Though it depends on which exact country you reside in, it’s safe to say that the situation regarding travel and vacations is looking a lot different now than it was a few months ago.
With vaccinations ongoing and most developed countries being close to majority-vaccinated, numbers of new Covid-19 cases are lower than they were six months ago. As a result, some travel opportunities have been opening back up.
However, it seems as though budget travel and frugal backpacking are still a bit behind, with the most opportunities being within the luxury travel market right now. Whilst budget airlines are struggling, business seats are still being purchased and yachts are still being rented out.
First and foremost, this is because many of the countries that are open to travel right now are in the developed world. For example, Iceland was one of the first countries in the world to accept vaccine passports to help facilitate holidays. However, the mixture between a pricey Scandinavian country and purchasing PCR tests to be “fit to fly” has resulted in most booking companies focusing on luxury travel.
We can see this on Original Travel currently. The luxury and bespoke travel booking service is doing very well at the moment due to its selection of European luxury holiday options; whether its a weekend in Oslo or a 3-day break in Venice, they’re helping customers over the phone, not just book holidays, but plan them, to help clear up the confusion.
This is something that Ryanair, Booking.com and other companies are lacking — customer support and advice. Service isn’t really included as part of the product, and it’s all facilitated online.
Another reason behind this trend towards luxury is because many developing countries are far behind with inoculations, and remain strict with border control. For example, much of Southeast Asia — a common backpacking destination — are either closed or only open to those willing to quarantine for 10+ days.
Furthermore, many citizens in places like the UK actually go abroad for affordable travel, whilst taking a holiday within the UK is seen as the luxury option. This is because a cottage in Cornwall is more expensive than a villa in Spain, and the budget airline flights are cheaper than a train ticket to the west country.
Much of the public are worried about Spain changing colour on the traffic light system, which could lead to getting stuck abroad or paying a lot for UK hotel quarantine. Of course, the many tests you have to take back and forth are expensive too. This rules out Spain, but the luxury travel market remains open within the UK. For example, yacht chartering is on the rise with AirBnB-style marketplaces for renting out a boat.
Eventually, it will become easier to cross borders, but there’s no sign of dropping the testing requirements. For as long as these are in place, we will see a shift towards luxury travel for those who can afford the obstacles, and have the help of bespoke travel services to organise and advise on the situation.
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