TOURIST TRAVEL IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT CREATES POSITIVE EMOTIONS
Tourism has many definitions. One of these is that tourism is a relationship between people. I like defining tourism as a platform for sustainable development. Whichever way we turn it, there is no tourism without interaction between people. Especially sustainable and responsible tourism.
Tourism, which was growing in popularity until the crown of the crisis, is "experience tourism". Experiences trigger emotions and man is an emotional being. The experiences are based on discovering something different, some new local community and everything that makes up that community. It is remembered, it evokes strong emotions and emotions drive demand… At the center of the local community is a man. So again the interaction between the traveler and the host.
SOCIAL DISTANCE TOURISM
The corona crisis has introduced a new way of life. Life at a social distance. What does that mean ? A small group of people, couples and a close family distance themselves from other people at every opportunity. The prescribed distance from other "social groups" is 1,5 m distance in the open and 2 m indoors. It is recommended and in some places it becomes mandatory to wear disposable gloves and protective masks for the mouth and nose. These are the basic conditions of free movement outside the home.
So any gathering, for example, of two families, a few friends, either outdoors or indoors is not allowed. For now, as a maximum number of "grouped persons", up to five people are tolerated at intervals smaller than prescribed. In addition, it is prescribed to wash and disinfect hands (without gloves or over gloves), at each entry - exit to an enclosed space. Means of public transport, such as taxis, must be disinfected after each ride. This, obviously, is what every restaurant expects if it starts serving food and drinks in the bar. Taxi drivers should also have a partitioned driver's area from the passenger area…
Airlines are still developing various models of aircraft configuration in order to provide passengers with the prescribed social distance in the aircraft. Bus and other carriers do the same. "Life at a distance" is becoming a new reality. The relationship between people in these circumstances is reduced to a minimum, at a distance. The experience on offer is still burdened with fears, caution… It can hardly be relaxing. What about tourism in such circumstances? Can we even think about launching tourist trips and all the accompanying services in such circumstances? What are the wishes and thoughts of our former - future guests?
GREAT WISH TO GET OUT OF QUARANTINE AND ENJOY SUMMER
It is quite understandable that people want to be "imprisoned" in their homes for weeks. People can’t wait to get back to old habits among which a summer vacation at sea is one of the most appealing. On the other hand, all tourism-related activities are also eagerly awaiting the return of work. For micro entrepreneurs, employers, employees it is a matter of survival. For a country like Croatia, starting tourism means reviving an economy that is already "barely breathing".
So all stakeholders in tourist travel want the same thing - the return of tourism, as soon as possible. This desire is so strong that it even defies the laws of an epidemic, that is, a pandemic that is not even close to its end. The pressure to start travel, not only domestic, but even foreign arrivals in Croatia is growing day by day. It seems to man that in two weeks what we have been witnessing for the past few months will become just an ugly dream. As summer approaches, all dangers will disappear and tourism will return to the previous model, while respecting the measures of "social distance".
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SCENARIOS?
For now, we consider three possible scenarios.
First is the re-emergence of the epidemic in Croatia and in important tourist, emitting countries, as happened in Japan and Singapore. There is no tourism in this scenario, quarantine is returning to us, especially in the summer months.
The second scenario rests on maintaining a favorable epidemiological situation in Croatia but along closed borders. In this scenario, it is possible to control the situation as in this phase of the "e pass". Thus, the controlled movement of Croatian citizens, even the testing of passengers, the implementation of measures of "social distance" and protection against coronavirus infection. This tourist traffic would mostly take place from the continent to the sea, from the homes of Croatian citizens to cottages, own or owned by relatives and friends and to apartments, holiday homes, mobile homes in camps, partly to smaller nautical tourism boats, adapted stay of smaller groups of tourists.
The situation with hotels is still not entirely clear, but those who could adapt organizationally and cost-wise to lower traffic volumes and lower prices by respecting measures of "social distance" and protection against coronavirus, could also count on tourist traffic.
The third scenario implies the opening of borders for the entry of foreign passengers into Croatia. This is a complex situation that implies the consent of the epidemiological services of both countries and the specification of protocols when entering Croatia and returning to their country, to their home (testing, self-isolation…). In any case, both positive variants require the preparation of the caterer, the host for the protocols of reception, hospitality, movement of tourists. Control sanitary "cards" for accommodation, contactless reception of guests are already mentioned, and the way of controlling the movement of foreign tourists outside the accommodation is still not quite clear. This is especially true of beaches and bathing areas, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, restaurants, museums, galleries, the old town of historic cities…
Apparently, the first form of "new tourism" will be "contactless tourism". Here we already have solutions that work in terms of booking, payment and even assigning access codes to unlock accommodation. These are the so-called "smart locks for remote unlocking". In the same way, digitally, reception activities can be organized, from registering guests through providing information to billing. There are already similar applications for reporting faults. Ordering products, food, also works as well as ordering transportation.
The only physical presence in the accommodation requires thorough cleaning and tidying up of the accommodation. In hotel rooms, it is a daily job with a high probability of meeting guests. Here, too, there is a need for regime change through digital free room cleaning applications.
As far as restaurants are concerned, ordering and paying for meals has long been available in some "fast food" chains through the "ordering console". The customer takes over the ordered and paid food after reading the ordinal number of the order at a special counter. He brings food and drinks to the table, which he puts away at the end.
Museums and galleries can already be toured with the help of a digital guide, and museums have already limited the maximum number of visitors in a single tour. Now the shifts will have to be shorter and the number of visitors in the group smaller. Bicycle, scooter, scooter, car rental already works through digital apps and a digital unlock key.
We can say that the IT sector has already prepared for "contactless tourism". Using all this technology with the addition of special technology to control the symptoms of Covid 19 (body temperature reader camera), tourist traffic could indeed be re-established very quickly.
What kind of "contactless tourism" is it? It is actually "rental", "rentier" tourism that uses labor in a drastically reduced volume and mainly for service, logistics.
EXPERIENCE TOURISM COMES LATER
Emotional tourism that stimulates emotions, however, is only possible when social contact is possible. This type of tourism also includes big sports, entertainment and cultural events. One "Ultra" or festival season on Zrće, is inconceivable as "contactless tourism". The same applies to cruises, bus tours, group bike trips or watching live sports competitions, but also all-night dining in a gourmet restaurant. Experience tourism is still growing and tourists want to return to that exploratory, adventurous, highly emotional way of traveling. For a receptive tourist destination, this type of tourism is only promotional and creates a high degree of attachment, loyalty of guests. Finally, this type of tourism produces far greater benefits for a country’s socio-economic system. In all likelihood for a real, new start in tourism, we will have to wait for a vaccine and an effective cure against Covid 19.
Author: Nedo Pinezić, www.nedopinezic.com