Effects on Global Travel and Tourism from Covid-19
By Elena Rudnitzky
Traveling - one of the most significant during the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course, people are eager to go out and visit family or explore new places, especially when restrictions have caused us to be locked up in our homes. However, is it worth it to be traveling when there is the possibility of putting other people in harm's way?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to warn avid travelers that travel highly increases your chances of spreading Covid-19 and that the safest way to protect yourself and others is to stay home. Many aspects of travelling such as flights and airports confine people in a tight space causing the virus to spread faster. This issue is especially apparent on flights where it is impossible to wear masks for the entire duration of an 8+ hour flight because of breakfast and lunch, where you would have to remove your mask to eat.
For reasons like this, many popular countries have placed travel bans for U.S. citizens attempting to enter the country, such as most of Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand), many European countries (Germany, Spain, Greece, Poland, France), and Canada. Travel is discouraged in all of these countries and most of these bans will be in place up until late June 2021, while countries in Southeast Asia may even be reopening as late as July as stated by Afar Travel Guides. The few popular countries of travel, such as Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, the Caribbean, Central America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India, have lifted their travel bans.
While this ban of tourism ultimately helps curb the spread of Covid-19, the tourism and hospitality industries around the world seem to be suffering from it. An article published by The Baltimore Sun goes in depth on how so many tourism and hospitality industries are impacted and resulting in shutdowns. Normally, in the U.S., this industry generates billions of dollars worth of visitor spending and tax revenue and is even the nation's second-largest export, while single-handedly generating over 8 million jobs. In recent data, experts have gone on a limb to predict a total economic loss of $1.2 trillion in 2020. Some of these businesses are often only seasonal businesses, and are now in panic having to face the long and uncertain winter. Businesses are torn between the moral choice of keeping their workers and customers safe or opening and increasing sales but creating risk of Covid-19 spread.
If you are going to ignore the ongoing pandemic and still choose to travel for personal reasons, I believe that the least you can do is take minimum precautions. These precautions could include wearing masks in any public place or on transportation, and maintaining a six foot distance from other people. Additionally, try to take advantage of public bathrooms by washing and sanitizing your hands as often as possible while on the run and don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth until you have scrubbed your hands for at least 20 seconds. Carrying tissues or a napkin for pressing buttons and holding handrails is also a good idea for extra safety. Before you go anywhere, you should research the Covid-19 cases in the area or country you’re planning to visit and try to attempt to avoid areas where cases are higher. With all of this in mind, remember that the pandemic will be over soon if you continue to cooperate and you will still have plenty of time in the upcoming years to travel after it’s finally safe to do so and doesn’t put others at risk.