Traveling is on a temporary hiatus as countries implement bans and social distancing measures to protect their citizens from the threat of COVID-19. But that’s just a temporary setback, hopefully. In a year or two, everyone can see the world again.
COVID-19, however, will most likely change the way people travel, especially in terms of where people want to go.
Health and hygiene have always been crucial in global travel and tourism. Now, the pandemic has turned them into even more important factors. It could also influence the future’s most popular destinations along the way. Simply put, no matter how much effort destinations put into their hot spots – whether it’s a decking servicein B&Bs or more parks in cities – if a place is not hygienic enough, people are not going to visit it.
COVID-19 and the Next Top Destinations
A report from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), which was done in collaboration with TCI Research, Tripadvisor, the Global Health and the World Economic Forum, revealed that most travelers are likely to go to destinations that are clean, safe and healthy. They are more likely to book trips to places that have managed the pandemic well. These emerging travel patterns show more than just what a mid-term re-opening of tourism could look like. It also shows the long-term effect of the pandemic on the competitiveness of individual destinations.
In terms of a global comparison, most Asia Pacific countries mounted strong pandemic responses. Most countries in the region handled aspects of the crisis well. Within this successful group, some places have performed better in terms of COVID-19 control and response.
If you’re planning for a trip after COVID-19, consider the following countries.
Japan and Australia
If you plan on visiting Tokyo alone in the future, there is hope. Japan is one of the go-to destinations after COVID-19.
Along with Australia, Japan ranked highly for destination competitiveness before COVID-19 hit. Both of these countries mounted strong responses against the virus, but others reported fewer cases. This could encourage tourists to book trips to other Asia Pacific destinations, such as Thailand and Vietnam – both of these countries reported fewer cases compared to other countries.
In comparison to a majority of the countries in the world, Australia and Japan have been winning at controlling COVID-19. Both countries also have a long history as top go-to destinations given their natural and cultural assets.
Vietnam and Thailand
Destinations like Vietnam and Thailand have mounted leading global COVID-19 responses, which may improve their competitiveness after the pandemic. Both countries’ perception of safety may encourage travelers to visit or return.
A report from the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, which was an assessment of health security in nearly 200 countries, ranked Thailand as the sixth top destination in the Asia Pacific. It is also the only middle-income destination to score well in the GHS index, where it gained recognition for its integrated disease surveillance systems, specimen and laboratory transport systems and risk communication plans. The country is also one of the five destinations to publicly declare their commitment to giving priority access to healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 while responding to the pandemic.
Vietnam, on the other hand, boasts of a strong response to COVID-19. The country’s swift and strict response to health policies has been studied by other countries. Who can forget Vietnam’s viral PSA that included a music video and a dance challenge?
The City of the Merlion is still in the running of countries to visit after the pandemic. The city-island-nation is also known for its strong response to COVID-19, both in regional and global terms. Many countries are praising Singapore’s innovative contract tracing and technology intervention efforts, especially since the country has made its code open source available to the global public.
Apart from assessing a country’s response to COVID-19, it’s important to also study the dynamic relationship between COVID-19 and its impact to travel. For instance, in light of the new health preferences, residents and visitors may have a greater preference for less populated places, such as nature reserves and parks.
This is a plus for nature-rich destinations, but it could also pose a problem for a primarily urban destination like Singapore. Fortunately, the country continues to find new ways to showcase their strong response to COVID-19, which is still a bonus for visitors.
COVID-19 may have changed the way people travel, but it has not quenched the wanderlust. If you are planning to take off after the pandemic, consider visiting these destinations.