Seven Top Travel Trends for 2012

17 January 2012

A belated Happy New Year to you. Following a wonderful break in the Philippines I thought I would share some thoughts on what 2012 might bring for the travel sector. 
 
1. The Asian Impact
It has been very striking over the last year to witness the huge volume of Asian tourists from Korea, China and Japan now visiting countries such as the Philippines and Nepal. Hotels find that their Asian guests defect to other competitors unless they meet their needs. A Filipino hotelier complained to me last week that Korean visitors used to stay at her hotel but now stay at other new hotels run by Koreans. As China gears up for its New Year I shall be reflecting on the Asian impact on tourism in next week’s blog. Is Europe ready to meet the special needs of a large increase in Asian visitors?

2.More Muslim tourists
The press in the Philippines have been urging their tourist board to do more to cater to the special needs of Muslim visitors such as providing lists of hotels and restaurants serving halal food. We can expect to see more visitors to and from Muslim countries as they recover from the Arab Spring.
 
3.Demand for no frills accommodation
The Economist[1] featured a new hotel with windowless rooms near Picadilly Circus in London. Whilst Europeans are not accustomed to such rooms I notice that this type of room is quite popular in Asia, so may prove to be a hit with our Asian budget tourists. 
Korean tourists at Lake Taal

The recession across Europe is driving more budget travel. As e-tid[2] comments on the decline in spend on overseas trips from the UK during 2011, budget chains such as Premier Inns[3] and Travelodge[4] have big expansion plans.
 
4. More self catering
The holiday home sector has also been forecast to grow by Phocuswright.[5] following
a raft of mergers and acquisitions. More travellers consider holiday homes, camping and “glamping” (glamorous camping holidays) as alternative ways to still have a holiday on a limited budget.

 
5. Flashpackers
A new breed of “flashpackers”[6] - tech savvy, independent travellers with backpacks, but bigger budgets, often on extended career breaks, are also visiting more adventurous destinations.
 
6. Early boost to summer travel
The new UK bank holiday on June 4th and 5th to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee may provide an early boost to UK domestic and outbound travel trends this summer.
 
7. Lessons in capacity management
There are some important lessons for our London Olympics from London’s New Year celebrations when over 250,000 people attended the fireworks. London is such an international melting pot of cultures that UK Olympic visitors should be able to find their favourite food. We just need to ensure that adequate facilities are provided during the Olympics to cope with peak demand.
 
What key travel themes do you think will emerge during 2012?
Do you think the UK bank holiday Jubilee weekend will help to drive an early summer travel trend?
Who has seen the increasing number of “glampers” and “flashpackers”?
   


[1] The Economist January 14th 2012, Page 29 “Room without a view”
[2] Source_e-tid.com 12 Jan 2012
[3] “Whitbread is set to increase the size of Premier Inns by 50% with its five year expansion plan”
[4] Travelodge aims to open another 16 hotels and saw 15% year on year growth from 1 June-20 August 2011.
[5] Phocuswright predicts European holiday rentals will be popular in 2012.
 
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