The tourism industry has been badly impacted by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic due to most countries exposed quarantine and lockdown as an attempt to constrain the spread of the virus. Business and leisure travel has been cancelled. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that global international tourist arrivals might decrease by 20–30% in 2020, leading to a potential loss of US$30–50 billion. The industry is going through the coldest winter since the 911 resulted freezing. Flights are being operated empty, hotels’ occupancy rate diving, museums, tourism sites globally closed .etc.Although there are financial reliefs and rescues issued and stimulus planned by many governments and worldwide organizations, the prospect of the recovery of the industry remains dim. Among the many vertical segmentation of the industry, the brick and mortar travel agencies are hit most hardly. Challenges the travel agencies face including,
1. Business Suspension and Refund caused Cash Flow Fracture.
Many of the small or medium-sized offline travel agencies with week cash flows have been put into a two-line-battle against the pandemic resulted in business suspension and refund of the pre-pandemic bookings, which make them even more vulnerable to the Black-Swan-Style global pandemic. To survive the pandemic, business owners are left with no choice other than shrinking. Outlets or shops closed and staff laid off, while others go chapter 11.Ms. Wu Mei-Hue, Secretary-General of The Taiwan Travel Quality AssuranceAssociation (TQAA) said, at a conference held in later February 2020, that the corvid-19 has greatly impacted Taiwan’s tourism industry, especially during the usually busy Lunar New Year and 228 Peace Memorial holidays. She noted that more than 500 of the approximately 3,900 travel agencies in the country will face closure before June and that over 90 percent will have to shut down if the outbreak persists until the end of the year.
2. Talents Drainage
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the COVID-19 can reduce more than 75 million jobs globally in the travel and tourism industry. This is different from the normal talent and workforce shifting when people jump from one travel agency to the other one. With the persistence of the virus, those talents are leaving the industry forever. This will leave the industry a huge vacuum of the workforce for the post-pandemic recovery and expose pressure on all facets of the industry such as supply chain, business development. The ecological restoration can be costly to both the industry and each enterprise involved.
3. Adapting to a Remolded Market and Changed Consuming Behavior.
The quarantine and lockdown policy of most countries have been utterly remoulding the marketing and customers’ consuming behaviour, from offline online.
As the pandemic is under its way, there is no direct statistic to snapshot how the tourism market has been remoulded but we still find some threads in other consuming market.
According to the latest research from Ipsos, in 11 of the 12 countries surveyed, customers said they were more frequently purchasing online products that they would normally buy in-store.
The largest increase in e-commerce shopping is in Vietnam, where 57%consumers are more frequently shifting their purchasing online. India(55%), China (50%), and Italy (31%) also see a strong increase.
German is the only market where online shopping has become less common, with just about 12% of consumers saying they are buying online more frequently, this compares to 15% who said less frequently.
For travel agencies, implying a Go Online strategy is a Must To Do to fight back and capture business. It should be a long-term strategy rather than makeshift.
Given to the aforementioned impacts by COVID-19, the industry calls for anInvest Smaller and Dream Bigger go online strategy and solutions which tapped into the biggest challenges instead of a single OTA platform or booking engine.
The trend is to work with venders that are capable to provide a turn-key solution with an acceptable investment.
easyGDS is among such attempts to help travel agencies to regain their market share fast with a super low cost.
It provides any travel agent with everything they need to go online within a short period of time with a fast, reliable and feature-rich platform. Take advantage of the vast inventory that easyGDS offers and source the best rates for your customers. easyGDS covers the full range of travel products including flights, hotels, car rentals, tours & activities, airport transfers and travel insurance so you can be sure that you provide your travellers with an all-inclusive travel experience!