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A glimmer of hope in this rather grim year. News COVID-19 vaccines have been making news lately, with Pfizer and Moderna’s success rates and the UK being the first country to approve Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use. Other countries are likely to follow this feat.
The whole world has been awaiting the vaccine, in the hopes that we have our normal back. Now that it’s gradually becoming available, what happens next? What does this mean for the travel industry? Just like everything else about this dreaded pandemic, it is uncertain. Although, we might have a few ideas.
Air Travel Getting Back Up
When the world went on lockdown, the aviation and travel industry were forced to lay low. The news of the vaccine is giving hope anew to travel business, and travelers themselves. An article from cntraveler.com mentioned that how flight search site Skyscanner reported that the same week that vaccine news was first reported, the week of November 9, U.S. bookings for economy round-trip flights jumped up nine percent, compared to the week before. Multiple other sites reported the same search behavior. At such a rate, it’s safe to assume that we will be seeing improvements in the air travel situation. And hopefully continues to improve when vaccines are made widely available.
Restarting International Routes
After the vaccine is approved for worldwide distribution, airlines and government institutions will have to work hand in hand to ensure international distribution. As per The International Air Transport Association, it will be nearly impossible to distribute vaccines with the lack of international routes. Considering that many countries still have their borders closed, with airlines shutting down, and the majority of airports operating on skeletal manpower – things might be a lot more challenging than we think.
New Travel Requirements
Just as the proof of a negative COVID-19 test is becoming a standard requirement to travel nowadays, that might change by the time the vaccine is made available.
Expect the proof vaccine as the new travel requirements in the future, for both domestic and international air travel.
There reports of airlines making necessary adjustments to their travel terms as early as now. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a television interview “We are looking to change our terms and conditions to say for international travelers we will ask people to have a vaccine before they get on the aircraft”.
Masks are Here to Stay
Despite the vaccine’s impressive success rate, we are still lacking studies as to how much it can curb transmissions, and whether vaccinated individuals can or cannot be carriers of the virus. Health experts are strongly advising against getting rid of masks and just yet.
With everything that happened this year, we cannot afford to be complacent. Wearing masks, testing, vaccine – we all need to heed to protocols if we are looking into getting back to our normal.
The vaccine might be our key to putting this dreadful pandemic behind all of us, but we are still miles away from being completely safe. The old normal is still a few flights up, and there are challenges every step of the way. Although one thing is for sure, this vaccine is a step in the right direction. And travel might be seeing new light.
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