These are scenes from last year's expo. Picture: Antoine De Ras.

With the Travel Expo weeks away, IOL Travel spoke to Andrew Stark, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) Middle East and Africa MD, to find out how this year’s trends will influence South African travellers. Stark said skip-gen travel, the demand for personalisation and travel product innovation are among those travel trends we are seeing in the international leisure travel space for 2018.

Although not as prevalent in South Africa, many of these trends are being translated into the travel product and destinations that locals are selecting for their holidays in 2018.

“Today’s travellers want to travel the world on their own terms. A once-size-fits-all approach no longer appeals, so travel companies have to re-define their holidays to reflect a level of flexibility and increased ancillary options so that even a guided holiday can be molded to support specific interests,” said Stark.

He shares some of the trends:

Multi-generational travel

This trend where mom, dad, kids, granny and grandpa travel together have been popular for some time. Stark said they saw the advent of skip-gen travel, where baby boomer grandparents take their grandchildren on epic holidays, usually to celebrate a milestone such as a special birthday or graduation.

“We’re also seeing travel companies re-invent tried and tested travel experiences to appeal to younger generations, like airlines targeting the millennial generation and even cruise lines focusing their experiences on younger travellers,” says Stark.

Gen Z

Stark said the new Gen Z generation will account for 40% of all consumers with disposable income to travel by 2020. “Their travel will be defined not by what is available. Rather, they will travel based on what they can create,”he said.

Travel with a purpose

More travellers want to travel with a purpose.

“In travel, we refer to the 5Cs of travel: a group of principles that engage consumers emotionally and physically before, during and after their trip.

“This includes culture through heritage and performance art, cuisine where travellers seek out culinary experiences as a hallmark of their holiday, community through story-telling, content in the form of marketing and customisation that allows travellers to craft their own unique travel experiences,”  he added.

At this year’s Travel Expo, an estimated 150 travel exhibitors will bring their best deals to the table for these and an array of other destinations.

Up to 25,000 visitors are expected to attend to vie for an array of travel prizes, including flights, holidays, hotel stays, tours, cruises and more. And to get a taste of the myriad of travel destinations and travel trends that will hit our shores in 2018, special Travel Talks have been included in the line-up.