As World Tourism Day 2017 is just around the corner (September 27) we thought we would get ready by taking a look at six travel trends which we expect will dominate the industry next year.
The world of travel is changing rapidly. What's around the corner?
1 - Socially conscious travelling
The choices tourists make while abroad may have a tangible effect on the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of a country. At least this is what the World Tourism Organization thinks. It believes that tourism, done right, can contribute to the UN's sustainable development goals, and it is promoting this idea with the hashtag #travelenjoyrespect.
Millennials are becoming more and more mindful of what they consume in many ways, and travel is no different. Expect slow, but decisive growth in boycotting those countries accused of unethical practices. The rise of the influence of social media protest communities, such as change.org, over the last few years has added fuel to such practices. However, some countries are using this emerging trend to their advantage. Nepal for example has set up a code of conduct for "peace-responsible tourism."
Google's Delgado Muerza is adamant that artificial intelligence is "The next big thing," and predicted that digital assistants and "talk" over "touch" will become more and more popular. He also said that virtual reality is "An absolutely amazing technology." Over half of those questioned in a recent survey said that they were interested in seeing their hotel room through a VR headset before booking it, whilst 44% would also like to use augmented reality to get information about their intended destinations. This being said, he does admit that it will never replace actually visiting the destination.
So in summary
You can expect ethically-minded travel, the search for authenticity, quotas of visitor numbers, internationalism, terrorism fear, and online assistants all changing the way that we travel in 2018.
2 - A genuine experience
People's lives are generally becoming more comfortable. This is prompting more and more people to get outside their comfort zones and experience the real world. In an age of faceless global corporations and commercialized tourism, people are looking to experience new cultures and interact with local people. According to Sarah Catlett of Kantar Futures this trend applies especially to young travels: "Millennials want authentic travel experiences." Ms. Catlett believes that in order to take advantage of this trend tourist destinations must come up with "genuine and creative" responses.
This is why companies offering an adventurous experience like The Global Scavenger Hunt are doing well, and why inbound tourism to South East Asian countries is growing so fast. The trend can also be seen in the fact that nowadays travel bloggers are credited more and more with influencing the decisions made by tourists.
5 - Tourism and terrorism
The ever threat of terrorism coupled with the media frenzy around it has had a noticeable effect on travel, especially to places which are perceived as being potential targets for attacks. The reality, which is so often ignored, is that the threat of terrorism is marginal when compared to the dangers posed by other crimes or illnesses. According to an official report, only a "fraction of 1%" of travelers is affected by terrorism compared to 1 in 14 travelers affected by other dangers.
Nevertheless, according to the World Travel Monitor survey 45% of travelers said that they have "serious health and safety concerns," especially about "certain countries." In turn, two thirds of the respondents said that they plan to only travel to destinations they consider safe.
3 - Oversaturation of tourist destinations
This is a result of a rapidly growing middle class, especially in the developing world. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, international tourist visits are expected to double in the near future, from roughly 800 million in 2008 to 1.6 billion by 2020. This increase is spearheaded by Asia, whose outgoing tourism grew by 11% last year alone. With demand outstripping supply, destinations will have to adapt. This could take the form of tourism caps, price rises during peak times, or even lottery systems being put into place.
6 - Technology is changing how we travel
Unsurprisingly, technological developments are set to play a pivotal role in reshaping the travel industry.
Unsurprisingly, technological developments are set to play a pivotal role in reshaping the travel industry. The continuous shift online has raised concerns of users privacy, however according to a recent report millennials are happy to sacrificing their personal data in order to receive a tailored experience.
The Schengen agreement as well as the pan-African passport are examples of international schemes embracing globalization, however there are countries which have been pushing against such initiatives. The continuous talk of travel bans as well as the ongoing Brexit negotiations mean that we should enjoy the freedom of travel while it is still a reality.