If like me you have (or had) travel plans for this year, then you’ll no doubt be pretty devastated at the travel restrictions and lock-downs  around the world. The pandemic has literally altered life as we know it.

But instead of rushing to cancel your flights, tours and accommodation, have a little think about the wider implications of your actions.

 

Why Should I Postpone My Travels?

The world heavily relies on income from tourism. In fact, the World Travel & Tourism Council predict that the direct and indirect affect of tourism on the world makes up over 10% of the global GDP, which is a contribution of over US$8.9 trillion.

In 2019 alone there were over 330 million jobs in the tourism industry. Essentially that’s a hell of a lot of people who have lost, or could potentially loose their job (and consequently their entire income) thanks to COVID-19.

In my adopted home country of Australia alone, they welcomed 9.3 million international visitors in 2019 (up until June), who injected $44.6 billion into the economy. These figures prove that the importance of tourism on an economy is absolutely unprecedented. And it’s why we should immediately pick up our plans again, to help fix the damage the C-word has caused.

Just think of those market stall holders who rely on selling souvenirs to put dinner on their table. The independent hotel owners worrying about covering overheads with their empty occupancy. It’s our duty as empathetic and socially-conscious travellers to get right back at it as soon as the government advises it is safe to do so.

I’ve seen a few articles circulating online about how you have ‘rights’ and should demand a refund for cancelled flights. Naturally the airlines will offer you vouchers first and of course you have consumer rights. But what about that small online agency you always snag a bargain with or that airline who have always been a pleasure to fly on? We risk loosing the travel businesses we rely on (and even love) because we’re demanding a refund. 

According to a report by Bloomberg, commercial air traffic is on track to drop by 8.9% this year, which would be the biggest decline since 1978. It could however be a lot worse than this – many airlines (more than just FlyBe) may go bust, not to mention small, independent agencies and tour companies.

So, What Should I Do?

Business is not booming. Cash flow is tight. So instead of hurting the travel economy at its most vulnerable, consider letting businesses keep your money and provide you with vouchers in compensation, so you can travel or stay another time.

So use your own judgement; get flight, tour or hotel vouchers if you can and make a pledge to head back to your original destination as soon as it is safe to do so. It will really make a difference.