International tourism industry preparing for post-COVID-19 travel

After weeks spent cooped up inside the travel deals already being advertised seem enticing.

“There will be pent up demand when COVID passes,” Bermuda Tourism Authority Interim CEO Glenn Jones told Boston 25 News.

Jones said the island has always been popular with people from the Boston area.

“We think after the crisis passes, when it’s the right time to travel again, people will be very interested in places that are close, that are safe and are clean,” he explained. “And I think those are three things that Bermuda has always done well.”

But when will the time be right to vacation again? It’s not a simple answer.

Most people fly to destinations like Bermuda.

“The airline industry is down 93% compared to a year ago,” said Henry Harteveldt, the president of the Atmosphere Research Group, which tracks the travel industry.

That decline is, of course, because most travel is prohibited.

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“Right now it is just people who have an urgent need to fly somewhere,” Harteveldt explained.

Airlines and other travel companies are already offering great deals, but Harteveldt said before booking make sure to double-check the cancellation policies.

There is no guarantee when stay-at-home orders will be lifted and there’s no guarantee when other countries will lift their travel restrictions. Also, when they do, safety will be a personal choice.

“Some airlines have said they will block middle seats, some have said they will keep some of their middle seats open, some have said they will keep middle seats open unless they can sell them and Frontier said if you want the middle seat next to you open, you better be prepared to pay for it,” Harteveldt said.

Those will not necessarily be permanent changes, but how long they last will depend on demand.

Jones said, in Bermuda, the government began reopening the economy last week. However, it is just the first phase and there are three more phases to go before they welcome eager tourists back.

“Everyone has been trapped inside for so long and the whole world has been upside down so that opportunity to get away helps everyone get right side up again,” he said.