Tourism Trends in 2018
Wanderlust (Noun.) A strong desire to travel
The world is becoming a smaller place to live in, thanks to the dynamic and unpredictable nature in which the tourism industry is growing. Many ascribe that it is wanderlust and personal factors that contribute to this emerging industry, but the main reason for the big boom in travel and tourism is attributed simply to the fact that it is becoming increasingly easier to do so.
Though wholly underrated, travel and tourism remains an industry that is affected by so many worldly factors despite its rapid growth. It is one of the largest economic drivers and in Cape Town specifically, “the competitive nature of the tourism industry - coupled with consumers’ constantly changing expectations - has meant that keeping tabs on, and tapping into, marketing trends is a must for business success.”
The future of travel and tourism is looking bright, however.
Herein is a comprehensive list of tourism trends to look forward to in 2018:
Personalisation, customised tourism trends
In a world where everything is customised to suit the needs and lifestyle of the consumer, it only makes sense that travel agencies are looking for a more personalised approach to travel, too. So what does this mean? Instead of the dated mass market approach that offers a standardized deal, travellers are now being afforded the luxury of choice. Tailor-made packages, specific requirements and a wealth of resources to take advantage of – all to make the experience more accommodating. “Using customer data to analyse, segment and target marketing efforts - is key to cutting through this clutter. A number of hotels have taken this one step further by personalising aspects of the guest experience to set themselves apart from their competitors”, says Premier Hotels & Resorts’ group marketing manager, Christa Badenhorst.
Perhaps it was Julia Roberts’ winning performance in Eat Pray Love, or perhaps it’s just that people want more than an ‘okay’ flight, a room with a good view and hotel food, but travel has become so much more than just going from point A to B. People seek personal enlightenment on their trips and are focused on travelling more consciously. According to Responsible Travel’s Justin Francis, “travel is now more about rejuvenation, adventure, fulfillment, learning new skills and ‘being more of who you are’ than just ticking off places and things and flopping in the sun.”
With the rise of tourism, popular destinations are starting to see a negative impact in the form of too many travellers visiting all at once. Though the aim was initially for mass appeal and attraction, recent years have seen undesirable effects that mass tourism has had on locals in terms of social and environmental factors come into play. In efforts to rectify this, travel agencies are promoting less well-known areas and imposing quotas on the number of tourists per destination. They are also implementing additional tourist taxes and less subsidised flights to streamline the mass influx of tourists at any certain time.
Travel bans and new regulations
One of the most noteworthy positives of tourism is its ability to bring people together and bridge the gap between different cultures. Though it has been noted that the world is slowly becoming less segregated and cultures are beginning to mix harmoniously, there is also a converse side to this – in some parts of the world, there remains a growing apprehension of foreigners and as a result, countries like the US have issued impromptu bans against certain citizens and laptop equipment in carry-on luggage. In a South African context, the Thai ban on vaping and smoking on beaches have also begun to affect the number of those looking to visit, thus leading to rising tourist numbers in destinations like Machu Picchu and Venice, to name a few.
Travel technology, tourism is always improving
The influence of digital (mobile and online) media has changed the travel and tourism industry as we know it. As we shift to a more personalised travel experience, the industry stands to multiply its growth with the help of Big Data, AI, Chatbots and messaging platforms performing as booking tools. In embracing these new technologies, travel agencies seek to create user-generated content in the form of smart marketing and social media strategies to service their consumers’ needs in the best way possible.
With all of these new developments to look forward to in 2018, it isn’t any wonder that people are becoming more sold on the idea of exploring the ‘great unknown’ and feeding their wanderlust. As the industry is said to be booming currently, there’s really no time like the present to take a leap.