Countries around the globe are slowly removing restrictions and reopening its economies. But the damage has been done already.
Governemt restrictions in most countries, targetet to reduce the spread of coronavirus have kept millions of people at their homes and therefore stopped almost everything, including tourism.
Quarrantine measures affected everyone, from small businesses to large corporations.
World’s largest touroperator TUI, announced on Wednesday that most likely they will reduce their personnell by 8.000, and even the largest airlines like Lufthansa, have seeked for government financial assistance to survive.
More than 100 million jobs in jeopardy
According to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), travel and tourism industry contribute by 10% to the world’s average GDP, and 1 out of 10 jobs in the world are in tourism. One third of all jobs, or to be more precise 100 million jobs related with tourism and 2,7 trillion dollars in overall GDP might be affected due to current crisis.
Countries whose economies depend mostly on tourism (like Croatia) will suffer the heaviest impact of the current crisis. While the predicted 25% loss of income might completely destroy GDP among small countries like Maldives and Seychelles, Croatian economy might survive if the situation doesn’t get worse in the Fall.
Regarding the fact that Europe holds half of the world’s tourist arrivals, the European travel market is estimated to be losing 1 billion of Euros each month, which is a terrifying impact for 27 million employees in European’s travel and tourism industry.
“the crisis in tourism is much deeper than we could have tought two months ago”, said Isabel Oliver, Spain’s State Sercretary for tourism.
Although everyone involved with tourism desperately needs international travellers who would eventually bring some kind of economic relief, reopening of the borders brings the risk of spreading another round of coronavirus.
How will tourism restart look like?
Regardless of its significance for world’s economy, the restart of tourism wil be especially complicated and slow. The return of travel first requires reduction of current health restrictions on the borders, international cooperation and most importantly – tourists.
It is still unknown how many people will travel this year, considering the fact that many lost their jobs, or have already used their vacation days during quarrantine.
European Comission announced this Wednesday a package of guidelines with a goal to help EU countries restarting tourism, but also confessed that travelling will not go without risk while virus is still in circulation.
Some proposals are to remove restrictions between countries in which the epidemic situation is under control, using the tracking system applications and applying new voucher systems to protect travel agecies to multiple cancellations.
John Holland-Kaye, director of London’s Heathrow told CNN that “the critical issue is to build trust between countries that is safe to reopen borders without the risk of a new infection and build the confidence of the general public that is safe to fly”
Airports obviously hold the key, but airlines are already downsizing their businesses, reducing their fleets and cutting thousands of jobs, expecting that people will fly less than before.
British Airways announced last week that it does not expect a return to 2019 figures before 2023. Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, has cancelled almost all of its summer voyages, explaining their decision with limited flight offerings and the closure o many atractive ports. It’s competitor Norwegian had to raise more than $2 billion in capital markets in order to survive. Airports and hotels are trying to attract guests with health check-ups and improved cleaning protovcols, creating new costs at a time when the sector’s finances are already shaken by travel collapse
It has been already two months since everything was shut down due to Corona virus and it is time to look back and to evaluate its impact on tourism industry in Dubrovnik. It is important to know that tourism as an industry in Croatia is the main economic segment and generates best part of annual revenue for the entire country. Majority of local people work in this branch and therefore many other services directly or indirectly depend on tourism. Thus, we could say that Croatian economy and social stability is higly dependent on this industry.
The newest information regarding Covid-19 in Dubrovnik reports that there are 42 active confirmed cases, out of 115 in total. Until today 65 successfully recovered, while 8 people died. This data covers City of Dubrovnik as well as entire Dubrovnik-Neretva County. According to the Croatian Health Ministry the situation so far has been under the control. The total number of infected people in Croatia at this moment is 2.125 from which; 1.641 fully recovered and 86 died. Clearly, only 398 active cases have been reported this moment.
But what does this all mean for tourism in Croatia?
Even though the health situation in Croatia is being stable and well handled, but yet this does not mean that Croatian tourism and the entire country’s economy will not suffer significant consequences of this pandemic for quite some time. It is already visible that decrease in tourist arrivals for the season is unpredictable, as all of the EU countries are trying to maintain their citizens within their borders for most likely until the end of this year.
But let's point out some of the information about tourist arrivals in Dubrovnik for the following period. Major part of Dubrovnik's strategic plan for tourist arrivals depends on flight connections. In comparison to other Croatian destinations, Dubrovnik is very far for travellers whose main transportation is car or bus and for those visitors who arrive from nearby European countries. On contrarily, region of Istria is much closer to reach by car or by bus for Austrians, Italians or Hungarians, while Dubrovnik is located far south and maintains to be highly dependent on airline connections.
Furthermore, Covid-19 pandemic has already shown its impact beyond the health effects. It has significantly transformed everything we used to know as “normal life”. The flight connections for Dubrovnik are entirely cut off in response to this pandemic and it is not yet clear for when the flights will be rescheduled. We are hoping that at least majority of the flights will be rescheduled within next few months so that we can at least have some hopes for peak season in October instead of August this year.
Anyhow, it will take some time to recover and to get back to regular daily routines, but it is important to remain patient, hope for the best and to keep an update on global situation.
We will try to keep you posted on latest news and tourist information regularly
Brett Evans, a journalist at American motoring portal Motor1, wrote an article about which road to take on your first trip after quarantine.
He made a list of 10 most interesting roads in the US, but also added one road in Croatia, precisely on Peljesac Peninsula, in the area of Dubrovnik.
We've been driving down this road many times, and all we can say is: Brett, we couldn't agree more!
The BBC published an article today about the rapid response of Croatia and Greece to the fight against coronavirus, adding that now both countries have to act quickly and save the tourist season.
BBS writes that Greece has always been proud of its sunny weather, islands and beaches, and that everyone who knows the coast of Croatia knows and what a challenge was to find a place for a towel on its beaches during peak summer months in the previous years.
There is no doubt that the coronavirus has threatened tourism, a key economic factor for both countries but it is also important to note that Croatia successfully prevented the spread of the virus.
Dubrovnik area had a total of 112 confirmed cases while there are only 49 active today. This is an excellent result and it will hopefully help to promote Dubrovnik as corona-free destination.