Society is always on the move, and so is the world of travel. The advent of technology and people’s rising awareness of green consumption are cultivating a change in the tourism and travel industry. For this year, we are anticipating these 5 trends in the travel world:
1. Health and Wellness Holidays
It seems that 2019 is the “coming of age” for travelers as health-centered holidays are slowly becoming the new norm. Instead of drowning in buckets of cocktails, the new generation has replaced it with Instagram-friendly and wellness vacations.
The modern concept of holidaying gained traction last year when the 50-year old infamous holiday brand Club 18-30 came to an end. Thomas Cook, the tour operator of the holiday company, mentioned the ascent of “ego travel” popularity among millennials as a main reason for the dissolution of the company.
Since retiring the Club 18-30 brand, Cook said that they have shifted their focus on its other brand highlighting wellness tourism, including Casa Cook hotels and Cook’s Club hotels.
According to 2019 Travel Trends report from the Association of Travel Agents, the wellness tourism industry is now worth approximately $639 billion globally and is expected to double ahead of the year. However, this travel trend is not only targeting the millennials as more wellness resorts are engaging in ways to get the interest of all age groups.
For instance, Longevity Health & Wellness Hotel will open in Algarve, Portugal in June with new services for fitness activities, medical spa, and healthy meals especially catered for all types of diets. Likewise, Lefay Resort & Spa will open its second resort, Dolomiti, in Italy this summer, with a promise of a 24-hour fitness center and a unique fusion of the east and west spa.
G Adventure, a famous holiday company, and Uniworld, a top-rated river cruise line, have joined the marketing trend by introducing trips that offer healthy meals, and meditation and yoga sessions.
2. Campaign Against Single-Use Plastic
As the commitment to battle the global plastic pollution becomes mainstream, more holiday hotels and tour operators have announced their plans to eliminate the use of plastics and to move towards the use of more environmentally sustainable products. The eco-awareness campaign started last year when members of the travel industry have shown support with the stand against single-use plastic, which they’re looking to continue in 2019.
Melia International, a global hotel chain with 370 hotels in 40 countries, is expected to have eliminated all its plastics by the summer of 2019. Thomas Cook has also announced last November its pledge to lessen the use of plastics in its supply chain.
According to the Abta report, 36% of travelers would highly prefer a travel business with a better environmental record over another. This report rose from 23% in 2014.
With more institutions and companies supporting the environmental campaign against single-use plastic, it is not unlikely for it to become as anti-social as smoking. It will be a wrong move for travel companies if they don’t participate in the movement to reduce the abundance of plastics polluting the ecosystem. However, consumers should also be careful about choosing which companies are serious with their advocates on environmental awareness and which just paid lip-service to the idea.
3. Double Check Your Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a must-have for travels especially if you’re headed to the beach. While it protects you from the harmful UV rays, did you know that its use has destructive effects on the marine environment?
A recent study found out that two particular chemical ingredients found in 78% of most sunscreen brands, octinoxate and oxybenzene, can cause coral reef bleaching when it gets mixed into the waters. The chemicals are also deemed harmful to humans.
Hawaii was the first to make a move by passing legislation last May to ban the distribution and sale of non-prescription sunscreens containing octinoxate and oxybenzene, effective in 2021. On the same month, the Caribbean island of Bonaire also implemented a ban on such products.
Moreover, the Pacific island country of Palau also issued a comprehensive ban involving the selling, buying, manufacturing or importing of all skincare products containing the two chemicals and eight more harmful ones, the ban will come into place in 2020.
Currently, more than 20 countries and 19 states in the US are discussing the progression of a bill concerning the issue. With that being said, expect that manufacturers will take further steps to improve their skincare products to answer the new consumer demand.
Since chemical sunscreens are having an adverse reaction in the tourism industry, opt instead for physical sunscreens. These sunscreens don’t contain harmful chemicals and instead use zinc to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The ingredient lists on these products are often much shorter and safer than the sunscreens that are currently under attack by legislators. Take an extra second in the sunscreen aisle this summer to double check that your products are safe and healthy for your skin and the environment.
4. Instabans and Digital Detox
For many travelers, especially the millennials, the goal of their holiday trips is to capture the best Instagram-worthy pictures. According to WeSwap.com, 61% of 18-24-year-olds love to share their beautiful holiday experiences on social media. Taking advantage of the fact that Instagram has a significant influence on millennials’ choices of travel destinations, most hotels, resorts and tourist boards have hired photographers with many followings to share quality photos and boost their promotion.
However, the craze has also faced backlash and is expected to worsen in 2019. For instance, the safety concerns of getting the perfect shots in dangerous locations have raised issues on “Instagram deaths.” Recently, a spoof account “youdidnotsleepthere” is gaining attention for lampooning adventure travel photos popular on Instagram feeds.
For those who are aiming to unplug from the regular hustles of life and want to have a healing vacation, the digital detox holiday might be the best option for you. The travel industry is expecting it to be the next frontier in the travel world as more people seek to disconnect and de-stress.
5. Facial Recognition System in Airports
Expected to roll out this summer, the new facial recognition technology to replace passports will take-over the airports in the United Kingdom. Heathrow airport in London, UK will introduce a biometric tech that will use facial recognition on airport gates, bag drops, and check-ins to help lessen airport time by 1/3. Heathrow added that it’s not alone in its quest for a paperless future, as 63 % of UK and other international airports are gearing up to incorporate the technology of biometric identification by 2020.
With the number of air passengers in the world expecting to double up in the coming 20 years, any strategies to smoothen international travel experience are welcomed by experts, though issues on data security are also being raised.