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Trends ruling travel sector post-pandemic

With an aim to envision the travel sector post pandemic, ‘Representation World’, a tourism representation, marketing and PR firm based in New Delhi, conducted a survey with their travel experts to understand their opinions and thoughts about the new trends of tourism industry. It seems that in the recovery process of the tourism sector, we will witness a number of transformations in the future redefining the tourism, aviation and hospitality sector. New travel trends generated from the pandemic will have a long time impact in the way we will see the world.

-Prashant Nayak

While sharing more details of the survey, ‘Representation World’ invited approximately 5000 industry professionals specialising in the field of travel, tourism, hospitality and destination representation to fill out the survey. The time frame for the survey activity was fifteen days from 10-25 May, 2020. The profile of professionals ranged from business owners and company representatives, 5000 experts pan-India participated covering metros, tier I and II cities.

Vineet Gopal, Director, Representation World, tells more, “Travel industry is witnessing one of the most challenging crises of all time, yet we have our eyes towards the future and we are optimistic for a better tomorrow. Our team at Representation World conducted a survey and prepared a report to gain valuable insights about the sentiments of travel experts and their vision about the upcoming trends that will be following the pandemic. A special thanks to the travel experts who shared their valuable inputs and thoughts while preparing the report. We are confident that the sun will shine on us once again and travel Industry will continue to thrive.”

So now, it is given to understand that the rise of new travel trends after COVID-19 pandemic is based on fear and suspicion. Fear is the key. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the infection. Fear of touching someone. Fear of being touched. Fear of being infected, and infecting family and friends. Fear of being infected, and being far away from good healthcare. Fear of bringing back the virus from travels overseas. Fear and more fear. The combination of suspicion and fear will require dollops of good and positive news, on multiple fronts, over a prolonged period of time to abate, and then totally be dispelled. So till then in the near future, some of the new trends that will drive the overall travel scenario as per the report are:

Safety and sanitisation, a priority before making travel decisions

Safety and sanitisation will be one of major factor influencing the decision of the travellers. In safety, health and hygiene: both perception and reality will matter and there will be no compromise on these aspects. Approx. 83 per cent of travel experts agreed that safety and hygiene will be the top priority of travellers while making travel related decision.

 

Safe brands with value will win

One of the most prominent trends which is expected to be witnessed after re-opening of the travel sector is travellers opting for known brands. Those that will stand for quality will win and ‘good value for good money’ will be the new mantra. According to the survey, approx. 55 per cent travel experts agreed that travellers would not mind to shed those extra dollars for a trusted brand keeping in mind the safety and hygiene.

Contactless tourism

The tourism and hospitality industry has always been based on human contact and interaction. However, the spread of a pandemic has forced us to practice social distancing. Approx 41 per cent of people think contactless tourism is a measure to reduce the spread of viruses, whereas 49 per cent people said there is a possibility of a contactless tourism industry.10 per cent still believed that tourism industry will continue to involve human touch and interaction as it has always been. Many people believe that the travel sector will emerge as a sector of minimum human contact and interaction which might be replaced by technology in the coming years.

Dependency on traditional travel agents

After observing the sudden cancellations of flights and shutting down of hotels due to COVID-19, many travellers faced challenges with cancellation and refund policies of an online travel agencies. Therefore, 60 per cent travel experts believe that travellers will prefer the assistance of a travel agent rather than booking through an online travel portal.

Flexible travel options will be desired

After the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers will be highly influenced by the flexible travel options like easy cancellation and refund policies. According to the experts, 40 per cent believe that flexible travel options will give an edge to travel organisation to attract the travellers. It will also assist to regain the trust of travellers and encourage them to travel again.

 

 

Preference to ease in travel restrictions

Once the nations start welcoming tourists again, 60 per cent of travel experts believe that ease in travel restrictions and VISA policies will also influence the choices of travel destination for travellers. Whereas, 40 per cent travel experts believe that it might be considered but will not be a priority for travellers before booking their next travel destination.

Initially, low preference for air travel

Only 36 per cent travel experts said that travellers will avoid travelling through air, instead travellers would prefer others modes of transports. Whereas, 64 per cent of travel experts believe that there might be some decline in the travel initially after travel restriction are lifted. Gradually, people will start taking flights for their travel.

Decrease in business travel

People are getting used to video conferencing and online platforms for development of their businesses. Organisations are making the most of technology for their official work and in creating new business opportunities. Therefore, business travel might face decline for a period of time.

Emergence of new destinations

The tourism sector post-pandemic will witness the emergence of new travel destinations, 47 per cent of travel experts agreed that there will be a shift in travellers’ interest towards the lesser known and less crowded destinations to ensure minimum human contact and rejuvenate at peace. People would explore untouched and hidden gems of the world. Travellers would prefer to travelling to destinations with the least number of COVID 19 cases and give priority to the health and safety.

Travel pattern of Indians after COVID-19 pandemic

After the travel restrictions are lifted and India is ready to travel again, Indians will prefer to travel to nearby destinations with short flight distance and the least impact of COVID-19. Eventually, Indian travellers will start travelling to the Middle East and long haul destinations.

Top 5 preferred destinations of Indian travellers post-pandemic