How is the coronavirus crisis affecting tourism in the long term? Where will we travel to when the crisis is over? These are the questions DW asked Ulf Sonntag from NIT.
Deutsche Welle: The World Tourism Organization predicts that the number of international travelers will drop from 1.4 billion to 1 billion. Have we ever witnessed a great decline like this?
Ulf Sonntag: No, we have never witnessed one of this kind before. It’s not even certain whether the number of international travelers will reach the estimates of the UNWTO.
In Germany, people are seriously discussing the summer holiday. Do you think all of us will sit at home this year?
The political framework conditions will determine everything, and these are very hard to predict. It seems that the political decision-makers are prepared to restore tourism to its normal state. Also, some scenarios are focusing on conditions that could make tourist businesses and gastronomy reopen. We hope to see the first shoot of domestic tourism before the end of May. But no one can say when the governments will allow us to step outside the borders again.
After all, various suggestions keep coming from different places. For example, the German Baltic and North Sea resorts are suggesting the practice of occupying every second hotel bed as a way to reduce the population in each hotel. Italy is proposing to separate restaurant tables and beach chairs with plexiglass boxes. Are these practices realistic?
We must follow every rule of social distancing until medical experts find a vaccine against the coronavirus. So it’s necessary to have such game plans. How can we reduce the number of people in a confined space? We can do that by renting out only every second room or by distancing one another on the beach. These examples reveal how innovative efforts are attempting to save the endangered tourism industry.
Let’s project into the future. A lot of people talk about the time when we will have full freedom to travel again. What are the conditions we need to have in place before people can travel without restriction?
Borders will open only after everything returns to the normal state. At first, we require an effective treatment or a vaccine against coronavirus.
Will there be some changes in people’s travel behavior or their travel behavior will be just like it used to be before the pandemic?
Tourism is part of our daily living, so everyone will be glad to travel again. Although, the economic crisis that follows will determine the extent to which people will travel. Also, if you are a poor student who would love to get any assistance, and not to stay at home for the college duties but traveling you can let essay writers know about it to help you with the obstacles and difficulties in your papers.
However, it’s hard to tell whether people’s travel attitude will change or remain as it was before the pandemic.
There is hope that local tourism will reopen before a coronavirus vaccine or treatment is available, but international tourism can’t reopen until then. People will be happy to travel once again when things are back to normal, but it’s hard to predict whether their travel attitude will change or not.