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There is a lot of noise on the internet about when travel will return, who will be first, what travel will look like, and of course, when it will happen. While we have all heard the same previous suggestions, others are now providing new predictions. In a recent conversation with Forbes and the CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Shannon Stowell(opens in a new tab), they discussed their own understanding of how COVID-19 is likely to alter the industry. As everyone in the tour and activity sector is saying, it is most probable that private or very small group tours will be the first to return. Our new world standards for hygiene mean that travellers will be looking for assurances that everything is clean and safe throughout their experience. This will mean having a trusted expert, distancing measures, and even a health check all undertaken by the operator.

As Stowell highlights, people are more anxious than ever, so getting out into the wild for a few days presents new fears that need to be addressed. Guides need to provide the certainty of safety and security, particularly for international visitors. Author Suzie Dundas notes that many US and Western tourists are likely to be very apprehensive about going to places that don’t have the same health standards as they might be used to.

Stowell also predicts that more niche travel opportunities will be the first to return. Visitors who are passionate about a certain experience, such as adventure, culinary, or spiritual, will be more eager to take part compared to the mass tourist crowds of Paris and Rome. The takeaway? Embrace your niche audience and sell to them! Make them want that experience that you know they love and at the same time, be willing to provide assurances for health and safety concerns that will inevitably pop-up throughout the post-COVID future.

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