10 travel and tourism trends to inspire your next getaway

May 20 2019, 8:24 pm

Heading into the busiest travel season of the year, (hello, Summer getaways!) Mapped’s experts have identified the top travel and tourism trends for 2019 that every wanderluster should know about.

Through a culmination of extensive globetrotting experience, audience feedback, online reviews, and reports from industry experts, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, so all you have to do is find that seat sale and book it, baby!

Read on to find out what’s taking off around the world with our rundown of 10 travel and tourism trends to know in 2019 — from eco-conscious holidays to the new way to travel solo.

Eco-travel

 

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While the concept of eco-tourism has been on the rise for the past few years, it seems that environmentally conscious travel is finally entering the mainstream. So what is eco-tourism, exactly? We’re glad you asked.

Eco-tourism is responsible travel that encourages the exploration and conservation of natural environments while keeping visitor impact low. This can mean anything from embarking on eco-conscious tours through the jungle to staying at hotels with passive designs to minimize consumption. Simply put, eco-tourism is all about protecting the natural environment and promoting the local culture — sounds rad, right?

It seems the rest of the world agrees — which is why eco-hostels are popping up across the globe to fuel travellers demands for more sustainable travel experiences. Not to mention the plethora of off-grid hotels emerging throughout Canada that are taking part in the global trend towards going green by adopting sustainable practices and offering lower-impact services to guests.

But the trend towards eco-tourism is a global one — Marriott International, for example, plans to cut food waste by 50% by 2025, while boutique hotel the Salt of Palmar in Mauritius has launched a pesticide-free, hydroponic fruit, and vegetable farm to be more self-sufficient.

According to Booking.com’s report on Travel Predictions for 2019, “An overwhelming majority of global travellers (86%) say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with over a third (37%) willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.”

“With deeper interrogation from travellers into the sustainable practices of both their destination and accommodation choices, fueled by their desire to travel with a conscience, investment in sustainable start-ups will be considered ever more imperative,” explains the report.

“Expect to see a number of new travel start-ups and individual enterprises committed to shaping a new future for our planet’s destinations emerge in the coming year, with intriguing technology at the core of their solutions.”

Slow travel

 

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Thanks to mass tourism and modern technology, we’re witnessing a travel boom of epic proportions. Statista reports that global air traffic has skyrocketed from 1.9 billion passengers in 2004 to 4.3 billion in 2018.

With more people travelling than ever before, one might guess that the industry prioritizes quantity over quality — a mentality that is inherent in making travel an industry. But this mentality has started to affect travellers, too. The more destinations one ticks off, the better, right?

Maybe not.

Enter the slow travel movement — a concept that’s been around and in practice for a while, but is expected to truly gain momentum in 2019. So what is slow travel?

Slow travel is a conscious approach that embodies philosophies of the slow movement. The slow travel mindset prioritizes connection above all else and believes that genuine connection requires slowing down. Slow travellers believe that less is more. They sacrifice “seeing everything” and instead, take a step back from their itineraries to observe, experience, and connect with places on a deeper level.

Making a more profound connection might involve staying in one place long enough to get a proper lay of the land, immersing oneself with locals, and observing daily life. Slow travellers generally seek to abandon an over-paced life by slowing down enough to capture the spirit of the places and people found on roads less travelled.

At the end of the day, slow travellers value connection and believe this leaves a lasting impression compared to the rush of racing from one attraction to another.

“With an ever-increasing pace in our daily lives, full of overflowing schedules, [we find] clients are wanting to slow down, relax and reconnect with travel,” a tour company told Lonely Planet.

Off the beaten path

 

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With mounting tourist traffic wreaking havoc on fragile ecosystems across the globe, an increasing number of global tourist attractions are now being forced to close to the public.

And while some destinations like Machu Picchu are implementing new laws to moderate the impact of tourism, others are having to close temporarily (or indefinitely) to return the environment back to its rightful state.

Because of this, lesser-known and out-of-the-way destinations are drawing travellers away from the well-trodden paths of overcrowded tourist attractions by offering an unspoiled travel experience. Because sometimes the best travel experiences come from the spots that the masses haven’t discovered just yet.

Over waiting in lineups and fighting through crowds? Check out our roundup of 12 off the beaten path destinations you need to add to your bucket list.

Van life

 

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Thanks to a new generation of minimalist millennials, the #vanlife movement is gaining momentum once again — and it appears the trend is here to stay.

Once reserved for hippies and retirees, van-dwelling is being embraced wholeheartedly by a new generation of modern nomads who are giving a unique, almost fashionable meaning to the ‘van down by the river’ stereotype.

The lifestyle movement has seen a massive boom in popularity in recent years, due in part to the fact that the van-dwelling lifestyle can allow for significant autonomy and a lower cost of living than having a mortgage or lease as in a more traditional living arrangement.

With the idealization of #vanlife continuously rising on social media, we expect that more and more travellers will opt for the alternative lifestyle in 2019, fueled by the freedom as well as environmental and economic benefits the lifestyle provides.

Co-living

 

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Let’s be honest — travelling alone can get a little, well… lonely.

While hostels and organized tours offer the opportunity to get to know other travellers, those opting to stay in hotels or Airbnb’s often find themselves isolated, as both accommodation options make it slightly harder to make friends while abroad.

