Impact of the coronavirus on tourism
Of all the industries, tourism was hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Borders got closed, airline fleets remained grounded, hotels empty. The volume of international tourism dropped to a fraction. Some estimate that nearly 100 million tourists stayed at home, shelving their travel plans, while 120 million jobs came under threat worldwide.
What we first found at Fireflies was that the number of requests sent to our Contact Centre had increased significantly. From March till May we helped 1500 travelers change or cancel their bookings. We are proud and grateful to our colleagues for their extreme efforts out of the "home office" in coordinating and arranging such a large amount of cancellations and rebooking requests, assisting all our travelers. Initially, service providers and hotels were generous and helpful, but after a while it got more difficult to obtain refunds as they began to struggle with cash flow problems. Nevertheless, our colleagues did a good job. In numbers: We managed to secure a refund for 96 % of the non-refundable bookings as well. The number of cancellations tripled from last year, while new bookings dropped by 30%. Significantly, 80% of cancelled and non-completed travels had been booked for the period between March and May.
Both service providers and travelers are a lot more optimistic as for the summer. This makes sense as borders are reopening, with all countries are working hard to ensure safe circumstances for tourists looking for relaxation and adventure.
Sources: ec.europa.eu, unwto.org, businessinsider.com