By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, Aug 10 | The Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on travel demand might be short-lived, however, it seems to have tipped consumers’ preference for smaller, remote and unique destinations.
In a conversation with IANS, Amanpreet Singh Bajaj, General Manager – Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said the company saw a positive long-term outlook for travel.
“But we also see changed consumer behaviours which may be long-term.”
Accordingly, the company has seen a redistribution of travel away from tourism hotspots to more unique, local destinations, particularly embedded within nature and communities.
“Another trend points to a large number of travellers looking at travel beyond just holiday, to include remote work, or other arrangements that blur the line between living, working and travel.
“We believe that some of these changes will be gradual and long-term but will redefine how we think of travel,” he said.
According to Bajaj, as travel returns, a major focus, of travellers has been on destinations which are on the off beaten path.
“Many travellers hope to get closer to nature, with hills and beaches key destinations of choice as opposed to big cities and mass tourism centres.”
“Destinations such as Nainital, Ooty, Munnar, Coorg, and Kashmir, and the beaches of Goa, Kerala, and Pondicherry are high on traveller wishlists.”
As per the Airbnb, travellers are also seen to be interested in unique accommodations such as heritage homes, havelis, farm stays and villas that bring them closer to local hosts and communities.
“We also see an additional demand from digital nomads, as work from home allows people to ‘Live’ anywhere and be connected to a laptop.”
At present, the impact of Covid 2.0, has started to wean out, nevertheless, fears of a thrid wave has become a deterrent for travellers.
Nonetheless, accelerated vaccination drive along with easing of movement restrictions and lower case load has triggered the travel cycle again.
On its part, the company is encouraging employees to get vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity and “is working on a range of local initiatives including on-site vaccination and vaccine cost reimbursement”.
Airbnb was born in 2007 and has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 900 million guest arrivals across over 220 countries and regions.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)