The world has changed beyond recognition and the situation is moving from health to economic concerns.
The internet is filled with opinions and insights into what is going to happen. All sorts of people are trying to predict the future. But no one really knows when things will get back to normal, or if things will ever be the same again.
British Airways is laying off thousands of staff and are predicting that normal flying levels will not return for 5 years and Warren Buffet has sold his shares in various American airlines. Not something we in the travel industry want to hear.
Original Travel (which is a better indication when it comes to our business), has done research and say that ‘green shoots are evident’. The research shows that 48% of their potential luxury clients, are looking for an outdoors experience, when things open up. Only 15% opted for somewhere ‘buzzy and busy’. Most people are wanting to get away to celebrate an anniversary or birthday that they could not celebrate during lockdown, and couples, who had to cancel their weddings, are wanting a bigger and better honeymoon in 2021. However, the operator also says that short-haul destinations will be the first to bounce back.
One of the better webinars I watched recently predicted that air travel will become more expensive, and people will travel less. If we travel less, will we travel for longer? My feeling is that we have all started to enjoy the slower pace, and may want to take time on holiday too, going forward.
Each country will have different criteria. New Zealand appears to be one of the best-off countries and their nationals could be ready to travel soon, but with nowhere to go. Africa may come out of this crisis well, because they closed their borders early. The US and particularly New York has been badly hit, and the UK could have the most deaths in Europe.
So, what do we at Ethos think? The first thing I can say is that we must take one day at a time. We need to be realistic. When the UK does come out of lockdown, it will be gradual. Domestic tourism will open first, with people choosing to go on holiday by car. Eurostar will be OK because people can stay in their cars on the train. I cannot see long-haul travel opening up for some months.
So, we are tightening our belts, counting our pennies, and making the best of a challenging situation.
We have time to go back to the drawing board and figure out how we can work smarter going forward. We have time to learn new systems and gen up on the latest technologies, so when the time is right, we will be ready to take on the market with renewed vigour.
Stay safe and remain positive.