As they do at the beginning of each year, businesses are looking at future tourism trends. Here is my report.
The 8 tourism trends envisaged for 2021
Several travel companies have conducted surveys in 2020 to find out what the tourism trends will be in 2021. Expedia, a popular website for buying flights and travel packages is one of those.
The company analyzed the major “travel and vacation” trends that seem to be on the horizon for Canadians. Skyscanner did the same, this time using data retrieved from its search engine.
Finally, Booking.com surveyed over 20,000 people from 28 countries including Canada. Respondents completed an online survey on 2021 trends in July 2020.
And there’s probably more.
So what do we agree on? What will be the travel trends in 2021?
First of all, let us rejoice in the fact that the desire to travel still exists. More shy for some, but still alive.
1- Looking for destinations with high health and safety standards
The majority of travellers will first be interested in 2021 in travelling to places where safety and health standards are high.
This is the case for the countries and/or provinces visited, as well as the airports, airlines and accommodation used. The requirement for negative PCR tests does not appear to be a problem.
66% of those surveyed said they would agree to travel to destinations that conduct testing upon arrival, and 64% would not mind wearing a mask in public places.Booking
However, the quarantine on return still represents a serious concern and reason for not leaving the country.
And let me add that until Canada lifts its advisory, many Canadians will choose to stay in the country.
2- The quality/price ratio
The financial impact of the pandemic on travellers will make them want to optimize their purchases. In addition, they call for flexibility. This is part of the tourist trends where everyone is rallying.
It’s no secret that more travellers will want to buy when the product is refundable or when travel dates can be changed at no cost. With what many have experienced since March 2020: laborious repayments and unwanted credits, or even losses, it is understandable.
Booking.com therefore provides for highly flexible cancellation conditions in 2021. And read this:
This will allow the client to recover 100% of the sums, even in case of cancellation on his own initiative.Booking
We are ready for this trend.
3- Travel longer, but less often
The pandemic will have allowed many travellers to question the health of the planet. They are concerned about their carbon footprint and their impact on local populations. This awareness could influence the choice of destinations to avoid mass tourism in favour of less known corners.
The Booking.com poll highlights the fact:
63% of travellers expect the tourism industry to provide more sustainable options. Even if it means traveling less often, but longer.Booking
Here too, this trend concerns all companies. In 2021, planes won’t be as popular, according to the same survey.
4- Last-minute trips
All the changes in regulation meant that people decided on a trip at the last minute (0-7 days):
- yellow, orange, red zones;
- groups of three family bubbles;
- six people maximum;
- road blocks between regions of different colours;
- lockdown, end of lockdown;
- opening, closing borders;
Then, depending on whether or not the famous curve stabilizes, this trend may be repeated in 2021.
5- Local stays are favoured
In 2020, Canadians explored the Canadian provinces, at last those that were open to them.
Many stayed in Quebec, sometimes in their backyard, or drove to Ontario. Others drove to the the Western provinces or have flown there. Visits to the big cities gave way to visits to their smaller sisters who allowed access to the outdoors.
Less crowds, more nature.
Forecasts show that 2021 will also echo this trend for nature getaways and local stays and will be here to stay.
In addition, a craze for alternative accommodations such as home exchange, cottage rentals, glamping experiences, tree houses and houseboats is emerging.
Skyscanner attributes this trend in part to travellers’ fear that borders will close.
Being stuck on the other side of the world can be stressful, as many people learned in 2020.Skyscanner
6- The desire to escape is always present
On lockdown and under a curfew, the travellers had plenty of time to clean up their photos of faraway travels, watch documentaries or read good travel blogs, sites and books.
They still need to dream, put their savings aside and prepare for their next big trip. Flying is not an issue for them.
7- Telework and workcation
Teleworking or workcation (work + vacation) will remain the trend.
Destinations such as Barbados, Bermuda, Anguilla, Georgia, Dubai or Estonia have started the ball rolling with adapted visas.
Hotels and Airbnb are increasingly looking at long-term rentals that put forward the quality of their WI-FI connection. These would allow the traveller, for example, to extend the stay after the holidays to return to work under the palm trees.
With apps such as Zoom or Teams, there is no reason not to keep in touch with the office. This is a trend that many people are pleased about.
8- The rise of contactless technologies
Many travellers believe that technology will help limit health risks when travelling and would like accommodations to be equipped with the latest technologies in this area to ensure their safety (e.g. contactless payment, mobile apps with notifications and alerts when government directives change).
So those are the trends. Let us hope that the vaccine, for those who want it, will allow this hard-hit industry to get back on its feet. Changes that will be temporary for some, but for the most part mark the new way forward. We look forward to seeing how the industry will respond.
Do you see yourself in these new trends?