If 2020 was wretched for tourists and the flying public, 2021 looks to be a year full of calibrated plans for recovery for both the tourism and aviation sectors that are desperate for the year-long Covid-19 crisis to bottom out.
Indeed, the past year has brought tourism and every airline to their knees. What has been billed as the “plague of the 21st century” forced borders to close one by one, marking an almost insurmountable struggle for many and the beginning of the end for some.
The border closures spelled instant doom for the aviation industry as most airlines grounded the majority, if not all, of the aircraft in their fleets. Some major players, including flag-carrier Thai Airways International, which is in the middle of debt restructuring in court following a series of heavy losses well before the pandemic, were hit hard.
The next casualty was tourism, an industry which contributed almost 20% of GDP last year. Some predict that getting tourism spending back to pre-Covid levels could take up to four years. But that won’t be possible without airlines returning to the sky