The travel industry has come to a complete halt since the start of the COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, pandemic. Airlines, hotels, and other companies within the travel sector have had to change their business strategies overnight, figuring out ways to navigate during a public health crisis that has caused numerous countries to shut down their borders. It is estimated that total spending on travel in the U.S. is projected to decrease by 31%, six times greater than the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
While U.S. airlines are expected to receive $9.5 billion in federal relief to save jobs, many entrepreneurs have had to adapt to a new reality especially with travel being restricted for the foreseeable future. Some countries are lobbying to reopen their borders with new travel policies to restart the economy but those deals are still a long way off.
For entrepreneurs like Evita Robinson of Nomandess Travel Tribe, the pandemic means re-prioritizing rather than changing gears completely. “I can’t say that NOMADNESS’ to-do list has been gutted. For us, the order simply changed,” said Robinson in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Curating trips and AUDACITY Fest is very, in person, centric. What this time grounded has given us is the ability to finally execute on the content pieces we were previously brainstorming out. Reaching out to the larger travel community professionals in our demographic, being a source of help, and amplification of whatever efforts they have pushing forward. We’ve always focused on innovation and creativity in travel. This hasn’t stopped.”
Well, the pandemic may be curtailing any travel plans for 2020, the black travel movement is far from over. Some entrepreneurs believe that this phase will lead to new innovations within the sector and will change the conversation but not the desire to travel. In a recent study by Piplsay, 46% of Americans plan to travel post-lockdown and 42% are planning a leisure trip.
“Travel will change drastically as a result of COVID in both good and bad ways,” says Martinique Lewis, a travel consultant and entrepreneur to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I think the black travel movement will come together to help those black-owned businesses globally recover as much as possible. Influencers and black media will be instrumental in setting the narratives as they will be the first responders as where we could and should go post [COVID-19].”