The onset of Coronavirus was completely unprecedented and changed the world as we know it. Uprooting many things we held dear in the skip of a heartbeat, the pandemic brought even the mightiest countries to their knees and the world slowly retreated to their homes in an effort to stop the virus.
The travel industry changed almost overnight; airlines canceled all major flights, many international tourist destinations closed down all their attractions, hotels started exercising caution with their bookings, and travelers scrambled to cancel trips and get refunds.
As pockets of the globe start welcoming visitors, the travel and tourism industry that has been in the slump for the past 4 months heaves a sigh of relief. While most governments are still advising against “non-essential” travel, a host of destinations around the world are beginning to ease their lockdown and border restrictions, fueling the enthusiasm of travellers who are already feeling the itch to breathe in the open.
After all these months of global lockdown to flatten the curve, travel enthusiasts are tiptoeing back outside, masks firmly on! But, how is post-COVID travel going to be like? When will it be completely safe to venture out?
Needless to say, the World is reopening sooner than expected.
As per the latest news, 10 countries across the globe – Greece, Vietnam, Denmark, China, Croatia, Egypt, Bulgaria, Portugal, Netherlands, and Switzerland have reopened doors to all landmarks and attractions in their countries. Europe, Oceania & Africa are leading the way with respect to easing lockdowns and reopening tourist attractions, leaving North and South America lagging behind.
While domestic traveling is currently allowed in various countries, Croatia was the first country in the world to open up for domestic tourists, China and Vietnam were the first in Asia for the same.
Having said that, 50% of countries worldwide have hit the initial milestone of opening up for domestic travellers. As countries ease lockdowns, travel within the domestic boundaries is being encouraged before international travel, so travel enthusiasts are likely to scout for weekend getaways and short trips, not too far from home.
As world travel slowly returns to the ‘new normal’ in terms of the freedom to travel, here’s what travelling in the post-COVID times will look like:
Mandatory Quarantine Period:
A mandatory 14-day quarantine is compulsory in almost all countries across the globe, for international travelers. For some countries, it would also be necessary to have a COVID negative certificate or might have to get a test done in the country, before immigration process is cleared.
Online tickets are the (only) way forward:
More than 45% of tourist attractions around the world have mandated purchase of online tickets to avoid queues. 1 in 4 of the landmarks currently open have stopped accepting cash in order to provide a contactless experience. Before the pandemic, more than 85% of all experiences were sold offline at the counter or via a concierge/travel agency.
Younger generation will travel more:
Over the last few years, we’ve seen that retirees across the globe have been travelling much and utilizing their time, indulging in exploring faraway places. Their newfound liberation may get heavily tempered by the fear that older humans are more susceptible to the virus. In the post-corona era, younger travellers in the 18-35 age group, who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, will be the ones to get out of their homes for travelling more.
Masks, Sanitisers & Temperature checks – The new norm:
Analysis of the safety measures across currently open tourist attractions reveals that mandatory masks and reduced capacity of visitors are more popular sanitization protocols than temperature checks. 48% of tourist attractions across Europe have made it mandatory for visitors to wear a mask. So, you can forget your mobile but don’t forget your mask!
Experiential traveling will be back:
The prolonged phases of lockdown and home quarantine has given us enough time to introspect and focus on things we love. As people across the world stayed indoors, slowing down and pursuing the long-forgotten passions – lots of simple pleasures may surface as reasons to go for a holiday, but differently. People, who have a knack for photography might opt for places where they can shoot more, or maybe go for cycling vacations, walking tours, health farms, eco-tourism, and much more. Responsible travelling will be the new buzz and people will likely indulge in short-term volunteering programs for more meaningful holiday experiences.
Nature tourism will boom:
Over the last few months, nature has been replenishing itself like never before and travellers will definitely be keen to indulge as this form of tourism that’ll allow them to put together social distancing automatically and get closer to nature, which in recent weeks many travellers have been unable to benefit from. More than museums and theme parks, people will be keen to spend a couple of days in some resort surrounded by lush greenery – away from the crowd and fear of contamination.
Localization of travel:
As more and more travellers refrain from visiting international destinations in view of the recent coronavirus crisis and the subsequent uncertainty regarding the safety of air travel, domestic tourism will gain popularity. Travellers who would have earlier chosen to visit an international destination will now choose to stay within the country. As a result, countries with a large international travel base will see a huge rise in their domestic tourism, as compared to the previous years.
With the new trends of online tickets, strict sanitization protocols, and the use of masks – we can definitely hope for a new wave in the travel trends across the globe and start planning our journeys, to explore the world yet again.