Preprint Open Access
The coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected the tourism and travel sector. Now, one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is already clear now that its economic impact would be more severe that in the case of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. Although not as deadly as SARS, coronavirus infection has a longer incubation period and leaves about 85% of the infected without any (or with just mild) symptoms which makes it more difficult to track and to contain. Moreover, it appears to be much more contagious than its predecessor. New mutations of the coronavirus are appearing now and then making doctors and the general public nervous.
The goods news is that most people recover from the disease and develop antibodies that can protect them from getting infected again (natural vaccination). In addition, several vaccines are now available and the vaccination is going full speed all around the world. Those vaccinated and cured might become the key element for the post-virus recovery strategies of tourism organisations. People who were vaccinated against COVID-19 or with an acquired immunity to the virus would be capable of travelling freely without spreading the disease. Airlines, hotels and gastronomy should aim at this group offering them discounts and special offers. However, the problem is how to effectively ensure that everyone who claims to be vaccinated or cured from COVID-19 is telling the truth. Health tracking bracelets, apps, and other advanced technological solutions should be put in place. Some best practices from Hong Kong, mainland China, or Russia can be used as the examples to follow.