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This is the travel behavior in COVID Summer 2020

The world is still in a state of emergency. Nevertheless, many people are traveling in the Summer because after the lockdown, a serious escape is required after the lengthy staying within the four walls scenery. As the world is at different stages of the pandemic, the travel options and travel experiences are also contrasting. In this article, we shed light on the current situation around the globe and insight into what the current travel etiquette is like. Asia China is considered the country where the virus originated, and it was the first country to be affected by a lockdown. In the meantime, China’s situation has reformed a lot, and the number of infected cases is now minimal. The Chinese do tend to travel a lot, albeit in their own country. The Sanya region, which lies by the sea and offers several renowned luxury hotels, is famously trendy. But cities like Shanghai and Beijing are also popular for their so-called staycations. A weekend getaway is a must to be pampered. If you look at the current global travel volume, the Chinese are currently at the top. Hong Kong, on the other hand, is cut off from the outside world. Some hotels are open here, and the local people also use them to take a break and often escape from their small apartments in a large hotel suite. The situation is similar in Singapore. There is a curfew from 10 pm, and in the evening, the city is deserted. In both Singapore and Hong Kong, it can be expected that both countries will remain closed to international tourism until the end of the year. Australia / New Zealand The two countries in Oceania subsequently closed to inbound tourists at an early stage of the pandemic. Local sources predict that both governments plan to keep the countries closed until the second quarter of 2021. The residents there travel, but much more cautiously than in China. This is also because the country offers significantly more space and opportunities for grand experiences. The Australians and New Zealanders, pass their time with day trips or take longer trips with a camper. South America The situation in South America has deteriorated significantly in the last few weeks. Mexico and Brazil, in particular, are currently recording high case numbers. The countries in South America are currently closed, but some countries insist on reopening on September 1st. Tourism in South America is now idle. Only Mexico welcomes guests from the USA, where travel is currently still possible. Therefore, many hotels are open in Mexico stands. The national travel activity in the countries is rather low compared to other continents. Africa Tanzania and Rwanda are currently the countries that receive tourists. Going on a safari in the Serengeti is truly magical, and at the moment, is a unique experience as you have all the wildlife to view almost to yourself. The only problem here is that there are still a few flight connections and mostly via countries with travel restrictions. South Africa is a country that is economically suffering from the pandemic. Therefore, South Africa strives to open its borders for international tourism as quickly as possible. Many South Africans are dependent on tourism, and everything is done to ensure that guests can be received during the high season in December. North America Both the US and Canada have closed their borders. USA, with the exception that travel is possible to some countries such as Mexico and Turkey. National tourism is brisk in the USA. Especially in the coastal towns of San Diego and Santa Barbara, the hotels are very well booked, and the people there enjoy the Summer. Post Ranch in Big Sur National Park was fully booked for the whole Summer within a few days, despite prices of USD 1,500 per night. Amangiri, which is located in Utah, had a similar experience. The Americans want to travel and are already so excited that we can see quite a few bookings for Spring/Summer 2021 for Europe. When the US opens its borders remains to be seen – it is quite possible that the border opening will also become a political game connected with the presidential elections. Europe Europe consists of 47 countries. And there are about as many different opinions and approaches here at the moment. The states have their quarantine lists, which make travel unpredictable. That is why we see a lot of local trips in Europe, and if we are going further away, then it is trips with our own car. In this way, you can ensure that you are flexible in the event of changes and can return home quickly. Masking is compulsory almost everywhere in Europe. The Netherlands and Switzerland are exceptions. Especially when it comes to hotels, Switzerland is practically back to standard – breakfast buffets and waiters without masks. While almost all of the Venice hotels are open, many cities such as Rome, Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona will not follow suit until September. For many hotels, the current question is whether it makes sense to open their doors. The hotels that receive guests are far from the “normal” number of overnight stays. With their reopening, the luxury hotel industry, in particular, is making a statement that the region is ready for tourism again. Their big problem now is that there are very few reservations currently made, and have to be prepared for last-minute bookings. This raises the question of whether the entire staff is required to ensure operation – but can the usual service quality be guaranteed with reduced staff? In addition to the question of when this pandemic will end, many small questions concern the tourism industry. Here, too, travelers are challenged to make statements with bookings to help the industry recuperate. Guido Graf is Founder of Privateupgrades. Privateupgrades is a global luxury travel club with over 20 years of experience in luxury hotels, ensuring exclusive VIP privileges like upgrades, free breakfast, free nights, rate discounts, free airport transfers, free massages and much more. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Guido Graf

