con­junc­tion with an Aus­tralian com­pany to help iden­tify trav­ellers with med­i­cal con­di­tions. Po­ten­tially it tracks ear, tem­per­a­ture, heart rate and res­pi­ra­tory rate of any per­son at an air­port touch point such as a check-in fa­cil­ity, bag drop, im­mi­gra­tion gate etc… The sys­tem will au­to­mat­i­cally sus­pend those ser­vices if a pas­sen­ger’s vi­tal signs in­di­cate sus­pected symp­tons of ill­ness. On hand will be qual­i­fied staff or tele­con­fer­enc­ing to make

Jill is an Auck­land based jour­nal­ist and pho­tog­ra­pher fur­ther as­sess­ments and man­age trav­ellers as ap­pro­pri­ate.

It will be so­cially un­ac­cept­able to travel with a cold or signs of ill­ness. Cough­ing or sneez­ing at an air­port or on a plane will be frowned upon. Trav­eller packs of sani­tis­ers, wipes and face masks will be the norm.

With three quar­ters of the world’s air­lines’ liv­ery parked, seats on flights will be at a pre­mium un­til they recom­mence sched­ules to pre-2020 lev­els.

The hu­man el­e­ment helped many trav­el­ers through the mine­field of can­celling and post­pon­ing travel ar­range­ments. The crisis has shown how im­por­tant the role of a per­sonal travel agent to talk to and en­gage with is at a time when air­lines and gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion changed the rules adopt­ing credit vouch­ers in­stead of re­funds.

You may ex­pect a travel in­sur­ance pol­icy to cover all con­tin­gen­cies be­fore and dur­ing travel how­ever none in­clude cover for an epi­demic and pandemic.

Whether we will ex­pe­ri­ence an­other crisis like this in our life­time is ar­guable, how­ever the re-emer­gence of travel for all its’ pur­poses will hap­pen, just dif­fer­ently.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.