The new realities of travel because of COVID-19

September 06, 2021 2:44 PM

A lot has been talked about the negatives of the pandemic. But, there always is a positive side to a situation, and COVID also provided unexpected opportunities/trends which smart destinations and organisations have used for bringing in good business.

travel, covid 19 pandemicThe desire to travel is high, and this is showing up with an increase in the number of flight bookings which have started creeping back to near normal figures.

By Pradeep Chamaria,

COVID-19 has been an over-extended nightmare for the Travel Industry. The industry saw lockdown based fast-paced shifts in travel trends, bookings of hotels, and flights. Almost every tourism board across the world, every hotel or resort trying to plan its next round of routes, and a desperate traveler in need of holiday faced bunches of hurdles.

A lot has been talked about the negatives of the pandemic. But, there always is a positive side to a situation, and COVID also provided unexpected opportunities/trends which smart destinations and organisations have used for bringing in good business.

A few of these trends that were utilised by few players during the global health crisis are:

The shift in styles of travel

Well, it is said that we should move with the times, and in the current scenario, there is a need to throw away old norms out of the window. Of late, we have seen drastic changes in the traveling styles. Destinations once famous as honeymoon destinations are now attracting altogether different types of travelers. A significant rise is seen in the numbers of solo travelers, home stays, and long-duration travels. Also, people are opting for traveling in their own vehicles to nearby locations. Affluent people have choices like the Maldives, Thailand, and other countries which have opened their borders for vaccinated travelers.

Last-Minute booking/cancellation is the new norm

Holiday travel used to involve a lot of planning before COVID. But COVID forced flexible and price-sensitive airline tickets, and flexible accommodation options along with various discount offers have made people wait till the last minute before departure. This habit is growing globally as the ever-changing travel restrictions are switched on and off.

Increased length of stay

The average length of stay is increasing around the world and this is exciting news for travel operators and hoteliers because travelers are staying at destinations longer and indulging in fun activities more.

Traveling out

People are still on the move, despite the pandemic. Even during the worst situations, there were people who tried and found ways to travel. The challenge is the limited number of flights due to border closures and strict health protocols.

The desire to travel is high, and this is showing up with an increase in the number of flight bookings which have started creeping back to near normal figures. The latest air travel data is showing the reactivation of flight travel, with Delhi airport alone showing around a hundred thousand travelers every day. These travelers are a mixture of leisure travel, business, and also the cases of people flying out for vaccinations.

Also, domestic tourism has witnessed a surge in demand. States like Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh in the north, Goa, Maharashtra in the west, and others all are showing stable signs of recovery.

(The author is a well-known travel writer. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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