The 2008 World Travel Market and Euromonitor International Travel Trends Report will launch in November at the World Travel Market Conference. Highlighting the next big trends, the report is the precursor of what is set to impact the travel industry.
The report will be launch by BBC presenter Thalia Pellegrini to attending press from around the globe at the Forecast Forum on Monday, November 10 at 10:00 hrs. in Platinum Suite Four. A second presentation with CNN anchor Louisa Bojesen for both press and visitors takes place on Tuesday, November 11 from 11:00-12:00 hrs. in North Gallery Room Eight.
Revisiting the 2007 WTM Global Trends Report finds the travel trends Euromonitor International predicted would be on top…
2007 Trend – North America: Debaucherists work hard and play harder
· Young adults, seeking to prolong their uninhibited youth, are following in the footsteps of tabloid celebrities and traveling to experience out-of-control parties in a trend called “debaucherism tourism.”
· Las Vegas thrives on catering to these “debaucherists” with hotels hosting pool parties starting in the morning, allowing travelers to party 24 hours a day. Niche cruises offer excessive drinking, gambling and cutting-edge music acts for this audience while Caribbean resorts specialize in eroticism for those looking to fulfill their sexual fantasies.
· Even as travelers age, they will continue to embrace travel as an opportunity to revisit their hedonistic youth and to spend lavishly, ensuring that they enjoy the most outlandish parties. Long-haul, exotic destinations are expected to benefit as these party addicts search for the next thrill and document their party activities via social networking websites for all to see and imitate.
Did it come true?
2008 saw the introduction of several debaucherism activities. Maxim Magazine partnered with the Bud Light to create the Bud Light Party Cruise, an age 21 and up cruise promising, “3 nights/4 days of fun aboard the Bud Light Party Cruise for only $348 dollars for two people. We’ll be taking you through the Bahamas, stopping at Nassau and a private island for a rockin’ up-close and personal VIP concert with a well-known music artist.”
Airbus also announced in early 2008 the launch of a Airbus A380 Casino. The business behind the venture was not revealed but flightglobal.com revealed that casino operators in Macau may be behind the deal with the casino expected to be fully operational within five years.
2007 Trend – The UK: Have Pet, Will Travel
· With a pet population of 49 million and consumers spending £2.7 billion on pet food and pet care products in the UK, pets are an integral part of consumers’ lives. The trend for pets to be treated as a member of the family has subsequently led to the rise in demand for tailored pet travel facilities and services, providing the UK domestic tourism industry a golden opportunity to build additional revenues.
· There is currently a significant lack of supply to meet this untapped demand for pet travel products and services, with hotels being the only sector to actively target pet owners. So far, independents have been the most proactive, however with the success of pet schemes introduced by leading hotel chains in the US, UK chains should follow suit and introduce similar programs.
· Despite the challenges in providing pet services, potential exists for travel operators and travel retailers to offer value add-ons to their standard offer that pet owners will pay a premium for. Pet health and wellness is also an area that shows signs of great promise as well as pet travel insurance.
Did this come true?
The potential for pet travel in the UK is supported by the forthcoming launch of a series of books from Dog Friendly, Ltd., including the title Dog Friendly Hotels listing http://www.dogfriendly.co.uk/ over 2,000 hotels. According to Caroline Bremner at Euromonitor International, “The current economic downturn represents a silver lining for UK domestic tourism and travel operators that cater to the family market with pet-friendly facilities. These operators will be in a prime position to benefit from this trend.” Steve Bennet from Dog Friendly, Ltd. responded, “We have seen an incredible increase over the last year for pet travel. Our new book on Dog Friendly Hotels will include not only chained and independent hotels in the UK, but also in Europe thanks to the new Pets Passport Scheme.”
