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The British Virgin Islands are home to Peter Island, a 1,600-acre private resort owned by billionaire Amway founders Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos.

Peter Island

Following what can only be described as a crippling 2020, the travel industry is now looking to reset, a trial-and-error effort that begins with baby steps and a whole new mindset.

“Even with a vaccine in place, it’s going to take a long time for people to once again readjust their line of thinking about travel, when they have become so accustomed to physical social distancing,” says Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations for Virtuoso, a custom-vacation travel network.

With 2023 as the popular projection for a full back-to-normal travel life – fingers crossed – travel in 2021 will be less frequent and totally dependent on how the rest of the world opens. “While airlines and tour companies can try to predict where people want to go,” Belles says, “where they actually can go will be determined by what countries open their borders, when vaccines roll out and when destinations feel like they have control over the pandemic.”

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Privacy is going to be a priority, with lesser-known private villas and small inns renting out their entire properties to small groups and multigenerational travellers in controlled bubbles. Resorts are already offering different tiers of privacy to parallel the varying comfort levels of guests, which will evolve as anxieties and case numbers recede.

“Remote islands will continue to do well – more remote spaces in general, including the national parks,” Belles says. “They saw such an attendance spike in the summer and will continue to be busy as people seek out the great outdoors.”

And privacy will influence our modes of travel: Road trips and RVing are going to be popular this year, as Canadians continue to rediscover their own regions. People will look for less bustle, smaller crowds and more nature mixed with both active and soft adventure.

Travellers will be so eager to stretch their wings and release pent-up energy, demand may well exceed supply. Belles says travel agents are already booking holidays for 2022. All the more reason to start thinking about this coming July and August. “People really should be planning their summer vacations now,” she says.

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