Guido Graf, born in Vienna, is a respected businessman and pioneer in the European luxury travel industry. After studying in Switzerland, he founded Deluxetargets in 2001, one of the most esteemed companies for luxury travel in Europe. In 2017, he recognized the growing importance of the digital market and launched PrivateUpgrades, an online platform providing access to over 2000 luxury hotels with exclusive VIP benefits. Graf is widely acknowledged as an expert in luxury hotels and continually sets new standards for exceptional travel experiences. Moreover, since 2008, he is the exclusive representative for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in Switzerland. Graf also sits on advisory boards of several renowned luxury hotel brands and has held a consulting role in several significant hotel openings such as the Royal Atlantis in Dubai. His innovative spirit and entrepreneurial foresight make him a leading figure in the luxury travel industry.

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  1. Nice to have a global overview of the different continents and how they are coping as the infection continues to sweep across the world, maybe in wave after wave. The trouble is that it is so hard to judge what’s going on as countries have such different levels of testing. As you say in the run up to the US Presidential election Covid is likely to become very political. Also for the northern hemisphere we are heading into autumn. Temperatures will drop, people will spend more time indoors closer together and it will be a whole new ball-game.

    1. Hello Maggie.
      I am glad that you like the overview and that it is useful. At the moment, it is very uncertain how this virus will develop and how the governments will react to it – the hope remains that we will make the way back to normal with a vaccination.

  2. I think the real travel behaviour of 2020 is to book late and to check that you are able to cancel without losing your money. So many of us have been stung by airlines and hotels still taking their time to pay refunds or just giving us vouchers instead that many travellers are going to be very cautious. Though once you’ve committed to a destination you’ve got to plan ahead and book. Even if you want a swim at a hotel you’ve got to book a time in advance. Travel behaviour is going to be different for the next few years. Once we get used to it will we ever go back to the old ways?

    1. I’m always wary of generalisations on how people behave. Its dangerous to assume that everybody thinks and acts the same, particularly if you are running a business.

      There are travellers out there who are gamblers and different to the masses. Months ago, a friend of mine decided to gamble that there will be a vaccine by next May and he decided to book flights to KL. When he saw the low prices he worked that it wouldn’t cost much more to upgrade to First Class. We are all different.

    2. That’s so Bob – usually a lot is getting booked last minute and, for the long-term ones, that can be canceled free of charge. We are currently seeing numerous bookings for 2021 – some with specific plans, some to develop anticipation and also because the hotel prices are currently meager, and we have numerous very tempting promotions – but each fully flexible and can be canceled. Whether we will return to the old times is still in the stars – but it will be a travel behavior adapted to the new time – what I would like, would be a more in-depth trip where the country and the culture are the focus of interest.

  3. After the incarceration of lock-down I’ve done quite a few short breaks in U.K. hotels. I’ve been really impressed by how much care most of the hotels take with their social distancing and they are working incredibly hard to look after their guests. But it has been amazing to see the differences in occupancy. I stayed in one hotel that had barely 10% occupancy and another that was full night after night.

    1. Thank you, Liz, for sharing your experience. I hope you enjoyed your short staycations! The hotels are very careful and are currently trying to give their guests a feeling of security. Many hotels have difficulties with occupancy, especially during the week – on the weekends, many hotels are already very well occupied or even full.

