The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to last for a significant period. Every individual, every industry, every aspect of the modern world we know today has been altered to make accommodations for a deadly virus that swept the world with no warning. The travel and tourism industry is one of the most brutally hit; worldwide travel restrictions, border closures, health and safety protocol and growing anxiety among travellers has made travel a cumbersome experience, both physically and mentally. Job losses have been staggering as companies both large and small have had to lay off employees to cope with inconceivable losses.
Official statistics show that the global travel and tourism market saw a loss of 100.8 million jobs worldwide in 2020. The Asia Pacific region will see the biggest loss from COVID-19, losing approximately 63.4 million jobs. Europe will be hit the second hardest with an employment drop of 13 million. For an industry as vibrant as travel and tourism, these unprecedented losses have changed the landscape of the industry. The global market for travel from 2020 to 2027 was forecasted to have a CAGR of 5.2%, with Asia-Pacific being the fastest-growing segment. However, things have significantly changed now. Every industry within travel and tourism has had to rebuild itself amidst the chaos that has ensued.
In such a scenario, in what ways will employment grow again in the travel and tourism industry? How are people going to rebuild their careers amid such loss?
Reimagining the job market
While many have lost their jobs in key sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic has also created spaces for new jobs and new experts. In areas like revenue management, forecasting and budgeting, new jobs will emerge. Multi-skilling and cross-skilling are also going to be important areas of job creation. Technology in the travel industry has grown immensely owing to the pandemic. Therefore, individuals with an advanced understanding of travel technology will find significant job opportunities.
The biggest trend to arise out of the pandemic is a renewed interest in domestic and local travel. As global travel restrictions ease, travellers are seeking to explore their own countries. This creates great opportunities for localized jobs and also helps promote small, indigenous businesses. Informed people about their local regions will be important to recruiters. In the hospitality industry especially, people in touch with their local regions will have significant job opportunities.
As the travel industry recovers, jobs will resurface
Industry leaders are working endlessly to prioritize safety and hygiene as they seek to rebuild confidence in travel and reassure customers. While travel restrictions still remain, many countries are slowly opening up to safe means of travel. As this happens, the industry is working to reduce its losses by decreasing operating costs and optimizing all fixed costs, including outsourced costs. The government and its ministries are working with industry stakeholders to provide support in the resumption of various kinds of services. Funds are being provided to boost travel campaigns and nurture innovation, all in a bid to bring back the lost glory of the travel and tourism industry.
The key to job creation is going to be a successful reconstruction of the travel and tourism industry. This is going to take joint efforts by stakeholders, governments and travellers alike. As travel opens up, jobs will resurface, both old and new. While the pandemic has brought with it unending challenges, it has also helped the world reimagine and reinvent itself every step of the way.