Travel publications and media platforms have released their insights and predictions for the travel industry outlook in 2012. Below are the top five topics that I find the most interesting:
Almost all sectors have included sustainability as part of their business strategy. The tourism industry is in particular working very hard in this area and in many respects it is taking a leading role. This is no surprise, since travel is dependent on energy and tourism heavily depends on destinations being able to provide travellers with authentic experiences in pristine environments. In fact, ever more consumers are actively seeking authentic travel experiences.
Many destinations are providing travel tips on sustainable transport options. Tourism Wales has developed programs to allow travelers to embrace Welsh natural heritage and culture with suggestions to minimize visitors’ environmental footprint. In 2010, the National Geographic Traveller magazine rated the Pembrokeshire Coast in joint position as the second best coastal destination in the world. Forty-six beaches in Wales were awarded the highest water quality Green Coast Award. This award ensures that beaches are clean, safe and well-managed. For more details how to enjoy the county, please visit: http://www.visitwales.com/
The Olympics Game has always been a sure-fire hit to drive tourism wherever the Games location might be. London will be no doubt one of the hottest destinations this summer. Cities and even countries nearby will also benefit from visitors wanting to experience this iconic celebration of international sport. London’s hospitality& restaurant industry along with the city’s infrastructure is poised for the influx of tourists. For example, Paris is only around two hours away from Central London by Eurostar. France is marketing Paris as a “cheaper, safer and more attractive” city than London during the 2012 Games. A French tourism officer said: “We are already the world’s number one tourist destination but the Olympic Games will ensure even greater success this year. It is a thrilling prospect”. Another key sporting attraction this year will be the UEFA European Cup to be held in Poland and the Ukraine this summer www.uefa.com.
Whilst I am thrilled to see London nominated as one of the top 10 destinations for 2012 by Lonely Planet, some selected destinations come as something of a pleasant surprise, such as the City of Bangalore, India or Guimarães in the northern part of Portugal is breathtakingly beautiful, as recognised by its position on the Unesco World Heritage List, yet interestingly doesn’t automatically figure on the obvious destination list of many international visitors. Another ‘surprise’ is Cádiz, Spain, a peaceful, forgotten, pocket of old-world charm, complete with old men in flat caps shuffling about in cafe-lined squares. But the 10-day Carnival of Cádiz has put the city in the spotlight and today attracts thousands of travellers, with Seville and Jerez airports only 2 hours away.
The Net and Apps
Hotels, airlines, travel agencies, tourism boards, media and people like you and me who have a passion for tourism are embracing the new media space. Websites, online tools and mobile apps have revolutionised the way in which consumers make their travel decisions. The engagement step starts from the moment of search – online or word of mouth. Staff reporters at Travel + Leisure commented that “the Internet’s influence on travel will cut both ways. Turned off by biased reviews on some travel websites, more people will be relying on their social networks for travel tips. It will also be easier than ever to log in as we travel with fewer — but more powerful — gadgets”. Let’s check out the iPhone app Store – Which tourism board is missing?
Value for money
Both travel trend surveys by Travel Leaders and Fox News show that consumers are willing to spend the same or even more on travel in 2012. However, consumers are expressing much higher demands in terms of services. “Travellers want the little extras like having breakfast included – especially in this economy – it makes them feel like they’re getting more for their money and more of a deal,” said TravelAdvisor.com. Also, travellers are looking for airlines that offer at least one piece of luggage transported for free. This is again the result of the massive growth of online information where people can easily compare both official information and others’ experience anywhere 24/7.