The new challenges posed by the post-pandemic traveler
Travel health protection stopped being an option that people avoided to reduce costs and became a necessity
By Federico Tarling, Chief Service Officer at ASSIST CARD International
In an industry that has lost more than $ 4 trillion in just 16 months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the gradual reopening of tourism is a first step towards the long-awaited recovery of the sector, which could just happen, in the best case, in 2023, as estimated by the United Nations in its most recent report, presented at the end of June.
This time of crisis was and is a source of constant teachings and learning. In the case of travelers, a key piece of the tourism gear, it was an opportunity to rethink what their pre-pandemic travel experience was like and reconfigure it.
Almost 50 years ago, they began to hear that getting sick or having an accident abroad could embitter and ruin the dream experience. To do this, they had to incorporate health as one more travel item. However, it was not until the pandemic that the use of travel assistance accelerated. Today it became clear the importance of taking care of your health and feeling protected when being away from home.
In this sense, in these times of pandemic tourism, we see a consolidated trend that shows a traveler more cautious, demanding and aware of health care. Medical protection in international travel stopped being an option that many avoided to reduce costs and became a necessity. Proof of this is the increase in consultations and sales of assistance to international destinations in the last month, motivated by vaccination tourism.
Aware of these changes in passengers, this crisis taught us about the importance of working jointly among all the actors that make up this sector in order to generate trust and security in people so that more and more people return to travel in this new world scenario and continue collaborating in recovery.
With the new normal, the context of tourism is now a mix between "individual conscience" and "government obligation", as more than 40 destinations have begun to require travelers medical protection to enter. Faced with this scenario, the different actors in the tourism industry have quickly rearranged ourselves to respond to new demands and needs.
Although the market shrunk, the penetration of products such as travel assistance increased. Today health is what no passenger will skimp on again. In that sense, aware of the high costs of the health system abroad and of traveling in times of pandemic, Argentines, for example, opt for the highest coverage, of up to one million dollars, and complement it with additional services and comprehensive services that contemplate non-medical contingencies that may occur before or even during the trip, derived from a positive diagnosis for COVID-19
Where are we going?
In these times where the only constant is the exponential speed of change, there is a certainty: the coronavirus pandemic and its consequent global health crisis exposed the need to revalue human health. Today, more than ever, health will be part of anyone's travel experience from now on.