In the run up to the holidays, I heard something that surprised me on the radio: an advertisement from an airline whose loyalty program I happily participate in. “Come fly with me!” the airline beckoned.
The destinations sounded fabulous, if regional. The fares were remarkably cheap. Alas, the mid-pandemic timing was still all wrong for me. Someday, I thought, we’ll fly together again.
The nascent revival of advertisements from travel providers had me thinking about some of the wonderful trips I took before the pandemic. Milling around in airports, unusual seat companions, erratic taxi drivers and ordinary breakfast buffets are now as fondly remembered as the exploration of new cultures alongside rooms with a view, intrepid travel companions and scenic vistas that overlook beautiful, marvelous cities teeming with history, art, and life.
Pent-Up Demand for Travel?
Cheap fares, flexible bookings, two-for-one deals, travel bubbles, rapid COVID-19 testing, hygiene campaigns, and new air filtration systems – these are just some of the ways that travel and hospitality providers are trying to lure travelers back. Despite the introduction of new vaccines, most people are deferring travel plans at the urging of public health officials.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, international tourist arrivals declined 81% in July and 79% in August compared to the same month in 2019. European travel operators recently reported an uptick in people searching for winter holiday destinations but actual bookings have been slow to materialize due to ongoing uncertainty around international travel restrictions, lockdowns, quarantines, and border closings. While people may long for a vacation now, it is unclear if this really represents pent-up demand that will later be fulfilled.
In a recent press statement, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast the continuation of deep losses for the airline industry through the first half of 2021, with a gradual return to profitability in the fourth quarter as borders reopen and vaccines become more widely available. The aviation trade association has said, however, that passenger levels are not expected to fully recover until 2024.
Staying Grounded in Your Home Office
Business travelers should anticipate spending more time in virtual conferences in 2021. Even if vaccines are rolled out rapidly and travel restrictions are lifted, business travel is traditionally slower to recover than leisure travel in the wake of crises. In 2018, business travel represented 21.4 percent of the global travel and hospitality industry, but new online conferencing technologies such as Zoom may have tilted that balance indefinitely.
According to consultants at McKinsey, corporate travel managers expect a long, segmented recovery to business travel, with first priority given to local and regional travel as well as sales and client-facing meetings. Travel for internal in-person meetings, international trips, and large conferences will be the last to return.
SAP TV Archives: A Virtual Travelogue
While we wait this out and stay safe, the team at SAP TV has not forgotten the thrill of taking flight to connect with SAP customers in their home markets. The SAP TV archives not only document how SAP solutions are being applied to solve a host of challenges that are business, technological, environmental, and social in nature; but, in these days of travel bans and winter blues, these archives are also a virtual travelogue of colorful images and adventures from around the world. Each award-winning broadcast brings you a fresh perspective on how SAP solutions are helping businesses run better and improving people’s lives.
If you are dreaming of a holiday destination – whether sunning on an Australian beach, sailing in the Galapagos islands, tracking tigers through the jungles of Thailand, or climbing in the canopies of an Ecuadorian rainforest – SAP TV has amazing footage to share from all of these breathtaking locations.
Just click on an image in the interactive map to start your journey!