Over the past 12 months our freedom has been restricted and as a nation we are not used to that; we have enjoyed a lifetime of going where we want when we want and now retrospectively, it is clear that we took this for granted. As we dream of reconnecting with friends, family, and the world at large, I think the past year has given us the chance to reflect on what really matters to us and to view things like the outdoors, community, restaurants, the arts and travel in a different way.
Once we edge back to normality travel is unlikely to be as it was for some time – which is both a good and bad thing. The world has a long recovery process to go through and people’s views of travel and possible fears will have an effect on their sense of adventure and willingness to return to normality. Cities around the world and famous tourist sites will be less crowded, people will think twice about queuing for 4 hours in a busy street to enter a gallery or museum however people are more likely to consider greener holidays and more off the beaten track adventures to avoid crowds. Across the travel industry there has been a big increase in people researching walking and cycling holidays – obviously investigating options away from the crowds. A lot of people are also looking at “staycations” and what their own country can offer like never before. Families who may have spent summer holidays in Portugal are now considering a self-contained cottage in Cornwall or camping in the Peak District – things they may never have considered before when you were able to get cheap flights and an all-inclusive deal at a resort under 4 hours away!
As we emerge out of lockdown and look to take to the skies again there are 3 key themes that we will see throughout the travel industry:
– Reassurance – Highlighting cleaning protocols, social distancing, and staying up-to-date with entry restrictions border regulations will continue to be necessary.
– Flexibility – Many airlines have said that they will eliminate change fees to help travellers feel more comfortable booking tickets.
– Sustainability – The skies and oceans are cleaner, and wildlife has returned to areas where it’d dwindled. There’s no doubt that the lockdown has benefited the environment. Research shows that “the pandemic has effectively hit the pause button on emissions, which are projected to be 8% less in 2020 than they were in 2019” and so travel companies will be highlighting their sustainable approach to returning to tourism and how you can see the world whilst leaving less of a footprint.
While the tourism industry has suffered greatly, it has forced us all to slow down and appreciate the huge privilege that travel is. As we said travel is likely to become more conscious – people taking fewer, longer trips rather than lots of short breaks. They’ll be more appreciative of the places and the people they meet and less impulsive with last-minute trips and spending. Travellers who can afford to will be plotting epic, once-in-a-lifetime trips over the next few years. Living through a pandemic has sparked a re-evaluation of people’s priorities and attitudes, for many of those confined to their homes during lockdown, it has been a time to make plans and dream of the future.