As we approach the one-year anniversary of travel shutting down after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, travelers are looking forward to getting back to doing what they love. But, where to first? As it stands, some international travel destinations still have their borders closed, but there is strong optimism that things will soon return to some level of normalcy.
Travel advisors predicted that Mexico is going to be the big winner of post-pandemic travel.
“They’re doing such a great job with the COVID-19 protocols and providing safe options for our clients,” Kim Goldstein, president of Journeys Inc., told Travel Market Report. “They reopened quickly and showed the world that they had the right measures in place to keep our clients safe. When the CDC announced that testing would be required to re-enter the US in January, the resorts in Mexico very quickly arranged on-site complimentary testing, so that we had an immediate solution for our clients which ultimately prevented a lot of cancellations.”
Terri Jobe, the owner of Blue Water Travel, agreed. “For me, Mexico is definitely the winner for post-pandemic travel. I know the trend says that most will want to do domestic trips, but I have not seen that in my bookings. Mexico, and mainly Cancun, is about 90% of my 2021 bookings,” she said.
In the more immediate future, Mexico allows Lori Wilson’s, a travel advisor with JCo Travel, clients to avoid jumping over lots of COVID-protocol hurdles.
Other Caribbean locales like Jamaica “will see a massive influx of tourists once the pandemic restrictions are reduced,” said Kerri Brewster, owner of Escapes Unlimited & Bride Tribe Travel. “There is a pent-up demand for travel, especially beach vacations for couples or families. I think we will see a lot more Caribbean travel once restrictions are lifted.”
“Jamaica is ready for the rebound! They’ve had some different protocols and seen a reduction in travel but we think 2021 will be the year of Jamaica,” said Travis Paquin, co-owner of 417 Travel.
Further down the pike, “late summer and fall/winter Central America is going to be busier than ever, much of the Mexico/Caribbean space will be gone and the next closest experience and competitive price will be the Costa Rica, Belize, and Panama destinations,” Tom Karnes, president and owner of La Macchia Travel Agency, told TMR.
Other advisors believe there will be a huge demand for Europe, like Lia Vincent, owner of Vincent Vacations & All Inclusive Weddings, who said: “People are itching to go back.”
“People who never wanted to go before want to go even more now since they were told they can’t go. Americans are funny that way. We all wanted to go to Cuba because we were told no. Most popular of that continent is always going to be Italy, France and UK….in that order,” Vincent said.
When the borders open, Europe is going to explode. We have serious pent-up demand for Europe, specifically Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Croatia, said Janelle Grissinger, president of JCo Travel.
Wilson, too, “feel[s] the excitement building for European travel as soon as that becomes an option again.”
“Starting in the summer inquiries for Europe/Asia and Alaska are going to be extremely popular for 2022 travel,” making all of next year a huge boom for the industry, Karnes predicted.
The combination of loss and lockdowns has driven people to take those once-in-a-lifetime trips when they can. “People are realizing that at any moment their travel list could be shut down and you never know when it will be able to resume,” Vincent said.
Wilson said this extends to honeymooners, who “are not compromising on their dream destinations.” She has seen a large demand for Tahiti as clients await a reopening announcement.