The year 2020 will be remembered as a year of misery and lost hope. The days were gloomy and depressing. Life came to a standstill with lockdown and social distancing measures. I stay in one of the most vibrant and bustling cities in the world, Mumbai, the financial capital of India. It’s known as the “city that never sleeps” as no natural calamity, riots, threats could lay the city in silence. But this pandemic brought this lively and high-spirited city to a halt. It was melancholic to see empty roads and fear on people’s faces. Yes, of course we were not alone, the world was shut and mankind was suffering.
Survival was the only goal and amongst the commotion of fear of virus, loss of job, stress and anxiety and it gave rise to the greatest virtues of patience, faith, respect and love in the world. People found time for their loved ones, distances bridged the gaps in families, health care workers were seen with greater respect, the privileged started to help the needy & motivated many to follow suit while alternative professions saw an upward surge.
Travel & tourism witnessed a monumental setback and was the most effected sector. The COVID-19 outbreak was so sudden and of epic proportions that it spread panic and unrest globally amongst travelers. 2020 has been a washout and we are already into 2021 where we are witnessing new strains of the virus globally after a sudden drop in cases across many countries. The situation is far from settled even though vaccination drives have started in many countries. Borders continue to be closed majorly and yet to open for leisure & business travel globally. Living with restrictions and safety measures is the new norm. Humanity is adapting to the new socio-economic behavior but like they say “life must go on”; change has come and mankind has to adapt & survive.
Having been confined within their home for almost an entire year, homo-sapiens across the globe are eager to embark on their next sojourn. It’s been scientifically proven that people travel for varied reasons though the most common reason at the moment seems to be escapism.
Loss of job, a bad break-up, loss of loved ones or most importantly, stuck at home for almost a year sounds scary and daunting. The freedom to breathe fresh air, the feel of green grass and the thrill & chill of beachy waters is what most of us are longing for. 12-long months of home confinement and lockdowns have taught us to deal with virus threats and to some extent, the steps to stay safe outdoors.
2021 has begun with positive trends in domestic travel which is witnessing good traffic, people are exploring in-country locales and thus, confidence in travel is coming back. Few countries like Dubai and Maldives continue to welcome tourists with COVID-19 safe protocols while travel rules overall have undergone a revolutionary change.
Take a sneak preview to Travel Trends of Year 2021.
- Workcation: People across the global are functioning from safe locations, mainly from home. “Work from home” has made life, both, easy and difficult. The good part is one can work from any remote location and long/short vacay without effecting their work commitments. We shall see a rise in solo travel, nearby venues that offer good internet bandwidth and decent accommodation amidst natural landscapes.
- Staycation: Airbnb reports indicate that Indian travelers are seeking cozy and warm hospitality of homestays, guest houses and villas. Exclusivity in accommodation is in demand and travelers are preferring closer destinations within their own states. The idea is to avoid stress of varying COVID-19 regulations for different states. The locales that are fast accessible from mainstream cities via air and road, quiet & serene with parks and scenic views play a vital role in arriving at a preferred bucket list.
Farm stays, Cottages, Independent Bungalows, Farm Houses will be the gainers this year.At present, the travel segment is focused towards developing home-grown tourism.
- Road Travel: Nearby Stays closer to metros and cities see a rise. Guests will be looking at destinations that are at a drivable distance to rejuvenate. Travelers are opting for places such as Shimla, Mussoorie, Kasauli, Lansdowne, Alibaug, Mahabaleshwar and more.
- Make Shift Offices: According to Airbnb reports entrepreneurs and self-employed are on the look for a hub to inspire creativity, digital nomads who are willing to work long hours from anywhere. Authors, musicians, artists are looking stays with private spaces or retreats in suburbans.
- Weekend Retreats: City Hotels are coming out with weekend & festivals deals that are garnering quite an audience.
Travel Experts are of opinion that India will continue in travel spotlight globally. With International Travel still not operational and holiday season just around the corner domestic tourism is sure to see bookings in larger volumes.
Airbnb search data reveals that most searched cities in India globally are Kasol, Mangalore, Igatpuri, Alibaug, Haridwar, Karjat on the list.
Meandering is not only comforting but it has the power to heal. A new place at times works wonders for the mind, body & soul. And when you return to your life-you’re indeed a new self. So, go ahead and take a break. Follow the new norms and live in the moment. It’s time to reboot your mood and get started with your travel itineraries.
Share your plans for this summer? And your Travel Story; you never know if your story finds its space on our social lawns.