Published on Thursday, January 2, 2020

Top 2020 travel trends

None of us knows for sure what might happen next in this exciting, unpredictable and constantly changing industry, but with the help of some experts, TravelMole has looked into its crystal ball to reveal some of the key travel trends for 2020.

Hoorah! People will still want to travel
Despite the growing trend for flight-shaming, concerns over Brexit and other factors, getaways are still important for us Brits. As ABTA's Travel Trends 2020 report highlighted, travel is a spending priority for 2020 among 27% of people, compared to 25% who said the same the previous year. The package holiday will remain popular, with Europe topping the list (57% of people). Domestic holidays will also do well.

But where to?
With the long-standing, four-year ban on Sharm el Sheikh lifted in October, the popular diving and winter-sun destination is back on the map.

TUI's packages start in February, during the school half-term holidays.

EasyJet is returning to Tunisia from summer 2020, with flights to the beach resort of Enfidha from Gatwick, after pulling out in 2015 when the Foreign Office banned travel to the destination.

ABTA's 12 destinations to watch, (in alphabetical order) for 2020 are: Basilicata, Chicago and Lake Michigan, Georgia, Grenada, Madrid (pictured) and its surrounding cities, Morocco, Namibia, South Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands, Uruguay and Vienna.

How long for?
Demand is still strong among operators, including the UK's newest package holiday company, easyJet Holidays, for seven, 10 and 14-night breaks. But, according to Preferred Hotels & Resorts, micro-cations, lasting less than four nights, are rising in popularity. Executive vice president of corporate communications and public relations Caroline Klein said: "In a world where everyone is constantly connected, micro-cations offer an ideal opportunity to unwind and recharge in shorter, more frequent intervals. Getting away, even for just a few days, and even if you are still responding to emails, helps to put things into perspective."

And who with?
Multi-generational trips are predicted to grow in popularity this year.

There's always been a market for holidaying with friends, but in 2019 it got its own term, the 'friendmoon'.

Research from payment app Pingit shows two thirds of millennials are more likely to go away with friends than they were five years ago. Also on the increase is the 'buddymoon' where friends join newlyweds on their honeymoon. Not everyone's cup of tea.


Four-legged friends will come too
Man's best friend looks set to be travelling more in 2020, after Brexit uncertainty saw an a-paw-ling 8% drop in the number of pets travelling to the Continent in 2019, according to Brittany Ferries. The drop follows six consecutive years of growth and the addition of more pet-friendly cabins to the company's 13-ship fleet.

Brittany Ferries expected more than 100,000 pets to travel in 2019, but only 88,100 dogs and cats made the voyage across the English Channel or Bay of Biscay. With Boris Johnson's Brexit deal likely to go through, owners can travel with confidence in 2020, with no additional checks or administration. A transition period will follow until the end of next year, during which borders can be crossed as normal and pet passports will continue to apply.

People will look for less-popular destinations…
Travellers will opt for less-visited places that don't regularly make those 'most Instagrammable' lists, or will travel in low season to popular places. Music to the ears of those destinations that for years have tried to attract off-peak season visitors.

…and make deeper connections
ABTA predicts 'slow travel' will be one of the top travel trends for 2020. "Slow travel is as much about enjoying the journey as it is the destination, and a less packed itinerary takes the pressure off having to visit all the usual tourist hotspots. With more time in one destination, it can potentially reduce the journey footprint and provide travellers with the chance to support more locally run businesses - resulting in a positive impact on the local economy and community," ABTA says.

Flight shaming is not going away
In fact 'flygskam' is likely to become more of an issue, according to Responsible Travel, which says rail travel will 'leap ahead' in 2020 'especially if tour operators cotton onto this growing trend and make it easier for travellers by offering to book train tickets instead of flights'.

"For those that choose to fly, we'll see less flights taken for short breaks and instead, more travellers staying longer in 2020. We are predicting a return of the 'good old days'; that is one long annual summer holiday, possibly punctuated by shorter trips closer to home, or holidays reached by lower carbon transport options," says Responsible Travel.

Technology will further drive travel sales
Customers are demanding a more personalised service, but that doesn't just mean face-to-face. For example, targeted ads using information derived from an individual's browsing habits or prior purchases to show not only holidays but also travel-related products.

ABTA's Travel Trends 2020 research identified that agents are rising to the demand for digital customer service, seeking a variety of ways to get support during the online booking process.

"Many travel companies, including TUI, Hays Travel and Travel Counsellors are adopting a multi-channel approach to personalise their service for customers - including building specialist social media customer service teams, announcing multi-million pound technology upgrades and speaking directly to them via messenger apps," ABTA said.

Increased awareness of the impact of tourism
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental and social impact of their holidays, with animal welfare, single-use plastic and now climate change high up on the agenda, as well as an awareness of the impact of tourism on local people and infrastructure. In October 2019, Parks Australia ended the practice of allowing tourists to climb Uluru, 34 years after the government officially returned the site to its traditional Anangu owners.

Read our lips...more tourism taxes
More destinations look set to implement tourism taxes, following the introduction of levies in New Zealand (pictured) and Mexico's Baja California Sur, among other regions, in 2019.

Amsterdam is planning a €3 charge on top of the 7% tax it already implements, while Turkey is considering introducing a tax of up to £2.50 a night, depending on hotel category, which could come into force in April.

Not everyone is in favour of tourist taxes, though. Ibiza, which introduced its tourism tax in 2018, is under pressure to drop it, as some say the levy is a serious threat to the local tourism industry.

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  • Tourism Taxes included

    If Tour Operators include any relevant taxes in their prices and explain this to customers, with transparency, they are much more likely to just pay. I remember when the Maldives Government added a GST in 2011 - it started at 3.5% then quickly went up to 6%, then 8% and is now 12% (and has been for the last 5 years). Looking at the tourism statistics to the country, there doesn't seem to have been a negative effect as figures are gradually growing YOY. That's not to say that, had they not added a big lump of tax, the arrival stats might have been even better!

    By Christian Locke, Thursday, January 2, 2020

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