UK travel agents are generating millions in revenue and boosting the UK economy as they stay ahead of global 2016 tourism trends.
The typical holiday maker in 2016 is a demanding customer and successful travel agencies have to be fully equipped with a comprehensive portfolio of experiences to offer their customers. Priorities vary for each individual and British tourists might be looking to discover an untouched place, going after a taste of some pure luxury, ticking a Unesco World Heritage site off the bucket list, heading somewhere off the grid to disconnect or simply searching for a no nonsense beach holiday.
The marketplace is diverse and the possibilities for the modern jet setter seem endless.
Considering ABTA’s 12 destinations to watch for 2016 there is a healthy mix of those aforementioned elements. Abu Dhabi, Canada, China – the Silk Road, France, Hawaii (USA), Iceland, Iran, Naples and Apulia (Italy), Peru, Poland, Queensland (Australia) and Sri Lanka offer a wide variety of experiences.
China features in that list but it is not just incoming tourism to the vast Asian country which is trending. Over the past decade the Chinese have been traveling abroad in steadily increasing numbers with the country’s one billion plus population now spending around $500 billion on foreign travel. Recent fluctuations in the economy in China could impact that number over the course of 2016.
For British and European tourists meanwhile there is a growing trend for unplugging and completely disconnecting from work whilst on holiday. Wifi, 4G and the ubiquitous smartphone have changed our relationship with work and travel.
But here the choice ultimately sits with the tourist and the travel agent simply has to make options available. Still want that 4G connection when exploring the wilderness or deliberately going off the grid to escape the grind? Whatever your preference there is a perfect destination out there for you.
The world is becoming ever more connected. Cheaper flights, more flights, a growing awareness of the requirements of tourists in an ever expanding number of destinations, dissolving language barriers, a growing worldwide population and the expansion of horizons means greater opportunity for tourists and for travel agents.
Likewise, that untouched, undiscovered or exotic and remote destination is becoming ever more sought after. Whilst for older tourists a comfortable cruise in the Caribbean or luxury train journey across southern Spain might be the ideal break, millennials in particular are looking for adventure.
Younger travellers are less likely to be concerned about luxury accommodation and more interested in having unique and authentic experiences, getting a true taste of a destination by living like a local, having opportunities to learn something new and trusting word of mouth recommendations from people they meet along the way.
Over the past couple of years, meanwhile, city breaks have taken over from beach holidays as the most popular style of travel. According to Statista.com, London remains the most visited city in the world, having welcomed 18.82 million international overnight visitors in 2015, whilst Bangkok, Paris, Dubai and Istanbul complete the top five.
New York sits in sixth place on the list, with the Big Apple hosting just two thirds the amount of international visitors as London. Rio does not feature in the top 20 of most visited international cities but the beautiful Brazilian city’s unique atmosphere will be promoted throughout August as the 2016 Summer Olympics roll into town.