The travel industry is predicted to be even bigger in 2014, with the growth in the number of people wanting to see more of the world. The frequent and most visited destinations will still top the list of destinations this year. However, unique and uncommon destinations will also be sought out. Emerging travel destinations, small developing countries and places that offer unique vacation experiences will play a big role in the travel industry. Travel is an industry where change is constant. The forecast is that there will be more and varied tourist packages as well as the common honeymoon trips and family getaways. Here are trends and tips for traveling the world in 2014.
Youngsters are earning early today, which gives them a higher spending capacity. Because they are busy most of the time there are limited options to find travel companions. However, it opens the opportunity for them to travel on their own, with available apps in their smartphones making travel easier and more convenient.
There will be more women traveling on their own, and tour operators are offering more tours that are for women only. Women travelers are a mix of the young and the old, and all of them are capable of spending big bucks whether they want to seek adventure or just to experience a luxurious spa tour in another country. Tours for women are highly customizable to suit their particular needs.
Traveling in groups
Although traveling solo is fast becoming a trend, traveling with a group, whether they are family members or friends, is still going strong. There are places to visit which are more enjoyable when you are with a group of friends, such as Pattaya, Bangkok, Singapore or Goa. This is more applicable to destinations that are known as party destinations that are highly popular with the younger crowd.
Around the world, music festivals opened new possibilities to boost tourism. Likewise, tourist arrival increases in Germany during the Oktoberfest or the Tomatina Festival in Buñol in Valencia, Spain. Music is such a crowd drawer, and the international music festivals such as Paléo in Nyon (Switzerland), Sziget in Budapest, Rock in Rio (alternately held in Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon and Madrid) and Mawazine in Rabat (Morocco) bring in local and international participants and concert attendees. Huge crowds come to watch the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, Pukkelpop in Hasselt (Belgium), Roskilde in Denmark and Rock al Parque in Bogota, Colombia each year.
Top destinations for 2014
The travel industry even has picked up the top travel destinations for 2014, with Iran topping the list. Iran has excellent food, intriguing archeological sites, strikingly beautiful Islamic architecture, beaches and ski resorts. Tourist arrival is expected to make a dramatic rise as the present administration plans to ease visa regulations and some countries will soon enjoy visa-free entries while the rest of the world could pay for the visa upon their arrival.
Brazil will be a hive of activity as the World Cup event nears, and the preparations for the Summer Olympics in two years’ time bring an influx of people. An alternative destination is the Argentinian and Chilean portions of Patagonia, where new hotels in the wilderness are now available.
The lower dollar-yen exchange rate has made traveling to Japan more accessible and cheaper. One of the best destinations is the Okayama Prefecture in Honshu. Marvel at the ancient architecture in the city, which will take you back to the Edo and Meiji periods. Observe samurai making at Osafune or visit Okinawa. Likewise Vietnam is gearing up for more tourist arrivals, with the construction of more luxurious accommodations, lifting its reputation from being just a backpackers’ paradise.
Mongolia presents something unique, as this is a place that is yet untouched by commercial tourism. It is still wild, with its rugged landscape and lakes with crystal clear water. Buddhist temples that dot the landscape are something to behold. Although still on the wild and precarious side, tourist arrival in Zimbabwe is increasing. There are a number of owner-run places to stay that offer tour packages to see nature at its best. Travel to Asia, particularly China, is expected to increase as well.
The Caribbean will again feature much this year, with several cruises being readied to sail over its warm, crystal azure, turquoise or emerald green waters. The success of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug once again makes New Zealand a target destination. Neighboring Australia is also on top of the travel list, as the continent offers numerous options for adventure and exploration, from the Uluru-Ayers Rock to the rich valleys of Adelaide, to cosmopolitan Sydney and the ever-famous Bondi Beach, to the wonders of laid-back Melbourne and the tropical paradise in Cairns and finally the Great Barrier Reef.
In Europe, destinations like Croatia and Iceland are opening up, offering a different kind of adventure. Machu Picchu is one of the most touted crowd-drawer in Peru. Alaska and Hawaii are perennial favorite destinations but it is likewise predicted that domestic tourism in the United States will dramatically increase.
Types and forms of travelers
The so-called millennials, the people belonging to the 18 to 34 age bracket are predicted to be more interested in international travel in groups, pursing favorite activities and interests in urban destinations rather than resorts.
About 1.3 billion to 1.6 billion elders worldwide are also estimated to travel in 2014. They are not only affluent but are highly demanding travelers, who are intolerant of poor service. Most of their trips will either be long or short stays, but primarily for rest and relaxation in quieter and less-crowded destinations.
There will be a rise in groups that showcase their leisure activities though photo sharing and social media sites, advertising to the rest of the world their social status such as ownership of vacation homes and high-end smartphones. They can spend lengthier vacation from work, have the freedom to visit exotic locations and have the ability to work from home.
Family travel, luxury travel and traveling to experience local culture will also figure highly this year. Tourist industry suppliers are taking heed of the latest travel trends and have taken steps to provide plenty of activities that appeal to travelers in different age groups, from age 6 to 66.
Modern conveniences for travel planning
The ownership of smartphones with more excellent features has carved a new niche, and the travel industry is fast catching up, providing more apps for the highly mobile market. They also have provided more push advertising to capture this large market, not just for travel ads but also most almost all products and services in general. With the increase in Internet use worldwide, more travel markets are discovered and it is crucial that these markets be tapped and convert them to actual travelers.
Wendy Perrin, writing for Condé Nast Traveler predicts several things, which include lower flight rates within the United States while flight rates to Europe will remain the same, with flights to top destinations like the Netherlands, Italy and France still the most expensive. Food tourism will be a big hit, as well as cruises in Europe. More families are expected to travel to Africa and more homes will be converted into vacation rentals as discriminating travelers prefer these residences over hotels. To counter the trend, hotels are upgrading, offering more services out of the ordinary to keep clients satisfied, including offering office space while on vacation. With Internet use almost as important as personal services, Wi-Fi will be free in most hotels and cruise liners.
Technology plays a very important role in capturing and retaining travel clients. It is therefore wise that the travel industry start introducing relevant travel apps. While user acquisition becomes cheaper, it is getting costlier to handle customer retention as stated in this Forbes.com article:
“The world will be even more open. With more internet users coming online every day and app markets racing to meet them, it’s become easier and more cost effective than ever to reach new customers through internationalized websites, localized apps, translated ads, and customized messaging and branding.
The world will demand more from you once you have their attention. The cost of acquiring a new customer remains fairly straightforward, spend X dollars to acquire Y customers. The cost of retaining a customer remains tricky and ultimately far more important. Highly targeted messaging will help you cut through the noise and you’ll likely acquire someone willing to try your product. The issue is that the noise doesn’t stop once you acquire a user. Today’s customers see up to 5,000 ads a day, which means if your company isn’t taking a holistic approach to each and every customer touch point by localizing and personalizing messaging, you’re missing out on opportunities rise above the buzz and retain current customers.”