The world is being divided into green, orange, and red travel zones. At a time of increased rupture, these travel bubbles could create new divisions by reorganizing the world around epidemiological lines. Bubbles so far, such as between China and South Korea or amongst Scandinavian countries, are operating on the basis of proximity, though, confidence in a partners’ health system is vital and will be the basis of any long-distance bubbles.

For those exiting lockdown, reestablishing travel routes is of fundamental economic importance and has led to a whirlwind of negotiations. But how to track this ever-changing landscape? 

Interactive Map

Scroll to browse the size of the tourism market in relation to the country’s GDP and its phase of reopening. 

Sources: IMF and WTTC.

Key Insights

  • As modelled by China, business travel will open up first. The country is allowing limited travel with South Korea, Singapore, and Germany.
  • Thailand, which receives nearly 20 percent of GDP from tourism, is negotiating flight connections with Japan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China.
  • Europe hopes to form a large travel bubble by July 1, but will depend on country infection levels.
  • A trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand looks likely with Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands lobbying for inclusion.

Working the Bubble

In the short-term, travel stakeholders must apply the logic of global travel patterns on a local level. Focus on three controllables; clearly state your health and safety measures, build regional consumer relationships, and look for partnerships with local organizations. Consider the following actions;

  • Consider publishing a one-sheeter outlining health initiatives and offer flexible refunds
  • Organization partnerships are key. Be creative, proactive, and work cross-industry i.e. group packages for neighbouring tourist sights or deals between museums and local businesses.
  • DMOs must recognize the limited resources of travel stakeholders and act as hubs forging connections within communities.

Bubble Burst

Done right, the consumer practices and inter-organizational partnerships enacted now will endure. They’ll strengthen your brand and its reach once travel bubbles begin to grow and, eventually, pop.