16 June, 2020
Why just chat when you can vibe?
Vibe On Skype is an online show by TheTravelXS powered by Skype.The show aims to provide valuable insights from renowned media professionals on the ongoing issues and trends in the travel industry.
For our debut episode, we have the very special, Zane Henry, Project Editor at National Geographic Traveller UK. We called him on a fine evening on June 08, 2020 to get his opinions on how the lockdown has affected the travel industry, what can be the future trends and how the journalism side of this billion dollar industry would get affected post lockdown.
Here are the questions that were put forth to Zane during the interview including his answers in brief. For the detailed discussion and his insights on the travel industry, please watch the full interview here.
Zane Henry, Project Editor, National Geographic Traveller.
Photograph shared by Zane.
In the light of covid-19 and the lockdown, we reckon travel is the one of the most affected industries. An employer for 330 Million and a sector that directly redistributes wealth like no other, it was like riding a Mercedes at 100 miles/hour and suddenly, someone pulled the handbrake.
‘We would like to know, how bad is the damage here? What is the travel industry facing currently? And when do you think travel will become ‘normal’ again?’
ZANE: ‘It is indeed that the travel industry has been affected the most, and that’s because the disease travelled. It is kind of like ‘Brexit’ in a weird way as people are still trying to figure out what the long term effects will be.
And when will things get back to normal?
There is no normal. We will have a ‘new normal’ and a new normal after that, and things will just keep changing with time.’
Here's a statement from the founding editor of the British travel show, ‘Wish You Were Here ?,’ Peter Hughes,
He remarked that ‘The big question, post covid will not be about how the travel industry tries to restore normality, but how society’s behaviour will have changed.”
‘Do you think the fear of traveling or boarding a flight that has birthed in almost every potential tourist because of this pandemic, will ever go away?’
ZANE: ‘I don’t think it will go away but it will evolve. The mindset will definitely change and people will become more vigilant, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone will be wearing masks and gloves for the foreseeable future.
‘What are the new trends we will see in the industry in the coming five years?
ZANE: ‘In terms of trends, Domestic travel by this year's end will be something to compete because that is what people are thinking about now already. We will have restrictions but people who want to travel will still travel.’
Perhaps, with the attached risk or fear, traveling might become more meaningful to people?
Like say if we plan to go travel somewhere, we should really make it count — meeting local people, learning something valuable, travelling in a meaningful way and helping the local economy as much as possible,”
‘Do you think that could change the dynamics of travel journalism? Like more real stories than fabricated or promotional? More authentic experiences and even more acceptance to local culture. Possibly eliminating the ‘Us V/s Them’ attitude between people?’
ZANE: ‘Personally, I don’t think it will have that big of an impact. I think good publications will continue to work and those with bad habits will continue with their bad habits. They will just do so with whatever the new restrictions will be.
I do believe there is a widespread shift towards responsible tourism but that will continue to come from increasing awareness and an increased consideration of shared humanity rather than just coming from a global pandemic.’
As we have started our own media company, The TravelXS, we are building a platform, a mobile application that will help a traveler to monitor and control his carbon footprint while traveling, by making the right choices- from what to eat or how to travel- and a platform that allows travelers to connect with each other, the concept of global homes, to save hundreds of pounds, experience the local culture in the most authentic way and eliminating the middlemen such as travel agents and guides, competing with hospitality giants like AirBnB.
‘Do you think people will prefer the application? Do you think this could help the industry or perhaps become the future of our industry?’
ZANE: ‘Yeah! I mean everything you said sounds great! I mean if your app can deliver all of it and not corrupt my phone, I would be the first one to download it.’
How does NatGeo Traveller UK is going to adapt to these changes? Will we see any new trends or content in the upcoming magazines?
ZANE: ‘Yes, absolutely. Working in the travel industry , “You need to be sensitive to what’s happening in the world. And we will adapt the same way we always adapt, you know?
A large part of what we are discussing in our editorial meetings is about how certain destinations are opening up and what are the implications of that. Just because some places have opened up to travelers, is that something that the readers need to know? We need to think about all different perspectives, balance them and at the same time be socially responsible.’
When it comes to you, you like to travel a lot, Zane. You write lots of travel stories..
What will be your plan in terms of traveling to new places? What are your preferences? Any not-to-go places that our audience should know? Would you prefer only domestic travel? What’s your stance on it?
ZANE: I do not really believe in not-to-go places so there’s that. As for myself, I’d say that as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted off, I would go visit my family in South Africa because I miss them.
That was all from the first episode. Stay tuned for our next episode as we will be having a chat with the one and only, Dave Burt better known as ‘Mr. London’ on the Instagram network. He is the founder and CEO of the official London page on Instagram with over 2.5 Million followers. We will be discussing with him how the post lockdown London looks like and how the hospitality sector in London is dealing with the new changed environment.
Until then, travel safe and make sure to cover your face with masks.