The travel & tourism business is on its knees worldwide. The future of the travel industry Post COVID-19 is highly dependent on the World becoming free of the pandemic which seems like a long stretch. The pick-up of the travel & the tourism industry is the farthest as it is inextricably linked to the return of normalcy, that too soonest.
On current indications, the lockdowns and curfews may drag on till the end of this year in varying intensities and impositions. No one really knows, or can accurately predict how all this is going to pan out, going forward.
And it is not just the tour operators and hotels that are feeling the pain caused by the pandemic, but the entire value chain has been hit hard and the future looks equally bleak for all. Even post the lockdown, the restrictions on destinations will continue to stay for a while.
All of this is going to result in major changes in the way people approach travel post the lockdown. It’s certain that there will be some really strong permanent changes like the health and hygiene factors and some much-needed changes in the customer behavior that will set the post-COVID-19 travel industry trends for some time now.
The major changes amongst all the trends will be:
Shorter Distance Outstation Travel or Road Trips:
In the opinion of travel bloggers and founders of travel startups both see an initial spurt in demand for short trips and weekend getaways. Bakaya of Sarovar Hotels spoke about ‘revenge travel’ as being the all-new trend. Where people travel in a rage of being in lockdown for months and due to the virus still very much existing the obvious choice would be shorter distance travel and road trips via outstation cabs to avoid human contact as much as possible.
Road-trips are sure to find greater favor. Families and the youth are likely to opt for more drive-outs, especially on long weekends and for short vacations. So, near-city travel is likely to see an uptick. Such vacationers may not however be high-ticket customers; more likely to be budget travelers looking for cleanliness, comfort, and hygiene rather than frills and luxury.
‘Hometown’ tripping will also be a big segment. It may not make much money for the travel trade, but the dwindling of travel options elsewhere will push up the ‘hometown’ travel quite significantly. In terms of volume, this is going to account for a substantial chunk in the days ahead, travel to go visit old parents, and connect with family.
Travel blogger Shivya Nath, who writes the blog, The Shooting Star, and has spent almost a decade as a ‘digital nomad’ feels an increasing thrust towards ‘meaningful travel’ is what she expects to come by.
The majority of people will prefer to travel to nearby places where they can drive in their own vehicles. Short weekend trips to destinations within a 300 km radius of cities are expected to be popular.
Destinations such as Coorg, Jaipur, Rishikesh, Gokarna that are near large cities will also see good demand come in. People will want to travel more mindfully, demand safe tourism, and will choose quality over quantity.
We can expect a recovery time frame of three months for weekend getaways, 12 months for domestic travel. Travelers will have to embrace slow and sustainable travel not just for the environment and local people but also for their own well-being.
As we learn to live with Covid-19 in anticipation of a vaccine, slow travel will enable easier contact tracing while also allowing us to immerse deeper in a single destination rather than trying to cross everything off our lists.
Another major post-COVID-19 future of Travel Industry Trend is the hygiene factor. More efforts in hygiene, maintaining social distancing, and precautions with masks and sanitizer with the cab drivers and other COVID checks will be the steps mandated for all riders.
Cautiousness seems to be deeply embedded in the travelers’ psyche in the future. The pandemic has left people emotionally scarred and as travel is a great stress buster, people would still want to do so. But this time, they’re going to be a lot more cautious about what they do and how they do it. More than the beautiful pictures and videos, the visible measures are undertaken to make travel safer for travelers will be the convincing factors for people to travel.
The 5 key factors that will affect the travel industry after Coronavirus:
- Safety: both perception and reality will matter
- Health: the government may introduce mandatory checks
- Hygiene: There will be no compromise on this
- Brands: Those that will stand for quality will win
- Value: Good value for good money will be the new mantra
With all the hygiene, safety, and precautions instilled on traveling there is a complete change in the attire and essential packing list as well. Masks, gloves, and sanitizers are on the top of the list. People today need these essentials just step out and buy groceries so when it comes to a longer route than your grocery store visit you will be needing a whole pack of these, just in case.
The travel and tourism industry is an extremely buoyant one. It has bounced back time and again, from epidemics as well as natural calamities and is sure to come back post Covid19 as well until then the best measure right now is – Precaution!
With the travel industry after the Coronavirus outbreak taking its own course of recovery, wanderlust will just have to take the road less traveled for a while.
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