THE BUCKET LIST
Business Today|November 15, 2020
THE BUCKET LIST
As travel destinations open up, there are enough getaways for HNIs. The offerings include driving on ice in Lapland to aerobatics in the Nevada desert, and a lot more in between
PRIYA KUMARI RANA

The world has changed, and recreational and romantic travel at the moment seems like a distant dream. But even during these restrictive times, companies and super-luxe hotels are offering a paradisiacal escape. A look at all that has changed in terms of travel itineraries and options.

Short-Hauls A Safer Bet?

“Pre-Covid, people made these complex itineraries involving long-haul travel,” says Pritish Shah, Founder and CEO, A Travel Duet (which organises personalised romantic getaways for couples) and A Travel Circle (A bespoke travel brand launched in June 2020 that crafts holidays for intimate groups). “They wanted to travel 20 days in Central America, or do Australia-New Zealand Bora Bora.” The hottest destinations were Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Lapland (in the winter, to see the Northern Lights and polar bears). But now, connectivity to long-haul destinations is out of the window, since travel for tourism is currently not allowed, unless for certain ‘bubbles’ such as the Maldives (recently announced), Sri Lanka, or Dubai. “It’s point to point,” says Shah, “And now, we are seeing a bit of the travel sentiment pick up.”

Also, due to the sudden lockdown in March, many couples had to cancel their honeymoon plans. “There will be this pent-up demand,” says Shah. “Couples who were stuck, will get married. People have started asking — where will we go and what will we do?” Only short trips are likely for now. “Do a mini-moon — for four to five days or 10 days, and then plan a bigger trip next year, starting April 2021, or a summer getaway, when things are more solid from a Covid standpoint,” adds Shah.

With the traditional wedding season of November to February around the corner, the usual suspects — Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand are shut until the end of the year, at least. “We expect more travel bubbles to open up — the UK, France, Germany, the US — which will allow people to travel for leisure,” says Shah. He feels it could be Christmas in the UK, or somewhere wintry, or California. “But we don’t know about the second surge, and how the virus will react,” he adds.

What’s On The List?

Hotels and resorts have upped their safety standards. “All our staff wears face masks and gloves in their areas of work – be it in the villa, at the restaurant or spa,” says Meenakshi Sundaram, General Manager for The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi and Dhigurah. “Hand sanitisers are placed in prominent places around the resort for guest use. Additionally, being located on private islands, all our villas at both Falhumaafushi and Dhigurah are well spaced to provide honeymooning guests their own private sanctuary.” The Residence Maldives can be accessed via a domestic flight from Male, followed by a speedboat ride. (The resort blends traditional Maldivian architecture with contemporary elegance and modern with 94 villas in Falhumaafushi and 173 villas on Dhigurah). Guests enjoy cycling under coconut trees or on the longest private bridge in the Maldives, taking a dip in the deepest and largest atoll (an island or chain of islands formed of coral) of Gaafu Alifu and snorkel around the house reef of The Residence Maldives with baby sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays and colourful fish.

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November 15, 2020