Weakened consumer sentiment hit retail, tourism and hospitality sectors heavily by COVID-19 in 2021. This is primarily due to contracted operating periods and a broader slowdown of regional traffic. Experts predict the situation will be under control by the end of the year with full market recovery beyond 2022.

The suspension of regional and international travel has directly impacted on major shopping centres, including Phnom Penh. This has led to many markets to step up online shopping platforms, which is likely to lead to long-term effects beyond 2021 on markets and eventually real estate.

The market is in flux and likely to change irrevocably due to changed consumer habits. How this will affect real estate in any significant way is yet to be seen, but aspects of building design and transport are likely to change as a result.

The progress made since the World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern is impressive. A combination of genome sequencing, scientific investigation and multiple vaccine candidates means elimination is possible.

However, the next thing to consider is how the situation becomes more controlled in such things as shared indoor spaces like offices and hybrid working. How much we limit community spread will determine whether COVID-19 will continue to circulate. A big challenge will be of logistics, planning and whether equitable access to treatment and care for most vulnerable will be championed.

It will be up to us as individuals, government leaders and as a global society to determine what state will the world be in a year from now.

A BBC report by  Simon Mair (31/03/2020) discusses how the Corona virus may change the world in 2021 and beyond.

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