The travel and tourism industry was hit harder by the Covid-19 pandemic. During the global health crisis, countries sealed their borders, cruises were docked in harbors, flights were grounded, trains were stationary, buses were not plying, hotels were shut, and cities were at a stand-still. It’s estimated that the global industry lost around $2.4 trillion in 2020 and $1.8 trillion in 2021.
The good news is that today people have started traveling again now that the pandemic has receded, countries have opened up their borders, and opportunities have emerged both for personal and business travelers. The adventurous lot has started to plan their holiday since things are getting better.
The world clearly knows that the virus isn’t going anywhere, so they have started to adapt themselves and learn how to live with it. Because of that, the demand for traveling has surged since people want to hit the road again after 2 years break. Industry players also want to tap into the opportunities.
Here are the top post-COVID-19 travel trends you’re most likely to witness during the post-corona era.
The spread of coronavirus and international travel prohibitions seem to have instilled fear in today’s travelers. Also, the fact that some countries took longer to open their borders to international travelers, the current high ticket and hotel rates, travel enthusiasts have begun prioritizing local before global.
Business and leisure passengers find short-haul trips more attractive. Domestic destinations also offer them optimum safety and hygiene because they don’t have to observe quarantine rules that still exist between countries.
Further, many governments are encouraging their citizens to support local tourism. In collaboration with travel and hospitality companies, nations are offering incentives to motivate travel enthusiasts to turn to the domestic market, where they can try to explore hidden gems in their country. In fact, the demand for secluded mountainside retreats and national parks visits has increased tremendously. This trend will promote cluster travel plans where Europeans will travel within Europe, Asians within Asia, Africans within Africa, and so on.
Increased Sustainability Concerns
One of the positive impacts of the Covid-19 crisis is that it accelerates the people’s interest in sustainability issues. The discussion about sustainable practices started pre-COVID-19 and took an even sharper focus during the lockdown period.
During the international travel prohibitions, people began rediscovering local travel options. The sustainability topic is set to hinder the continuation of the traditional mass tourism model. Indeed pictures of deserted tourists hotspots and empty beaches circulating on the internet during the pandemic have enlightened people about the negative impact of mass tourism.
One of the post-COVID-19 travel trends is that local people are no longer excited about the return of over-tourism they witnessed during the pre-corona era. A good case in point is the ban on the cruise ship in the city center of Venice. The Italian Government enforced the ban on the historic area to preserve Venice’s cultural, artistic, and environmental heritage. The locals argued that ships entering the Giudecca Canal pollute it and contribute to the city’s foundation erosion.
Nature Tourism Will Increase
During the 2 years when almost the entire world was in a lockdown, nature replenished itself. Travelers are keen to use their freedom to travel to indulge in different forms of tourism. Although the governments loosened COVID-19 pandemic restrictions such as social distancing, nature tourism automatically allows travelers to keep their distance.
Nature tourism allows them to get direct contact with nature. Therefore, travelers will spend several days in resorts, national parks, forests, beaches, and wildlife reserves away from the crowd and surrounded by lush greenery. Travel enthusiasts will engage in adventure sports, hiking trails, nature camps, and much more in these spots.
Experiential Traveling Will Continue
People used the time they spent indoors to think and pursue long-forgotten passions. They focused on the things they loved, discovered several simple pleasures, and came up with reasons for going on holiday. Some of their passions include photography, eco-tourism, healthy farms, walking tours, and cycling vacations.
The concept of experiential traveling will be coupled with micro-holidays or short vacays during the post-COVID-19 era. Indeed shorter trips will replace long-distance trips that take longer duration. People want to pursue their passion closer home the entire year thus making experiential traveling one of the post-COVID-19 travel trends.
Combined Business and Leisure Trips
For many centuries, business travel was tiresome. It involved an early morning flight, the use of taxis to reach the meeting venue on time, having a quick lunch near the office or airport, and a late evening flight back home. This was indeed boring.
In the wake of the post-COVID-19 era, the routine of business travelers has changed significantly. These travelers take advantage of both worlds, namely business and leisure trips. The freedom of remote working enables people to work and have fun at the same time.
Indeed, people fly off to new destinations, spend a couple of hours working on their computer to fulfill the work, and then explore the destination when they’re free. The good news is that the hospitality industry is aware of this trend and has this option in its portfolio. Hotels and resorts have included it in their strategy. For instance, many hotels have co-working spaces and a fast Wi-Fi connection to cater to business travelers and remote workers.
Before the COVID-19 era, commercial air passengers engaged in various pre-departure activities like meeting friends and family over a drink, shopping, and other recreation distractions. Indeed retail concessions were the biggest sources of revenue for any airport.
Most travelers in this post-COVID era find such activities as pure luxury. With touchless services such as ticketing, airport check-ins, and more, the travel industry has tried to automate everything related to travel because travelers are more concerned about safety and hygiene. With this new trend, brands put customers’ needs ahead of their unique selling points by deploying digital tools with limited human interaction.
Once In a Lifetime Adventure
Travel enthusiasts want to have memorable experiences in their life adventures. Because of that, tour operators offer customized experiences by partnering with event firms and local providers.
So when travelers visit a resort in the Mediterranean, they want to engage in several activities because they might not have a similar holiday in the future. So they want to crisscross rural areas on the back of the donkey, camel, or horse. They want to go hiking or cycling around the mountains and sleep in a former lighthouse along the rugged shores.
Travel to Reconnect with Friends and Family
Usually, people travel for business or to explore new destinations. However, after spending many months of lockdowns without any physical contact with friends and family, people have changed how they view traveling. Instead of traveling to explore new destinations, they are going to reconnect with their loved ones.
On the other hand, the hospitality sector and airlines have added such post-COVID-19 travel trends to their strategy. They’re providing packages to celebrate togetherness and reuniting people even across continents. Some airlines and tour companies provide a list of open destinations, complete paperwork online, organize COVID-19 testing on the ground, and much more. The goal is to make it easy for travelers to reunite with their loved ones across the border and spend time together in a resort away from home.
The Return of Long-haul Travel
International air travel in many parts of the world has not resumed fully, yet, domestic travel has returned to almost 85% of its pre-crisis levels. This leads to a question of whether long-haul travel will recover anytime soon.
The recovery of international travel is on a country-by-country basis because of varying health and safety regulations. These rules also change at short notice because of the potentially more dangerous coronavirus variants. Still, it’s hoped that the air travel industry will significantly improve as many countries open their borders, and the long-haul travel trend will be the new sun and fun.