By Amit Sharma
Coronavirus outbreak: During the confusion, chaos, misinformation, and death toll rising, there is another major area concerning world economists and that is, the deep-rooted effect that the novel coronavirus could have on the travel and tourism sector. While it’s true the outbreak has pushed down a lot many other industries, travel and tourism are the worst affected. Nations around the globe were quick to impose travel restrictions to control the virus' spread. Aircrafts suspended their flights to minimal with a spike in coronavirus cases in areas like mainland China, Italy, and South Korea. Here are a few examples:
Market analysts suggest a 17% fall in the global revenue from travel and tourism industry, estimated at about 568.6 billion U.S. dollars.
The Foreign Office (FCO) has advised UK nationals to restrict their travel to important events only.
There are no direct flights between Austria and the UK, or direct air or rail connections from Austria to Italy, France, Spain or Switzerland.
Cross-Channel train and ferry services have been reduced to minimal in France, along with their cultural activities being prohibited, large gatherings restricted, restaurants and bars closed and more.
Visa-on-arrival scheme has been suspended in Bahrain.
Travelers from the UK, EU, and Turkey have been banned to enter from 18 March,2020.
All borders in Australia closed on 20 March 2020 and could remain closed for at least six months for non-nationals.
Coronavirus outbreak hits 50 million jobs in global tourism
The situation has put 50 million jobs in the global travel and tourism industry at risk and with the speed at which the pandemic is getting worse, the sector is going to experience a slump by a quarter this year. About three months of loss in world travel's revenue could prompt a laying off of employees up to 12% and 14, additionally requesting governments to remove or reduce the TAT period of visas approval, cut travel taxes and offer benefits once the virus is leveled out.
Not just airlines, decreasing revenue of the travel/tourism industry is also likely to affect the section of expert travelers - bloggers, content creators, photographers, and videographers, basically everyone whose travels to work. Mostly freelancers, who work in collaborations or on contracts with travel-related organizations to accomplish their assignments containing documentaries or copies. Many are also proud to be globe-trotting with their videos being watched by thousands, while they share their encounters through web-based services like Instagram or YouTube or Facebook Live.
Coronavirus pandemic impacts medical tourism
Another area of concern is medical tourism industry. While many emergency clinics and medical aid facilitators will get more salary and attend more patients locally, those reliant on medical tourists may battle or even shut down if the situation persists for long. Small to medium-sized organizations providing medical tourism facilities will lose business and may not even revive the loss. Further, many emergency clinics across the globe may not even have space to accommodate medical tourists amidst the pandemic so that's an added risk to this section of the industry.
It is unfortunate how this sector is vulnerable to 'uncontrollable' factors including natural and man-made calamities. Even though the adversity cannot be predicted, one can only plan case specific policies and marketing strategies which can be imposed once the public feels it is safe to travel.
The author is Founder and CEO of eExpedise Healthcare. Views expressed are the author's own.