Who Will Come Last in Global Travel’s Staged Recovery?
Everyone wants to know when global travel will recover, but that is perhaps the wrong question. With the rise of the “travel bubble,” the prospect of recovery is looking a lot more uneven. Who gets to welcome visitors first?
The travel and tourism industry desperately needs a source of hope, and in recent days, so-called "travel bubbles" seem to be it.
In addition to the "trans-Tasman bubble," countries including Austria, Israel, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Greece have been in talks to create a similar bloc. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia announced their bubble will launch on May 15.
It's a logical — if logistically nightmarish — idea. And it's also inherently political. That's because in order to work, countries have to have a high level of trust between themselves that each has done their jobs properly, and will continue to stay vigilant. Otherwise, reopening cross-border tourism becomes more of a liability leading to a second lockdown, rather than a needed source of economic recovery.