Allianz: How Coronavirus May Change Travel in 2021

Airport post-COVID
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With the end of the global pandemic predicted to come in December 2020, according to Allianz Partners, a new way of living will likely emerge, and the world will be very different. To that end, Allianz Partners commissioned Futurologist Ray Hammond to anticipate and envisage some early patterns of change which are likely to shape this new world. The teams looked at how personal mobility, the home, healthcare and, of course, travel will evolve.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been a real turning point for the travel industry: Airplanes stayed grounded, train services reduced, cruise ships could not dock because of infected passengers (and were later suspended entirely) and restaurants and hotels had to close because of sanitary measures. The post-pandemic period will open a new era of precaution with less spontaneity and more protections against virus, Allianz says.

It is predicted that short-haul and domestic air travel will recover first, but travelers will change their behaviors, including wearing face masks throughout their journey and saying goodbye to loved ones outside the airport. In some cases, jet bridges to planes will be used as a final “disinfectant tunnel.” Airlines will cut down on cabin bags to speed up boarding and reduce contamination risk and will reduce food and drink services.

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The most affected sector, Allianz says, will be the cruise industry, as no one has a clear vision of how cruises can be organized while respecting social distancing and, above all, the quarantine of sick travelers to avoid contamination.

Hospitality will be affected by enhanced sanitation measures. Restaurants are likely to reopen with shorter hours, for fewer days, with far fewer tables and greatly streamlined menus. In the meantime, delivery and take-away orders by smartphone apps will hugely increase. All-inclusive hotel packages are likely to be redesigned to remove buffet-style food and drink delivery to ensure guests receive service at their individual, socially distanced tables. Local excursions are likely to be provided exclusively for individual parties and will inevitably be more expensive.

Finally, business travel will be reconsidered since the pandemic has shown that global project management can be done by video conferencing, allowing financial cost and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Only trade meetings, exhibitions and international sporting events are likely to resume to normal levels in the foreseeable future.

Highlights from the other topics include: 

  • Home: Our homes will no longer be a place to spend just evenings and weekends, it will become a multi-functional digital fortress.
  • Healthcare: Digital health technology will become the norm, including teleconsultation, encouraging rapid adoption of wearable health technologies.
  • Personal Mobility: Road travel will return to normal levels; major cities around the world will continue reorganizing infrastructure to encourage the use of micro-mobility. 

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