ABTA Travel Trends & 12 Destinations To Watch Out For In 2017

The Currency Conscious Holiday
Recent fluctuations in the value of the pound are expected to continue into 2017, and it is likely that this will influence holiday decisions. According to Virgin Holidays, value for money is a key choice-driver for over half of their customers, with changes to the strength of the pound impacting their choice of holiday destination. Destinations where the pound may go further include Argentina, Mexico and South Africa. Some holidaymakers are also seeking to protect themselves against currency fluctuations by going all-inclusive; 18% of people took an all-inclusive holiday in the last 12 months, whilst a quarter (25%) are planning to take one in 2017.

Long Haul City Breaks
With the city break firmly established as people’s favourite holiday type – over half of Brits (53%) took one in 2016 compared to 38% who took a beach holiday – city breakers are looking further afield for their next holiday and the city break is going long haul.Wider availability of new aircraft, such as Boeing’s Dreamliner and the Airbus A380, is making longer journeys more attractive and comfortable. Additionally, the abolition of Air Passenger Duty (APD) bands C and D in April 2015 has meant a welcome saving for people flying long haul.Destinations include Tokyo, Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong and Bangkok. U.S. cities including L.A., Miami, Boston and Washington are also popular. Thomson Holidays launched city breaks to New York, Las Vegas and Singapore at the end of 2016 so the trend looks set to continue.

An increasing drive for healthier lifestyles is spilling over into the way we holiday according to Euromonitor’s Global Trends Report 2016, and the microadventure is a key component of this trend.Defined by British adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys as ‘small and achievable, for normal people with real lives’, busy holidaymakers are opting to spend some of their holiday or a short break experiencing destinations in a more active way by taking part in a microadventure.From white water adventures in London’s Lea Valley to kayaking in the Loire valley, horse-riding in Andalucía to climbing Mount Vesuvius or enjoying one of Budapest’s spas, microadventures can be affordable and easily achievable. Almost one in ten (9%) people took an activity holiday in 2016 according to ABTA research, and the microadventure looks set to boost this further in 2017.

Travel Technology Hits The High Street

Holidaymakers may well find themselves enjoying their hotel, resort or destination before they travel as travel companies use technology such as virtual reality to let people ‘try before they fly’.
Some travel companies, including Thomas Cook, Thomson Holidays, Kuoni and Virgin Holidays, have opened concept stores on the high street where technology and digital take centre stage to help their customers experience their destination, as well as to build bespoke itineraries and trips. Thomson has created a new web-based tool to offer suggestions to customers of things to see and do, using left and right swipe functionality to seamlessly build an itinerary for a city break. Thomas Cook has been using virtual reality to allow customers to experience their new aircraft.

Sustainable Tourism Takes Centre Stage

2017 is the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and this is expected to put sustainable tourism right at the heart of the agenda. According to the UN, ‘well-designed and well-managed tourism’ can contribute to sustainable development, to job creation, to trade and to fostering better understanding amongst different cultures. It is expected that travel companies will be inspired by this year to look at their role in the destinations they sell to.G Adventures has introduced a number of new social enterprise projects into its trips for 2017 to give back to local communities and keep tourism dollars in destination.

ABTA’s own Travelife subsidiary, which audits and accredits hotels for their sustainability credentials, will continue to expand its base, and promote the business and social benefits of sustainable tourism.

12 Destinations To Watch Are:
Recent investment has rejuvenated this old favourite and it offers year round treats with one of the best climates in Europe.
The Azores
More holidaymakers are wising up to the incredible delights of these unspoilt Atlantic islands with their dramatic volcanic landscapes and seas teaming with dolphins, whales and manta rays.
Ben Ainslie, the world’s greatest sailor will be leading Great Britain’s strongest challenge for years, as the 35th America’s Cup takes place in Bermuda in June.
Chile’s incredibly diverse landscapes will be much easier to reach in 2017, thanks to new direct flights from the UK.
County Kerry
Come and feel the force in beautiful County Kerry as the latest Star Wars movie features the stunning County’s Skellig islands.
A Europe where your pound goes further. Its many islands range from isolated idylls to hosts of dance festival extravaganzas. Zagreb, Split and Zadar are increasingly seen as city break destinations in their own right.
User-friendly cities, affluent happy people, world-class cuisine and design – and hygge. Aarhus, will be taking its place in the spotlight as the European City of Culture.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, and what better way to celebrate than a trip to the beautiful Southern coastal state of Kerala.
The “hot” Mediterranean island of 2017, find out why discerning European holidaymakers come to Sardinia for a break.
South Africa
The country that has everything – but won’t break the bank. See deserts, jungles, pounding surf and spectacular flora all in one trip.
USA – The Southern States
Head south for a different take on the USA. Music lies at the very heart of the Southern States of America. Jazz, the Blues, Rock and Roll, Country and Bluegrass all have their roots here.
New direct routes from the UK bring this fascinating country closer. A country of contrasts, versatile Vietnam offers beaches, mountains, modern cities and ancient wonders.

Source: ABTA, December 2016

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