The pandemic took a huge blow on all areas of the travel industry. The estimated number of lost jobs in the global travel and tourism industry is around 100.8 million jobs. People had to postpone or cancel their trips, whether domestic or international, due to the COVID restrictions. Only essential travel is allowed. Many countries also still have their borders closed.
It’s still unsure when we can finally go out and travel freely, without worrying about a disease that we still really don’t know much about. But what’s certain is that this pandemic will change the way people travel.
Vaccination Before Traveling
In the past, vaccinating before traveling internationally was only recommended. It wasn’t required. As such, many travelers don’t get themselves vaccinated before leaving. What’s more alarming is that many people do not believe in vaccines. For example, in 2018, 48% of adults in the U.S. did not receive the flu vaccine because they didn’t believe in it. They think it’s not worth the money and effort.
This perspective will change. The pandemic has highlighted how important vaccines are in ensuring one’s safety. Even anti-vaxxers will not have the option to disregard the COVID-19 vaccine. As early as now, some airline companies are requiring international travelers entering the U.S. to be vaccinated. And when the vaccine becomes more accessible, airline companies in other countries may follow suit.
Some people travel spontaneously. They simply choose their destination and go with the flow. But in the future, travelers will be more likely to plan all their trips.
Part of travel planning is researching the destination. After the pandemic, travelers will be more inclined to research the places they want to visit to be more prepared and safe. For example, if someone wants to visit Cape Town, they may look beyond Instagram and check or subscribe to African lifestyle magazines. These magazines will become their reference in creating their itinerary, determining what clothes to pack, and so on.
Travelers will also have to check what vaccines they need, what special personal hygiene items they must bring, and so on. For example, bringing masks wasn’t necessary in the past. But this item will become a must-have in traveling moving forward.
More Local Travels
Airplanes are closed public spaces. While airplanes have HEPA filters, which are effective in filtering at least 99.97% of airborne particles, people stay in airplanes for a long period in close proximity. As such, they’re a high-risk location for transmission of COVID-19.
Many travelers may be concerned about their well-being when traveling overseas. They might also avoid airplanes in the first few years after COVID-19 has been contained due to this concern. Thus, these travelers may prefer traveling by land, using their own vehicles or renting. This means they will be keener on traveling locally. Some local travel ideas people may pursue include road trips, hiking, and camping.
Quality Matters More than Quantity
People were deprived of opportunities to travel for a long time. This has taught people that traveling is a privilege. And as a result, when things hopefully go back to “normal,” travelers will be more intentional with their travels. They will seek valuable experiences, instead of just finding nice places to take photos and show off on social media.
Intentional travel may also mean people will travel less often. For example, one might consider going on a two- or three-week holiday each year. In that trip, they will explore their chosen destination with more mindfulness and try to understand its culture and life, instead of being a mere visitor
More Support for Locals
In the post-pandemic era, small communities will play a huge role in tourism. Even before the pandemic hit, these communities were already not in a good place economically. As such, in their international trips, travelers will be more inclined to support these communities.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the quality of the trip will be much more important in the post-pandemic era. So travelers are more likely to immerse themselves in small communities. Doing so will give them more meaningful experiences, rather than just touring around and taking photos for social media.
Traveling is an amazing opportunity to explore the world. It’s also a learning experience where people can learn more about themselves and others. But this opportunity was taken away by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, with the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines, things can go back to what they were like pre-pandemic. And people can travel freely again. When that time comes, many things will change. But these changes are definitely for the better.