The first industry that was affected by the coronavirus pandemic was the travel one. It is also the most affected at the moment.
The outbreak started in China, a destination that saw increased popularity among Europeans in the past years. At the end of January, as data about the covid-19 virus started to appear, bookings started to go down. This trend continued.
Fortunately, airlines quickly reacted and started to limit flights towards all infected regions. At the same time, interest among travelers for Asian countries went down, with February showing a decline of 81% when compared to January for trips to China.
Flying to Italy
Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, with only some countries being more popular. At the start of 2020, we saw an increase in the number of bookings that saw people traveling to the country when compared to 2019. Just as with travel to China, things drastically changed during late February. This is when the outbreak reached Northern Italy.
Airlines were forced to respond
Because travelers started to book fewer flights and cancel their trips, airlines instantly started to suffer. Many ended up closing routes and special discounts started to be offered. Travel cancelations keep increasing. Also, some of the airlines did not manage to deal with the pressure. An example is Flybe, which had to declare its bankruptcy in March. Unfortunately, other airlines are expected to meet the same fate in the near future.
Travel companies that already have some financial problems are at high risk right now. The stronger industry players will, most likely, be able to survive. Many now took measures to secure their finances, like free flight date changes and lower ticket prices. Travelers are now recommended by many to postpone their trips and plan for a later period.
Unfortunately, some travelers that do not have travel insurance have very few options available. They rely on the policies of the airlines.
The travel industry is affected
Travel plans are being canceled left and right. This is true for all trip types, ranging from solo adventures to family trips. People love to travel and visit new destinations but because of the coronavirus pandemic, this stopped. The big problem is there is no way to figure out how long this will last.
We can take a look at past epidemics that negatively affected the travel industry, like SARS, swine flu and bird flu. The crises then lasted several months. However, we have to acknowledge the fact that the current coronavirus pandemic is more serious. This means that the travel industry might end up affected for much longer, even up to one month.
Every single travel company in the world is now faced with a crisis. This is because of the large number of cancelations and very low sales. Many companies will end up bankrupt. However, after the crisis is over, sales will grow. It is actually expected that a big boom will affect the travel industry right after. This is impossible though until the WHO officially chances its travel recommendations.