By: Mohamed Rehan
The international travel industry took a heavy brunt in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic that hit globally. Countries across the world were affected resulting in border closures that inadvertently put a halt on the aviation industry collectively.
But the worst may be over now, and with major countries slowly lifting up their respective travel restrictions mean the travel industry is once again on the path of recovery – which soon will reach towards a boom, but an entirely different one this time.
One thing that came along with Covid-19 was the necessity for technological companies to research and develop applications to be integrated into traveling. This has resulted various travel solutions and new products that the post-Covid travelers will utilize greatly. But how has the pandemic transformed the prospects of the entire travel industry.
Surveys have indicated that keen travelers will be looking for opportunities to book ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip, now more than ever. The underlying reason to this may be that people across the world, who are potential consumers of the travel industry were locked in for considerable durations in their hometowns without the possibility of venturing out.
Add that along with the faint, yet obvious notion among travelers that they might experience similar pandemics again in their lifetime and they wish to travel to far or remote locations that the travelers have been unfamiliar with – because of the thrill and excitement it provides. This could be the reason why bookings to Peruvian cities of Lima and Cusco are up by 50%, while flights to Petra are up by 22% - these are notable locations for the Western world due to the cultural and natural significance they hold.
Meanwhile, real-time tracking and mapping applications primarily with a travel focus are becoming increasingly popular among the youngsters who are using these technological advancements to track their in-country traveling. Popular applications such as Foursquare, Skyscanner and Moovit are a few of the notable additions into the travel sector that allow users to find cheap transportation deals including flight, bus or even train fares and shorter routes to reach the desired destinations of the travelers.
This could be one of the reasons why short-haul traveling will be another popular trend to look out for in the upcoming years; meaning Maldives too, may observe a potential surge in travelers from India, Sri Lanka and across other countries in the South Asian region. India is already the strongest source market to Maldives and may just be the strongest contributor in terms of travelers to the island nation even in the upcoming year.
For countries like India or any other South Asian country, accessibility to Maldives have been improved in the recent months with lift off of travel restrictions. Meanwhile, the formation of an air-bubble between both India and Maldives will further act as a catalyst to boost aviation in the region.
Maldivian tourism industry stands to observe significant growth due to aforementioned aspects as well as the potential rise in tourist arrivals in large groups – mainly families or groups of friends traveling together. This trend is on the rise due to the cut down on expenditure since the members of the traveling groups will balance the expenses among them during their stay.
The resulting effect could also imply an increment in the average guest stay duration in the Maldives, which as of 10th November 2021 had increased to 8.5-days from 8.3-days in October. There is ample possibility for the average to stay between 10 to 12 days in the upcoming year, provided that the pandemic’s worse effects are behind us.
Should the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic’s condition deplete in the coming months, then the chances of improved international aviation and travel is obvious. While the pandemic has put a lasting effect technologically, this change has resonated through the travel industry as well and will be vividly observable in the prospective years. What awaits now, is for us to observe how these changes will shape up the traveler experiences holistically.