After reading something recently about healthier travel trends being introduced into international airports and business travel as a whole, it occurred to me that travel trends are not so much formulated by corporate entities, but by the individual travellers themselves. Just a couple of years ago I wrote about the huge trend in “Bliesure travel” – a popular travel initiative that combines business travel with leisure-time so that whatever the destination has to offer, can be enjoyed whilst still taking care of business. Now, following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a new travel trend. People were more homebound and became far more health-conscious, growing their veggies and consuming healthier meals. So, a new breed of travellers has emerged, who are not only far more conscious of their safety but demand a far healthier travel experience too.
Travel businesses are leading the way
A number of travel business recognised this new determination for people to be healthier and pursue healthier pastimes, and they began to market “Experience destinations”. Not unlike the principle of “Bliesure travel” but due to the restrictive circumstances of the time, this was aimed at the leisure market, travelling primarily within South Africa and gave those who enjoyed sporting activities in particular, ideas for destinations that they could travel to where they could maximise their favourite experience and combine it with a great vacation. It has been a highly successful marketing initiative and filled a very necessary gap for those health-conscious individuals who also love to travel.
Now a healthier travel experience is an international trend.
Now, as more of us are getting vaccinated on a global scale and business travel has begun to open up again, I read with great interest about international airport lounges that are offering treadmills and safe spaces where travellers can take a nap away from fellow travellers as a safety precaution. There are far healthier meal choices and even vegan options as well as some airport lounges offering “while you wait” distractions like yoga and gyms. I do not doubt that this initiative has been spawned by the individual travellers themselves, who respected by their companies for their willingness to continue to travel in such times, are (very reasonably) demanding that their health and safety be prioritised on every trip.
Healthy experience options
This new breed of health-conscious traveller is seeking opportunities to get healthier and possibly combine their sports activities or training regimes with doing business and even, continuing with the “Bliesure travel” trend, enjoy a great vacation. It is a logical next step therefore, that travel advisors may not only have to deal with the huge amount of safety protocol for each traveller’s trip but may also be called on to ensure that they can combine their client’s health, food, sports, or gym preferences as part of it.
Little wonder, that good, professional TMCs like those that I am so very proud to work with, are so essential to providing everything that the new business traveller will demand. I must conclude with an appeal to the business traveller though, to please keep in mind, that these brave agents at the forefront of a travel industry that has been turned on its head in a very short time, are expected to achieve an almost impossible task and are also dealing with the same mental and emotional issues that this cursed pandemic has brought upon us all. I will talk more about this in my next article – so watch this space!
Let’s remember that we will shortly celebrate our Heritage Day – a time for showing respect and tolerance for each one of us, joined as a nation to fight one fight against an unprecedented enemy, so let’s be kind to each other.
Stay safe – stay healthy – and keep the wanderlust alive!LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER