Cruises: Expert reveals how COVID -19 could impact 'battered' cruise industry

Cruise companies have been forced to batten down the hatches and suspend their schedules in recent days due to unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by most countries across the globe. But as coronavirus spreads like wild fire across some cruise ships, it is looking likely that some holidaymakers could be put off the prospect of jumping on a cruise when lockdown is lifted. The future of the travel industry is certainly looking more uncertain now than ever before.

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Erin Gifford is a Washington DC-based lifestyle and travel writer who has previously appeared on Lonely Planet as well as founding her own site, Kidventurous.com.

She is an expert in family travel who is hopeful that people will come out of lockdown “more eager to explore”.

She spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the future of the travel industry after coronavirus, and how the airlines and cruise lines will be impacted.

Ms Gifford is hopeful that people will be more eager to explore their own backyards after lockdown which includes road trips.

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Cruises: The future of the travel industry is looking more uncertain now (Image: GETTY)Cruises: Ms Gifford also remains optimistic for the cruise industry (Image: GETTY)

She said: “I’ve lived in Virginia nearly my entire life but there’s so much beauty within a few hours of my home that I have never once seen – majestic mountains, underground caverns, white sandy beaches.

“I would like to see people plan more road trips and take more time to explore what they’ve thus far overlooked.”

Unlike many, she believes that “people will always have the urge to travel” despite the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think people will always have the urge to travel. That won’t change,” she said.

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However, the travel expert did suggest that it is likely that people would want to stay closer to home.

She added: “We all have an innate desire to some degree to explore.

“In the immediate future, I think people may go on shorter holidays and stay closer to home when they do travel.”

A recent study from analysts at UBS recently revealed that bookings for 2021 cruises has “gone up nine percent in the last 30 days versus the same time last year”.

UBS said in a report at the end of March: “That includes people applying their future cruise credits from sailings that were cancelled this year, but still shows a surprising resilience in desire to book a cruise.”

Cruises: “I think people will always have the urge to travel” (Image: GETTY)

According to the report which was published in The New York Post, Asia and Alaska are seeing the highest number of bookings.

Ms Gifford also remains optimistic for the cruise industry despite being “battered” recently, however, she did admit it may take longer for people to get their confidence back.

She continued: “The cruise industry has really been battered though.

“They’ve weathered storms in the past, like norovirus outbreaks, but have always seemed to rebound.

Cruises: Erin Gifford is a family travel expert (Image: GETTY)

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“I think it will take longer to re-instill confidence in cruisers this time.”

However, she added that the airline industry will continue to be a preferable mode of transport after the coronavirus due to its convenience.

She said: “I think it will be tough to keep people from planes. So many of us fly, if only for the speed and convenience.

“I think many more will take road trips in the near term, but not necessarily because they do not want to fly.”