The last couple of months have imposed several global challenges, affecting the tourism and hospitality industry in the worst possible ways. Country borders have been sealed. Cities are at stand-still. Flights are mostly grounded. Cruise ships are docked in harbors. Trains across the world are stationary. Buses are not plying. Hotels are shut. Restaurants are shuttered. Social distancing is the new mantra that everyone’s trying to get used to. Masks and gloves are the new safety accouterments. And while no one is being adventurous enough to set out for a holiday, people are dreaming & planning of vacays when things get better.
Like we keep saying, the virus isn’t going anywhere and we’ll have to adapt ourselves, be smart, and learn how to live with it. As researchers are still working hard to find a vaccine, we’ll have to be careful of our moves.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), ‘Travelling in the New Normal’ will have critical steps and coordinated actions, including new standards and protocols, which offer a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector as consumers start planning trips again.
The prohibitions on international travel and the feeling of insecurity associated with flights and airports will make tourism gear towards the domestic market. People will mostly try to explore the hidden gems within the country’s borders, go for secluded mountainside retreats or spend a few days soaking in the freshness of national parks.
Even if there’s an urge to travel abroad, people will more likely choose to visit the country’s nearest neighbors before expanding across regions, and then finally across continents to welcome the return of journeys to long-haul international destinations. This will also be a slow step, and every country will have its own set of rules for immigration & quarantine.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen that retirees across the globe have been traveling much and utilizing their time, indulging in exploring faraway places. Their newfound liberation may get heavily tempered by the fear that older humans are more susceptible to the virus. In the post-corona era, younger travelers in the 18-35 age group, who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, will be the ones to get out of their homes for traveling more.
Needless to say, nature has been replenishing itself like never before and travelers will definitely be keen to indulge as this form of tourism will allow them to put together social distancing automatically and emphasize direct contact with nature, which in recent weeks many travelers have been unable to benefit from. More than museums and theme parks, people will be keen to spend a couple of days in some resort surrounded by lush greenery – away from the crowd and fear of contamination.
The concept of short vacays or micro-holidays will surely be more common. Taking into account the impossibility to make long-distance trips, which usually have a longer duration, the typical big annual trip will be replaced by small ones, closer to home, throughout the year.
The concept of a road trip will become more common as people will get to avoid traveling by trains/ planes and be comfortable in their own vehicles. Families and youngsters are likely to opt for more drive-outs, especially on long weekends and for short vacations.
The prolonged phases of lockdown and home quarantine has given us enough time to introspect and focus on things we love. As people across the world stayed indoors, slowing down and pursuing the long-forgotten passions – lots of simple pleasures may surface as reasons to go for a holiday, but differently. People have found out their joy in photography and might opt for places where they can shoot more, or maybe go for cycling vacations, walking tours, health farms, eco-tourism, and much more.
The 5 key factors, however, in the overall travel scenario that will drive all of the above trends will be:
As we all plan to travel again, one thing is there for sure – that we’ll all emerge as more responsible travelers and be conscious of our moves. It’s only when the world is safe, will we be safe. If nothing else, the Corona Virus has taught us the importance of being mindful enough.
Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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