Until 1.5 years ago, all we could hear from the outside world was the crunch of furtive footsteps in the gully outside our houses, the unmistakable chirping of birds, the low rumble of a goods aircraft above our heads, and the occasional shriek from the neighbour’s kids bellowing to each other from across the road at the ungodliest of hours. The world had come to a standstill and an uncomfortable truth dawned on us.
As the days pass, keeping track of new cases and recoveries with uneasy trepidation has now become a daily ritual. At this point one can only imagine what the post-covid world will look like. Slowly but surely, the world has started to wake up from its slumber and those weekly grocery runs don’t seem so thrilling anymore. The inner travel beast yearns to spread its wings and soar the skies.
Studies show that despite the pandemic and the travel restrictions it has brought upon us, the desire to venture out in the future remains resilient among the general population, but with an important caveat—health and sanitisation are of utmost importance.
But for all the uncertainties, we remain optimistic about the long-term future of travel. Amadeus hospitality data shows that traveler confidence is growing with a +60% increase in net reservations since the beginning of the year.
A lot has been said about travel trends in the recent past but now it’s time to re-evaluate what the future of travel is likely to look like.
The travel sector – which had already undergone a gradual evolution in the preceding years, largely driven by technology – has reinvented itself in a matter of months.
As we look to rebuild travel, here are three trends we see shaping travel through to August.
Safer travel in the travel and tourism sector
With red tape tangling up the borders, how do you travel abroad safely in a pandemic? Travel bubbles vary significantly in size, from individual Covid-safe properties to resorts – and, on a grander scale, safe travel corridors between nations.
Meanwhile, individual hotels are promoting themselves as bubble resorts allowing guests to travel together in groups and enjoy a holiday together as long as they have a negative Covid test.
The Maldives are a case in point, with the country’s archipelago of secluded resorts allowing for physical distancing amid breathtaking views. We have seen an increase in searches from around the world for two-week trips to the Maldives compared to the same period in 2019.
The bottom line here is that safety comes first. People from nations that have been successful in containing the pandemic are more comfortable traveling to countries with a similar record.
If you want to know more about bubble holidays, do read about them in this article.
The increasing viability of living as a digital nomad
If the way we work has been changing for some years now, the process was turbo-charged by the combination of a global pandemic and the rise of video conferencing. None more so than for the new generation of digital nomads who have left the office behind for a work-from-anywhere model.
Some call it bleisure (individuals who combine leisure with professional business obligations when abroad) but we prefer to talk about the rise of the workcation. The concept of working remotely from a coffee shop or a beach bar is not new, but the past year has democratized the dream.
For example, quick jaunts to the Caribbean – a popular workcation destination – took a nosedive compared to 2019 with searches for one day stays falling by 79%, while longer stays of more than 14 days increased by 43%.
We can only see this trend expanding, as countries emerge from lockdowns and more weary workers release a pent-up desire to step away for a breath of fresh air.
The logic of workcations is compelling, as they allow travelers to book flights at times of lower demand, saving themselves both money and stress.
And for those whose lifestyles allow it, it is hard to ignore the allure of dialing in to the office from sunny idylls in Barbados, Anguilla and Croatia (all of which have launched schemes to attract nomadic workers).
Socks? Check. Phone? Check. Vanity kit with mask and sanitiser? You better get on that!
Responsible travellers of the future will see an automatic shift in their priorities as they become increasingly conscious about their health and hygiene while travelling.
For many years before COVID-19, a ‘yellow card’ showing that a passenger was vaccinated before boarding an international flight was a must.
Thankfully, the improvement in global health and mass vaccination deemed it redundant. Tough times call for tough measures, so it is likely that a new and improved measure of keeping track of potential diseases will manifest itself as a sort of immunity passport certificate which can be accessed via apps or other digital formats.
The canals of Venice are gushing with clear water once again, Nilgai are gallivanting across the roads in Noida, wild turkeys have ambushed playgrounds in California and Delhi skies have never looked clearer.
One thing is clear, the drastic effect of no humans around, has been a boon for nature. Travel trends with regards to sustainability, wellness and community-based travel will no longer be pushed to the sidelines.
Observing these phenomena is likely to have a positive effect on the outlook of travellers and encourage them to be more ecologically mindful of their surroundings and the impact they have on the local communities.
There will also be a sharp increase in travellers opting for health and travel-related insurance, especially for international trips.
This puts the travel industry in a position of great responsibility. Consumers are looking to make sustainable and more conscious choices and as travel picks up, there will be more pressure on the industry to identify exactly what is being done to protect the planet and understand how travel is positively impacting local communities.