World Tourism Day: Workations & Short Getaways Are Top Travel Trends Amid Pandemic
The pandemic hasn't been kind to the travel and tourism industry, which all but ground to a standstill during the first 18 months of the COVID crisis. However, things are starting to look up.
Be it domestic travel or sun-soaked foreign destinations such as the Maldives, undeterred globetrotters are no longer letting COVID stand in their way.
With more than 400 destinations around the world given the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism industry is bouncing back.
Largely thanks to vaccination rollouts, countries are again opening their borders to holidaymakers – and some new travel trends are emerging as a result.
Locations like the Maldives, Dubai, and Qatar have proved incredibly popular for tourists, owing to their relaxed travel restrictions and sunshine.
Calling the Maldives one of the safest countries to visit during the ongoing pandemic, Thoyyib Mohamed, managing director of Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), told Sputnik that the southeast Asian archipelagic state's marine wildlife and pristine natural beauty continue to attract tourists.
He says that most people visiting the country are from Russia, with 157,876 in 2021, followed by India and Germany – 146,205 and 42,078 respectively.
“To bounce back from 'pandemic fatigue' a significant number of travellers are looking at the Maldives for their revenge travel. Rejuvenating spas, haute cuisine, budget-friendly vacations at a guesthouse, snorkelling alongside marine life among many other exciting experiences are attracting tourists from India and across the world,” Mohamed says.
Workation and Rethinking Business Travel
Remote working has allowed people to relocate to warmer climes away from concrete jungles, smelly metros, and the rat race.
Cholada Siddhivarn, director of Thailand's Tourism Authority, told Sputnik that Bangkok is ranked number one on Holidu.co.uk's new list of top global "workation" destinations, while Bangkok, Ko Pa Ngan, and Chiang Mai are popular among so-called digital nomads.
“During the lockdown, we work at home or we work from everywhere. The only vital thing we need is a strong internet or WIFI connection. Thinking of this trend, many people might be happy not travelling from home to work at the office because it’s time-consuming and risky when they have to commute amid a lot of crowd. Working from everywhere is or the remote work will be one of the trends which will continue,” Siddhivarn says.
Lubaina Sheerazi, CEO and co-founder of BRANDit, which promotes Qatar as a travel destination, said: “Working from home has also changed the dynamics of organisational functioning. Using the virtual medium will continue to help organisations save time and resources. The saved funds can then be used to invest in better, longer-term off-site training and on-field skill exchange programmes.”
With international travel to several countries still inaccessible, people with itchy feet are looking for options closer to home.
“Travellers are mindful about ensuring safety and looking for less crowded places. In terms of experiences, untapped and lesser-known choices became popular. Slowing down, staying at a destination longer rather than a hasty photo-stop tour is seen trending. To avoid crowded places, explorers are eagerly digging deeper into the folds of the country. Reinventing and developing lesser-known spots in the country has gained momentum,” Sheerazi says.
“Every year travel trends come and go, however, 2021 is set to be one of tourism’s most significant years to date. As the world slowly recovers from COVID-19 and borders gradually start to open, we expect travel to look a little different than it did pre-pandemic. We have been talking a lot about the negative impact of the pandemic. But there has been a positive angle to it, COVID also provided unexpected opportunities and trends which destinations and organisations have used for bringing in good business,” Siddhivarn says.