It’s August already and the world is eager to get back on its feet. Much like birds longing to break free of their cages, travellers can’t wait to scratch that familiar itch. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and the resolve to travel has only increased during the pandemic season. Revenge travel is this sinister buzzword that has been doing the rounds in the last few months to describe the angsty and bottled-up demand for travel that many of us are currently feeling. But is revenge as sweet as we’d like? The jury is still out on that.
In tame words, the concept is built on the belief that travel is a gift and travellers will add more destinations to their list and travel even more than they did earlier ‘when this is all over’. In a more realistic sense, it will involve taking extra trips and splurging more than you usually would just because you have been deprived of travel for so long.
The concept isn’t new. It has roots in the early 1980s in China during the devastating poverty of the Cultural Revolution where ‘revenge spending’ by consumers emerged. Already, in China’s Guangzhou, a Hermès store made €2.4 million on the first day it opened, showing that (rich) people are keen to make up for the time stuck inside by spending again.
It's not so much about a change in motivations as it is about a stark difference in the priorities of people, which have been stripped down to their basic elements. For example, we take the motivation to relax and escape our everyday life. Earlier it might have been to escape the stresses of work-life but in the current scenario it's more about leaving the house to be in another place where the pandemic doesn't seem like so much of a pressing issue.
Researchers are finding out that along with the increase of the crisis, the desire to travel has increased which is natural considering humans have always been social creatures who require human contact and an innate desire to explore. On one hand, flight tickets and hotel bookings have never been cheaper with their tax reductions, refunds, discounts and whatnot. On the other, a flurry of people looking to re-book their cancelled vacations as soon as ‘things are okay’ is just an environmental disaster waiting to happen. A potential travel boom is a cause for concern as most concerningly, it might cause an unusually high spike in carbon emissions by airlines. After all, just because global recovery is picking up, that doesn't mean global warming will slow down.
On the bright side, there's expected to be a ‘corona hangover’ where popular, overcrowded destinations brimming with overtourism can get a breather. For now.