Travel Trends That Will Change The Travel Space in 2022
Israelis love to travel abroad, whether it’s a post IDF backpacking trip to Asia or South America, a short break on a Greek island, or a family holiday to an exotic location. Israelis have the travel bug. With the Shekel at its strongest for years and better relations with many Muslim countries, we ought to be able to pick and choose destinations based on travel trends!
Olim who still have family in the US or other countries will often try to make an annual trip abroad. If you have elderly parents, a large extended family, or business connections in the old country, a real visit usually beats Zoom meetings hands down. There’s also the chance to do some shopping, and enjoy favorite foods and old haunts.
Foreign travel is one of the big pleasures in life. Even grueling business trips can include weekends off. At the least, there’s usually a chance to see the local sights and check out the food and nightlife. The COVID-19 pandemics and lockdowns put the brakes on foreign travel and severely damaged the world’s travel and tourist industries.
2022 was looking more hopeful, but the new Omicron COVID-19 variant has put politicians in a panic. Israel closed its borders to foreign travelers yet again, and popular destinations like the UK are back on the Red List. If you’re one of the millions of quietly despairing travel fans, read on to check the travel trends. 2022 might be better than you expected.
Travel Restrictions in 2021
Foreign travel was a frustrating process in 2021. Restrictions varied from outright bans to bureaucratic procedures based around digital certification, mandatory COVID testing, and periods of enforced isolation. The rules vary from country to country, and the authorities kept changing the requirements in response to every new scientific report. A lot of people took the attitude that non-essential travel wasn’t worth the hassle.
The average government - and the Israeli government in particular - seemed to be torn between the need to kickstart lucrative tourist industries, and to manage the COVID-19 statistics. Israelis who did opt for foreign trips put up with the bureaucratic hassles, additional expenses, and irksome quarantine periods. The real losers are everybody who depends on the Israeli tourist industry. Given that the tourist industry previously accounted for around 6% of GDP - the whole country is losing out in a big way.
Travel Trends in 2022
Public patience with government regulations seems to be wearing thin. There are also signs that COVID-19 will soon become an easily treatable condition for most sufferers. Unless we see a new and destructive variant of the virus, 2022 may be a much better year for travelers. If travel restrictions are substantially relaxed, it’s likely that countries will compete for tourists.
The travel and tourist industries know that they will have to offer competitive deals to attract visitors. We can probably expect some excellent offers on flights or even cut-price airline travel. There may also be some great package deals as previously popular resorts push hard to win back tourists. If you’re looking for all-inclusive flight and hotel packages, 2022 might be a bonanza year.
The global pandemic seems to have created some new priorities for globetrotters. Enforced lockdowns made us realize how spoiled we were previously, and to really appreciate the value of foreign travel. They also gave us a lot of extra time online and a chance to research destinations. No doubt there was an element of lockdown escapism in online searches for exotic adventures like African Safaris, Arctic sled expeditions, and diving trips to the Maldives. However, there do seem to be new travel trends emerging.
Attitudes are shifting towards a new emphasis on quality, personalized travel and there is a growing interest in ecotourism and low impact travel. Concepts like sustainability and zero carbon footprint are becoming serious considerations, both in the tourist industry and for travelers.
Live the Dream
If 2022 does see a major relaxation of travel restrictions, we can expect a new enthusiasm for the ‘trip of a lifetime. Another factor that will affect the tourist industry is the massive change in the work culture that the lockdowns created. As employees increasingly go freelance, look for short-term contracts, or take career breaks, their travel options become more flexible.
Longer holidays, more distant locations, and bigger adventures are likely to become a priority for post Lockdown travelers. Freelancers and part-timers who can travel with an iPad or laptop will also be able to combine travel with work. There seems to be a new emphasis on ‘carpe diem’ and living the travel dream. If there is a spate of flight deals in 2022, and the Shekel stays strong, plenty of Israelis will be looking for the trip of a lifetime.
The trip of a lifetime doesn’t necessarily include a physical challenge. Adventure comes in all shapes and forms. A relaxed trip on a luxury cruise liner definitely counts as living the dream, particularly for older travelers. A trip of a lifetime could also include a flight to Florence, a trip to the Bolshoi Ballet, or any other cultural treasure. The Unesco World Heritage List contains enough wonders for several lifetimes of travel.
Friendcations - Adventures and Reunions
Israelis are sociable people and there is an emphasis on family life that often surprises outsiders. Extended families make a big effort to visit and spend time together. Israelis who served in the IDF, particularly in close-knit units, are arguably more likely to value group activities than their North American and European peers.
This is reflected in travel choices. Groups of friends set off on a backpacking trip after the Army is quite normal, but we’re increasingly seeing groups of mature adults flying off in search of adventure. Families are coming together to enjoy package deals that allow the kids to run riot with their cousins, while the adults relax by the pool. All-inclusive buffet meals, secure locations, and structured activities make childcare easy.
