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#BizTrends2019: 8 travel trends we can expect to see in 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, we reflect on the trips we've taken, whilst anticipating the potential and promise of the new year. From 2018, we carry forward the anti-plastic movement; our concerns about over tourism; the ever more natural choice of sustainable travel; and the important need to establish animal rights in tourism. But beyond that, what travel trends can we expect to see in 2019?
Dawn Jorgensen
Dawn Jorgensen

The rise of the mini-break

With time of the essence as we balance work and family (not to mention play), many are committing to take more regular mini-breaks in 2019. This kind of bite-size travel sees money being spent closer to home with many escapes within an easy drive, although improved flight routes - those linking Cape Town to Victoria Falls as well as Harare and Maun - allow these micro-trips to be further flung too.

Conscious and sustainable travel

No longer a buzz term, but rather a natural choice, 2019 will be the year of the conscious traveller with everything from human rights and equality to improved working conditions and environmental issues influencing people's travel destination decisions. Travellers don’t want to be seen to be supporting controversial countries and feel that social issues are of real importance when choosing where to go. Safety, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation are also of great importance to explorers, while destinations that support women travelling alone will draw the numbers.

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Under tourism, not over tourism

The increased awareness around the impact of over tourism on cities such as Venice and Dubrovnik, Paris and Barcelona, has tourists thinking about the impact their visits are having on tourism hotspots. Moves by countries such as Thailand to close down popular attractions such as Maya Bay, simply to save it from the negative environmental impact of too many visitors, is leading the way in change. With this, travellers are seeking lesser known, eco-friendly destinations, from East Europe to India, Scotland to Namibia and Zimbabwe.

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Should the popular hotspots be irresistible, they are likely to be considered during off-peak periods in a bid to avoid the worst of the crowds. There can be drawbacks, the weather might be less than ideal and the days shorter, but there’ll be no queues and you’ll be left with a better sense of local living.

Digital detox and soulful retreats

While some are choosing their holidays based on a need to cycle, hike, or push their physical limits as a means of withdrawing from it all, others are opting for off the grid digital detoxes, something that will increase in popularity in the new year. With the theme of health and wellness, yoga and transformation retreats in India and Thailand are allowing people to rediscover themselves and what matters to them in beautiful mystical places, making it a win-win soulful travel opportunity. The desire to unplug is matched by a need for authenticity, privacy, and the enjoyment of face-to-face, live experiences.

Instagram and TV-inspired destination holidays

There is no change in the fact that millennials value the ’Instagrammability’ of their holiday destination and although ‘influencers’ may still have a strong following, the on-the-rise Gen Z is more likely to select somewhere photogenic that has a meaningful story to tell and community to support. Not to be underestimated is the impact of film and TV shows on tourism with Game of Thrones inspiring travel to Croatia, Iceland, and Northern Ireland, while Helen Mirren’s 2019 period drama Catherine the Great may well put Lithuania on the map.

Solo travel, for women in particular 

More and more tourists, particularly women, will set off on adventures by themselves in 2019. This kind of travel is helping women get to know themselves better while building confidence and creating memories that are truly their own. Travelling itself makes you more present, more observant, and able to take in all the details. It is also a huge confidence and character builder figuring out how to navigate a foreign city, managing your own travel arrangements and budget, and making the reservations gives a great sense of accomplishment. Time reconnecting with self, and nature, is invaluable, as is the lesson in humility it brings. If you’re after some alone time but are not ready to go completely solo, some travel operators offer small group tours for like-minded travellers.

Where ever you go, go plastic free 

Tireless efforts by environmentalists have greatly increased awareness of plastic’s negative impact on the ocean and the planet. Many tourism bodies have pledged to take action, aiming to end the use of plastic straws, plastic water bottles, and single-use plastic. The prediction is that millennials and Gen Z travellers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination choices in the new year, while accommodation providers will look to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials. Many travellers are even telling their holiday company that they would be willing to spend time on activities that offset the impact of their stay, with many willing to do beach cleanups while there.

Technologically easing the way

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and speech recognition are innovations that'll simplify the way we holiday in 2019. These will include keyless room-access with your phone, paperless amenity guides, personalised travel tips, curated experiences by robotic concierges who can communicate with guests in their mother tongue. This year will see more tech developed for use pre-trip with virtual travel guides making a destination familiar before you arrive. Tourism apps, Google Translator, VPN Proxy Master, Uber, Grab, Skyscanner, Mapify, Tripcase,, and Airbnb being among those we’ll all be using.

#BizTrends2019: 8 travel trends we can expect to see in 2019

As though that wasn’t enough to fuel our 2019 wanderlust, Nasa will start construction of its Lunar Space Station this year, launching in 2022. Until then unchartered territories on earth remain appealing to the more adventurous travel, including the option of accommodation under the sea.

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