Author’s Blurb: The tourism/travel industry is one of the hardest hit sectors with the pandemic in full swing, and while many businesses have already drawn up plans for what they can currently do, we don’t know much about what will happen after the MCO gets lifted.
This became the topic of discussion a while ago, in a Facebook live video where several Malaysian tourism startups gathered to share thoughts.
They looked to what had happened in China the moment their lockdown was lifted as examples for what could happen in Malaysia, and also drew conclusions from their own experiences in the industry.
1. Transportation Businesses Will Recover Fast
Rickson of Tourplus believes that different sectors of the tourism industry will recover at different rates, with businesses dealing with transportation potentially being the first to recover, along with those offering accommodation services.
He added that inbound and outbound travel businesses will take a while to recover, citing MATTA’s prediction of 12 months for full recovery.
Sam of Travelog pitched in as well with his two cents, stating that he believes theme parks or island travel packages within the domestic region will recover quickly too.
2. A Decline In Group Travels
Overall, due to the fears of any kinds of illnesses spreading through crowds and gatherings thanks to COVID-19, we might be seeing less group travels globally.
Rickson predicted that more people will begin travelling privately, which will lead to the rise of free independent travellers (FIT).
Aside from the wariness of crowds, it’ll also happen because there’s less planning required for an individual or a small group and therefore decision making will be faster.
3. Potential Phenomenon Of Revenge Spending
In China, people are carrying out something that’s been termed revenge spending, which describes consumers who are shopping starved coming out of quarantine and overspending to make up for time lost.
Jordan of HostAStay brought up favourite Malaysian pastimes like karaoke, steamboat and sightseeing simply being a few of the activities that people might revenge spend on.
However, this might not apply to many, due to the fact that we may be seeing a high unemployment rate at the end of this, Viren of CatchThatBus shared.
People might want to save up their money, seeing as how travel isn’t something that’s essential either, so how fast the industry will rebound also depends on how people will be financially affected by the crisis.
If revenge spending were to happen in Malaysia, this phenomenon will only be likely to last 1 to 2 months, so Jordan advised companies to be prepared to cater when the time comes.
4. Outbound Travels Will Take A While To Recover
On the other hand, Steven of Tripfez believes it’s too early to say whether there’s a lot of pent up demand at the moment.
Even when the MCO gets lifted, there’s no guarantee that things will pick back up easily as it will be dependent on how other countries are handling COVID-19.
Therefore, he’s predicting that they’ll see very low outbound travel sales until August or September, at the very least.
Regarding domestic travels, Rickson shared that he believes it’ll be booming for the next 6 months to a year.
5. An Influx Of Irresistible Travel Deals
These will be coming from accommodation businesses mainly, with Jordan sharing that you might be able to go to any 4 to 5-star hotel after the MCO for probably less than RM200 a night.
The reason for this would be because they aren’t going to chase profits yet; they’ll simply want enough business for money to begin flowing again to sustain their staff and manpower.
However, people will still be more quality sensitive than price sensitive, Jordan added. If it’s a cheap deal but in an unclean or unsafe location, people are still unlikely to go.
It’ll be tougher for travel package marketplaces to give out such deals, as it would depend on their suppliers.
Bottom Line: I wasn’t feeling the wanderlust yet the other day, but after a month of MCO, I have to say I’m excited for all this to end soon so I can travel again. I’m therefore hoping that businesses who make travelling easy and accessible can pull through these trying times for the sake of their employees and customers.
- You can read more on what we’ve written about the MCO here.
Featured Image Credit: HostAStay / Tourplus