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Top Travel Trends in 2017 for Tours and Activity Businesses?

Top Travel Trends for 2017 for your Tour or Activity Business

Now that 2016 is finally over and 2017 is finally here, we want you to be ready to take full advantage of the opportunities this new year will bring!

In this article we cover the types of travellers we expect to see, where they want to go, and what they want to do.

Read on to find out what 2017 has in store for your tourism business.

Types Of Travellers

What do the travellers of 2017 look like?

Women Travellers

“The average adventure traveler is not a 28-year old male, but a 47-year-old female. And she wears a size 12 dress.” – Marybeth Bond from Gutsy Traveller.

Women travellers are on the rise – According to the Travel and Tourism Research Association (ttra), 91% of women agree that vacations are an important part of living a fulfilling life.

Reasons for this trend:

  • Careers: Women have successful, lucrative careers that allow them to travel.
  • Marriage: Marriage rates are declining and women are travelling solo more often.
  • Children: Women are having children later in their lives – leaving more time and money to travel.

Wome travellers are a top travel trend for 2016

(Source)

Action Step: According to the ttra report, women from each generation have their own idea of what their perfect vacation involves. Highlight different travel package features for different generations.

For millennials – Adventure and free-wifi.

For Gen X– Sports, spas, and family activities.

For Baby Boomers: Shopping, luxury hotels and resorts, and unique vacation spots.

Baby Boomers

As seen above, Boomer women travellers are the largest generational group. This is true for both men and women, and what they want will affect your business.

According to AARP, “99% of baby boomers will take at least one leisure trip in 2017”

Reason for this trend:

  • Demographics: After WWII everyone was having babies, a lot of babies – Now they are all between the ages of 51 and 60, have money to spend, and want to travel.

Action Step: Take a look at our bonus article “The 2017 Travel Trends for Baby Boomers”

Multi-Generational Travellers

“Travel is a gift that lasts far beyond the actual physical experience. At Perillo, family comes first and the travel experience is a great way to spend valuable time together away from everyday life.” – Perillo Tours

Multi-generational travel: refers to when a group of travellers is made up of people from more than one generation.

Reasons for this trend:

  • Distance: Many family members live in different areas of the world – a lot of travellers will plan a vacation around a life event in order to get all the family members together.
  • Baby Boomers: Baby boomers have children or grandchildren and are looking to spend time with them.

Look into vacation activities or destinations that will satisfy the youngest and oldest members of the travel group. For example, snorkeling for the grand-children while the grandparents lounge on the beach.

Action Step: Offer families a discount for children under the age of 15. This shows your dedication to making multi-generational travel easy for the whole family.

Solo Travellers

“Solo tourists were 24 percent of total tourists in 2015, up from only 10 percent in 2014.” Rebecca Houston from Travelstart  Blog.

Reasons for this trend:

  • Growth: Travellers are looking for enriching experiences- sometimes this means going it alone.
  • Flexibility: Travellers want flexibility while they travel – this means not having a partner tying you down.
  • Connection: The world seems smaller than ever with the numerous platofrms we have to connect with friends and family – this makes travelling alone seem a lot less scary.

Lonely Planet recently published an article stating that 51% of travellers will go it alone.

Furthermore, 14% of Baby Boomers are expected to take solo trips and most of them are women.

Action Step: Travelling on your own is a highly rewarding experience, but can sometimes get lonely. Tell your clients about SoloTraveller – an app that connects like-minded, solo travellers travellers in real time – This way travellers can find a companion but at the same time have the flexibility of traveling solo.

Read “Tips for Going Solo” by Marybeth Bond of Gutsy Traveler to get an idea of what travelling alone means for your clients.

Activities

Which activities do we expect to see in 2017?

Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism: Travelling with the conscious idea of leaving the least amount of impact on the human and natural environment.

The United Nations declared 2017 as the year for sustainable tourism.

Reasons for this trend:

  • Global Warming and Carbon Footprints: Travellers are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and want to reduce their footprint by making sustainable choices.
  • Animal Protection: With the endangered species list growing, travellers are interested in doing their part in helping with animal protection.  Many brands like TripAdvisor are actively taking a stand against attractions and activities that involve live animals such as elephant rides and dolphin shows.
  • Cultural Heritage: Neon lights, loud music, beer shirts, and rowdy tourists have taken over many popular travel destinations – Conscious travellers want to respect the local culture and assimilate with the least amount of disruption.

Action Step: Suggest places for customers to get authentic souvenirs made by locals so that they can contribute to the community in a positive and more sustainable way. Also, partner with and promote  “eco-friendly” hotels and resorts.

