Four years ago, I didn't know where Tuvalu, the boomerang island was on the map. I couldn't even tell the difference between Indonesian, Thai or Malaysian cuisine. Travelling turned out to be the best school for me. It quenched my curiosities and permanently changed how I perceived life. Shortly after I began travelling, courting the unexplored began to boost my self-esteem. I brunched facing a volcano, zip lined over an ocean, climbed the ancient rock of Sigiriya and did more awesome things that helped me conquer my fears. It also allowed me to embrace different cultures. Everything was possible because people across national boundaries were welcoming and hospitable. However, with COVID-19 pandemic, tables have turned. I have been confined, to an untold silence, in a world full of possibilities.
Whether it's sharing a good meal with people of different skin colour, or identifying cultural similarities from a different religion, travelling is bound to unite people and bring them closer. Lethal to discrimination, travelling is the "greatest" hope for mankind. However, these days, I often find myself asking, "Can a virus change a long-established custom of concord?" Perhaps not! The world will be "more wonderful" than before, yet, it will change the way we move around. While the earth will recover at a varying degree, the travel preference would turn towards corona-free destinations. Leisure would turn into essential travel. Sanitation will be the utmost priority. So will be the centrally located accommodations so that there is less dependency on public transportation. Things have changed, and we will need to adapt and prioritise things.
With COVID-19 pandemic, tables have turned. I have been confined, to an untold silence, in a world full of possibilities.
1. Hygiene First
With national and international laws influencing current travel policies, donning a mask will indicate that you care about hygiene. Unless it's isolated travel like driving a car, one must wear a mask and a pair of gloves throughout the travel. The practice of maintaining cleanliness through the generous use of sanitisers, will come handy and serve as a shield. Most countries will require a health certificate to visit. First, the travellers will be pre-screened in their home countries, then in the arrival countries. Interestingly, some international flights are also exploring new measures, such as mandatory blood tests for all travellers, whether passengers or staff. The world will adapt to new sanitation measures without batting an eyelid. Like they did earlier, with the security scanners in the hotels. Getting people to practise social distancing and maintaining hygiene is inculcating good habits in them. Hopefully, the good habits will last forever.
2. The Need For Responsible Travel
Responsible tourism is the need of the hour. We need to eliminate the negative impacts on culture and environment. It can be achieved by working together to preserve the pristine nature and by making sure that local people benefit. Return to nature - plant trees, hear the birds chirp, feel the cool breeze, meander through lush forests, walk under open skies, relax by the ocean side, climb snow-capped mountains or be a woman/man in the wilderness. Until state, borders lift the restraints, and air travel heightens, mark isolated places of unimaginable natural beauty for your first vacation post the pandemic.
Responsible tourism is the need of the hour. We need to eliminate the negative impacts on culture and environment.
3. Experiential luxury will take centre stage
Experiential luxury will take centre stage, despite the fact that the economy has stalled. Those likely to travel by buses and trains will also be prepared, for air travel. The travel industry, on the other hand, will discover new ways to provide a better value for money. That could mean anything from lowering room rates to offering a variety of perks. Home-stays will also be available at economical prices. The market will certainly lead consumers to help them save money, with affordable alternatives.
The good news is that in the wake of the pandemic, loyalty will be rewarded. Travel and tourism industry understands that frequent consumers will return, so they’ll try their best to keep you. Hotels and airlines will extend the dates of loyalty programmes and will ensure hassle-free booking and refunds. Everybody wins! Until we travel again – stay home and stay safe.
Veidehi Gite, popularly known as the Krazy Butterfly is a passionate travel, lifestyle and food blogger. The views expressed are the author's own.