Revenge tourism emerged from the desire to break free from the monotonous life, occurred due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Revenge tourism involves overindulging in tourism activities. Owing to lockdown, consumers are seeking for a change and hence are overindulging in various tourism activities, as revenge tourism is looked upon as a notable stress buster.

Revenge tourism as a savior of the tourism industry

The Chinese tourism industry witnessed a burgeoning demand for domestic tourism in October 2020. According to the China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, around 637 million people visited domestic tourist spots over eight-day of “National Day” holiday promoted by the Chinese Government as a celebration for stamping out the COVID-19 disease. This eight-day domestic tourism generated around $68.7 billion of revenue. Therefore, China is providing helpful clues to tackle difficulties faced by the tourism industry, and similarly governments of different nations are taking up necessary steps to revive the COVID-stricken tourism industry. Revenge tourism is expected to revive the tourism industry at a rapid pace, and is likely to sooner recover the losses caused by the pandemic.

Travelers’ sentiments on post-COVID tourism

According to the European Travel Commission (ETC), European tourists have a positive attitude toward tourism. However, travelers are concerned regarding falling ill or getting infected with COVID-19 virus at destination. ETC further added that most of the tourists are preferring to travel within Europe, around 65% of the tourists preferred leisure travel, and 20% have plans to visit friends & relatives.

In the U.S., revenge tourism seems to be restricted within the domestic boundaries. This is attributed to the fact that travelers in the U.S. prefers to visit exotic locations within the country and have no serious plans for international tourism. The desire for traveling to small cities and rural areas, mountains, lake destinations, and coastal destinations is on rise in the U.S., owing to rise in travel prices at the popular tourist destinations.

With booming revenge tourism, the hostel and hospitality chains such as Airbnb, OYO, and goSTOPS have witnessed a spike in the number of bookings and enquiries. According to goStops, it has recorded a 1,000% growth in its daily reservations. According to Airbnb, an online platform for hotel bookings, travelling to rural destinations has increased significantly. With the increased pace of vaccination, people are waiting to undertake revenge travel; however, most of them are likely to hit the domestic and rural tourist spots.

The Middle East nations are witnessing fast recovery. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the demand for international travel in April 2020 was around 87% as compared to April 2019. Moreover, the domestic demand was around 74% as compared to that of the pre-COVID period.

Revenge tourism as an invitation to the third wave

Armed with vaccination certificates, many travelers have started hitting their desired destinations. This is positively impacting the tourism industry, and various stakeholders and market players are planning accordingly. However, following the ease of lockdown, the industry witnessed burgeoning demand for revenge tourism that might result in the increased COVID-19 cases. Recently, certain pictures went viral showing the tourists throng at various destinations of emerging markets such as India. In such circumstances, individuals failed to comply with the COVID-appropriate behavior. Hence, revenge tourism might invite the third wave sooner.

Revenge tourism, on one hand, is expected to revive the global tourism. On the contrary, it is likely to increase the number of COVID cases, thereby resulting in the beginning of the third wave, which, in turn, is likely to hamper the growth of the tourism industry. Thus, governments need to boost the vaccination drive and support the tourism industry, as a significant part of GDP is generated from the tourism industry.

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