the future of travel after covid 19
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The Future Of Travel After COVID 19

Are you wondering about what trends and factors will shape travel in the tourism and hospitality industry in the future after the 2020 covid-19 pandemic? COVID-19 has changed the future of the travel industry in the blink of an eye. On a typical trip, I’d board a giant aircraft with hundreds of others, put away my luggage, and grab a sip of sparkling wine before leaving Europe on a 5-10000 mile flight. Fast forward to today, I’ll be thinking about wiping down any surfaces I’ll be touching. Indeed, one of the trends and factors that will shape future tourism will include sanitization. Rinse and repeat. Famously, Naomi Campbell’s Youtube video went viral last year when she detailed her meticulous approach to airplane sanitation. Unsurprisingly, the internet exploded in mockery. Perhaps Naomi was ahead of the curve.

Short term, travelers will consider domestic travel. To be sure, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be as necessary as taking your keys and wallet. Longer-term, I expect technology will play a significant factor. For example, travelers can expect touchless check-ins, on-demand medical screening, including temperature checks, rapid COVID-19 testing, and heart & respiratory rate checks. Also, travelers will likely need health passports (indicating a clean bill of health, immunity records, etc.), travel insurance. Last, the traveler will need a sense of security about the country they are visiting.

Future Of The Travel Industry 2020 and Beyond

Travel is such a significant segment of many countries’ economies. While many industries are suffering the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the future travel industry in 2020 is currently a challenge.  

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reports, “the travel industry employs nearly 10% of the worlds’ jobs.” Indeed, the world economic forum warned that 50 million travel jobs worldwide could be at risk.  

Not only that, just think of airlines such as Lufthansa reporting losing 1M Euro’s /hr during the pandemic. Further, cruise lines are on the brink of bankruptcy, and hotels face a similar fate.

If the WTTC is correct, it could take ten months or more, before the travel industry returns to normal levels. We think this might be a little optimistic.

What Factors Will Shape The Future of Tourism

Regardless of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, one thing will not change. Indeed, people will still want to travel. However, travelers will be involved in the search for options that give them both flexibility and trust.

Airlines, hotels, and cruise ships are taking new steps to make customers more comfortable with the idea of travel. Indeed, these companies are embracing the hospitality and customer safety of their future guests. For example, airlines are engaging in a dialogue about travelers’ concerns about being infected by aircraft. Effective communication is a way for airlines to calm the minds of fliers. 

Cruise lines, which plan to resume operations as early as August 2020, now have confidence policies. The confidence policy allows the traveler flexibility to rebook a later cruise, without penalty. Indeed, confidence policies are one way the traveler can feel confident about their trip.

Future of Hospitality

Curtis Slade, a Les Clef’s D’or concierge from Vancouver, Canada, discusses what he sees as in the future of hospitality. Here is our interview: 

Travel was once considered a niche. Today, travel is one of the most dynamic and active communities in the world.

One thing that will not change, however, is that people will still want to travel. Indeed, travel has the potential to change individuals in so many ways.  Perhaps folks will travel domestically, or consider overlanding.

The real effects of a pandemic are forcing us to embrace a new normal. And, it’s normal for travelers to seek environments in which they feel more comfortable when embarking on adventures. 

For all travel brands, including hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and airlines, they will adapt to a trend tailored to the needs of their customers. Let’s dig in and look at what the future of travel and hospitality looks like, and what trends and factors will shape tourism. 

airport passengers facing trends and factors will shape travel in the tourism and hospitality industry in the future after the 2020 covid-19 pandemic


Remember taking off your shoes after 9/11? Sure, that was for security. But soon, travelers can expect discreet temperature checks without their knowledge. Further, perhaps even rapid COVID-19 testing on departure or arrival.

Travel Agencies

Travel agencies and tour operators can benefit from specializing in that tourists will need, in a post-COVID-19 world. Indeed, this can become a new competitive advantage. 

Traditional travel agencies that stick to the old theme of traveling to a particular destination, such as the United States, or Europe will be under threat. 

As in any business, to survive, companies must innovate and adapt. 


Increased hygiene standards have been a consideration in recent times. However, once travel gets back to normal, enhanced health and hygiene will become a longstanding safety protocol. Indeed, the trend will become one of the essential factors in shaping holiday travel in the future. 

Airlines, for example, have already discussed sanitizing their panes with foggers. And flight attendants are starting to wear full on hazmat gear that all but resembles human.

Also, cruise ships will almost certainly reduce capacity and increase sanitization protocols. And perhaps, change the way buffets operate. Do we really need to get our own food on a cruise ship?

Trip Insurance

Historically, trip insurance meant anything and everything. Unfortunately, in many cases, trip insurance didn’t hold much weight when it was needed the most. In the future, and certainly after 2020 (post COVID-19), travel and trip insurance will need an overhaul.  

Most travel medical policies don’t cover pandemics or epidemics. As a result, travelers will need to do their due diligence, which brings us to our next travel trend.

Flexibility & Confidence

Airlines, hotels, and cruise lines will all need to create and maintain a book with confidence statement. For example, travelers will want the flexibility to obtain a refund. Or, perhaps, change their date. To be sure, travelers want to travel. But, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has created enough uncertainty that those who travel in the future will now be more aware.

Ensuring good medical care at the destination

The traveler will need to have confidence that in the worst-case scenario, the host country can demonstrate reliable healthcare.


Given the economic impact of this pandemic, we believe it’s likely that the majority of travelers would look opt cheaper flights and accommodation. As in any recession, many would experience a loss of income and therefore travel on a budget.

What will not change, however, is that people still want to travel. And those companies who innovate the quickest should reap the rewards of the tourism industry.

Although it’s far from certain what the effects of COVID-19 will bring, we might look to China. China may offer a picture of the future of the travel and tourism industry, as their domestic travel recovered by up to 100% in the first half of March 2020. And to be sure, it continues to rise.

How do you think travel will change? Will it matter to you? Comment below, we want to hear from you!


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  1. Great write-up, Rick!

    I think you’re absolutely right- sanitation will be the future of travel. And I would not be surprised if those temperature checks are randomly taken when you’re at the airport.

    I wonder if once the vaccine for COVID-19 comes out- if we will revert back to our previous ways of airline travel or if we will keep the incredible sanitation measures we are doing currently.

    I guess time will tell- stay safe!

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