Peter Kerkar, Group CEO, Cox & Kings shares the company’s perspective on trends that will define travel in 2019. The trends highlight various points including Travel to influence, Far and beyond, Walking Tours, Multigenerational Travel and Dark tourism amongst others.
Travel to Influence- For Gen X’er or a Millennial, travelling to new places, explore new experiences, try out new cuisines and interact with people from diverse cultural backgrounds has become an intrinsic part of their lifestyle. This passionate generation of travellers is more likely to make their travel decisions based on the travel posts of their peers on social media because social media is a more authentic source of information. At the same time, it is important for them to capture their best travel stories through photos and videos and inspire their circle of friends and colleagues to take up travel. Wi-fi enabled places and hotels is a bliss for such travellers as it enables them to post live travel updates.
Far and Beyond- What drives travellers to pursue their travel dream is curiosity. A rising number of them are keen on exploring what's beyond at some of the most remote locations in the world. Basis the travel-searches made by holidaymakers in 2018, there is an evident trend of rising interest in places beyond city-centres and conventional tourist spots. To unravel the hidden secrets and visit the untouched lands are the latest trends. Following the footsteps of Charles Darwin, a new tribe of travellers are making their way to Galapagos archipelago to experience the endemic species and inhabited islands. Similarly, cruising through Norwegian Fjords to reach the remote shores of Svalbard watching the passing shining glaciers and stunning landscapes are all experiences catching the eyes of avid travellers who wish to reach earth's edges in 2019.
Walking Tours- Each place, if observed carefully, tells you multiple stories about its history, culture, biodiversity, geography, food, architecture and people. Many travellers consider exploring destinations on foot as the best way to delve into several intricate aspects of the place, which one might miss otherwise. This is why many passionate travellers are relying more on guided walking tours to enjoy the experience. Though city walks are the most common form of walking tours, they are gradually moving to food walks, cultural trails and photography stroll among others according to the specific interest of the travellers. While heritage walk in South Mumbai is common, one can get introduced to unusual sea creatures in Mumbai during a guided Marine walk near Haji Ali. Similarly, gourmet walking tours in France offer an amazing experience to the foodies with food and wine pairing, cooking classes, gourmet restaurants and even a bit of local culture like cheese and truffles. Travelling on foot also offers the opportunity to spend sufficient time at any given place, explore the local culture and reach inaccessible spots. Walking tours at Machu Picchu is a great window to explore the colossal mountains, lush vegetation and ecological wonders while the forest trails of Japan are equally resplendent. We expect this type of holidays will form part of every traveller’s itinerary in the coming year.
Multigenerational Travel- The joy of travelling with the family is unmatched, however, one is happier to travel with a bigger family. The new trend is called Multigenerational Travel and it seems to also take a centre-stage in 2019. Nuclear families with hectic lives find it difficult to meet their family members on a regular basis, for them, travelling with their grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins have become a great time to spend some quality time. In addition, instead of closed-door celebrations, family members of different generations are travelling together to celebrate several occasions like birthdays, anniversary and other family events. Given the rise in multigenerational travel, there is a sharp increase in demands for family-group and customised packages. Cruising is also one of the top five leisure options for multigenerational family groups as it is more relaxed and lesser activity based, especially when there are older family members travelling along.
Luxury Travel- Luxury travel is growing, faster than it did in past five years. Over the next decade, the growth rate for luxury travel is projected to be at 6.2%. There are several factors influencing the decision to opt for luxury travel. The year 2019 will see more people experiencing luxurious camps, villas, embark on exquisite journeys, traverse in luxury trains and embark on luxury cruises. While the developing nations are at the forefront of the growth acceleration, an increase in the disposable incomes in these countries is favourable to luxury travel. Although currency fluctuations in different nations slightly affected the segment, it has made the developed nations seek luxury travel at further discounted prices, fuelling the growth.
Dark Tourism- Curious travellers always want to explore every nook and cranny filled with unforeseen surprises and great adventures. This set of travellers who step out to take experiences that they have never taken before, no matter even if it’s a weird thing to do. Some people find it thrilling and entertaining to visit mysterious places like Kuldhara village in Rajasthan that are believed to be haunted. While others may visit tragic sites such as Cambodian Killing Fields memorial or Berlin wall in Germany, some also visit the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero when in New York. Though for most of the travellers visiting the sites of death and disaster is only a part of a wider range of thing to do, a large number of travellers in some way are getting attracted to such sites because they wish to review these chapters in history and remind them of these incidents.
Getting over Overtourism- Factors influencing a traveller's destination choice is fast changing. The year 2019 is set to make the holidaymakers more discerning and conscious. Although there is a trend of travellers being more sensitive towards geopolitical and other related issues, off late these factors have started influencing the travellers' decision. It is non-desirable to get stuck in long queues or crowded streets on a leisure trip. While Italy is using phone apps to deal with overcrowding by giving real-time updates, Dubrovnik is experimenting with dispersing cruise timings through the week. While such measures are being undertaken at all major tourist hubs, travellers are modifying their plans to help curb Overtourism at an individual level. In 2019, we will see more travellers taking trips in off-season to ensure visit to their favourite place while not adding to Overtourism. New destinations near the saturated ones stand benefitted.
Responsible Travel- There is no running away from the much devastation that has rocked our oceans, beaches, forests and Islands. Most being tourist places, the onus of the situation must be borne by the travellers as well as operators. Pollution of different forms has started hitting the business as well as non-economic aspects of societies including indigenous tribes, local ecology, ecosystems etc. However, the good part is that there are organisations and operators that have highest regards for sustainability. They will take the centre-stage in 2019. Travellers including majorly the millennials consider themselves equally responsible for the disaster and duty-bound to reverse it. The New Year will see a spurt in the number of responsible travellers demanding for sensitive travel packages as well as sustainable operators to ensure a guilt-free tour. Plastic-free travel, Voluntourism, Sustainable and green tours are predicted to be extensively used terms in the travel space.