April 23, 2020
Unprecedented times. It’s a term that has most definitely been overused in recent weeks, but it really is true. Never have we seen anything as all-consuming as the attempts to curtail the spread of COVID-19. This pandemic has affected every sector of the travel industry and for everyone it has been devastating.
In this round-up blog, we take a look at reaction and impact in the travel sector.
The first weekend after a non-essential travel advisory was always going to be interesting. Lizzie Frainier’s commentary piece on how travel is a privilege and not a right struck a chord with all of us.
Into the lockdown and we loved UNWTO’s call for innovators to put forward solutions to help the tourism sector recover from COVID-19 and Simon Calder’s instachats. Nick Trend’s commentary on why a bit of flexibility might just save an industry also hit all the right notes.
Into week two and the Airports Council International (ACI) World released its latest economic analysis on how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the global airport industry. According to the analysis, the coronavirus outbreak will not only cause a decrease of 38.1% in passenger traffic, but also a loss of almost half of the expected revenue for airports in 2020.
The week of 6 April saw the impact of the change to the FCO travel guidance from 30 days to indefinite examined and media were looking forward to what may lie ahead. They were increasingly seeking positive stories to balance out the negative news agenda.
Trade titles continued to cover destination, airline and cruise news and inspiration. Key stories this week related to consumer claims and chargebacks. Meanwhile, ABTA launched its #SaveFutureTravel campaign, calling for government to support the industry, highlighting that tax-payers could be liable should businesses fail.
The UK travel media continued to inspire and educate readers with lockdown travel ideas and virtual experiences for digital escapism to worldwide destinations. Glossy titles used wellness products for transporting readers, while some titles focused on celebrity links to promote tourism. As well as inspirational content, travel advice was still widely reported, and travel and consumer titles included articles on cancellations and advice following the FCO advised travel restrictions. There have been a lot of musings over what the post-pandemic traveller will look like and Juliet Kinsman’s feature in Conde Nast Traveller about Future Travel and Greg Dickinson’s piece in The Telegraph are great examples of this.
We loved that Gatwick car park was converted to a drive-through virus testing centre as part of action to fight the coronavirus. The site will initially be used by NHS staff and invited key workers. Also, that ABTA Lifeline secured £20,000 from Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis’s £1 million Coronavirus Charity Help Fund to support those in the travel sector experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As an industry we have been sharing our love of travel under the following campaigns #ThanksToTravel which has already reached over 30 million people and WTTC’s #TogetherInTravel which launched on 20 April in an effort to keep wanderlust alive.