Enter co-living — AKA the modern commune for young professionals – which is spawning a following both among locals and out-of-towners seeking community while travelling solo.

Forging the path is WeWork’s sister company, WeLive, which now has apartment complexes in both New York and Washington, DC with trendy shared social spaces, events programs, 24-hour fitness studios, and sophisticated living spaces. Whether you want to stay for a few nights or move in for months, WeLive offers “privacy in your home and community within your reach.”

In Bali, Roam offers a co-living experience in the heart of spiritual center Ubud, where they’ve transformed a former boutique hotel into a contemporary co-living space. Two dozen rooms encircle a pool, while a coworking space sits on the rooftop across from an open space for events like nightly talks, yoga, and capoeira. With locations in San Francisco, London, Miami, and Tokyo, there are plenty of options to experience life in a communal setting.

With solo travel on the rise, co-living offers the perfect solution for those seeking community and convenience while on the road.

Biometric Airports

 

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Welcome to 2019, where self-driving cars and iPhone facial recognition are no longer distant visions of the future.

It should come as no surprise that this kind of technology is now being unveiled at airports across the globe, designed to bypass lines at check-in, boarding, and immigration and effectively replacing manual checks of boarding passes and passports.

In fact, British Airways has been trialling biometric gates for the past year at US airports, including Orlando, New York, and Miami. This summer, London Heathrow Airport is also expected to debut a full-scale rollout of biometric services, with the new technology using facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes, and boarding gates “to create a seamless experience for passengers travelling through the airport.”

Like it or not, according to SITA Insights research, 77% of airports and 71% of airlines are planning major programs for “biometric identity management solutions in the quest to realize a seamless passenger experience across the various steps of the journey.”

If this all sounds a little too Big Brother/1984 to you, SITA explains that they are taking measures to be “mindful of the responsibility to protect consumers and data as part of standard practices.”

And surprisingly enough, according to a new survey from the Center for Data Innovation, only 20% of Americans say the government should strictly limit the use of facial recognition if it would mean airports can’t use the technology to speed up security lines, while a 54% majority would disagree with such a limit.

Get ready to smile for the camera, people.

Conscious Travel

 

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According to Booking.com’s report on 8 Travel Predictions for 2019, “Reflecting increased global interest in social issues such as human rights, equality and working conditions, 2019 will see a more conscious traveller become evident, with even more questions being asked around social, political and environmental issues in potential travel destinations before making a decision on where to visit.”

Currently, 49% of travellers surveyed feel social issues in possible travel destinations are of great importance when choosing where to travel and an overwhelming 58% choose not to go to a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the locals who live there.

As travellers are increasingly seeking different and authentic experiences, (see: off the beaten path, above) according to the report, they also want to ensure that they can travel in safety, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

To fuel this demand, platforms like Destination Pride are using the power of multiple data sources to provide travellers with an understanding of LGBTQ+ acceptance around the world, while data suggests that destinations and organizations will increasingly step up their support and resources for women travelling solo.

Wellness driven

 

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As more consumers adopt wellness as an essential lifestyle value (spin class and green juice, anyone?), you can expect to see wellness-driven tourism take center stage for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

Defined by GWI’s Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing,” wellness tourism is a fast-growing tourism segment that is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 7.5% through 2022, which is considerably faster than the 6.4% yearly growth rate projected for general tourism.

According to the report, travellers made 830 million wellness trips in 2017, which is 139 million more than in 2015. This growth can be attributed to a growing universal desire to adopt a wellness lifestyle and the rising interest in experiential travel.

You can expect to see the integration of wellness and holistic health this year across all areas of travel, be it in-flight meditation programs, wellness features in hotels (think in-room fitness equipment and organic menus at restaurants) or an increased offering of wellness-driven experiences.

Yoga retreat, anyone?

Mini vacations

 

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Can’t quite swing an international trip this year? You’re not alone.

Over half of global travellers (53%) report they plan to take more weekend trips in 2019, focusing on close to home, bite-sized travel squeezed into shorter time frames.

The micro-trip is forecasted to be more varied and tailored than ever in 2019, due to increasing flight routes, affordably-priced airlines and easy, on-demand car rentals.

According to Booking.com, “we’ll also see a continued surge in desire to stay in unique and remarkable types of accommodation, which offer the chance to make a serious travel statement, even on the shortest of getaways.”

Experiences first

 

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For almost two-thirds of travellers (60%), experiences are now valued higher than material possessions, which means experiential travel will continue to be a major trend for the remainder of 2019.

People want to “travel better, on a deeper emotional and more personal level,” explains The Rise of Experiential Travel Report by Skift + Peak. Expect to see a range of unique and authentic experiences included in travel itineraries, with a focus on creating lasting memories in place of one-size-fits-all, packaged tourism.

“People want to reclaim what’s real. Mass tourism is no longer sufficient,” explains Jamie Wong, CEO of Vayable, in the Skift + Peak report.

In an effort to escape run-of-the-mill experiences, travellers are seeking out more adventurous and immersive experiences, while tour operators are re-working activities to provide greater opportunity for personalization.

Going on a getaway? Don’t forget to tag @dailyhivemapped in your travel photos for a chance to be featured!