Traveling in 2020 was hit hard by the pandemic. All the travel lovers had to put their travel plans on hold for now and we all can’t wait to be able to travel again. But how will traveling in 2021 look like? What are the trends? Lonely Planet prepared their annual trend report for traveling, which is a bit different for 2021.
The first category is Sustainability
Antigua & Barbuda – Emerging sustainable destination
Standing on the front line of the impact of climate change, Caribbean countries like Antigua & Barbuda have made going green a priority. Devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017, the entrancing twin islands of Antigua & Barbuda have since taken great strides to promote sustainability throughout the country. They’ve banned plastic bags and polystyrene products and established the “Green Corridor” – a collection of environmentally friendly hotels, resorts and businesses stretching along the southwest coast of Antigua to the village of John Hughes. It’s here that you’ll find Wallings Nature Reserve, the country’s first community-run national park. Managed entirely by staff and volunteers from the area, the park sees every dollar from entrance fees and guided tours go back into the local community and the nature reserve itself.
Palau – Sustainable islands
Strung out across the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from the nearest country, the 576 white-sand islands that make up the tropical archipelago of Palau are some of the most remarkable in the world. The rising sea levels and the ecological impact of moving to a tourism-led economy from a subsistence-based existence have put Palau at risk – now it’s forging a more sustainable future. Palau has spent the last decade installing protective measures that will ensure its rich biodiversity, endemic wildlife and unique cultural heritage all survive for future generations. In 2009, it created the world’s first shark sanctuary, which designated 80 % of its maritime territory as a marine preserve, and it was the first country to ban reef-toxic sunscreen. The volcanic splendour of Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, some 445 forest-crowned islets and turquoise marine lakes, was granted Unesco World Heritage status in 2012, and Palau used funds from the scheme to help better manage the island’s wildlife. The country hopes that attracting high-value travelers in more sustainable numbers will ease the pressure on its natural resources. On arrival, each visitor is asked to sign the Palau Pledge, a social contract that states the traveler will act in an ecologically-responsible way during their stay.
The second category is Community
Australia – Community restoration
Last year, around 27 million acres of Australia’s bush, forest and parkland were burned in one of the biggest wildfire disasters ever recorded with 3 billion animals estimated to have either been killed or harmed. New South Wales and Victoria were the worst affected, with thousands of koalas losing 80 % of their natural habitat in the bush. The Australian Government is investing $200 million to save native species like the koala, the Kangaroo Island dunnart and the Wollemia pine tree, while donations from overseas will fund new wildlife breeding programs and facilities. Tourism is likely to play a hands-on role in the restoration too with tour operators offering koala recovery experiences. These tours allow travelers to plant trees, remove weeds and carry out biodiversity surveys in native habitats for when the marsupials return to nature. Of course, they’ll get to meet the koalas too.
And the third category is Diversity
Costa Rica – Accessible destination
Stitching together deep virgin rainforests with smoldering volcanoes, cowlicks of soft, seashell-pink sand and cities sparkling with colonial architecture, Costa Rica really has it all. A law which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and enforces a degree of accessibility in hotels and public places means it’s a fantastic accessible-friendly destination too. Travelers with disabilities can enjoy much of what the country has to offer with little to no hassle. Paved accessible trails cut through many of the rainforests here and accessible thrills are on the cards as well – from zip lining to surfing. This remarkable country is taking some major strides forward for travelers of all abilities.
San Diego – Cultural diversity
San Diego wears its cultural heart on its sleeve. The influences of the Indigenous, Spanish, Mexican and American communities that shaped much of the Western US are accentuated in the city. As a modern-day border town, diversity is a constant, and the city’s minority communities make up over 59 % of the total population. Pair that with a consistent, temperate climate, gorgeous sunsets and miles of hikes, bike rides and beaches to explore, and you can see why San Diegans have a lot to smile about.
To read more about travel trends for 2021, visit www.lonelyplanet.com