After last year, with any and all travel coming to a large halt, it’s no secret that once the COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted, people began traveling at an astonishing rate. But lifted lockdowns did more than just create a surplus of travelers, the whole experience led to the creation of new travel trends and increases in other well-known sectors of travel. People began to realize what they want out of travel, how they want to travel (given all that’s happened), and other destinations figuring out new ways in which they will handle an influx of visitors.
Some of these new emerging trends include:
1. Off the Grid
This kind of travel is for those who want to “unplug” from their social life and escape any and all distractions. Usually this results in going to a somewhat remote place where wifi is limited and the tranquil peace and quiet allows for rest and relaxation. Off the grid usually includes camping or being outdoors in different locations. However, some places have specifically made off the grid-like accommodations due to the growing number of people needing to escape their everyday life.
This is a new travel trend that has picked up due to people having to work from home throughout the past year. It’s essentially a way for people to extend their planned vacation for a few days due to their ability to work right from their vacation spot, as wifi permits. In addition, people are realizing the need for new scenery other than their home or office. Not only is this going to continue to grow, but certain locations are catering to the travel work life balance by offering supreme spots with good wifi service and even allowing for longer stay visas to be acquired. This allows for the worker to not only have new experiences from being in a new place, but to not have the added stress of taking more days off and the added stress of coming back to work after a vacation.
3. Domestic Travel
While domestic travel isn’t something new, it’s definitely picked up due to people feeling more comfortable traveling within their boundaries for the time being. Locations with a variety of outdoor recreation activities, National Parks throughout the U.S. being one of the largest travel sectors, have seen an increase in visitors since 2019. People are re-discovering familiar locations and having new experiences right in their own backyard. This has caused more homeowners to rent out their properties or rooms to accommodate the new influx of visitors that want to travel while staying close to home.
4. Sustainable/ Eco- Friendly Travel
Due to climate change not only changing the physical environment, but perspectives of what it means to be sustainable, the idea of having travel destinations incorporate eco-friendly and sustainable practices is only going to propel forward. Over the past few years, people have been becoming more aware of how they impact the environment. During the pandemic many were made aware of what their impacts were on not just each other, but the environment as well. This only added to people wanting to travel to eco-friendly destinations and help play their part in not adding to more environmental damage. While many places around the world are realizing the need to incorporate more sustainable practices, the travelers booking and demanding more sustainable accommodations and activities is largely going to contribute to the growth of the tourism industry, in a hopeful direction towards more action being taken to address climate change.
Aside from these and other trends growing and finding their niche within the travel tourism industry, different travel trends are helping lead to more tourism dispersal opportunities for places that have only ever seen massive amounts of overcrowding in their tourist hotspots.
What is tourism dispersal?
Tourism dispersal is a way to “steer” visitors to new or “lesser-known areas” as a means to not only see more of what the destination has to offer, but to help with the influx of tourists that normally crowd specific areas (i.e. city centers, main attractions).
Local governments and other travel organizations within high foot traffic tourist destinations are beginning to take on this concept and are “spreading out” the visitors. In doing this, the goal is to help the main attractions and locals who live in overcrowded locations have more of an even distribution of the tourists. It also allows for new areas to benefit from the tourism economy.
With this new strategy, it’s only natural that locals who are used to the hustle and bustle of tourists coming and going regularly, will have a difference of opinion and perspective than those who live outside the city or main attraction centers who aren’t as used to the crowds. Those always experiencing the crowds will benefit from this idea to spread out the visitors, but it will be an adjustment to other locals who may feel distressed from the pick-up of visitors within their area.
Still, with any tourism destination, it’s a balancing act between caring for the local citizens and environment while still promoting the beloved tourist attractions. It’s not that these well-known tourist hotspots don’t want people visiting, but rather the need to find a sustainable way to balance the overcrowding that happens which causes local frustration and environmental damage. Tourism dispersal is a strategy that if done sustainably and with the inclusion of the local government, businesses, and people, can be rewarding to all.
The trends mentioned above and more will continue to grow and find their place within the travel tourism industry. There is the potential that many of these trends, either by them increasing or new ones coming to the market, will help with tourism dispersal due to consumers being more aware of why they want to travel, and more demanding about how they plan to go about it. Local governments and businesses will also be able to have more opportunities to benefit from tourism dispersal due to the trends covering a wider variety of travel interests.
It’s important to note that many places, domestic and abroad, are still figuring out how to handle the higher volume of tourists after a year of very little foot traffic. This means that the places you wish and plan to go to, might need some more time to “bounce back” and figure out new ways in which they will handle visitors in a new, post-pandemic world.
With all that’s happened, travel trends will allow for destinations to create new ways in which they will cater and support not only the visitors, but the destination’s people and environment. It will look different than before, but more trends allows for more ways in which to better handle the impacts of tourism on a variety of levels.
ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.