Nations throughout the globe are gradually re-opening their borders following the COVID-19 pandemic to allow the entry of visitors and travelers. Although the COVID-19 pandemic remains a global threat, several governments believe that following months of restrictions and lockdowns, it is time they went back to their everyday lives. While we can’t predict travel’s future, a few indicators hint at changes.
The future of traveling Post-COVID
Here is what we think the future of traveling will look like following the ongoing pandemic subsides.
We Will Still Travel Because We Cannot Expunge Curiosity.
As flights and hotels resume their services, following a long period of restrictions, we have seen people continue traveling. We will resume touring, although things won’t be the same. For all the good intentions we have, humans are creatures of habit. Traveling has been one of our habits, and it is unimaginable that we will drop it any time soon or even in the unforeseeable future. As a matter of fact, we will travel even more as the pandemic has reminded us that we should make a maximum of the time we have at hand because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Even if we may not increase our traveling habits, we will be traveling, living, and making predictions in June 2022, much as we did in June 2019. Globalism, having spread widely for so long, can’t be reversed, and cultural Curiosity will not be expunged. We are curious to see the world firsthand to erase our myths about other cultures and enjoy diversity.
Our Personal Health Will Be a Key Consideration
Although we will still visit places, traveling will never be the same again as the pandemic has forced us to do things we never did before. Now than ever before, we will have to be more cautious and ensure that we get to our destinations safely, without cases of infections. Before the pandemic, we were forced to take some shots so we may protect ourselves against some diseases. However, the pandemic has taught us that taking personal initiative is critical:
- Washing hands;
- Using disinfector;
- Wearing masks in public places;
- Keeping social distance;
all these things became almost a routine for us, as well as COVID-19 vaccination. The cases and deaths we have witnessed have developed a sense of personal initiative. If you were a victim of the pandemic, you don’t need anyone to remind you to put on a mask when in a crowd! As we travel again after the pandemic, the discipline and sense of self-initiative we have developed will become handy. We will go the extra mile to ensure that we are safe.
Travel Advisors will Become Crucial
As we get out of the pandemic, established operators and agents will be critical in traveling. People will tap into the invaluable experience, knowledge, and industry connections to ensure they are safe as they travel across the world. Travel advisors have played a critical role in providing expert information that travelers rely on for informed decisions. Now more than ever, the invaluable services these agents offer will be appreciated, and they will outweigh the amount we pay in terms of service fees. Additionally, we hope that consumers will seek the services of agents specializing in the environment.
Hygiene and Cleanliness Will Top Everybody’s List of Priorities
As you travel around, be sure to enjoy clean services with top-notch hygiene practices. The most important lesson that the pandemic has taught us is that it is time we paid renewed focus on the significance of hygiene in all we do. Something as trivial as washing hands is now life-saving. For these reasons, industries have had to rethink their hygiene and health strategies to establish a safe space for their consumers. Now than ever before, sanitation has become one of the marketing items among the airline and hotel businesses. In the future, travelers will be tremendously particular regarding where they will be staying, the places they will be visiting, and the level of cleanliness and hygiene in their surroundings.
We will Choose Quality over Quantity
Long-distance travelers are now putting more consideration into their bucket rolls. COVID-19 has allowed travelers to reconsider why and how they travel. People will be traveling with the focus of bettering their lives. Therefore, they will be looking for travel experiences that add value to their lives. The pandemic has allowed people to travel more intentionally and less often.
Tourists will Gravitate Toward Local Staycations and Travel
One of the startling details regarding the pandemic is that areas with intense outbreaks are known as hot spots. These are precisely the exact wordings the commercial industry has always used to denote fashionable and popular destinations. The uncomfortable parallel keeps reminding us that travel facilitated the spread of the COVID virus in an unprecedented way. For most individuals, travel is synonymous with vacations. However, we are unlikely to see vacationers as the model for travel post-pandemic.
We doubt there will be a desire to visit the so-called hotspots, and the top international holiday destinations, which have been labeled hot spots, are not likely to drive the next travel wave.
For this reason, we will likely see a boom in domestic travel. A good example is Florida, which has experienced more visitors than it did in 2019. Many will travel by recreational vehicles or vans. These travel arrangements are more self-contained and give a much better experience for travelers.
However, this is not to say that international travel will cease. We will still have international travel, but people will prefer local ones. They have learned to appreciate local tourism because the pandemic has allowed them to enjoy what is closer to them. Doing activities such as Visiting the best restaurants in Town and Country, or wherever you’re based can be the perfect way of seeing and doing something new whilst staying local. What is more, most people will be apprehensive about visiting a foreign destination. Domestic travel will be the initial step in reviving individuals’ interests in tourism. Road trips, weekend gateways, and staycations will give people an opportunity to ease into traveling for leisure before planning international vacations.
