How COVID-19 Is Affecting International Travel

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Both spring break and summer holidays have been put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic has put the entire globe on lockdown. There are several measures in place around the world to keep people at home during peak travel seasons. More than 200 countries and territories across the globe have imposed measures that greatly restrict and deter people from traveling to try to minimize the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is affecting international travel in a way that we’ve never seen before. From flight suspensions to border closures, global mobility is at an all-time low and is costing countries billions of tourism dollars. As airlines are running out of money and millions of people are losing their lives, let’s discuss some of the impacts that the pandemic is causing in our world.

4 Ways That COVID-19 Is Affecting International Travel

Let’s discuss a couple of ways that COVID-19 is affecting international travel and it impacts on the travel industry in general.

Travel is Obviously Restricted

It goes without saying that the more reported cases of COVID-19, the more travel restrictions have come into place. According to the UNWTO report, 97 travel destinations have implemented total or partial border closures, with about 65 countries and territories partially or totally suspending flights in and out of its borders. About 39 locations have enforced border closures to specific destinations and the remaining 7% of the world has implemented other safety measures, including quarantine requirements.

Huge Decline In Commercial Flights

One huge effect that comes with the limitations on travel is the reduction in commercial flights. In January and February of this year, the average number of flights per day fell from more than 100,000 to around 29,400 in April. This large decline has forced airlines to ground a large number of their fleet, and many airlines are running into financial hardships. Some governments have offered help to these struggling airlines by offering grants and financial ends to their popular airlines.

Airlines Are Losing A Ton of Revenue

Even with the financial aid though, passenger revenue for airlines is expected to plunge by nearly $314 billion in 2020, according to the International Air Transport Association. This is a 55% drop from 2019 levels, and the aviation industry could take years to recover. Though local travel will increase, it’s estimated that international travel is going to take a while to go back to the level it was.

The Hotel Industry & Tourism Has Severely Declined

It also comes as no surprise that we have to mention the hotel industry and tourism in general in our list of how COVID-19 is affecting international travel. Because travel is so limited, hotel rates are decreasing dramatically. In fact, many major hotel chains have announced layoffs and even wage reductions, and thousands of employees have been furloughed.

Travel companies as well have had to cut jobs and begin a freeze on hiring, as no one is booking holiday vacations. The tourism industry contributes roughly 10% of global gross domestic product and according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, generates one in four of the world’s new jobs over the past five years. It is estimated that this sudden halt in global travel due to the pandemic will result in more than 100 million job losses this year. This will contribute to an estimated $2.7 trillion decline in travel and tourism.

Still Want To Travel?

If you do decide you want to travel abroad, keep a few things in mind:

  • Visit known Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction you want to travel to
  • Make sure you follow the guidelines of the health authorities for the prevention of coronavirus.
  • Double-check your travel plans, be it your airline, travel operators or cruise line for any additional information you might need to know about your upcoming plans and restrictions
  • Visit the official government websites to see Travel Advisories for the up to date urgent threats to safety and security.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect each country a little differently, make sure you’re staying up to date on what’s happening in your country and the country you want to go to. International travel is being challenged and the future might include mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, and even closed borders. Be prepared for foreign governments to implement restrictions on short notice, even if they were previously deemed low risk.

Thought travel right now is not impossible, be warned that it might be difficult to get back into your own country if you do choose to travel.