Written by Raffy Joyce
The word ‘travel’ would bring out a myriad of reactions from people, from fear to excitement. The Office for National Statistics’ article on COVID-19’s impact on travel pointed out that, just last year, monthly air passenger arrivals to the UK dropped by 98.3% in a span of 2 months. Now that the vaccine rollout has commenced, the interest in traveling is resurfacing.
However, the lessons learned from the pandemic are still fresh in people’s minds. People have been exploring, while bringing along new approaches that they adapted from the past year.
Here are some examples of the changes in the way we travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you know how dirty public aircrafts were before the pandemic? Forbes’ report on the lack of cleanliness in aeroplanes revealed that the dirtiest spots are the loo’s flush button, the seat back trays, and the overhead vents, which everyone touches at one point or another. The setback trays contain the most germs at a rate of 2155 colony forming units per square inch.
Now that hygiene is clearly a huge concern, airlines and hotels make it a point to clean surfaces to lessen contagion of diseases. Most companies have even highlighted their cleaning protocols to reassure tourists and make them feel safer.
Social Distancing Practices
People wouldn’t be letting go of social distancing protocols for a long time. Most individuals would still prefer less crowded places to avoid getting infected. If there is a need to go to populated areas, people will think of creative ways to minimise their exposure to crowds.
For example, going to flea markets or entertainment areas during off-peak hours are one of the best ways to avoid crowds. Our ‘The Airport Experience in a COVID-19 World’ feature stated that people can avoid long queues at crowded airports by having their luggage sent to their destinations ahead of time. On aeroplanes individuals may prefer to be seated at a distance from the other passengers.
Shifts on Dream Destinations
People will be willing to swap their previous dream destinations for places that can ensure their safety. Though typical bucket list destinations are truly breath-taking, health will remain as everyone’s top priority after going through a major health crisis.
Case in point: the Philippines, which is known for its pristine beaches, has been on lockdown for over a year. An article on tourism in the Philippines reported that the country, whose island destinations largely rely on the influx of visitors every year, has had its beaches and resort towns shut down since last year. It currently has the second highest number of active COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, as the government struggles to find an efficient and timely response.
On the other hand, the British Virgin Islands handled the pandemic well, making it an ideal tourist destination these times. Tourists can now visit the territory’s stunning tropical beaches and natural wonders. Of course, safety guidelines and social distancing protocols are in place, making it a safe place for locals and tourists alike.
More Domestic Trips and Remote Travels
For a long time, domestic trips have remained as a popular form of travel during this pandemic. This form of travel served as a great opportunity for people to get to know their own country.
In fact, in the US, rural Airbnb bookings have surged as people turned to less crowded travel destinations. Individuals often have road trips and drive to natural parks and other remote places during this pandemic. This allows them to enjoy stunning natural sceneries while in the safety of isolated, open spaces. One can expect that more remote travel will be the norm at least for the near future as COVID-19 remains a threat all over the world.
Wishing people to have safe travels have taken on a different meaning since the COVID-19 pandemic. As the vaccine rollouts start to bring hope and safety, we have the option to explore new destinations while maintaining good practices for the benefit of our own health.
If you’re planning on travelling in the next few days, we wish you a happy and safe trip!