Were you looking forward to an upcoming weekend trip? Was a refreshing vacation in Bali on your list of to-do’s in the next couple of months? Or were you finally starting to pack for a dream getaway in the Maldives?
All that has been put on hold for now. But should you cancel it?
As frantic customers all over the world are asking to cancel their trips and holidays, cancellations just might not be the correct response to the current situation.
A better option would be to postpone that booking you had.
The first reaction of a customer, at this time, is undoubtedly to ask for a refund, but in the long-term, this could prove to be fatal for the travel industry.
Travel has always been one of the most sought-after activities by people all over the world. And why not? It teaches you so many things-- how to enjoy the smallest things, the way of life in other cultures, how to appreciate differences and so much more.
Before the Covid-19 crisis, the travel industry was seeing a steady upward trend. A survey conducted by FABgetaways prior to this unprecedented situation revealed that a surge in international travel would be seen among Indians this year. The survey showed that in 2019, 58.39% of Indians had travelled internationally at least once, but that was expected to increase with 91.31% of the people planning an international trip in 2020.
In fact, in 2019, even the UN World Travel Association, after seeing an increase in tourism with 1.4 billion international arrivals, had predicted that the trend would continue in 2020 and beyond.
The travel industry has, over the years, built its own ecosystem-- one that consists of passionate travellers, knowledgeable travel agents, airlines, countless travel platforms, vloggers, hotels and resorts, and many more including small-time local vendors, artisans and even restaurants!
But this crisis that the world is facing right now is threatening that ecosystem. The question is, when this ends, and it will, will this ecosystem still be in place to let you experience the world the same way it did before?
One of the examples we can look at is indigenous tourism. It was a 1.9 billion dollar a year industry as of December, 2019. Skift has forecasted that in a matter of weeks, this will all change and for the worse too. On a minimum, a 900 million dollar loss in direct revenue, closure of at least 500 businesses and 12,000 job cuts are expected. And as such, the industry, which is made up of small businesses with less than 5 employees will not be able to withstand such losses and will have to close down as many have already done.
This means, by the time things get back to normal, travellers will not have an indigenous tourism platform to get back to.
The crisis has proved to be a test of humanity, and it has shown how crucial each person and their every action can impact an entire ecosystem. So before you cancel that trip-- Stop. Think. And proceed.
Stop: We get it. Travel in the coming months looks almost impossible to do. But as the past has shown us, this too shall pass. And while cancelling your trip might seem like the easier thing to do, delaying it might certainly be the more humane thing to do right now.
Think: What happens when all this is done and dusted? What happens after a few months when your passion to travel is renewed and the world has gotten better? Will the places you had always wanted to go to still be functioning well enough to let you see the best of it? Will the resort you had planned on going to for your sabbatical still be in business? Will all those small-scale vendors that made tourist places so colorful and lively still be there to greet you?
Proceed: There is a lot to consider as you make your final decision. As the future of the travel ecosystem rests on each individual’s shoulders, it is important to take all aspects and possibilities into account before proceeding with your resolution.
As Ralph Marston quoted, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Right now, this is truer than it has ever been. How you respond today will indeed make or break your tomorrow. Like we say, it is all in your hands.
Until then, be responsible, stay home and stay safe.