The global restrictions imposed since March this year due to Covid-19 has brought international travel to a screeching halt. It has caused a 22% fall in international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2020 and could further decline by 60-80% over the whole year.
Travel will be back — inevitably. But the way we travel will undergo a dramatic transformation.
Although technology may have already changed how travelers plan, book, and embark on their journeys drastically over the past decade, at this juncture, data science and artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to play a major role in helping the industry resuming back to the new normal. Before the pandemic, AI and other forms of machine learning were just beginning to infiltrate the travel sector. Their biggest advantage is the ability to personalize experiences and streamline services based on customer data.
Singapore, for example, is hoping that AI — through local start-ups — can help the city-state’s tourism sector bring back visitors safely, as ongoing border restrictions and lower consumer appetite for international flights have changed travel as an industry.
So what could traveling look like in the wake of the pandemic?
Naturally, companies would explore solutions that allow travelers to maintain social distancing norms as much as possible.
Industry experts believe data science and AI technology will be a key tool in the revival of travel, with electronic passports and IDs, boarding passes, medical screening, and robot cleaners being deployed widely to limit physical contact between people and surfaces.