By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
As we are coming closer to the Covid-19’s vaccine, many of us wonder how travel will look like in this upcoming year. The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways, and none more so than the restrictions that have been placed on both domestic and international travel. After COVID-19, the travel industry is expected to have some extremely high sanitary measures put in place, along with different countries requiring various proofs of immunity or lack of infection.
With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully on the horizon, it is predicted by many experts that domestic travel will recover first with changing behaviors from travelers such as mask-wearing and sanitary practices. In the long-haul, travel will be reshaped to provide more protection to travelers, and further prepare us better for unexpected events.
Here is how travel will look like in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Private jet hire will increase
In our modern world, air travel is a necessity for various reasons from business travel to long-haul family vacations. However, in the new light of COVID-19 and stricter restrictions, traveling on commercial airlines can be worrisome. Whilst it is not possible for the majority of the world’s population, we have already seen a big increase in private jet charters amongst wealthy individuals. According to industry reports, private jets are experiencing an exceptionally high level of bookings with 90 percent of available flights booked as of June 2020. Specifically, most of the booked flights are reserved for new customers. For various reasons, air travel is highly important and hard to replace the means of transportation. Commercial flights used to be easier and safer before the global pandemic. Nowadays, people are starting to turn to private jets to maximize their level of safety, as well as receiving a better level of comfort and convenience.
More emphasis on travel consultants
As people resume traveling after the pandemic, travelers will need to plan their itinerary as well as navigating through the new changes in the way people travel. Covid-19 means that people will want expert advice about where to travel safely and conveniently. Top travel consultants will be highly sought after by travelers to help them plan their trips in the safest and most stress-free way possible. Expect information as well as travel guidance in different locations to be set differently. As information loads become bigger and travel restrictions become more complex, agents and tour operators will be expected to take care of all transportation arrangements with more attention to details regarding health regulations and customer safety.
Social distancing on transportation
Before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, traveling to a crowded city and exploring different cultures in both local and touristic hotspots are considered as ideal for many travelers. However, with new safety measurements such as social distancing, having dinner in a crowded restaurant or wandering through a busy market might not be a great idea depending on the pandemic situation in 2021.
In a post-pandemic world, social distancing will be incorporated into travel plans, and the way people choose their destination will depend largely on safety practices and social distancing measures. Due to safety reasons, many travelers will explore more remote destinations and travel activities such as biking tours and birdwatching tours will be more popular as travelers on these tours will be less likely to come into close contact with others.
Information sharing will become more crucial
Remaining connected and keeping communication open are two of the most important factors when it comes to traveling in the post-COVID-19 world. This is because travelers should stay up to date with important information regarding travel restrictions and safety measures as well as the latest travel instructions. Tour operators as well as travel information guides will be extremely helpful for travelers as travel news is constantly changing.
Transportation services are expected to have different standards
With new travel routes and habits, transportation choices will no longer be merely price-driven. People will make transportation choices based largely on safety levels and hygiene standards. For instance, travelers will choose a commercial airline and not another airline due to factors such as whether or not wearing a mask is compulsory as well as how seats are spaced. With domestic air travel, travelers will be more prone to private transportation, such as renting a private jet or opting for driving instead of choosing crowded airlines.
Popular destinations will likely change
As different countries deal with the pandemic situation differently, the number of cases as well as other factors that can greatly determine how safe a country is perceived will have a major influence on the travelers’ choices. With safety as the top priority for most travelers, destinations that are considered safe will attract a great number of tourists in 2021 and beyond. Therefore, current popular travel destinations will be replaced or adjusted with new or less popular destinations .
There will be less travel for business
Business travel on a global scale has experienced a huge decline amid COVID-19. With advanced technological developments from video conferencing technology to various collaboration tools, business travel has dropped significantly, even before the current COVID-19 situation. Due to safety measures such as social distancing, more and more people are working online than ever. People in new positions are being hired online, and new jobs can be done with online collaboration tools with more people getting used to working online or at home. Therefore, as a result, many companies are now conducting business online without the constant need to travel for meetings or to connect with international customers.
Each year, the world sees different travel trends that come and go as technology, and other factors vary. However, 2020 has been a unique year, in which travel has changed, and new travel habits have been formed, which will remain in the future. As the world slowly changes to cope with COVID-19, borders will start to open, and people will begin traveling again. Travel is expected to be far different from how it was before the pandemic. Clearly, new ways of travel will need to be both safe and sustainable at the same time. Communities and industries can come together and follow new practices to allow travel and tourism to be opened again in a better, more sustainable, and safer way.