We Look Back at Our Travel Predictions 2021: How We Got Some Things Right and Some… Not So Much

By Wego Travel

This article has been reviewed by Wego’s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Last year in December, we took a peek at the proverbial crystal ball and came up with some travel predictions for the year 2021.

Now, almost a year later, we revisit our travel predictions and analyze just how accurate our predictions have been.

1. Vaccines won’t be the cure-all in 2021

✔ Called it

We had hoped to be proven wrong on this one, but sadly, our skepticism was duly realized.

COVID vaccines were made available in late 2020 and early 2021. Various vaccines developed by numerous countries and companies with varying efficacy rates served as the driving force behind the world’s vaccine rollout.

However, factors the likes of vaccine hesitancy, distribution challenges to poorer and warmer parts of the world, and the waning vaccine efficacy beyond six months, mean that the deployment of the numerous COVID vaccines has yet to render the majority of the world’s population fully protected against the ever-evolving COVID-19.

2. Rapid testing will be the cure-all

✘ Missed it

We predicted that rapid testing in all its iterations would be widely and universally used as the world strived to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.

But while rapid testing is being used more and more at border controls, hospitals, administrative buildings, and even at homes, it has yet to be as widely and universally used as we had predicted. Consequently, rapid testing is not the cure-all we had expected it to be.

3. 2021 will see more effective policymaking

✔ Called it

Hands down, our easiest prediction.

Saying 2020 was a bad year is an understatement; chaotic would be a fair description.

With heads of state refusing to acknowledge the pandemic threat, international organizations at a loss for what to do and how to act, and countries implementing completely different approaches to the pandemic, the COVID policy-making in 2021 was a lot more sequential.

To be sure, some differences do remain but neither Sweden is going full laissez-faire nor is China doing strict, month-long lockdowns.

4. Travel will never be the same again

✔ Called it

Another no-brainer.

Considering the number of concessions we’ve had to make during the course of the year, including extensive pre-travel research, testing at border points, vaccination and testing requirements, vaccinated travel lanes, along with countless others, it’s safe to say that we will never see travelling in the same light again. Ever.

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5. New travel passes or health passports

✔ Called it (mostly)

While a unified and universally accepted COVID-passport has yet to be deployed, a number of countries and regions have now deployed various forms of vaccination proofs and recognize those of other countries.

Naturally, we’ll give ourselves a yes on this one and shamelessly pat ourselves in the back.

6. Testing is the new security measure

✔ Called it

There’s just no getting around it, the situation has and will continue to call for testing as the means of granting entry.

Whether it’s rapid tests or PCR tests and whether it is pre-departure, upon arrival or a few days post-arrival, travellers will continue to get tested a lot during their travels.

7. The importance of hygiene

✘ Missed it (for COVID-19 specifically).

Wondering where all the 20-second hand-washing public service announcements and recommendations went? Well, down the drain essentially.

The reason why no one’s saying that anymore is because we’ve established that the virus is airborne and not really transmitted through physical contact. But of course, the importance of proper hygiene cannot be overstated; so keep washing them hands, please, as it does wonders in keeping the nasties away. It’s just that in COVID-19’s case, hand-washing is simply irrelevant.

8. The rise of revenge travel… followed by the rise of luxury travel

✔ Called both

We missed travelling. A lot.

This is precisely the reason why all countries that had widely relaxed their restrictions and measures following a COVID wave saw a surge of inbound travel activity.

Granted, some of these trips were necessity driven, but a fair share of them was also leisure in nature. For some of us, travelling for the sake of travelling is a necessity, and as if to prove how much of a necessity it was, we splurged on longer and more unique trips.

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9. Business travel slow to come back

✔ Called it

Well, slowER to come back. We probably should have been more precise with the verbiage.

Some business travel is certainly happening but a lot of those business travels are happening on Zoom, and Teams, and Hangout, and, dare we say, the metaverse?

10. Alternative accommodation will outpace traditional accommodation

✔ Called it

Do we really need to point you to an Airbnb quarterly earnings report? Yes, other hotel-focused OTAs have done reasonably well, too, but no one’s come close to being well beyond 2019 levels the way Airbnb has.

There, we did the math so you don’t have to—9 yays and 2 nays.

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