With 2020 coming to an end and 2021 right around the corner, can tourism business owners dream of a better year?
I would say yes.
Travel restrictions are being lifted, more destinations are adopting hygiene and safety measures, the vacation season is approaching and vaccination campaigns have started.
Last week’s news gives us 5 clues that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
After the UK being the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine and announced an immunization campaign for this week, eDreams ODIGEO has registered a jump in searches of 22%.
The first wave of vaccination will count with 40 million doses, enough to vaccinate 20 million people. That could prevent up to 99% of Covid-19 hospital admissions and deaths.
The end of the second lockdown in the UK on December 2 has also contributed to an increase in travel searches according to the online travel company.
Following the good news, European travelers started searching for long-haul and luxurious destinations, such as Maldives, Cancun and New York.
It is also expected last-minute searches and bookings for winter breaks. Fingers crossed for the enthusiasm to continue all 2021 along.
The latest UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report reveals that 70% of all global destinations have eased restrictions on travel introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to it, only one out of four destinations continue to keep their borders completely closed to international tourists.
Europe is leading the way in lifting or easing travel restrictions, followed by the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific.
Check out the destinations that recently eased restrictions or are planning to do so:
The British Virgin Islands
The archipelago is now open to international tourism for the first time since March. The decision was taken after health and safety measures have been put in place.
Business travelers arriving in the country no longer need to quarantine.
That applies to company leaders in trips resulting in a deal that creates or preserves 50 jobs or leads to a £100,000 investment or order.
Performing arts workers, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed sports professionals will also be exempted from quarantine restrictions.
As Tokyo summer Olympics approaches, the country is planning to resume inbound tourism on a limited basis starting from the spring.
The plan is to open first for small groups of tourists from neighboring nations that have coronavirus under control.
Japan has also launched a subsidy program for domestic tourism earlier this year. Domestic travel has been a key driver of economic growth for the country in recent years.
Destinations around the world have reported an increasing number of tourist arrivals at the end of this year.
For the first time in six months, Thailand witnessed a boost in tourism. The number may not impress, 1000 international tourists. But this is the first time visitors step foot in the country since March.
In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic reported an increase of almost 150% in international arrivals in November compared to the month before.
Punta Cana Airport has announced 159 flights for this week, a noticeable increase compared to the 3 daily flights arriving before.
Spain’s Canary Islands are expecting to receive 8 million travelers next year, 60% more compared to this year’s number.
On the top of good news, Lufthansa has witnessed 400% rise in intercontinental and intra-European bookings. The demand is for sunny destinations and also snow-assured areas.
One of the most affected sectors of tourism is the cruise industry. Restrictions have been especially harsh with cruise ships due to a high density of confined passengers.
But fortunately, that is changing. The implementation of strict health protocols and touchless technologies has given a second chance to the cruise business.
Royal Caribbean sailed this week from Singapore with 1100 guests on a two-day “ocean getaway”. That means six times more bookings than the company would normally get in October.
Another good news is that Princess Cruises will be back to service in 2021. This announcement comes ten months after 200 people aboard Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID.
Despite the downturn in sales, tour operators are feeling more confident that things will be better soon.
That is the conclusion of a new survey from Arival. According to the report, the uptick in bookings during summer and better financial control of tour operators are the reason for the optimism.
Another survey, this time from the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), pointed out that 98% of its members plan to restart operations in 2021.
That isn’t all, 63% of the respondents have experienced an increase in bookings over the last 60 days.
If you are also optimistic about next year, make sure you have the right tools to cope with future demand. Offering contactless payment and diversifying sales channels will be key to drive bookings in 2021.
Fortunately, Orioly can help you with that. Check out our solution for tour operators if you don’t have an online booking solution yet.
on December 8, 2020
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