The Next Big Things

The Next Big Things
Road trips are the go to deal in 2020, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

As the dreaded coronavirus hits the travel economy hard, here are the key trends that will shape the future of travel

Roshni Subramanian
June 30 , 2020
06 Min Read

For those of us in the travel and tourism industry, the uncertainty of this pandemic has hit too close to home. every day we wake up to higher numbers, the world at a standstill and the travel industry at the crossroads. While experts believe that travel will bounce back soon enough, the potential reset of what travel means looms over our heads. Reinvention is imperative and some new trends are on the rise. Change, perhaps, will be a good thing after all. We at OT delve deeper into these patterns and what the future of travel looks like in the post-COVID-19 world. 

Domestic Travel
Travelling will be more homebound this year

Pardon our millennial enthusiasm, but here’s a petition to make High School Musical’s “We’re all in this together” the official COVID-19 anthem. After all, it’s akin to the rallying call of the times. unfamiliar and unsettling as it may be, international travel is certainly going to take a back seat in the days to come. We believe it is the domestic tourism sector that holds the key to post-lockdown industry revival. Though an uphill battle, it’s not an impossible feat. Reports suggest that Indian destinations are placed at a much better position than their American and European counterparts. If you’re looking for places to head to, we’ve got some ideas. How about ticking off that long list of Indian states on your bucket list? Home to some spectacular hidden marvels, India has destinations to suit every kind of traveller. So, the shift from ‘glocal’ to ‘local’ is much anticipated. 

Hit the Road
Taking to the skies might not be the most viable option after the lockdown. As the need for social distancing increases by the minute, travellers around the globe seem justifiably leery of flying. It would be wildly optimistic to assume that air travel would recover anytime soon after the pandemic, with health and hygiene marking a major shift in our priorities. Before the masses can get back to flying, the classic road trip will be resurrected. A far less scary prospect and a much cheaper alternative than a trip to a faraway obscure land. Added bonus: you get to steer clear of the hassles of planning and can avoid large crowds. 

Green on the Go
Contribute and connect with the locals
While it was climate change that brought the topic of sustainable tourism to the forefront, the recent chain of events has forced us to rethink the way we travel. From picking greener abodes to being a responsible guest, travellers will wish to be more eco-conscious. pro tip: ditch that plane ride. Opt for ‘slow travel’, a more laidback way to explore the world. furthermore, eco-lodges have drawn the interest of environmental enthusiasts. Another strand of responsible tourism that has huge potential in the post-COVID-19 era is voluntourism. Going beyond the realm of environmental conservation, voluntourism focusses on contributing towards society and is a great way of connecting with locals (but probably with a bit of social distancing going forward). 

Luxury Getaways
A luxury experience on a shoestring budget. That’s what dreams are made of. As the coronavirus pandemic hammers industries, it’s no surprise that the travel and hospitality sectors have been hit the hardest. But what does it mean for the luxury travel biz? Reports suggest that in the current economic slowdown, the aviation industry could lose $113 billion worldwide, while the hotel industry will suffer a $30 billion setback. This means reduced rates, free cancellations, free extras, airport transfers and many other perks. five- star hotels have seen a major drop in prices, said Sabina Chopra, co-founder of yatra.com, and at the LeMeridien in Delhi, the rates are down to Rs 8,000 from the usual Rs 12,000. Although a ‘normal summer’ this year seems like a distant dream, we’d really like our luxury travel fix before we get back to the grind. 

Isolation is the Key
Avoid group travel altogether
If we had a penny for every time our Goa plans were cancelled, we’d be rolling in dough right now (armed with sanitiser and masks, of course). It all starts with too many ideas, no agreement, and no Goa. Haven’t we all had enough of that? Honestly, who needs a travel companion when you’re quite well-equipped yourself. with social distancing becoming the order of the day and amid rising health concerns, group travel is on the backburner for the time being. Gone are the days when you’d wait around for the ideal travel partner to come along. Our mantra is ‘go it alone’. And in the post-outbreak world, this is more likely to be the norm. With social distancing as the need of the hour, travellers may consider avoiding group travel altogether, resulting in the reawakening of solo travel. If we’re not doing it, we’re certainly dreaming about doing it. Several travel companies are focussed on catering to this not-so niche segment. The Backpacker Co, ‘India’s first experiential travel company’, is offering experience-based informal travels and aims to assist backpackers discover the best of local culture. you could also opt for VueIndiaTours, specialising in high-end luxury experiential travel. 

Treat or Retreat
The lockdown blues are real. The anxiety, the stress, the uncertainty and the need to escape from it all. experts suggest that it is the wellness and luxury travel space that might be the antidote to all this tension with more and more people looking for a chance at recuperation. Moreover, as our screen obsession reaches an all-new high, it won’t be surprising if digital detox retreats witness a boom. What are the odds of your smartphone being within arm’s distance, if you’re not already using it to read this? We end up spending 45 minutes surfing through streaming sites, deciding what to watch, while typing out that work e-mail and half scrolling through Instagram. It’s time we switch off and switch out. 

Microcations
Properties will be also offering staycations
There’s only so much Netflix and Call of Duty the mind can absorb. We suggest noting down long weekends and vacation days and planning your next adventure, correction, micro-adventure; a guilt-free way to slip in and out of work without a full-blown getaway. It’s also likely that there will be an increase in properties offering staycations, which are a short drive away. Easy to plan and easier on the pocket, the staycation versus vacation debate has finally been put to rest. If you’re one of the culture vultures then maybe Champaner in Gujarat could make it to your bucket list. Set nearly 47 kilometres from Vadodara, it was the capital of Gujarat back in the 14th century. For those seeking an offbeat microcation witha dash of history, culture and adventure, this is the X on your treasure map. 

 


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