Traveling was largely restricted during the first half of 2020 and the progression of restriction lifting was slow, but hospitality industry experts believe 2021 will fare better for the constrained sector.
Vacations To Pick Up By May
Founder and CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, Paul Charles, predicted that "first of May onward" will see the travel industry picking up.
Charles and other industry analysts believe traveling will be permitted under risk-based measures, but with the wider rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, more countries will unblock global travel.
It is also expected that the slew of travelers going on out-of-country trips will begin in spring 2021 and could further escalate by midyear, raising hopes for a sector that was largely contained by the pandemic.
There will still be challenges for tourism this year, but a global protocol for travel could help make the process easier for both hospitality companies and travelers, experts said.
Digital Health Documentation
With the possibility of new waves of COVID-19 and a new variant sweeping the globe, governments and airline companies are testing technology for digital health documentation processes.
Among the apps that are being tested to ensure that flying passengers are in good health while keeping their health data secure are VeriFLY, ICC AOKpass and CommonPass.
Talks of a universal health form or standard health certificate have been rife over the past few months, but the issue on government participation hangs in the balance as some governments are still pressured by the public's reaction.
Some airlines are already working on streamlining the documentation process for travel, but the issue on presenting proof of vaccination has yet to be discussed internationally.
Outdoors Craze to Persist
The World Health Organization and other health groups have repeatedly warned of the dangers of not practicing proper social distancing and analysts believe travelers have found a way to enjoy their trips without meeting too many people.
Head of the travel and tourism sector at Boston Consulting Group, Jason Guggenheim, said travelers will be more interested in outdoor activities such as biking, camping and boating.
In 2020, many people already opted for national parks over enclosed museums and hiking over going to the mall. Industry experts believe this trend will continue throughout 2021.
Seclusion was at the center of psychologist talks once lockdowns were implemented. Experts emphasized the pain points of being away from society for a long time. However, some people found "secluded travels" attractive.
Director of marketing at tour operator Red Savannah, Sarah-Leigh Shenton said there has been an increase in demand for bookings to the Caribbean and Maldives. The said locations are popular for its private settings and undisturbed atmosphere.
In a bid to escape the global health crisis, industry analysts are expecting a surge in bookings to locations where isolation and safety from the virus is guaranteed.
Last year became the year of an "informed society," wherein communities rallied to call on more sustainable operations for many industries, including the travel and hospitality sector.
As 2021 is expected to gradually make travel more open to the world, environment advocates are urging sustainable travels. People taking such trips take pride in minimizing their impact on the places they go to.
For example, sustainable travelers try their best to not disturb wildlife and they leave no trace of their trip by clearing up the space where they camped in and make sure campfires are put out properly to prevent forest fires.
Industry experts believe the example set by sustainable travelers in 2020 will ripple throughout 2021, especially as multiple environmental events take place starting March.