6 Travel Trends To Look Out For When The World Reopens For Leisure Travel


Cheng Sim •  Jul 27, 2021

It's been almost two years since the travel industry came to a halt, and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we travel. Now that we see more countries slowly and safely reopening their borders to vaccinated tourists, it sends a glimmer of hope that leisure travel will resume sooner than anticipated. While we wait for that day to come, here are some travel trends to look out for when leisure travel is back!

6 Travel Trends To Look Out For When Leisure Travel Resumes

1. Vacations for vaccinated tourists

Travel trends for post pandemic travels

While the world is ramping up their COVID-19 vaccination rates, this led to popular tourist destinations reopening for fully vaccinated travellers. Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus Programme are two quarantine-free travel initiatives that kick started in July 2021 to revive the tourism sector in Thailand. Vaccinated travellers are allowed to enter Phuket and Koh Samui without undergoing a 14-day quarantine as long as they are fully vaccinated. This has inspired Phu Quoc in Vietnam and Langkawi in Malaysia to do the same for their country's tourism industry.

We're also seeing more European countries like Switzerland, Netherlands, and Finland lifting up their borders for vaccinated tourists. This travel trend is expected to power through until 2022 as countries are aiming to achieve herd immunity by the year end or early 2022.

2. Contactless travels

If you're planning to travel post pandemic, you can expect contactless passenger experience from the airport to your flight. Changi Airport has rolled out contactless check-in kiosks, bag drop machines, and auto clearance immigration lanes to minimise contact between airport staff and passengers.

Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, which was recently opened in June 2021, has also incorporated self check-in kiosks, self boarding gates, and AI robot concierges to keep passengers' journey safe all the way.

3. Digital passports

Travel trends for post pandemic travels
Credit: Malindo Air on Facebook

Digital passport is the future of post-pandemic travel. In 2021, we've already seen Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and Malindo Air trialing the IATA Travel Pass, a secure mobile app that allows travellers to store and manage verified certifications required for their future travels including COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. Another alternative for Malaysians travelling to Singapore, both governments are in talks to recognise Malaysia's MySejahtera as vaccination passport to enter Singapore.

Chances are high for Japan to introduce CommonPass, a digital health app developed with the involvement of the World Economic Forum, as the country's choice of vaccine passport. The EU Digital Covid Certificate has also been introduced for European Union citizens and residents who want to travel to another EU country.

4. COVID-19 insurance coverage

Getting COVID-19 insurance coverage will be paramount for post-pandemic travels. If you're travelling to Thailand via Phuket Sandbox, the requirements include a COVID-19 health insurance policy with a minimum coverage of USD 100,000 (RM415,250).

For travellers entering Singapore via Air Travel Pass or Reciprocal Green Lane, travel insurance for COVID-19 related medical treatments and hospitalisation costs in Singapore with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 (RM93,328) is required.

5. 'Clean and safe' certification for hotels

Travel trends for post pandemic travels

In an effort to boost travel confidence, more governments and tourism ministries are issuing 'clean and safe' certification for hotels and other premises. In Singapore, SG Clean campaign was launched where a quality mark is given to hotels that meet sanitation requirements and hygiene standards. Indonesia also introduced CHSE certification that's awarded to tourism businesses and destinations that implement hygiene, health, and safety measures.

Phuket takes a step further by encouraging vaccinated travellers to stay in SHA Plus certified hotels, a certification by Thailand’s Safety and Health Administration (SHA). The certification guarantees that public health measures are adhered to and more than 70% of the hotel staff have been vaccinated.

6. Travelling to 'second cities'

Travel trends for post pandemic travels

The trend of travelling to a second city might take off post-pandemic. Instead of planning to trip to popular and crowded destinations like Tokyo, Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur, travellers might be eyeing on quieter second cities like Osaka, Koh Samui, and Penang instead. It's also partly motivated by international airlines offering routes to smaller destinations. Combined with cheaper travel expenses and fewer tourist crowds, travelling to second cities might just be the next big thing when leisure travel resumes.

It may be awhile before we can travel safely like we used to. However, with more countries ramping up their vaccination program and reopening their borders to vaccinated travellers, it won't be long before we can leisure travel once more.