Each year we see a wave of predictions that shape the travel world, such as these travel trends prophesied by reputable sources such as Intrepid Travel, Qantas and others. So, if you want to stay ahead of the curve (and the crowds), take note of these 2018 travel trends.
1. Sustainable tourism
Did you know that the total contribution of travel and tourism to the global economy is almost A$10 trillion? Or that Sachs estimates it would cost $175 billion a year to end extreme poverty?
Many globally conscious travellers are aware of this, and so they’re putting their travel money to good use, seeking responsible, sustainable tourism that gives back to the communities they visit. Check out Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, World Expeditions and Tread Lightly for inspiration.
2. Seeking out of the way destinations (Detourism)
Over-tourism is ruining countries by the dozens and is reaching a crisis point in many major hotspots. This is leading to more national tourism bodies herding travellers to authentic experiences outside of ‘honeypot’ destinations. Expect the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the east coast of Canada, and lesser known South American regions to receive more of the world’s tourism dollar this year.
3. Adventure travel
We know you want to be more active on holiday – you told us in our recent Australian Travel Inspirations 2018 survey. And you’re on the money: the rest of the world wants to be physical and will seek immersive adventures in the coming year. Try hiking and bike tours in Peru and Kathmandu; river rafting in the Ganges and riding through the tea plantations of Sri Lanka.
4. Authentic food experiences
Tourists will look for local produce made in rustic kitchens over fancy restaurants; they’ll try their hand at noodle-making in Hanoi or learning the art of sashimi with sushi chefs in Japan; they may even head off on working holidays with coffee, wine and food producers. Places to visit will be Morocco, Iran, Peru, Vietnam, Jamaica and Japan.
5. Off-season travel
We’ve been preaching the benefits of the shoulder and off-seasons for years, and for good reason: lower cost and fewer people. Look for winter tours of Canada, wet season sojourns in the Northern Territory, monsoon trekking in India and waterfall watching during Brazil and Argentina’s rainy seasons.
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6. Solo travel boom
Intrepid claims that around 50 per cent of its travellers go it alone, opting out of the safety and security of a group. Expect solo travel to become much more accessible, with tour groups touting the programs that pair like-minded solo travellers as a couple to avoid the single supplements.
7. Aussies want to meet our first people
Australia is home to some of the most stunning landscapes, facilities and natural wonders on the planet, as well as an indigenous culture that is as old as any (some say the oldest) in the world. Australian travellers will explore East Arnhem Land, and look for tours that visit other Indigenous Outback communities.
Instead of looking around, many tourists will look up to the skies in locations with minimal light pollution so they can view the stars in all their glory. The solar eclipse of 2017 reignited people’s passion for all things stellar. Think of the Aurora Borealis from prime vantage points in Canada, Iceland and Finland; or Aurora Australis from the southernmost parts of Chile, Argentina, Tasmania, New Zealand or Antarctica; or anywhere without the intense and unnatural light that prevents the Milky Way from reaching maximum illumination.
9. River cruises
Australian and New Zealand tourists are hitting river cruises like they’re going out of style. More cruise companies are putting smaller vessels on river systems such as the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Rhine and the Nile. Or you could jump on a barge and sail the French canals or sail in luxury along the Danube or Seine. But get in soon before the flow of new river cruisers becomes a flood.
10. Wellness escapes
Relaxing and recharging are high priorities for many, so it’s no surprise that wellness tours are making a big splash. From mineral-rich mud pools, wine spas, healthy hot springs and meditation in the snowy mountains of Nepal to cruises that offer wellness programs and yoga and assorted relaxation retreats … expect there to be many glowing globetrotters in 2018.
What are you hoping to do in 2018? Are any of these experiences on your list?