Travel trends continue to evolve as the sector continues to grow. Earlier this year, The United Nations World Tourism organisation reported that 2016 saw positive growth for the industry globally, with international tourist arrivals increasing by 3,9%. This culminated in a total reach of 1,235 million travellers according to the UNTWO World Tourism Barometer.
The increased growth was despite growing global concerns around safety and security. Positive sentiment shown through the a survey of of UNWTO’s Panel of Experts, who were confident that tourism will continue to grow at a rate of 3% to 4% in 2017 despite these threats and other socio-economic factors that affect the sector.
Here are some trends that the market is seeing which continue to contribute to the growth travel sector:
From the annual Comrades Marathon in South Africa to the Tour de France in France, sporting enthusiasts are travelling to various destinations around the globe to partake in sporting events. In a whitepaper released by Sports & Leisure Research Group, the organisation found that around 9 out of 10 people surveyed ahead of 2017 confirmed that they had planned to maintain or even increase the sports-related trips over the the next twelve months.
An increase in independent travel. Booking.com predicted that up to 56% of travellers, mainly those from countries such as Brazil, China, India, Thailand and the United States expressed an interest in travelling independently in 2017.
Tailored travel experiences
More travellers are looking for travel itineraries that go beyond just visiting tourist attractions. Airbnb, the online application that facilitates the short-term leasing or renting of accommodation between property owners, renters or travellers, is one such brand that has recognised this trend, going as far as creating immersive travel experiences for clients. Tailored experiences are made available in selected regions across the globe, where travellers can have an authentic experience of the destination that they are at with bespoke local tours and activities.
2017 has been marked as the 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as was declared by United Nations General Assembly. More focus is being shown in creating sustainable travel experiences that actively minimise their impact on the environment and improve the socio-economic aspects of the regions they operate within. “This is a unique opportunity to build a more responsible and committed tourism sector that can capitalize its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, peace and understanding, cultural and environmental preservation” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. With this, consumers and travellers are increasingly becoming conscientized to the types of travel they partake in and impact they may have on the destinations they are travelling to.
Technology in Travel
Technology continues to shape travel in new ways that, in some instances, are proving to be disruptive to how travel has been traditionally considered, purchased and experienced. These include the increased use of virtual reality to create immersive travel experience for potential travellers, wearable devices that can improve travel experiences and gather insights for travel operators, to improved travel booking apps that give more power and confidence to consumers.