Let’s start just saying that it is (has been and will be) a hard time for the travel industry: everybody knows it. We know it, you know it, and the customers know it. But now more than ever it is fundamental to clarify the misconceptions around COVID-19 and travelling.
Here are some facts and news for the sake of truth, health and wealth.
Many countries in the World are dealing with a virus outbreak, the Corona Virus or, as the WHO named it, the COVID-19.
Is it the first virus we have to dealt with?! Of course, not! Moreover, it’s not the first crisis situation KVI had run into, causing disruptions to the normal business flow (e.g. natural disasters, pandemics, terrorism, economic downturns, and so on). This means that we all have to come through them all with a temporary slowdown to the biz. Nonetheless, patience and knowledge are the keys to help and support clients and the industry.
The COVID-19 is a highly infective virus but it is still essentially a bad flu. The vast majority of cases, around 80%, are mild and being cured, just like the common flu. Of course, it can be more severe in some cases. And it could hit harder people at higher risk (weakened immunity system, diseased, elderly, etc.), even causing deceased.
However, the common flu kills over 100 times more people than the coronavirus. Every year, worldwide between 290,000 and 650,000 people die of flu, and some years have even been more devastating.
The concern is that it’s a new virus and we don’t know how to treat it and which medications may be effective, yet.
This simply means that we should take the necessary precautions, in particular for people with compromised immune system, and washing our hands. But also that healthy people have very little reason to be concerned.
Unfortunately, the other issue is the media coverage of the outbreak. We have to deal with them as well, and they are generating and spreading fear but nobody has reasons to panic. That’s why we cannot rely on news from the media only, but we should double check. Go to WHO or AgentUniverse website for the most updated info and policies, and any other trustworthy source, i.e. government websites.
If the fear of COVID-19 is affecting your business, please be sure to explain to your clients the above and be very clear about their travel insurance coverage. Clients need to well understand what is covered by insurance and what not, especially in case of cancellation. You should reassure them if they are afraid of exposure and give them alternatives. Show that we understand can make the difference.
Let’s not forget that KVI agents are fortunate enough to have a company that supports them and also works with airline employees less keen on be affected by media driven fear about travel. After 9/11, the interline community was the first to get back on airplanes and show it was safe to do so.
As with other crisis situations, we can find silver lines and we should. One is that cruise lines would need interline agencies more than ever. They will offer great deals in the upcoming weeks.
Travel sector and travel workers are resilient, we have seen it over the years. So, let’s work together to make the best out from the worst (and we are still far from the worst, ndr). Be ready because when it all goes away, we’ll have so much work to do!!
Pay attention to guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travel alerts can change by the hour, so frequent check-ins are wise.
Remember that we are here for you and your clientele. Contact us if needed.
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