Like nearly every other industry, the tourism sector has changed in the last year.
The UN estimates an impact of tourism could result in a loss of more than $4 trillion to the global economy. In Australia, the national hotel occupancy rate fell to below 45% for most of 2020. The daily hotel room rate also decreased around 12%.
Australian tourism contributed to 3.1% of GDP in the year 2019. So how is travel looking in the post-pandemic world? Here are some of the travel trends we can expect to see in 2021 and beyond.
1. Sustainable travel
The pandemic has made many realise it’s important to be responsible travellers rather than just tourists. An overwhelming response of 94% preferring sustainable travel was recorded by a recent Airbnb survey. People want to choose places that tick off a few principles of sustainability.
So, eco-friendly hotels or services that let one be closer to nature are likely to see a surge in demand.
2. Workations on the rise
Where work from home transformed into work with a view, the trend of workations was just getting started. Most people who have a fixed desk job change their work views to mountains, valleys, beaches, or pools. A YPulse survey before the pandemic had 85% of millennial respondents stating how important the ability to work from anywhere was. That was one thing they wanted to have in their future career.
The ability to combine work in the day and play or rejuvenate in the night has taken over. The work from home trend has largely facilitated the growing popularity of taking one’s work on vacation.
3. Revenge trips are a good idea
Who would’ve ever thought of associating travel, an activity of leisure and exploring with revenge? That was until people were not cooped in their homes for months together. One of the dominating travel trends in 2021 is revenge travel, the idea of travelling to make up for the lost time in the year gone by.
Everyone feels they deserve a good vacation, something that coronavirus took away from them. It can be a good time to convert your old vehicle into a campervan and head out on revenge road trips. There are plenty of good places to explore, no matter where you are.
4. Private villa vacations
The fear of the virus lays a larger priority on safety and hygiene while making travel bookings. As ‘contactless travel’ becomes part of the vocabulary, private villas offering safe and sanitized spaces, race ahead over hotels.
It comes with its tinge of luxury to have the entire property to yourself, exclusivity, open spaces and other perks. And with the demand, follows supply. In Australia, Sydney alone saw a double digit increase in villa supply, and nearby Byron Bay by 80%.
5. Wellness retreats
There is a renewed interest in seeking peace while on a vacation. According to a report by the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is slated to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent by 2022.
Since the pandemic also shed light on mental health concerns, there is an increased need to seek rejuvenation for the body, mind and soul. So, wellness retreats, resorts with spa services,
special meditation or yoga can attract a chunk of travellers. Who wouldn’t want a good spa experience after so long?
6. Domestic destinations are a priority
With international travel seeing a gradual opening, travellers are turning to explore domestic destinations. It is also a chance to catch up with distant cousins or hold family get-togethers. Australia, which boasts many natural paradises, has surpassed the global average of domestic flight bookings by 116%.
The post-COVID-19 new normal world is changing. Travellers are looking at reducing their carbon footprint. The hotel industry has understood that it needs to adapt to the changing needs of its customers. And there is one thing everyone can perhaps agree on – that it does feel good to be able to travel again.
Staying local is one of the best options in the current circumstances, particularly as borders are regularly closing and re-opening. But where ever you’re going, just remember to travel safely. Take note of the local regulations for coronavirus restrictions, and plan your trip accordingly.