It goes without saying that the pandemic is impacting the travel industry heavily, whilst positively affecting staycations, glamping and ultra-local tourism. Airbnb recently reported that the top 10 trending destinations for Brits are all in their own country, the most popular spots being St Clears in Wales, Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, and fishing village Clovelly in Devon. A clear manifestation of the trend to nurture nature. In Hong Kong, Airbnb also noted an increase in bookings on the remote islands in the metropolis’ backyard. In an attempt to support local tourism in Australia and encourage people to return to flying, Qantas launched ‘mystery flights’; the passengers didn’t know their destination, but chose an experience: wine-making, snorkeling, a gourmet lunch…
For safety and confidence
The industry is hoping that the European Vaccine Passport will kick-start the upcoming summer season. Alaska Airlines, with 115 destinations in the US and North America, is already aware of the passengers’ need for a pleasant and safe travel process. They have made extensive changes to the airports to reduce contacts and optimize hygiene, and are also using VeriFLY, a mobile digital health passport, making it faster and easier for passengers to check and gather the required documents. Tourism New Zealand is informing travelers of the ‘Tiaki Promise’, a set of guidelines visitors can follow to travel through the country safely and conscientiously. In South Africa, the app Safe Pace was developed for women to walk or run more safely at night and in the dark.
With remote working as the new normal, there is an increasing demand for a ‘workation’. Hotels need to rethink their offer, focusing on fast Wi-Fi connections, conveniently placed power outlets and ergonomic workstations. TUI came up with such a B2B ‘workation’ offering. In Japan, national parks investigated how to welcome teleworkers; they are building workstations in the middle of nature, using tents with portable power sources and Wi-Fi hotspots. Overseas professionals can apply for a one-year remote-work visa to live in Dubai while working abroad, and a similar visa also is also available for Barbados, Bermuda, Iceland, Estonia, Croatia and Georgia.
The search for sentimental optimism
During the pandemic, travel organizations and destinations searched for new ways to interact with customers and prospects. Singapore Airlines offered dinners from $40 (economy) to $470 (first class) in an unused Airbus A380 at Changi Airport – they sold out in 30 minutes. After a temporary closure, the Japanese hot-spring holiday destination Arima launched a ‘virtual reality’ experience; the senses are immersed in an ASMR mix of running water, a gentle breeze and nightingales singing, and with VR glasses on in your own tub, you feel as if in an ‘onsen‘ (hot-spring bath).
Airbnb partnered with the last Blockbuster store in Oregon to offer on-site one-night stays for $4 – the price of a rental movie. The stay for four includes a seat, beanbags and ‘90s movies for those looking for a touch of sentimental optimism. The range of Oneroommaking includes an LED light in the shape of an airplane window – with sunset! – for those that are really nostalgic about airplane traveling. The finishing touch for your home office!