The ‘Snapshot of Travel in 2017 and Beyond’ looked at several of the trends that have affected the travel space in 2017. Picture: Pexels.

Overtourism, digital nomads and the rise of social media influencers were among the main travel trends that emerged within the travel industry in 2017. 

This is according to a trends report compiled by specialist Cape Town-based travel content and marketing agency, Big Ambitions. 

The ‘Snapshot of Travel in 2017 and Beyond’ looked at several of the trends that have affected and are likely to continue to affect the travel space in 2018, from travel technology and security, to political and economic influences.

Managing Director Big Ambitions, Natalia Rosa, said new destinations for South Africans, innovation in travel products and travel bans and new regulations also make an appearance in this year’s report.

“The travel industry is an exciting, dynamic space because of its potential for disruption. We are seeing significant changes to the way in which travel is sold and bought, new products that incorporate artificial intelligence, and deals that see traditional travel companies evolve to remain relevant in this disrupted environment.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a lot of focus on safety and security as it pertains to travel – not only in terms of physical safety, but also in terms of the protection of data and identity theft,” said Rosa.

Here are some of the trends:


The new term for ‘too many tourists’ is overtourism. There has been efforts to curb it have been in the spotlight over the past year with popular destinations like Venice, Dubrovnik and Machu Picchu implementing measures to try and reduce the negative impact that mass tourism will have on the destination in future. These range from imposing quotas on the number of tourists per hour or per day that can visit the destination, to the possibility of instituting an additional tourist tax.

Digital nomads

Over the past decade, a rising number of young professionals have leveraged the use of technology to work remotely and live a nomadic lifestyle. There’s been an associated spike in the number of companies that allow digital nomads to travel the world together, all the while working remotely.  

South African enterprises have been rather slow in keeping pace, with relatively few organisations implementing structures conducive to working remotely. The main reason for this is the access to and cost of broadband. Enter the concept of a third-place, a welcoming space where individuals foster social interactions with like-minded people, away from home and the traditional office setting. 

Third-place working environments have become much more prominent in South Africa and provide a work space that goes beyond a dull office space. Think Starbucks or co-working environments that are popping up across the main South African centres.


Bleisure reflects a small, yet growing trend in business travel, where corporate travellers combine business and leisure on one trip by extending their business trip to explore the destination and sometimes bringing their family or spouse along. It has been closely linked to employee productivity and job satisfaction.