SINGAPORE: Traveling today nearly seems as it did before COVID-19 threw our lives into disarray.
When I traveled to Switzerland through Bangkok only a few weeks ago, there were no tests or contact tracking applications to download; all I had to do was provide proof of my vaccination status. After most nations had recovered from the effects of the Delta flight boom, the tourism sector was reviving. Although it appeared towards the end of 2021, Omicron quickly crushed the aspirations of a steadily improving travel sector, triggering the imposition of several new travel restrictions just in time for the holiday season.
Many nations have had record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases since then. Still, a large number of community cases may have prompted an assumption that foreign travelers do not offer any more danger than what is already present in the community at that time.
As a result, several governments have dropped the drawbridge, preparing to accept endemic residents infected with COVID-19. Travel limits may have been loosened. On Friday, Singapore announced an expansion of its vaccine-protected transport lanes (Mar 4).
When I arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 3 to check-in for my trip to Zurich, almost every seat in the Singapore Airlines lounge was already occupied.
A Highly Vaccinated World May Return To A Time Where Travel Is Not Restricted
High vaccination rates may have anything to do with it. However, before Omicron, there was still considerable trepidation about traveling, despite quarantine-free vaccinated transit channels being opened up.
While travel quarantines were a significant source of concern for many, the potential of contracting an infection while traveling abroad was much more concerning. What hoops could we have to go through if we are positive while traveling abroad? How can we seek medical treatment if we don’t understand the language spoken in the country?
In addition, what about all the effort of booking more accommodations or having to endure your employer’s wag of the finger if you were forced to remain an additional two weeks away after a previously lengthy vacation period?
All of their problems will be forgotten for someone who manages to capture Omicron. One advantage is that it provides you with peace of mind when traveling. Now that more individuals have recovered from an Omicron infection, some may be more secure in the immunity it gives and want to travel to satiate their unquenchable wanderlust.
Consequently, may Omicron, previously considered the scourge of the travel industry, turn out to be the blessing that announces the sector’s resurgence?
Travel Is Making A Comeback In Popularity
The pent-up desire for travel has exploded, like champagne spurting out of a bottle, as if by magic.
When it comes to international air travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recorded the fastest growth in global ticket sales in January and February since the outbreak began. Early February saw travel ticket sales hit half of what they had been in the months leading up to the attack.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this reflects the easing of travel requirements announced in countries throughout the globe, including Australia, France, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Sweden. Singaporeans, who have been yearning for a change of scenery for the last two years, are also eager to go out of the country. The number of searches on Skyscanner increased by 71 percent in January compared to the previous month. Manila, Seoul, London, Kuala Lumpur, and Melbourne were among the most popular places searched for in Singapore.
According to travel analytics company ForwardKeys, forward bookings by Singaporeans to Australia increased by 179 percent when the latter re-opened its borders after the re-opening. In Singapore, Brent Anderson, Tourism Australia’s regional general manager for the area, expressed his optimism about the prospects for tourism recovery in the region.
According to Buying.com’s Asia-Pacific managing director, Laura Houldsworth, the number of Singaporeans booking flights to short-haul locations such as Kuala Lumpur and Seoul and longer-haul destinations such as London and Paris has increased in the previous month.