As the world continues to cope with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Vacations By Rail is adapting to the changing times by outlining key changes, projected trends and opportunities for travelers moving forward.
During the New Travel Conference, Vacations By Rail president Heather Leisman and co-founder Todd Powell talked about the new health protocols the industry must implement to ensure the safety of passengers.
Some of the new guidelines include spaced-out seating to allow social distancing, sterilization between services, restricting eating to seats rather than the dining car and the addition of more cashless transactions. In 2021, Vacations By Rail is also limiting tours to 62 percent capacity, while Europe trips will have a maximum of 25 passengers.
The pent-up demand from travelers has resulted in increased advanced bookings for Fall 2020 and 2021, with most trips scheduled for secluded destinations, such as U.S. National Parks and the Canadian Rockies.
“As the travel landscape continues to change and evolve, Vacations By Rail remains committed to delivering unique, immersive experiences while ensuring the safety of our customers,” Leisman told TravelPulse.
“As the world’s largest provider of rail vacations and the trusted authority on rail, we have been able to quickly adapt and make changes, such as increasing hygiene and cleaning measures, leveraging touch-free technology, and reducing the group size of our escorted tours by up to 38 percent,” Leisman continued. “Interest in rail vacations is skyrocketing, thanks to travel trends such as slow travel, sustainable tourism and multi-generational trips, and Vacations By Rail is dedicated to delivering a safe travel environment on top of our extraordinary experiences.”
Vacations By Rail is also reporting domestic tourism is on the rise thanks to coronavirus-related restrictions, so the rail company is working to add trips to remote markets in areas such as Colorado and Alaska for 2021 travel packages.
In addition, off-the-beaten-path trips have quickly become the most intriguing for travelers, with remote journeys and nature-oriented itineraries on the rise. Countries seen as resilient to COVID-19, such as Ireland and Japan, have also seen increased interest for 2021 bookings due to travelers having confidence in the safer destinations.