Tourism and COVID


Sim Saini

The National World War II Memorial

Sim Saini

Flight cancellations, border closure, and more have caused the tourism companies to be hurt a great deal by COVID-19. Global tourism is one of the most affected areas because of COVID; it is predicted that there will be over 120 million jobs at risk and economic damage exceeding $1 trillion.

In March, tourism came to a screeching halt when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) placed guidelines that restricted people from travelling. As COVID did not seem to decrease in cases, the tourism industry continued to take hit after hit in the following months. Cases kept increasing in the United States, while other countries were maintaining the spread of it. Due to this, government officials of other countries did not deem it safe for US citizens to be entering their countries, as the virus would further spread into their society. Hence, they banned travelers from the US from entering their country. These countries included Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Canada and Mexico even closed their land borders. 

Due to essentially no international travel, the airline industry took a big hit. As the spread of the pandemic increased, people started second guessing whether or not traveling away from home was a safe option. This caused basically all international airlines to put their industries on hold while trying to figure out a safer way for people to travel. As of now the airline industries have slowly started gaining business again, however there are many precautions that have to be taken before and after traveling. Many airlines are making preflight tests mandatory with two options for the tests. The first one being a rapid 15 minute test, only costing $57 but not as accurate as the PCR test, which costs $125 and gives results back in 48 hours. Travelers who are just visiting friends and family usually take the rapid test for some reassurance that they don’t have the virus but those going to a specific destination are required to test negative at least 3 days before travelling and take the more reliable PCR test. 

The airline industry was not the only travel industry to be affected by COVD, as the cruise industry also suffered great losses. Outbreaks of this virus are more likely to happen in small spaces such as cruises since everyone is usually together in one area on these ships. The CDC has put in effect the No Sail Order which prevents, among other things, new passengers from boarding cruise ships. It applies to all cruise ships with the capacity to carry more than 250 people. This order is in effect until October 31, 2020 or until the CDC says otherwise. 

All of these industries and more have taken a big hit due to COVID-19, and even with guidelines in place the spread of this virus is still ongoing. Many people still travel and go to places such as Washington, D.C. and go to many of the tourist attractions. However, the CDC is still advising people to stay home and keep social distancing for their own and everyone else’s safety.