A new world of restricted travel

| May 9, 2020

Resident columnist Dickson Igwe

The global travel and tourism industry will inevitably contract and decline significantly, as the Corona Virus Pandemic continues its devastating journey through the world economy.

For the Caribbean, a region wholly dependent upon tourism for its economic existence, this will be no easy time.

Social distancing on airplanes; testing and quarantine of travelers upon arrival; the shutdown of the cruise industry; the shutdown of the global leisure industry; the devastation of the hotel and resort industry; the collapse of global airlines; the steep recession in the USA and Western Europe; huge jobless numbers comparable to the Depression of the 1930s; the preceding woes are already upon us.

Commerce is a social enterprise. The exchange of products and services requires proximity between individuals in spite of the virtual world of digitization and algorithm. Social exchange is integral to a functioning economy.

When consumers are required to socially isolate; when markets are shut down; when consumers are terrified; with politicians that cannot be trusted giving delusional and unscientific advice; economic matters simply worsen.

The USA and UK have been observed as models of how ‘’not’’ to manage the pandemic socially and economically.

Photo courtesy https://hospitalityinsights.ehl.edu/

The failure to completely lock down and close borders, has allowed a Trojan horse of death and destruction, into the UK. Then, Donald Trump’s idea that a robust economy can function side by side with an uncontrolled pandemic is ‘’absurd.’’

Countries that have managed to control the infection rate of Corona Virus are treading cautiously on reopening their economies. And that includes their travel and tourism industries.

The future of travel may well include a third protocol. Travelers will be asked upon arrival at specific countries to show documentary evidence they are virus free and then further undergo testing, before being allowed entry. A second passport, a medical document, showing a medical and vaccination narrative is on the cards.

Travelers from countries such as the USA, UK and specific European states, where the Pandemic remains uncontrolled, will in addition to the preceding, be required to undergo quarantine and extra testing, before gaining entry into countries that have managed to control their infection rates.

Travel between countries with low infection rates such as Australia and New Zealand will allow travel between themselves subject to the requisite testing and medical protocols.

Travel and tourism will only open up, after the virus has been eradicated.

But that may be towards the end of 2021, depending upon whether a vaccination, cure, or both, are in place.

In the meanwhile, Caribbean countries must learn to adopt resilience and patience until such a time as when the tourism and travel industry begins to recover: no easy task as people go unemployed, facing certain hardship that will last for many months.

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Category: African Caribbean, Culture & Society

About the Author (Author Profile)

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.

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