How will the tourism sector look like in 2021? At this point, it really is difficult to predict. A lot will depend on the spread of Covid-19, but even more on universal vaccination. Nevertheless, inevitably there will be many risks with regards to travelling this year. Some of these are of political nature. Other travel risks are related to general instability in some regions as well as natural disasters.
The Virus and the Restrictions
Despite the fact that a gradual recovery is currently taking place, it is clear that tourism will continue to be heavily impacted by Covid-19 in 2021. Many travel restrictions will still be present, from PCR tests to insurance matters and eventually, as mentioned, the vaccination documents.
Moreover, governments are likely to continue their strict policies with regards to accepting tourists as well as letting their own nationals out of the country. Quarantines, testing, social distancing as well as the closure of hotels, shops and restaurants are some of the measures that should be expected in many destinations worldwide. Transport will also be very limited, considering the above-mentioned policies and the dire financial situations of many airlines.
Overloaded Healthcare Systems
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused enormous troubles for many healthcare systems worldwide. Many of them are on the brink of collapsing due to insufficient infrastructure and healthcare in general. According to data from the World Health Organization, about 90 % of all countries experienced major problems with their healthcare systems due to the pandemic.
And this is likely to continue in 2021, especially with regards to the poorest countries and the countries with the least developed healthcare systems in the world. This situation poses one of the travel risks that any traveler should consider before leaving for holiday.
Social Tension and Demonstrations
Another evident travel risk connected to Covid-19 is social unrest and tension as a result of restrictions related to the pandemic as well as economic troubles. Many countries have already experienced smaller protest movements. This is the case of both developed states as well as developing countries.
The United States has seen a rise in popularity in right-wing organizations, while various European countries have been venues of demonstrations against governmental measures, social distancing measures and general limitation of freedom.
One of the bigger protest movements is taking place in Tunisia, where many people have taken to the streets in protest of the dire economic situation in the country as well as the mass unemployment (11.7 million). These protests are often very violent and some even fear that the situation could develop into a new form of the Arab Spring, as it happened in 2011.
Growth in Crime in the Developing World
The above-mentioned travel risk is well connected to the final travel hazard of 2021. As mentioned, the protests in Tunisia are often violent and involve vandalism, looting as well as clashing with police forces.
Not always will this behavioral pattern necessarily coexist with demonstrations and unrest and in many countries, it is likely to be just an individual phenomenon, during which crimes such as looting, mugging etc. will be more frequent than before.
Due to the extremely poor economic situation in many developing countries as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as high unemployment rates, this is likely to be the case in many of these states this year. Many people will be very desperate and will see violent crime as the only solution to their troubles.