COVID-19 to profoundly change the way we used to travel

COVID-19 to profoundly change the way we used to travel

By Prem Kumar

We have entered into a new world order brought in by COVID-19. In this new order, like many other walks of life, travel will also not remain the same. The shock of COVID-19 will limit the freedoms of travellers they had in the pre-COVID world. The existing norms of travelling will give ways to new norms. On a positive, responsible tourism will get a boost. 

Today we are living in a world that no one had imagined six months ago. COVID-19 has confined us to home. We have been forced to live indoor; lifestyles have taken an inward turn. Leave alone holidaying abroad or inside the country, we are not even able to meet our friends and relatives. If one has to venture out for some essential works, they have to tread very carefully with many precautions such as maintaining a physical distance.

Hopefully, the COVID-19 crisis will soon subside and lockdown will gradually be lifted and eased. Many governments have already started to ease restrictions imposed as measures to slow the spread of the virus. Once restrictions are eased, travelling for leisure and business are also expected to resume.

But the post-COVID-19 world will be completely different from the pre-COVID-19 world. For a much longer time, we may have to travel under the shadow of COVID-19, till the world developed its effective cure in the form of vaccines. We should be ready to face up to new reality, new world order and new normal. Besides screening for security, screening for detecting threat to public health will be standard practice. For travellers, the post COVID world will not be as kind-hearted as it was.   Domestic tourism, regional, intra-regional tourism, localisation, the restrained cross-border movement will be the order of the day. Globalisation and globetrotting will no longer be as fashionable as they used to be. The inward-looking world will discourage travelling and wanderlust of aspiring travellers will become causality.

Post COVID-19 world will see profound changes in the way travellers used to travel; the traditional concept of unrestrained travelling will no longer stay. The world will see new norms, new standards and new practices, all guided by the prevailing health considerations. Norms like social distancing will spoil the pleasure of holidaying. Travel may become just a ritual of going from one place to other, with little space for human and cultural interaction.  Mass tourism may be a passé or will take a longer time to regain its old glory. That will be good for the environment. Niche and responsible eco-tourism will get a new impetus. There would a new kind of love and relations between the globe and globetrotter.

The mighty shock of COVID-19 is also going to test resilience, patience and survival skills of travel companies. Leadership and persuasive skills of representative travel and tourism bodies and their leaders will also be tested. Such organisations are already under tremendous pressure from their members in the light of the COVID crisis and devastating impact on the sector.

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