WATCH: The biggest travel trends to watch out for in 2019

Despite a year of over-tourism worries, especially in cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, and Dubrovnik; tourism is on the up globally. 

The World Tourism Organization reports healthy growth in international tourism in 2018. Asia and the Pacific led growth in January-September 2018, with arrivals increasing with 7%.

Europe and the Middle East also recorded sound results with 6% growth, while Africa saw a 5% increase. The Americas grew more modestly at 3% this nine-month period.

Ranking among the top 20 biggest world travel spenders was France, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Russian Federation, Spain, and India - all with double-digit growth in expenditure.

But what can we predict about next year’s travel behaviour if we look at spikes from travel in 2018? 

Here are some predictions for 2019: 

Booking.com has revealed trends to look out for in 2019 based on insights received from over 163 million verified guest reviews and research from 21,500 travellers across 29 countries, which point to various new and existing travel trends. 

Existing trends are constantly evolving, like couple-focused travel is bigger than ever, solo travelling has more possibilities than ever (even co-living spaces are popping up all over) and work-away experiences like WWOOFING (apprenticeship-driven travel) have more depth and breadth than ever. And Generation Z is certainly lapping it all up.

But there are some new and interesting travel trends to consider:  

Family gap year travel and multi-generational travel

Spiking on Instagram, the family gap year. More are more families are considering this lifestyle of travelling the world together for extended periods of time. 

READ: The rise of multi-generational holidays: Where to take your parents for a trip

It's estimated that by 2020, around 50% of the UK and USA workforce will be freelance.  And in 2017, about 40% more children were home-schooled in these countries than in 2014.

This predicts a trend of families a) spending more time together and b) being allowed the freedom to go on more adventures as office hours simply no longer apply.

Plus more and more adults are taking their parents on trips along with their kids. An industry expert told Travel Pulse that over the last few years multi-generational travel has doubled from one out of six trips to one out of every three, and has become one of the fastest growing travel categories.

Micro-tripping 

Booking.com's study revealed 53% of global travellers reported that they are more into weekend trips right now. Less is more as travellers are offered a more bespoke experience, which costs less and saves time.

This also allows them to travel their own country, discovering unique and wonderful places and faces on their doorstep. 

Conscious and social impact travel

The survey also found that travellers have become much more conscious of social issues like gender equality and human rights and often choose their destinations based on conscious criteria. 

READ: Quick Guide to Tanzania: Visa-Free travel for South Africans

For example, use Destination Pride, an excellent source to check if a country is LGBTQI friendly or not. Simply add the country you're travelling to and it will spit out a score out of 100, based on how it fared according to criteria such as sexual activity laws and social media sentiment. 

And social impact experiences on Airbnb offers immersive experiences around the world which support people and communities. Non-profit organisations can raise funds and awareness, with Airbnb waiving its fees so that 100% of the proceeds go to the cause.

Plus organisations like the World Tourism Organization are continuously promoting sustainable and eco-travel such as mountain tourism, driving the socioeconomic growth and development of local communities. 

More efficient travel via tech

When travelling, you always seem to lose some cash with the exchange and commission rates charged by banks, etc. It's a lose-lose situation we've all become accustomed to.

However, from next year using cryptocurrencies like LiteCoin and Bitcoin to book trips, hotels etc will begin to gain traction. Many Asian countries are already using the app, Tripio, which is a hotel booking service where you can pay with crypto. 

And advancements in facial recognition is now making check-in a seamless process from curb to gate at many biometric- geared airports around the world.

Forbes reported that airports tech specialists SITA recently compiled a report saying 77% of airports and 71% of airlines are in the works with R&D in biometric ID systems to be rolled out at their airports within the next 5 years.

Earlier this year, Sydney Airport partnered with Qantas, launching a facial recognition system trailed by a group of passengers. And recently, a biometric terminal was launched at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the States.

While bcdtravel.com predicts an increased interaction with robots at airports. A great example is Ray, the parking assistant at Dusseldorf Airport.. 

More women in travel and the rise of ‘Bleisure’ 

The FCM’s ‘Women in Business Travel’ report notes that seventy-five per cent of businesses around the world have at least one woman on their senior management teams. In Africa this number is now at an impressive 89%. As a result, we see a lot more women in travel.

All-women retreats and festivals are even set to become a trend in 2019 because of a bigger focus on women-specific travel and events.

Nearly two-thirds of all travellers today are women, with women making 80% of all travel decisions. That means 670 million women around the world control $15 trillion in spending power, making female travellers a market twice the size of China and India’s markets combined.

And speaking of business, Treksoft trends report 2019 notes the trend of Business + Leisure = Bleisure.

“It is becoming more common for business travellers to utilise the opportunity to take time for themselves, explore and travel. According to a report by Expedia Media Solutions, around 60% of business trips in the last year included a leisure portion.”

All work and then some play!

Curated experiences - destinations unknown

Booking.com found that travellers are becoming less and less inclined to do travel research themselves, preferring ways to be fed info on destinations digitally.

The Treksoft trends report 2019 also notes that one unique travel trend that seems to attract a younger audience is surprise package holidays.

Destination, unknown.

Srprs.me is an online travel agent that organises these unique holidays for travellers. This takes the hassle out of travel.  

These travellers enjoy their own free time, yet prefer offloading the research to someone else as planning and booking is not their vibe. So, travellers book a package holiday without prior knowledge of where they will go, only when.

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