We don’t have a crystal ball, nor do you, so predicting travel trends in Asia for 2022 may entail a mixture of everything from wishful thinking to worst-case scenarios. With mass vaccination taking root, we’re hoping the future soon looks brighter and borders will open again to travel in the not too distant future. In this episode, we’ll share some things we hope to happen when travel to Asia kicks off again, cross our fingers that certain trends are left in the past, and imagine travel anew. With that said, all items discussed might not materialize, then again some of them may. So join us as we look to that light beginning to emerge at the end of the tunnel and begin imagining the travel to Asia that is hopefully to come.
Intro: Scott and Trevor discuss what they’ve been doing travel-wise over 2020 and 2021. They share some of the highs and the lows, they’ve experienced, travel-wise. These respectively include domestic travel in Thailand and Cambodia and not being able to travel home to see family.
In this episode, Scott and Trevor chat about Post COVID travel trends they envision in Asia and across the world for 2022 and beyond. These include both things they hope for and perhaps some things that may happen that they’re not excited about but are quite likely to occur. They kick off the show talking about where people will likely travel first. The following outline includes notes on predictions of travel trends in Asia that were touched on, but the conversation covered a wide variety of topics. Listen to the episode to hear the full discussion.
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Where to Go First:
Home: Scott and Trevor both agree this is likely on a lot of people’s list. Whether it’s going home to Canada or Hawaii, as they wish to, or those who left their adopted “homes” a year ago, only to get trapped with their parents for way too long and want to come back to Asia as expats.
Trevor: Meeting people: everyone travels from somewhere different to see each other. Like reunions but with anyone you’ve been in touch with these past two years, all live in different places and all want to meet for a holiday. Family included.
Scott: Get your top bucket list destinations planned ASAP: Angkor, Taj Mahal as soon as they open. Without a doubt think about the 1-2 spots you really want to see before the massive crowds, schedule them and make it happen!
Trevor: Perhaps people will be reluctant to visit main sites and be around lots of people so secondary and tertiary sites will become more popular.
Scott: I’d love to do Myanmar but the military government there is a mess. Likely the Himalayas – perhaps Calcutta then up to see where the Dalai Lama lives – Tom Vater piqued my interest in that. I’m pretty keen on Leh and some of the mountain roads up there – perhaps cycling 500km or so along some. Love to ride a motorcycle through NE Laos as Nick Ray recommended.
Travel in Asia will become Like the Good Ol’ Days?
Trevor: One cool thing about this will be that there is less operational infrastructure at first so it will be like traveling back in the day. More adventurous. Is there going to be a boat or bus when you arrive? You’ll probably have to arrange and stay in a small boutique hotel. It will feel off the beaten path like it did 20 years ago when you arrived at a relatively quiet local airport. Etc.
Scott: All the maps, guidebooks, and info sources will have to be re-written due to so many places having closed. It could be fun to actually just show up, talk with people, look around like we did it back in the 90s or early 2000s. There should be a new enthusiasm for travel when things start to open up with people that are really keen to be working, show you hospitality on a new scale and hidden corners.
Travel Technology in 2022 and Beyond:
Scott: Digital Detox Trips:
- People will be well tired of Zoom and online (hopefully)
- That said, I really hope the built-for-selfie spots fade away
- No Selfie Zones (Scott hopes)
- Hopefully less emphasis on sitting on your phone, talking with friends back home, and focus on where you are and the experience
Scott: There is bound to be a slew of new travel apps hit the market for air, hotels, etc. But all-in-one travel apps are going to be the thing; a single app trying to help you plan and book your entire vacation.
Trevor: Probably have to get used to some unpredictability but maybe some perks: I think super cheap flights are going to take a while until there are mass numbers again. I hope there are apps to connect you truly to a local somewhere: eg a farmer to show you how they live, a local driver, etc. Get connected to and travel with true locals
Scott: Last-minute deals? Lots of promotions as hotels and such open up and want to attract visitors back. They’re going to go from zero to open: a lot of seats on planes, a lot of rooms to fill. Otherwise, for the first couple of years showing proof of vaccination is going to be everywhere, whether their mechanisms for checking actually work or not. That will be a trend for about 2 years, then as cases ease it will be a thing of the past at bars and such. But I think you’re going to have to show proof of vaccination when entering countries for a decade, much like those old yellow books that showed your vaccination records.
Staying Clean & Healthy while Traveling Asia in 2022 and beyond:
Scott: Super clean everything – unfortunately I think people will take things a bit far and sanitize everything, fake clean food rating systems will come in place and perhaps over-regulation. There’s talk of it impacting street food in Thailand and other places with people demanding ‘cleaner’ food. That said, I hope accessibility to soap/hand gel remains, particularly in the developed world. Let’s keep washing our hands people!
Trevor: Cleaner in that wildlife will have reclaimed places. Everywhere feels more natural. Everyone in Phnom Penh keeps talking about all the birds everywhere. Weird, but nature seems to be staking a foothold in tourism’s absence.
Scott: I hope there is a focus on preserving sites, wildlife, and what makes places beautiful.
Trevor: I think back to original destination attractions. People will go back to the places and things that originally made them famous. Thailand for the beaches. Angkor will get visitors. But I think overcrowding will happen. Just like after the Asian tsunami, places like Phuket and other top destinations just let people in and had no thought about numbers.
Scott: I could see regulation of the number of people to sites in a day and having to book times, which is a bit rigid but could make visiting somewhere like Angkor Wat or dive sites better.
Trevor: Here’s a random one, but I hope there are more outdoor festivals soon.
The Trends that Weren’t: Scott: Travel bubbles: long planned, debated, it’s open or it’s not. It’s all about vaccination now. Within country bubbles: never a big success, merely a ground to test how to manage inevitable infections and how to best reinvigorate the industry once again. Plastic separators between tables, plastic gloves, extra wrapping on items: hopefully we all fully learn that this is mostly airborne transmission and we can stop wasting so much plastic.
Increase in Digital Nomads: Trevor: Wonder if people will become digital nomads more. If they’re already working remotely, maybe people will do extended trips, a year in a region working from wherever they can. Jumping through hoops to get from one country to another may encourage people to stay longer. If you might have to do any quarantine time anywhere along the way, you better plan for a longer trip.
Scott: Working from home or other areas – greater flexibility with work and having the option of living and working in various places such as outdoors more; I’d like to take people for learning in the outdoors in the future.
Scott and Trevor finish up Talk Travel Asia Episode 132: Predicting Travel Trends in Asia for 2022 and Beyond sharing their personal bucket list destinations for the near future. Listen to the episode below to hear the full conversation.
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