Sometimes, the best solution is the most obvious one. Staycation is definitely one of those, when it comes to tourism, as it implies travelling… close to home.
Definitely an advantage, in these days of coronavirus. However, the tourism industry in general, and especially those at the helm, have more ideas, long term. Here is a look at the current and future potential solutions for the tourism industry.
A quick getaway
The tourism industry is suffering. Everyone, from hotels to airlines are slowly choking, under their incapacity to fill their bank account, with much needed money. They need it, at least to cover the cashflow necessary to survive, until things get somewhat better. Many restaurants are on artificial respirators, if they don’t already belong to the past, having to close their doors for a lack of customers. This is a direct result of many governments’ decision, around the world, to keep them closed during lockdown periods.
But customers of these establishments and services are also suffering. The lack of movement, and having to remain inside their own home, has had a serious toll on their psychological health. For people who were always travelling, either for work or play, this is being lived as a traumatic event. And although a Staycation may not give them a full sense of satiety, it will deliver them from the “cell” that has become their home, in their own eyes. A week-end spent in another bed than theirs, even if only ten minutes away from their flat can bring back energy, solely through the change of environment. It’s even better if rules allow to go a little further away from the residential quarter. But what is a Staycation?
Holiday + Vacation = Staycation
As each country is currently dealing with the COVID-19 crisis differently, travelling across borders has become, if not impossible, quite difficult. It is certainly not such a great experience anymore, since we have to go through a lot of hassles to get from one point to the other. In fact, even once we have arrived, we still need to spend days into quarantine, which may vary in duration, according to each country. This makes it easy to understand that the best way to travel is within our own borders. Depending on the regulations taken by the government inside our country, the notion of borders has temporarily changed. Sometimes, it can mean our city, our region and (rarely) the country limits.
Staycation means taking a holiday in our own country. In UK’s case, traveling inside the border can mean a lot of excitement, not so far away from home, no matter where you live. The capital cities of London and Edinburgh are sure to welcome you with a variety of things to do and to see. Otherwise, spending some time in a coastal town, like Brighton, will bring you the fresh air you so definitely need, if you have spent a few lockdowns in big cities, caught in a small apartment.
The idea of a local holiday is not just something we can do, in a time where there isn’t much that we have the right to. It is also inexpensive and quick to get to, if you compare it to previous favourite destinations from UK citizens, which included some cities in Spain and Greece. Another important element that makes it easier to travel with a Staycation, is that you won’t have to deal with the language barrier. And let’s face it, how many of us have taken the time to discover the beauty and exceptional historical monuments of our own country? That is something the whole sanitary crisis may very well remind us to do, finally!
Leaders of the Tourism Industry looking for Global Solutions
Although Staycation might be the perfect solution to today’s difficulties facing the tourism industry, there is a need for this group of companies and individuals to find long-term solutions. We sometimes forget that this particular industry was riding high before the coronavirus came to fragilize it. So much so, that many of its parts, which were turning great profit margins, are now begging governments to help them out, so they can survive. At least until it gets better. Many airline companies had to do so (Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, and others) and were indeed helped out financially.
One of the leaders of this industry is Gloria Guevara. She is Chief Executive and President of the World Travel and Tourism Council, a responsibility she has been in charge for, over the last three years. She confirms that it hasn’t been easy over the course of the last one. Firstly, she had to deal with all the members, knocking on her door, expecting her to have solutions. Then, she was faced with governmental associations that were not inclined to share any information or to try to find common solutions. She says it is now better, as all of them work more closely, to prepare for a renewal of the tourism industry, as soon as possible.
To her, the main solution is global co-operation. By creating national and international plans, she believes they will make it through, just like any other company would, when they have a great business plan. Except these plans need to be shared by a whole industry. Isolation in a time such as the one we are living in, can easily mean disappearance. Collaboration is the key word, and she and the members of her council, intend to put it into common action and to make it out of this financial crisis.
A Show of Common Will at the Saudi Arabian G20 Conference
The WTTC worked hard to try to move things farther ahead, and they finally managed to do so when they brought the Tourism Ministers at the table, with 45 chief executives from some of the most important players in the industry. That took place “virtually” during the Saudi Arabian G20, last October. The results were plentiful. There is now a travel recovery plan in place and they created working groups to find solutions in regards to testing, contact tracing, travel corridors and government support. A giant step at a time when things were moving really slowly.
An Industry at Rest
Still today, the most important part of the tourism industry is still not functioning. Most aircrafts are grounded, some hotels are closed, while others are still open, but are barely surviving and the gigantic cruise ships built over the last decade are resting, being protected from decay as best as possible. The losses are accumulating still, and it will take years to recover from this crisis, even if it was to end as if nothing happened, which will probably not be the case.
Therefore, everyone hopes that the vaccines arriving on the market, and around the world, will be the solution that will enable borders to reopen. But that is still quite uncertain at this point. Will all new variants of the virus be covered by them? How soon can all countries around the world vaccinate a sufficient part of their population? What if another completely new virus surfaces; what will we do then? These are all questions that executives from companies inside the tourism industry hope they can have answers to soon, and that they will end-up in a positive way. Otherwise, Staycation might remain the solution for a few months more, maybe even a year or two!