Travels will be more Inclusive
If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught is inclusivity and the significance of representation. Do you remember the Black Lives Matter Movement? I bet you do because it emerged amid the pandemic and was presented across various media houses. The movement has brought to the limelight the issue of representation in all industries, including travel. What is more, the pandemic exposed how minority groups were disproportionately affected. It helped us appreciate the significance of inclusion and equity.
We hope the industry keeps up with this positive change, but we must appreciate that we already see it happening. Travel companies are addressing the needs of various customers following the pandemic. For instance, progressive travel organizations consider what a trans female undergoes when deciding on the bathroom to use at a restaurant and when she checks into a hotel. Their license shows a different individual. Now, plus-size individuals are being acknowledged and appreciated. Before the pandemic, plus-size people who wanted to scuba and surf couldn’t because there was a lack of wetsuits. Today, the situation is different. Therefore, the future of traveling in the post-COVID world will involve travel companies taking care of the needs of diverse travelers.
The most immediate and probably most visible transformation in the world of travel due to the pandemic is the shift to touchless travel to curb the virus. With the pandemic, there have been additional measures, apart from strict cleaning protocols, to help curb the virus. Exchanging travel documents and touching surfaces via security, check-in, boarding, and border control have represented a considerable infection risk for staff and travelers.
As a result, several organizations have already established digitization to promote touchless travel. Companies have advanced well into this journey to fit into the new norm: automation throughout the entire system. It will help businesses keep up with the changed consumer behaviors and rebuild trust. Integrated digital identity tools are becoming a critical part of realizing touchless travel. Today, biometrics is already an extensively consented solution for identity verification as physical hand and fingerprint scanners are being phased out. We are likely to witness more touchless technologies, such as contactless faces and fingerprint recognition, come into play.
Moreover, we are already testing technologies for touchless data entry, including touchless document scanning, voice commands, and gesture controls. Additionally, a traveler should be able to obtain and keep verifiable, secure, and trusted health credentials, including immunizations, in their digital identity wallet. It is almost impossible that we will return to what we did before, even after the pandemic. We are likely to see more and more touchless technologies being adopted.
Enhanced Travel Efficiency
As indicated above, digitization will take center stage in the travel industry. In particular, integrated technologies will be widely accepted and adopted following the pandemic. These technologies ensure companies can access different client data types from a single point. With that, issues of data loss or human loss are minimized. This will be advantageous to both the traveler and the companies in the industry. Travelers will have seamless travel experiences, as inconveniences will be reduced. On the other hand, travel organizations will eliminate losses regarding reputation and refunds.
It will also be possible to attain health screening and testing at airports at scale. For example, with enhanced digitization, you will be able to give consent to have your identity and health data shared way earlier before you embark on your journey. This allows border officials to perform any needed risk assessment early enough and avoid long queues and bottlenecks at the airport.
The collaboration will be Critical
Given the unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic, the travel industry and the government have an exceptional opportunity to redefine travel and establish a more agile, sustainable, and resilient sector. However, this won’t be possible without collaboration.
Shortly, stakeholders will require cooperation to accelerate the utilization of digital technologies. Then there will be a need to create a legal regime and cohesive policy around digital technologies that safeguard public health and civil liberties. There will also be a need to ensure that various digital identity solutions may operate together.
In the end, the pandemic will likely speed up two significant trends that have been collecting steam for some time now. One of these trends is seamless travel, where your body and face are your passports. The second one is decentralized identity, meaning the individual possesses and controls their identity attributes, including their place and date of birth, physical characteristics, health information, travel history, and other data. Combining trends will result in efficient, safe, and enjoyable travel. To attain this, governments and businesses in the travel industry must collaborate.
The pandemic has created a new norm in the travel world. However, we must appreciate that we will still travel even after the pandemic. We are curious by nature, and nothing will deny this. However, traveling will change because the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our idea of a “normal” life. Some of the pandemic’s changes will linger, and traveling will happen within these changes. It will take quite some time before travelers are 100 percent confident about their safety as they travel across the world, especially to places that were tagged “hot spots.” Local tourism will boom as people are apprehensive about traveling out. What is more, digitization and touchless travel will take center stage. This is because governments worldwide keep advising their citizens to observe guidelines that will help curb the virus’s spread.
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