What the Future of Adventure Travel Looks Like

If the travel experts we spoke to agree on one thing, the future of adventure travel remains bright despite the unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic. “There’s nothing in my 35 years in the adventure travel industry that comes close to that,” says Ben Bressler, CEO of Natural Habitat Adventures, a sustainable travel company. “But if 9/11, SARS and the financial collapse of 2008 taught us anything, it’s important that we adapt quickly and become more resilient at the other end.”

This is especially true for adventure trips that by nature offer all the conditions for an antidote after the pandemic, with an emphasis on small group trips, less touristy destinations and large open spaces. According to an ongoing survey by Destination Analysts, a tourism research and marketing company, more than half of U.S. travelers report avoiding crowded destinations once most restrictions have eased.

What can we expect from the next few months and beyond? Our sources acknowledge that it’s impossible to be sure of anything when we experience a new normal, and they note that a second wave of COVID-19 hits will lead to setbacks. Our return to travel depends on a variety of factors, including “when economies and borders will reopen, how companies will change their operations, whether airlines will conduct rapid COVID-19 testing and, ultimately, when a vaccine will be available,” says Sandy Cunningham, a longtime adventure travel specialist and co-founder of outside GO, the Outside travel company.

The results show that travelers are ready to get there once it is safe. A recent report by Skift Research, the data analysis arm of the travel trade publication, found that “one-third of Americans in our survey report starting to travel within three months of the lifting of travel restrictions.”Most of our experts agreed that travel, just as states and countries are now making gradual reopening, will likely reflect this process, first with near-home excursions, Camping and Roadtrips, then domestic flights, finally followed by international travel. The first steps are already underway with the reopening of national parks, beaches and other parts of the country.

Many have also noted that their guests have decided to postpone trips rather than cancel them, indicating that they will do so once it is safe to try the water. Such changes helped some OEMs stay afloat during this time. Outfitters see an increase in new bookings for the future.

In the meantime, it is hoped that travelers will take more thoughtful and sustainable paths. “We have the opportunity to make changes for which we may never have had the freedom,” says Shannon Stowell, President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). “If there was a time to rebuild properly, the world has the possibility.”

From new health and safety protocols to an increase in more significant trips on the bucket list, our experts predict that trips will change in the future.

Adventure travel will be the first to return. 

(Photo: Bobby Stevenson/Unsplash)

“Adventure travelers are naturally more intrepid, more willing to make the sacrifices necessary to experience the extraordinary, and they are likely to lead the way,” says Richard Bangs, co-founder of Mt Sobek and the Steller travel app and a member of Expedia’s founding team. Stowell agrees: “some aspects of adventure travel mean it will be a more attractive Option than ever. Closed places such as mass tourism resorts and packed sites will be much less.”

MT Sobek’s future bookings reflect travelers looking for more remote destinations, with increased interest in Alaska and chartered raft trips. To meet this demand, the company recently launched a series of private trips to national parks and other native wilderness areas.

Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest small group adventure company, notes a similar twist to these types of trips. “We’re seeing an increase in interest from our North American customers for active tours that include outdoor experiences like Trekking, hiking, and biking,” says James Thornton, its CEO.

James Sano, vice president of Travel, Tourism and nature protection at the World Wildlife Fund, who has more than 35 years of experience in the sector, says he has witnessed the repeated return of adventure travelers after previous troubles such as SARS. “They are often early adopters and their risk tolerance is greater,” he says. “I think they will be on the front line.”

The first wave will be a return to local and domestic travel, with an emphasis on camping and road trips.

Our experts agree on how the trip will open, but the timing remains uncertain. Simply put, Bangs refers to a quote from writer William Goldman about cinema: “no one knows rien.La fringe awaits the return in stages:” a: Explore where we live. Secondly: take excursions to nearby state parks and beaches. Third: take Interstate trips to national parks, river walks, and hikes. Fourth: make short domestic flights to wild destinations. “For many states and national parks that have begun to open gradually, the first two stages have already begun.

In the third stage, certain difficulties may arise. Travellers must be informed and follow the medical instructions of the federal government and the Länder. But that hasn’t stopped Roadtripper from planning—there’s been an increase in bookings at Outdoorsy, a motorhome. “We found that since April 1, our average daily orders have increased by 450% and traffic to our website has increased compared to the previous year,” said Jeff Cavins, CEO, who works closely with RV owners to implement new cleaning methods. “Once it’s safe, I think people will have a strong desire to control the cleanliness and safety of their environment, to step back and not worry about safety lines, tight seats or crowded places.”RV Share, the Airbnb – style RV rental marketplace, recently announced the highest number of bookings since its inception-650% growth since early April.

