It has now been more than a year since Covid-19 put a halt on airline and vacation travel. For the first couple of months of the pandemic, airline travel was almost nonexistent. In fact, according to a Travel and Leisure article, passenger volume was down by 96% in April 2020. The numbers, even now, continue to look bleak, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Covid vaccine offers hope that has not been there for the travel sector in over a year, and that hope could turn into an increase in travelers sooner than later.

Cautious Optimism

There is cautious optimism because the most common vaccines in America are advertising 96% efficacy. On top of that, the reports of hospitalizations and serious effects of Covid are almost negligible for people who have taken the vaccine. These results are giving the travel sector real optimism about a slow but steady return to normalcy. At the same time, other virus variants and the fairly significant number of Americans who refuse to take the vaccine have made this optimism more of a cautious hope than a full-fledged thought that normalcy is returning.

Advanced Cleaning Policies and Social Distancing

Even with the prevalence of the vaccine, advanced cleaning procedures and social distancing remain parts of the travel experience. If you are traveling abroad, you have to show a negative Covid test to board a plane back to America, and this can be challenging depending on the country you are leaving. Airlines are still asking for Covid questionnaires to be filled out prior to boarding, temperature checks are a part of the process, and hotels and restaurants are still doing extra cleaning and sanitizing every day. These processes will make it more difficult for the industry both from a cost perspective and a time perspective and those additional costs will continue to be passed to the customer.

Vaccination Passports

Finally, the controversial “vaccination passports” are becoming a part of the travel landscape as well. Some shops, restaurants, and airlines are considering making a vaccination passport a necessity to enter their establishment. It is controversial because opponents say that health decisions are private while proponents believe living in a global pandemic make something like this necessary. The fight over the next few months should be interesting, but a vaccination passport may be a necessary step to normalcy.