The economic effects of COVID-19 are still being calculated, but virtually every industry has taken a hit. The pandemic has been especially difficult for travel, with events canceled, fleets grounded, and hotel rooms left empty. (The aviation sector alone lost $370 billion.) How will all of this impact travel for you and your family in the coming year?

International vs Domestic Travel

Many countries are still trying to determine how and when to adjust the international travel guidelines enacted in the early stages of the pandemic. While a few have relaxed their restrictions, others, like Australia, are still following strict regulations and are even considering keeping their borders closed until mid-2022.

With so many uncertainties relating to international travel, domestic travel is expected to surge this year. Researchers are predicting a boom of road trips this summer, as many people are feeling safer in their vehicles than confined to airplanes, trains, or buses.

Environmental Impact

Global lockdowns and quarantines meant less travel. Less travel meant less fuel usage. And less fossil fuel combustion resulted in a drastic reduction of air pollution levels. This phenomenon gave a boost to the environmental awareness movement. In a recent survey, 60% of respondents said they have been making more environmentally friendly purchases since the start of the pandemic. And on the corporate side, many travel-based companies have responded by rolling out their climate action plans for the future of decarbonizing their businesses.

New Norms

According to a study by Travel Plus, 70% of survey participants want to travel in 2021, and 68% want to avoid people and crowds. It appears that social distancing guidelines may have sparked reminders that personal space is a valued commodity. Certain protocols such as enhanced sanitation and contactless check-ins may be here to stay.

While it may be a few years before the travel industry fully recovers, airlines, hotels, and destinations are starting to get back to business. If you’re getting ready to plan your first post-pandemic trip, don’t forget that ABN members receive special discounts on hotels and entertainment tickets.