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27 November 2020

Tech Perspective #22: Reinventing Travel

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2020 hasn’t been easy for avid travellers and casual tourists. Limited flights, COVID-related regulations, last-minute cancellations… Well, it was a hell of a ride.

Even if you were lucky to go on vacation, it wasn’t the same as in previous years. After all, it’s not so enjoyable when you must wear a mask or obsessively sanitise your hands.

Without any doubt, the travel industry has taken a hard hit and suffered heavy losses. However, the virus didn’t manage to temper the enthusiasm of travel aficionados who will eagerly go on a trip once circumstances permit.

With a little help from tech and support from travel lovers, the travel industry will recover.

COVID-19 Pandemic Hits Hard

In the past years, the travel industry has experienced steady growth and became one of the fastest-growing sectors. Over the decade, it witnessed a 59% in international tourists’ arrivals, from 1.5 billion in 2019 compared to 880 million in 2009.

Until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all was. With hotels closed, a new sanitary regime, and flight restrictions, travel and tourism became one of the most affected sectors. During the first half of the year, international tourist arrivals dropped by 65%.

According to the United Nations, the pandemic will cost the tourism industry approximately $1 trillion in losses and threaten more than 100 million jobs.

As you can see, the situation is dire. However, the travel industry has no intentions to give up. It immediately adjusts to the new regulations to provide tourists with the highest standards of safety.

COVID-19 has changed offices too. Explore the insights now.

Tech to the Rescue

One of the most important aspects that can secure the future of tourism is flexibility. The ability to adjust to new conditions and regulations and to respond to a dramatically changing situation is of key priority. The same applies to adopting new technologies that can significantly increase safety, as well as travel comfort. Let’s explore the innovation that can revolutionise the tourism industry.

I can’t stretch enough the importance of contactless solutions. From airports to hotels and restaurants, contactless solutions should be applied to ensure safety and streamline processes. Something as simple as replacing tangible restaurant menus and paper in-room booklets with scannable QR codes can significantly increase the safety of tourists. And that’s just a humble beginning! Contactless hotel and airport check-ins, mobile room keys, touchless payments… There are so many possibilities!

Moreover, anti-COVID innovations are customer-oriented and focus on the automation of processes. Customer-facing tech tools, such as customer service chatbots or live-chats and apps providing remote access to reception are being deployed to reduce the need for face-to-face contacts.

Also, cloud-based IoT (Internet of Things) software can come in handy when adjusting to new regulations. It can be used to streamline and plan operational complexities like coordinating cleaning systems, keeping social distance, and confirming compliance with new cleanliness standards.

Post-COVID Tourism: Safer and Better Than Ever

Introducing safety measures and innovative technologies has been forced by the dynamically changing epidemiological situation. These changes had to be implemented quickly and efficiently to ensure the safety of the travellers.

However, these are not temporary emergency adjustments; they are likely to stay with us. Many of these innovations can facilitate and improve travelling once everything goes back to normal.

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Author
Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Technology Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.