The travel and tourism industry has been hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The recovery process will be long and lengthy and while adventure-seekers wait, they’re reviewing the way they travel, both in the short, and in the long term.
A COVID-enforced travel break has given people time to sit back and assess the way they see the world. Over-tourism, unsustainable travel practice, untold damage to the places we love – these are all things many travellers don’t want to see return.
There is a new found respect for the welfare of the people and places you pay money to visit and the impact your presence will have. It works both ways – how will the people and places you visit have an impact on you?
Travel has new meaning and as such, travel has had a reshuffle. There are certain trends that are here to stay. But what are they?
9 travel trends that are here to stay
#1 Fly less
Air transport emits more greenhouse gases than any other form of transport per passenger-kilometre. Until new technologies are developed to replace the use of fossil fuels for powering aircraft engines, sustainable air travel requires mitigation (the purchase of carbon offset credits) or reduction. A survey carried out in October last year showed that almost a third of the global population is willing to fly less in the future in a bid to combat climate change. It will be interesting to see how current airlines deal with this information, and if any larger-scale ones attempt to accommodate not only these business insights, but the needs of the future.
#2 Travel slower
The days of needing another holiday to get over your holiday may be over, with people choosing to take slower, more leisurely breaks. Slow travel ticks off fewer destinations but it fully embraces relaxation and reduces the greenhouse gases emitted from hopping on one plane to the next. Slow travel is all about scenic train rides and epic road trips, so get some tv shows downloaded, some books ready, some music queued and enjoy a stress-less approach to travelling.
That luxe new hotel that’s opened up near your home isn’t just for tourists so why not join the many Australians who are choosing to holiday in their own backyard? Instead of putting money into travelling to a destination, put your money into local cafes and restaurants and support local business. You might even have enough to splurge for that special couples massage promotion the hotel is offering, or save it for a luxurious dining experience!
With many people still working from home or at least being more flexible in their working life, combining both travel and work is easy. Travel somewhere with the internet and you can still make your Zoom meetings. Once you’ve clocked off for the day you can disconnect, relax and enjoy being somewhere new.
#5 Off the grid
2021 has been a year to unplug and soak up your surroundings. Wanderlust seekers are getting back to basics and while it might meet waiting until you get home to post your holiday snaps, going off the grid is a great way to slow down and breathe in the fresh air. Visit a national park, go on a walking trip, or check out the range of unique and quirky cabins and tents in rural Australia.
Australia is home to the oldest and richest continuing culture and part of being a good ally to Australia’s First Nations People is to open your mind to greater education. Spending your dollars on an Indigenous-owned or run business is a great way to learn more about the country you call home. If you’re not sure where to look, sites like Welcome to Country offer a fantastic range of immersive experiences, from bush tucker food tours to Arnhemland 4-wheeled driving.
#7 Budget travel
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of affordable ways to stay in new places and activities to do that don’t cost a thing. You can hit the beach, go for a hike, join a free walking tour, visit a museum or gallery, take a tram ride…the list is endless. You can also check out early bird specials and make the most of government travel subsidies.
Philantourism is a natural evolution of voluntourism, but less of a commitment. It’s when you choose your holiday destination based on where your money could come in most handy, such as a town that’s been ravished by recent bushfires. All you need to do once you’re there is enjoy the culture, buy local and put your tourist dollars into the pockets of those doing it tough – it’s a win-win.
#9 Into the wild
Wilderness might be the new wellness for 2021 and after a year of watching nature documentaries indoors, adventurers are seeking out real-life vacations in the wild. Be it the best of the Galapagos, gorillas in game parks, leisure on the lovely beaches of Lord Howe Island or the wilds of Antarctica, the future of travel involves being surrounded by nature and natural experiences.
COVID-19 continues to affect travel by forcing governments to impose country and state-specific bans and restrictions. However, as vaccination programmes roll out, the ability to travel more freely is here. Will these nine trends help shape your travel decisions in a post-pandemic era?
COVID-19-related travel conditions will complicate holidays for the foreseeable future so make a plan for your next adventure. There’s no better place to spend your holiday money then in your own country and Australia is a safe and unforgettable destination.
Before you leave for your travels, seek out the most up-to-date information from official websites and try to jump on some of the deals appearing every month!
Todd is a freelance writer living in far north Queensland. His favourite activities are to fish, walk along the local beaches, and read everything he can. He is a keen environmentalist and is passionate about saving the Australian environment for future generations to enjoy.