Strong and content I travel the open road, wrote the great American poet Walt Whitman in his classic poem Song of the Open Road. Out of the dark confinement! Out from behind the screen! he urges us as able to foresee what our 2020 would look like.
While last year brought along the experience of unprecedented confinement and endurance, 2021 lifts the curtains and asks us to think about the freedom of movement, a change of scene, unrestricted time with family and friends, and the proverbial open road ahead of us. However, with risk and caution on our minds and Covid-19 still very much part of our reality, how do we reconcile this need for movement and freedom with caution and reluctance?
According to the UN World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) recent report, in the period between January and March 2021, destinations around the world reported 180 million fewer international travelers compared to the first quarter of 2020. Asia and the Pacific experienced a drop of 94 percent in international arrivals over the three-month period. Europe took the second spot with an 83-percent decline, followed by Africa (-81 percent), the Middle East (-78 percent) and the Americas (-71 percent). However, the UNWTO’s Panel of Tourism Experts expressed more optimism about the upcoming May-August period.
It is clear that travelers will need support from the tourism industry, but how prepared is the industry after a hard year? A recent report from Allianz Research, takes a closer look at the 220-billion-euro European accommodation industry’s road to recovery.