Tour and activity providers are used to spotting trends. It's a natural part of the trade in an industry that changes globally. What was successful one year might not work as well in the next one.
Our 2016 Trends Report was a great success, helping many experts stay up-to-date with their travel companies. And that's why we've put together a relevant, actionable report on all the vital trends of 2017 for the global tourism industry.
Millennials are officially the largest generation in history, beating out Baby Boomers. As the youngest generation with disposable income, they have secured their status as leaders in travel and tourism. They also lead in decision making. They are helping to decide what the major trends and tastes of the new year will be and are not shy about getting exactly what they want, how they want it. When planning travel, Millennials are used to having their options conveniently available to them. They want to be able to research and book their trips and tours online.
2. Active & Adventure Trips
According to Virtuoso, the #2 trend for 2017 is active and adventure travel. These experiences include things like "an African safari, swimming with whale sharks in Mexico or Australia, or hiking the Swiss Alps"
Customer demographics for adventure travel lean in the direction of ladies (53% to 47%), especially in Africa (57%). North and South America are the top adventure destinations for customers. There is a rising interest among clients for a more customized experience and a falling interest in hard adventure.
For 2017, adventure activities such as safaris, hiking and cycling are expected to be the stand out choices.
3. Female Solo Travel
Today, 80% of travel decisions are made by women. Whether married, single or divorced, women are leading the way and the travel industry is taking notice. Today's female travelers are bold, independent and looking to explore new and raw experiences. They have their own say of where to take a vacation, how to get there, and many are choosing to go solo.
4. Food Tourism
When it comes to travel it always comes down to food at some point, doesn't it? Food tourism has become an emerging trend among travelers everywhere and tourism experts have taken notice.
According to Skift UK Editor at TouRRoir 2016, food experiences are not limited to simply dining out. It includes cooking courses, farm tours and the classic food markets, which make up about 95% of these experiences.
These experiences are closely tied to the culture of the location. Many travelers consider it to be one of the best ways to get to know the story of the place they're traveling to and it works as a valuable resource for tourism companies.
Operators who are providing a food experience can benefit by ensuring it connects products with people and the traditions of a destination. With this in mind, every stage of the customer journey can be actively reinforced.
5. Responsible Tourism
Global changes affect us all. More travelers are aware of the impact their experiences have on the planet and as a result, more are opting for sustainable measures in their travel.
"2017 has been appointed The International Year of Sustainable Tourism by the UN “as a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued”
There will likely be many mindful changes ahead for the modern traveler, like staying closer to home to reduce their carbon footprint. Tour businesses with a strong awareness of the impact they're making will benefit greatly from their already established ecotourism practices. However that's not to say that businesses who are just waking up to this trend will be far behind! Companies will need to develop a strong social focus.
6. Mobile Photography
It shouldn't be surprising that tourists in 2017 are looking for ways to document their travels. Given the brilliance of modern mobile phone cameras, it's only natural that more and more travelers are using their devices to capture these notable moments.
Tour operators and activity providers can benefit from tapping into this trend, as it will add to their marketing efforts. It's the perfect social media marketing tool as it helps to build up user-generated content.
This point is even highlighted on their website and it helps to drive in tourists that might not have felt confident enough to take these photos otherwise. It builds an additional layer for an already stunning nature tour.
7. Business and Leisure Travel
Business and leisure travel or (as it's affectionately known around here) "bleisure" is a favorite topic among tourism experts this year. It's predicted to be a very lucrative trend for tour and activity providers in 2017 and some project that it will rise in popularity.
Bleisure has been presented as a rising trend for several years, but there is more data suggesting its static in the past five years than its rise.
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