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Chaos is expected during the summer travel boom

Human unemployment and research are helping to increase travel, pack flights and museums, despite rising coronavirus infections and inflation.

Quds, Israel – At a tourism conference in Phuket last month, the Thai prime minister looked at participants and asked a question with a predictable answer.

“Are you ready?” Prayuth asked Chan-ocha, took off his mask sharply, and launched what he hoped would bring the country’s economy to zero after more than two years of coronavirus-related restrictions. When the public shouted back – yes, according to local media – it could speak for a world suffering from a whole pandemic.

The Associated Press predicted and interviewed in 11 countries in June that a full recovery could take as long as the disaster itself. They suggest that the hoped-for rebound is less like a decisive leap – more like a rough road out of a deep and dark cave.

Some regions, such as the French Riviera and the Midwest, are helping to climb more than others, such as closed, “zero-COVID” China, which was the world’s leading tourist before the pandemic and a source of their costs.

Despite coronavirus infection and rising inflation, a person’s desire to sabotage and explore is helping to accelerate the rise, collect flights and museums. However, economic urgency is the real driver for an industry worth $ 3.5 trillion in 2019, and the United Nations estimates that it lost so much during the pandemic. According to some estimates, tourism employs one in 10 people on Earth.

Many places, especially those with weakened safety requirements, see what is going on for a summer full of sunny optimism and adventure.

“They say it’s the summer of revenge,” said Teresa Starta, a 52-year-old Pittsburgh resident, as she watched a crowd gather on the Amsterdam Canal in the Dutch capital. “Everything around the world looks so bad, so it’s nice to see some things come back.”

“The road to full recovery is a long one, but at least we are back,” said Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Business Association in Bangkok.

Despite the tumultuous return of tourists, difficulties and uncertainty cast a shadow over the post-pandemic landscape. Full recovery is generally not expected until at least 2024. Concerns revolved around a long list of problems, including inflation, supply chain problems, rising infection rates, and labor shortages.

Before the end of June, there was chaos in the summer of 2022 to determine the trip. In the depths of the pandemic, declining airports and airlines struggled to meet demand, resulting in canceled flights, lost luggage and various other nightmares. Industry insiders say frightened tourists booked trips in shorter times, making it harder for hotels, tour operators and others to plan.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine also added to the risk of unequal recovery and contributed to inflation – a major obstacle, even if other pandemic pains subside.

“It’s a really worrying fall season,” said Sandra Carvao, director of the World Tourism Organization’s market intelligence and competitiveness department. If inflation continues to rise, especially interest rates, “families will have to reconsider their spending.”

Not all removed viruses are likely to be a security concern for travel restrictions.

“The most important thing when people decide to go on vacation is health and safety. “It’s always been,” said Simon Hudson, a professor of tourism at the University of South Carolina, who wrote a book about the pandemic’s recovery. “It will take some time.”

Starting with bright spots, the UN said that in the first quarter of 2022, international arrivals almost tripled compared to the same three months last year. March of this year gave the healthiest results since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of arrivals rose to about 50% of the level of 2019. UNWTO revised its forecasts in May, which could increase to 70% of arrivals in 2019 by the end of this year.

This has created encouraging signs in certain places, from Israel to the United States, Italy, Mexico and France. Resets like in Thailand are all the rage. There are big plans for 2023 in the United States, such as a cruise involving the biggest stars of Broadway.

These predictions are made on the ground, generally in areas with early aggressive and agile limitations, and adapted by lifting many shields as vaccinations increase and the omicron variant is less lethal than other variants.

Foreign tourists flock to places like the French Riviera, where supply chain problems make everything expensive, including champagne, a restaurant owner said.

“It’s been summer here since spring, every night,” said Elie Dagher, manager of La Villa Massenet in Nice. According to him, since April, the bistro is full of visitors from Scandinavia and the Netherlands, especially from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Known for its country music shows and outdoor attractions, no rebound is required in Branson, Missouri. Lynn Berry, a spokeswoman for the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau, hosted a record 10 million visitors last year, and seems to be on top.

Jeff Johnson, co-founder of Shepherd of Hills Adventure Park, attributes this to its short-term closure in 2020, with a loyal customer base drawn from nearby states and cities such as St. Louis and Kansas City. “When we reopened,” he said, “it never slowed down.”

Tourists from Italy, especially from the United States, have returned in droves this year. The feast of Easter was especially noteworthy in Rome, which reflected the demand to visit all the stellar places, such as the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum.

Bernabo Bocca, president of the Federalberghi National Hotels Association, said, “There is a great desire to travel like a bottle (cork).” As Italy eased security measures in April, “a tsunami of orders came from the United States. States at an unprecedented rate.”

Hopes are high for Thailand after the country announced last month that it had virtually eliminated all requirements except for a vaccine proof or a negative coronavirus test.

The return of tourists has already given a new lease of life to local tourism. Khao San Road, Bangkok’s famous paddle street, which was almost empty last year, receives up to 5,000 visitors a day – promising figures, but far from the 30,000 visitors a day before the pandemic, according to union president Ruangwattanakul.

Thailand and China are key examples of the struggle for recovery. By 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for a quarter of all foreign tourists visiting Thailand, but there is no sign that so many will return.

The appropriate nature of the post-pandemic climb could be seen from Israel to India.

Vaibhav Khulbe, a restaurant owner in Dharmsala, India, said 4 million visitors are expected in the country this year compared to 11 million in 2019. “I think we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

Like the rest of the world, Israel is struggling to reach a record level of tourism in 2019, with 4.5 million visitors. Tourism ministry officials say that although all restrictions have been lifted, Israel expects less than half of that – about 2 million visitors – this year. Among other concerns, political infighting is an issue following the collapse of the government last month and a deadly wave of Palestinian violence inside Israel in the spring.

Again, the ministry says there is a steady but gradual rise. The unusual approach of spring religious holidays for Jews, Christians, and Muslims helped boost visitors in April. By May, the number of visitors had risen to about 57% in the same month two years ago.

However, the recovery was uneven for many, especially in the occupied West Bank.

“At least this month, like May and June, we really expected more people to come, but it’s still very slow,” said Wisam Salsaa, manager of The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, a high-rise ancient city where President Joe Biden is expected. Visited in July during a visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Designed by London-based artist Banksy and rich in color, the hotel is locally run and popular, but struggles. It expanded physically during the pandemic, but was forced to reduce its staff from about 50 to 32 people. In June, its occupancy rate was about 30%.

“Tourism here,” Salsaa said, “is very fragile.”

The following Associated Press journalists contributed to this story: Barbara Surk, Nice, France; Coi Capelletti in Chicago, Sofeng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Mike Corder in Amsterdam, Fanuel Morelli in Rome, Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Ashwini Bhatia in Dharmsala, India, Jim Salter in St. Louis, Mark Stevenson and Maria Verza in Marquez, Mexico.

Chaos is expected during the summer travel boom

Source link Chaos is expected during the summer travel boom

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