WORKING WHILE YOU HOLIDAY: Welcome to the new trend called SLOW TRAVEL

By DALLAS SHERRINGHAM

THE COVID-19 pandemic’s shutdown of international borders and the move to working from home will have important positive benefits for the Australian travel industry.

One of the major findings of the pandemic has been the well documented ability of management and staff to work remotely, using the latest telecommunications.

For example, I am writing this story from the annex of my caravan with the sparkling Pacific Ocean laid out before me.

So, with tourists opting for longer stays due to many being able to work remotely, and sustainability featuring more heavily in travel decisions, it is clear that slow travel could be a global phenomenon in the next few years.

Slow travel mainly refers to the speed of which a trip is taken.

And slow travel also means tourists staying longer, connecting with local people, culture, food and music. They will also be able to travel outside the normal holiday peak periods.

Sustainability is also at the forefront of consumers’ decisions.

Pent-up demand for immersive travel experiences with no set time limit will help ‘slow travel’ become the next big tourism trend.

Slow travel mainly refers to the speed of which a trip is taken, where travelers take a train through Australia instead of flying, for example.

Sustainable for local communities

However, slow travel is also more sustainable for local communities and the environment and can make  a significant contribution to the economies of regions and towns in traditional off peak periods..

Various consumer trends already suggest that slow travel will take off post-pandemic. A trip longer than 10 nights is more highly desired at 22% than a day visit at 10% or short break away from one to three nights 14% according to an industry poll.

And the trend will spread worldwide.

There is also a larger remote workforce across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70% of global respondents opted to work remotely full time or have a mixture of both remote and office work.

Many offices are likely to be more flexible regarding working hours and the location of an employee as a result of the pandemic, meaning blending work and leisure will be easier for employees.

Sustainability is also at the forefront of consumers’ decisions. ‘Supporting social causes’ was identified as a key driver in product purchases for 25% of global respondents in the industry’s 2021 consumer survey and for 45% this was ‘nice to have’.

Preference for products can reflect on service trends and this identifies that consumers may feel more inclined to support local communities post-pandemic, which is a gap that ‘slow travel’ can fill.

Competition is already intensifying between both niche and major travel intermediaries, suggesting that slow travel is sure to make its mark in post-pandemic travel overseas.

Travel intermediaries that offer ‘slow travel’ holidays range from niche operators such as Intrepid Travel and Responsible Travel to more mainstream providers such as Airbnb and Expedia Group.

This niche trend reflects consumers’ growing desire for more experiential forms of travel, going above and beyond the hordes of tourists gathered for sun, sea and sand. Its potential growth could further rival the concept of mass tourism and the all-inclusive package holiday concept in travel’s recovery post COVID-19.

So it’s, time to put the laptop down and head for the beach and some more research. Love this remote working.

Source:  ETN Travel Industry News

Dallas Sherringham is Associate Editor at Access News Australia and one of Australia’s most experienced travel writers.

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