The national beaches, both peninsular (74%) and insular (72%), will be the tourist destinations that will first recover after the pandemic , according to travel agency professionals.
This is stated in the winter 2020-2021 report presented this Monday by the Observatory of Issuing Tourism in Spain (ObservaTUR), which also foresees a faster improvement in the case of the main European capitals (67%) due to their proximity.
On the other hand, theme parks are indicated by 54% of the agents as the destinations that will take the longest to return to pre-crisis levels. A list that also includes long-distance trips (50%), cruises (43%) and snow trips (38%).
In any case, the long-awaited recovery will be requested. Seven out of ten respondents believe that the revival of the industry will not begin until the majority of the population has been vaccinated, which they estimate to happen, at the earliest, by the summer of 2021 (67%).
Also, most experts believe that it will take more than a year to reach pre-pandemic levels. On average, travel agents indicate that it will take 1.75 years to return to these parameters and that, therefore, this will not happen until the summer of 2022.
84% foresee a slow or very slow recovery. “The only thing that can speed up the pace a little is the desire to travel of the population, which we know is latent,” said the executive director of the travel area of AON, Katia Estace, during the presentation of the report.
The existence of attractive offers for the return could also be a boost. However, the president of the National Association of Travel Agencies, José Luis Méndez, considered it very worrying that there is a price war, as has already been experienced in previous crises. “I understand that you have to encourage travel, but lowering prices would be disastrous for the sector,” he insisted.
Rising unemployment, fear of contagion and the disappearance of tourist infrastructures are, on the contrary, the three main barriers that could slow down the recovery. In spite of everything, it does not seem that this pothole is going to ruin Spain’s advantageous position from the tourist point of view.
This was pointed out by the commercial director of the Airmet group, Rubén Fernández: “Neither as a country nor as companies is there anyone who can dispute that leadership. Getting to where we are has cost us well over 1.75 years, “he pointed out, referring to the time in which experts estimate complete recovery.
70% of those surveyed indicate that there will not be a substantial change in the way of traveling once the pandemic has passed. In spite of this, the general director of Beroni, Josep Belles, insisted that companies in the tourism sector should use this break time to improve their services to the maximum once normality recovers.
“We must take advantage of 2021 to prepare for when we get out of this . It is like some competitive examinations, we do not know exactly when the final exam will be, but it has to catch us prepared, “he said during his speech.
Also, the recovery will not be much different between the luxury segment and low-cost travel that had grown in recent years. “The culture of travel, which had already been installed in our society, will survive,” predicted Iberia’s sales manager, Adolfo García Serrano.
One of the trends that will gain strength in the improvement will be the flexibility of hiring . This is pointed out by 96% of the agencies that have participated in the preparation of the report. In the same way, the date on which reservations are made will be delayed as a result of fear of regrowth (72%).
The personalized advice will be most valued by customers in the future, but especially notable for its economic relevance, says 55.3%. It is followed by the marketing of insurance (28.3%) , which should be adapted to the current situation, but also go one step further.
“People want flexibility and that happens to get their money back if in the end they cannot travel. It goes through an insurance that allows cancellation, which includes pandemics, but it will also go to open cancellation, without reason, “said the AON spokeswoman.
These contracts must include clauses such as the payment of quarantines in hotels if necessary or the cost of hospital treatment.
Along these lines, six out of ten agents believe that there will be an increase in the need for information about the trip and the destination in order to reassure tourists of possible fears.
Here, technology will play a fundamental role, according to the general director of Amadeus, Christian Boutin, in addition to reducing contact between people and, consequently, mitigating the risk of contagion, to communicate at all times with users.