Millenials, often known as the smartphone generation as 76% of them own smartphones globally, are often associated with experiential travel. Yet, according to TripBarometer, 2015, 69% of global travellers – of all age groups – planned to try something new in 2016.
Defined as a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture, experiential travel is growing significantly. Elements such as adventure, responsible tourism, and authentic experiences all play a role. Here are a few trends to look out for.
Age Is Just A Number
According to a recent survey by Virtuoso, the largest percentage (41%) of adventure travellers is between 50 and 65 years old compared to 14% under 35 years old. While free time and a lifetime of savings may mean more travel opportunities, the retiree market is going beyond the relaxing ‘bed and beach’ holiday.
Trust In Technology
While the role of the travel agent is still significant, digital platforms such as TripAdvisor are allowing travellers to take control. (There are 200 new user contributions to TripAdvisor every minute.) A Tnooz, 2015 study showed a whopping 95% of respondents in a TrustYou survey read reviews before booking. The Internet era is not just limited to Millenials and with more research available that ever before on digital customer journeys, simple, easy-to-use platforms such as AirBnB Experiences appeal to a broader target market.
The yearly growth rate of ecotourism is 5% making it an important part of any tourism strategy. Considered a sub category of experiential travel, travelling with a sustainable philosophy in mind is becoming a mandatory requirement for many travellers and while Millenials are often associated with ecotourism, recent trends show there is a natural affiliation with families. “Many people automatically turn to big theme parks, giant cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts…when they think of family travel,” says Chris Chesak, executive director of the Family Travel Association. “Those are all great products that are appropriate for families—but there’s also such a diversity of experiences that lie outside those products. We’re seeing an increasing interest in ecotourism and suppliers who consider children the next generation and stewards of the earth—they love to educate children about the impact on the land and local communities.”
Emerging Markets Are A Key Focus
The United Nations World Tourism Organization predicts that tourism in emerging economies will grow to 57 percent of the global market by 2030, an increase from 47 percent in 2010. Iran, Burma and various countries in South America were cited as top emerging destinations.
Karen will be moderating several sessions on the Global Stage at Arabian Travel Market 2017 including: