Travel And Tour World: What key changes can be noticed in the travel and tourism industry post the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic?
Simone Semprini: Considering the high risk of COVID-19 transmission in indoor spaces, people now prefer more outdoor destinations and activities. They may want to travel more but restrictions and safety requirements have made it complicated. Many people don’t plan in advance, as restrictions are changing often. As a result, domestic travel has increased, which helps promote local destinations and activities.
Travel And Tour World: Has the role of travel technology become more prominent in the post-pandemic world? If yes, why do you think so?
Simone Semprini: Yes, there are technologies that have become more prominent, such as the booking systems that allow online booking. Thermometers, touchless payment devices, thermal cameras, QR codes and the like have played a role as well.
Technology has helped to manage the crisis and monitor or reduce the spread of the virus.
Travel And Tour World: What are the most prominent trends seen in post-pandemic travellers?
Simone Semprini: Although for domestic tourism it looks like we are in a post-pandemic context, we are not yet there globally. There are “travel bubbles” like in the European Union at the moment. However, most international travel is still reduced: people can travel, but not everywhere.
At least for international tourism, people choose a destination based on the actual possibility to reach or experience it, rather than their desired destination.
I think that when restrictions are lifted, the global tourism landscape will look very similar to pre-pandemic. People will prefer to visit exotic places, experience new cultures, language and food, attend events, and meet new people. But for now, most travellers tend to rediscover their country and the outdoors.
Travel And Tour World: What is the role of travel technology in facilitating safe reopening of tourism after COVID-19?
Simone Semprini: The technology is the key for a safe reopening. From digital reservations to touchless payments to temperature monitoring, all these tools help to reduce the spread of the virus.
Moreover, we can say that the vaccines are a result of technology as well. This is the most effective way to safely reopen tourism.
Travel And Tour World: Share something about the main focus areas of Tour Scanner. Did the organization have any key takeaways from the pandemic?
Simone Semprini: At Tour Scanner, we needed to adapt to a different environment. When there was a full lockdown, it was impossible to sell anything, but as soon as tourism reopened, even with some restrictions, there were opportunities.
We were quite good at catching some opportunities, for example, the change in people’s preference from indoor to outdoor activities. We had to adapt our product and marketing to be more effective at selling outdoor activities, which were more requested.
Travel And Tour World: Lastly, what are some of the expected travel trends for 2022?
Simone Semprini: Assuming that vaccination helps to contain the pandemic considerably:
• People will not be worried about choosing city attractions and indoor activities.
• There will be a boost of festivals, concerts, musical performances, and other in-person events.
• People will consider joining group activities, tours, and day trips, which can be more cost-effective and convenient.