With more people on the streets or returning to work, and cars looking less like an endangered species on the roads, lives that were previously on hold seem to be gradually restarting in some parts of the world. Things feel different now, of course. In workplaces and shops, regulations require us to keep each other at a healthy distance to limit the risk of infection, and face masks have become a fashion item.
While domestic travel is rebuilding, quarantines or closed borders still place international trips beyond the reach of most. But if the cautious lifting of lockdowns goes well, passengers may start to venture overseas again before long. Against this backdrop, some airports have begun the process of reopening shops. At Hamburg Airport, the gateway to Germany's second-largest city, a variety of outlets offering fashion, food and beverage, foreign exchange and more reopened their doors in mid-May, an encouraging development after many weeks of hardship for the sector.
Further positive news comes from a survey conducted by m1nd-set in April, which suggests that nearly a quarter of international travellers are prepared to consider taking a cross-border flight as soon as restrictions are lifted. A further 39% would contemplate flying in the first three months, taking to 61% the total proportion ready to resume air travel within 12 weeks of the market reopening. Business travel may take longer to recover, according to the study, with a third of respondents foreseeing fewer work trips in the first six months due to a combination of budget cuts and recession fears. Concerns over crowding at airports and the need to economise were the main factors behind 41% saying they might reduce or halt leisure travel in the six months after bans are lifted.