While 2020 was a whirlwind for the travel industry in particular, things may be looking up for the new year as new travel trends emerge despite the ongoing pandemic.
With a number of vaccines already slated for release in 2021 to the public, there are definite reasons to be optimistic.
However, there may not be a return to exactly how things were pre-pandemic and instead, the following trends may replace the old way of travel for the foreseeable future.
Travel trends in 2021
Air travel bubbles
With a handful of air travel bubbles already underway between Hong Kong and Singapore (albeit on hold for now), this may be the future of international travel for the foreseeable future. Thailand is also in discussions with China to establish quarantine-free travel by January to rescue it’s ailing tourism industry.
Through multiple PCP screening tests for COVID-19, bilateral agreements between countries and added precautionary measures for tourists, air travel bubbles is a trend that’s likely to find its footing in 2021.
With quarantine-free travel already beginning, and with several potential vaccines in the works, air travel bubbles appear to be a travel trend here to stay for the new year.
Domestic travel and staycations
The long break we’ve had from international travel this past year has forced the travel industry to shift its focus to domestic travel and staycations.
This trend is likely to continue into the new year as travellers remain cautious about the prospect of travelling internationally. Weekend travel to locations close by will also continue to be ideal for those looking to travel frequently because of the reduced risks involved.
While travelling in tour groups has been a great way to meet travellers from different countries in the past, this may not be a possibility just yet in 2021.
Travelling in groups widens your travel bubble and hence, puts you and more people at increased risk of infection. What’s more realistic for the new year will be smaller groups of travellers limited to families and more fully independent travel (FIT) for the time being.
Eco conscious travel
With airlines and international travel currently on hold, global carbon footprints have irrefutably reduced worldwide. This has spurred many Singaporeans to become more conscious of their travel habits.
According to a study conducted by travel booking site, Booking.com, many are considering more eco-conscious travel with 73% of travellers expecting the industry to offer more sustainable options.
As most of us were cooped up in our homes more than ever this past year, a lot of us have found a renewed sense of appreciation for nature and getting outdoors more often.
Hiking trails, national parks and simple outdoor activities have gained popularity during the pandemic for practical safety and health reasons but also due to our lack of other outdoor and exercise experiences this past year.
In 2021, travel packages are likely to hone in on this trend, curating experiences which revolve around the outdoors.
Prioritised safety and hygiene
Despite a number of vaccines slated to roll out to the public next year, social distancing and mask-wearing is likely to remain the norm for at least another year.
In addition to that, hotels, airlines and other travel-related businesses will need to continue to operating according to strict standard operating procedures set out by the Singapore Tourism Board.
Travellers will also be factoring in safety and hygiene to their travel decisions for the foreseeable future which will spur businesses in the tourism industry to go the extra mile in terms of safety and hygiene maintenance.
New travel hotspots
As different countries around the world respond to the virus differently, the ones which adopt a proactive approach in curbing the virus are likely to emerge as preferred destinations in 2021.
Travellers will be more cognisant of travelling to countries which allow them to easily socially distance.
Previously crowded destinations may even lose travellers to more off-the-beaten-path destinations if it means travellers will feel more safe enjoying their vacation in those less travelled to destinations.
While there is plenty to be hopeful for in the new year when it comes to travel, globally, it’s not going to be an immediate switch back to the way things once were.
Instead, new travel trends are going to take the place of how things have traditionally been in the past and adopt to this new post-COVID normal.
All the same, if you’re travelling abroad in the near future, be sure to stay protected with the best travel insurance policy to suit your trip.
GoBear’s here to help make choosing the right travel insurance policy a little easier with our nifty comparison tool.