Camping is located in a way that becomes even more popular after blocking restrictions. A recent KOA study found that camping probably accounts for 16% of tourist trips after a pandemic, compared to 11% previously recorded. The report also shows that blocking could create a new class of campers, as 32% of campers who had never stayed in a camp expressed an interest in leaving. Campers also plan to take risks responsibly-70% said they camp close to home and 68% are willing to travel to less popular places to avoid overcrowding.

Camping and road trips are also more feasible when many of us are facing financial uncertainty. “A critical factor that the travel industry as a whole should take into account in the coming months is that many people lost their jobs or were forced to cut wages during this period, so long-distance travel might not be possible,” Cavins of Outdoorsy said. Of the potential vacationers surveyed in the KOA report, 41% found that they were most interested in its availability.

Then come domestic flights, where adventurers seek out wild off-grid destinations for independent trips and small organized group trips. “Guided courses offer the possibility of adventures without particular risk, which goes hand in hand with self – activity,” said Alex Kosseff, executive director of the American Mountain guide Association. While 6,000 guides and instructors experienced massive cancellations this spring, they’re hoping for a big comeback once it’s safer to travel within the country.

As for international travel, OUTFITTERS notice a new trend among customers. Thornton, of Intrepid Travel, said: “May 2021 is the most popular time to book trips, which is usually a longer booking window than we used to. Those making new international bookings plan to travel a little earlier, most in March 2021.”meanwhile, some countries, such as Iceland, Vietnam and Greece, plan to reopen their borders in mid-June.

Scott Case, founder of the Scotts Cheap Flights newsletter, thinks travel will come back sporadically until the final breakthrough happens-whether it’s a vaccine or gregarious immunity. “There will be no signal as clear as the end of fire training,” he says. “Instead, some places will open in front of others, and some places will probably go through waves of opening and closing.”

The number of trips in the bucket list will be increased.

What most of us have missed are not material things. We lack experience. “It’s a trip you’ve been telling yourself for six years, but not now that we feel safe again,” says Daniel Houghton, former CEO of Lonely Planet and author of Where you Go: a conscious, sustainable, life-changing Travel Guide. According to a recent survey by booking site Skyscanner of 2,200 travelers in the US, UK and Australia, “bucket list travel tops the list and 80% of Americans are likely to travel to their dream destination once restrictions are lifted.”

This is reflected in the most popular destinations for changes and new bookings. “The demand we see indicates a desire to find isolated places with natural habitat by checking the experiments on the bucket list,” Thornton says. His company sees most of its new orders in Peru, Ecuador, Antarctica, Greece and Japan, as well as most of its new orders in Antarctica, Ecuador, Peru, Egypt and Morocco in order of popularity. Similarly, Outside GO sees the greatest interest in Alaska and British Columbia this summer and fall and New Zealand in 2021.

This is also the right time to mark in the calendars adventures that are difficult to find only for permits that must be booked a year in advance.

And there will be suggestions.

“If that’s right, I’m not sure there’s a better time for a Thrifty Traveler,” says Houghton. “The industry has suffered a lot, and when the time comes, the journey we dreamed we could afford could be within reach.”This is especially true for flights, as airlines continue to reduce their future fares to encourage travelers to buy tickets now to travel on board.

According to Brian Kelly, CEO and founder of the points Guy, a travel site focused on loyalty programs and credit cards, “this is the perfect time to plan trips in the post-coronavirus world.Kelly has seen airlines offer fares under moins 100 in the Caribbean, open date ranges for Premium tickets in Europe for the winter holidays, and first class tickets in Japan for just 55,000 miles in January 2021.

In addition, there has been a 40% increase in what Case calls Scott’s cheap “wrong fares”: when technical failures force airlines to publish high-discount fares. “For airlines that are experiencing large interventions in their schedules, the side effect has been the increase in fares,” said Keyes, who saw a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile, worth$210.

However, before proceeding to the offers, carefully read the conditions for modification and cancellation of the airline policy and check your travel insurance for any cancellations for any reason.

Airlines will also not be the only place to find bargains. Visit Sicily recently announced that it will cover half the cost of the traveler’s flight and part of his hotel stay in order to inspire tourists to return to the Italian island. And some hotel chains offer ways for travelers to spend money now to travel later, which helps hotel staff pay or stay in health care. Cayuga Collections, a group of sustainable hotels in Central America, offers a green bond program that will double your investment in a future stay when you are ready to book a room. There will probably be even more travel offers.

We would like to spend time with our friends and family.

Multi-Ethnic Hiking Family Posing for Selfie on Remote Wilderness Beach

(Photo: Pamela Joe McFarlane/iStock)

“As many people are forced to part with friends and family, we expect travelers looking to make up for lost time with loved ones to have a meaningful experience,” said Allison Fleece, co-founder of Wow Travel, a women’s adventure travel company. “The pandemic ERA in which we live teaches us everything that is important in our lives and how fragile life can be, and we believe this is imposed by people’s choice to travel.”

