The Omicron mutation could benefit the tourism industry as many people are willing to go back because they don’t think they will be reinfected.

Travel is now almost the same as it was before Covid-19. When he traveled from Singapore to Switzerland last week via Bangkok, Thailand, Raini Hamdi, a travel reporter for CNA, did not need to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 or download a tracing app. She only had to prove the vaccination status.

The tourism industry thrived after most of the country conquered the Delta variant. However, in late 2021, Omicron once again crushed hopes of recovery, leading to new travel restrictions ahead of the Christmas rush.

Since then, the number of Covid-19 cases has reached record highs in many countries, mainly in the community. That could indicate that international travelers pose no greater risk than locals.

Aware of this, some governments are willing to live with Covid-19. Many travel restrictions are being relaxed. Singapore announced the expansion of routes on March 4.

High vaccination coverage can lead to this decision. Before Omicron, however, there was still some hesitation in moving.

While quarantine while traveling is difficult for many, what is more concerning is the possibility of becoming infected abroad.

What to do if the test is positive? How can I get medical care if I don’t speak the local language? Problems with arranging housing or bothering the company?

All those worries disappear for people who recover after infection with the Omicron variant. Some may feel more confident about their immunity and find ways to assuage the pent-up rage.

Slowly recovering

The demand for tourism is skyrocketing. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported the fastest increase in international ticket sales since the outbreak of the pandemic in January and February. In early February, ticket sales for tourists reached half the pre-epidemic figure (February 2019).

This reflects the relaxation of travel rules announced around the world, including in Australia, France, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden.

After being in place for 2 years, Singaporeans can’t wait to travel. Skyscanner saw a 71% increase in search volume in January compared to the previous month. The top destinations are Manila, Seoul, London, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne.

According to travel analytics firm ForwardKeys, bookings from Singaporeans to Australia rose 179% after the country reopened its borders.

“We are encouraged by the signs of recovery in the tourism industry,” said Brent Anderson, regional general manager of Singapore-based Tourism Australia.

Similarly, Booking has seen an increase in bookings by Singaporean travelers in the past month to destinations as close as Kuala Lumpur and Seoul or as far away as London and Paris.

Tourism industry leaders believe that tourism will recover and recover in the long run.

However, the war in Ukraine caused oil prices to soar above $100 a barrel for the first time in seven years. Airfares can rise due to higher fuel costs, making travelers think twice.

Meanwhile, China, the world’s largest outbound travel market, allows people to travel alone if they undergo a 14 or 21 day quarantine upon return. This regulation is quite strict as many countries have reduced or eliminated it.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Chinese tourists made 169 million trips in 2019 and spent $255 billion abroad.

No rush

The world is far from connected before the pandemic. However, are the destinations ready as more travelers pack their bags?

IATA’s analysis of the world’s top 50 aviation markets, including Singapore, found 37 open to vaccinated travelers with varying needs. But only 18 of them removed quarantine orders or pre-departure checks.

Vaccinated travelers now have less complicated procedures than they did a few weeks ago. This gives them the confidence to buy tickets.

However, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said lifting travel restrictions could be further accelerated, such as removing isolation and testing requirements for people who are fully immunized or need to be tested alone. A negative antigen test result is required before departure for unvaccinated individuals.

The Covid-19 pandemic is unlike any other crisis the travel industry has gone through.

Job losses and border closures have led to a massive labor shortage. The service industry will suffer if they don’t address this problem before the tourists return. Empty shops and a shrinking nightlife signal gloom for the industry.

Omicron could convince governments to reopen borders and give tourists the confidence to move again. However, that’s only half the picture.

The other half is the world, largely vaccinated and recovering from Covid-19. The travel industry needs to worry less about getting things back to the way they were before the pandemic.

Australia welcomed its first international visitors in two years to Sydney on February 21 with the words “Welcome back to the world!” Paint near the runways. Airport and airline staff cheered as the kangaroo mascot hugged the tourists.

People understand that travel will return with excitement and wonder.

@ Sing News

Source: Vietnam Insider


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