In the past decade or so, traveling has become more accessible. Before, only the most affluent could afford to book plane tickets because of their exorbitant prices. If you were not a business executive or a celebrity, you would have to settle with watching travel shows on TV or reading travel pieces in magazines. That changed with the advent of budget carriers that democratized air travel.
Affordable plane tickets led to more demands. That, in turn, led to affordable accommodations such as hostels. The popularity of travel reached new heights when social media became a thing, and more and more people shared their travel photos. Wanderlust became a sort of contagion without a vaccine.
And then the pandemic happened. Just like that, the travel industry’s continued growth was put on hold. Travel restrictions were put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Traveling was either completely banned or limited to the most essential.
Now, almost a year since the global outbreak of COVID-19, more and more countries are opening up for nonessential travel. But it’s safe to say that the travel industry has a long way to go back to the old normal. Experts even agree that after the end of this pandemic, the travel industry will have to change in many ways.
Sustainability in the travel industry
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s how we need to be more attuned with the whims of Mother Nature, and we have to take care of each other better. This renewed sense of awareness and appreciation for the connectedness of everything on the planet will trigger augmented efforts for sustainability in the travel industry. After all, there’s no point in traveling when most places of interest have been ruined because of blatant neglect.
Post-pandemic, the travel industry might shift its priorities from ever-increasing profit margins to a healthier world. There’s still time for whatever we’ve damaged to heal. It all starts with being mindful of our carbon footprints.
So expect more accommodations to go green with energy sourced from solar panels. Some countries might even administer “no-fly days” to make significant contributions to carbon footprint reduction.
Cheaper travel insurance
Some travelers do not purchase travel insurance even when flying overseas. That’s the YOLO lifestyle right there, which is most apparent in backpackers traveling on shoestring budgets. Post-pandemic, that might no longer be the case.
More countries might require travel insurance upon entry. That means more demands. And when demands are high, travel insurance providers could lower the prices of their products. But, of course, that’s just one of two possible scenarios. These insurance providers could go the other way, thinking that travelers have no choice but to buy their products anyway. Let’s all hope for the former.
Either way, there will be more regard for safety in all facets of travel. Even popular destinations will see an upsurge in health centers and one-stop aesthetic clinics that will see to it that travelers get the care they need, from a painful stomach to a popped and potentially infected cystic pimple.
Quality over quantity
There are so-called high-mileage travelers with a very specific bucket list. They might want to visit a specific destination for a day to see and cross a popular bridge or visit a city to taste its world-famous noodle soup. These travelers stay in one place for a very short period, prioritizing the quantity of the stamps on their passports as opposed to the quality of their experience.
That might change post-pandemic. More travelers will have a renewed appreciation for immersive travel. That’s one where you really get to know a place and its people. And it’s the most rewarding kind of travel there is. Now, some might argue that such travel might not be possible for most working professionals.
Well, if there’s another thing we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s the practicality of work-from-home arrangements. Businesses might adopt this model for good even after the pandemic, giving people more freedom to do their job location-wise.
Traveling is essential to human beings. It allows us to see the world up close and learn of its many linked histories. It lets us meet people from different backgrounds, thus opening our minds to many realities. The benefits of traveling go beyond the wonderful photos one gets to post on social media. It’s an exercise in empathy and creativity, among other things.
So let’s hope that if ever the travel industry changes after the pandemic, it will be for the good of everyone. And this doesn’t mean that traveling will once again be exclusive to very few well-heeled people.