Mumbai: Peter Kerkar, Group CEO, Cox & Kings shares the company’s perspective on trends that will define travel in 2019.

Travel to influence

For a Gen X’er or a Millennial, travelling to new places, exploring new experiences, trying out new cuisines and interacting 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. Latest trends include unravelling hidden secrets and visiting untouched lands. Following the footsteps of Charles Darwin, a new tribe of travellers are making their way to the 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 for 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 colossal mountains, lush vegetation and ecological wonders while the forest trails of Japan are equally resplendent. We expect that holidays of this type will form a part of every traveller’s itinerary in the coming year.

Multigenerational Travel

The joy of travelling with family is unmatched. The new trend is called Multigenerational Travel and it seems to also take 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 and cousins has 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 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 the last five years. Over the next decade, the growth rate for luxury travel is projected to be at 6.2 per cent. 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 developing nations are at the forefront of growth acceleration, an increase in disposable incomes in these countries is favourable to luxury travel. Although currency fluctuations in different nations slightly affected the segment, it has made developed nations seek luxury travel at further discounted prices, fuelling growth.

Dark tourism

Curious travellers always want to explore every nook and cranny filled with unforeseen surprises and great adventures. This set of travellers finds it thrilling and entertaining to visit mysterious places like Kuldhara village in Rajasthan that is 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 themselves 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.

No one wishes 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 off-season trips to visit 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 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 businesses 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 high regard for sustainability. Travellers including millennials consider themselves equally responsible for the disaster and feel duty-bound to reverse it. The New Year will see a spurt in the number of responsible travellers demanding 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.

Categories: Experiences Travel