The year for a new way of travelling has come!
Could this year, 2022, going to be bigger than 2019 when it comes to travelling?
After three years of being plagued by Covid-19 travel restrictions and postponed trips, people might be ready for a vacation. The pandemic has, however, transformed the way people think about travel, what they expect on vacation and how they choose and arrive in their destination.
Going abroad will continue to be challenging for most of the people, for fully jabbed travellers, many parts of the planet will become more accessible in 2022. However, the stop-start nature of country openings will make planning difficult. Who’d have thought France would close its borders to UK travellers for a few weeks in January 2022, for example?
We are living in an unpredictable era that demands high levels of contingency planning and comprehensive travel insurance.
That being said, there is plenty to celebrate and so long as bookings are fully refundable and/or offer free date changes, consumers will be able to go ahead and get some trips in the diary. Finally, if making more responsible choices is important to you (as it should be) then picking a destination that relies heavily on tourism will mean your money will go towards rebuilding their economy, and giving locals desperately needed income.
So, here are some factors which could reshape the travel trends in the coming year and some trends predictions defining travel in 2022…
- Younger travellers looking to go exotic
Younger travellers are not looking for just a simple trip to the beach to get away. They want an immersive adventure. If they are going to the beach, it’s likely exotic such as the Maldives and other off-beat tropical destinations. According to Contiki, their younger travellers are looking to go far and wide to places like Thailand, Ireland, Egypt and South Africa.
- Trips of a lifetime
As many predicted, now that travel is opening up, people are ready to book their bucket list vacations. Covid-19 illuminated the fact that there might not always be time to take the trip of a lifetime so they are taking them now. In 2022, expect to see many people booking trips of a lifetime, whether that is an extended world cruise, an African safari or a long-awaited bucket list adventure like a trek to Machu Picchu, a trip to the Galapagos or climbing Kilimanjaro.
- Ecotourism and sustainable travel
Travellers have become more aware of how transportation and over-tourism were harming the destinations they love so much. They also recognised how under-tourism and the lack of travel similarly harmed popular places. Travellers are beginning to square these two problems and are looking for sustainable ways to travel that allow them to experience the world while helping preserve global destinations.
A recent Amadeus-commissioned survey found that two-thirds of consumers consider sustainable travel a priority, and 37 percent of respondents think opportunities for travellers to be involved in the preservation of tourist destinations will help the industry to become more sustainable in the long term.
- Bring your friends
Not only have people not been able to travel, but they haven’t been able to see their friends the way they used to. Travelers are going to be hitting the road in 2022, and they are not going alone.
- Travel research
Travel during a pandemic is never easy, and research from Google has found that people are spending a lot more time gathering information on places they want to go these days. What are they looking for? Information on what to do, where to go while they are in a destination, where to eat, Covid-19 protocols and more.
- Travel advisors
It’s never been more complicated to book and plan a vacation than right now. Pandemic-weary travellers may be researching travel and the destinations that they are going to, but they don’t want to figure out all the hurdles of getting there. Travel advisors have never been more important and more sought after than they are now.
- The value of travel increases
After more than a year of not being able to travel, people are appreciating that they can once again. Travelers are willing to jump through a number of hoops such as vaccine passports and Covid-19 testing to continue to exercise what they view as almost a right to travel.
- The future is here
Technology has made big leaps during the pandemic. In many ways, companies did take advantage of the pause to refocus their efforts and recognised the opportunity to reset. For the consumer, travel tech has never been more important in the no-contact environment the pandemic has created. New contactless services such as mobile check-in for air travel, hotels and rental cars were here before the pandemic, but now they have been even more widely adopted by travellers. Companies continue to improve and streamline in these areas. However, there are even bigger moves being made in the industry. Virgin Hyperloop is aiming to streamline how travellers get from one city to the next, reducing travel time. Airlines are working on more sustainable fuels and building supersonic airliners, and people are traveling to space.
- Revenge Tour
The pandemic has made so many people miss celebrations, birthdays, honeymoons or simply relaxing in a new place. Experts expect tourists’ desire to shop loyally to emerge in the revenge tourism trend. This includes room upgrades, luxury tour packages, or dining experiences. Expedia dubs this the “Greatest of All Trips” mindset.
- No More Going Near Home
Long-distance travel is expected to make a comeback next year. The complexities of PCR testing and quarantine rules will be considered part of a familiar journey. The reason is, the requirements have also been applied during this year. After staying silent for so long, the sensation of flying to a distant destination is one that many foreign tourists have been waiting for again.
- Wellness Trips
Wellness trips have become synonymous with yoga and spas, but for people seeking spiritual healing, alternative trends are on the rise. The topics revolve around the magic mushroom retreat, a retreat around a journey of self-discovery and therapy through plant-based psychedelics. Stress during a pandemic is said to need to be balanced against a “dose of spiritual health” that is likely to be more sought after than ever. With mainstream views of psychedelics shifting to understand their therapeutic potential, the demand for such retreats has mushroomed in recent years. According to Bridge Market Research data, the psychedelic market is projected to soar from US$2 billion in 2019 to US$6.9 billion in 2027. Psychedelic retreat destinations include Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Peru, where participants can usually take part in meditation, yoga and other programs amidst lush nature.
