From prioritising pets to embracing slow travel, here are the Next Big Things in the world of tourism
What’s going to be shaping our 2020 holidays? If anyone knows, it’s the tour operators, travel agents and experts who plan itineraries around the biggest travel trends. Here’s what they predict we’ll all be influenced by next year.
What: People bringing pets with them on holiday
Are pets as important to tourists as their own children? Booking.com seems to think so.
The hotel platform claims that 42 per cent of pet owners around the world would choose their holiday destination based on whether they can take their pets and almost half would pay more to stay somewhere pet-friendly.
“We’ll see travellers putting the needs of their beloved pets well before their own when it comes to selecting where to go, where to stay and what to do,” it says.
What: Travelling with respect for indigenous people
Who: The Travel Corporation
This year we’ve seen climbing up Uluru outlawed, out of respect of Australia’s indigenous Anangu people.
“The importance of travelling with sensitivity to indigenous peoples has never been higher on the agenda,” says tour operator The Travel Corporation. It is launching a number of trips next year to educate tourists about the culture and history of First Nations people, including a seven-day Tasmania tour, which takes in sacred Aboriginal land.
Who: CV Villas
A “friendmoon” is the holiday you take after getting married – but rather than going with your significant other, it’s the friends that you ask along.
“Honeymoons are no longer a time for a couple to simply escape for some R&R à deux; increasingly, the bride and groom are looking to escape to sunnier climes in the company of their nearest and dearest – hence the rise of the ‘friendmoon’,” says Carolina de Capell Brooke, Morocco product manager.
What: Ancestral tourism
Who: Brand USA
Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower, the ship that sailed from Plymouth to Massachusetts. Today, more than 30 million people in the US can trace their heritage back to the 102 passengers and 30 crew onboard the ship. As a result, Brand USA is predicting a general boost in interest in ancestral tourism, and in particular tourists travelling to the US to investigate their ancestral links to the voyage.
Who: Preferred Hotels
Otherwise known as a short holiday, the trend of micro-cations is driven by “time-poor working millennials”, according to Caroline Klein, executive vice president of corporate communications and public relations.
“In a world where everyone is constantly connected, micro-cations offer an ideal opportunity to unwind and recharge in shorter, more frequent intervals,” she says. “Getting away, even for just a few days, and even if you are still responding to emails, helps to put things into perspective.” This trend also applies to tagging a few leisure days onto a business trip, she adds.
What: Multi-stop wildlife encounters
Who: Scott Dunn
As tourists continue to be increasingly savvy with their limited annual leave allowance, the luxury tour operator says that multi-stop wildlife encounters allow tourists to see as much as possible in a short period.
Scott Dunn says: “From pairing gorilla trekking in Rwanda at the new Singita Kwitonda with seeking out lemurs in Madagascar whilst staying at the luxurious Mivana to spotting tigers in India’s national parks followed by swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives, these once-in-a-lifetime itineraries capitalise on flight connectivity between each destination to showcase the world’s most varied natural ecosystems and species.”
What: Travelling by train
Who: La Plagne
Plenty of experts have tipped train travel to become increasingly popular as holidaymakers strive to reduce their carbon footprint and begin to lean in to slow travel.
Remy Counil, director general of the French ski resort of La Plagne, says this trend also extends to snowsports holidays.
“With the Greta Thunberg effect, travellers are really starting to look at how they can reduce their impact on the planet and turning to alternative methods of transport instead of flying,” he says. “A 2012 study, commissioned by the Ski Club of Great Britain, showed that 70-80 per cent of the CO2 emissions related to an alpine ski holiday are from the flight.
“Luckily, travelling to the French Alps can easily be done by train, so snow sports enthusiasts can enjoy an active break in the mountains secure in the knowledge that they’ve done their bit for the environment.”
Who: Original Travel
This is the natural flipside of overtourism – when travellers opt to take their next trip to a less popular destination, rather joining the hordes in Venice, Dubrovnik or Machu Picchu.
“Where overtourists elbow for selfie space at honeypot destinations, undertourists break away from the masses and discover beautiful but lesser-visited places (honeynots?) that they can have all to themselves,” says Original Travel. “Why visit The Beach in Thailand (which has had to close so the ecosystem can repair itself from the deluge of daytrippers) when the country is full of equally beautiful – and empty – bays? Or fight the hordes to snap a picture of Japan’s cherry blossom when South Korea has equally impressive displays?”
What: Travelling in low season
Who: Sunvil Latin America
This trend goes hand-in-hand with undertourism: even the most lusted-after destinations will have quiet periods.
Lloyd Boutcher, director of Sunvil Latin America, says: “While it’s no secret that holidaying out of peak season helps travellers keep costs down and avoid tourist crowds, we’re starting to see people actively seek out trips in low season because of some of the secret benefits and more immersive experiences this can offer the visitor.”
He gives the example of the Salar de Uyuni salt flats, which usually attract tourists keen to get their iconic shots of the dry salt pans in the dry season (May-Nov). However, travelling in the rainy season (Jan-Apr) means seeing “the magical sight of the pans coated in water, reflecting the surrounding landscapes.”
What: Multigenerational trips
Who: House of Daniel Thwaites
As lives get busier, it becomes increasingly difficult to get together with the whole family. Many travellers are getting around this by going away with extended family on multigenerational trips, according to hotel collective the House of Daniel Thwaites.
Chris Hill, hotels operations director, says: “In our recent survey, we found that 15 per cent of people now go on holiday in multigenerational family groups, with the key reason being to take some time out of their busy lives to spend quality time together. This has led to an increase in travellers looking for a range of accommodation options in one location as well as family and interconnecting rooms.”
What: Transformative travel
Who: Perfect Stays
Travellers are looking for experiences that shape and stay with them – from interacting more with locals and learning a new skill to contributing something to the place they stay.
Perfect Stays says: “Travellers want more than a simple visit to a new destination. In fact, over 50 per cent of travellers value a travel experience, which is more than just memorable, but positively changes them on a personal level too.
“Volunteer tourism – or voluntourism – is also on the rise. Merging voluntary service with traditional tourist activities, it will continue to be one of the fastest growing tourism niche markets in 2020.”
What: Personalised experiences
Who: Emirates Holidays
People now look for bespoke, tailored experiences, rather than off-the-shelf itineraries, says Emirates Holidays, which has seen a 20 per cent increase in year-on-year bookings for its tailor-made proposition.These “combine great experiences, attractions and accommodation all curated by destination specialists who create a bespoke itinerary for each traveller, highlighting that Brits are seeking personalised adventures for their holidays,” says the company.