Life After Coronavirus: What Travel Will Look Like in a Post-Pandemic World
We’re all raring to book the next flight out of here for that holiday we’ve been dreaming of, however there is no question that the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world of travel on its head. Travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and extreme sanitisation protocols are in abundance. Few countries have been spared from the detrimental impact of Covid-19, and even when its effects begin to wear off, we can only expect a new normal to surface in the way we travel, and with it new changes to adapt to.
What will travel look like in a post-pandemic world? The V&VPR team spoke to industry experts, and gathered top travel trends to look out for:
The Creation of Travel Bubbles to Boost Regional Tourism
As there is little clarity as to when a vaccine for the virus will be produced, several countries have begun to look into ‘travel bubbles’ to promote regional tourism. “The general consensus is the local market will recover first, as we’ve seen in China, then regional travel, then international,” says Raini Hamdi, Editor-at-Large of Skift, the global travel industry intelligence platform.
Australia and New Zealand have already begun discussing plans for a ‘Trans-Tasman bubble’ between both countries, and an article by The Guardian noted that this travel bubble could come into effect as soon as September 2020. What does this mean for the average traveller? Well, the good news is that we might be jetting out of here sooner than we might expect, but epic across-the-globe holiday plans might have to be put on hold for now.
Meaningful and Down-To-Earth Experiences Will Be Greatly Sought After
The pandemic has certainly shifted our priorities in many ways. While most placed emphasis on activities and experiences promoting self-fulfilment and self-actualisation in the past, many are now realising the value of time spent with family and loved ones, having meaningful experiences and moving through the world with purpose.
“We’ve already noticed a change in the consumption of content (digitally) where fans are actively seeking inspirational content, and we believe that the value of luxury in the future will focus on a far simpler way of life,” notes Lindy Rousseau, the CMO of Singita – the conservation and ecotourism brand that has been preserving African wilderness for the past 26 years. “We believe that when travel returns to normal, tourism will rebound quickly, especially to places such as Singita, where guests can immerse themselves in nature and connect with each other, appreciating the simpler things in life – travel, family and peaceful solace in nature.”
Travel Journalist Grace Ma echoes similar sentiments. “Such difficulties would make us cherish cleaner air, greener spaces and clearer seas at our destinations even more,” she remarks. “Because the journey takes so much effort, we’d pick imbibing the spirit of the destination over being superficially impressed by ostentatious displays of luxury.”
There Will Be a Demand for Wellness & Health-conscious Travel
Taking a proactive approach to health has jumped up on the list of priorities. Pre-Covid-19, wellness tourism was already booming, with the Global Wellness Institute reporting in 2018 that it is now a $639 billion industry out of the overall $4.5 trillion wellness market. With no vaccine available yet, wellness tourism is poised to grow even more as travellers place emphasis on making choices that benefit physical and mental wellbeing – and the travel and hospitality industry will have to continue to evolve to meet the demands. Does this mean more balanced and nutritious hotel and restaurant menus? Hiking excursions in the great outdoors? Yoga and other forms of meditation to clear the mind and soothe the soul? Absolutely.
“People are taking a much more proactive approach to wellbeing – far more preventative rather than treating the issue,” observes Lynda Williams, Founder & Managing Director of VIM & VIGOUR PR. “Boosting the immune system isn’t just about diet and vitamin C tablets, but a balanced lifestyle which includes better sleep, less stress and the right exercise. Wellness resorts can offer all of this in a transformative way but the best ones, also equip guests with the right tools to carry on their new habits way after check-out.”
High Standards of Hygiene & Safety Will Be An Expectation
As the luxury travel and hospitality industry prepares for reopening, it will be an expectation that health and hygiene measures are taken seriously in order to establish trust between guest and organization. Such measures are already being communicated through various communication channels and will become the norm for the foreseeable future.
“Privacy and sanitization throughout the consumer journey as well as contactless service (where possible) will be a key focus,” says Mike Harlow, the General Manager of Scott Dunn Singapore. “Destinations need to assure travellers that they are open for business and are upkeeping high standards for safety and health with well-equipped and functioning medical facilities, essentially abating fears and reinforcing that it is safe to come explore.”
Dean Winters, Managing Director of Swire Hotels whose properties predominately span across Greater China comments: “We are prepared to be welcoming back our guests and our top priority will centre around providing a safe and comfortable environment while delivering uplifting experiences,” he says. “We believe this is of utmost importance, as travellers will place an emphasis on safety and cleanliness more now than ever before.”
Anticipate a Rise in Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism
Conscious travel will be on the rise as tourism recovers. In recent years, travellers have already begun to take notice of the impact that their jet setting habits can have on the environment – but now coupled with the visible positive benefits the lockdown has had on pollution levels, clearer seas, flora and fauna, it is hoped that consumers will travel responsibly and think carefully of how they want to move through the world.
“Luxury travellers will be more discerning about the places they go and accommodations they stay in. They would gravitate towards those that are thoughtfully local – made with materials from the locality, reflective of local culture, and supportive of the immediate community, ” says Grace Ma.
Check out the rest of our blog here for the latest updates on travel and wellness.