What’s hot in 2017 – according to the travel industry part 1

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Azore cliff and ocean

a view from a cliffside in the Azores.

This is the time of the year when the travel industry makes its predictions on what will be the trends for the forthcoming year. It suggests the destinations we should visit, the type of holidays that they think will be popular and how our attitudes might have changed.

In truth, forecasting is difficult as opinion pollsters found this year and they are supposed to be experts. But, for what it’s worth, here are the tips that two travel organisations are making for 2017.

Let’s start with ABTA, the travel trade body to which the majority of tour operators and travel agents belong. In its “12 ‘Destinations to watch’ for 2017”, listing it doesn’t say why these make the list and it lists them only in alphabetical order. Because it primarily has interests in overseas destinations, there are no UK places in its selection. The list is Andalucia in Spain, the Azores in Portugal, Bermuda, Chile, County Kerry in Ireland, Croatia, Denmark, the Indian state of Kerala, Sardinia in Italy, South Africa, the Southern States of the USA and Vietnam.

panoramic view of Capetown

For a long-haul city-break, Capetown is on the list

It also has nominated the following trends that it thinks will happen. There will be the rise of the currency conscious holiday due to the recent drop in the value of the pound and says that places where the pound may go further include Argentina, Mexico and South Africa. It foresees a rise in long-haul holidays particularly in city breaks which are outperforming the appeal of the long established beach holidays.  It thinks that long-haul city break destinations including Tokyo, Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong and Bangkok will appeal.

It says that holidaymakers may well find themselves enjoying their hotel, resort or destination before they travel, as travel companies use technology such as virtual reality to let people ‘try before they fly.’ Busy holidaymakers are opting to spend some of their holiday or a short break, experiencing destinations in a more active way by taking part in a micro-adventure which is defined as being ‘small and achievable, for normal people with real lives’

Finally in what has been named as the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is expected that travel companies may be inspired by this year to look at their role in the destinations they sell to. But then, the travel industry has been talking about sustainability and sustainable holidays for a decade or more and it remains a niche offering with niche appeal. Will this be the year that changes?

Crusing is expected to still see strong growth following years outstrippling land holidays

Crusing is expected to still see strong growth following years outstripping the growth of land holidays

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – the travel trade body to which most cruise companies belong – has its own thoughts for 2017.  It forecasts that 25.3 million of us will sail on an ocean or river cruise in 2017 and, so confident is the industry of continued growth, that there will be an additional 26 new ocean, river and speciality ships in 2017. Between now and 2026, the industry is expected to introduce a total of 97 new cruise ships.

CLIA has also forecast the cruise travel trends that will have the most impact on the cruise industry this year. It sees younger people will take to cruising more than ever before claiming that they will rate it better than land-based holidays, all-inclusive resorts, tours, holiday home rentals, or camping. It says that that travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travellers and cruise lines as people generally are reverting to travel agents rather than relying on their own abilities. It sees an increase in river cruises and that there will be more private islands on future cruise itineraries as cruise companies look for something different.

but river cruising is popular more and more popular

and river cruising is proving to be more and more popular

In research, when asked what kind of holidays might be of interest in the next three years nearly half of non-cruisers expressed interest in taking an ocean cruise. The research also suggested that people like the convenience of driving to nearby ports rather than flying to catch up with their ship believing that the greatest benefit is cost savings.

One of the appeals of cruising has little to do with the destination and more with what the ship offers. The lure of celebrity chefs seems to sway potential passengers to take one ship rather than another. Finally it suggests that expedition cruises will grow at a record pace noting that cruises to the Antarctic regularly sell out.

Tomorrow I’ll start looking at what individual companies are forecasting for 2017.

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