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The Coronavirus Travel Crisis: Can Business Be Global Without Travel? [VIDEO]

  • Date Published
  • Categories Blog
  • Reading Time 5-Minute Read

The coronavirus travel restrictions are making international and domestic travel for the purposes of both business and leisure nearly impossible. How will COVID-19 affect the travel and tourism industry when global gatherings such as conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, and sporting events have been canceled and future plans scaled back? The coronavirus travel crisis may take much longer to come to an end, than the outbreak itself.

TDA Founder and CEO Goran Deak on the coronavirus travel restrictions and their effect on business: “We need to figure out what’s the perfect way to have Skype meetings or Hangouts meetings or how to hold e-conferences.”

This video is part of a series that includes Coronavirus and the Quest to Crisis-Proof Modern Businesses, and Coping with Coronavirus: Advice for Agencies.

Coronavirus travel restrictions mean crisis for the travel industry

The coronavirus travel restrictions are leading to empty airports.
Under coronavirus travel restrictions many airports, like this one in Beijing, are nearly empty.

While the tourism industry has faced crises before—most notably the 9/11 attacks—the added problem now is that no one knows how bad this situation will get or how long it will last. As of April 28, 2020 the World Tourism Organization (WTO) reports “that 100% of destinations now have restrictions in place.” It is projected that the coronavirus crisis could put 50 million jobs at risk within the industry.

Aside from leisure and tourism, a large portion of revenue to the travel industry is generated by business travel.

Coronavirus travel is digital

The coronavirus travel restrictions are turning face-to-face meetings in to virtual meetings.
The coronavirus travel restrictions are turning face-to-face meetings into virtual meetings using services like Zoom.

Although business meetings have been conducted virtually for many years, this crisis will mean that remote working will become widespread and long-distance meetings will be conducted via tools like Skype and Google Hangouts rather than in-person. The restrictions on movement caused by the coronavirus outbreak will likely mean that virtual meeting tools get better, and we all get better at communicating digitally.

Even as virtual communication decreases the need for business travel, there is one area that is slow to change. Many international conferences and events still rely on traditional forms of face-to-face networking.

Are virtual events the answer to coronavirus travel restrictions?

The coronavirus travel restrictions are leading to virtual conferences.
The coronavirus travel restrictions are leading many conferences to turn into virtual conferences.

Now, for global events requiring attendees to fly in from around the world, organizers are now scrambling to come up with strategies to stop from having to cancel events altogether. For example, Adobe announced that its annual live summit will take place online, with many other tech conferences to follow suit.

This poses a huge opportunity for virtual events start-ups such as Hopin and Run the World that promote a new culture of networking. Before the coronavirus crisis, the demand for these services was already on the rise. Now it’s through the roof. It is likely that this digital alternative will change the way businesses network for good and ensure that global events are crisis-proofed should a crisis of this scale hit again.

In this interview, we explore not just business travel, but how the entire travel and tourism industry will be impacted by COVID-19, how we can adapt, and how businesses can rebuild after the crisis.

Interview Highlights

On virtual tourism

You see a lot of potential now with really good cameras and 3-D technology and 360 technology that you could actually take advantage and create virtual tourism services for customers and virtual reality tourists.

On business travel

In this case, the change isn’t that hard and most people can do it, we just need to adapt. We need to figure out what’s the perfect way to have Skype meetings or Hangouts meetings or how to hold e-conferences.

On making the most out of the downtime

Now everything going into quarantine and being shut is a really good time to put your ideas on paper and see how many of them can we digitize. How many of them can we create a new type of experience and how many of them can we create for customers who are not physically attached to us, but who are living in a whole different part of the world.

On rebuilding tourism after the crisis

I believe that companies such as Netflix are now creating value and creating customers and after everything stops and we go back to normal, which we eventually have to, I think users with good experience and good communications from those brands will stay and continue to consume the services that they offer. I see the same potential in the tourism sector.

I don’t think people should stop doing what they’re doing…But at the same time, I think people, entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, banks, should take a look at how they can create new revenue streams.