Global Travel Industry in COVID-19 Times

Rahul Jolly - 09.20.2021

Seeking new places and new experiences are essential parts of our lives. These became more accessible and more affordable to people as the Travel & Tourism industry flourished pre-Covid19. 

Before COVID-19, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reported the global Travel & Tourism being responsible for 10% (US$9 trillion) of the world’s GDP, employing more than 300 million individuals, and creating 1 out of 4 new jobs globally in 2019. This global industry has been a crucial driver of economic development for many developing nations, providing locals a steady source of income and livelihood. 

But like other global industries, the global Travel & Tourism industry currently grapples with the impact of COVID-19. 

Economic Impact of Virus Control

To manage the pandemic, governments across the world locked borders and restricted people’s movement and economic activities in 2020.The global Travel & Tourism industry lost over US$4 trillion with domestic visits down to 45% and international travel cut by 69%, according to the WTTC. Its global GDP share was halved and over 62 million people became jobless. Across regions, economies largely dependent on tourism revenues bore the brunt of these losses. 

In May 2021, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported that Asia Pacific, a top tourism haven, suffered a 95% decrease in international visits, followed by the Middle East (82%) and Europe (81%). In my current home base Philippines, overall Travel & Tourism income got slashed by US$37 billion, resulting in thousands of jobs and livelihood lost. As of writing, UNWTO reports travel and tourism activity down to 82% worldwide. 

COVID-19 impact on the Airline and Hospitality Sectors

Before COVID-19, airline travel bridged diverse cultures and people through more than 47,000 routes. But as travel and tourist activities were suspended, the number of cancelled flights and “Ghost Flights” soared, and a third of flight routes ceased.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted a slim rise in 2021 as vaccinations continue to roll. A guarded forecast, with the snowball of losses expected to grow to over US$ 47 billion. Indeed, IATA reports that the rise in passenger flights in May 2021 has been dogged by a new surge of outbreaks, vaccination delays, and renewed travel restrictions. At present, carriers keep mostly to cargo and transport services for vaccines, and other essential medical supplies and equipment. In addition, travel restrictions and flight cancellations mean occupancy rates and profitability among hotels, BnBs, and other hospitality-related services have been severely mowed down. 

Runway for Recovery

These realities underline the gravity of our crisis. But these also affirm the critical role of the global Travel & Tourism industry in reviving economies and businesses to benefit people and nations alike. Authorities like UNWTO and IATA forecast rebound at the latter part of 2021 or first part of 2022. Recent data also points domestic travel and leisure travel as main streams for recovery. And although these streams may be flowing slowly, they are steady.

Recent trends should taste sweet for the industry, but ill-prepared companies may find themselves facing the wrath of a cohort of leisure-focused vacationers who might already be struggling to keep up with new travel protocols.

Key Actions :

  • Bring back capacity
  • Invest innovatively to improve the entire customer journey
  • Reimagine commercial approach & pricing
  • Build trust & extensive communication

Even as new virus variants emerge, science is keeping up with breakthroughs. Aggressive vaccination programs and government provisions for businesses are out. Hybrid operations leveraging cloud-based remote work solutions like Teleperformance Cloud Campus are becoming the norm. Nations across regions are deploying travel bubbles and incentives to spur safe travel. 

The critical path to recovery works by harmonizing physical and digital ecosystems to safeguard people’s Health & Safety and restore their confidence to take trips again. 

AI-based, Machine Learning-integrated solutions like TP Digital Assistant and TP Recommender transform contact-intensive, time-consuming transactions to faster, more personal, and adaptive interactions for airline customers. TP Travel : Our Fare calculation product based on artificial intelligence invention platform that reduces operational costs and retail losses for our clients. Our global operating model and remote work using TP Cloud Campus ensures sustainable service delivery and employees’ well-being. 

As the partner-of-choice for several of the world’s leading travel and hospitality brands, Teleperformance is resolute that the global Travel & Tourism industry can go further. Because in this industry, sky is the limit. And with TP, you know your brand is ready to soar higher and farther.

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