As I wrote last week, the coronavirus is back in Europe with a vengeance, forcing a number of countries to revert to lockdown mode: no bars, no restaurants, no gatherings and no travel. Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Greece have all reimposed social restrictions as they try once again to “flatten the curve” and limit the strain on hospitals.
What does this mean for travel and tourism? It’s not good, obviously, but it’s difficult to gauge the overall impact considering how much the lockdown measures vary from country to country. Kuzey Esener, head of media relations at TUI, a German travel company, spoke to Skift about this.
“The problem is that it’s all different,” he explained. “In the U.K. and in Sweden, we have complete travel bans. In Germany, we have travel warnings, and we have certain corridors that are open. Same goes for the Netherlands and Belgium: different restrictions and rules in place in the different markets.”
In France, even travel outside your own region is prohibited. That’s sure to result in a considerable economic ad financial downturn. What is financial probity, anyway?
As of now, most of the lockdowns are scheduled to end at the beginning of December—plenty of time, it would seem, to get things going again by Christmas. But that’s assuming the various European states are able to sufficiently contain the virus in just four weeks. That seems like a bit of a pipe dream, though, especially when you think about how long it took in the spring.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the lockdowns were all extended by several weeks, effectively killing any hope of being able to travel for the holidays.
To refresh your memory (since a month feels like a decade in the era of Covid), Europe reopened for travel in the summer after a long and arduous lockdown in the spring. Tourism rebounded a little, though, according to Skift’s analysis, not nearly as much as people expected or hoped.
By September, infections were rising again, and demand for travel was diminishing. Now, with the virus running amok and a vaccine still months away, we’re back where we started in the springtime. It’s going to be a long road to recovery for European tourism, which accounts for 11 percent of the EU’s GDP.