What will a post-coronavirus holiday look like?

Tourism expert reveals what to expect when travelling after lockdown.

After months of lockdown, Queenslanders are looking to get out and about but, with different rules for each state and territory, it’s difficult to know what to expect when we start travelling again.

University of South Australia Professor of Tourism Marianna Sigala said travellers’ behaviour had changed as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“There’s a real tug of war going on – people are keen to get out and about, and away from their lockdown locations, but at the same time they’re guided by COVID-19 restrictions and are cautious of protecting their personal health,” Prof. Sigala said.

“What this means is that a sense of safety and security will really drive tourists’ choices, affecting not only how and where they travel, but also what they do on holiday.”
Prof. Sigala said many holidaymakers would seek alternatives to air travel.

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“Post lockdown, we’re likely to see a revival of the driving holiday – the family road trip with the car packed to the brim with kids and bags – as well as caravans, motorhomes, and even cycling tourism may experience a new surge,” she said.

“People will also be travelling for shorter periods and in smaller groups, preferably with family and friends, as the proximity of loved ones creates a sense of reassurance and reduces perceived risks.

Prof. Sigala said people would look to outdoor experiences after months of home confinement.

“Nature and the outdoors are expected to dominate travel plans, with an end to group tours and experiences, including theme parks, casinos, and to some extent, even visits to capital cities,” she said.

“A return to travel will all be about small, safe, manageable steps.”

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Prof. Sigala said the pandemic had changed tourists’ expectations of tourism operators. 

“Flexibility will also be important, as tourists are keen to keep control of their travel plans – right up to the last minute – in case substances require them to change,” she said.

“This is a clear call for tourism operators to amend rigid booking or cancellation policies if they wish to appeal to the new tourists.

“The root causes and new realities imposed by the pandemic have caused fundamental changes to the way we think, live, work and play, which in turn, are transforming the nature of tourism demand and supply alike.

“Some of these changes may be temporary, but others are here to stay and will redefine the way we practice and experience tourism for years to come.”