This year will see an increase in the amount of travellers actively seeking experiences that differ from that of mass-market tourism. Instead of visiting ‘hot spots’ that have been orchestrated for tourist enjoyment, more and more people now seem to be craving exclusivity and authenticity. These people gravitate instead towards opportunities that enable them to discover destinations that are largely untouched and less well-known.
As human rights and environmental issues stay in the headlines, people will increasingly make decisions about potential travel destinations in 2019 according to their ethics. Many people are now choosing not to go to a destination if they feel it will have a negative impact the people who live there or that it might support a dictatorial regime. Gender equality and the treatment of ethnic minorities will also play into this decision-making on a personal level.
This year looks set to see an increase in ‘the micro trip’. Thanks to cheaper airfares, improvements in flight routes, transport, on-demand car rentals and accommodation, travel itineraries packed into smaller time frames will become increasingly popular and varied. It has been reported that over 53% of travellers have said they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019.
During 2019 NASA will start construction of its Lunar Space Station (launching in 2022). However, until space travel becomes a reality, people will still be keen to explore uncharted territories here on Earth. The chance to stay in unique and remarkable types of accommodation will also become more widespread and trendy. For example, 60% of travellers say they would like to stay in accommodation under the sea.
One of 2018’s major travel trends was travel with experiences at its core. It is predicted that 2019 will take this trend even further. Almost two thirds of travellers say they value experiences more than material possessions, which means 2019 will see travellers packing in many authentic experiences over shopping holidays. Think bike tours, dining in locals’ houses and personal guides.
Technological advances like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and speech recognition are all innovations that will gain widespread use and simplify the way people travel. Think keyless room-access with your phone, personalised travel tips or a robotic concierge able to communicate with guests in their first language. Furthermore, mobile apps that have real-time luggage tracking and the ability to plan, book and take care of a vast range of travel needs will become increasingly popular and easily accessible.
This year the number of volunteering and skills based holidays will continue to grow. Most people say they believe travelling has taught them invaluable life skills in one way or another. Generation Z will reportedly become more aware of the need to weigh up whether expensive university degrees are more valuable than the life skills gained while travelling. Trips with a purpose will become more popular in 2019, with around 68 per cent of global travellers considering either taking part in cultural exchanges to learn a new skill, a volunteering trip and/or international work placements.
A definite hot topic of 2019 will be the environment. Millennials and Gen Z will look for more sustainable experiences in their destination choices, while accommodation providers will look to increase their sustainable credentials and reduce their plastic usage. A number of new sustainable travel start-ups and individual enterprises committed to pioneering a more eco-friendly future for our planet will come to the forefront in the coming year.