Cruise Travel: Cruise travel is one of the fastest growing vacation trends, offering so much variety in what they offer. Travellers still like the variety of things to do while on board, the money-saving aspects of its all-inclusive nature, and the ability to see many places in once trip. While cruise vacations have often been a popular choice with the 45+ crowd, trends now indicate that the younger generation is looking to Cruise vacations as their choice of travel. The millennium age group (18-30) are looking to more unique experiences in their travel than the usual beach vacations they have done in the past. One smaller cruise line that has been focussing on cruises for people that are somewhat different than the norm is Niche Cruise Lines. This is a Cruise Line that takes would-be cruisers to locations that most large cruise lines do not go, in a style that is smaller than the large 3000 to 5000 passenger ships. Offering a large yacht with many of the same types of amenities, but a larger variety of excursions, this cruise line is able to cater to those wishing to sail in style, without the crowds that go with it.
Culinary Tourism: One new niche within the tourism sector that is seeing growth is the idea of Culinary Tourism. Holland America Line was the first Cruise line to capitalize on this and created their Culinary Arts Center Cruise, which integrates guest’s love of food and wine and creates special menus based on the Cruise’s Ports of Call. Sampling wines from around the world, getting elbow-deep in cooking classes, and witnessing several demonstrations are all a part of their unique experience. More and more people are interested in experiencing other cultures through its food, and with cooking classes and demonstrations by chefs and brew masters around the world, savvy travellers can learn to bring these tastes home with them. Another resourceful group that has made an art form out of culinary tourism is Epitourean. This company specializes in creating vacations all over the globe centered on your food tastes and interests. Whether you want to travel with other like-minded “foodies”, or go on your own, they have many options.
Adventure Travel: Adventure travel is another vacation style that is very quickly growing in popularity. People are becoming far more interesting in active vacations, and are turning to locations that are off the beaten path, and involve more activities such as cycling, hiking, and backpacking. Central Asia is quickly rising in popularity for “off the beaten path” locations, and New Zealand remains one of the world’s top destinations. World Expeditions is a tour operator that plans and books adventure travel all over the globe. Offering a multitude of adventuring options for every age group and every fitness level. Whether you want to climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, or photograph unique places, they have a trip for you!
Edu-Tourism: Another avenue of this industry that has been growing quickly is Edu-Tourism, which is defined as traveling with the purpose of learning. This trend of vacationing can take many forms, be it Adventure Tourism, volunteering, or even formal education or work experience. Vacationers will have varying levels of education desires, ranging from attending a post-secondary school overseas to visiting a cultural center while on vacation with the family. The Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii has created a spectacular park that teaches travelers everything about the Polynesian culture and history. Experience village life all day, enjoy a luau, and be entertained by a traditional South Seas dance, complete with blazing fire knives and music. Watch a story unfold through spectacular dramatics and pulse pounding rhythms!
Ecotourism: Ecotourism is beginning to pick up speed as more and more travelers are making the effort to travel in socially responsible ways. Traveling to places that are relatively undisturbed, but in ways that are low-impact and environmentally conscious are on the rise as they are an alternative to the standard mass tourism. Usually travelers that engage in ecotourism are looking to support environmental conservation, and may also be considered Edu-tourism as well, as many travelers seek to learn about environmental issues that affect that region, but also educate travelers on the impact of the cause and effect of tourism and the increase of travelers. It is recommended for anyone wishing to engage in this style of travel to find a tour operator that is dedicated to the protection and maintenance of the pristine nature of these fragile environments. One such operator that focuses on Responsible environmental travel is Adventure Life, which operates on the principle of “Leave No Trace”. Booking sightseeing tours alongside community service volunteering trips, many of their trips involve a strong conservation focus.
Wellness Travel: Wellness travel is traveling with the intent of promoting maximum health, and is a vacation style that is expanding quickly. It often centers on spa treatments, healthy eating and lifestyles, and often involves activities such as paddling, yoga, walking, and cycling. The intent is to decrease stress and find inspiration, and while many can take weekend trips close to home, many choose to make a longer holiday out of this. A company that specializes in wellness travel all over the globe is Pravassa, whose 5 part philosophy is stress reduction, cultural involvement, physical activity, spiritual connection, and food education. With a focus on well-being and balance within your life, they offer you the chance to recharge and experience local cultures from a different perspective.
Value for your dollar: With many countries suffering from less than stellar economies, travelers are looking for vacations that give more for less. This is also a reason why people are beginning to travel to the less commercialized and less touristy places, where their dollar will often go much farther, giving them more bang for their buck, and a more unique experience to boot.
Family/multigenerational travel: Family travel is growing to be one of the larger categories of travel, but not only that, it is becoming a multi-generational vacation. Parents, and grandparents are beginning to travel with their children and grandchildren, and with the older generation’s increased life expectancy and being healthier and being more active than the generations in the past, travel is becoming a large part of their retirement, and their children are going along!
Authentic Travel: When travelers seek for vacation options, they are beginning to look far more into places where they feel connected to the local culture…connected to something that will affect their attitude and their life, something that will ignite something inside them. Again, shying away from commercialized tourism, people are beginning to look more for genuine experiences in their travel by choosing destinations where they can gain understanding by immersing themselves in this new culture. These are people who are looking for something that will lead to a life-changing experience.
There is a shift happening in the Travel industry, and these growing trends are showing the changes in attitudes of travelers. Vacationers are no longer satisfied with the standard types of vacations that have been the norm, and while those are still popular for many, they can no longer be held as the standard by which all vacations are judged. Vacations are fast becoming a reflection of the people taking them, and are becoming unique experiences, tailored to each individual. It is exciting to see these shifts in the industry, and I believe this will mean many interesting changes to come.