As the world of travel stands still 2021 is opening up new horizons. Vaccines have started to roll out giving hope that the end of COVID is coming close and travel can start to make a careful comeback.
But will travel ever be the same? Is a questions that weighs heavily in our heads.
There are various predictions and trends that can help us determine how travel will evolve and sustainability seems to be a key factor in the future for travel
The year the earth stood still
Reading an article, The year the earth stood still by Bruce Poon of G adventures, many working in the travel industry will agree. Our lives stopped from one day to the next. The first week of March we were still over our heads running from one event to another, coordinating groups all over Portugal and planning incentives as much as a year ahead than from one day to the next – the world stood still. We got locked in our homes and cancellations were our only daily tasks. https://unlearn.travel/
Predictions were that travel would never return, people needed to stay home, the craziness travel had become would never return as travel was the cause of this horrific pandemic we now faced. But with Bruce we have to agree, people are born explorers and travel is healthy for mind and body.
But how should travel change? Travel, the last few years, has been very much something you could consider binge travel or even call compulsive travel disorder. Not so much about quality but a lot about quantity. Cheap airlines and package deals have been a major cause of this. Weekend city hopping, budget hotels, mass tourism locations all these aspects have contributed to a 66 trillion euro yearly travel economy, one that died overnight.
A more positive expectation
An article from the New York times claims things will not return to how they were before but travel will get better. The article https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/02/travel/venice-coronavirus-tourism.html?smid=tw-nytimestravel&smtyp=cur%2C describes how Venice, solely dependant on tourism pre covid, is using the lockdown as a time to rethink its tourism policies and reclaim its city.
Venice does not want to return to the mass tourism mono culture it has been pre covid and aims to attract a better tourism but also open up to new industries. As hotels will be forced to close Venice is looking into a new way to use these buildings for instance to attract businesses and innovation that will provide jobs and platforms for the graduates of Venices 2 universities. Tourism should be more specialized but not as mono culture.
The future for travel in Portugal
As in Venice much of Portugal has become too dependent on the huge tourism market, cities like Lisbon and Porto have become overrun with city hoppers and live for its inhabitants has become increasingly difficult. With many rentals solely on the market as air BNB rentals, rents have risen gigantically. Streets have become overrun with lounging tourist, local shops have turned into souvenir shops. Covid has caused the loss of 67 million tourists and 60 billion of yearly revenue. Job losses overall could add up to 100 million unemployed people. ( https://jornaleconomico.sapo.pt/en/news/what-future-for-tourism-in-portugal-621863 )
With all this knowlegde how will Portugal travel change after COVID
How travel preferences might shift
According to Conde Nast traveller 3 main new trends will evolve post corona travel, outdoor and wilderness travel, isolation travel, longer more intensive stays .
People will be less interested in the city trips and will be more liable to book longer stays in the countryside probably with family and friends to catch up and spend quality time together after having had to go without for such a long time.
As cities speed up the process to more sustainable tourism in the current tourism break, Tourists themselves may go for more quality adventures, food trips, community tourism and being part of the local setup rather than staying in resorts.
According to an article published by Tatler spontaneous and last minute travel will become more popular as people have become insecure with the cancellations of flights and last minute restrictions
The first people likely to start travelling again maybe the older generations that will have received the vaccines first and the younger generations less susceptible to the disease but summer 2021 should start bringing more local tourism. People will want to go to more quiet places and may choose holidays less city or sand and beach orientated.