Most travel buffs had amazing resolutions surrounding travel when 2020 started. Little did anyone know that the global pandemic will put almost the entire world into lockdown and all the plans will have to be cancelled. COVID-19 has so far infected more than 12,00,000 people and killed at least 68,000 across the globe. As the virus spreads very fast from human to human transmission, experts and authorities have been urging people to practice quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing. While most industries have been hit by the pandemic, the travel industry is undoubtedly the most affected. Here is how the coronavirus outbreak has affected and will affect travel.
Travel industry hit hard
Globally, Tourism Economics expects travel to fall 9.1% this year, the largest drop ever in the past 40 years its tracked. The U.S. travel and tourism industry could lose at least $24 billion in foreign spending this year because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, according to data produced by Tourism Economics. The figures also imply 8.2 million lost visitors in one year, which would be even more than the 7.7 million international travellers lost in 2001 and 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In all, 825,000 jobs could be lost in the industry, which also includes many small businesses.
Countries under lockdown
As a precautionary measure, several countries across the world are under lockdown. The list includes Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, UK and Germany among others. EU member states not on official lockdown, as well as the UK, have all closed their schools and universities. Most have also shut down all non-essential shops including bars and restaurants and banned gatherings of all kinds. Several nations, including Germany, have also closed their borders with other EU member states or severely restricted access with controls, creating traffic jams.
Hotels, casinos shut
When Las Vegas felt the heat of the coronavirus, it decided to shut all casinos and bars. The owners of iconic Las Vegas casinos such as Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas shut down as the coronavirus pandemic prompts authorities to lock down public gathering places. Not just Las Vegas but prominent hotels across the world closed their doors to visitors one by one joining the fight against the global pandemic.
India bans international flights
Airlines across the world have grounded their flights and on March 19, the Indian Government banned international commercial passenger aircraft from landing in any airport in the country, for a week starting March 22. As per the directive, no scheduled international commercial passenger flight will take off from any foreign airport to any airport in India after 0001 hours GMT of March 22, 2020. The instructions will remain in force until March 29. It further added that a max travel time of 20 hours is permissible for such commercial passenger flights to land in India.
Cities under lockdown in India
After implementing Janta Curfew for a day on March 22, the Centre announced lockdown of 80 cities to enforce limited or no gatherings of people. The states going into lockdown till March 31 include those where coronavirus cases have been reported – Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, West Bengal, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Puducherry and Uttarakhand.
Given the current scenario in relation to the coronavirus out
Domestic flights cancelled in India
On March 23, the Indian government announced to shut down domestic flights to halt the spread of coronavirus. All airlines have been asked to plan the operations in a way that flights land at their destinations before 2359 hours on Tuesday, March 24. Only cargo flights have been allowed to function.
Given the current scenario in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, the travel ban on International and Domestic flights and curfew in cities was extended after a National lock down was enforced with effect from March 25 to April 14.
(Curated by Priya Pareek)