“Price will be on the gambler’s side.”

Suppressed demand for longer, more expensive holidays signals a return to travel abroad invisible since 2019

Grandparents spending epic vacations with their grandchildren, slow-moving luxury train trips to exotic places and the surge in culinary adventure vacations were just three of the trends he identified. booking.com When her fall 2019 staff sat down to consider what could be hot in 2020.

Nowhere on their list — or on any travel trend list written by anyone anywhere in late 2019 and early 2020 — successive seasons of lockdown and travel were limited to walking no more than two kilometers from the front door.

And no one predicted the effective shutdown of airlines for months or a global pandemic that would leave millions dead and put the hospitality sector in nearly every part of the world on its knees wondering if there was a future to contemplate.

In this context, we must take into account the travel trends that are likely to be on the horizon this year. Because, if the public health crisis has taught us one more thing, it has taught us to expect the unexpected and be prepared to derail our plans when the face mask falls, due to things completely beyond our control.

So far – what we can only hope for is the end of the pandemic – it surprises us.

The pandemic has created a savings bubble across Ireland among those lucky enough not to suffer a financial hit from the crisis.

At the end of November, the delta variant case numbers for Covid-19 appeared to have stabilized in Ireland and things were relatively improving. The vaccine streak has been steady in the face of waves of disease, and Digital Covid Cert has had holidays in the European Union as well as the United States and a growing number of other countries once again.

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Then Omicron came and was traveling on the ropes again. New testing requirements went into effect, airlines canceled flights as they struggled to find crews to hire, and travel plans for many of those who had longed to come to Ireland and go for Christmas left in tatters.

Departing at Dublin Airport: Flying is no longer a problem as people are used to providing vaccine certificates, passenger locator forms and PCR tests. Photography: Dara McDonnell

Even as we write this, case numbers are breaking records on a daily basis and almost every single conversation seems to revolve around a second thin red line that appears on antigen testing and the fun of staying up late to book a PCR test in the night dead.

Mary Denton of Sunway Travel would have been forgiven for murmuring when contacted by the Irish Times looking for words of wisdom about places we might go to in the coming months. Minutes before we called to find her well-deserved device, I learned that an Aer Lingus flight from Lanzarote to Dublin had been canceled the next day as a result of crew members disembarking with Covid-19.

But as she works to find ways to bring her clients home, she is optimistic about what lies ahead.

«We don’t have many overnight stays before the outbreak – except for cruises,» she says. “Most people have been able to restrict cruises in 2021 or have been refunded, but cruise bookings never happened last year, so there were a lot of bookings for 2022 as a result.”

She thinks the cruise sector will start to rebound this year, but it will be left in place by the habney by bouncing back for other types of vacation. She says short-haul destinations across Europe are by far the most popular vacations to book, with «Canary Islands, Spain and Portugal flying out». She says that even bookings in Lapland for next Christmas are strong.

All those big festive holidays that were supposed to take place over the past two years are now scheduled for 2022

«Club Med is going really well, as are the all-inclusive deals, and we’re seeing a lot of long-term bookings, but not until the second half of the year,» she says. “A lot of people are looking at the Maldives and Dubai.”

Maybe there is a reason for that.

The pandemic has created a savings bubble across Ireland among those lucky enough not to have been hit by the financial crisis. This has greatly increased savings among the Irish people. Over the course of 2020 alone, an additional €16 billion was put into deposits where families couldn’t or didn’t have to spend on things like transportation, childcare, holidays, eating out, clothing and more.

It remains to be seen what will happen to that money, but Denton believes that at least some of it will be spent on leisure travel. “There are people who have saved a lot of money and I think we will see a lot of them upgrading their rooms and indulging themselves this year. We also see people looking to extend their holidays, so instead of booking a seven-day trip, they extend it to 10 days. People are looking to do something different. Many of them haven’t moved away since 2019 and will make up for lost time.»

Another trend I’ve noticed is people booking flights to places like Las Vegas, to celebrate the 40th and 50th birthday that actually happened in 2021 and 2020. That means all those big festive holidays that were supposed to take place over the past couple of years are now set It will take place in 2022 alongside all the Christmas festivities that already fall during this year, she says.

At this time last year, when the Irish Times She was looking at what travel might look like in 2021 as there has been a huge amount of uncertainty swirling around travel. The vaccine launch had only just begun and there was no sense just how and when leisure travel would resume and how the public would respond to it.

Flight searches in Barcelona have seen double health increases.  Photography: Getty

Flight searches in Barcelona have seen double health increases. Photography: Getty

It’s different this year, Denton says. «People have been through that knowing what to do when it comes to vaccine certificates and passenger locator forms and PCR tests, so I think they’re going to get things going in 2022, they’ve had enough.»

How much will people have to pay and what will the offer look like?

