Heading into the fall, we can already start predicting what next year's going to look like. Thomas Stanley, COO of Cox & Kings USA, presents his standpoint on where the industry is headed, including next year's hottest destinations, experiences and modes of travel.
With travelers commanding the most bang for their buck, expect to see an increase in multi-destination vacations like combined itineraries between India and Bhutan or Peru and Argentina. Routing changes will also sway travel trends. Look for new routes that will make country-hopping that much easier.
The Revival of Group Tours
What makes group tours remarkable in this economy is they allow for striking travel experiences at a lower price point. Keep an eye out for tours made for groups of less than 20 for groups to get to know each other, traveling around the world.
Contemporary Cultural Travel
In 2011, the history of a travel destination will be relevant in the context of its current events. Visitors will look for the current trends of their destinations' culture, including local artists, trendsetters and experts, to accompany the well-known history of the area.
The Resurgence of Travel Experts
Visitors have gotten over the Internet as an information tool to favor tour operators and travel agents. Expect to hear from people who appreciate travel professionals' relationships with hotels and tours guides as well as insider knowledge.
Not Just Seeing But Learning
Hands-on learning and doing will trump idly sitting back and watching. Think sushi-making in Japan and photography excursions in Argentina which, according to Stanley, can be "a skill they can actually use from a vacation."
Ride the Rails
The launch of several luxury trains in the past year will signal the start of a new trend. Easy and comfortable, rail travel gives travelers the ability to see several sites, without having to pack then fly or drive between each location.
Experiential Family Travel
With more parents wanting to expose their children to different culture and lifestyles, travelers will seek out trips, where they can get more involved to experience the culture they're immersed in. Look into local activities and places frequented by the locals.
Far-flung destinations will benefit from travelers' "bucket-list" picks. Anticipate requests involving remote locations and thrill-seeking activities. One of Cox & King's worth mentioning is experiencing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti with the “Splendors of Tanzania” journey.
One of a Kind, Specialty Travel Experiences
Specialty travel is expect develop with niches like culinary tours to yoga retreats emerging throughout 2011. Be ready for year's travelers who'll know they want, tailored to their interests.
Top Destination Picks for 2011
Based on what Cox & Kings' clients have requested, Stanley predicted Libya, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Colombia and Jordan as the hot destinations going into next year. Thankfully, we won't have to wait long to confirm.