Travel trends that satisfied wanderlust in 2021
Living like natives in a quaint village to get a real slice of local culture or bonding with nature during workations that lasted for months — travel in 2021 was about meaningful and enriching life experiences
Extended lockdown, limited social gathering and homestay compelled travel enthusiasts to think beyond and discover their love for travel again. Here are some popular trends from 2021:
As offices shut down, WFH gave us the freedom to work from anywhere. Many chose to combine work with leisure as they headed to exotic locations. “Workation saw a massive rise among professionals in 2021. With offices and schools shut, guests went to vacation homes with their families. Some of our bookings were extended to six months,” says Devendra Parulekar, founder SaffronStays. As people reported to work online, surrounded by mountains or sitting on a picturesque beach with their laptops, many felt that the soothing touch of nature improved their productivity. Hotels and vacation homes geared up to create remote work spaces by providing high-speed internet service, peaceful workspaces and study areas for children.
After being locked up in their homes for about a year, people flocked to popular tourist destinations and spent longer time than usual, as if they were settling scores with the coronavirus for inflicting boredom and monotony upon them. There was a deeper urge to explore new destinations and cultures, and unwind with family and friends. Travel became more of a need than desire for people. Sunil Suresh, chief marketing officer, goibibo says, “There was a 45% month-on-month increase in hotel bookings on our site as people opted for quick getaways around New Year.” The trend grew strong over the next few months, with travellers choosing long-duration stays. “As the second wave hit us, summer travel season was washout. But things normalised by the end of June and travellers hit the road with vengeance once again,” says Suresh.
Caravan travelling came up as one of the top domestic travel trends because of the safety bubble it offered. “Tourism in general went up in the second half of 2021. In this hike, caravan tourism also picked pace quite fast. It served the purpose of social distancing, hygiene and safety along with offering a unique travel experience to people ,” says Jigyasu Joshi,co-founder, Carvaa Travelers. Caravan travelling also provided travellers a lot of freedom and flexibility in their journey. They could relive the charm of a nomadic lifestyle while having access to modern amenities. People could take a halt at their own will, explore quaint locations, enjoy camping near a scenic lake or mountain, cook their own meals, and move ahead at their own pace. And families could also take their pets with them and carry extra baggage without any restrictions.
Community-based tourism became a popular concept in 2021 as people had a renewed desire to connect to rural communities and know more about their history, culture, tradition and cuisine. Tourists lived like natives in homestays and took part in farming, cooking, milking cows, taking them for a swim, learning village craft and storytelling. Community tourism tours to remote, unexplored villages in Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh helped people get an authentic insight into local culture, rituals and beliefs. It also helped empower small communities. “In 2021, we noticed that people became more thoughtful and they wanted to use travel to positively contribute to the communities they visited,” says Amanpreet Bajaj, general manager - Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
No Contact Travel
Also known as zero contact and contactless travel, this trend became a necessity after the lockdown. From airports to hotels, everyone came up with contactless services to ensure maximum safety. Self-check-in kiosks, contactless identification at security, contactless sanitisation of luggage at airports, hotels offering scanned menus for ordering food and online concierge services gave people the confidence to travel once again. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) was the first airport in India to introduce a QR-code based technology to give passengers contactless check-in experience. This technology allowed passengers to use their own phone to scan the QR code to remotely self-check-in, thus minimising surface contact.