Article written by Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. He currently serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Commerce and is a Global Member of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Economic recovery and the return of travel and tourism is underway due to climbing COVID-19 vaccination levels and the gradual reduction in government quarantine and testing requirements — and the recent Traveler Sentiment and Safety survey confirms it.
Nearly three-quarters of travelers (72 percent) have already taken their first multi-day domestic trip of the year, and 26 percent have already taken their first international multi-day trip of the year, according to the mid-summer Global Rescue survey of the most experienced travelers in the world.
Seven-out-of-10 survey-takers (76 percent) are “much less” or “less” concerned about travel health and safety for the last half of 2021 compared to 2020. When border closings are not an issue, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said popular or crowded destinations would prevent them from traveling. Nearly a quarter of survey-takers (24 percent) reported that a location having insufficient medical facilities would stop them from making a trip.
There needs to be predictability when it comes to pandemic protocols related to entering and departing countries. The regulations change quickly and often, with little advance public notice, and those practices prompt people to delay booking travel. These micro-economic impacts are emblematic of a larger challenge.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they would pay a “Pandemic Recovery Fee” to travel to poorer countries suffering from dramatically negative economic impacts caused by COVID-19. Of those willing to pay such a fee, 17 percent would pay between $51-$100, 14 percent up to $50, 12 percent between $101-$250, and five percent more than $250.
In the U.S. and Europe, where a substantial portion of the world’s wealth and GDP is generated, we can start traveling again and exporting the economic benefits of tourism to other countries dependent on our travelers. Collaboration among international health and government officials to get vaccines to those locations is smart, but we can also restart our travel with those countries to help them get out of their economic crises.
Half of respondents said they would travel internationally where possible, and more than a quarter (28 percent) said they would only travel domestically. Nineteen percent said they would take longer trips, and 21 percent said they would take advantage of discounts, deals and specials. Sixteen percent said they would only travel to places with modern health care facilities while 10 percent would take extra trips, and eight percent said they would take less expensive trips.
Traveler zest about the future of travel is rising to near pre-pandemic levels. But that alone won’t be enough for the global travel and tourism industry to recover from the economic damage caused by the pandemic. International governments must match, even exceed, traveler enthusiasm with institutional commitments to prevent another disease from causing so much damage. Business and government leaders must commit to advancing policies for new technology capable of disease detection.
Coronavirus is a disease spread by humans when we breathe, talk, cough or sneeze. The technology to noninvasively collect exhaled breath and then detect what disease people might be carrying has evolved from science fiction to science fact.
Dedicating global resources to prevent the spread of deadly diseases requires international cooperation. Travelers and travel industry leaders can support the creation of a dedicated international task force to track disease outbreaks. It’s a foundational element to include as part of the travel industry’s ability to minimize the impact of and recovery from a future pandemic.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/features/pandemic-protocols-that-could-lead-to-tourisms-recovery.html