Tourism in the Coronavirus times: preventive measures to increase the safety of travellers

The current health emergency is affecting several sectors, including tourism. As we have reported, the air transport sector is among those most affected, along with the hospitality and events sector.

According to a report published by Deutsche Bank, as the summer season progresses, traditional Mediterranean tourist destinations may be the most impacted. Tourism makes a significant contribution to the GDP of these countries: in Italy and Spain it represented about 14% in 2018, in Greece 20.6%.

Source: Deutsche Bank, “Coronavirus – A threat to the business of traditional tourist destinations”, 2020

With the Easter holidays compromised, travel restrictions and the liquidity of many companies in the sector running out, there are fears of social, as well as economic, repercussions, especially in the traditional markets of origin of these destinations, such as the countries of northern Europe.

The report suggests that there are initiatives that tour operators can already implement during the emergency, to build a feeling of trust and safety in tourists that will lead them to travel even in times of Coronavirus, when the contagion curve will have “flattened”.

In particular, it is important to cancel major events that usually concentrate a large number of people, such as concerts, as they are a dangerous vehicle for transmitting the virus.

Ensuring hygiene (including through devices such as disinfectants) of individuals and environments and interpersonal distance should be a priority, both for transport companies and hoteliers. The same for tourist attractions, such as museums: controlling the number of visitors seems to be the most appropriate strategy.

While these actions may reassure travellers and encourage them to travel to a certain destination, travellers will in turn have to provide medical certificates that ensure good health and therefore suitability to travel, in order to prevent the contagion from spreading again, especially in those countries that are suffering heavily from the effects of the pandemic.

Greek Travel Pages reports that many countries are exploring this hypothesis, while Austria, Thailand and France already require these documents upon arrival.

We at Twissen have observed that, despite the feeling of uncertainty towards the future, the period of temporary inactivity may be useful for professionals to focus on less priority aspects of their business, devising alternative solutions or strengthening the aspect of promotion and communication, so to maintain a link with their customers. Moreover, the winning strategy for professionals could be to develop post-emergency safety standards which, together with the health directives in force, must be communicated effectively to their target. This will be useful to establish a feeling of safety in tourists that will encourage them to travel again.