Following the impact of coronavirus on the tourism sector, UNWTO’s experts have predicted that international tourism will rebound in the latter half of this year. What awaits on the other end of this static period is a more prudent traveler in a far more evolved travel ecosystem, the panel said. Based on this projection, Jiten Vyas, the Regional Group Chief Operating Officer, Australasia, China, Africa and Europe & CIS, VFS Global, has noted that even as COVID-19 has continued to pause travel around the world, it has not stopped people from dreaming about where they want to take their next, somewhat off-schedule, vacation.
“For travellers, the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns will cause a significant shift change in perception of holiday destinations, caution around air travel, increase in preference for ‘safe and trusted’ destinations, and hygiene concerns. “At the other end, the travel industry will continue to adopt an increasingly digital ‘contact-less’ approach for most things – from travel planning to customer engagement, with greater assurance for sanitation standards, and possibly expanding terms of travel insurance,” he said.
With all these nuances in play now, Jiten Vyas suggests some key ways that people could start planning travel differently by being meticulous in their planning, making travellingan exclusive experience, choosing to visit second cities of various countries and digitalising travel plans.
He noted: “Impromptu trips to short-haul destinations, backpacking across a country with no concrete plans –those whimsical travel plans that were earlier an appealing thought may soon lose a chunk of their audience. Travellers are now expected to be more wary of where they stay, travel, and eat, and will prefer planning their vacations down to the last detail. They will try to ensure that in no case do they have to settle for any accommodation or transport that they haven’t had the time to carefully vet.” According to him, while budget trips that involve cheap flights, hostels and homestays, group tours, public transport, and more have long been the hallmarks of millennial travel, with all human interaction now under the lens of physical distancing, travel is set to become a more exclusive experience.
“We expect to see an increase in solo/small group trips, well-researched and exclusive accommodation that allow you to check the health and sanitation standards beforehand, private transport (cabs, cycles, walking) – anything that helps one avoid sharing space with too many people and strangers.”