After the blockage, trips of several generations will become a popular choice. “The reunion was a big part of our breakup, and what could be better than doing it with all of our loved ones in safe, wild places,” Cunningham said of Outside GO. In fact, the group retreats of the glamping operator are seeing “an increase in requests for small weddings and accommodation, as well as delayed birthdays and anniversaries,” says Peter MACK, CEO.

We will use the services of travel agencies and OEMs more often.

When thousands of Americans were stranded abroad, when barriers quickly closed international borders, it was much easier for those who had a travel agency or OEM to return home than for those who did not.

“When the COVID-19 crisis began, our first priority was to ensure the safety of our customers and employees around the world,” said Thornton of Intrepid Travel. “Our local guides and global operations team worked around the clock to help more than 3,000 travellers safely return home after the borders closed.”Outside GO also went into emergency mode:” from the safe evacuation of customers from countries to the entry into force of blockages, imploring on your behalf travel insurance companies to work with our partners on the ground to offer a refund for unused parts. short trips, our team worked hard and hard to do everything, ” says Cunningham.

“There has been so much frustration for so many people who have booked tickets through online services, with registrations that lead nowhere,” Cunningham adds. – Contact between people is more important than ever.”

Since the travel landscape will be very different for some time, and information found on forums and other sites through online sources may become obsolete, the travel agency or provider will have more accurate information about access, open companies and places where it is safer to avoid crowds.

OUTFITTERS build closer relationships with customers,share memories of past trips and dream about the future. “We regularly process images and stories for our guests and potential guests to dream about,” says Pony Mount Sobek. There was also a connection within the travel industry itself, where manufacturers supported each other. ATTA has brought OUTFITTERS together through online workshops, and on May 26, it will launch a free community membership for financially compromised businesses, laid-off employees and others who want to try the organization to stay in touch. (This link will be available live on May 26 for those who wish to register.)

The road through the airport can take longer than ever.

At the airport with a face mask
(Photo: AJ Watt/iStock)

If you think it takes a long time for COVID-19 to appear, the journey after a pandemic can be even more intense. “After September 11, a lot of new security measures were introduced, such as the introduction of the TSA, bulletproof and cabins and the national identity requirement,” says Kelly of Points Guy’s. “The consequences of COVID-19, likely to lead to new recommendations in the field of health, such as: simultaneous entry into small groups of people, disinfection of seats and even the removal of seat pockets.”

While most airlines have already tightened aircraft hygiene and crews and travelers are required to wear masks, the FAA has not yet put in place general industrial regulations. This has led to an uneven response from domestic airlines, ranging from Alaska Air, which blocks middle seats on large planes, to other airlines that announce potential temperature tests for passengers before boarding.

Some airlines have been accused of introducing medical examinations before boarding. “Emirates already offers COVID – 19 tests with quick results,” Cunningham said. The airline plans to extend these tests to all flights departing from countries for which arriving passengers must be checked.

Many of us remember the yellow card, a World Health Organization brochure that no longer exists and records the traveler’s vaccine data. “For most of my career, some countries needed vaccines against diseases such as yellow fever, tetanus and typhoid fever, and as part of the accession process, they asked to submit their Yellow Book,” said Sano of the World Wildlife Fund. “I can easily imagine a digital version of this, like a QR code, where you have electronic proof that you have been vaccinated.”

A similar movement is gaining momentum in the form of” immunity passports” issued to those who have recovered from the virus and may have antibodies. On the April 22 first quarter earnings call, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the company plans to take a number of steps, including passport immunity, according to CNBC. “Could there be a new health agency that needs a new passport to travel? he asked. “We will be at the forefront of all these achievements.”

Chile has already started issuing medical passports, while other countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, are considering doing so. (It is important to note that a number of medical organizations have stated that the immunity of those who have recovered from the new coronavirus is not well known.)

Regarding the future of airports, Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marina international Airport and Vienna international Airport are good indicators of expectations. Luis Muñoz marin has installed thermal cameras that monitor passengers upon arrival at temperatures above 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Those who exceed this threshold and show symptoms are examined and quarantined. Meanwhile, travelers arriving in Vienna will receive a COVID-19 smear test, which will be treated in three hours and will cost$204. Those who pass the negative test receive a certificate and are free to move, while those who pass the positive test are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Other protocols that can be implemented include biometric check-in, TSA designation, and a ban on entry to airports for non-travelers.

Travel agencies will review their approach to health and safety.

(Photo: Courtesy The Nomadic People)

Adventure travel crew use this time to revise their protocols. At Backroads, a company that specializes in bike tours, that means “improving the safety training of guides and working with hoteliers, restaurants, carriers and other suppliers to adhere to strict safety protocols when cleaning, handling luggage and preparing meals,” says Tom Hale, CEO. He adds: “before starting the trip, our guests are asked to undergo a preliminary medical examination to ensure that we have done our best to ensure that they can leave well.”

