WITH ongoing economic uncertainty, the need for big ideas to capture consumers’ imaginations is greater than ever, as the travel industry slowly recovers from the crisis.
The World Travel Market Global Trends Report by leading global market intelligence firm, Euromonitor International, was launched at this year’s show highlighting seven key emerging trends and providing insight into how the industry can entice the next generation of travellers, despite the economic situation.
In North America, deprivation holidays are the new trend for business executives who, amongst others, want to push their bodies to the extreme. Aiming at improving their health and balance, consumers enrol in boot camp-style spa resorts or extreme trekking, instead of spending their free time relaxing. This trend will lead to the flourishing of destination spas and camps.
Many Middle East companies have expressed a growing interest in UK brands including luxury British hotels, travel retailers and private jet operators. At a time when the recession has severely curbed domestic demand, Middle East cash funds will certainly positively influence the expansion of luxury brand portfolios in the UK, with London positioning itself as the ‘new luxury’ hotspot for luxury travel services with an increased focus on personalisation and sophistication.
Thanks to geo-localisation services based on GPS technology, smartphones are revolutionising the travel industry. Business travellers were the first consumer group to adopt mobile travel technology due to the need to make last minute reservations. With mobile applications offering various services from flight booking/check-in to guidebooks and tourist information, leisure consumers are fast catching up. This evolution of (mobile) m-tourism is expected to be extremely fast, with high international roaming costs being the most significant obstacle.
Iraq’s tourism industry has been supported by regional economic growth as the majority of business and religious tourists visiting the country are from the GCC and broader Middle East. Additionally, Gulf investors are piling into Iraq, driving up business tourism and contributing to the tourism revival of post-war Iraq.
Astronomy and space tourism are taking off in Africa as South Africa develops world-class space technology and becomes a major hub for astronomy, with telescopes-in-room and astronomy courses already on offer. Astro-tourism attracts all age groups, ranging from independent travellers and families to amateur and professional astronomers, and astro-tourism holidays will continue to grow in line with increased urbanisation creating demand for destinations with areas suited to observe clear night skies.
In Latin America there is a move towards promoting interior tourism, going beyond the usual sun and sea destinations to showcase off-the-beaten-track destinations. Emerging destinations at the heart of the countries suffer from poor infrastructure and lack tourism services, which constrains growth in these less affluent areas. With a vast territory, Latin America has countless unexplored areas and the move inwards will enable hotels, airlines and travel retailers to sell new destinations and improve undeveloped infrastructure.
And finally in Asia scent branding is taking the market by storm as it offers guests a more unique experience, triggering emotions and encouraging brand loyalty. Customisation is the key with different scents for different hotel locations, while finding the right balance between natural aromas and manufactured scents will be a key challenge for travel players, such as hoteliers, airlines and national tourism boards.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Caroline Bremner, head of travel and tourism research at Euromonitor International, said: “The effects of the great recession are still apparent in the global travel industry as deprivation holidays and boot camps are all the rage in North America. For those with access to credit, investment opportunities exist from Iraq to the UK’s iconic luxury brands. Other destinations like South Africa are generating jobs and tourism through space and astronomy tourism, whilst Latin America goes beyond sun and sea to promote off-the-beaten-track destinations. Asia is embracing scent marketing to provide guests with authentic guest experiences and European travel is in the throes of the latest technological revolution – mobile travel.”