While concerns over COVID-19 and resulting global travel restrictions significantly reduced trips taken in the past year, travel industry professionals say the future is brighter than it may seem.
As vaccination efforts continue, they say the pandemic will have some lasting effects on how and where people will travel, but overall, the travel industry itself will recover as it has after previous disruptions.
After both 9/11 and the Great Recession, experts predicted travel would never be the same as people would be afraid to travel overseas because of terrorism and a third of hotels would go out of business during the recession, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
“None of those things happened,” he said. “Travel came back stronger than it had been before.”
Travel certainly changed, he said, citing the air travel security protocols that came after 9/11, but travelers adjusted to them. After the Great Recession, travel snapped back in 2009 for 10 straight years of each month being bigger than the previous month.