For avid travelers like ourselves, 2020 was the weirdest year ever. We had gotten so used to being able to hop on a bus, train, plane, uber, or rickshaw and end up at another spot on this world. Then suddenly, it stopped. Conversations about traveling were flooded with new terms like “staycation”, “red zone”, and “quarantine”.
At first, we never thought that the virus would make it outside of Asia. Then we figured that it would be gone after a month or so. When that didn’t happen, all eyes were on a possible vaccine by the end of the year. Now that the end of the year is near, we realize that we might be stuck with this virus for a while to come.
But all of that is history, let’s look forward to how this pandemic will influence our naturist vacations in 2021 and maybe completely change the way we travel.
Is the staycation here to stay?
From July to September, parts of the world briefly opened up again, and traveling, although limited, reappeared on the possibilities list. We took advantage of that, but not in the way we had planned. Given the constantly changing rules and measures, we gave up on the idea to visit several European countries and picked a safer choice instead: A big road trip through France. This way we could stay within one country, and we weren’t too far away from Belgium, a place in which we were sure to find shelter and health care if things would go wrong.
Many shared this way of thinking and staycations and nearby holidays grew in popularity. It quickly became obvious that resorts in or near the countries where the majority of their guests come from were thriving, whereas resorts that are used to receive many visitors from far away weren’t doing all that well.
We’ve all seen the news articles of people getting stranded, sick, or worse in a foreign country and the question is how long these images will be stuck in our heads. Will we be more concerned about the possible risks of long-distance vacations in the future? Time will tell. What is sure is that in 2020, lots of naturists have (re)discovered their local resorts and have realized that a bright white beach or the Caribbean sun doesn’t have to be a necessity for a successful naturist vacation.
Party like it’s 2019
Another increasingly popular term of 2020 is “COVID-fatigue”. For many months, we’ve been dealing with a constant threat of illness, death, and economical disasters. Our typical methods to cope with such fears like social gatherings, comforting hugs, or even a museum visit are being denied.
This lead to another (unfortunate) trend of the summer. People started using vacations as an escape from this emotional exhaustion. An escape from COVID. A chance to party like it was still 2019. Although understandable, such a mentality will have consequences for tourism in the long run. At the time of writing, many countries are still closed to foreigners. If travelers would show responsibility and care about the safety of the local people, this would facilitate opening up more vacation destinations.
How to help your naturist resort
Many naturist resorts in the northern hemisphere can consider themselves somewhat lucky because they have been able to receive guests during the summer months. Other regions were less fortunate. Thailand was quickly on the rise to become a popular destination for tropical naturist vacations. The first naturist resort opened less than a decade ago. When we visited the country in 2018, there were already five resorts. Four additional naturist resorts appeared by early 2020. But since the naturist vacation industry in Thailand highly depends on intercontinental visitors, today that number dropped back down to 5 naturist resorts.
When few new guests arrive while staff, bills, and mortgages don’t pay themselves, financial problems soon arise. Barefeet Naturist Resort in Bangkok started offering their guests travel vouchers which you can buy now and spend whenever Thailand becomes a safe and easy to get to destination again.
We’ve seen the voucher system appear in other places around the world and we think that it’s a great way to save resorts from suffocating. Even if your favorite naturist resort doesn’t have such a voucher system, as long as they offer a refund when you can’t travel due to COVID you’re pretty safe. It is not that your money will generate such high interest during those few months longer in the bank. Through early bookings, you provide the resort some financial stability and you may even benefit from early-bird discounts.
How will we travel in 2021 and beyond?
The news during the COVID-pandemic wasn’t all negative. The worldwide shutdown of factories and traffic earlier this year painted blue skies and bright suns in even the most polluted cities. What the environmental movements couldn’t accomplish during the last years, was achieved by an invisible virus. Now that we’ve seen the possibilities and smelled the fresh air, will we become more conscious about our ecological footprint?
It will be a hard nut to crack. About 10% of the world population works in the travel industry. Every plane that remains on the ground, hotel that keeps its doors closed, and tour that gets canceled is a disaster for a person, a family, and the world economy. To stop traveling would be no less of a tragedy.
The answer will be in the middle. Hopefully, we will all realize that the cheapest options are rarely the most responsible ones. Hopefully, once this pandemic is behind us, the new words in our travel dictionary will include “carbon offset”, “sustainability” and “low impact”.
One more trend in naturist vacations of 2020 was an uprise in first-timers. While the overall number of guests dropped, many resort owners reported a growing number of guests that wanted to try naturism for the first time. The option of a new experience in times when not much is possible and the health benefits that are linked to naturism proved to be a great combo. We definitely hope that this new insight is also one to stay.
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