The tourism industry was affected by the pandemic during the last couple of years. According to the UN News report from November 2021, the pandemic would cost the tourism industry $2 trillion in lost revenue.
This is the same amount of loss witnessed last year when COVID-19 was at its peak with strict restrictions imposed across the globe. The UN’s tourism body has declared the industry the hardest hit and called the sector’s growth slow and fragile.
However, the pandemic has only recently reared its head. Before that, the tourism industry was affected by some factors including some that didn’t even have anything related to traveling. Things like weather and natural disasters have a direct effect on the tourism industry of a particular region. To illustrate, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the number of tourists went down by 63 % to 3.7 million.
With new strains of COVID emerging every now and then as well as climate change likely to cause more disasters, tourism is likely to take even more hit. However, that shouldn’t and doesn’t stop those with wanderlust. But there are ways to stay on top of the travel game during these dire times. Here are some tips to have accident-free travel.
In the now-extended COVID-19 era, traveling is nothing less than chaotic. With Omicron rearing its head in various parts of the world. Governments all over have put up rules, restrictions, and bans on travel. Considering the way things are, even essential travel has become cumbersome in the last 20 months or so than ever before.
While some countries only allow residents, citizens, and families to enter the border, others are only allowing high-profile individuals. Some countries allow travelers but need them to have a fully vaccinated certificate or undergo a rapid antigen test upon arrival or have one taken within 72 hours before the travel date. Researching about the regulation at your travel destination will help avoid any sort of inconvenience upon your arrival.
There are locations around the world that are more prone to natural disasters and bad weather than others. It would be best to do a little research before planning your trip will save you from a big hassle during the trip. However, weather can be finicky, and it might change at a moment’s notice even if your research showed sunny weather before you embarked on your journey.
In case you find the weather to be sketchy on your arrival despite the research, you can still have a good time by planning your trip according to the current weather. A quick search of tomorrow’s weather in my location along with the weekly and monthly forecast on a weather app will give you a fair idea of what to expect. You can then use this information to plan your trip better.
Gone are the days when travel, as well as accommodation bookings, were set in stone and you couldn’t reschedule or cancel them without paying a hefty fee. Fortunately, in the current age and day, booking a flexible travel plan is easier than it used to be. The most important step to be prepared for unexpected weather conditions is to opt for as many flexible bookings as possible.
Most airlines these days have stopped charging cancellation and rescheduling fees. You’ll still be required to pay a difference in fare in the case of the latter, which can be expensive for last-minute changes. However, this gives you more breathing space in case of any unforeseen weather events. Similarly, look for hotel bookings that offer flexibility and avoid non-refundable or advance payments. Also, make sure to go through the cancellation policy to avoid any sort of hidden fee.
One of the best ways to be prepared for natural disasters is to have comprehensive insurance. Goes without saying, travel insurance should be on top of your list. Good travel insurance is a cluster of several short-term coverages like missing baggage or an ER visit during the trip. Some insurances offer a ‘cancel for any reason’ facility for last-minute changes in the plan, it’s best to opt for such policies.
Apart from the above steps, there are a few things you should consider before planning a travel. Things like communicating with friends and family when your phone dies, staying abreast with emergency alerts, and exit plans in case things go south, need serious consideration.
Having said that, nature and weather are unpredictable by nature but it’s quite simple to build a plan taking unforeseen circumstances into account. Simply do weather research, create a simple emergency evacuation plan, and stick to flexible bookings.