The year 2020 is a period, which many would like to forget as the freedom to travel was put on ice. However, this summer will see the sparkle return in some parts of the world. But, taking the wildly differing circumstances between continents, one can understand that clearly that recovery will be very different and fragmented globally, according to expert reports.
Meanwhile, travellers worldwide are confident despite the long term future of travel. The Amadeus hospitality data reveals that since the beginning of the year, traveller confidence is growing with a +60% increase in net reservations, which augurs well for the tourism industry on the whole.
According to industry watchers, the key factor in the tourism sector is innovation …as in all sectors. Hundreds of thousands of peoples' lives in all sectors have changed dramatically due to the pandemic, including for all those who work across the travel industry. And, to imagine that the travel sector will go back to ‘normal’ any time soon is just a futile dream.
But, there is a new normal adapting to fit the reality of the pandemic. Travel industry members are taking all possible steps to innovate and strive to survive these difficult times. People have shown extraordinary resilience and inventiveness to find various methods to find new ways. The travel sector has now reinvented itself in a matter of months mainly driven by technology like bubble resorts, travel corridors, workcations, and a new breed of sustainably conscious consumers. Compared to 2019 and 2020, the current map is almost unrecognizable.
Now, analysts are predicting the future using loads of data and have identified some high-level trends that might emerge in 2021. Whatever it be summer in the northern hemisphere or winter in the southern, these four trends have been identified that are expected to shape travel this upcoming holiday season from June to August…
Facilitating safer travel, the travel & tourism sector is using ‘bubble travel’ as the fundamental framework to allow people to jet between countries. These bubbles vary significantly in size, from individual Covid-safe properties to resorts – and, on a grander scale, safe travel corridors between nations. Most recently, a bubble was formed between Australia and New Zealand, and another for Hong Kong and Singapore.
Also, many individual hotels are calling themselves ‘bubble resorts’ and allowing Negative Covid tested guests to travel together in groups and enjoy a holiday together. The Maldives are an example as the country has hundreds of secluded island resorts, which allows for physical distancing. The Maldives had a 66% increase in searches from around the world for two-week trips compared to the same period in 2019.
Travel agencies are said to be playing a key role in creating the perfect bubble package for travellers, too. According to data, a slight increase is noticed for packaged travel, both online and offline, especially for people travelling together as families or groups, with children. So much so, travel agents are optimistic about the summer and expected to operate up to 75% of its normal schedule.
With uncertainty ongoing, the growth of Bubble Travel has significant implications for health passports. A recent Amadeus study found that more than 90% of travellers would be comfortable using a digital health passport for future trips.
In Australia, domestic and bubble routes for June through August are the favourites compared to overseas travel. But, even domestically, the once top Sydney to London route fell out of the top spot, replaced by Sydney to Melbourne, while demand for the Sydney to Auckland bubble route grew by 77% over the same period compared to 2019.
The cruise industry is also set for a revival, but here it requires for all passengers to be vaccinated before departure, followed by regular testing throughout their journey. Given the difficulties experienced by this sector, these steps will provide a much-needed boost.
The flexible nomadic working life that has become a way of life these days has been of great help too. The combination of a global pandemic and the rise of video conferencing came was convenient for the new generation of digital nomads who have left the office behind for work from anywhere model.
Some call it ‘bleisure’ (business + leisure) but it is, in fact, the rise of the workcation. The concept of working remotely from a coffee shop or a beach bar is not new, but the past year has democratized the dream. 74% of Americans would consider taking a workcation, and many are already doing it…working at a beachside hotel or long-term home rental in the mountains.
One day jaunts to the Caribbean, a popular workcation destination, dipped by 79% in 2019, while longer stays of more than 14 days increased by 43%. Globally, a 41% increase was seen in the number of searches for 30-day stays. In the US, for example, the increase was more moderate, with a 2% increase for trips over 14 days. In France and Spain, however, the increase was 75% and 52%, respectively, in searches for 30-day stays.
Industry watchers say that they can only see this trend expanding, as countries emerge from lockdowns and more weary workers release a pent-up desire to step away for a breath of fresh air.The logic of workcations is compelling as it allows travellers to save themselves both money and stress.
A renewed thirst for travel is seeing consumers book more indulgent trips, especially those who have been confined to virtual house arrest for the past year. Amadeus data shows that some of the most booked trips lean towards the indulgent…especially like the denizens of Paris and Los Angeles, heading for high-end beach resorts in large numbers.
While the French travellers’ preference is for the Caribbean havens of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the US is heading for Cancun, Mexico, and Hawaii, and Moscowites flying in droves to the sun-kissed Black Sea. A recent survey by The Vacationer found that 25% of Americans intend to travel more frequently after the pandemic, to make up for the lost time.
Now more than 27% of travellers are looking for more sustainable and conscious travel options than they did in the same period in 2019. This shows that travellers are putting a lot of thought into planning their next trip in matters of safety as well as being environmentally and socially conscious about their choices.
When it comes to personal safety, Amadeus data shows a triple-digit increase in travel insurance purchases on bookings leading up to summer. Equally interesting is the surge in demand for car rentals. Amadeus mobility experts suggest that this could be a result of travellers wanting more personal safety and choosing to travel privately by car to their destination. Car rentals have traditionally been an afterthought, behind hotels and air tickets.
When it comes to being more environmentally and socially conscious, Amadeus research shows that one-third of millennials would like to see more availability of sustainable travel options and ways to reduce their carbon emissions when travelling. It was a similar story across all ages and global markets, with one in four sharing this commitment to Conscious Travel.
Consumers are looking to make sustainable and more conscious choices and as travel picks up, there will be more pressure on the industry to identify exactly what is being done to protect the planet and understand how travel is positively impacting local communities.
These travel trends are supported by data analysis conducted from April 26 to May 11, 2021 of searches for departures from June to August.