2018 Travel Trends
‘What do luxury travellers want in 2018? To be travellers, not tourists.’
As 2017 comes to an end, some of us may be travelling to more exotic surroundings to welcome in the New Year. But here at Simplexity Travel, we are looking forward to what new adventures 2018 will hold for our industry. From sustainable to immersive travel, we have detailed the major new trends we are keeping an eye on for the upcoming year.
The United Nations declared 2017 the Year of Sustainable Tourism and we are finally seeing the concept go from theoretical to legitimate practice, with luxury properties and operators around the world adopting interesting ways to implement its recommendations. At Simplexity, we share the view that travel is a powerful catalyst to educate and protect natural and cultural heritage for future generations.
The three pillars of sustainable tourism are environmentally friendly operations – reduce, reuse and recycle; support for the protection of natural and cultural heritage and social and economic benefits to local communities.
Somewhere that has put all three into practice is andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Phinda’s commitment to sustainable, responsible travel and community empowerment is world-renowned and the reserve is deeply committed to the core ethic of “Care of the Land. Care of the Wildlife. Care of the People.”
Phinda Homestead, South Africa
With 2017 being the year of experiential travel, connecting closely with the country or destination, 2018 will see this taken a step further with many pushing to achieve a lifelong goal or travelling to find themselves. People are starting to travel to achieve something, whether that be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or Annapurna Circuit, or even gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Between 2015 and 2016 the number of hiking trips almost doubled, with a similar growth rate happening in 2017.
These figures reflect the trend in the travel industry that sees travellers wanting more from their trips, rather than a standard sightseeing tour.
Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro
Being a traveller rather than a tourist
Genuine human connection is something desired by today’s travellers, who are asking for everything from reaching the edge of space in a MiG-29 flight in Russia, herding cattle in Australia or hosting a celebration in a private capsule aboard the London Eye. Travellers are also seeking more unusual accommodation options such as an igloo in Norway, their own private castle or sleeping under the stars in the desert – no tent required.
Immersive experiences not found in a guidebook or brochure, opportunities to meet locals, wandering neighbourhoods and making spontaneous discoveries are the best ways to experience a destination. Whether it is wine tasting, or learning a traditional craft or a new language, travellers will be seeking out the true culture of the area they are visiting.
With the focus on far-flung exotic destinations in 2018, luxury travellers are embarking on international trips of two weeks or longer. Week-long international trips and three to five-day trips are also continuing to experience strong demand. What is surprising, though, is more interest in shorter international trips, such as Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in less than a week. Conversely, some travellers are requesting longer trips of three to five weeks.
Sometimes the best way to see a new destination is on the ground. Train travel is perfect for those with more time on their hands and a thirst for incredible views. Tourists are able to travel long or short distances in spacious carriages in countries all around the world giving them a unique opportunity to see a perfect combination of nature and characterful towns on routes more commonly travelled by plane.
Belmond Trains offer a 3-day trip from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok on the Eastern & Orient Express taking in sites such as the Ubudiah Mosque and the River Kwai.
Eastern & Orient Express
Luxury is increasingly being associated with remoteness and dysconnectivity. With people starting to dedicate more time to their travel, so they are willing to travel to far-flung often difficult to get to destinations in order to feel like they have a small piece of the world almost entirely to themselves. Lodges and hotels are being built completely off the map, specifically in areas that have poor phone reception and are more challenging to access.
In Annandale, New Zealand the lodges are so remote, you have two options for food: hire a private chef or enjoy the ‘We Create, You Serve’ programme where breakfast, a picnic lunch and three-course dinner are prepared and left in your fridge for you to simply enjoy.
Annandale, New Zealand
Off the Beaten Track
Due to over-tourism, travellers are increasingly seeking out authentic local experiences in lesser-known destinations.
Instead of joining the masses in commercial places, many are preferring to opt for destinations such as Corsica instead of the South of France or Botswana in place of Kenya.
With the demand for this type of experience on the increase, travel to the Middle East is also on the rise, increasing by 24 percent in 2017. In South America, Ushuaia in Argentina is a popular choice located on the southern tip of Argentina and a real must see.