Travel trends: Opportunity and challenge

"A strong place brand helps a place compete in the global marketplace." Chris Fair, Futurist and President of Resonance Consultancy

The travel industry is big business! Worldwide tourism is projected to grow 3 percent to 4 percent annually over the next 15 years (UNWTO, 2015). What an opportunity!

Nonetheless, today’s travelers are an eclectic group, with a variety of reasons to travel, including both a variety of tastes and budgets. For travel professionals and destination communities this can be a challenge!

The Travel Market Report, a resource for tourism professionals, lists six travel trends that confirm the diversity of today’s traveler. Author Robin Amster, points out that these trends, which were provided by the firm Resonance Consultancy, offer both opportunities and challenges for anyone affiliated with the travel industry.

The six trends are:

  1. Millennial Impact – Millennials are more likely than any other demographic to use technology before, during and after travel.
  2. Unstoppable Elders/SeniorsTravel Marketing Decisions list 13 ‘truths’ about baby boomer travelers, such as expecting immediate and good service, are willing to pay for what they want and like to be treated special.
  3. Rise of Conspicuous Leisure – The increased use of social media has multiplied the number of people who want to share their social status by showcasing their experiences.
  4. Growth of ‘Creative or Authentic’ Tourism – Those interested in authentic tourism want to connect with local residents at or near their destination. To do what the locals do, eat where the locals eat and become immersed in the culture of a particular area.
  5. Strength of Luxury Travel – According to Business Insider there will be about 47 million millionaires in 2018, and only 20 percent of millionaires are retirees.
  6. More Multigenerational Travel – Trips to celebrate family milestones are becoming more popular.

Continued growth of the travel industry, new and emerging markets, and an eclectic mixture of travelers with a variety of reasons for traveling, provide a combination of both opportunity and challenge for the tourism professional. More articles and information about tourism and tourism-related programs can be found on the Michigan State University Extension website.

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