IBEF: March 30, 2021
The year 2020 held the world locked in their homes for months. Struggling with professional and family life commitments and the anxiety caused by the pandemic only makes one think of a much-deserved vacation to explore, once the whole situation calms down. With the vaccination drive now in full force and the tourism sector picking up, there are new trends that the industry is likely to witness and should be considered by the benefactors of the sector.
Authentic and local experiences - Travellers are now looking for more than just hopping from one unique destination to another. Instead what they want is a unique experience that defines their location of choice. From experiencing the Houseboat stay in Alleppey, to spelunking in Wayanad, skiing in Auli, - India is full of unique experiences that is driving the trend of ‘Discoveries and Experiences’ (D&E) in the industry. The D&E trend will become even more popular as more people take to traveling. Frequent travellers will look for unique insight into their destination or a memorable experience that they can take home.
Traveling short distances on Special Interests - The pandemic has forced us all to be cautious, particularly regarding crowds. To avoid busy traveling modes, many people have opted to travel short distances that can be covered by car, thus also being called as drive-to destinations. These short distance destinations are typically to smaller towns or cities in the same state with a 4 to 8 hours of drive time. These also have the advantage of a quick getaway, allowing people to travel during weekends or for short holidays.
Advanced hygiene protocols - While people may be eager to start traveling now, the pandemic is far from over. Hence, maintaining hygienic protocols is critical. One of the silver linings of the worldwide epidemic was a rise in health awareness and the necessity to follow certain critical hygiene protocols. So, regular sanitisation, hand sanitiser pumps, masks, and other such practices are now here to stay. Sterling Holiday, leading travel leisure brand in India, is following ‘Sterling CARES’, a comprehensive hygiene and safety protocol developed in association with Apollo Clinics.
Minimal contact/Tech support - Along with heightened concern for hygiene comes the need for minimal contact with other people. Almost every tourist business today has a contactless delivery system with apps or websites felicitating booking requirements. Touchless technology, such as QR-code based connections, is used for check-ins, check-outs, and even ordering food. With tech-based devices becoming increasingly common, the phone is now doubling up for devices like room keys and remotes.
Woman-only travelling - One of the recent interesting trends is the rise of women-only travellers. Women travellers, who traditionally travelled only with their families, are now increasingly venturing out on their own or with others of their gender. Consequently, we will see women-only travel packages and services centred around their interests, such as spice or handicraft tours or perks like spa treatment.
As we move forward in 2021, traveling is likely to pick up a steady steam. But as with any other life-changing event, the pandemic will leave its mark. It is time to embrace these little changes and look forward to a year of discoveries.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.