COVID-19 has taken the world by storm with no signs of slowing down. The world economy is crippled, businesses halted their operations and the way we travel will change forever. This is traveling in the new normal!
As the Philippines and the rest of the international community are still reeling from the devastating effects of this pandemic, and the race for vaccine and cure is ongoing.
The travel and hospitality industry, one of those hardest-hit with estimated job losses of 2.6 million in the Philippines (source: DOLE) and 100.8 million globally (source: World Travel and Tourism Council)
are now coming up with new travel guidelines together with government bodies to alleviate the fears of travelers. At the same time, it’s to curb the spread of the virus and save thousands of jobs.
Experts predicted as well that once this pandemic is over, the world will never be the same! There’s no coming back to the usual norms we got used to at least for the foreseeable future, hence the term New Normal.
If you’re planning to travel anytime soon, you can be sure to expect the following:
- Goodbye Group tours, Hello DIY trips!
DIY has been the way of contemporary travelers, while group tours are famous for those wanting to just relax and visit places without doing the planning themselves.
However, as regulating bodies want to lessen and completely stop the spread of COVID-19, mass gatherings and activities are being discouraged.
Today’s travelers also agree, according to a study by Mckinsey & Company, 69% of the respondents now favor to just traveling solo or with their partner.
- People will visit less popular and less crowded destinations near them
The trend of traveling overseas, visiting famous places where numerous people are expected to go is likely to change.
Leisure travelers prefer to visit local & domestic attractions near them that can be visited for just a day.
They are also expected to ‘drive the recovery of the tourism industry’ as per a study released by the DOT (Department of Tourism).
- Road Trips? Here we go!
Travel by land and by private cars is the safer option vs traveling by plane or cruise ships according to Dr. Amanada Castel in her interview with CNBC as there is less interaction with other people.
So when you plan and prepare your next trip for your family or friends, be sure to pass-by any scenic roads along the way!
- Let’s go Digital: Contactless Transactions
Cash is King in the Philippines!
and that was before COVID-19! Now, strong emphasis is being given to online transactions and the country’s chief financial regulator is even urging Filipinos to familiarize themselves and use digital payments in everyday transactions.
We will now start to see establishments as common as Sari-Sari Stores to set-up digital payment systems as it minimizes exchanges of cash and stops the spread of the virus. Make sure you have at least one e-wallet today!
- Mandatory Digital Forms
Different countries, destinations, hotels, and some private companies have rolled out digital health declaration forms or apps where you will be required to answer a set of questions.
Some of those are whether you are COVID-19 positive or presumptively positive, have experienced any symptoms associated with the virus, or have recently visited a country/places declared as a hotbed for the pandemic.
Temperature checking may also be required before entering any establishment and may be included in the forms as well.
- No face mask, No entry policy!
This is a no-brainer and everyone should comply with this policy religiously as we all know how the virus can easily transmit from person to person.
Manila, the capital of the Philippines has already implemented City Ordinance No. 8627 requiring all its citizens to wear the PPE at all times when in public. Mayor Moreno has also warned establishments that he will close their business should they violate the protocol.
Let’s observe this measure for our own safety and consideration for other people.
- Be prepared for extended stays!
When planning for your visit to a far-away city or a foreign country, travelers should be ready for extended stays if an outbreak occurs to your destination.
Local governments may not shoulder the cost for your meals and lodging during the extension, so you must allocate this to your budget. You must also be physically/mentally prepared and remember to remain calm during this situation.
- Handshakes no more
COVID-19 has dramatically affected our lifestyles; we added facemask to our daily lives and we must remove handshakes and similar gestures (kisses or nose to nose touching) as well.
Our very useful hands touch numerous surfaces including our own face, nose, ears, and many more! Hence, experts advice to do away with this custom and replace it with no-contact forms of greetings.
The Philippine Department of Tourism suggested doing the ‘Mabuhay greeting’ (similar to the photo above) as an alternative to handshakes when meeting people.
- Flexible Booking and Cancellation Procedures
Airlines and hotels have started rebooking flights and stays with no additional costs to the customer.
We are expecting this to be completely the new practice due to lingering uncertainties of our situation until the situation normalizes. This means more perks and security for your money whenever you’ll travel.
- Travel and Health Insurance
Not only it’s mandatory when traveling abroad for Filipinos, but it’s also smart to get one.
Should the unfortunate happen and you catch the virus, hospital bills will no longer be a concern for you and your family and you can instead focus on your recovery.
This is the first summary of the changes we are expecting to happen in the travel and tourism industry, you can read the second part here