There’s a lot of commentary about the changing face of travel once the world opens up again. Travel and tourism account for around 10% of jobs around the world, so for economic reasons, it is a sector that needs some support. Many small countries and islands around the world rely almost completely on tourism as their main source of income. The World Tourism Organisation predicts that by 2030, there will be 1.8 billion tourists worldwide. However, it is inevitable that changes will take place to protect travellers, local inhabitants and travel workers.
There are 2 main and opposing opinions about what will happen after lockdown. Some expect that holiday bookings will rebound and come back strongly once we’re allowed to travel again. Some agents are reporting bookings for 2021 and beyond already. Others predict that everyone will be much more cautious about travelling. Travel has become an important part of everyone’s lives – we’ve become used to taking a couple of overseas trips every year and children enjoy overseas holidays at a younger age than the older generations.
Across all forms of travel and accommodation, hygiene will become more visible and even more important. We’ve become very conscious of the need to hand wash and use sanitisers, hopefully no need for masks in the future, but I’m sure some people will continue to use them. I assume we’ll see more hand sanitisers in shops, hotels and restaurants around the world.
Hotels and Cities
Larger hotels might become less popular as people avoid crowds. Boutique hotels or those with fewer rooms, i.e. less contact with other guests, might be a preferred choice. Cities are notoriously crowded places and not be as popular as before. Less crowded beach resorts are likely to be a good choice. Self-catering is likely to be a popular choice for this year, as people maybe avoid restaurants and crowds.
Seeing as many of the earlier cases of COVID-19 were found on ocean cruise liners, it is likely that the larger cruise ships with high numbers of guests might be less popular. Cruises have always however, be high on hygiene – every cruise that I’ve taken has required guests to use hand sanitiser before entering restaurants and other facilities on board. I think this is the sector that will recover more slowly.
Airlines are expecting fewer flights initially once lockdown finishes due to demand. This means travellers might have less choice of flight times, routes and airlines themselves. This will be especially true if airlines go out of business. You might find temperature checks being taken at departure desks, especially in the early weeks after lockdown. You might also have to provide a certificate of health to enter some countries. One of the good things to come out of this might be extra space on planes – more leg room, curtains in-between areas on planes – not just between business class and economy class. Maybe a series of “rooms” on planes might be created. One thing, however, is certain – prices will rise. With all travel providers having lost several months, if not longer, of trade – it is inevitable that they need to make up money somewhere.
To avoid crowds might be a priority, at least initially – best way to do this is to use your car to explore Europe and the UK. As we saw above, city breaks might be less popular, again to avoid crowds. People might decide on travel for different reasons. Families might decide to take a holiday, not just for fun, but with a purpose. Maybe considering fewer trips but for a longer period? However, “bucket list” trips might be more common – definitely thinking that life is too short to not see the Northern Lights, take that safari, cruise to the Galapagos or hike to Machu Picchu.
I think the main difference however will be the rules that come in from the governments, both in the UK and overseas, regarding quarantine periods. If you have to quarantine on entering a country, then it is effectively out of reach for holidays. Looks like the UK government will impose a quarantine for those returning to the UK, so again overseas travel will be hugely affected. Staycations all round then! This is something that many people think that travel agents can’t book – not true, we can book cottages, holiday parks plus hotels in cities, countryside and beach resorts all over the UK. maybe this summer, take the time to appreciate our beautiful country and then start to travel overseas in 2021.
In summary, my predictions for the immediate future:
** More Staycations this summer
** Travellers being wary of crowds, so maybe quieter cities
** More restrictions and health checks before boarding planes
** Self-catering more than hotels, at least initially
Things I’ve learnt from the lockdown – #lifestooshort, #noregrets – don’t hesitate. If you want that holiday – go for it!! I’m here to help with your next holiday booking