Consumer Power: Travel In 2017

23rd November 2016 by Belinda Hallworth

As winter draws nigh (winter must always draw ‘nigh’, never simply ‘on’ or ‘in’), we’re thinking wistfully about that big, hot thing in the sky which we used to know so well. Holidays are on our minds, and can you blame us? 2017 promises to bring some interesting new travel trends, as well as advancing some old ones. So what can we expect the travel-consumer to seek in 2017? Read on…

Wellness

The ‘wellness’ industry is booming, with people paying vast amounts of money to have body and soul aligned in sufficiently healthsome manner. The travel industry has wasted no time in jumping on this bandwagon. ‘Wellness retreats’, long a staple of the tourist industry in places like Thailand and Goa, are gaining popularity and spreading out into the world at large. The great thing about ‘wellness’ is that it can be pretty much anything you say it is. Rigorous detox and punishing exercise regime? Wellness. Spa-based pampering and delicious chocolate cake? Also wellness. In general, however, a ‘wellness’-based holiday involves immersion in some kind of regime designed at personal improvement, be that mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, or all at once. And, speaking of ‘immersion’…

Immersion

Gone are the days of getting an all-inclusive travel agent deal to England-Pol-El-Mar, where you need never hear Foreign spoken, nor have your taste buds insulted with non bacon-based dishes. Well, gone if you’re a trendy traveler, anyway. The modern jet-setter wants to immerse themselves in a foreign culture, understand how the locals live, and engage in some good old-fashioned cultural exchange. The way that this manifests in practical terms is a rise in the kind of travel experiences which involve meeting and engaging with local communities – perhaps staying with resident families, or working within the relevant locale. Charities working abroad could, if they’re a bit canny, take big advantage of this trend by offering short-stay volunteering breaks, which would get them some free labour, raise their profile, and give tourists the immersive cultural exchange they crave.

Staycation

Much as we hate to bring up the ‘B’ word, it can’t really be ignored on a travel post. We don’t know yet precisely how Brexit is going to affect travel, but travel agents are pretty anxious. The comparative price of Euros, combined with uncertainty over how Europeans will react to Brexitting Brits means that many are opting to take a Staycation this year. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Britain has a lot to offer the discerning traveler, and the local travel industry could use a bit of a boost.

Solo Travel

Maybe we’re getting less willing to compromise on travel plans. Maybe more of us are single. Maybe we no longer feel so nervous of foreign places that we need to surround ourselves with big groups.  Whatever the reason, solo travel seems to be becoming way more of a ‘thing’ than it once was. The travel industry is responding by setting up solo-specific itineraries – but one of the things which defines solo travellers tends to be their reluctance to be tied down by specifics. Solo travellers like their independence – and that means independence from the stipulations of a travel agent as much as anything else. Of course, hotels and B&Bs which offer single rooms at single discount are likely to benefit hugely from this trend.

Ecotourism

Ecotourism has been growing steadily for years, and that growth doesn’t look set to slow in 2017. Growing awareness about our impact upon the planet, combined with local initiatives to promote ecology by monetising it has seen ecotourism emerge from a niche, ‘hippy’ thing to hit the mainstream. By using unspoiled nature to draw in tourists (and, sometimes, roping those tourists into ecological initiatives), green groups have proven that conservation and wild habitat can bring in just as much (if not more) money than deforestation etc. Meanwhile, the ecotourists themselves not only have a guilt-free holiday, but get to immerse themselves in some of the world’s most spectacular natural landscapes. Win win!

What do you think? Have you noticed any up and coming trends in the travel market? Tell us your opinion!

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