As a travel advisor in the last few months, I have seen the world turn upside down and backwards. So when the state department lifts the level 4 advisory, we get clearance from the CDC and the World Health Organization and the world has reopened, how will travel look different than it did before?
Clearly I don’t have a crystal ball, but based on what I have seen from travel suppliers the last 2 months and in conversations with my personal travel customers, the key ingredient going forward will be health. Traveler’s health, the health of those around them and the health of the locations they will be traveling to.
The biggest fear that most have are lockdowns and forced isolation while traveling. Nobody wants to be the next headline because of an outbreak or resurgence. While the world awaits a vaccine, the biggest change will be focused on traveler safety. Potential implementation of temperature screenings at TSA, planes may be emptier possibly with blocked middle seats. Proof of health may be mandatory by cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts and possibly even countries like Italy that were hit hard by the pandemic. Cleaning protocols of public space will be expected to be shared with procedures becoming mainstream. Medical protocols will be expanded with scripted plans of action. Gone will be the days of just picking up trash between flights and not wiping down highly touched spaces between guests. The biggest change will probably be masks, gloves and easy access to sanitizers and wipes will be the new normal.
Not all changes are bad though.
The past few years has seen a rise in over-tourism which has brought concerns about sustainability and emphasized a need for ecotourism. These will all come into play as borders re-open. Destinations will get a chance to start over with new limitations, reduced carbon footprints and return to focusing on the enjoyment of travel through less crowds and more authentic experiences.