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If you’re planning a career in tourism and hospitality, you need to be prepared for disappointment, at least for the next little while. The sector is restructuring, and in the short term at least, downsizing. Some of the changes may be here to stay.

Expect the way people holiday and do business to change, at least until covid is under control and consumer confidence returns. International tourism and business travel has declined. That’s not only due to tight border control, but also to traveller anxiety. Anxiety relates not only to contracting covid, but also to the prospect of getting stuck without travel insurance if a new variant emerges.

The cruise and airline industries

Covid has had a huge impact on the cruise ship industry. A cruise ship is not a good place to be in a covid outbreak and so the industry image has taken a battering. It’s a massive industry that generated $154.5 billion of economic activity and 1,166,000 jobs globally in 2019, so there’s no doubt that the industry will fight hard to get back on its feet. Due to covid Carnival Cruises has brought forward the retirement of eighteen cruise ships. Also, only one of the five new ships scheduled for 2021 will be delivered. Although that’s an indication that the industry expects its suffering to continue, the 2021 Industry Outlook is upbeat about the future.

Airlines have also brought forward the retirement of many aircraft.

Business travel

Demand from the business sector is down too. Even though some business is best done in person, for some businesses the money to pay for travel simply may not be there. Business has embraced video conferencing in place of face to face visits. Online meetings are here to stay. Maybe in the future they’ll be supported by less frequent face to face visits. Reduced business travel not only affects travel related jobs, but also accommodation and hospitality in general.


The change in the geography of work has begun, and it is here to stay. The real life telecommuting experiment has been largely successful. More telecommuting and reduced head office attendance means that office worker support services like cafés will respond by relocating to where the workers are during the day. Expect big city style cafes to start popping up in the burbs.

So, for those of you planning a career in tourism and hospitality, expect that there’ll be winners and losers. The big loser, in the short to medium term at least, is likely to be the cruise industry.