Although UNWTO has calculated that 2020 will close with a 60 to 80% drop in international tourism, the countries that have better controlled the pandemic will have an important advantage when they open their borders
If there is a phrase that the health authorities have repeated to exhaustion, it has already been a new normal and therefore, the tourism that existed has changed. With the decision of many states in the world to open their borders and reactivate the activity in the short term, an enormous question mark arises, how the internal and external demand will react. Common sense indicates that those who have been able to better manage the pandemic will receive unprecedented consideration.
If we stop to review the progress of the pandemic in the different countries of the Americas, the continent has entered a delicate stage in some countries and more relieved for others. The United States and Brazil have had the greatest impact, both in terms of number of infections and deaths, so predicting how tourism demand will react there would be very bold.
Peru, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador make up a second group of countries where the pandemic has had a milder but equally strong advance and will surely have to demonstrate how they control the situation in the next three months with the application of the new protocols.
The rest of the countries are perhaps those with the greatest opportunity for the immediate future, especially those in Central America and the Caribbean where Covid-19 has remained at very low levels and even in some cases, has not generated deaths. . Without a doubt, these destinations will be able to offer tourism greater health security until we have the long-awaited vaccine among us.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Trust is the new currency of our” new normal “. And tourism is in an ideal position to be the vehicle to channel it. If people trust governments and the tourism sector to keep them safe from harm, they will actually travel as soon as they can. ”
“The outlook for the year has shrunk several times since the outbreak and uncertainty continues to dominate. Current scenarios point to possible declines in arrivals from 58% to 78% for the year. These depend on containment speed and duration of travel restrictions and border closures. The following scenarios for 2020 are based on three possible dates for the gradual opening of international borders. ”
The truth is that domestic demand is expected to recover faster than international demand. Most experts expect to see signs of recovery for the last quarter of 2020, but mostly in 2021. Based on past crises, leisure travel is expected to recover faster, especially travel for friends and family visiting businesses.
Estimates of the recovery of international travel are more positive in Africa and the Middle East, with most experts forecasting the recovery even in 2020.
Experts in the Americas are the least optimistic and least likely to believe in recovery in 2020, while in Europe and Asia Prospects are mixed, and half of experts expect to see a recovery within this year.
IATA accelerates reopening
With the cruise industry still out of business, international tourism depends more than ever on aviation. “Restarting air travel is important. Even as the pandemic continues, the foundation is being laid for an industry restart through close collaboration of the air transport industry with ICAO, WHO, individual governments and elsewhere. However, much work remains to be done. By committing to these principles, the world’s airline leaders will guide the safe, responsible and sustainable restart of our vital economic sector. Flying is our business. And it is the shared freedom of all, “said Alexandre de Juniac, CEO and CEO of IATA.
“Safety is always our top priority and that includes public health. Restoring air connectivity is vital to restart the global economy and reconnect people. Our layered approach to airport and airline recommended action safeguards public health while offering a hands-on approach to a gradual restart of operations. It is important to remember that the risk of transmission on board is very low. And we are determined that aviation will not be a major source of reinfection. We are continuously working with governments to ensure that the measures implemented are carried out in a consistent and scientifically supported manner. That is the key to restoring public confidence so that the benefits of restarting aviation safely can be obtained, ”said the official.