2020 was a critical year for the travel and hospitality industry, with an unprecedented fall of international tourism. However, with the rolling of vaccine programs, there is new hope that we will soon travel again. It might be very different from what we have done so far, but now is the time to explore 6 trends to rethink tourism in 2021.
The tourist sector is already coming up with creative solutions to survive and thrive in 2021. Additionally, the thirst for travel is more than alive. We are all dreaming about the places we want to visit when it will be safe to do so.
This idea is backed by data. In a survey of over 5,800 travelers by Travel Pulse, 61% feel hopeful about travel in 2021, of whom 83% will take two or more domestic trips, and 44% plan for two or more international getaways.
No one can predict the future, but for this blog post, we have relied on the experts’ opinion. Furthermore, we have looked at how countries are taking the lead to shape the future of tourism.
6 trends to rethink tourism in 2021
1. Long Trips
A recent Amadeus survey found that 55% of travelers said they would travel for 14 days or more, and 60% are now expecting to take only a few trips a year – which suggest that if people travel, they may want to do that for a prolonged time.
Of course, this will lead to radical changes in the tourism and hospitality industry. As we have seen in the last year, generous last-minute cancellation and refund policies are becoming the norm and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. At the same time, it is expected that travel providers will double their efforts in ensuring an unforgettable experience for travelers.
2. Nomadic travels
Digital nomads are remote workers who choose to travel from everywhere in the world. For some, this a real-lifestyle that allows combining work with their passion for exploring new places. During COVID-19 times, there are more digital nomads than ever (find data), so it is unsurprisingly that some countries are already announcing special Visa for digital nomads.
For example, Antigua and Barbuda are reviving the tourism industry that has characterized the islands for years by offering a long-stay visa program, entitled “Nomad Digital Residence” (NDR). Safety, fast connection, and astonishing landscapes are the keywords used by Antigua and Barbuda to effectively promote the country during COVID-19 times.
3. Domestic travels
The majority of countries in the world still have some travel restrictions in place. Moreover, not everyone can or want to become a digital nomad. For this reason, domestic travel is already becoming the norm everywhere in Europe.
Data released by Eurostat show that “after a drop of 93% in April 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year, by July 2020, domestic tourism in the EU almost returned to the level of the previous year”.
4. Reunion travels
It is safe to say that reunion travel will certainly become the trend for 2021. Just think that according to the latest Municipal Register of Inhabitants of January 1st 2019, one out of five Barcelona residents is of foreign nationality. With these numbers, we are sure many people will opt to visit their home countries once it is safe to do so (or at least, it is what we are planning to do 😉).
5. VR travels
When travel restrictions were first imposed, it seemed like the end of the tourism industry. However, travel magazines, tour operators, and museums have turned the pandemic into an opportunity. Through virtual reality, the tourism industry offers people a creative way of escaping the routine of lockdown.
For example, Globetrotter VR offers virtual tours in different locations in the world. The company relies on professional tour guides to accompany virtual travelers from the streets of Barcelona to safari in Africa.
6. COVID-free trips
A year after the pandemic exploded, many of us are dreaming of flying away from COVID-19. Some countries and regions in the world are offering exactly this opportunity.
For example, the Alpitour group will start experimenting with Covid-tested holidays, that will create a “safe corridor” between Italy and the Canary Islands in an attempt to revive the tourism industry of the Spanish islands.
It is not the only initiative worldwide, as many nations are running similar schemes to impulse international tourism. New Zealanders entering Australia do not have to quarantine, as New Zealand is regarded as a low-risk COVID-19 country.
A Bright Future
As you can see, there is still untapped potential for the tourism industry. In the next months, the key to thriving will be to monitor the 6 trends to rethink tourism in 2021. Apart for that it will be fundamental to anticipate the needs and trends of the tourism industry.
You can do that by keeping yourself informed on the latest news and trends, or you can opt to do an MBA in International Tourism & Hospitality Management or a Postgraduate in Tourism and Hospitality Management to take your skills to the next level.