Let’s begin today’s analysis and revelation with an encouraging quote from John F Kennedy: “When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters — one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.”
Now that the tone has been set, we can reveal how some destinations are attracting longer stays as the prolonged pandemic discourages people from returning home to work from their gloomy homes. Why would you when sparkling Belize and the Canary Islands are on offer?
Americans go South of the Border
The Caribbean and Central America have shown great resilience since the start of the pandemic in 2020 and continue to do so this year.
“We now know a very exciting fact, and that is that our region, the Caribbean, is the part of the world that will definitely be one of the first to see a return of normality sooner than the rest of the world”, says the CEO of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Frank Comito.
The average length of stays increasing from US travellers is a step in the right direction. The Dominican Republic appears to be on a winning streak as not only are traveller numbers on the increase from the US to this island destination but travellers also staying longer.
“Teleworking in this pandemic has made possible the dream of working from the beach, the mountain, and any other tourist spot. The Dominican Republic has emerged as the perfect destination for that end because of the top and robust structure built to protect our visitors,” says David Collado, Minister of Tourism, Dominican Republic.
The leisure market is proving that is it made from stone, surviving the turbulence of Covid-19 travel bans and restrictions.
“If you look at the countries who have made the top 8 in terms of longer stays from US travellers, it is reassuring to see popular holiday spots such as Turks & Caicos, the Bahamas and Aruba still faring well,” adds Luis Millan, Market Research Manager at ForwardKeys.
“It’s interesting to observe different patterns of stays due to diverse travel restriction policies. For instance, the average stay in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands remains the same as in pre-pandemic times, as US travellers are excluded from the CDC requirement to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to return to mainland U.S.”
Vamos a la playa in Southern Europe
Similarly, to what can be seen in North America with travellers seeking the solace of some R&R someplace South, the same can be seen in Europe.
In 2021 the average length of stay at a Southern European destination from a North or West European traveller has jumped from 8 days to 12 days.
“This growth in the length of stay to southern Europe is an interesting one to observe as it could be attributed to several things: the need to self-quarantine upon returning, or the option to pick up your laptop and work under palm trees,” says Millan.
This may be the case in the Canary Islands in Spain. In 2021 not only does the Actual Air Tickets data show that the proportion of long stays (over 14 days) has increased by 10 points; also, the proportion of one-way tickets has risen by almost 10 points.
In December 2020, the counselor of the Ministry of Tourism for the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, informed the president of global Wifi Tribe, Diego Bejarano, that the Canary Islands “aspire to convert itself into a destination designated as a safe and welcoming work hub for professionals who wish to work and travel remotely, even for a longer period of stay”. It appears their efforts have been paid off.
With more destinations creating enticing Digital Nomad programs such as in the Canary Islands or rolling out Digital Nomad Visas such as in Dubai, let’s see if longer trips become part of the “New Normal” post-pandemic.