Tourism Policy, Responses and Adaptions to the Coronavirus

 Tourism Policy, Responses and Adaptions to the Coronavirus

One of the hardest hit industries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic was undoubtedly the tourism industry. A perfect mix of all the things the pandemic encouraged us to avoid, such as travel and social contact, it was prime to be the first industry to face challenges. This was unfortunate in several respects, not only did tourism fund countless jobs across the globe, but it was also the primary source of income for many small countries.

The pandemic forced many companies based on tourism to close, including tourist attractions, hotels, and tourist services. The economic impact was sudden and significant, as travel bans were swiftly enacted and remaining potential tourists discouraged from traveling. Countries did their best to soften the impact, and many policies were soon launched to aid the struggling sector.

Supporting Tourism Based Companies

Countries that depended heavily on the tourism industry soon launched unique services to help them get by during the pandemic. Relief came in many forms, including low interest loans or disaster loans. Countries like the United States also implemented special COVID-19 response packages that covered a variety of industries, including companies in the tourism industry. For example, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CAREs) Act offered $2 trillion in financial aid to businesses across the country.

This financial support was essential for many companies as the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reduced customers, and therefore regular income. Without it, many hotels, airlines, and other tourism fueled companies would have been irreparably damaged by the financial strain of the pandemic.

Lifting Travel Bans When Possible

After months of social distancing and stay at home measures, some countries have been able to significantly reduce or completely extinguish their active cases. For example, New Zealand has already been able to recover from and eliminate their COVID-19 cases twice. Countries who have experienced similar success have reopened their boarders to travelers from particular, recovered areas.

While this may not be an ideal situation, and many travelers are still discouraged from engaging in tourist trips, it has enabled some tourism companies to find minimum success. For example, in countries like Singapore, travelers were often made to stay at hotels during their two week quarantine period upon arrival.

Attracting Travelers & Rebuilding Reputation

The next step in helping the tourism industry recover is attracting new travelers and rebuilding their trust in tourism companies. As previously mentioned, many tourists were put off from traveling after they learnt about the COVID-19 illness. Attracting more travelers after the pandemic subsides will likely entail things like increased sanitation measures, less dense or crowded facilities, and more touch-free options or technologies.

To be more effective and compelling to potential tourists, it would be beneficial if countries enacted national changes in regulations and hospitality policies. These measures have already taken place on a temporary basis because of the pandemic, but permanent changes are also important for a more permanent and long-term impact on public perception.

Tourism in the Future

Only time will tell the lasting impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry and its policies, but after months of enduring the pandemic, we have a fair understanding to work with. Tourism in the future will surely be more focused on catching and preventing the spread of other potential outbreaks, as well as proactively preparing to face outbreaks as they occur in terms of financial support.

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