The Global Pandemic packs up bags of the mighty Tourism industry – But not all is lost

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Before the pandemic set in, we were working from our offices, taking a much-needed vacation to an exotic location with our spouse and kids, and even go on solo adventure tours backpacking too, by checking in far off destinations. This shaped a lot of industries around it- be it Restaurants, tourist destinations, cruise packages, casinos, and even the local handloom industry, but all this is now going through an unprecedented depression as COVID-19 takes the central stage.
Travelling is as Ancient as Man Himself:
When the first human walked the earth, the very basic need that he was exposed to was to explore the new world around him, and learn new things while searching for food and shelter. The world as we know it today, has been the result of thousands of years of exploration, be it for gold, oil, and minerals that fuelled the industries, or exotic islands across the sea to explore the unknown. This very exploratory activity has paved the way to unprecedented development across the world. This accompanied with the advancement in technology, be it in the field of Aviation and Photography, along with the social media burst, has caused more and more people across the world to be connected and brought the concept of the Global Village.
A Newborn Globetrotter
Earlier, the young and the restless had the dream of owning a house and a car. Travel was more of a leisure activity once a year. With changing times, the millennials have found a completely different way of spending money- travelling. The new generation is about living light, saving money and travelling the world. This had prompted the tourism industry to give deals and discounts to attract them since the average disposable income among millennials is far less than a middle-aged person. The whole concept of social media “influencers” took to the rage, and people started to see far-off places right on their smartphones. Twitter played an important role with people reaching out directly to Hotel management and reviewing them about their good and bad experiences.
Tourist En-cashing their Luck:
With the rush of things to make tourist destinations more appealing, many countries had legalised Casinos, which has been a huge source of income for them. Casinos have been legalised in Macau as early as in the 1850s. Gambling is illegal in all over China, except for Macau since it is under the Chinese special administrative region.
Las Vegas, on the other hand, has a different history where predominant male workers building the Hoover Dam in the 1930s were lured by the local Mafia with Showgirl dancers and Casinos, which later transformed into one of the largest casino hubs in the world.  It is on record that Las Vegas had posted the annual revenue of $8.76 Billion in 2019, while in Macau, this number was $29 Billion in 2019.
But everything changed after December 31st, 2019, where cases of COVID-19 were on a rapid rise, and the very nature of the virus spreading unprecedently through community transmission, the global casino market was forced to a stand-still. This adversely affected the once-thriving economy of these casino cities, as their sole income was being forced to shut shop.
According to - another market that has been hit hard is Finland, since Finnish people too have been traditionally into Gambling, and it has always been an oligopoly of three major gambling companies – RAY, Fintoto and Veikkaus, which merged into one larger company called Veikkaus. The two towns of Helsinki and Tampere are home to the biggest casinos in the country. With the pandemic restricting attendance here, people have resorted to online gambling on websites recognised by the Finnish Government.
An Unprecedented Pandemic:
The world was moving at such a fast pace with the above-mentioned factors that no one ever thought of a time when there would be a total lockdown, and beaches, restaurants, night-life would not be the same. Ever since the first case of the virus was discovered in China, there has been an exponential increase in the number of cases.
The other major reason for the virus to spread rapidly was because January is the time of Lunar new year in China, This naturally meant that there were global tourists travelling across European tourist destinations and in the United States as well since no one thought of this as a continuous mutating infectious disease that could spread from travellers. This lone reason brought down the entire tourism industry on its knees as they were not prepared as to how devastating and an everlasting effect the virus would have on their business. Restaurants closed down indefinitely, while migrant workers returned to their hometowns. The global tourism industry was trying to find different ways of keeping the interest of the tourists by regulating strict guidelines of social distancing and minimal attendance in famous tourist spots.
Conclusion- A New Start:
It has been almost 8 months into 2020, and the world is now slowly beginning to open up under strict regulations and hygiene precautions. It will take at least 4 to 5 years for the tourism economy to stand back on its feet, amidst the health hazards. Man is an explorer by nature. A new shift to visit places under regulations and online casinos have kept the interest of tourists alive and a hope to be physically present and enjoy the best life has to give.