International travellers that have managed to book a holiday after the Covid-19 lockdowns are showing a new zest for life and increased enthusiasm for trying new experiences, experts said at the ATM 2021 exhibition.
“People want to travel more than before and guests have become more demanding when it comes to their travel and hotel experiences. There is no room for us to make small mistakes,” said Stephane Laguette, chief commercial officer at Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts.
If a border is open, you can be certain that everybody takes notice because they have been waiting for the opportunity to travel as stress free as possible, he explained. “Travellers are prepared to get the QR travel code, and do the PCR tests multiple times if it means that they can arrive and enjoy a holiday safely without quarantine measures.”
“Take the UK market for example, when they opened the border with the Maldives in the middle of November last year, within two weeks we were overloaded with bookings,” he revealed. “They had to close that corridor again because of the UK variant, but that window of opportunity saw our bookings surge. This is the situation that happens every time a quarantine free corridor opens regardless of the country or the region.”
Visitors are showing themselves to have more of an appetite for new experiences, he added. “They want to try more food and dining options, they want to book more spa sessions, they want to try more activities at the hotel – there is a zest for life and taking full advantage of opportunities that they are presented with.”
Looking ahead, he said that Covid-19 digital health passports will be a definite fixture for the global tourism industry, but that they won’t be a permanent solution. “They are the product of the circumstance right now, so their use will be limited to the duration of this pandemic. For us, at the Maldives, 2021 so far has been a good year. We were one of the only countries that was open because we are naturally isolated – you check in Covid negative, and you leave Covid negative. Our occupancies are high, and guests are safe and happy and many end up asking about extending their breaks.”