When the pandemic started, international travel stopped as countries closed their borders to prevent the spread of the virus. The situation resulted in job losses in the travel and hospitality industries as people opted to stay home rather than risk getting infected.
And a year into the pandemic, things have changed for the better. The authorities have already administered more than 275 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and many international destinations have opened their doors to US citizens.
But post-pandemic travel has changed, and it will take a lot of patience and effort for anyone who wants to visit an international destination. Here are some changes that travellers can expect.
Longer Immigration Queues
Travellers should bring a lot of patience when they travel internationally since the immigration queue will be longer than usual. It is already apparent these days in countries that controlled their outbreaks. These countries are wary about the entry of different variants from other countries. Several countries have suspended travel to and from India due to the huge wave of infections in the country.
Even after the pandemic will end, some countries may still scrutinize incoming travellers. These countries may even continue to test travellers from countries that struggled to control their cases during the pandemic. While some countries may accept a negative COVID-19 test result taken from one’s home country, others may require another test at the destination.
Many factors will come into play when it comes to the recovery of the travel and tourism sectors of different countries. The availability of vaccines is a major factor since it can affect the timeline when a country can reach herd immunity. As of the moment, first-world countries have cornered the majority of the vaccine supply in the world. This means these countries will likely achieve herd immunity ahead of smaller countries.
Additionally, the public health systems of these countries also play a role in how fast countries can recover. Even as India is a major producer of COVID-19 vaccines, it’s dealing with a major surge of cases that pushed its number to over 25 million.
Taking this into account, travel companies can make the necessary preparations for the full recovery of the industry. They can offer personalized or tailor-made tours to cater to specific markets in the industry. These tours take travellers to the road less travelled depending on what they want to see in a specific destination.
More Documentary Requirements
In the past, holders of US passports can enter 187 countries without a visa. But after the pandemic happened, countries may require more than just a passport before allowing anyone to enter their borders. Some may require a negative test result or a certification of vaccination. This is particularly true for travellers who come from a country that’s considered a hotspot.
Some countries may even require travellers to get a specific vaccine brand before they can enter. In these instances, travellers may need a vaccine passport to travel freely in another country if they are not entering for business purposes. They may even require temporary visas for business travellers who are not permanent residents of the country. Due to this, people may have to bring more than just a passport so that they can enter some countries.
Changes in Packing Habits
The pandemic highlighted the importance of keeping high-touch areas clean and disinfected. While airline personnel clean and disinfect the planes between flights, some passengers may still want to bring their wet wipes and thoroughly clean the seats before sitting. In this situation, they may need more than just 100 ml of sanitizer if they board a long-haul flight.
Due to this, the authorities may relax the restrictions of carry-on liquids for these flights. Aside from carry-on sanitizers, people will likely include extra face masks and additional sanitizers in their luggage. Some travellers may even bring their soap rather than rely on what the hotels give for free.
Highlight on Air Quality
Airlines will likely advertise the air filter they use on their planes. They will highlight air quality as one of the features passengers can expect when they book a ticket with them. Advertising will focus on cleanliness and promote their air filtration systems as among the best in the industry.
Highlighting air quality can give passengers peace of mind whenever they travel. If airlines cannot assure their passengers about the air quality of their planes, they may see people cancelling their tickets and go to a competitor. At this point, air quality will be one of the features that airlines will offer when selling seats on their planes.
International travel is starting to recover a year after the pandemic started. But people should expect a lot of changes once they start travelling internationally again.