The following top-9 trends in future travel are showcased in the Global Trends Report 2016 survey, which was conducted by the WTM in collaboration with Euromonitor International and presented at the London exhibition:
Middle East Destinations Are Setting a Trail for Tourism
Twenty-first-century hikers are boosting tourism along ancient trails in the Middle East, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
With several destinations in the Middle East dealing with turmoil and instability, the trend for trails is also helping to spread a message of peace and tolerance
Many of these trails are centuries old, but are seeing a resurgence in popularity, the report states, as hikers are exploring the region’s history, religions, culture and rural communities.
Key trails include the Nativity Path in Palestine; Abraham’s Path from Turkey to Egypt; the Jordan trail; and Lebanon’s mountain trail.
What’s your ‘Bleisure’? The Rise of the Microadventurer
Thrill-seekers who are short on time but big on seeking new experiences are opting for a ‘microadventure’ in order to fulfil their passion, according to the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
The term ‘microadventure’ was coined by British explorer Alastair Humphreys two years ago to describe a small and achievable outdoor adventure for normal people with real lives.
Since then, there has been an explosion in demand for microadventures, particularly among busy Europeans. The trend seems to accompany the general consumer shift away from a desire for material possessions towards an interest in actual experiences.
There are a number of new opportunities the travel trade has seized upon to grab a slice of this potentially lucrative market, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
Holidaymakers will be able to fly from the UK to the US in just three hours in the near future as supersonic flights make a return, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
Travel set to Boom as Supersonic Jets Return
The cutting-edge technology will soon be cutting flight times on popular routes and opening up new long-haul destinations, reveals the report.
Concorde, the first supersonic passenger jet, retired from service in 2003, following the tragedies of the Paris crash in 2000 and the September 11 attacks in 2001.
But a new generation of supersonic aircraft is ready for take-off, meaning British passengers can reach the Gulf in three hours rather than seven or eight. Thailand would be just five hours away instead of the current 11-12 hours, while flight times to Australia would fall from about 22 hours to eight or nine hours.
Virgin Group is one of the companies investing in a start-up firm, Boom, which is developing new supersonic aircraft, which fly 2.6 times faster than normal jets. Flights from London to New York will take three hours, with return tickets costing an estimated US$5,000 per person – similar to the cost in business class today.
Rooms for Roamies: Meet the mod-con nomads
Changes to the way we work, live and travel is leading to the creation of a new species of consumer – the Roamie – a 21st century nomad who travels the world and craves all mod-cons wherever he or she stays, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International.
The phenomenon is most prevalent in the Americas, reveals the report – released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London – and is a natural step on from the co-living community movement, which has been around for decades in one form or another.
In the US, there has been a rise in start-ups offering co-living with all mod-cons and attracting a younger generation lured by the cheaper rents in desirable locations.
Spotting how the move towards flexible working is leading to more work-life integration, communal office provider We Work is taking its concept a step further with We Live, a subdivision offering co-living apartments in New York and Washington.
Coupled with the rise in popularity of solo travel, this trend is now moving into the travel arena and one start-up, called Roam, is offering co-living spaces in three locations around the world, creating the concept of co-living nomads, or ‘Roamies’.
For a fee of US$1,800 per month, members can live in its outlets in Miami, Madrid or Bali, and there are plans to expand Roam to London and Buenos Aires.
Safaris and Spas Create a Sweet Spot for Africa
Africa’s tourism industry is ideally placed to benefit from the current interest in wellness travel, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
The report states that safari holidays, one of the continent’s most important segments, are increasingly including yoga, spa and meditation as part of the itinerary.
The idea of “wellness in the wilderness” also resonates with travellers seeking unique and authentic experiences, resulting in a demand for spiritual travel with an adventure component.
Furthermore, the Global Wellness Summit found that in 2014, wellness travel – defined as travel with a purpose of improving health and wellbeing – was growing at 74% more than regular global travel.
Another factor in the rise of Africa’s tourism is the emphasis on sustainable and reduced footprint holidays, with increasing importance placed on ensuring the benefits of tourism are directly and indirectly shared with the local economy.
Apps are not Enough – Agents need VR and Chatbots
Digitally savvy clients want more from their travel agents than just a website or an app, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
The concept of “clicks and mortar” has moved on, the report states, and agents need to think in terms of merging their physical and digital presence to thrive in what is known as the “physital” economy.
