Tourism is one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, and it’s changed the way we will see the world of travel forever. Between lockdowns isolating people and travel restrictions limiting where they can travel to, keen travellers are now longing to get back out there and make up for lost time. The requirements of the ultra-wealthy traveller have now pivoted, too, with them prioritising privacy, safety, and reliability over cost. We take a look at how the travel industry has changed as a result of the pandemic, and this year’s travel trends that have stemmed from it, from hiring a private island to adventuring in the jungle of Bali.
Private Jets and Concierge Services
To begin with, high net worth individuals are looking to travel privately now more than ever, with private jets having seen a boom in demand, along with luxury concierge services. Air Charter Service is a global aircraft charter broker with 27 offices around the world and which operates 27,000 flights per year, enabling it to seamlessly satisfy any flight requirement. The company also has an inhouse lifestyle concierge team which ensures discreet door-to-door travel – and this has enabled the business to grow by 41% since before the pandemic in 2019.
Indeed, it’s the businesses that can provide well-executed luxury concierge services that stand out to this ultra-wealthy customer who expects to feel protected and well-catered for at all times during their trip.
The tourism industry has also seen heightened demand for exclusive-use destinations and luxury buyouts such as yachts, private villas, and entire private islands, providing guests with the privacy, safety, and security they need – as well as the opportunity to have entirely bespoke experiences crafted to their desires.
Velaa Private Island is one of the exclusive locations we recommend. This ultra-luxe resort in the Maldives’ Noone Atoll is perfect for privacy and seclusion. The destination has invested heavily in new facilities and experiences for guests, including a padel tennis court, KRASH Predator jet ski, and limited education watercraft. Additionally, the island’s wellness practitioners are available to provide integrative body work, sound healing, and mind training workshops for those guests needing some relaxation.
Branded residences are popular as well, defined as high-end luxury residential properties that are associated with a brand. The real appeal of these is in the level of combined service available, whether guests want to indulge in a massage, require someone to walk their dog for them, or would like someone to stock their fridge. The attraction to this seems to be due to the pandemic and the increase of those choosing to stay at home – Guests have everything they could need and more without leaving their front door, including valet, security, dedicated concierge service, luxury amenities, and more, and it all comes with absolute opulence.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts’ The OWO branded residence offers guests a distinctive blend of intimacy and luxury. Fascinating history awaits in what was originally the Old War Office (Grade II listed building) in London, built in 1906 and the headquarters of Winston Churchill in World War II. For more than a century, the building was closed to the public, but guests can now live within these historic walls. The 120-room residence features a private indoor pool, nine restaurants and bars, a spa, concierge services, and over 30,000sqft of private amenity spaces including a Residents’ Garden. While the property still embraces many of its original design features, interiors master, Thierry Despont has lavished each residence and room in modern yet classic décor.
While everybody has been deprived of travel over the last two years, it has benefited the destinations that have been overwhelmed by tourism, having caused alienation of locals, overloaded infrastructure, and damage to nature. Travellers have become aware of this and are seeking to travel to destinations where they can leave a positive impact behind.
For example, Thanda Island which is situated off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean is a private island surrounded by a protected marine reserve. One of the world’s most exclusive island getaways, it has a single luxurious villa and two traditional bandas (beach chalets). Guests can swim with the gentle giant, the whale shark or watch the sea turtles nesting, all beautiful creatures that the island is dedicated to protecting. Local park rangers patrol and protect the reserve from illegal fishing. Sustainability is a focus in every way such as energy being generated by solar power, dishes crafted using only locally sourced materials, and rainwater tanks used to collect water.
Many long-haul destinations are now an option for travellers again, with the lifting of the UK government’s restrictions which limited where people could travel to. In light of this, a travel destination that we recommend is Fairmont Maldives, the pinnacle of a luxury long-haul getaway with spectacular over-water accommodation, serene beaches, and memorable experiences on both land and sea. Soon launching its new Sustainability Lab, guests will be able to take part in transforming plastic waste into bespoke gifts and souvenirs.
Increased Focus on Wellbeing
Travellers are also seeking to reverse the effects of the last two years on their minds and bodies, while desiring longer holidays due to pent-up demand, more flexibility at work, and to make the most out of the destination. Our first recommendation for submerging oneself into a divine relaxation experience is Chenot Palace Weggis in the Swiss Alps. The wellness hotel offers guests a Recover & Rejuvenation programme which aims to reduce stress, recharge the body’s all-natural energy, and restore vitality by combining detox treatments with clinically-proven and -patented neuroscience technology. The treatment encourages the body to restore its natural rhythms, reduce chronic stress, improve restorative sleep, and optimise energy levels – truly ideal for that post-pandemic health reset that many so desperately need.
Meanwhile, twin-centre escape, COMO Hotels and Resorts in Bali is an option which provides guests with a mix of relaxation and adventure. COMO Uma Canggu is a bohemian surfing neighbourhood where guests looking for some excitement can have a go at surfing with the help of an experienced guide, while those who are looking to unwind can make the most of the hotel’s wellness retreat, COMO Shambhala Retreat. At COMO Uma Ubud, budding explorers can disappear into the jungle surrounded by paddy fields, with complete access to the region’s tropical landscapes, fascinating temples, and rich culture.
There is also a trend of families going on reunion holidays after being kept apart for so long by limits on household mixing and travel restrictions. Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa and D-Maris Bay in Turkey are two perfect locations for getting the family together and spending some long overdue quality time. Both of these destinations have designed their accommodation and activities to suit multi-generational groups.
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa is a paradise and leading resort for families which offers spacious bedrooms, inviting communal spaces, private pools, and huge gardens. This year, the resort will be expanding its collection of family villas, inviting even more guests to book a vacation to remember. Activities available include kids’ yoga and cooking lessons, indulgent spa treatments, and thrilling water sports.
D-Maris Bay in Turkey is another ideal location for families, with a water taxi service available to transport guests between the resort’s five pristine beaches. The destination caters to all ages with Bay Beach’s delightful ice cream parlour, while Silence Beach provides the opportunity to shut off from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Accommodation at the resort provides exceptional comfort and flexibility with large bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, private pool, and butler service.
Ultimately, these travel providers know exactly what their customers want, and they work hard to ensure that their every need is catered for with the most optimum service possible. Customer centrism is vital, especially in today’s world where the utmost safety, privacy and convenience is expected. At the same time, promoting sustainable and green tourism is a crucial as these destinations need to be looked after and maintained for many years to come.
Written by Rebecca Scotland