Families who don’t like resort culture can easily rent villas or apartments in Greece or Cyprus. Most rentals come with pool and car hire deals. An extended family or group of close friends can enjoy some of the benefits of a package deal, but with more personal space and flexibility. Sunny Eastern European countries like Bulgaria also offer some interesting possibilities.
Olim in Israel largely depended on Zoom and phone calls to stay in contact with family abroad during the lockdowns. 2022 could be a special year for family reunions. Hopefully, transatlantic flights will be affordable as the big airlines try to make up for lost business. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Israel-EU Open Skies deal was expected to transform travel. Perhaps we’ll start to see some practical benefits from the landmark agreement in 2022.
The travel industry is partially adapting to the concept of ecotourism. Often this is no more than a few marketing gimmicks to capitalize on buzzwords like ‘sustainability’ and ‘zero carbon footprint’. There is some public appetite for environmentally responsible travel, but not enough to stop people from taking regular flights or visiting desirable locations. Ecotourism is a niche market, but it is an interesting one.
A growing number of travelers are keen on combining trips to exotic destinations with volunteer work. There are also small, but growing travel trends to select operators and airlines that have a genuine policy to offset their carbon pollution. Ecotourism isn’t likely to be a travel industry disruptor in 2022. Exploring the concept on a personal level could open the door to some interesting and unusual holiday opportunities.
Business Travel is ready for takeoff
When Zoom stocks surged during the lockdowns, and the video conferencing app became headline news, many predicted the end of business travel. Their enthusiasm (or vested interests) may have been misplaced. Zoom is an amazing tool, especially if you’re working from home, learning online, or keeping in touch with friends and family. Zoom is not really an effective substitute for business trips.
Most business trips (and wider work trips) aren’t simply a series of structured meetings. People need to forge personal connections, develop a sense of who they’re dealing with, check out locations, follow up on leads, and react spontaneously to questions, opportunities, and problems. There’s no real substitute for a hands-on approach. If you want to get things done effectively, you need to be in the building - not on someone’s screen.
The length or frequency of business trips may be reduced by new technology, but we can expect a bounceback in 2022. Counterintuitively, new communications technology may increase the overall number of business trips. It’s getting easier every year for companies to operate abroad and global reach is rapidly attainable.
YouTube was the number one solution for lockdown boredom for millions of people worldwide. Travel channels in particular attracted a huge number of viewers and new subscribers in 2020 and 2021. At first glance, this is just a democratized extension of the ever-popular TV travel shows. People love to tune out and look at interesting places. Some may be researching trips, but most are just enjoying some remote sightseeing.
YouTube is creating opportunities for entrepreneurial travelers to fund their trips by live streaming to subscribers. Advances in AI - even over the next couple of years - will make interactive virtual travel a reality. Special historical and cultural sites and natural locations should be readily accessible for super realistic virtual exploration. These kinds of travel trends may allow for a level of experience and exploration that goes far beyond what would be possible during a physical visit.
Futuristic and Fast
As hypersonic flight becomes commercially viable, we may see regular commuting between continents. Defense research into hypersonic weapons systems is creating exciting civilian applications for the new technology. This is in addition to civil aviation projects. Some readers may remember Concorde. In 1996, BA flew the high-tech passenger jet from New York to London in just two hours, 52 minutes, and 59 seconds. This was a special flight under optimal conditions.
The next generation of hypersonic jets could make Concorde look slow. Developers are working on passenger aircraft with a speed of up to 4,000 mph. To put that in perspective, it might take more time to get from your home to Ben Gurion Airport, than it takes to get from Ben Gurion to JFK Airport in New York…
That may sound like science fiction, but 2030 is a predicted threshold for commercial development.
Anybody who is nervous about flying can possibly take comfort from the idea that rail transport is about to get serious fast. The next generation of high-speed trains has the potential to make transcontinental rail travel a viable reality. Trains that can push towards 370 mph are under development. Theoretical research suggests that a new generation of Vactrains could travel at close to 5,000 mph. In the new Middle East, that could mean jumping from Tel Aviv to Dubai for a coffee. As tunneling technology improves, high-speed undersea rail travel trends may be commercially viable. Imagine the Channel Tunnel on an oceanic scale.
Back to the Present
Scientific and business consensus is that the next decade will bring game-changing transformations. There is already talk of a ten-year technological revolution that will be comparable in magnitude to the fifty-year industrial revolution. As we enter 2022, we’re still working around COVID -19 restrictions and are dependent on existing transport systems. If you’re planning a trip in 2022, you’ll need to stay informed, especially on travel trends. TCS will keep you up to date with any changes to official travel requirements.
We also have a passion for travel and tourism. The TCS Facebook page regularly features interesting posts on top tourist destinations and new travel ideas. We’ll also update you with helpful info about new roaming plans, extra foreign numbers for your mobile or landline, and how to get the most out of your TCS services when you’re out of Israel. Check back regularly if you’re also a globetrotter!