Travel constantly morphs as the world changes. But what are the major trends that will define travel in 2013, and how will they affect you?
INCREASE IN FEES = LOCAL TRAVEL
Airline tickets around the world are on the rise. The odd out of seasonal sale will have you dancing in the aisles but, certainly domestically, price hikes are the order of the day. The worldwide trend is ‘shorter trips but higher spending’ and we will no doubt follow suit in South Africa. The consequence? Local is lekker. Travel at home will probably see a huge take-up as people choose to explore the country close to home, rather than exotic international destinations.
THE UNBUNDLING OF FEES
It won’t just be check-in bag fees, or airport taxes. Airlines are apparently dreaming up new paid services like pre-ordered gourmet meals on board and bag delivery. Whilst this might not be the case in South Africa yet, expect to see a couple of new fees that you haven’t had to pay before – read the fine print and ask questions. And not just airlines, this trend applies to hotels, rental car agencies and cruises too.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOGGER INFLUENCE TRAVEL BEHAVIOUR
Social media is increasingly an important tool to help make travel decisions, and travel bloggers also grow in influence. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have collectively changed the face of travel and are used intensively by people making travel plans on the internet. People look for opinions, pictures, videos and ideas about possible holidays – as many as 50% of travellers now base their plans on other people’s reviews and experiences, according to a recent Google survey.
Travellers not only connect whilst doing research before booking a trip, they remain connected whilst they travel – keeping friends and readers up to date on social media and blogs. This has forced more transparency, honesty and response in the travel sector.
FOOD TOURISM AND ADVENTURE EMPHASIS
People want more personalised experiences when they travel. They want something significant, an experience that is, at the very least, authentic and one which leaves them with a sense of the culture they have visited. Food tourism particularly is one of the fastest growing sectors, according to SkiftTrends. Individual destinations now focus on the food that is truly unique to the region or area, appealing to those travellers who no longer want the food they eat at home, but an experience of the culture they visit.
Food also satisfies those who seek ethical and sustainable travel. Adventure tourism too ties in with sustainable tourism in the sense that these types of travellers stay longer and spend locally. Adrenaline junkies, surprisingly, form only the fringe of this industry that also includes cultural tourism and nature tourism.
MOBILE BOOKING AND INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
The explosion of smartphones and tablets on the market makes these preferred tools for travellers. No longer are they simply for searching and sharing but now are used for last minute bookings and online purchases of tickets, hotel rooms and travel packages.
Airlines will roll out Wi-Fi access on routes with a mix of web content and online services, which will cut the cost of inflight entertainment as the trend amongst travellers to BYO increases.
According to Lonely Planet the top countries to visit in 2013 are Sri Lanka for its culture and value for money, Montenegro for its wild beauty and adventure activities, South Korea for the great outdoor activities, Ecuador, for its rainforest and food, Slovakia because it’s a hidden gem of Europe, Solomon Islands to experience the South Pacific as it once was, Iceland for its value for money and off the beaten track value, Turkey for its food and culture, Dominican Republic as the Caribbean’s ‘next big thing’, and Madagascar.
CNN focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa where new Pan-African low-cost Fastjet will open the continent to visitors. Flights will connect Dar es Salaam with Kilimanjaro and Mwanza, with new routes in the pipeline.