Covid-129: Travel faces a reinvention
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.