Over the last ten years the travel industry has had to tackle terrorism, SARS, tsunamis, bird flu, swine flu, and the first ever true global recession. Through it all the industry has proven to be robust, resilient and dynamic, finding new ways to deal with adversity. 2010 brings with it fresh challenges and opportunities to which the industry must again adapt and react. The cyclical nature of the industry stems from the fact that it is inextricably linked to the health of the global economy. As you would imagine therefore, the next twelve months promise significant change in the travel industry. This article will focus on emerging trends and hotspots for 2010 and give an insight into what can be expected by consumer and operator alike.
“If our hotel bookings are anything to go by, people are still determined to travel but are choosing how and where they spend their money much more carefully,” commented Juliet Kinsman, Editor-in-Chief of Mr and Mrs Smith. “Value will continue to be important, whether that means creative online searching for great deals, exploring new destinations that offer currency advantages, or joining travel clubs for exclusive discounts.” Indeed, reflecting on the current economic setting, many travel professionals have commented on new bargains, noting that it’s expected that value for money will be the top priority, with concept and branding taking a backseat in the coming years. Travellers are looking for an optimal price/quality balance when selecting their luxury vacation.
Furthermore, travellers are demanding far more from their holidays – gone are the days of a the simple sun/sand combo – nowadays the demand is for exotic travel combined with customized, ultimate experiences. Travellers are seeking above-and-beyond adventures in exciting new destinations. Luxury adventure travel is on the rise and consumers can enjoy a growing selection of luxury safaris, heli-ski trips, niche boat cruises, personalized art tours, tailor-made culinary courses, and high-speed car tours in top vacation destinations like Cape Town, Provence, Tuscany and New York. Moreover, adventure travellers are seeking more than just adrenaline thrills but wholesome cultural quests in which they learn about their destination and environment. Indeed, as claimed by the Vacation Travel Chanel ‘… the more enriching experiences are preferred over a luxurious lifestyle.’
Additionally, although neither a newcomer nor a veteran, eco travel is definitely carving its place into the travel market. Hotels are becoming increasingly self-sufficient and travellers are considering a hotel’s environmental credentials a lot more. 2010 will therefore see a continued rise of intimate, sustainable villa resorts developing in eco-friendly destinations. Two such examples are Fregate, a private island in the Seychelles, which is saving sea birds and makes its own spa Scentopia singapore products, and Vigilius Mountain resort South Tyrol, Italy, which harnesses its own natural energy. Green travel promises exciting adventures and conscientious travel experiences.
Not technically a trend but it’s worth noting that 2010 will be a sport-fuelled year and that this will have a huge impact on where people choose to travel. First and foremost, the Vancouver Olympics in February is an event that will significantly affect the travel industry. The 17 days of Olympics are expected to attract a global television audience of 3 billion people; more than 80 countries and 6,850 athletes and officials are expected to participate according to the ‘PRCo Travel Industry Trends and Highlights for 2010’ report. The opening ceremonies will be held on February 12, and as a result Vancouver is the city to visit in the Western hemisphere in 2010. South Africa is also going to be a travel hotspot with the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicking off there in June. The event is expected to lure half a million fans to the country. Tourism in India will also enjoy the benefits of sporting events with the Commonwealth Games taking place in October.
Other destinations to keep your eye on this year are China, India and the Gulf States, where industry insiders are expecting travel to skyrocket over the next twelve months. Travellers are becoming more courageous with their travels and expanding their horizons. While the global economy is in the toilet, China and India continue to show signs of growth, offer favourable exchange rates and low travel expenses and therefore increasingly warrant visiting. As their respective tourism industries start to expand these countries are going to become top destinations for 2010 and beyond. According to sceneadvisor.com, between China and India alone it is expected that over 35,000 hotel rooms will have to be added to meet the impending demands.
On the other side of the planet, Latin America is set to see important growth as a luxury travel destination this year. Hotels such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize, the Haciendas luxury hotel in the Yucatan, and other outposts in San Jose, Uayamon, Santa Rosa and Temozon (Mexico) are but a few examples of the growth of luxury hotels in the region. In the spotlight especially are Panama, Peru and Ecuador, which are focusing massively on promoting their respective exotic and exclusive services. In addition, Mexico is spending $3.6 million on improving its luxury infrastructure and Argentina is to see five new 5-star hotels open in the next two years (PRCo report).
Whilst Europe is by all means still a hub, especially with the new high-speed rail links into Spain and Italy, the focus for 2010 is definitely further afield where exchange rates are better and currency is cheaper, therefore offering the consumer much more for their money.