Tourism – Global Changes (09.11.14)
The world’s tourism industry is changing on all fronts, before our very eyes.
After topping the one billion mark last year, international arrival numbers are expected to rise another 4.7% this year to over 1.15 billion. Global Gross Domestic Product in travel and tourism is anticipated to rise 3.4%, up from 3% in 2013.
In the main, destinations continue to enlarge their product range to satisfy a market that is not only expanding, but also broadening its thirst for new experiences. Global hotel sales continue to rise with inbound receipts enjoying healthy growth patterns as Asia’s affluent new middle classes make their presence felt across the world’s tourist destinations. Indeed, China is on course to outstrip the US as the world’s largest economy in purchasing power parity terms. Equally, many of the other previously under-travelled nationalities continue to impact on the world’s tourism market just as Brazilians and Russians have done over the past decade.
Although the Middle East dominates the world’s airline market with an apparently inexhaustible supply of new aircraft to match their expansive new airports, low cost carriers push on as the most successful sector in air travel, opening up newly affordable travel opportunities to mainstream tourist destinations.
The World Tourism Organization’s (WTO) 2020 Tourism vision predicts the largest expansion in visitor numbers to the following destinations (in descending order): South Asia, Middle East, Africa, East Asia/Pacific and the Americas.
As a backdrop to all this, technological advances affecting tourism are predicted to change as much in the next two years as in the last twenty – with a similar acceleration likely for the two years after that.
Mobile technology is transforming the tourism market, playing a significant part in all aspects of a traveller’s journey. Certainly we at Nomadic Thoughts are embracing the great array of apps, information portals, websites, chat rooms and social media outlets that assist clients in all aspects of travel. In terms of consumer behaviour, booking patterns and customer service the landscape is shifting all the time.
Every week our phones, tablets and pcs are introduced to new travel portal enhancements. Paper airline tickets, check-in desks and guidebooks have slid into yesteryear and been replaced by such things as pet lounges (Lufthansa’s at Frankfurt), omni-accessible booking channels (private bed-booking sites; share-with-a-local travel experiences) and wearable semantic search apparatus (Google-glass, Siri and Apple-watches).
The traditional ‘fly & flop’ holiday is fast giving way to a yearning for unusual holiday experiences, activities and new-found destinations. Similarly the age demographic of travellers has affected the diversity of travel options as well as differing accommodation facilities, holiday activities and adrenaline experiences.
For example, Poshtels (posh-hostels) are proving more popular with the ‘senior’ generation than traditional gap-year back-packers. The rise in activities such as road cycling has led to the term MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra). The overall ‘holiday experience’ focus is also changing – with learning to cook, party and ‘live like a local’ often superseding traditional hotel-based activities.
Booking options are broadening as the largest internet buying sites such as Google, Trip-Advisor and Amazon prepare to offer direct travel booking services.
Thrilling as all these changes are, one thing that has not altered is the demand for ‘a darn good holiday’ – something we at Nomadic Thoughts continue to believe we are experts at providing.
Not least as I still believe there is no substitute for top quality individual one-to-one service. Especially with someone who knows, appreciates and understands the enormous variety of options, however diverse the changing travel market may be.