While COVID-19 is still a global threat, governments believe it is high-time to reopen the borders to allow the entry of travellers and promote tourism with a new ‘normal’ approach.
To understand how people are going to approach travel now that they have an opportunity to visit different places, we interacted with Tanya Khanijow.
Here’s Tanya’s Take On ‘What Travel In The Near Future May Look Like‘
With international tourist hotspots opening up for tourists, most people are going to prefer local travel and staycations. As long-distance travels require taking a flight, no matter how many safety measures are in place, people will have apprehension about visiting a foreign country or a faraway state with COVID-19 still looming around. So, people would prefer travelling by their personal vehicles and value local travel more than ever. As per the news coverage and personal experiences of people and travel influencers, all of the airports are ensuring paramount safety with proper sanitization and by maintaining social distancing protocols. Still, there will be a sense of apprehension among people to travel for leisure in flights. When it comes to travelling by flight for work or getting back home, things are different, considering it’s a matter of high risk to stay in an enclosed place for long hours during air travel.
In the upcoming times, travel for wellness is going to become a popular feature in the travel fraternity, Tanya says. This pandemic has taught us to take care of ourselves, our mental health & hygiene more than ever. People have realized how important it is to feel healthy mentally as well. So, they are going to be interested in going on a trip to a wellness resort or a road to get closer to nature to get their zen back!
The travel industry is the worst affected due to the pandemic, undoubtedly. In such scenarios, travel companies are offering amazing deals at subsidized rates to encourage people to start travelling. Tanya predicts that these schemes will definitely uplift the retarded economy and make tourists feel easy to explore more places and local hidden gems. Previously, people used to generally search for a popular destination online and travel there which made those buzzing destinations more popular. But, recent observations point out that people are now more inclined to go for places that are less crowded like an isolated homestay or a distant place to which roads are not well defined. People are wanting to visit offbeat destinations that they may not have considered travelling to before COVID.
Work-from-home professionals are even looking for and staging at different offbeat locations to have an escape and continue their work at the same time. In fact, in foreign countries, van life has become an extremely trendy, post-COVID situation.
Another talk of the moment is that travelling abroad is going to be expensive now on. Because, the local services like hotels & restaurants of the places you’re travelling to will be on a higher side due to the added cost of PPE kits, sanitisers, and other essential stuff. Thus, we will have to spend more while travelling abroad but the situation may get better when people will be able to travel without the fear of COVID.
Besides safety protocols, another thing that has become the need of the hour is sustainability. We should try our best to maintain the authentic essence of the place wherever we’re travelling to. The first hurdle in that course is plastic. This is the high time to consider single-use plastic alternatives and contribute to mindful travelling. You should carry your own filter/steel bottles, cloth bags, cutlery & dishes for in-flight meals and minimise expenditure on packaged goods, Tanya advises. Another thing Tanya has always been practising as a traveller is that she refuses to accept the packaged plastic bottles offered at the hotels and homestays.
According to Tanya, the implementation of some green initiatives can oomph the travel industry to a great extent. Like agricultural tourism in New Zealand where tourists take road trips to agricultural farms rather than polished cities is a very progressive initiative to follow worldwide.
Tanya was completely astonished when she was travelling in Nagaland and spotted a few villages practising green tourism models. In these villages, people are encouraged to have a trail of walks in the villages, know more about the local community and even do farming with the locals. These sort of unique and thoughtful tourist activities do add to the revenue for local communities and enhance the scope of sustainability as well.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the idea of living a ‘normal’ life forever, and travel, in that case, might take time to be in full swing. Hopefully, the ‘travel bug’ will have a comeback with rejuvenated and improved vibrance, once again. Till then, the future of travel should remain drenched in safety protocols and sustainable choices.