Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management,( Ministry of Tourism, Govt. Of India)Bhubaneswar.
As a strategic move to contain and combat the pandemic COVID, more than one-quarter of the world’s 7.8 billion people are confined to their homes now, as governments accelerate stringent curbs on mobility and social contact. In many parts of the world, borders are closed, airports, hotels, and businesses shut, and school cancelled. These unprecedented measures are tearing apart the social fabric of societies and disrupting many economies, resulting in high rate of job losses and raising the spectre of widespread hunger.
Envisioning that post-pandemic world is key in ensuring we change for the better, not the worse. So what does the future look like? The digital world, however, is thriving. We are surviving through this pandemic because of technology. Everyone is sitting at home, and their window to the world is through their smart-phone. In the post-pandemic world, technology will be as ubiquitous as it is now, if not more, and tech companies will become even more powerful and dominant. That includes smaller firms like Zoom, now in controversy, and the big players such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Paypal. And not just Americans firms, but also Chinese.Experts in various fields, including medicine, psychology, economics and technology opine that as the ‘analog world’ descends into crisis, tech firms will rise to be even more powerful.
The world of Travel and Tourism: In recent weeks, we have seen the drastic economic impact of the pandemic coronavirus on financial markets and vulnerable industries such as manufacturing, tourism, hospitality and travel. Travel and tourism account for 10% of the global GDP and 50 million jobs are at risk worldwide. Global tourism, travel and hospitality companies closing down affects SMEs globally. This affects many people, typically the least well-paid and those self-employed or working in informal environments in the gig economy or in part-time work with zero-hours contracts. As seen in world crisis before, fear of the unknown can often lead to panic surges, for example when people feel they are being denied life-saving protection or treatment or that they may run out of basic necessities, which can lead to panic buying. Psychological stress is often related to a sense of a lack of control in the face of uncertainty.
COVID-19 will fast-forward the fourth industrial revolution and digitalization of all services, including public services. The relationship between the community and the state will become ever more remote, whereby states are now expanding their remote control over civil society and private life. This will also be the phase heralding lasting changes in our habits and values. A lot of our lives are habitual, and habits are highly effective in helping us work, look after our families and pursue our goals. The habits of the past will undergo a sea-change. Our future will be different and we have to make the future bright.
The author is Associate Professor at Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. Of India. IITTM is an autonomous body under Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and is one of the premier institutes in the country offering education, training, research and consultancy in sustainable management of tourism, travel and other allied sectors. It is devoted to the pursuit of higher knowledge in tourism and its dissemination to a diverse audience. Over the years, Institute has established a distinguished identity of its own and reached at the commanding position among sectoral B-Schools in the country. With its focus in meeting the changing needs of the tourism industry, it has played a pioneering role in the propagation and professionalization of tourism education.