Whether you soak your feet in the clear, warm waters of the Maldives or head out in search of the elusive leopard on a safari in Africa, travel this year is going to be bigger and better.
A range of trends will surface, some which will redefine the way everyone travels.
Association of Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) chief executive Otto de Vries and Teresa Richardson, South Africa managing director of The Travel Corporation, share some travel trends to expect this year:
Experiential travel, also known as immersion travel, is a form of tourism that allows travellers to engage with a destination’s history, people, culture, food and environment. Richardson said many tourists preferred off-the-beaten track experiences where they connected with the locals and shared a meal at their homes.
“Travellers want something more than just seeing the iconic sights of a city. They want to see how families in a country live their life,” she said.
Multi-generational travel, usually a trip taken by three or more generations of a family will become more popular this year. Picture: Pexels.
Multi-generational travel, usually a trip taken by three or more generations of a family, is something that will soar this year. “Many parents are booking trips with their children and vice versa. It not only gives them a chance to reconnect but explore the world together.
“Places like Turkey, Italy and parts of Eastern Europe have become increasingly popular for families,” Richardson added.
Micro-holidays are smaller trips, usually taken over a weekend. Richardson said that while people still booked their international holidays, they used micro-holidays to explore their own countries and escape for a few days. “These holidays are cost-effective and allow the traveller to explore a new place in a short space of time,” she said.
The resurgence of travel agents
With technology creating more options for travellers and easy access to suppliers, many travellers have booked their holidays on their own. However, with the vast options available, many travellers are now relying on travel agents to choose a holiday that suits their pocket and their needs as they do not have the time to do so themselves.
De Vries said: “Global trends reveal that the US has increased their use of travel agents in the last two years. The same trend can be attributed to South Africa as more travellers are looking for expert advice when they go on holiday.”
More travellers want green experiences. Picture: Pexels.
Green travel incorporates trips that focus on responsible travel practices and eco-tourism.
Richardson said: “More travellers are choosing environmentally-friendly accommodation, tours and sights to help preserve the place for future generations.
“Tourism businesses are also aware of green travel and create packages that cater to green travellers.”
The Travel Corporation will celebrate their 10th anniversary of the ThreadRight Foundation, an organisation that gives back to the community. The company plants one tree for every set of e-documents are sent to consumers.
Travellers will be looking for more personalised travel options
The personalisation of travellers offers consumers deals via website and emails that suit their interests.
One example is the use of the New Distribution Capability (NDC), a travel industry-supported programme that has been launched by Iata for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standards by airlines.
The NDC enables business and leisure travellers to find deals that suit their preference.
“This year will see travellers in search of more personalised offerings, which these new technologies help to achieve,” added De Vries.