Written by: Tara
Edited by: Chris
Visual by: Issy
One of the industries most impacted by the pandemic is travel and tourism. Although people may yearn to travel after being stuck at home for months, the rapid spread of the virus has caused many to forgo travel due to risks and restrictions. Booking flights, getting visas and acquiring immigration passes have become much more challenging and expensive. Furthermore, many airports have become breeding grounds for the virus, thus discouraging many from unnecessary travel. Reduced travel has led to the closing down of many hotels, the loss of jobs, and virtually no revenue to upkeep the maintenance of famous landmarks.
Especially now, at the height of the pandemic, with lockdowns all around the world, famous landmarks have become deserted. The Louvre in Paris is one of the most famous attractions in Europe and has now become deserted along with other renowned structures such as the Eiffel Tower and the Trevi fountain. The maintenance of these places, especially the museums, are expensive and require much labor. Without it, the quality of these difficult to maintain places may degrade in the future or simply close down because of the lack of business. To help these industries after they have been hit so hard, some governments have promoted domestic tourism as a way to help struggling businesses. Japan’s travel industry has dropped by 99% because of the restrictions for non-citizens. To help the tourism industry, which plays a large role in their economy, they have introduced the “Go to Travel” campaign. At first there were rumors that this campaign would pay for half the travel costs of foreigners, but those were dismissed. Instead, the campaign targets local and regional economies by providing residents with domestic travel subsidies of up to 50% on transportation, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and shopping all over Japan. Although this has helped fuel travel, the industry is nowhere near its size before the pandemic, and it may take years for it to regain such capacities.
Many are still worried about the effects of the virus, and with new strains arising, these concerns continue to grow. The pandemic has undoubtedly ushered in a ‘stay-at-home’ era, and the industry has been halted in ways never before experienced. Even with the rollout of vaccines, there is no guarantee that travel will return to normal soon. In order to save the tourism industry, the Philippines should consider promoting domestic travel.
News, Kyodo. “Japan to Extend Travel Subsidy Program until around June.” Kyodo News , KYODO NEWS , 3 Dec. 2020, english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/12/995cce13c059-govt-to-extend-travel-subsidy-program-until-around-june.html.