The Jet setters New Normal

With business and leisure travel screaming to a halt more than twelve months ago, we are left pondering many questions. These questions are often speculative and without clear substance or concrete detail. For clarity, this column provides a similar view of theoretical and unsubstantiated opinion. After all, what is a good opinion piece without an opinion?  

For some countries worldwide, mask-wearing is optional for residents under certain caveats. The responsibility shift presents citizens with a handful of flimsy rules whose existence will create endless ambiguity for the community. I am sure it goes without saying that we all want life back to pre-pandemic times. The simple task of jumping online to book our upcoming adventure is slowly fading into “something we use to do”.   

So, what will the future of international mobility be like once things slowly take flight? 

The need for vaccination passports seems like a no-brainer. The concept is nothing new, given it is already implemented by many countries for travel to Africa with a requirement for Yellow Fever inoculation proof upon entry or re-entry.  

Are we destined for a life with Covid-19 and its variant cousins clambering for a new host to spread their nasties? Unfortunately, we humans seem destined to stave off viruses forever and a day, especially considering our desire to travel the world and visit faraway places at the drop of an approved credit card transaction.  

Suppose the world continues to see an escalation in Covid-19 variants? In that case, cautious families may opt for a homestay over a hotel. Business travellers have significant potential to reduce travel schedules altogether, along with their chosen accommodations being suburbia residences rather than overpopulated city hotels. We have seen considerable growth in super apps worldwide and their ability to deliver just about anything to your door. These services seem to be a simple substitute for the dawdling hotel room service attendant.  

These options seem like a hypothesis from a jaded travel addict longing for a poolside Mojito in the Maldives. With cocktails aside, it does appear that an opportunity for travel industry disruption is awaiting to greet sore-armed guests and their families for the next phase of life.  

Our first steps are navigating human movement on the other side of a pandemic. The second is how governments contact tracing apps collect data, use data and store data. I’m sure we can all rattle off half a dozen countries we don’t want “tracking” us, period.  

The new normal will undoubtedly reveal travel protocols that will be too invasive for many jet setters to bear. The last question remains: How many others will be sipping a poolside socially distanced Mojito on our next vacation?