He says many peope will travel even if it costs a bit more, but others will be unable to.
Moderator Ged Brown, CEO of Low Season Travellers, says ‘all the data’ suggests it will take time for the travel sector to recover to pre Covid levels.
‘A lot of people have been told to take their annual leave now and that will be an issue. People who may have the money (to travel) may not have the time.’
Beirman agrees this will be a problem. ‘People will be time poor. They have been forced to have a holiday (during lockdown) but they haven’t been able to do anything with it. Maybe some will take future leave without pay.’
He says one group particularly keen to travel will be the younger demographic.
‘Young people have really felt shackled and they can’t wait to travel. It may be more expensive but they are creative, they can adjust and take advantage of things like working visas.’
Chris Flynn, president and CEO of the World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage, says the SARS crisis really only lasted about two months. ‘But the recovery time for travel was a year. This recovery is going to take years and it won’t go back to how it was – maybe it shouldn’t go back to that.’
Flynn says there will definitely be pent up demand but for some prospective travellers but this will translate more into pent up aspiration and desire rather than reality.
‘This is a financial crisis as well (as a health one). The amount of people who can afford to travel will be significantly less.’
Despite this, Flynn is in no doubt tourism and travel will recover.
‘This is the ultimate test, but if you get it right there will be attractive opportunities.’