Over the last few weeks, the pandemic has escalated in several parts of the U.S., resulting in a number of states halting or dialing back their reopening plans and leading to a number of new policies that restrict travel. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors mandated a two-week quarantine for travelers and returning residents from 16 states like Arizona and Florida that have seen a new spike of cases.
In addition, many International destinations are hesitant to welcome Americans into their borders. The European Union instituted a travel ban for Americans, which will be evaluated every two weeks. In light of this news, The New York Times, AFAR, The Points Guy and more have penned roundups about where Americans are allowed to travel for the foreseeable future, with the majority of destinations in the Caribbean. A few outlets, such as Fodor’s, Vox and National Geographic, ask readers to question whether it is responsible to travel right now even if we are able to do so.
Below are other findings and news collected from the across the media landscape during the past three weeks:
- Travel coverage is returning, but to a “new normal.” Publications like The Los Angeles Times are launching columns like “The Wild” that cater to newfound demand for outdoor exploration. Others have restored coverage, such as Condé Nast Traveler’s monthly “where to go” roundups, which will return for October travel planning after being on pause since March. The agency has seen an uptick in long-lead inquiries from travel magazines, many of which are continuing to seek COVID-19-related give-back stories.
- For the ultra affluent, this is the summer of hotel buyouts. Some luxury properties are even forgoing individual room bookings this season. The trend has been covered widely by publications including Architectural Digest, Maxim, CNBC, ABC News and Travel + Leisure. During the New Travel Conference, Brush Creek Ranch said the property has had more success this season than in nine years due to newly offering leisure buyouts.
- According to The Washington Post, CNN and Vogue, long-term stays are in high demand, as a result of companies’ indefinite work-from-home policies and destinations’ 14-day quarantine requirements for visitors. During the peak of COVID-19 shutdowns, Airbnb reported that 40 percent of their bookings were long-term, while Choice Extended Stay outperformed in the industry in recent months. For travelers who want to work remotely, Barbados launched a 12-month ‘Welcome Stamp,’ which has been covered widely in Harper’s Bazaar, Condé Nast Traveler, Matador Network and more. Hotels are also accommodating telecommuting guests with new amenities.
- Brands are continuing to create Instagram-worthy spaces for social distancing. Recent buzzy innovations include: Vienna’s maze-like park, the Nowhere restaurant’s isolated tables in Sweden and Ampia Restaurant & Rooftop’s private greenhouses in NYC.
- Destinations are continuing to offer incentives to encourage travelers to visit, from free hotel stays and spa vouchers to complimentary train passes and $1 homes. The Trump Administration is considering an Explore America Tax Credit, in an effort to incentivize Americans to support the domestic travel sector.
- The cruising industry continues to evolve. The Cruise Lines International Association announced trips from U.S. ports to be suspended through September 15, while Carnival Cruise Line reported it does not expect to be at full capacity until 2022. Prior to the news, The Daily Beast reported on the unexpectedly high number of travelers seeking out cruises. In the meantime, cruise lines are working to update protocols, such as pre-board health screenings, caps on passengers and buffets on pause. Brands are revamping the way they market, creating more transparency around health and safety standards and increasingly targeting loyal cruisers as potential return guests.
- Northstar Meetings Group’s latest survey shed light on “The Future of Meetings and Events in the Era of COVID-19.” Findings included:
- 41% of meeting planners anticipate holding rescheduled events before the end of 2020
- 79% of planners are choosing to schedule new events for early 2021; only 10% are waiting until 2022 or later
- 25% of planners anticipate contracts to allow cancelations without penalties; 51% expect more forgiving cancelation terms for future bookings
- Boutique hotels and resorts are expected to be the preferred venue for post-pandemic events