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By Samarth Kholkar,
Pandemic has revolutionized the travel industry in a way that we never would have imagined. From hand sanitisers at the hotel entrance to PPE kits when flying; from local lockdowns and restrictions to touch tracing applications all across, travelling now comes with all new accessories. Travel, both domestic and international, came to a standstill as a result of closed borders and cancelled flights, with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announcing restrictions with a massive increase in the number of COVID 19 cases.
People made travel arrangements as soon as the lockdown lifted. Some were travelling for work while others were taking vacations after being cooped up in their homes for almost a year. Travel agents and hotels promised utmost safety and sanitisation and vacationing was on the cards for so many. ‘Revenge Travel’ came into existence but this freedom was rather short-lived. With 2021 came the second wave of the deadly coronavirus and now again people have been advised to not step out of their houses, let alone take a vacation.
As the world fights back from the pandemic, there is now a soaring expectation for international travel to return to normalcy but it might take a year or two. While international travel might be at a halt, domestic holiday destinations will turn out to be a haven for a lot of travellers. With vaccination efforts ramping up across the world, progress is being made on certifying travellers’ vaccination status. A confirmed vaccination certificate will serve as a passport for a month-long holiday at your favourite holiday destination. Month-long? Yes, in response to the dreary and lengthy coronavirus quarantine, travellers all over the world are now planning longer, further, and more luxurious vacations. As a result, the word “revenge travel” may become popular towards the end of summer 2021 and beyond.
The rage of revenge travel will be real once the second wave settles. No one can say for sure when that will happen, but travel buffs are being cautiously optimistic and planning their next travel destination. Amid the pandemic, we’ve come across many articles that suggest the ideal travel locations. Vengeful travellers are waiting for the vaccines to work their magic and are desperately hoping to enjoy a leisurely vacation.
High hygiene standards and expectations
Post covid-19 travellers will be more concerned and conscious about the health and hygiene standards of the city, region or property they are travelling to. The expectations from hospitality service providers will be much higher than before with safety as a key choice parameter for travel and stay at the property. Thermal checks, infrared radars, staff health checks, safety and health guarantees will be flashed across properties and platforms for attracting travellers post COVID. For ensuring the safety of travellers vaccination certificates might be made mandatory by the airlines, hotel, etc. Another aspect for safe traveling instead of going out for trips in huge groups, opt in going out in smaller groups or if possible, travel solo. Also, instead of confining to indoor activities, the travellers should indulge in outdoor activities such as plantations visits and cycle rides to savour the piousness of the surroundings.
Apart from that food would be a major driving force, travellers will look forward to places which provide an amalgamation of tasty, organic, hygienic and healthy food.
Over a year-long restrictions have made the hearts grow fonder. From bringing back the spark and chemistry in existing relationships to embracing bonds amongst family and friends leaving across borders, to even seeking new encounters, post-COVID tourism will be about relationships, conversations and harmony. Get ready for those long-pending family trips and community gatherings in 2021.
Health / Wellness / Spirituality Travel
Thanks to the pandemic, people are paying more attention to health than they ever had. Whether they are important health concerns, wellness programs or even luxurious treatments, travellers will be out in pursuit of physical, mental and spiritual health post a year of living in isolation.
Post Covid-19 epiphany that we have one earth and short life makes it mandatory for us to act now for our generations to come. Covid 19 was just a trailer of how bad the environmental crisis can be in the coming future and the responsibility to save earth and humankind lies with us. Travellers are trying to lower their carbon footprint by avoiding flights for short stays. They are mindful of the hotel brands they are choosing. An ideal hotel brand would be the one that follows sustainability principles.
Eco travel is becoming increasingly popular and was a trend to watch out for in 2020. However, with the pandemic disrupting all plans, this emerging travel trend will see travellers visiting lesser-known natural places to be with nature. Booking EVs, living in eco-lodges, consuming organic food and using solar energy, Eco Travel will help the tourism industry reduce its carbon footprint globally.
2020 also gave birth to many interesting travel trends such as virtual and augmented reality-based travel, solo travel, work from anywhere holidays and 2021 will see some of those continuing into the year. 2021 is going to be an exciting year for travel, so shake out those backpacks and start marking your calendars.
(The author is Co-Founder & CEO, BLive.Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)
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