In a time when many countries are easing their lockdowns and airlines are announcing their return in July, we ask what will the new travel experience look like?

It is without a doubt that health factors are driving significant change in aviation and this will impact our departure experience too. Airlines such as Emirates are rolling out rapid pre-flight COVID-19 testing and Ryanair relaunch in July with mask and temperature check requirements. Flying will involve longer queues, health checks and these developments will increase costs and the airline industry that was previously built on volume will need to restructure. The airlines that survive will be those that can reinvent effectively whilst embracing the opportunity to make flying greener and heathier both for all onboard and on the ground.

A new type of traveller will most certainly emerge and age will be a key factor. Where previously the over 65’s were a fundamental part of tourism, it’s expected that there will be a huge sentiment shift in this group. With increased local travel and defined tourism ‘bubbles’ between countries, Staycations and Nearcations will be the first to feature as people strive for simplicity.

However, we cannot underestimate the emotional and spirit lifting rewards of travel and lockdowns naturally increase our desire for face to face experiences. As we emerge from isolation and confinement, we will seek safe escapes with our loved ones and restorative immersions in nature.

We will move from Millennials to Coronials (those who travel during Corona) and it’s widely accepted that the first travellers will be business travellers and VFR’s (visiting friends and family). There will be an emergence of long stay guests escaping winters for extended periods of time and the emphasis on health and wellness stays.

We will likely opt for dispersed travel, remote locations and low volume tourism destinations. Exclusive use private villas and reputable luxury hotel brands known for their highest standards of health and safety and service will undoubtedly lead the way.

With countries wanting to prevent and contain further outbreaks, our arrival experience will be altered as well. New arrival health protocols will become the new norm as countries introduce health passports similar to Singapore’s QR codes. 

Hotel experiences will transform as buffets and mini bars will need to be re-thought along with social distancing in restaurants. We will experience less person to person contact as we see hotels adopt high tech–low touch strategies such as keyless systems and automated check-in and check-outs.

When we do get travelling, trust will become the most important currency in our travel experience. Destinations, agents, hotels and airlines will be relied upon to provide high levels of confidence and support for travellers as the travel experience becomes more layered and new COVID norms are defined.

SRI LANKA’S RESPONSE was commended by the World Health Organisation for their handling of COVID. Their level of preparedness and rapid response has resulted in less than 1000 cases, less than 10 deaths and with currently no intensive care patients. In fact, a significant contingent of tourists has chosen to stay in Sri Lanka rather than return to their home countries exactly because of these reasons.

Already visitor COVID tracing apps are under review with deep consideration of guest health as they travel around the country and from one hotel to another. In addition to adopting the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) new protocols, hygiene experts have developed COVID certification standards for hotels and transport whilst the private Jet airport is mobilised and ready to enable swift arrivals and private clearance.

Sri Lanka is choosing to take this moment for renewal and sees the pandemic as an opportunity to improve sustainability, conservation and eco-tourism. With resilience firmly embedded in its DNA and naturally blessed with an abundance of nature, wilderness and off the grid experiences, Sri Lanka will be a compelling destination for the new type of traveller.


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Today we are sharing a typical Cabbage Mallum recipe. Mallums in Sri Lanka are like a salad and compliment rice and curries, providing essential vitamins in a Sri Lankan diet. 

A mallum is made using any green vegetable that is thinly shredded and cooked at the last minute and served immediately. 

You can substitute this recipe with most other vegetables: Try broccoli or cauliflower as alternatives. 

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