5 Ways the Tourism Industry Can Recover After Coronavirus

Few industries have been hit as hard during the coronavirus pandemic as tourism. The total lockdown enacted in many areas and the risk of catching the virus on public transport have decimated flights, and seen many holidays cancelled as a safety precaution. With the lockdown being eased in many countries, however, people are starting to look to the future.

With the summer rapidly approaching and many people longing for a getaway, the tourism industry should be due a massive boom. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will linger for some time, however, and tourism businesses - and the industry at large - will have to adapt if they are to recover. Here are just a few changes they might need to make to lure people back in numbers and ensure that they can holiday safely.

Focus on ‘staycations’

While people are being allowed to return to work and businesses locally, international travel is likely to be restricted for some time. With the requirement for social distancing still in place, air travel is not seen as economical; and if flights do return, it is likely that prices will rise. Throw in the glorious weather that Europe has been experiencing recently, and it may be that our usual holidays stay on hold for a little bit longer.

Related article: Restarting A Holiday Rentals Business After Coronavirus

As such, the tourism industry may need to refocus slightly, and cater to people looking for ‘staycations’ - in other words, holidays in their own country. What this means for you will depend on your business and location: if you are part of a resort or other area that usually attracts foreign tourists, this may require significant rebranding and a sustained marketing campaign. If you’re a smaller business or one less reliant on foreign visitors, you may simply be able to offer certain perks or use different platforms to find new customers.

Play up exclusivity

It’s likely that international travel will be less popular in the wake of the virus, and that attractions and tourist destinations will have to place hard limits on the number of guests and visitors they can accept. There is an easy way to reframe this, however: exclusivity. If your resort can only accept half or quarter the usual number of people, this should be seen as a selling point, and a way to experience a location without the usual crowds.

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While this shouldn’t be an excuse to jack up prices to an exorbitant degree, an element of this is almost unavoidable and probably expected, given that the industry needs to make its money back somewhere. And with many people saving money during the pandemic due to not having to travel to work, this may be a surprisingly easy sell.

Prepare and protect

One of the major differences that will affect tourism going forwards is the need to be wary about our health. From rentals businesses to ice cream stands, we will all have to be more vigilant about hygiene, and instigate rules to protect customers in and around our premises. The measures you take should be informed by government policy, but you may even want to go above and beyond this if people are reluctant to travel.

Related article: Best business apps for remote working during Coronavirus

As well as instigating and advertising your infection controls, it may also be an idea to show how your local area has reacted and prepared. Just as many people with health conditions already checked local hospitals and healthcare facilities before travelling, many more people may be wary of this after COVID-19. It may pay to include these details in your adverts, and make guests or customers aware of the options available to them should they need treatment.

Improve insurance plans

While there are things individual businesses can do to reassure people, the threat of a resurgence in the virus is likely to loom large over the tourism industry. Many holidaymakers will remain concerned about the virus, and what will happen if they contract it while they are abroad. The prospect of being isolated in an unfamiliar place and potentially having to go to the hospital could be a scary one, and something which will put people off.

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While it will help to evidence your plans and those of the local area, the industry has to grapple with a bigger issue: that of insurance and contingency plans. While rental businesses will have to cater to the prospect of people self-isolating in their properties (should they become unwell), the insurance industry and travel companies will have to band together to provide cover for the coronavirus, and ensure that people get the treatment and support they need. Without this guarantee, international holidays could be severely compromised for some time yet.

Ride the wave

There will likely be high demand for tourism after the coronavirus lockdown has lifted more widely, as people seek to resume delayed or cancelled holiday plans, and seek some relaxation after tetchy months indoors. While the destinations and format of those plans may differ, there should nonetheless be a clamour for travel, and you should look to take advantage of this, without shirking your responsibility to keep people safe.

If you are usually reliant on one platform for bookings, it may be worth casting your net a bit wider. You might also want to look at your stock; you may have plenty stockpiled from the lockdown, but if you deal in perishable goods, you might want to consider a surplus. Similarly, you should also think about how demand might have changed. It’s possible that certain items or activities will be less popular or more popular, depending on the perceived risk of catching the virus from them.

While this has been an extremely challenging period, there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel, and you should be ready to capitalise. It may require some creativity and some structural changes to keep people safe, but the end of the lockdown presents an opportunity that the tourism industry shouldn’t waste. With luck and no small amount of effort, people can resume relaxing on holiday without having to worry about COVID-19.

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