Post Corona - The Return to Local Travel
Four months have passed since the Coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China. Most cities and many countries are on lockdown, with heavy financial penalties imposed against violators. As the world reacts to the pandemic under instruction from the World Health Organization to curb the spread of this virus, our lives are impacted in an unprecedented way.
We’ve all been robbed of our basic human rights like never before. The freedom to walk down the street, to visit parents and grandparents, to socialize with friends, to go out for lunch or dinner, to go to the movie theater. We’ve almost been robbed of our basic right to exist. Solitude isn’t a strong human trait. Perhaps some of you loners are better equipped to handle this, but the imposed imprisonment is chipping away at our collective sanity. Whenever this is over the entire human population will want one thing more than anything else; to leave the confines of their homes and travel the world, starting with the immediate surroundings.
Local travel will be first on people’s agendas. Inexpensive, fast and under the circumstances just as exciting as getting on a plane for a few hours to somewhere new. As the weather gets warmer we can expect to see people at beaches and parks, swimming pools and recreational facilities, hiking trails and picnics, tailgates and barbecues.
People all over the world will rejoice in being outdoors again, albeit at distant proximities to one another. And as the globally imposed lockdown is suspended we can expect social distancing laws to be the norm for some time. Then little by little, month after month governments will ease the restrictions until they are completely removed one day.
Savvy travel companies are now forecasting the next few months, and some brave ones are placing bets and planning accordingly, allocating budgets and assigning resources. So, what are the expectations?
* Road Trips: Inexpensive, immediate and with little time needed for planning, traveling by car/camper will be extremely popular. Whether driving cross country through the American plains, taking a European trip to Tuscany or transporting the family to the nearest lake or coastline, we expect people to take car trips; lots of them. Upon reaching their destinations we’ll be seeing lots of activities booked. This is an opportunity for car/camper rental companies, excursion companies and activity providers to ramp up their operations and make a quick profit.
* Bus Tours: The elderly and those without cars will most likely opt for bus tours. Again, not so much planning required. Select dates, an itinerary and they’re ready to go! We can expect guided culture tours, culinary classes, wine tasting and perhaps even a museum visit or two.
* Beach Hotels: Those lucky enough to have tucked away some savings will most certainly splurge on a hotel stay. Resorts will be the top selection here. Long stretches of coast line, large gaping windows, beautiful landscaping, blue, sunny skies.
* Amusement Parks: We expect an equal ratio of adults to kids here. Everyone is desperate for some fun! Theme parks, water parks, county fairs…be prepared for hoards of happy starved people!
* Restaurants: Believe it or not. Yes! Eating out will be THE THING for quite some time. We expect empty kitchens and dining tables at home. We all crave the simple culinary joys of life. A juicy diner style burger with a heaping plate of curly fries, a table adorned with sushi rolls of all shapes, colours and sizes; and pizza…hmmmmmmm…lots of delicious, cheesy pizza. Now is the time to prepare for additional capacities, outdoor seating arrangements and healthy appetites.
* Nature preserves: What better way to celebrate our God given freedom than with the rest of God’s beautiful creatures. Those with their finances in better order will be able to afford these amazing experiences.
* Eco lodges: In line with the current “accidental” environmental benefits that we’ve induced by staying home and bringing global industry to a halt, we expect conscientious people to uphold these positive changes and continue to make an effort to reduce our carbon foot-print.
To conclude, we believe companies operating without a focus on local travel will have to wait longer to get their businesses back up. Airlines need to figure out how they can operate without taking losses, and we expect to see large-scale consolidations and mergers before airports are busy again.
So, think global…act local!
Nevertheless, global travel companies should start planning now. All the wise ones have started placing their bets, because when the traffic comes, it’ll hit hard…in a good way.
Good luck and stay safe.