Summer is typically the time when students are on vacations and families make plans to travel across the globe. The outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, however, has significantly disrupted the tourism industry. From hundreds of canceled flights every day to no hotel bookings at all, COVID-19 has been devastating for the people in terms of their jobs in the travel industry. Years old businesses have declared bankruptcy or have laid off their workers as businesses suffer. This article will look into some of the aspects of the travel industry and its jobs the pandemic has affected and how they have responded.
Read: Rental Car Giant Hertz files for Bankruptcy
Disruptions in traveling have severely affected the tourism industry. To reduce the spread of the virus, many airlines have been grounded. As a result, financial tension is rife, which is putting the pilots, airport staff, and aircrew members in stressful times. More than 60% of the world’s commercial planes have been grounded ever since the countries have closed their borders. Cathay Pacific, a well-reputed Asian airline, has asked its 27,000 working staff to take three-week unpaid leave as the company strives to cut unnecessary costs.
Halting Hotel Industry due to COVID-19
The concept of “social distancing” has posed a serious challenge for the hospitality industry. Hotels, motels and resorts face financial stress due to a global quarantine. This is causing a loss of about $1.4 billion revenue to the industry every week. Luxurious hotels such as Marriott, Universal, Hyatt, and the Walt Disney Company have also requested the government for relief funds. Hotels are now laying-off their workers as the rooms continue to stay empty. American Hotel and Lodging Association reported that approximately 45% of hotel employees have lost their jobs due to coronavirus.
Airbnb hit hard
Airbnb started with a rental service of a single mattress and ended up being a global company worth more than $30 billion within a decade. It operates in 220 different countries with thousands of its employees. Their online portals would have been overflowing with bookings for vacations in 2020. The company, however, did not foresee a pandemic coming. With no bookings, potential tourists and customers were now lost. CEO Brian Chesky claimed that their revenue is expected to be almost half of 2019’s. As a result, in May 2020, Airbnb laid off 25% of its employees to cover up their costs.
Read: The Story behind Airbnb laying off 25% of its Employees
Travel Industry Jobs in Island Countries
While the virus has affected many industries worldwide, a decline in the tourism industry has been troubling especially for small island nations such as the Maldives, British Virgin Islands, etc. This is mainly because their GDP relies heavily on tourists from other countries. As airports and hotels have been shut down to keep social distancing and stop the spread of COVID-19, the beautiful islands’ economy seems to be struggling the most as the countries are in an indefinite lockdown. Many employees are taking unpaid leaves as they have no other option. In countries that depend on tourism as a main source of GDP, this pandemic has proved to be disastrous.
As the world around us changes, industries do as well. The traveling industry has been hit the hardest due to the pandemic. It will be interesting to note how people adapt to the “new normal” and traveling around the world. Let us know what you think in the comments below!