  4. I think local travel will be the viable option for many travelers. I know I would just to break the monotony of seeing just the four walls of my home and my city. Most would have to make do with traveling within their own borders. Even in Europe, there is no guarantee. What could be open now could close any time making it really risky to go farther than a few hours of travel from your country or your city. I agree about traveling just by car so that in case the situation changes, you’d be able to travel back and won’t get stuck in a foreign place.

    1. Hi Jonas. You are like many others. After the “stay home,” the desire was great to get out of your own four walls. We had numerous customers who “fled” every weekend in hotels with pools to have an experience in the bleak times. After the lockdown, most of our clients dared to go further away, but by car – they would be flexible in an emergency and get home quickly if necessary.

  5. I have now read a few pieces just beginning to suggest that a second wave of the virus may not be as deadly as the first. There may be more hope for our travel plans and some desperately required good news for the travel industry.

    It is early days yet but although the number of cases recorded in many European locations are rising the number of deaths are not rising as much. Possibly the virus may have mutated to become less deadly: the stronger mutations die with those they infect. Hospitals have learnt much over the last six months in treating what was once a new and unknown disease. Also with hand-sanitiser, masks and social distancing people are only becoming exposed to small doses of the virus and not suffering as serious an infection.

    We may be able to look with some optimism towards some travel later in the year.

    1. The problem with this pandemic is that there are a lot of theories and views, but nobody knows what our COVID-19 future will look like. Hope is now based on vaccination. As you say, let’s be optimistic and positive – life is too good to let the joy of life take away from us.

  6. I’ve got to admit, while it’s not great for the economy, I think Hong Kong and Singapore are doing the right thing for human life of their citizens by having curfews, closing places down and closing off international tourism. It’ll be interesting to see what their statistics are liked compared to other countries like ours in the UK. It’s wildly different to the likes of Sweden, but it’s just not easy to compare across places when there are so many variables. I read in the news that they think the infection rates are dropping there because of herd immunity, but who knows. As for the States, I can imagine many people are worried about the direction things will go in so that political gains can be made as the elections draw closer.

    It’s a little more positive when we see the responses in Australia & New Zealand, with proactive governments shutting things down to try to contain the spread. I’ve got relatives in Oz though who say it’s not all that great there with panic buying and lockdowns, but at least the numbers are more manageable and not so many are sick and dying, which has got to be worth the inconveniences.

    All we can hope for is a safe, effective vaccine sooner rather than later. It’s interesting to see the reactions and the stance on travel of each country side by side like this. I hear bits and pieces in the news but it’s constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up with where’s doing what.

    1. Hello Kate – you are right. Asia is pursuing a uniform strategy rather than Europe. Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand will remain closed this year – and even Bali decided a few days ago to stop opening its borders in 2020. It remains to be seen how everything will develop and whether the countries’ isolation will also prevent the spread as desired.

  7. COVID 19 really changed the way people live. It is sad that travelling nowadays will make you feel anxious than happy, as how it is supposed to be. The travel industry was badly hit by this pandemic and I really hope that a vaccine gets available for the general public soon or the virus just magically (mercifully) disappears! We are all hoping for a brighter and safer future for all the industries. We can all travel soon, I am claiming it!

    1. Hello Leonidas – is this pandemic only changing our lives now, or will it be much different afterward? For now, we have to hope that we can get the infection rate under control and see that people don’t have to die. We all want to travel again, and we all hope that this could happen soon.

  8. I expect that the volume of tourists for the coming months will slowly rise now that a viable vaccine is possible within reach. However, the pandemic is still raging and still severely limits not only daily human activities, but also create these additional boundaries that separate people from all over the world. Countries have distinct health and safety measures, and requirements to travel will be more strict and take longer due to all the additional precautions. Moreover, industries who rely on the influx of tourists will be the ones to be gravely affected by this decline in tourism. In Asia, beaches are usually crowded during summer, but due to the threat of CoVid-19, people will surely prefer private villas than multi-room resorts or hotels. We might have to go around in masks until the pandemic becomes under control. I know I would.

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