According to studies, 49% of travellers would be willing to travel after a proven Covid vaccine is released.
While personal practices like mask wearing and social distancing may fade with time, other industry-wide changes introduced during the pandemic will likely prove durable.
As news of several effective Covid-19 vaccines may have shed some light, will a beleaguered travel and tourism industry — one of the hardest hit by the pandemic — soon begin to recover?
Possibly, say sources, but they caution that travel may take years to fully rebound and no matter the timing, will likely look different than it did pre-pandemic.
“The news of a potential vaccine does hold promise for travel in 2021,” said Julie Hall, spokeswoman for AAA. “But … travellers need to be focused on knowing the risks of traveling and exposure in the here and now.”
Brian O’Connell, analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, takes an even more measured stance. “I’m just not bullish on travel for the first half of 2021 – even if a vaccine is mass produced in that timeframe,” he said. “Caution is the watchword, as the vaccine will take months to be fully distributed in the U.S. and abroad.”
Kayak.com CEO Steve Hafner said he thinks “people are taking more a wait-and-see approach … until one of these vaccines is out there.”
If mass vaccination gets underway, personal safety practices like social distancing may fade away, Shon added, although she predicts consumer demand for an “OCD level of cleaning” at travel properties for some time to come. “I think people are aware that maybe these things weren’t happening before, and they should be happening regardless of a pandemic or not.”