It would be easy and optimistic to suggest that the worst of the COVID-19 global pandemic is over.
But infection rates are still increasing worldwide at around 700,000 per day and so the reality would indicate otherwise.
The last period in the crisis when such rates were as high was in early January, as variants spread around the world and numerous countries and regions were plunged once more into lockdowns and restrictions on travel.
This was before mass vaccination programs kicked in, so there is cause for some degree of hope that the current peak will not be repeated later in the year.
As the industry starts to show some encouraging signs of movement (hotels clearing out the mothballs, flights being scheduled and activities reopening, as lockdowns are eased), travel's hundreds of thousands of employees have the right to ask what has changed since those first few months of 2020.
The most obvious answer is that the industry's brands, both consumer-facing and behind the scenes, have an acute sense of hygiene protocols for travelers.
It would be safe to say that never in the history of the sector, apart from the regulatory framework that puts aircraft in the air, has the wellbeing of customers ever been so important.
This is unlikely to change in the near or long term and should be welcomed as a method of reassurance that the industry will do everything it can to keep customers safe from the virus.
Where people choose to stay on a trip is another area that has seen a fundamental - perhaps temporary - shift, with many travelers opting for private accommodation over traditional forms of hospitality.
This change has fed into the already concentrated focus of brands that are targeting this market (Airbnb, Vrbo et al) but also accelerated the provision that others were considering making in order to capture the short-term rental trend.
Business travel may have not restarted to any significant degree at all thus far in 2021, yet the ecosystem is certainly being reshaped to take advantage when companies put their employees back on the road.
Consolidation and digitalization of services are the trends taking place right now, with recent and notable moves from American Express Global Business Travel's acquisition of Egencia and TripActions buying Reed & Mackay perhaps the most noteworthy.
Financiers are still backing the sector (TravelPerk's recent $160 million investment) is one of a number of rounds in the sector during the pandemic) but the landscape will undoubtedly be a different one in the future.
And, finally, many suppliers are experiencing a shift to direct bookings - a move that they have been yearning for over the years, rather than the somewhat convoluted and often expensive (in their opinion) process of selling via an intermediary and not "owning" the customer.
Many of the changes that have come about during 2020 and 2021 have also fed into the idea that the customer subscription is a valid model to pursue, as evidenced by the creation of such programs by the likes of Tripadvisor.
Still stuck in a rut
Despite the aforementioned trends that have emerged as a result of the pandemic, many elements of the industry and processes have not altered, or are unlikely to evolve to something new any time soon.
The airport experience is still one that frustrates passengers and the brands that need such facilities to operate - in fact, due to COVID-induced protocols, flying in or out of an airport is an even worse part of a trip than it was before.
This is unlikely to change any time soon.
Phocuswright Europe 2021
Aileen McCormack, chief commercial officer at CarTrawler, and Axel Hefer, managing director and CEO at Trivago, will discuss what's really changed in travel during this year's event.