What next for tourism? Tom Jenkins, ETOA’s CEO, considers the prospects for recovery
How consumer confidence will return provides an escape from the quotidian spectacle of commercial carnage.
The natural reaction is to assume that the future will be a product of the current situation. It won’t. We are facing a unique crisis produced by government reaction to the threat posed to their health services. This will pass. Mass gathering will return. Theatres, cinemas and football matches will become crowded. Tourism will start again.
We will be then be facing clients whose basic impulses will not have changed. They will still want to travel, to see the sights they have heard about, appreciate accommodation and enjoy the culture of a different location. Some will still want to increase their chances of melanoma by lying on a beach. So what the industry provides will not change.
How it does so will be the product of the transition period. It is possible that consumers may develop a taste for under-visited domestic tourism locations. We may see a fashion for wearing face masks. Queues may look longer. There will be resistance to destinations and types of tourism that were associated with COVID-19. Some companies, crippled by the current crisis, will struggle to survive. We will undoubtedly see some spectacularly eye-catching prices to kick-start demand. It will be a golden period for the fast-moving entrepreneur.