The COVID-19 virus has certainly changed a lot of things in our world. In particular, the pandemic has changed how people travel. Travellers now base their holiday plans on their safety and wellbeing.
With the ebb and flow of COVID-19 cases in the country, people are taking precautions to protect themselves from the virus.
Speaking at The Africa Webinar last week, Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, highlighted that “Travel tourism has undergone some shifts and these include new consumer trends.”
Here are five travel trends that emerged due to the pandemic:
Sustainable and exclusive experiences
Not many travellers want to stand in queues to see tourist attractions as they did in the past.
Instead, they want to enjoy unique, sustainable and exclusive experiences that give them peace of mind and makes their holiday memorable.
Travel experts reveal that bookings for private villas in South Africa have sky-rocketed during the pandemic, with some private villas fully booked for the next year.
Helen Untiedt, the co-founder and curator of Perfect Hideaways, a private villa rental company, recently said that since South Africa lifted travel lockdown restrictions for domestic and international travellers, the demand for private villas soared.
“Travellers are yearning for an escape somewhere where they can enjoy privacy and soak in some of the best views and experiences the destination has to offer,” she said.
The demand for open spaces and outdoor holidays are rising, and the travel industry is implementing out of the box concepts to entice travellers.
Travellers stuck at home during lockdown yearn for spaces where they can breathe in the fresh air and take in the striking views around them. Hiking holidays, camping or glamping and daycations to wine estates are just some of the ways travellers are embracing the outdoors.
With some travellers sceptical about catching flights, their next best option is road travel.
People are creating bespoke itinerary as they travel from one province to the next. Some, who prefer not checking into hotels or other accommodation, are renting out caravans to embark on these road adventures.
Road trips are ideal as it gives wanderers full reign on their itinerary while still having the flexibility to explore the off the beaten track.
Goodbye crowded destinations
Undoubtedly one of the greatest travel shifts during the pandemic is the avoidance of crowded destinations.
People are ditching the busy areas of their destinations and opting for spots that showcase gorgeous landscapes with little or no crowds. While it promotes safe travel, it does cause concern for the major attractions that people may shy away from during Covid-19. Once busy attractions need to create unique experiences that meet COVID-19 regulations and draw interest for travellers.
Out of Office trips
The pandemic has introduced people to the world of remote working. Many have traded their typical 9-5 working hours for more flexible options that grant them the time to explore more.
Enter the OOO (Out of Office) trend that allows travellers to work from anywhere in the world, granted the destinations they choose do not have any travel restrictions.
While working remotely isn’t something new as digital nomads have been doing this for years, the pandemic has allowed more people to work in another setting, whether it’s a beach getaway, safari break, or a city escape.