COVID-19 is a bit rubbish, actually it is a lot rubbish for many millions of people globally. Aside from the huge strain on the NHS and the human cost, the economic fallout is likely to be catastrophic for almost every sector, in particular the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.
The wonderful team at the Travel Connection Group has quickly rallied and launched a series of webinars with travel & hospitality PRs and journalists. This is to make sure we keep talking, sharing ideas and supporting each other.
A number of Nobull’s travel clients have been heavily affected by the pandemic and in turn this affects us and the work we do for them. Travel journalists are also having to deal with column inches being cut and challenged on how to fill pages with travel restrictions and a country on lockdown, with travellers unlikely to be planning any trips (domestic or abroad) for the foreseeable.
This week I was lucky enough to listen to words of wisdom from leading travel journalists; Ben Ross (The Telegraph), Sophie Lamb (The i), Lisa Minot (The Sun), Maria Pieri (National Geographic) and Jill Starley- Grainger (Jetsetjourneys.com).
The overriding feeling was that the media still want to inspire people and keep them positive, allowing them to dream of escape and bringing destinations alive virtually while we can’t leave our homes. Destination inspiration, ‘wish I was here’ articles, bucket list travel and experiential features are all likely to be filling pages in print & online over the coming weeks and months.
We talked about when we thought things would start returning to normal and whether people would have the confidence to travel abroad. We also had a couple of representatives from Italian tourist boards involved in the webinar which was heart-breaking and inspiring in equal measure. The media reassured them that Italy will always have a place in their travel pages and support was pledged for when the time is right.
Many agreed that when restrictions are lifted it is likely to be UK tourism which picks up quicker. All media said that press trips will be really important in a few months in order to inspire confidence in the consumers and put regions, brands and experiences back on the map. We just pray that these travel companies can hold on because if not the travel landscape will look very different when this is all over – our job, hand in hand with the travel press, is to continue to guide, inspire and help people escape.