The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought the travel and leisure industry to a standstill, but thanks to the hard work of many in the industry, things are starting to pick up. Holidaymakers may be able to give in to their wanderlust sooner than they thought – most UK hotels have started the process of reopening to tourists, and with the right safety measures, more will follow suit.
But after the three or more months of self-isolation and quarantine measures, the world of travel will look different. One big shift we’re likely to see? A move towards a more sustainable and mindful way of travelling after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Travelling safely in a post-COVID world
Many of us are already anticipating all the ways travel will be different from what we’re used to – and space is one of the biggest physical changes to expect.
Attention to social distancing
When it’s time to explore the UK again, we’re likely to see redesigns of communal spaces like service stations, train stations and restaurants.
We may see similar adjustments on trains, cruise ships and other popular ways to travel, so tourists and travellers can make the most of our re-introduced freedoms, in a safe way.
Ethical tourism in the UK
Coronavirus and lockdown have led to decreases in travel, decreased commuting and an increased sense of community. This is likely to continue as we rebuild our ‘new normal’. The decrease in movement has led to lower pollution levels than before the Industrial Revolution in the UK. And this isn’t likely to be forgotten.
A rise in staycations is expected, as well as a focus on sustainable methods of travel, including trains and electric vehicles.
But what does that mean for travellers? Conservation sites and accredited ethical initiatives may become much more popular as more holidaymakers concern themselves with sustainable travel. National parks, protected by the National Trust, and nature reserves that protect the natural environment and all the glorious flora and fauna within it, will be at the forefront of ethical tourism in the UK.
Hotels will also become more sustainable. Restaurants will serve more plant based meals and small actions like washing bedding and towels less frequently are expected. Activities like swimming, cycling and walking will also be more prevalent, as we appreciate our beautiful country and its diverse landscapes.
A greater focus on mindfulness
In the last few months, we’ve seen the internet flooded with images of the improved state of the environment during the lockdown. City skylines were unveiled through layers of smog and people took to their bicycles; travelling by foot to explore their local communities.
Even before the pandemic, the conversation around our individual carbon footprints and sustainability was becoming more prominent. With this new knowledge, we can expect tourism to become more mindful than ever before. Fewer people may get excited about posing in front of well-worn tourist attractions and be drawn towards experience-led holiday destinations, where we can impact the local community, health and wellbeing, and the planet.
Travelling after COVID-19—business as usual or a total reset?
We don’t expect the world of travel to return to ‘business as usual’ in a hurry but with those in the industry building more meaningful measures each day, we have much to look forward to.
Exploring the UK will be safer, and holidays can be more diversified with sustainability and mindfulness at the forefront.