18 powerful images show how 2020 changed travel as we knew it

Flight attendant mask

  • The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the travel industry.
  • The number of people who travel in 2020 dropped to 1990s levels, according to a report by the World Tourism Organizaton.
  • From decommissioned cruise ships to socially distant theme park rides, these 18 photos capture a year travelers will never forget.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

On February 3, the streets of Wuhan, China were devoid of car and foot traffic after the city ordered its 11 million residents to stay inside to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Wuhan's lockdown went into effect January 23.

Source: Business Insider

In mid-February, the Diamond Princess docked in Japan to let off passengers. The cruise ship imposed a two-week quarantine on February 4 after 10 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus, which led to more than 700 cases spread by asymptomatic carriers.

Source: Business Insider

By early March, the coronavirus reached Europe. Italy became the first European country to impose a nationwide lockdown on March 8, emptying popular tourist destinations like St. Mark's Square in Venice.

Source: Business Insider

Other countries soon followed suit, closing down non-essential public spaces like restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. Italy and France's lockdown measures were among the strictest, with residents facing fines and prison time for breaking rules.

Source: DW

On March 13, two days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, Disneyland closed its doors to the public. The California theme park was the world's second-most-visited theme park in 2018, receiving 18.7 million visitors.

Source: Business Insider

By April 17, 96% of worldwide destinations had imposed travel restrictions, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Around 90 destinations fully or partially closed their borders to tourists, leaving flights grounded.

Source: UNWTO

Major international travel hubs like New York's John F. Kennedy airport, which serviced 34,611 flights to and from 74 countries in January 2020, stood empty as passengers stayed home.

Source: JFK Airport

Hotels suffered record-low occupancy rates. Beginning in late March, chains around the world began illuminating empty hotel rooms in the shape of hearts in a show of solidarity and hope.

Source: Business Insider

Lockdown restrictions began to lift toward the end of spring in Europe and the US, and summer 2020 became the one of domestic travel. In the US, many states imposed restriction on out-of-state travelers such as mandatory quarantines.

Source: Business Insider

With domestic travel on the rise, hotels and short-term rentals introduced cleaning measures to assuage traveler safety concerns.

Source: Business Insider

Popular tourism destinations that had previously shut down, like the Las Vegas Strip, reopened with social distancing measures in place.

Source: Business Insider

Disney resorts around the world reopened between May and July, starting with Shanghai. The resorts implemented safety measures such as park reservations and mandatory face masks.

Source: The Washington Post

Airlines and airports also began introducing new safety measures, such as blocking off every other seat on planes and in lounges.

Source: Business Insider

Australian airline Quantas introduced a 7-hour scenic "flight to nowhere" over the Outback and Great Barrief Reef in September and reinstated its 12-hour scenic flight over Antarctica. Both flights take off and land in Australia.

Source: Insider

Some cities, like Wuhan, have returned to pre-pandemic social gathering numbers. Wuhan hasn't reported a case of COVID-19 since May 10.

Source: Insider

Other destinations have instituted second lockdowns due to a rise in cases. Britain is currently on lockdown until February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week.

Source: Business Insider

As of December 2020, 70% of worldwide destinations had eased travel restrictions according to UNWTO, but closures have taken a toll on the industry. With no-sail orders still in effect, many cruise lines have chosen to partially dismantle their fleet to save money.

Source: Insider

The UNWTO found that 900 million fewer people traveled in 2020 than in 2019. Though the emergence of COVID-19 vaccines has offered a glimmer of hope for the industry, UNWTO estimates that full recovery will take years.

Source: UNWTO

Source: Read Full Article