Intrepid Travel will consider similar measures in addition to” contactless check-in processes and improved hygiene transparency, ” Thornton said. Katherine Walsh, founder of expedition company Backpack Alaska, said she would begin “making custom tents accessible to everyone, including The Final Solution of bleach that will be rinsed on dishes after meals and individually packaged to prevent cross-contamination, to name a few quelques-uns.Et the oars, known for their white water rafting and sea kayaking, plan to” channel – and for pre-trip demonstrations, apply PSA if necessary and pay increased attention to hand washing and hygiene of vehicles and communal surfaces,” said Steve Markle, the brand’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Host-managed owners also had to review their protocols. On May 1st, Airbnb launched an initiative that certifies hosts who apply their new cleaning guidelines (developed in collaboration with former U.S. Surgeon Vivek Murthy) and adhere to a minimum 24-hour wait time between reservations. For hosts who cannot comply with the rules, the company suggested waiting 72 hours after the last rent settlement before welcoming new guests. Others, such as camping booking site Hipcamp, sent recommendations to hosts regarding new cleaning protocols and guest interactions. Alyssa Ravasio, CEO of Hipcamp, says she has also added ” an extra step to our booking flow, where all Hipcampers must tick a box to confirm that their bookings are not contrary to local regulations or travel bans.”

Glamping operators are willing to make quick returns due to the nature of their hosting configurations. “Unlike traditional hotels or living spaces, our air conditioning systems are made up of fresh air, our hotel lobbies are large canvas tents, and our corridors are winding paths through open fields and natural landscapes,” Mack says of group retreats. The company operates in five locations across the country. “Over the past few months, we’ve continued our retreat in Austin, Texas, and we’ve sold a lot of weekends,” he says. “On the Governor’s collective island in New York since July 4, we have had less than 10 cancellations, and in August, September and October, we are ahead of what it was last year at the time. ”

Under Canvas, which operates luxury tents just across the national parks, will open in the Great Smoky Mountains on May 28, followed by Zion and Moab on June 4, and the grand Canyon and Yellowstone on June 11. Individual registration via a touch kiosk, takeaway food and drinks for tent meals and hand sanitizing stations throughout the camp are some of the new precautions implemented by the company.

Travel will change for the better.

Our experts agreed that in the future, travel will become more targeted. “We certainly think people are more appreciated and attracted to the experiences, responsibilities, environment and meaningful moments that unite people to learn and grow from each other in a post – pandemic world,” said Allison Fleece of Wow Travel. Walsh of backpack Alaska agrees: “I know I was wrong to think that I would spontaneously come out of a trip to a distant destination that seemed exotic. This pandemic has shown that many people yearn for something real and sustainable.”

Others noted that this period could lead travelers and tour operators to prioritize sustainability and ethics. – I think there will be a thinning of mass tourism, a thinning of unnecessary impressions. People will be looking for deeper experiences and less instant gratification from Tourism, ” said Cunningham of Outside GO. Atta’s Stowell recalls what Canadian astrophysicist Hubert Reeves said at the Association’s climate change summit in 2009: “I’m not optimistic, I’m not pessimistic, I’m determined.Stowell adds, ” at ATTA and in our community, we strive to improve travel. When it comes to some of the most disruptive types of tourism, they need to be rethought and completely rebuilt to be healthy for destinations. Now is the time for destinations to take responsibility and demand that tourism help their environmental efforts and help local people instead of being harmful or exploited.”

Many companies are already looking at ways to recover more sustainably, which could prove more profitable, said Sano of the World Wildlife Fund. “As we have seen, based on the environmental impact of this pandemic, travelers will probably be more aware of its effects than ever before,” he said. Ravazio from Hipcamp adds: “in those moments when it becomes incredibly clear that we are all connected, travel gives us the opportunity to practice empathy. How can I respect and educate this community I visit?”

Everyone sees a bright future. “I am more optimistic than ever about the future of travel,” says Daniel Houghton. “Travel offers things you can’t model or create at home. Everything we feel like midlife—fresh air, places we’ve never been, dinners with people we’ve just met—are the best travel opportunities available endlessly, no matter where you are on the planet.”

The Mt Sobek team notes that travel always comes back: “this passion for adventure does not disappear and does not weaken with time. This is a fundamental desire, a strange itch, and when the road opens, travelers will go up and down at full speed.”

Associate Editor Mary Turner and Associate Editor kayleen Lynch contributed to this report.

Original source: https://www.outsideonline.com/2413863/future-adventure-travel-after-coronavirus-pandemic?utm_campaign=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=xmlfeed

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