When will we be able to travel (freely) again with Covid-19?
I remember when we first started hearing about Covid-19 in January and February. At that time we wanted to analyse the potential implications of Covid-19 with with our businesses that operate in the hotel, travel and entertainment industry. We had two scenarios that it would 1, Blow over in a couple of months and we would return to normal by 2020 Q2/Q3 2, We could be in this until 2020 Q4 and potentially until 2021 Q1. (Please note we focus on travel restrictions mainly to South East Asia and Asia.)
We’re now in August 2020, and there are still many “unknown, unknowns”. Travel is still highly restricted in the region, unless it is essential travel. Currently you can travel to certain countries (depending on your Visa status) however at the majority of these countries you need to quarantine and have a folder full of documents to allow you entry. Outbound travel in general is discouraged especially for leisure. Inbound travel to Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam are not permitted (see the August 9th travel snapshot below).
One of the questions that I used to ask was, “When will we be able to travel again with Covid-19?” and I would add, “travel again like it was ‘normal'”. I have started to re-define that question.
To, when will we be able to travel freely with Covid-19? By freely, I mean without having to quarantine and fly without requiring any documentation for entry with regards to Covid-19. This was an open question with a lot of hope baked into guessing the ‘when’.
Then I thought, that we can ask a better question, What are the governments’ requirements for opening up travel and lifting restrictions on inbound and outbound travel? I have asked this question to associates and there is no clear answer, hence the unknown unknowns. Are the requirements; a vaccine, zero covid-19 cases, time, or? I believe that this is partly creating extra anxiety, as there are no clear guidelines to the requirements of re-opening. It is the uncertainty that as humans we are uncomfortable with. As an individual and from a business & economic stand point it makes it more challenging to plan.
For now, stay calm, safe safe and stay well.