Our crystal ball promises a bumper year for tourism in 2017, hinting at the hot destinations your target customers will be dreaming about and planning towards.
Let’s take a trip around the world, so you’ll know what experiences to sell and how…
For voyager explorers
It’s the Latin American fantasy most people identify with: a trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru. It’s appealing because it combines an iconic trekking experience on a less crowded trail. They imagine riding mules in lush valleys in virtual isolation, crossing the Apurimac River amid vast snow-capped mountains, en route to the newly re-discovered Incan site. If your destination has something similar to offer the explorer-voyager, where they can find silence broken only by the sounds of jungle mewling and the whispers of history, you can also tap into this wanderlustful dream.
Here’s a trendy question: Where do we and our fellow humans come from? Your answer could encompass experiences around the history of your destination, how local inhabitants or their ancestors lived, worked, worshipped, created art, and survived.
In a way, travellers yearn to confront their mortality, but in a location framed by wild, natural beauty – a bit like an existentialist adventure retreat. Strip away the usual associations made with travel to Peru and we’re left with a concept. There are plenty of other spots in the world where this type of exploration could be re-created.
For the traveller who wants it all: picturesque landscapes, both inland and coastal, a bustling wine tourism industry, stunning beaches, festivals and events aplenty. For this reason, South Australia will be hugely popular next year. But if your destination can similarly package two or three varied experiences, you’d be off to a great start.
For isolation junkies
What will motivate them most is the experience of diverse natural landscapes in constant flux: from fjords to rain forests, pampas to lagoons and ice fields, painted different colours and characteristics by whichever weather patterns happen to dominate. This will be the appeal of Aysén, Chile. Isolation junkies want to experience places of extraordinary beauty before they disappear, but the region also offers a taste of offbeat-meets-cute hamlet, brimming with cultural and historical character. Travellers will be curious about the European-Mestizo melange just as much as they’ll want to experience the Chilean craft beer industry. Empanadas to close the deal. Try combining quirky cultural experiences with a green tourism leaning in your destination, for this target market.
For lovers of craft beverages
Tasting it in their morning brews will not be enough for some travellers – they will want to go straight to the source in 2017. Colombia will be popular for coffee lovers, taking it a few beans further than chilling in trendy spots for some latino cafe culture. Travellers will be keen to participate or observe harvesting and tasting at plantations, and drink in some traditional architecture for a full-bodied experience. Your destination might be better known for tea, gin or beer brewing – all will find a willing audience this year.
For lovers of the unusual and offbeat
Whatever legends surround your destination, this year travellers will want to know all about them. The drawcard of Taranaki, New Zealand, volcanic mountain brooding silently over unrequited love, is its epic legend – it’s the stuff that piques the imagination and makes the tongue water for fireside tales of antiquity, while reflecting on mother nature’s sensitivity and volatility.
Iconic still rocks
The forecasts indicate that travellers will be keen on extraordinary and iconic experiences, including:
- bathing in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
- the Great Pyramids of Giza
- walking along China’s Great Wall
- surfing at Australia’s Byron Bay
- snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef
- making pizza in Italy
- road-tripping on the USA’s Route 66
- picnicking in the French countryside
- viewing the Grand Canyon from a helicopter
- ziplining in Costa Rica
- tracking gorilla in the African jungle
- kissing atop the Eiffel Tower
Food tourism will be big this year, both tasting and cooking. Observing the pageantry of local festivals will also enjoy a boost in interest.
Generally, remote areas will be in great demand and they’re more accessible now (people will want to go to these kinds of far-flung places precisely because they can). And destinations previously considered offbeat will take preference over the better-known holiday spots. The pastoral environments with fewer crowds and the propensity for slow living, places to be still and reflect, will be in greater demand this year.
For example, if you sell Malaysia as well as Thailand and Vietnam, you may find that Malaysian beaches will earn their fair share of the spoils and comfortably rival those of the latter traditional favourites. Its colonial past may also give it the edge among British, Dutch and Portuguese travellers.
Tech is also trendy
With such an information overload spoiling consumers for choice in new ways to access it, you must tap into technology to be relevant. The idea of selling any experience without at least providing them with virtual experiences of your tour products is to risk handing business over to competitors on a silver platter. And the thing we’ve already identified as having the power to sell travel, is content.
Last year, experiential travel was the big trend and we’re still riding that wave. The destinations and experiences forecast for this year present opportunities for you to diversify your offering. Making those adjustments takes creativity and the courage to do something different or present different content to sell new experiences. We look forward to seeing your work!