News ID: 278792
Published: 0832 GMT December 29, 2020

Tourism will be back, but it won’t be the same

Tourism will be back, but it won’t be the same
RICARDO MORAES/REUTERS
People are seen in Copacabana Beach amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The pandemic pushed back trips, led fairs and congresses to be cancelled, brought business meetings to living rooms, and it emptied the skies.

And although there is a consensus that people will eventually go back to leisure travel with a vengeance, the scenario regarding congresses, fairs and airlines is a challenging one. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) estimates that 2020 global tourism revenue will match 1990s levels, with a 70% to 75% drop in international arrivals and USD 1.1 trillion in losses, anba.com.br reported.

The director of Reinisch Projects, boasting vast experience in organizing fairs and events in Brazil, Lawrence Reinisch believes some kinds of non-leisure tourism probably won’t be back to what it was any time soon. On the other hand, he believes that human interaction cannot be replaced “by a screen.” “Educational and congress tourism will struggle because it is replaceable by digital media, but you cannot do networking through videoconferencing. Meeting someone and building ties of confidentiality with them on a screen is really difficult,” he said.

Reinisch believes that as people get vaccinated and the pandemic is somewhat controlled, leisure tourism will return. Even so, the economic crisis, plummeting incomes and soaring unemployment will pose a challenge to that rebound. “People see traveling as an extension of their lives. The industry has been democratized. Lots of people joined the middle class, and travel became a big part of people’s culture,” said Reinisch, who expects domestic tourism to pick up starting in 2021.

Reinisch noted that each destination has its own features. São Paulo in Brazil, for instance, got used to seeing hotels sold-out during the week and way less crowded on weekends, because it is an attractive destination for corporate, conference-and-fair tourism. In turn, Rio de Janeiro used to get jam-packed hotels on weekends, and it would also see its share of business tourism. Costa do Sauípe, in Bahia, would host corporate conferences from March to June, and vacationers from December to February.

“Corporate travel will scale back, after all you can have meetings through videoconferencing. But we can tell that recovery is uneven across different destinations, and operators are readapting their sales and packages, including their long-stay offers” — where the longer the stay, the lower the rates.

   
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