For starters, let’s state the obvious and say that even today, with the vaccine and all the precautions, we are still not living our lives the way we used to before this pandemic started. Yes, the overall situation is much better, and seeing people smile, gather, and laugh once again has really been fulfilling, but, unfortunately, the predictions are not good, and by many experts, COVID-19 is something that will stay with us for quite some time. All this means that we are yet to expect certain restrictions from our government.
The overall impact of the pandemic
As for the impact, the pandemic really got into every pore of our life, and it changed everything, from the way we spend our free time and the way we work to the way we behave and communicate with people. Humans are social beings, and this last one was a true nightmare, as live communication was forbidden or brought to a minimum. Even though talking via various apps and programs online was fun for some time, that lack of human contact, expression, and touch changed the way we think, and it had and still has an immeasurable impact on our mental health.
Impact on the economy in general
Now, all of these are individual and personal downsides, but what global leaders were also worried about is the economy and the effect pandemic will have on it. When someone mentions global economic crisis, we instantly think about the last one occurred in 2008 when many, many people lost their job. Luckily, we avoided that now, as certain industries were not endangered since most of the work was already robotized, but those industries that are highly dependent on people’s migration, like tourism, got the worst of it. By some estimation, just in the last year, that loss was over 1 trillion USD, and furthermore, it put more than 100 million jobs at risk. It doesn’t matter if we talk about some renowned tourist destinations or local archeological sites, it all got affected equally, and the main difference is in the number of people who would visit these sites if things were normal.
Impact on tourism in Europe
When it comes to Europe, the first thought of a romantic place is, of course, Paris. When we talk about a great summer vibe, Majorca and Ibiza are to-go destinations. If we mention preserved nature and authentic culture, Island and Serbia probably dominate this field, but all of this was forbidden to visit for a whole year. Tourism suffers, and even today, with the vaccine and regular testing, people just don’t feel safe, meaning that they are more likely to go on a vacation somewhere near and safe than to travel to some new and unfamiliar country. By all estimations, this industry will recover only the year after we finally beat this beast called COVID-19.
1. What about stats?
As for the stats, we all knew that tourism, in general, is a pretty profitable industry, but it’s only now when we fully understand its full potential and influence it has on the economy. Namely, in Europe alone, there is a loss of 1 billion dollars from tourism, monthly! As we continue with research, the results don’t get any better, and more than 13 million workers in this industry are affected by it. Remember, tourism also acts as a great bond between local businesses and tourists sites, and that’s why getting the real number of how much of a negative impact the pandemic has on the economy tourism-related is something we will never find out.
2. Traffic restrictions
The main reasons why tourism in Europe was affected so much are movement and traffic restrictions. We are all used to have the freedom of movement and to visit every place on the planet we want, but the pandemic changed it all. Because it was spreading too fast, the only way to stop it was to keep people at home, and since many of them did not understand the seriousness of the situation, movement restrictions were the only solution. That means that people were not able to travel between countries, and the only vacation they could take was in their own state. It resulted in a decreased number of tourists, which caused a lot of damage to this industry.
Besides movement and traffic restrictions, another step in the fight against the pandemic was quarantine. Depending on the state, the length of the quarantine was different, and we had various options to end it, but the principle was the same. Quarantine meant that we are able to enter a foreign country, but we need to spend some time alone without contact with other people to avoid spreading the pandemic. In some countries, we needed to be in quarantine for two weeks without the possibility to end it in the others, that time was one week, and we could stop it if we had a negative PCR test after that period. That was great news for those people who wanted to travel for a longer time and didn’t mind being quarantined for a while, but not for those who planned to go on a short vacation because they will spend the whole vacation isolated.
Another measure that can stop the pandemic is curfew which represents the movement restriction during certain hours. That means that we are able to move around during certain times, and we need to stay at home during the curfew. Many countries adopted this measure, and going on a vacation in one of them meant that we could wander around usually during the day and spend the evening and night in our rooms. Many people decided to stay at home during the pandemic and explore the world once when it is over because of curfew and movement restrictions. We all need a vacation to relax and forget about problems, but being limited during it is not the best option.
5. Rapid change of the measures against the pandemic
Depending on the pandemic and the speed of its spreading, all measures are changing all the time. The governments have the right to react fast if the pandemic is increasing and to tight measures without future warning, and because of that, traveling is a risk. The worse possible scenario is going on a vacation in a foreign country and cannot come back home because of movement and traffic restrictions. People are too afraid of finding themselves in that situation, so many of them are avoiding traveling at all.
The bottom line
From everything mentioned above, the effect of the pandemic looks severe, and as for tourism, many still argue how there was no reason for all these movement restrictions. Even highly respected companies and websites like stichtingcoronaonderzoek.nl agree that some of these measures were uncalled for. Nonetheless, we can only hope that things get better and getter better soon.