Covid-19 has changed almost every aspect of our lives in the most unexpected ways, from how we interact with friends down to how we will travel in the future. It appears like we’re going to make some adjustments once we’re allowed to travel again.
As early as now, we’re already seeing how the pandemic is shifting the industry as we know it, with countries requiring visitors to submit a pre-departure negative Covid-19 test and also do a mandatory quarantine upon arrival depending on the country. Some may not even allow for entry into the country unless there’s proof of vaccination.
Airline companies have been hit hard too, suffering from massive losses due to the sharp drop in the demand for air travel.
Singapore’s tourism industry is no exception as well. Travel companies and local tourism businesses have been getting creative to come up with ways to bear the brunt of the pandemic.
Even as the worldwide vaccination campaign ramps up, it seems like it may still take some time before we can safely explore and hop on a plane again. One thing’s for sure, though: travelling isn’t going to be how it was before, at least for a while.
Today, I’d like to share what I think the travel industry will look like as the whole world continues to battle the pandemic.
When will the travel industry bounce back?
You may be wondering when we will be able to safely travel for leisure again. I believe that’s a question that nobody can give an accurate answer to yet.
The good news is, the travel industry is slowly getting back on its feet. We’ve seen that domestic travel has resumed in some countries, while others have partially reopened their borders to select international visitors.
It’s hard to speculate when the travel industry will make its full recovery given the unpredictable nature of the virus. Right now, we’re facing the threat of multiple Covid-19 variants too, so the situation can change in a matter of weeks.
Based on the current travel guidelines in most countries, I’m certain that fully vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries will be the first ones in line to travel (or those from countries that have managed to get the pandemic under control.)
Fortunately, Singapore is considered a low-risk territory by many countries, which can help our local tourism recover faster. It’s on track to hit the vaccination numbers needed for herd immunity too.
Here are the changes we can expect once we’re allowed to travel again.
1. Passports won’t be enough
In the era of post-Covid-19 travel, you’ll have to carry more than just your passport.
If you want to travel overseas, proof that you’re fully vaccinated will be required for entry and to be exempt from mandatory quarantine. Some countries are currently following this, such as Canada, South Korea, France, Germany, and other EU nations.
If proof of vaccination isn’t required for entry, then you may be subjected to a mandatory 2-week quarantine.
The truth is, some countries wouldn’t risk allowing someone to enter without any form of immunity. That’s the policy commonly observed in international travel today, and I believe that’s not likely to change soon.
Some countries have a preference for types of vaccines too. For example, you may be denied entry if you’ve received a vaccine that’s not recognised by the country of your destination, or may even have to serve longer stay home notices.
However, if you’re travelling for business purposes, you’ll need proof that your visit is strictly for economic purposes. Besides proof of vaccination, you may need to prepare other documents to prove you’re a business traveller as well.
2. Expect longer lines at the airport
Given that we’ve had to put our travel plans on hold over the past year, I’m sure that most of us can’t wait to book that ticket and hop on a plane at the earliest day possible.
I know that the excitement would lead to a huge surge of ecstatic travellers lining up at the airport, which we’ve seen in countries that seem to have the outbreak under control.
One thing you’re going to see at airports are queues that don’t seem to end, as travellers wait in line to show proof of vaccination and go through a series of health and security checks.
If you prefer being early on the day of your flight, you may need to be at the airport 4 to 6 hours earlier just to be sure!
3. Travel will have off-seasons
According to research, countries may have to adjust their lockdown measures back and forth to allow room for healthcare systems to breathe.
Due to multiple Covid-19 variants, countries that had managed to control the outbreak previously may suddenly find themselves going into lockdown. Some countries are even returning to lockdown currently, so it’s likely that travel may have unpredictable seasons.
This means that the windows of opportunity for travel could only last for weeks or even days. While we may be allowed to travel at a certain point, our situation and that of our destination can change easily within weeks.
That’s certainly what’s happening in the US and Israel right now. These countries were able to partially lift mask mandates and are now experiencing another surge in cases.
Travel restrictions will surely affect how we travel in the future, so keeping yourself updated and adaptive is the only way to make efficient travel plans.
4. Limited destination options
There’s no doubt that countries around the world have different ways of handling the pandemic.
Some have successfully managed to curb the spread of the virus, while others are still struggling.
That said, some countries and regions will recover and reopen their borders to travellers faster than others.
There’s a chance that the country you’ve been planning to visit may not accept travellers or be safe enough for travel by the time other regions reopen, so you’ll need to be open to making other travel plans.
Based on the travel trends today, western countries such as the US and UK have been the first ones to allow international travellers, which can be a costly venture if you’re from the other side of the world.
5. Travellers will pack differently
There may be a bit of good news that comes with these changes too, especially if you’ve never been a light packer.
Travellers will have to include more masks and hand sanitisers in their luggage as safety and health precautions are here to stay.
As people fill their bags with hand sanitisers, we may finally see airlines relaxing their restrictions on liquid carry-ons. Another airline adjustment we have to get used to is the mandatory wearing of face masks throughout the entire flight.
After all, most countries still have mask mandates, so packing an extra box of face masks will definitely come in handy.
Want help in your future travels?
As a frequent traveller yourself, how do you think the pandemic will shape the future of the travel industry? Whatever the challenges that may arise, we at Monster Day Tours will be ready for them!
If you’re itching to travel locally in the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me! Together, let’s help Singapore’s tourism industry recover!