Travel After COVID-19?
The main impact of the virus seems to be approaching the end – hopefully. The total death toll is truly tragic and shows how universally vulnerable the world is.
Countries around the globe are now gradually relaxing their “lock-down“ procedures, some quicker than others. Travel is beginning to resume, but at a cautious foot by foot, small steps. Airlines are looking to reopen routes gradually but possibly with a reduced schedule.
There is so much speculation on how travel will look in the future, no one truly knows. For every clarification I receive, I have ten more questions. With this in mind, these would be my predictions, based on my travel experiences over the years – my medical expertise is limited to a boy scout first –aid course some time back!
- There will be lengthy immigration and medical lines at airports. Some of this will be the social distancing requirement but I can see more medical tests being carried out before embarkation and almost certainly upon arrival in destination. There are discussions that we might need to carry a “ COVID clear “ certificate, but in my view, this is practical in the future, not the immediate months. Good idea, but supplies and resources come to mind.
- On arrival, it is probable you will be asked to download the local track & trace app onto your mobile. This will enable local medical authorities to keep in touch with you should they need. Intrusive, maybe but that could be a condition of entry. Just on this more countries will ask for proof our your insurance, especially medical. If you are unable to show you will probably be required to purchase a local policy. Again this could be a condition of entry.
- Upon arrival at your hotel you may be tested once more, but less formally. All of the hotels will have had to sign up to a complete medical risk assessment, with re-enforced cleaning procedures. In the immediate period, it is envisaged rooms will need at least 4/5 hours of vacancy from time of client departure until new arrival – the days of a 30 minute clean are long gone.
- Some hotels will ask all guests to wear masks whilst in public areas and many will ask for social distancing. Hotel facilities will increase in line with demand, but it might be realistic to anticipate some may not be operational either partly or at all. Some of these might be obvious, but self-service buffets, spa treatments, health clubs, enclosed bars and restaurants all come to mind.
- Some hotels, especially in Asia, like to medically test guests when they leave the resort and again upon resort return. Some might find this intrusive, others might think it’s reassuring. If you do have any extreme symptoms you will be asked to self isolate in your accommodation whilst medical assistance is sought.
- Upon destination departure, you might again need to have a medical test. This will vary from country to country or at times airline to airline.
- Upon arrival in the UK, it is currently the Government requirement that you self isolate for 14 days. This currently applies to the end of June (2020) but is subject to a review every three weeks.
- Just on this the present Foreign and Commonwealth travel advice is “Only travel if Essential“. This applies to all countries outside of the UK. Again this is under constant review, and it is probable travel will be permitted to some if not all countries from August onwards. This is not just a case of us as a nation wanting to travel but also how much the host country wants us. Our death toll is one of the worst in the world and this might influence other countries, just as it would if the pattern was reversed.
- How will prices be for later in the year and for 2021? Ok, let me try to answer this relative to the two main cost areas, air travel and hotel content.
Most of us have read or heard of the tough times the airlines have had and continue to face. Virtually all have downsized both in staffing and aircraft. A few routes have been cancelled completely or will have a reduced schedule & capacity. And when demand exceeds the supply, as I expect, this usually leads to price increases. Many of the airlines have survived courtesy of Government loans and that will need to be paid back.
On a more positive note, hotels have a more fixed asset in their number of rooms and the more they are occupied the happier they are. For clients who were due to travel but cancelled due to COVID concerns, I can say 95% will be wonderfully obliging, especially if the previous booking can be traced. On completely new bookings we have negotiated with our hotel partners some incredible money-saving offers, including room and meal upgrades, additional nights free and frequently we can add something extra exclusively for you.
You will appreciate this is mainly just my speculation on how things will be. The situation is changing from week to week. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific destination enquiry and we shall try to clarify the situation based on local information as it stands.
Keep safe and healthy and keep those positive chic travel dreams alive.
David Kevan – Partner at Chic Locations.
"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."
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All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.
Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.
Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.