30 Mar

Tourism Changes 2021: How Traveling Has Adjusted

The 2020 pandemic altered travel and affected so many tourism changes for towns, cities, and countries. Most vacations were canceled, and staycations, aka shutdowns or stay-at-home orders, reigned supreme. 

Social distancing guidelines severely decrease how many people can be in any building at any given time, which has hurt restaurants, entertainment centers, and more. Not only do these changes impact brick and mortar stores — tax revenue and government budgets are also affected.

In 2019, tourism made up 10 percent of global GDP and was worth almost $9 trillion, which was nearly three times larger than agriculture. Tourism organizations with small and medium enterprises tend to be fragmented, and this group of companies makes up most of the sector. 

Tourism analysts speculate that tourism spending is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, which means that nearly 120 million jobs are at risk. 

International tourism was expected to decrease by 80 percent in 2020. Domestic tourism, however, offers a possible short-term recovery option.

Coronavirus vaccines offer a glimmer of hope for the tourism industry. And yet, uncertainty remains on the horizon. Governments are stepping in to help restore and reactivate this sector while also considering the long-term plan to help the economy recover faster. 

Now is the time for the tourism industry to make pivotal changes that include staying ahead of the digital curve, making greener choices, and rethinking future tourism. Necessity has driven many businesses to rethink how they reach customers, communities, and tourists.

Many destinations rely on international visitors for revenue, but tourism has only been partially affected in coastal and rural regions as more domestic visitors resume travel. 

Many domestic travelers feel safer, as they can privately transport themselves by car to a destination within a few hours of their home. Restoration of travelers’ confidence in their safety from illness is crucial for the tourism market in 2021. Accessible activities must be available even if certain shutdown policies are in place, and travelers need to be assured of the safety and sanitation of transportation methods and lodging. 

Businesses, cities, and towns can help their businesses that rely on tourism by providing clear information and trying to limit possible uncertainty. 

Tourism 2021

As the tourism industry continues to make adjustments to respond to the coronavirus, many factors can be leveraged to help the economy overall.

Safety and Hygiene

More and more, travelers seek private options to avoid big gatherings or interacting with more people. For some hotels, this means alternating floors and rooms that are used so that after guests have used the room and the space was cleaned, the rooms sit empty for a few days before being occupied again. While this is a short-term solution to the pandemic, it could serve as a setback to sustainability as more people are using their own transportation rather than public options.


To gain access to the limited number of people who are choosing to travel, some businesses may begin making green decisions. Increased domestic travel will also result in lower environmental impact versus international travel.

Domestic Tourism

While this could be the saving solution for many tourist-focused businesses, the truth is that people who are closer to home tend to have lower spending patterns. Domestic tourists often opt to grocery shop and bring much of what they want for their vacation.

Tourism Digitalization

The world rapidly moved to digitalization, and this will continue to be true for tourism. Many businesses are looking to the internet to meet some of the gaps in their services from offering virtual experiences to creating new content for people stuck at home. This opens up the possibility of making locations and experiences accessible to all through their phones, tablets, and laptops.

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