Coronavirus has changed the nature of travel and our generation alike, but are these changes long-lasting or temporary? There is no doubt that we are all being affected by the pandemic in some way, whether it be through healthcare and financial status, or shifting perspectives on travelling and how we react to similar events in the future. Although each demographic has suffered differently from the pandemic, students’ concerns may arise from the inability to use their free time to travel as they had initially planned.
Whilst the aviation industry is vital for global travel, the industry has been in decline since March, resulting in delays and cancellations to many of our summer vacations abroad, whilst airline capacity was down 88%. Whilst the pandemic has had a prolonged effect on travel, this has also opened up and accelerated the development of particular ideas regarding the future of holiday making. According to Brandon Presser’s article The Airport of the Future Will Have No Check-In or Security Lines, coronavirus has introduced people to a world without never-ending queues and dated security measures, and revitalised the push towards a reformed system at airports. The pandemic has catalysed innovation both at airports and in the aviation industry as a whole.
The pandemic, which started impacting Europe in mid-March, was a time for graduates to make their graduation and summer getaway plans. Catching the younger generation off guard, the pandemic closed doors and forced us to readjust our regular activities whilst dousing any hopes of upcoming overseas adventures. This can be seen in the rise of staycations as a post-COVID-19 tourism trend, and the spread of ‘glamping’. The Coronavirus has made road trips, separated lodging, and staying outdoors the new trends of 2020 whilst the world, in general, is still a long way from being normal.
This is something that has in turn forced us to leave our comfort zones, being more patient and pushing the boundaries of our imagination when it comes to travel. We were forced to postpone our international travel plans, avoid spontaneous travel decisions, and put more attention towards travel insurance. Moreover, our daily routines were broken down and our summer plans were drastically changed.
OECD predicts a 60% decline in international tourism in 2020, which could rise to 80% if readjustments are postponed until December. But, can it be claimed that Gen Z might have experienced a severe loss of time for travelling, in turn bringing a whole new outlook on what it means to travel? Have we learnt to appreciate the variety of places we can normally visit and the freedom that comes with it? It’s about that one place, that isn’t remembered through photos and social media posts, but through the long-lasting impact it leaves on you as an individual. The first and last place you wish to travel to, with the first and last people whom you travelled with.
Our future experiences of travel may be nothing like the dated methods of the past. Whilst the aviation industry was the first to suffer, it will be left to the youth to carry the long-lasting burden of COVID-19. Adjustments have been made to adapt to the crisis tourism is facing, but due to the pandemic, people are feeling nostalgic about the way things used to be when travelling abroad, with each new trip in this new world becoming a balance of both excitement and apprehension.