(Forbes Magazine – December 24 2018)
Travelers in 2019 see a series of exciting trends—thanks to changing consumer behavior and an emphasis on wellness. For those wondering what will be in store for next year, here are some of the top predictions shared by industry experts.
Planning a big, extended vacation can be extremely stressful. This is why “travelers are ditching weeklong summer vacations in favor of shorter, more frequent breaks,” said Loes Daniels, Founder of Flightgiftcard and Hotelgift. The rise of “serial short breakers” means more business for local economies, especially when more people opt for staycations in “more unusual accommodation options such as yurts, pods and Airstreams.”
WHAT TO TRY: According to Klook, a world leading travel activities booking platform with more than 800 experts in 16 global offices, there are ways to make a short break (or stay-cation) more meaningful. Try a Backstreet Walking Tour of Kowloon’s Mong Kok district in Hong Kong for an enticing look at the vibrant street markets and local delicacies, or check out the bird parks and butterfly gardens in a Half Day Tour of The Serene Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.
Like it or not, travel business is increasingly driven by a location’s Instagram-ability, according to Daniels. In a survey conducted by UK company Schofields, more than 40% of respondents under 33 consider “Instagrammability” the most important factor in choosing their holiday destination. Whether it is art-driven experiences such as Art Basel or beautiful locations that are snapshot-worthy, 2019 sees more social media-inspired tourism.
WHAT TO TRY: Setouchi Art Triennale 2019—a unique art festival held over a dozen islands in the Seto Inland Sea featuring more than 150 international artists; a trip to the Kintamani Jungle Swing in Bali with stunning landscape; or a Private Photo Shoot Experience in Phuket with your own professional photographer.
Driven by wellness
Wellness tourism is expected to grow more rapidly in the next few years—with the Global Wellness Institute projecting it to grow twice as fast as general tourism and reach $919 billion in 2022 from the $639 billion in 2017. From fitness-centric resorts and hotels with holistic spas to natural immersion getaways, these travel experience are geared to leave you rejuvenated and equipped with the techniques for a better lifestyle.
WHAT TO TRY: Go for a wellness getaway Aloft Miami Aventura, which has everything including weekly music events, pet programming, partnerships with Barry's Boot Camp, specialized crafted cocktails, and elevated pool deck; have an unforgettable trip fishing above the reef, scuba diving and snorkeling along the reef at Alaia Belize; or visit The Mandrake in London's Fitzrovia, which boasts a Spiritual Wellbeing Programme with regular Gong Baths, special guest sessions from Nordic Shamanic Fire Ceremonies, Lucid Dreaming Sleepovers and Arcturus Quantum Heart Activation Healing.
Forget business trips. One of the key rising trends in 2019 is “bleisure” travel, which sees people mixing business with leisure. According to a recent survey by Avis Car Rental, 87% of business travelers say that they are likely to mix business and leisure on the same trip. This is hardly surprising, considering that 92% of respondents admit to doing some work on dedicated leisure vacations, while 56% of travelers with children are likely to include the family on business trips. As a result, “the line between a business trip and a leisure vacation is increasingly blurry,” noted Beth Gibson, Experiential Travel Expert at Avis, with “business travel more often [involving] high-end amenities in desirable locations.”
WHAT TO TRY: Visit the brand new PuXuan Hotel and Spa adjacent to the Forbidden City—centrally located in Beijing’s main commercial and shopping district; or go to the Dolce CampoReal Lisboa—a business hotel-slash-resort that offers 23 event rooms, an 18-hole golf course, plus a nearby equestrian center.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.