It’s a new year – which means a new list of top travel trends to look out for as 2020 gets under way.
We’ve already seen a number of new trends making their presence felt in the travel sector in recent years, with many travellers and tourists increasingly making eco-conscious choices, as well as beginning to avoid politically-sensitive destinations, to name but two.
Here, then, are some new and developing travel trends to look out for in 2020 – how many of these do you think will be affecting your travel choices?
In no particular order …
Mass tourism was once seen as a blessing and a boon, but recent years has brought a greater awareness of the problems and issues that can also arise – even prompting local protests against too many tourists, or even against any tourism at all.
In 2020, Undertourism – promoting sustainable tourism that truly supports, not overwhelms, cities and communities – is expected to become much more widespread.
For example, the ancient, beautiful city of Vienna is developing a vision for the future that, rather than simply trying to increase visitor numbers, is putting sustainable growth first to focus on balancing the needs of visitors and residents alike in its Visitor Economy Strategy 2025.
With most Viennese supporting tourism, the strategic planning of better marrying tourism with local development is expected not just to add value to the city, but to help guide similar strategies for other cities and destinations seeking to more sustainably remodel their approach to tourism.
Pronounced ‘tag sturt’, Tagskryt is a Scandinavian term for ‘train-bragging’, marking the new trend for those who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on air travel, yet still see the world – cue the rise of the humble train ticket.
Travelling by train is becoming increasingly popular each year throughout Europe; while you might be affected by a country’s limited rail lines (I’m sure we can all think of one small, wet country that’s applicable here), you’ll find that many countries have excellent rail links to all corners.
Wherever you roam by rail, you’ll be sure to find rail deals geared for train tourists, while many cities have rail-and-stay deals offers, or have destinations within a stone’s throw of a chain such as the EU-wide Generator hostels.
“Once bitten, twice shy” very much applies to tourism, with many tourists forever put off revisiting a ‘bad’ city or place – and then telling others not to visit.
Many destinations have started to tackle unwanted, and often unfair, impressions that they may have acquired, with a serious effort to reinvent their reputation and educate their visitors about what else they have on offer.
For example, as a popular backpacker stop, Vang Vieng in Laos used to only be partying; however, the area has slowly been reinventing itself and in 2020 is encouraging travellers to rediscover the destination.
Vang Vieng has grown into a hub for nature lovers and those seeking adventure and a holiday off the beaten track, with the launch of a first international hotel, Amari Vang Vieng, now giving travellers the perfect base from which to explore.
This shift in focus – away from what may have made an area well-known, to a newfound fame and reputation – is something we can expect to see more and more destinations embracing.
Best described as the act of choosing a holiday or experience in order to support a destination, ‘Philantourism’ invites visitors to eat locally, shop locally and tour locally so that their money is going into local pockets.
For example, a trip to Puerto Rico also offers visitors unique opportunities to support local communities in 2020, as the island seeks to continue rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The mobilisation of a network of cooks, farmers and restaurateurs is helping to rebuild the island by reclaiming Puerto Rico’s agricultural and culinary independence.
Every visitor to the likes of Puerto Rico counts, and will be actively helping to rebuild and support the island, and local livelihoods, as well as offering a still stunning destination to visit.
Described as holidays that are taken with close friends to celebrate milestones such as weddings, ‘friendiversaries’ or any other big life event, ‘Friendmoons’ is basically a holiday with emotional, meaningful depth attached.
For example, many newlyweds are beginning to invite their closest friends to join them on their honeymoons to celebrate their next chapter together – a break with your ‘Besties’ could be a great getaway for all involved, adding some more precious memories to the mix.
Despite the clunky name, Friendmooning offers a whole new sector for travel trends, and is definitely one to watch develop through 2020.
Why go away on ‘the big trip’ when you can take Micro-cations instead?
These are shorter, more frequent trips that can be taken throughout the year, as opposed to one big annual trip. They require less preparation, therefore alleviating the stress that goes hand in hand with handovers, booking time off and planning one long trip.
Micro-cations can help those who need recharging but without the stress of planning longer leave.
Irish tourists are already old hands at the micro-cation trend, with shopping trips to New York, or London weekend getaways, perfect examples of the trend for brief but busy holidays.
With a dizzying range of hotel, city and flight offers already aimed at what we can now call ‘micro-cationers’, this is one travel trend that’s set to run and run.
Educational adventure, or ‘Edventure’, is designed for those looking for travel experiences that enriches them on numerous levels, combining travel and adventure with education.
2020 will host a remarkable array of Edventures across the globe, offering holidays where travellers can immerse themselves in their destination and learn all about it, and the local culture and people.
By combining your holiday with an educational aspect, you’ll undoubtedly connect with your destination in a deeper way than if you just fly through in a week or a weekend.
In addition to more environmentally-friendly tourism, the desire to live and travel in a way that is more sustainable will be to the fore for many.
In addition to seeing cities and countries tackling their waste and use of plastics in a more targeted, focused manner, tourist planners are expected to continue pushing for Greener holidays, reducing the carbon footprint for tourists as well as reducing the impact on local environments.
Single-use plastics, as but one example, are increasingly being banned by companies and countries alike, with cities that are taking the lead on rebranding over their Green credentials – such as Santa Monica, in America – expected to capitalise on eco-tourism interests.
As part of such a focus, we can expect to see more and more cities and countries promoting public and Greener transport, rather than pushing the private hire model of old, such as hire cars and the like.