Travel and tourism industry has been heavily affected during the last two years and Brussels has not been spared from this trend. Even though the number of people who travel steadily improved in the last months, the hospitality establishments all over the world are facing a very uncertain times. Considering the current global circumstances, it is very difficult to prepare and predict for this new reality. Zoran Pejovic, hospitality expert and consultant has shared his thoughts on the unprecedented paradox of an increasing travel demand in a shrinking world.
One could assert that the world of travel of 2022 is the smallest world ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The covid restrictions still keep about 1.5 billion Chinese country locked. Many other countries still have strong travel restrictions in place. On the other hand, some of the countries have removed all of the restrictions, but the internal mental restrictions, caused by two years of the pandemics and lockdowns still remain in many people’s minds.
On top of that about 150 million Russians have becomes or about to become unwanted travelers in the Western world. Ukrainians are fighting for survival, so traveling is not top of their minds, and that is not likely to change overnight. The war in Eastern Europe will create decreased travel desirability for the surrounding countries, most notably the Baltic states and Poland. Not to forget, there are ongoing wars in Yemen, South Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria…
Sanctions imposed on Russia and Russian answer in terms of the closure of their aerospace will mean longer travelling times and increased costs of tickets. The biggest impact is on flights between Europe and north Asian destinations like Japan, South Korea and China but other affected routes include those between southeast Asia and Europe and the United States and India.
Add to this increasing prices of fuel, inflation and all the other internal uncertainties that many developed countries face and one can imagine how travel and tourism is about to be delt an incredible blow. Add to this the reality of global warming and intertwined narratives and you start to wonder if there is anyone out there willing and able to travel.
And yet, the world has never had more people with more money and a larger desire to travel, accumulated over the past two years. The travel demand is high, the world is small. This is set to cause huge stress on some of the remaining available travel destinations. We will see price hikes all around. We will also see further exodus from the industry as the uncertainties continue to mount and the stress of increased work becomes untenable. How are we going to cope with all of this remains to be seen.
Author: Zoran Pejovic