Covid hit the tourism and hospitality industry as hard as almost any other area last year. Airlines were grounded and countries and regions that relied on tourists as one of their main revenue streams began to suffer.
Southeast Asia has been hit particularly hard, as countries such as Thailand have closed their borders to the outside world. Before Covid struck, Thailand was experiencing an ever-increasing number of visitors. Then that number dwindled and eventually stopped. Less than 7 million people entered Thailand on tourist visas last year, which has led to hotels and other businesses collapsing.
Now though, there are some hopeful signs of things returning to a sort of normality. It will be sometime more before everything looks like it did before the pandemic, but countries are starting to relax travel restrictions and people can think about future vacations.
Will those destinations that were previously damaged by lockdowns now bounce back, or will vacations look somewhat different from what they did before?
How were holiday destinations hit last year?
In places like Las Vegas, the closure of casinos and other entertainment venues didn’t just cause damage to the tourism industry, it caused widespread unemployment. Las Vegas was heading for ghost town status as people moved away to seek employment, and the visitors dried up.
Other areas saw hotels boarded up, restaurants temporarily closed and reopened with tight restrictions, alcohol bans were brought in for some countries, and attractions closed down.
Almost any business that had anything to do with tourists was affected in some way. Some towns and countries rely heavily on tourism, and once that revenue stream was stopped, people started to suffer badly.
In the case of Las Vegas, the casino business has started to boom online. Companies such as EnergyCasino and others offer the chance to play during lockdowns. Where tourist areas were replaced by other options it remains to be seen if those people will return or continue online.
What are the places that were hit, and how are they coping now?
It is no surprise that some of the most famous tourist destinations are also the ones hit the most. Places such as Vegas can normally expect millions of visitors, but now they are trying to return to normal. Here are four popular tourist destinations, and how they are now recovering.
This country was hit especially hard by Covid. While they initially kept the infections down, at the time of writing they were experiencing a new surge of cases. Thailand relies heavily on tourism for revenue. Many of the local people are poor and Covid has caused havoc with finances, with even the smallest food vendors having to stop working.
The country is attempting to begin a sandbox tourist initiative, where fully vaccinated people can travel within certain areas. To begin the idea was to open Phuket and Koh Samui to travelers, however, the current infection rate may see an end to this.
The country still has hopes of allowing visitors to fly direct to islands and destinations so they can avoid quarantine and unnecessary travel.
This country is home to the big five, safaris, oversized barbecues, and stunning wildlife. There are beaches, hiking, extreme sports, and pretty much anything a holiday maker could want. They also have one of the best casino resorts in the world, and certainly on the continent.
Sun City is renowned for being a holiday destination for the whole family. Children can enjoy the world-class waterpark, safaris, and other entertainment. Adults can enjoy the nightlife, shopping, spas, and of course gambling. Fans of online sites such as EnergyCasino can go to the resort here and try out the games they have been practicing like poker and blackjack.
The resort is now open again and the country itself is welcoming visitors from other nations, including the states. What may hinder South Africa’s recovery is that many countries are refusing tourists who have also visited the African nation.
This country was experiencing some impressive tourist growth just before Covid struck. In 2018, tourist numbers rose by over 15% on the previous year, and they were continuing in the same fashion. Then the pandemic came, and the country restricted travel.
South Korea was one of the success stories when it came to controlling the virus. After learning vital lessons from the Mers outbreak in 2015, the country was already prepared for the new pandemic.
Now, South Korea is once again welcoming tourists but keeping very tight controls in place. Anyone entering the country must be tested on arrival and then complete a 14-day quarantine, regardless of the test results. When looking at tips for visiting Korea, you should be aware that mask-wearing is compulsory, and social distancing is taken seriously.
While the quarantine will put many visitors off, the control of the virus will likely mean that Korea can bounce back later as it will be viewed as a safe destination.
One country that is very optimistic about 2021 and the future, is Spain. Although their football team didn’t do too badly in Euros, the country hopes to be number one when it comes to receiving visitors.
Spanish Tourism Minister hopes the country will see 45 million visitors this year. They lost almost 80% of the tourism trade the previous year, and will now welcome any nationality as long as they are fully vaccinated.
The next six months will make it clear which countries are returning to normal, and which destinations will struggle for longer. Las Vegas is welcoming anyone with a basic understanding of slot machines as well as poker professionals. But, Thailand is having to wait a bit longer to start serving Pad Thai en masse again.
As vaccinations are rolled out more and more, other countries will hopefully open their borders and the holidaymakers can once again enjoy visiting different countries. This can only be hoped not only for people desperate to get away, but for ailing businesses such as airlines, hotels, and restaurants across the world.