The impact of COVID-19 on the world economy and industries is a thing to be taking seriously. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality and tourism sector accounted for about 12% of global GDP and more than 450 million jobs globally. This pandemic has put many jobs in this travel industry at risk (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2021). To cushion the damages done by COVID-19, several restrictions were put in place.
This decision has a huge impact on travelers, hotels, restaurants and the hospitality business globally. Their revenues dwindled, and many people were put out of jobs. We will look at how the travel and hospitality industry was affected by the pandemic and solutions to help cushion the effects of this health crisis on the travel and hospitality sector. This piece will also discuss how we can easily adapt to COVID-19 and anticipate future crises, as well as the major effects of this crisis on the sector.
How the hospitality and travel industry has been impacted by Covid -19?
Foreign travel has increased by 3% in this second year, with a billion fewer than pandemic levels. It is believed by experts from the World Trade Center that this industry won’t fully recover till the second quarter of 2025. The revenues of aviation and hospitality firms have been plunged by around 65% when compared to pre-pandemic time (International Air Travel and Tourism Council, 2021).
These statistics show that unless things improve in this sector, about $3 trillion in revenue will be lost and more than 60 million people put out of jobs. (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2020.) Aside from the human loss, which can’t be adequately quantified, the economic impact is huge. Many aviation services, and operations in the hospitality sector, were shut till further notice.
The worst-hit is aviation and tourism firms in countries like Canada, Australia, the US and the UK whose government has put on extended restrictions on movement. Flights are grounded and airports are closed except for emergencies. Before the pandemic, international arrivals were around 300 million to 1.2 billion yearly in the USA, however, it has dropped to roughly 100 to 160 million in late 2021.
Many aviation experts are positive that travel activity could pick up to about 5%. Health experts have warned that this might not be visible unless the recent Covid-19 mutations stop.
What are the solutions to overcome the health crisis in the travel and hospitality industry?
Quick and efficient solutions can help mitigate the adverse effect of these health crises in the hospitality business. They include:
Technology is an ideal solution that can help the hospitality industry during these trying times. This can be done by telecommunication hoteliers, and those in the hospitality business can manage all operations without their presence.
With this cloud computing, all hotel activities can be done with minimal physical contact.
Encourage Millennial Travelers
According to research by the BBC, millennials (those born in the year 2000 and upward) are very eager for everything to return to normal. The hospitality industry and aviation sector have to find a way to attract these people back to explore the world. Though they are also worried about Covid-19, they are more adventurous and daring than others.
They can be encouraged by offering them low prices to visit hotels, resorts and other places.
Focus on meal deals
Another good solution that could help reduce this health crisis is to encourage meal deliveries and offer special meal deals. While it might not be that profitable, hospitality businesses will increase sales.
Be updated on Covid-19 Relief funds
The government and private companies are offering one form of relief or the other to the hospitality business during this period. These funds can be useful to help you run your business during these difficult times.
Some offers like tax reliefs, defer payments and capital loans are available. Many tech firms are also providing some form of free resources, software and other services to help those out of jobs.
Review some health and safety techniques
Given how the coronavirus spreads fast, especially with the Omicron strain, those in the hospitality and aviation industry reconsider their safety measures. Some of them need to be reviewed:
- Self-service pay processes
- Mobile app orders
- Non-contact service
- Compulsory face mask
- Usage of sanitizers
Furthermore, they should be ready to deal with regular checking of staff health conditions and spacing.
How can we adapt and anticipate future global crises?
Though the future can’t be known, adequate preparation can help us adapt to possible crises to come.
Investment in technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown important advanced technology is important to everybody. With the rise in remote jobs, the only way to stay ahead of any future crises is to improve our technology.
Even when COVID-19 eventually is eradicated (hopefully), we shouldn’t go back to the status quo.
Cleaner energy is vital
With many airspaces closed during the pandemic and oil refineries closed, many factories were forced to shut down. Oil and gas prices slumped, which affected many hospitality businesses.
Aviation companies should try to invest more in clean energy like solar so that it won’t impact their business.
Public awareness is sacrosanct
The media has a major role to play in sensitizing citizens on how to minimize the spread of the virus. More channels should be open to give citizens orientation about how to go about their business.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram other social media platforms should remove myths and fake remedies which might cause false alarms.
What were the positive effects of the crisis on the hospitality sector after all?
While the COVID-19 pandemic sadly claimed many lives and millions lost their job in the aviation sector, there are some positive impacts it has on this industry:
Over the time of the pandemic, many chefs, and hoteliers were forced to be creative. There were zoom cooking classes, online cooking resources and retail ventures.
People in the hospitality business brainstorm ideas to keep their business running.
Increase adoption of technology
Before the pandemic, many resorts and hotels were nonchalant towards technology. However, the pandemic has forced many people to get branded apps, QR codes and offer online business.
The trend of office work is now gradually coming to an end. The hospitality and aviation sectors have now seen how beneficial and cost-effective remote work can be. Many are having a rethinking of the traditional way of doing business.
The hospitality and travel industry remains a huge sector that took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions are gradually been eased in several countries, it is hoped that the future will be bright for all parties in this sector.