Every industry all over the world has felt the effects of the ongoing pandemic one way or another. Some of them benefited from it – think video streaming services, video conferencing products, and video games – while others have seen their revenues melt away, with the pandemic endangering their very existence.
The travel and hospitality industry was perhaps the hardest hit by the disease, with the number of people traveling by air decreasing to a never-before-seen minimum, with casino cruises canceled, with hotels and restaurants, pubs and other venues closing due to the various measures taken by governments around the world to slow down the spread of the disease.
In many parts of the world, the first wave of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic seems to have passed – these countries are now slowly relaxing their strict restrictions, giving hope to those with wanderlust in their souls that they’ll be able to travel after all. While restrictions are still in place, resorts in Spain, Greece, and many other countries are already announcing they’ll be able to accommodate visitors from certain countries of origin starting next month. How will they be able to do this safely – and how to get there? Well, there are plans and products for this, too.
Airplane seating upgrades
Italian airplane interiors designer Aviointeriors has created a product it calls Glassafe that may be a solution to keeping passengers isolated on flights without the need to leave an entire row of seats empty (something airlines are strongly opposing, by the way). The solution can be installed on existing seats, creating a barrier between passengers sitting next to each other, thus minimizing exposure to pathogens – and, being made of a completely transparent material, it doesn’t even disrupt the aesthetic of the passenger area.
This, combined with the measures taken by airports, will help travelers fly to their destinations with peace of mind.
Hotel safety measures
Hotels will have to adapt to the new reality, at least until a vaccine to the disease becomes available. This means that many of the amenities we’ve gotten used to over the years will have to disappear – think buffets, valet service, bellhops, and others relying on personal contact.
The rooms and common areas will be continuously disinfected – some hotels are already implementing the widespread use of UV lamps and electrostatic sprayers. Keyless check-in will become the new norm, and so will contactless room service. And, depending on the venue, the number of people riding the elevator at the same time will likely also be limited.
Social distancing beaches
Greece is among the first countries to reopen its beaches as the temperatures start to rise – but they, too, have many measures in place to keep visitors from being infected. For one, they don’t permit more than 40 people to stay per every 1000 square meters (about 10800 square feet) of the beach, the umbrella poles are set 4 meters (approximately 13 feet 2 inches), sun-beds and benches will be disinfected after each customer, and calls to maintain the required “social distance” between beachgoers are constant.
Similar measures can be expected to be introduced in countries like Italy and Spain as they reopen their resorts to visitors.
Getting in will be tricky
This is where it becomes tricky.
While countries do reopen their tourist destinations as we speak, they won’t be accessible to every visitor coming from every country of origin.
Greece will reopen its borders to travelers coming from just 19 countries worldwide – Cyprus, Israel, China, Japan, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Czechia. Visitors from these countries will be able to travel to the country without having to undergo mandatory isolation or quarantine.
Spain will allow foreigners to enter in July, with no word of any country-based restrictions so far. Croatia will open its borders to Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and Austrian visitors starting May 29. And Italy is expected to welcome European tourists from June 3. Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether or when these countries will be open once again to visitors from the rest of the countries.