As the global coronavirus pandemic winds down and more people across the globe are vaccinated, a resemblance of life before COVID will start to take shape. This will be true for the travel industry as people emerge from quarantine lockdowns and limited outdoor movement. With three vaccines being distributed, Dave Highbloom, an avid traveler, adventurer, and thrill seeker, believes that many people are waiting for the end of summer before re-emerging for travel purposes. Labor Day is the target date and will be a pivotal point marking not only the end of summer but the re-emergence of travel adventures both personally and professionally.
Leading people to venture away from home will be one of American’s favorite travel pastimes – the Road Trip. According to a 2019 survey by MMGY Global, a travel, hospitality, and entertainment marketing firm, the Great American Road Trip has seen a 64 percent increase since 2015. Highbloom says this will continue to rise through the summer months. Taking a road trip provides a safe buffer for people still cautious about the virus. It allows social distancing while delivering a very impactful and meaningful sense of freedom that has been missing from people’s lives over the course of the pandemic. Travel and Leisure magazine has some excellent road trip suggestions for all age groups.
The other highly sought-after destination post-COVID will be tropical destinations. The reasoning behind this is quite simple: very few destinations offer the highest level of relaxation like a beachy, warm, tropical destination. Highbloom agrees that many people need to relax and unwind from the twists and turns of the COVID experience. Mental health and emotional fatigue are running high in America, and travelers seeking to recharge will ultimately look to tropical destinations. Highbloom anticipates the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas will be atop the destination list for many.
Surges in international travel will follow domestic but most likely not until the end of the year. A recent Washington Post article suggests that travelers are still very much aware of the possible spread of new super strains, lagging vaccination rollouts, and unforeseen risks. The good news is that the American travel mindset has changed. Traveling is cleaner, prices are lower, and airports aren’t as crowded (for now).
Another milestone Highbloom anticipates in 2021 is the return of bustling streets and entertainment venues in NYC and Las Vegas. The return to Broadway theaters, along with the glitter and glamor of casinos, will surge in popularity, stimulating tourism and local economies and setting the stage for a full return toward normalcy.