2021: The Year of the Travel Reset

As the world is slowly recovering from COVID-19 and the opening of the borders once again, travel is expected to begin, but in a different manner from the pre-pandemic world.


Travel trends change, return and repeat almost every year. 2021, however, will be one of the most critical years for the tourism and travel industry in modern history. The coronavirus pandemic almost completely halted travel in 2020. The ensuing lockdown confined everyone, consumers and suppliers alike, in the bounds of their homes. And the pandemic and lockdown curbed any opportunity for a recreational journey and travel outing. Moreover, financial insecurity and the accompanying pains of a pandemic rooted out the concept of travelling from the general discourse.

Post-COVID World – A Changed Outlook and Mounting Challenges

In a post-COVID world, travellers worldwide will need to be cautious about going out to places and maintain the practice of physical social distancing. Travel businesses and start-ups need to be creative in creating ways that bypass public transport and heavy traffic areas. Customers will expect a more conservative and isolated approach to travel planning in the months and probably for some years to come.

Travel and tourism are going to change in their nature as people might shift from popular excursion choices like hiking, beach visiting, and mountaineering to remote locations or even more secluded niches such as birding tours and biking tours, where travellers are less likely to come into contact with others.

How can the travel trends change?

Changing travel modes and routes 

With the security concerns mounting and travel avenues opening up simultaneously, the travel industry is rightly focusing on implementing technological changes in their structure. A clean and connected experience of technology is at the forefront of the tourism industry. From airlines to hotels, all businesses walking the digital mile in the bid to lessen physical contact and reduce infection risk. In fact, some of the traditional travel industry players are offering safe digital travel solutions as exceptional and premium service. 

Travel co-ops, consultants and experts will shine

Thousands of tourists and ‘forced’ improvisers worldwide have gone through the constraints of travel and the confusion of information available on the internet. This is likely to last through most of 2021. Resultantly, vacationers are likely to hire travel co-ops and industry experts to guide them safely and shift responsibility for their travel to the companies.

The notion of famous tourist destinations will change

In pre-COVID times, a typical travel wish list constituted cities like Paris, London or New York, among other travel destinations. As a matter of fact, it took decades for these popular tourist destinations to become famous worldwide for their picturesque scenes and viable services.

But, due to the pandemic, their statuary peak travel destination status is endangered. That is because tourists are more inclined to visit places and countries where the populace has successfully coped with the COVID-19 crisis and are comparatively safer than others.

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The pandemic and subsequent lockdown curbed any opportunity for a recreational journey and travel outing. And the accompanying pains of a pandemic rooted out the concept of travelling from the general discourse.

Opportunity in Adversity – Positive Reinforcement

With significant uncertainty over travel safety and conflicting information on the internet, travellers will continue to rely on experts to plan their trips. Impressively enough, as travel is becoming more complex, technology is evolving simultaneously in assisting businesses to deal with the challenges. 

Start-ups and companies are coming up with new-tech to help people book flights while telling them about safe zones and pointing out disease hotspots. This is just one of many changes sweeping the travel industry.  Travellers are working with travel agents to manage complex aviation and health regulations.

What’s in it for the travel businesses and industry at large?

Making your travel business a reliable alternative for tourism assistance will help you attract more and better customers. While, it is not yet sure when the world will travel freely again, many people across the globe are already eager to plan a trip with their family and friends.

As mentioned above, post-COVID passengers will hire travel experts to organise a safe trip for them. And with a focus on the new complexities of international passengers, compliance with safety regulations and protocols, careful study of transportation and accommodation will be the primary needs for customers. In this way, existing players and new emerging entrepreneurs already represented in the travel industry must satisfy this need of travellers and offer them innovative and straightforward solutions. 

As the world prepares to bring stability with the COVID-19 vaccines in reach, entrepreneurs must work to meet the critical needs of the vast travel enthusiasts’ market. 

In a nutshell, in 2021, travellers will be more conscientious about how they travel. Travel companies can help travellers minimise their journey’s footprint and make sure their presence has a positive (not for COVID) impact on their travel destination.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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