Sunstainability is a top travel trend in 2017

(Source)

Staycation

Staycation: When one decides to take a vacation close to home and enjoy what their neighbourhood has to offer.

According to BVK, people in 2017 are estimated to take an average of 3 staycations.

Reasons for this trend:

  • Leisure: According to Mary Delong, a Senior VP Director of Tourism at BVK, The number one reason for taking a staycation is that travellers just want to get to a place and relax instead of spending their time travelling.
  • Pets: When your dog gives you those “puppy eyes” you can’t just leave! Travellers are taking staycations so that they don’t have to leave their pets.

Action Step: Start a food tour or a “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” tour – they are a great way to show locals their own city in a new light. (Maybe link to Food Tour article here)

Bleisure

Bleisure: The mix of business and leisure.

According to Bridgestreet report on Bleisure “[6] out of 10 of respondents are more likely to take bleisure trips today than they were five years ago”

Reasons for this trend:

  • Lengthy Trips: Long trips away from the family can become tiring – Employees are extending their business trips and bringing their families along.
  • Good for business: Bleisure is good for employees and businesses – Breaks between meetings help employees to re-focus their minds and come back to the meeting feeling refreshed.

Action Step: Go to businesses with activity packages that they can offer their employees. The packages should include short activities and tours that their employees can do between business meetings.

Wellness Travel

According to Health and Fitness Travel Blog, the baby boomer generation is looking for destinations that encourage more physical and mental activity – They are interested in travelling for their own well-being instead of just for just pure indulgence.

Wellness travel: Travelling to spas, resorts, hot-springs and ashrams and/or hiking, cycling, and volunteering.

Action Step: Create packages that appeal to clients looking for soft adventures – this includes hiking and spas in Banff, Alberta or volunteering on a tree farm in Costa Rica.

wellness travel is a top travel trend for 2016

(Source)

Cruises

According to AARP, 48% of retirees are interested in taking a cruise in the next two years.

River Cruises are becoming increasingly popular in 2017- they are the same as an overseas cruise, but they travel along major riverways.

Reasons for this trend:

  • Baby Boomers: Baby boomers want to see multiple destinations without giving up certain luxuries – a cruise can satisfy both of those needs.

Destinations

The world is full of beautiful and exciting places to see – but which destinations do we expect to be the most popular in 2017?

Iceland

Reasons for this trend:

  • Costs: WOWair is one of the main reasons that traveling to Iceland has  increased so rapidly – With flights as cheap as $USD 99.99 from Boston.
  • Adventure: With ice caves, long scenic hikes and diving between tectonic plates as options, adventure travelers will feel quite content in Iceland.
  • The views: Just take a look at these pictures and you’ll see.

Iceland will be a top travel destination in 2016 Iceland will be a top travel destination in 2016

(Source)

Check out TripAdvisor's planned trip to Iceland with activities and budgets included.

Cuba

Reasons for this trend:

  • Embargo: With the end of the embargo between the U.S. and Cuba, Americans have been lining up to check its beautiful beaches and rich culture.
  • Culture: Before McDonald's get it’s hands on real estate space, travellers are looking to experience Cuba’s unique culture.

Check out this article by the New York Times to get a better idea on how Americans can go to Cuba.

Latin America and the Caribbean

An article was published in the Tico Times stating that 73 million U.S. baby boomers are set to retire over the next 10 years and they’re all looking to kick-back and relax somewhere nice and warm, but not too far away from home.

According to a study conducted by AARP, Latin America (specifically Mexico) and the Caribbean are expected to be the most popular travel destination for Baby Boomers.

Reason for this trend:

  • Location: Due to Latin America's proximity to the U.S., Baby Boomers are comfortable travelling there.
  • Weather: Baby Boomers are seeking a warm place to kick off their work shoes and lie with their toes in the sand.
  • Adventure: What was once looked as a being a “gypsy” lifestyle is now seen as an “adventurous” lifestyle among the boomers.

Summary

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Baby boomers are a large influence on travel trends for 2017 and what they want matters for your business
  • Solo travel is becoming increasingly popular among all generations
  • Business and Leisure are opening up new types of vacations.
  • Eco-tourism is extremely important- not only for your customers but as a responsibility to our planet.
  • The geopolitical landscape is changing and previously inaccessible destination are opening up new opportunities.

Written by

Stephen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rezgo. He has been working as a travel & tourism technology consultant since 1995. Stephen is active in fostering tourism technology and is a Past Chair of the OpenTravel Alliance. He is also a regular contributor for Tnooz, a leading travel technology media site, and speaks regularly at conferences around the Globe on travel & tourism technology, messaging standards, and industry trends.

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