Vacations and time off have always been something people look forward to throughout the year. After all, it’s time away from the mundane routine of life. Most people usually get most of their travel arrangements done through travel agents to avoid any form of unnecessary hassle. This includes buying a travel insurance policy, a travel guard policy as well as a corporate travel policy if you’re traveling on your employer’s dime. Regardless of what your purpose of travel was, travel policy has always been relatively simple.
You need to have a valid passport that does not have an expiration date nearby, an itinerary, and proof of where you’ll be staying. In some instances, even these aren’t necessary. But this was before the current coronavirus epidemic crippled the entire planet.
Every field of life has been left paralyzed, and businesses have been forced to close their doors. Moreover, mega-corporations are asking their employees to work from home, and most airlines are on the brink of financial ruin.
But despite this doom and gloom, it is inevitable that sooner or later, international travel will resume in some shape or form. When that happens, one must wonder what the travel policy will be like. There are already discussions of a “corona-certificate” for international travelers. Other radical travel policy suggestions include a complete ban on travelers from certain countries as well as certain ages.
However, there are some changes that are likely to be adapted regardless of when the situation becomes better. Most of these were always expected as they’re meant to ensure the chances of further waves of the pandemic remain as minuscule as possible:
International Tourism Will Decline…Steeply
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The nature of the current COVID-19 virus means that there are fairly limited ways to contain the virus’s spread. By most estimates, it will take quite a few years for the impact of the virus to subside. Meanwhile, the virus’s impact will be fairly evident in the travel policy of nearly every country.
There will be strict restrictions on who can enter a country’s borders. The assessment criteria for these restrictions remain up for debate but one fairly common suggestion is curtailing the extent of foreign tourists. Currently, the absolute bare-minimum flight operations are underway around the globe. These flights are either important cargo planes, diplomatic missions, or relief aid being sent. Some other exceptions include evacuations of foreign nationals stuck in different countries.
As far as travel insurance companies are concerned, they are actively discouraging people from booking vacations and planes for the foreseeable future given the current state of uncertainty. Additionally, several countries like New Zealand and Australia have announced plans to keep their borders sealed to outsiders till at least 2021.
It is almost certain that more nations will follow suit. This will have a devastating social, economic, and somewhat political impact. At the same time, it will mean a steep decline in international tourism.
Stay Periods Will Be Shortened
For the few individuals that do somehow obtain the right credentials and gain visas for international travel, they are likely to face much shorter stay periods. One predicted travel policy change is the reduction in the length of the visas given out to foreign nationals.
However, this will likely extend to countries that have travel agreements between them. As we saw earlier in the year, several EU countries closed their borders to other EU nations, despite the free travel policy.
While this might help in containing any potential spread of the virus across borders, shorter stay periods could also help the travel insurance companies. There are several other strings attached to such travel insurance such as potential evacuation costs, extended stay costs, and other expenses during the time. Hence, shorter stay periods mean that insurance agencies might feel more comfortable in offering policies to those traveling abroad.
“Staycations” Will Be Preferred & Encouraged
“Staycations” is a popular term given to staying at one’s home, or the very least, their hometown. It may seem simplistic at first, but it could turn out to have a significant chain reaction. More people staying at home during peak vacation periods means that local businesses will flourish.
As for some of the negative effects, airlines will continue to see red in their ledgers. How Staycations might impact domestic travel is unclear as of yet. Cross-country trips via car have always been a popular choice and may see a rise in popularity.
An important factor to consider is the state of the economy. Even if the strict measures mentioned above were not enforced, the global economy will be in terrible shape. With delicate job security and an uncertain future, most people are unlikely to be willing to spend big on a foreign vacation especially when there’s a potent risk of contracting the virus.
Travel is Changing
To think that some of the world’s most important tourist sites will remain deserted for long seems too simplistic. There are thousands, if not millions, who depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Some countries rely heavily on stable tourism. Regardless of when medical normalcy returns, economic pressure means that there is a need to address the issue of tourism at the earliest.
But while the situation persists, more and more people will be staying at home for extended periods. This means an increase in their internet activities. It is easy to see that potential hackers might see this as a golden opportunity. So, as long as you’re going to be at home, it is highly advised that you go for a reliable VPN like PureVPN that guarantees absolute privacy with its AES-256-bit encryption.
While it is still a big “if”, if the global medical situation starts becoming better, it is likely that the travel policy changes mentioned above will be enforced. And, these tourist spots will be allowed to take reservations with strict government-mandated social distancing policies in place.
Several think-tanks already project that despite these travel policy changes, the tourism industry is likely to bounce back. This means a return to pre-pandemic conditions within a few months. Most popular travel destinations will implement a strict recovery program such as thorough and regular fumigations.
However, all of these rely on a stable global recovery. There is a special emphasis on “global” since exceptions, in this case, can spell a 2nd or 3rd wave. Such a situation can spell disaster for the world, something that no amount of travel policy changes will be able to address.