The tourism sector is one of the world’s sectors that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are moving towards a new world and paradigm change that we are yet to understand. The coronavirus crisis has proved the extent to which human beings are fragile and the fact that their activities and planning can be changed within a short time. For countries that rely heavily on the tourism sector, the gross domestic product has gone down significantly, and this presents the need to engage in recovery plans. This article highlights how this industry can recover, from the point of view of support by three participants, the government, hotel industry, and travel agents.
Government Support. The (World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has laid down and released a series of recommendations requiring strong and urgent support to help the tourism sector to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The government can ensure liquidity, support the workers, and promote skills development. This can be achieved through a review of tax charges relating to tourism and travel. The financial stimulus to accelerate recovery may be achieved by establishing favorable tax policies, supporting visa facilitation, building consumer confidence, and boosting marketing. For example, to market the tourism industry locally, the government can provide free transport to nearby parks and allow the tourists to pay park entry fees only. For international tourists, the customers may have their park entry fees highly discounted.
Organized Medical Response
Hotel Industry Support. What is commonly being referred to as the “new normal" may eventually be a common norm in the long-run. The customers need to feel at ease during theirstay in the hotels. This may call for the hotels to be flexible in its policy guidelines and implementation that can see customers wanting to come back. For instance, improving hygiene by the provision of sanitization facilities creates an environment where customers feel safe.
Hand washing in a Hotel
The cancellation policies can be updated and probably eliminated for some time until the situation normalizes. The hotels also need to upgrade their rooms to create a friendly working environment without necessarily overcharging the customers. Additionally, flexibility in check-in- and check-out times may help to minimize unnecessary congestion during hotel clearance.
Travel Agents’ support. The collaboration between the hotels and travel agents is critical for the recovery of the tourism sector. The travel agents may institute security measures for their customers by organizing for private transport, with proper sanitation, throughout the vacation season. The agents should go the extra mile to train their staff about the symptoms of COVID-19 or have medical personnel in all the vehicles, who can handle any medical emergencies. It would also be necessary to offer discounted and affordable vacations for customers to encourage more travel.
The recovery of the tourism industry calls for collaborative efforts among the key players: the government, hotels, and travel agents. The government can provide the initial financial stimulus to boost the industry and build customer confidence. On the other hand, hotels and travel agents need to focus on flexibility measures, hospitality, and customer security.