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Impact of coronavirus pandemic on digital travel market & way forward

Travel destinations that were accustomed to footprints are now deserted. COVID-19 shook the tourism industry with massive losses. As the virus picked up steam, the digital travel industry fell downhill. However, as digitisation emerges a winner in today’s contemporary world, revival opportunities may soon knock the doors of the digital travel industry.

Travel fills the void in life. After witnessing one of the harshest phases in its history, the industry has finally started to get back on track to fill that void. However, it will take some time for the market to recover from the aftermath effects of the pandemic.

State of digital travel industry

Digital travel agencies sell tourism and various travel-related services like booking trips, accommodation, transportation, recreational tourist activities, etc.

In 2019, the digital travel industry was experiencing exponential growth. Thanks to the surge in innovative technology, people started relying relatively more on online travel agencies. 2020 also had a positive head start until March, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

In effect, travel agencies went from booking trips to cancelling, refunding, and rebooking. The gross booking value of online travel companies observed a significant plunge.

As soon as the virus spread, the borders got shut. The digital travel agencies experienced a sudden rift from sales. As per the “Global Online Travel Market 2021,” report, the United States’ aggregate sales for 2020 were only half of the forecasted sales for the year.

The industry’s decline in 2020 was factored in because of the sudden outbreak that led to restrictive containment measures like work from home, social distancing, borders being shut, and commercial activities being closed. The pandemic substantially disrupted the supply chain within the travel industry.

In 2021, inoculation is grabbing more headlines than COVID-19 positive cases. As holistic recovery plans remain in full swing, the tourism market is expected to grow with the gradual revival of the industry from the coronavirus pandemic.

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 GOOD READ: Australia introduces Subsidised flights to boost tourism as a move towards recovery.

Unravelling the road ahead for digital travel market

As the coronavirus waves are gradually settling down in many countries, borders are reopening for tourism. The UK recently announced a green list for countries from where travellers can travel to the UK, quarantine-free. Travel corridors are being formed, for instance, the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble.

INTERESTING READ: Australia to promote tourism; to create a travel bubble with Singapore.

With the resumption of travel across borders and domestic travel, revival seems to be on the cards this year. The report, “Global Online Travel Market 2021,” also stated that global travellers plan to spend more in the next 12 months. Furthermore, the installation and usage of digital travel mobile applications would be higher than the pre-pandemic times.

Interestingly, despite the negative implications of COVID-19, the aggregate per capita digital travel expenditure is estimated to rise in many Asia-Pacific countries like Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, by 2025.

Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media

Besides, technology-driven solutions are significant to bring the digital travel industry back on track. The aftermath effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has inclined people towards the “buy now pay later” payment method.

Technology will play a crucial role to resurrect the digital travel industry. Innovative and more integrated apps with flexible payment features would attract travellers. Although the pandemic is still nudging in many countries, the digital travel industry is expected to grow. This growth can be in the demographics where the COVID-19 waves are now more subtle provided with government and health officials’ guidelines.


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