The tourism industry has traditionally seen substantial demand for language services but more recently is also one of the sectors most affected by the Covid crisis worldwide. So, what has been the impact on the industry and how will it recover? And what does it mean for the language services industry?
The tourism industry itself will have to contend with an increased need for security, safety and trust among consumers. Whether it’s a holiday or a business trip, the future of tourism will become a question of quality and stability, and with a new dawn on the horizon of a post-pandemic world, are we about to see a renaissance for this currently troubled sector?
Trouble was brewing for the tourism sector even before the pandemic
The challenges facing tourism were already enormous in the run-up to the pandemic, with the travel industry suffering from a loss of trust and image following some high-profile insolvencies such as Flybe and was further fuelled by geopolitical uncertainties. In addition, the debate on climate impact had significantly changed individual travel behaviour. Due to the increasing fusion of “work” and “life” and trend phenomena such as “workation”, the volume of business travel was also in a state of flux.
For some time now, the tourism industry has fluctuated between extreme phases of growth and a wealth of fundamental challenges that make a profound rethinking and redirection indispensable in the long term.
The reset brought about by Covid-19 forced this rethinking in one fell swoop – and at the same time paved the way for a new perception of tourism. As painful as the pandemic is economically for the industry, it can – and must – also be understood as the beginning of a new, more sustainable era for tourism, both globally and locally.
Before the pandemic, grab-and-go style markets offered an immense abundance of offers and options. The almost endless possibilities often left tourists in a perpetual state of indecision.
The choice of destination was often decided spontaneously, at short notice and unpredictably. The collective experience of the Covid crisis will provide a new, more conscious selection in the future – if only because travel options in the post-corona world will initially be reduced.
For the tourism industry, this is an opportunity – and at the same time a challenge – to restore the relationship of trust with travellers. In the future, the choice of destinations and means of transport will increasingly depend on the guarantees and security that tourism providers can guarantee. Against this background, regional tourism will initially become more attractive: short distances and local recreation convey a sense of security – just as familiar cultures promise emotional security.
Turning away from mass tourism
The new travel culture will change mass tourism in particular. After a short period of post-shutdown euphoria celebrating fun and experience, holidays are likely to be chosen more consciously and mindfully than before.
Of course, there will still be people in the future who opt for the concept of the package holiday because they find in it a tried and tested form of safety and comfort. But they are becoming fewer, as the quality of experience will trump low costs when decisions are being made. This is not natural territory for mass tourism for obvious reasons – creating personalised and high-quality holiday experiences is not in the economy holiday business model. What we are likely to see in this segment of tourism is fewer deals for consumers, but those that are on the market will be of higher quality and offer better value for holidaymakers.
More engaging international communication
The fact that the quality of interaction with travellers will be even more decisive in the future was already clear during the crisis. What will count after the crisis is the art of communicating personally, emotionally, authentically, perhaps also humorously, but most certainly in the customer’s native language. Instead of playing interchangeable video clips, it will be about conveying an emotional connection with a destination with less emphasis on low price and more on personalised messaging.
Unlike following wars or natural disasters, the tourism industry will quickly start operating again after the restrictions are completely lifted. But the challenges of the future include more than just economic re-stabilisation: the aim will be to provide travellers with offers that enable them to experience both security and above all, personalised experiences in their own language which offer more than just sun, sea and sand. With big changes afoot, it makes this sector a particularly exciting one to be involved in. With an emphasis on personalised international communication, pairing with an experienced and talented language service provider is more important than ever.
ALM has spent over a decade crafting international communications for the tourism industry, and with the world opening up to international travel again, our team is here to deliver exceptional creative and translation services to the sector.