Denton says tour operators like Sunway are relying on the broader airline industry in a way that they weren’t two decades ago when charter flights were the norm, but she stresses that she’s «not really seeing the price of airline tickets go up. Capacity might be a little bit lower, so it might increase.» Prices are a bit and the industry is still a bit cautious but we are more optimistic about prices.”

Eoghan Corry is a travel writer and industry observer who shares Denton’s optimism that supply problems will not drive prices to sky-high levels. «Access is everything, and if roads weren’t there, people wouldn’t go anywhere, but Ireland is lucky to be well served by two very ambitious airlines.»

He says the EU-wide air traffic management organization Eurocontrol indicates that flights to and from this country in 2022 will be 90 percent of levels recorded in 2019, with short-haul destinations well served.

«Ryanair is very ambitious, they have all these new planes to fly and they have a very sound financial foundation and – despite all the turmoil of the last couple of years – they are still dependent on a relatively large pile of money,» Corey says. «Aer Lingus is also very ambitious, more so on the European side of its business.»

“The desire to travel is strong and people are more secure in a post-vaccine world”

And what does all this mean for someone who wants to take a vacation? Corey says that if «everything goes well on the supply side, prices will be on the gambler’s side».

He tentatively welcomes the response of governments to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. “If we are to take any hope out of recent weeks, it is that the sudden reaction to the travel closures as the alternative emerged did not happen.

“While Ireland and Portugal introduced new testing rules, more than 20 other EU countries kept their nerve. As soon as their rates started rising, they removed the measures they had taken. At the start of the crisis in March 2020, the European center was Disease Control and the World Health Organization are urging countries not to just disconnect, and countries have heeded that advice this time.”

He says, “The desire to travel is strong and people are more reassured in the post-vaccine world. We had a good experience with [vaccine rollout] In 2021, although it seemed daunting, what eventually happened was that instead of needing two pieces of documentation to travel – a boarding pass and a passport – we now need four, with the first two and a Covid certificate plus a specific form traveler. sites. Once you think about it, it becomes very simple. Last July, people came to airports confused with phone books equaling documents, but by October everyone is used to it, and this will serve us well this year.»

Yvonne Boyle of the travel department says her agency has noticed «a great deal of interest in Italy, especially the Lakes, Tuscany and Puglia. It’s the number one destination by a diagonal mile.»

Many people book trips to places like Las Vegas to celebrate birthdays that occurred in 2021 and 2020. Image: Getty

Many people book trips to places like Las Vegas to celebrate birthdays that occurred in 2021 and 2020. Image: Getty

She says interest in long-distance walks is growing, with Vietnam and Jordan proving popular with walking holidays and «expected to be huge» this year.

«People want to travel and there’s a lot of pent-up demand,» Boyle says. “I think things will open up a lot once we get past Omicron and I think the confidence will come back. People have seen all the precautions in place and they know what to expect.”

I’ve noticed a slightly different booking pattern compared to pre-Covid times, with people booking closer to departure dates.

This trend has been observed globally as well. According to holiday search engine Kayak, the booking window for flights is shrinking as people adopt a wait-and-see approach before taking the plunge. Recent data shows that searches for flights within seven days have increased by 50 percent.

It also reported a growing interest in so-called «workplaces» that will see people work remotely from sun-exposed spots rather than from their homes.

Meanwhile, online travel booking system Amadeus has noticed an increase in the popularity of «epic destinations or experiences».

There has been an increase in searches for Tanzania by almost 40 percent while reservations to the Peruvian cities of Lima and Cusco, near Machu Picchu, have increased by nearly 50 percent, and flights to Petra in Jordan have increased by 22 percent with the demand for destinations increasing. In the islands of the Indian Ocean and Antarctica.

The focus this year is likely to be on wide open spaces, and outdoor holidays, such as camping and remote villas.  Photography: Getty

The focus this year is likely to be on wide open spaces, and outdoor holidays, such as camping and remote villas. Photography: Getty

While Kayak is yelling about the business, the Amadeus people try to make «friendships.»

It says travel searches to Cancun, Mexico, and Cartagena, Colombia — “both popular destinations for groups of friends — have doubled year on year, and Hawaii has seen a similar rise in interest. Meanwhile, searches for Las Vegas flights are up 61 percent, and in Europe Barcelona and Ibiza saw double health increases.

The wellness tourism sector is also rebounding with a recent report from the Global Health Institute (GWI) suggesting that the market, which was worth more than $700 billion (618 billion euros) in 2019, will only collapse over the course of 2020 and 2021, will take off again this year.

But this year – as in the past – the focus will likely be on wide open spaces, and outdoor holidays, such as camping and remote villas, with the crazy partying in Magaluf, Ibiza and Crete likely to stop for some time now. Although that can all change in a heartbeat or a hoarse cough.

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