- Combining Business and Leisure Travel
The idea of exploring the world while working remotely is now within the reach of world travellers. Businesses are also not slow to follow trends. Blueground, a start-up that rents out fully-furnished apartments in 15 cities around the world, recently launched the Blueground Pass. This pass gives digital nomads the freedom to move between their collection of four thousand apartments, all under one master lease. Meanwhile, many luxury hotel chains are capitalizing on workplace trends by launching work-from-hotel packages, designed to mix business and leisure.
- The Rise of Sustainable Tourism
Environmental awareness has grown over the past decade, and sustainable travel will remain strong next year. A recent survey by travel technology giant Amadeus noted that two-thirds of travellers worldwide view sustainable travel as a priority. It is played in a penchant for roaming off the beaten track. Travelers eschew big cities for wilderness destinations and villages, explore safaris and nature resorts, and seek local farm dining experiences.
- Restrictions-free destinations
Restrictions-free destinations International travel will become easier as countries relax their entry requirements. Destinations like Australia and New Zealand will soon be reopening to tourists after two years of almost complete closure. China, Bhutan, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mongolia and Taiwan could take longer, but in December 2021, Fiji has finally reopened its borders to the international community. Vietnam began the process of allowing outsiders with the resumption of flights to the US at the end of last year.
- Long-haul reboot
Although many industry experts believe it will take at least another two years for global aviation to return to pre-pandemic levels, long-haul aviation is experiencing a resurgence. In line with the resumption of tourism in November 2021 for tourists to the United States.
- Personal development retreats
Many people are self-improvement, quitting their jobs and looking for new career paths. Personal development retreats of all kinds are popping up around the world, from the Aerial BVI in the British Virgin Islands, which serves as an ‘incubator for positive transformation’, to the Heartbreak hotel in Norfolk, which helps women cope with loss of love.
- Extreme Expedition
There are various extreme expeditions abroad. For example, Black Tomato offers quad biking safaris from the Okavango Delta in Botswana to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans; Secret Compass organizes abseiling adventures in Venezuela and treks through the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan
- Complete Luxury
Today’s travel is expensive and complicated because of all the Covid-19 tests and paperwork you have to do, so booking a full resort is the way to go. More and more upscale properties are embracing full stays. In Hawaii, Sensei Lana’i, A Four Seasons Resort has a full wellness concept, while Siyam World in the Maldives, which opens in October 2021, includes everything.
- Cosmonaut Boot Camp
Not many people can afford a ticket for a Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic flight into space, but for those thirsty for the thrill of the G-forces, the new cosmonaut training camp offers a taste of what it’s like to leave Earth. Since the summer of 2021, French company Orbite has offered a three-day astronaut orientation program in Orlando, Florida, which includes VR space missions, parabolic flights, and private tours of NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre.
- Healing Hallucinogens
The therapeutic benefits of hallucinogenic drugs have been widely recognized, and in many places around the world the consumption of psychedelic medicinal plants has become legal. Companies like Journeymen Collective, prescribe ayahuasca under the guidance of healer Shipibo and a Peruvian native clinical psychologist
- Work barefoot or remotely
Instead of taking a sabbatical, which involves temporarily leaving your job for months on end, working barefoot allows you to be productive while traveling. Over the last 18 months or so, a number of destinations such as Barbados, Anguilla, Dominica, Mauritius, Bermuda, Aruba have launched digital traveller visas for long term stay
- Hiking Adventures
For the first time in 60 years, the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail will open in the spring of 2022 as a hiking trail for tourists. To celebrate, G Adventures will lead an 11 to 12 day trip along with certain sections of the trail starting in May, with overnight stays in tents and local guesthouses.
- Streamer Locations
After watching shows on Netflix and other streaming platforms, many of these series have provided incidental marketing to destinations around the world, inspiring travellers to visit for themselves.
After being closed for three years due to over-tourism damage, Maya Bay in Thailand from The Beach reopened in January 2022. Then Netflix’s upcoming series, Inventing Anna, will show the shiny side of New York.
Yep, that is some predictions we might see anytime soon, however, some pandemic changes are most likely here to stay.
Travellers can expect to continue to see hotels and other destinations tout their enhanced cleaning procedures and health and safety protocols. And also, reduced human contact will remain a part of the traveling experience.
What we’ve found is that some trends, like contactless check-in and grab-and-go dining options that were put in place during the pandemic to better ensure the safety of both our guests and employees have now become a preferred customer choice.
So, other changes made in response to the pandemic have also ended up being popular with travellers.