A story of hope for the hospitality world, It’s 2020 and the world has been turned upside down. For many in both the hospitality industry and elsewhere, the prospects presented by the coronavirus are troubling. However, it would appear that there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Despite the devastating effects of lockdown, it has succeeded in its initial purpose, to reduce the number of cases in the affected areas.
It’s 2020 and the world has been turned upside down. In December 2019, very few of us would have been able to imagine the idea of a deadly virus spreading across the globe and causing havoc. In fact, the entire concept seems to be pulled straight from the mind of a disaster film director. But woe and behold, here we are. From the beginning of 2020 until now, COVID-19 has ravaged almost every corner of the globe, bringing with it strict government regulations in most countries, aimed at halting the spread of the virus. While these restrictions have been more or less successful in bringing the number of cases down in their respective countries, it has come at a heavy toll.
We are coming to realize that the heavy movement restrictions that stopped the virus in its tracks had the same effect on the global economy. Due to the heavily connected nature of our planet, there are numerous jobs in all industries that depend on the global movement of people, and to such jobs, the lockdown measures have been a devastating blow. Perhaps the most obvious and worse affected of which is the hospitality industry. As hospitality is entirely reliant on guests and clients traveling to their destinations, the fear and restrictions against doing so have dealt a massive blow, with air travel alone having been reduced by 40% occupancy.
For many in both the hospitality industry and elsewhere, the prospects presented by the coronavirus are troubling. However, it would appear that there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Despite the devastating effects of lockdown, it has succeeded in its initial purpose, to reduce the number of cases in the affected areas. Europe, once a proverbial hotbed for the virus, has now seen an extraordinary drop in its cases. Noticing this, the governments of many of those countries that were once worst-affected are now opting to ease their lockdown restrictions and allow for travel after covid 19 and business to occur within the confines of the continent.
What we are seeing now in Europe is the “new normal”, an attempt to return to our old way of life and to continue business within the confines of our new situation, and while many countries have still not reached their “peak” of cases needed to ease restrictions- those wanting to see how working in hospitality after covid 19 will look like should look no further than Europe. So, what is the situation?
Europe: the best case scenario...so far
In the beginning of Coronavirus panic, Europe was the very epicentre of the virus after Asia (it’s origin). With cases skyrocketing in Spain, Italy and France and ballooning in many others, the continent was on its knees. However, fortunately due to the quick thinking and effectiveness of the lockdown measures implemented, this number is largely under control. As a result we are now seeing an ease of the lockdown measure, so what does this mean for the european hospitality industry after Covid?
Tourism to and within Europe is no small figure, before the crisis 50% of all tourists worldwide arrived in Europe accounting for a huge portion of the economy of many of said countries (as many as 20% in some of the southern and Mediterranean members of the continent). As such, the governments of many European have been rushing to ease the restrictions and allow this income to continue. A good and widely implemented example of this is the “travel corridors” that Spain and other countries have implemented to allow for international and domestic tourists to visit hospitality focussed regions (e.g. Benidorm, Barcelona) without restrictions. As well as mutual agreements (known as air corridors) between countries that have similar case numbers within Europe that allow travelers freedom to travel.
Europe’s transition from epicenter of the pandemic to slowly coming back to relative normality is truly remarkable, especially through its work within the hospitality sector. This is in part due to the fact that Europe is a relatively small continent with a highly mobile population and good relationships between the neighboring countries. As a result, this kind of “air corridors” have been created with relative ease and effectiveness. In addition, as Europe relies so heavily on tourism it has spent a huge amount of money trying to revive the industry within the continent. So how is it working?
How hospitalians can fit in the “new normal”
Overall, working in hospitality after covid 19 is going to be tough. We as an industry must now fit our livelihood around the fear and uncertainty that this new challenge will bring. While the current situation has brought a lot of our industry’s weaknesses into the spotlight, it has also exposed its greatest strengths, most prominently: the sheer resilience of the industry itself.
Hospitality is both resilient and adaptable to change, while this particular change has caused more upset then many have proceeded it- we are on track to come out of it stronger than ever but it’s important that we all aim to build the industry by following the same path, to this end, the UNWTO released the following recommendations for the industry to bounce back:
1. Provide liquidity and protect jobs.
2. Recover confidence through safety & security.
3. Public-private collaboration for an efficient reopening.
4. Open borders with responsibility.
5. Harmonize and coordinate protocols & procedures.
6. Added value jobs through new technologies.
7. Innovation and Sustainability as the new normal.
At the time of writing, there are very few continents (or even countries) that are poised to fit in these policies. As many are still struggling to even contain the virus within its borders, or improve their image in the global spotlight. However, as a continent that has almost entirely controlled the virus, promotes sustainability and innovation on a regular basis, is characterized by close cooperation between its members and has proven its commitment to preserving jobs in hospitality- Europe seems to be on the right track towards being the new titan of hospitality in the “new normal”. The eyes of the world should be on Europe to see the ideal fate of hospitality after covid 19.
If you, like myself, are wanting to ride out this dark time in hospitality history within the continent that is leading the charge into the new normal- then we can help you! Simply create a profile on our website and our team will get in touch to start your journey!