Euromonitor International, Head of Travel, Caroline Bremner, said: “Travel agents who think that having a web site or app means they are meeting the needs of today’s travellers are four years behind the times. Technology has moved on, and so has what their potential clients expect.”
Travel agents are advised to consider virtual reality (VR) as a way to bridge the gap between the traditional face-to-face experience of visiting a high street agent and the expectations of today’s travellers.
The WTM Global Trends Report predicts that by 2020, online agents will have a bigger slice of the overall travel market than offline agents – offline agents’ market share will have dropped to 48.4% in 2020 from 53.8% in 2015.
Walking In A Wanda-land As Chinese Theme Parks Boom
China is poised to overtake the US to become the number-one market in theme parks, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
The report says 59 theme parks are planned or being built in the country, as Chinese consumers have increasing amounts of disposable income.
International players Disney and Universal Studios Inc are focusing their attention on China’s wealthy coastal regions, while local developers are looking more to inland cities.
But China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, has locked horns with Disney, opening two Wanda City theme parks in 2016, with more in the pipeline.
He is the founder of China’s largest player, Dalian Wanda Group, which opened the US$3 billion Nanchang Wanda City in May, followed by Wanda City in Hefei in September – both with a greater Chinese cultural focus and ticket prices half those of Disney.
Euromonitor International predicts the value of theme park sales in China will rocket from US$4.6 billion in 2015 to nearly US$12 billion by 2020, with visitor numbers surpassing 330 million. In the US, theme park sales were US$8 billion in 2015, and are forecast to top US$9 billion by 2020.
Millennials are Ditching the Luggage and Hiring Suits for their Suites
Millennials are leaving their suitcases at home when they travel, preferring to rent clothes and shoes when they reach their destination, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
Hotels and fashion brands are tapping into this “bag-free, hassle-free” trend and teaming up to offer pay-as-you-go convenience for busy travellers.
The WTM Global Trends Report states the trend has followed the rise of the sharing economy, which has seen renting become more accepted – and it’s moving beyond cars and holiday apartments.
The research points to pioneers such as Starwood’s Westin brand which rents running clothes and shoes to guests for US$5.
Start-up ventures have entered the arena with companies such as unPack offering a suitcase of clothes to rent for hotel and Airbnb guests.
Fashion store Pimkie has installed “Mini Fashion Bars” in hotels in Antwerp, Brussels, Milan and Paris, with clothes available to buy via a mini-bar style service.
Virgin Hotel Chicago has a concierge service which allows guests to purchase clothes from Gap and have them delivered to their room.
Indi-pendent Ladies: How Tourism is Empowering India’s Women
Tourism in India is helping to empower women by providing unique employment opportunities, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Tuesday 8 November) at World Travel Market London.
The noticeable trend highlights a more positive attitude to women in the country, which has had to deal with a number of high-profile incidents of crimes against women – both tourists and locals.
Euromonitor International, Head of Travel, Caroline Bremner said: “Tourism is often seen as an ideal entry point for women in India to join the formal economy, by providing access to opportunities and improving quality of life.
“A growing number of companies are offering women-only services or employing women in roles that were previously largely held by men.”
With the safety of female travellers in India in the spotlight, transport companies have started to provide female taxi-driver services. One example is She-taxi, which operates in Kerala for female-only clients, using women-only drivers.
In a bid to satisfy demand, a project called Women on Wheels has been established to boost the number of female breadwinners in the family by training to become professional drivers.
Another project, called Stand Up India, has been launched by the Indian government to supply loans to women to create their own businesses.
And, in celebration of International Women’s Day in 2016, Air India Flight 173 flew from Delhi to San Francisco with an all-female crew, making it the longest flight staffed entirely by women in history.
There has also been a rise in Indian travel clubs and tours for women, such as Women on Wanderlust and Girls on the Go, which organise all-women trips all over the world.
In addition, a number of safety apps have been developed for women in India, such as Ridesafe, which offer tracking, emergency messaging and route deviation detection.
Rural tourism in India can be particularly empowering for women as it has the potential to diversify employment opportunities based on local tourism assets, the report says.