2007 Trend – Western Europe: Slow travel builds momentum
· Slow travel is the perfect antidote to life’s stresses and strains, offering consumers the opportunity to disconnect from their hectic lifestyles, experience direct contact with nature and enjoy life’s simpler pleasures. The ultimate aim is to regain time, a real luxury in today’s fast-moving world. (WTM Global Trends Report 2007)
· Slow travelers often opt to stay in farms or other rural accommodation and prefer to travel by train. The motivation for slow travel is also linked with a rise in responsible tourism particularly with UK travelers. The pull of slow travel is also rippling across the world to the Americas due partly to the influence of the film “An Inconvenient Truth” featuring Al Gore.
· Slow travel is expected to become a significant alternative to beach and cultural tourism, moving from a niche into the mainstream. “Slow hotels” or “slow packages” will allow operators to embrace this growing trend, allowing consumers to not only enjoy a more authentic travel experience, but also give a boost to the local economy.
Did it come true?
According to a survey by the US Tour Operators Association and travelmole.com, slow travel began to catch on in early 2008. Companies such as Rocky Mountaineer Vacations offer tours providing simple, leisurely travel usually through extended railroad vacations. Caroline Bremner, Global Travel and Tourism manager at Euromonitor commented, “Slow travel offers travelers the chance to kick back and rediscover the joy of hassle-free travel with a low carbon footprint as illustrated by Ed Gillespie’s year long flight-free adventure.”
The launch of OzBus in 2007 with its inaugural bus journey to Australia was a great success and also well documented in the UK press, leading to services to Africa, the Hippy Trail, as well as a new overland route, London-New York.
2007 Trend – Middle East: Halal Tourism offers great potential
· In the attempt to emulate Dubai’s success, Middle Eastern countries are turning to tourism as an alternative revenue source. There is currently little differentiation between Middle Eastern travel and tourism products and services for Muslims and non-Muslims. This represents a huge opportunity for Halal tourism, a form of religious tourism defined as activities permissible under Islamic law.
· It is important that Halal tourism develops alongside domestic tourism infrastructure, giving rise to organic, as well as adapted products and services that appeal to Middle Eastern tourists. There is also great scope to attract Halal visitors beyond the boundaries of the Middle East from the growing Muslim populations across the world, from Europe to the US.
· Hajj and Umrah packages for pilgrims offer potential for Halal tourism products and services. This niche market offers strong inelastic demand and demonstrates high resilience where religious and Halal tourists will travel for their faith even in times of insecurity.
Did it come true?
Catering to Muslims with Halal tourism jumped significantly in 2008 with several operators jumping at the opportunity to reach out to this segment. Dubai based Allmulla Hospitality announced the development of a hotel chain that complies with Islamic law. The development will include 10 hotels by 2012 in the Middle East and Asia.
Dubai based Landmark Hotel Group announced in July 2008 the addition of 10 hotels. According to Arabianbusiness.com, “All the properties will operate on Islamic principles and will be entirely alcohol-free, serve halal food and donate a percentage of their profit to charity.” In addition, unmarried couples would not be allowed to room together.
2007 Africa: North Africa tourism is poised for success
· Aided by government policies and the arrival of low cost carriers, Morocco is a rising star in North Africa for tourism while Tunisia and Egypt are looking to build upon their current success. Potential tourism powerhouses, Algeria and Libya, on the other hand, have until now been held back by political tensions and a lack of infrastructure.
· Morocco, with a wealth of exotic tourist attractions, has benefited from government initiatives to promote itself as a destination and encourage foreign investment. Low-cost carriers have helped increase demand from neighboring Europeans. Tunisia and Egypt have benefited from a “sun and sea” combined with culture model to attract international visitors.
· As they experience greater political stability, both Algeria and Libya are poised to follow in the footsteps of their neighbors. Their governments have embraced tourism development as a means for economic growth and have started to build the necessary infrastructure. Additionally, these governments are welcoming foreign investment, particularly from Middle Eastern countries.
Did this come true?
