Empty seats in an airport. Image: Getty

This week's travel trends

(Friday 20 March) Here’s a snapshot of the world of travel:
Travel restrictions continue to increase worldwide
In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, the Foreign Office has advised the public against all non-essential travel for 30 days. At the moment, it isn’t urging UK nationals abroad to return to the UK but suggests taking notice of the fast-moving situation and planning accordingly. The advice comes as an increasing number of countries are putting in place travel restrictions, including lockdowns, quarantine measures, border closures and/or flight suspensions.
Impact on the travel industry
The World Travel and Tourism Council has warned the pandemic could result in the loss of 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry, with the aviation industry warning it will need billions to support its fight for survival. In the UK, the government has unveiled a package of financial measures to shore up the economy, including £330bn in state-backed loans, £20bn in other aid and a business rates holiday, with more measures expected to be announced later today. Help for airlines is also being considered.
Carnival Corporation offers cruise ships as temporary hospitals
Carnival Corporation is offering select cruise ships from its global cruise line brands to be used as temporary hospitals. The company is calling on governments and health authorities to consider using its cruise ships as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-Covid-19 patients, freeing up additional space in communities that might be struggling.
Looking ahead: a study predicts rapid economic recovery post coronavirus
According to a report by Oxford Economics, once disruption and uncertainty around the pandemic fade, the rebound in global economic activity will be strong. While the world is likely sinking into a global recession that will result in a more than 10% drop in international travel, the recovery should be fast. The group said historical evidence over the past 200 years supports this analysis.
Useful links:
• Official NHS advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
• The Foreign Office advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
• The UK government response: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
• The World Health Organisation rolling updates: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen
• Public Health England on self-isolating: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/02/20/what-is-self-isolation-and-why-is-it-important/
• Public Health England’s dashboard on confirmed cases in the UK: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f94c3c90da5b4e9f9a0b19484dd4bb14
This post was updated on 20 March.
Read this National Geographic Traveller (UK) article on how the pandemic affects travellers.