Why are the tourism industry and politicians struggling to allow consumers to travel during Covid times?
I’ve seen a lot of strange regulations over the past few months.
Quite a few restrictions have frustrated me, as I believe that it may be possible to let people travel safely as long as general infection rates stay low.
There are solutions to keep the risk low.
For example, it’s relatively easy to sell paperless tickets to attractions and activities online, which limits the total number of visitors per day. Then, to enforce social distancing rules, provide limited access at certain times by providing additional time slots.
And if a zoo in Cologne is able to do this, so should others. 😉
So there shouldn’t be any pictures online with visitors in very long queues as you are only allowed to show up when it’s your time to distance yourself socially and enjoy the attraction.
On the other hand, I think it’s important to strictly enforce restrictions as long as they make sense. If the local health system is struggling and the number of new infections is high, action should be taken.
As long as infection rates remain high, it is difficult to recommend travel to consumers.
But what if the infection rate remains low and high-risk groups have been vaccinated?
Then we should find ways to make this possible as we cannot let the tourism industry suffer much longer as the local economy and job security depend on it.
Not to mention the fact that consumers may have missed a much-needed vacation in 2020 and can’t wait to travel again. This can be seen in the numbers of expanded booking numbers and increased website traffic.
It seems like it’s just about testing and several times.
Plus, airlines and airports can work with government and health officials to provide quick test results to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.
These tests may not give the best reliable results, but they do add to a larger and safer situation. A bit more reassurance.
There is no point in locking tourists in a hotel room for 14 days upon arrival. I doubt tourists would like to do this. It doesn’t sound like a dream vacation situation and I wouldn’t do it.
Instead, allow guests access to all or part of the resort until the PCR tests are negative.
Hotel arrivals could be on specific days to allow hotel staff to participate in major deep cleaning sessions and to avoid past guests from mixing with newcomers.
Hotels can choose the desired arrival date. Limited packages could be sold to control manageable visitor numbers and could include a minimum stay of several nights.
Believe it or not, many tourists spend their vacations by the pool or relaxing on the beach.
I think many would still be interested in going abroad once they were clear about the extra steps required to travel.
3-4 tests can be carried out by guests:
– a PCR test before arrival, usually 48 hours before departure
– a quick test at the airport
– a PCR test on arrival
– and a PCR test after 4-5 days before leaving the resort
If all tests are negative, the risk becomes small and prevents Covid-19 from spreading further.
There is still a slim chance it can spread, but we shouldn’t forget that life itself is not 100% risk-free.
Washing hands, wearing a face mask, staying socially distant – all of these are still helping to reduce the spread of Covid. We shouldn’t forget that.
In such a situation, it would be possible to allow visitors outside the hotel and explore a destination after a few days. Here, too, you can define certain restrictions that should already be in place.
Destinations like the Seychelles, Barbados and Sri Lanka are good examples of this.
It may be easier for islands to manage arrivals, but I don’t understand why it isn’t possible for other destinations too.
It is very important that everyone obeys the rules.
The visitors and the companies have to play along!
The moment someone breaks the rules and refuses to follow instructions, a fine should be imposed as it is putting the entire operation at risk.
Have customers sign waivers so they are aware of the risk. If they break the rules, send them home, not allow a refund, get all additional costs plus a fine.
If a hotel, airline, or tour company doesn’t cooperate, shut down and add a fine.
Nobody forces someone to open up to business or travel. And when travel destinations and their politicians make it possible to travel again, everyone should appreciate this and play along to create a safe environment for everyone.
Vaccines are currently being administered in many countries. And we will also have to deal with Sars-CoV-2 in the future, especially when we are talking about international travel.
Communication is the key!
When we restarted the campaign to restore tourism with the UNWTO and Lanzarote in Spain, we received a lot of positive and interested feedback from travelers.
The demand for information was high. (Contact us if you are interested in the case study.)
Travelers wanted to learn about the various restrictions, not really in detail, but more so when it is safe to travel.
Do not report a post-Covid situation as it is not yet operational.
Show that traveling is safe and fun, even with additional rules and restrictions.
We should learn from the past and see what worked and adapt. Let’s stay sensible and respectful, and most importantly, stay safe.
Let us also remain realistic and do not create ridiculous rules, but are responsible for everyone.