According to Euromonitor International figures, and supported by the WTTC, arrivals in Morocco and Tunisa grew significantly through 2006 and 2008. Euromonitor expects Morocco to welcome approximately 8.16 million visitors by the end of 2008, up from 6.6 million visitors in 2006. Tunisia is expected to have close to 7.17 million visitors through 2008, up from 6.5 million in 2006. “The continued growth in the number of airline routes to North Africa and Morocco has contributed enormously to growth in the region. Travelers from the UK make up a big chunk of Moroccan tourism, having doubled in number since 2005. The liberalized air agreement between the EU and Morocco permitted low cost carriers, Ryanair and EasyJet, to fly from the UK to Morocco in 2006,” said Euromonitor International Research manager Michelle Grant. Euromonitor expects UK travelers to Morocco to reach almost 5.13 million by the end of the year.
2007 South America: the exotic lure of End of the World Tourism
· Considered the “End of the World,” Ushuaia, Argentina is benefiting from a boom in tourism thanks to media attention to climate change and the popularity of films such as “The March of the Penguins.”
· Baby boomers from North America and Europe are contributing to the growth in tourism to Ushuaia as they adventure further afield to acquire evermore unique experiences. Hotel chains and cruises are responding by expanding their capacity in the region and offering casual luxury to these demanding travelers. The expansion of cruise itineraries along Latin America’s coasts has also resulted in a greater number of cruisers from the region.
· While Ushuaia faces challenges, such as seasonality and the environmental impact of increased tourism, demand for travel to the destination is expected to remain strong as baby boomers travel in increasing numbers and cruise itineraries are expanded.
Did it come true?
Cruise arrivals during the high season to Ushuaia jumped in 2008 to 112,144 travelers from 84,765 in 2007. This is an increase of 32% percent. According to Michelle Grant, Euromonitor International Research manager, this is attributed to an increase in the number of cruise ships arriving in Ushuaia. Luxury cruise ships, such as the Star Princess and Regent Seven Seas, have found great success among baby boomers seeking to visit the seventh continent. Furthermore, cruise companies intend to send more and larger ships in the 2008-2009 cruise season. Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, which can hold 3,114 passengers, is expected to sail some time after February 2009.
Cruise Arrivals to Ushuaia during High Season:
2002 - 52,774
2003 - 58,622
2004 - 57,760
2005 - 63,867
2006 - 81,224
2007 - 84,765
2008 - 112,144
Source: Secretaria de Turismo-Municipalidad de Ushuaia
2007 Eastern Europe: niche operators benefit from Diaspora tourism
· The expansion of the European Union to include Eastern Europe has lead to a rise in immigration for both humanitarian and economic reasons to Western Europe. Low cost airlines have enabled these Diasporas to travel frequently to their homelands.
· Diaspora tourism is segmented into three categories: heritage, residential and festival tourism. Heritage tourists return home to learn more about their ancestry and often participate in language or culinary courses. Residential tourism is concentrated mainly among young adults who emigrated for economic reasons. Earning more in their new country allows them to visit and invest in property in their home country. Festival tourism is driven by those who return for important events and festivals.
· The increasing Eastern European Diaspora has resulted in niche travel agencies cropping up to cater to heritage tourism. On trips home, many Eastern Europeans add a visit to the dentist or doctor to take advantage of the cost savings, providing opportunities for suppliers in medical tourism. Additionally, Eastern European tourist boards are stepping up their marketing efforts towards these tourists to further encourage return trips.
Did this come true?
Euromonitor International forecasts outbound travel from the UK to Poland, a key diaspora market, to reach 3.3 million in 2008, representing an impressive annual increase of 58%, underlining the pull of home, coupled with the rise of Poland as a leisure destination. Provisional data from the Office of National Statistics also supports a strong annual increase.
Low-cost carriers are the main drivers of diaspora tourism flows. EasyJet continued to expand its presence in Eastern Europe, including the launch of a new route to Bulgaria in November 2007, following Bulgaria’s accession to the EU at the beginning of that year.
More than 47,000 travel professionals, senior management, buyers and opinion formers from regions, countries and industry sectors throughout the world are expected to attend this year’s World Travel Market at ExCeL, London. The event takes place from November 10-13, 2008. For more information about World Travel Market please visit www.wtmlondon.com .