Globally, travel and tourism contributed about $227.1 billion in 2016, according to World Travel and Tourism Council. Travel continues to boom despite a number of global economic developments. The Middle East too has been a buoyant market for the travel and tourism industry. As per estimates from WTTC, expenditure on outbound travel from the Middle East is expected to reach $165.3 billion by 2025. With a multitude of options for travelers, the industry is being influenced by various factors.
According to Wego.co.ae, some of the top trends that would influence travel decisions in 2018 are:
Eco tourism – With many travelers preferring eco-friendly, green and ethical practices in their operations, eco-tourism is a growing segment. Those wanting to be eco-tourists should take a trip down to Panama, Dominica, Tonga, Mongolia, and Uruguay to explore their beauty.
Cold Locations - The thought of escaping to an ice-cold city and experience freezing cold temperatures, new cultures and activities that are completely different from MENA region could be enticing for the visitors. The stunning Northern Lights in Iceland, Alaska or Antarctica continue to attract droves of tourists from the Middle East wanting to get away from the scorching heat in the region.
Short trips or Staycations - A weekend get-away or a small vacation becomes a must once in a while amidst a hectic schedule. Short trips to nearby destinations such as Goa, India; Georgia, Tiblisi or even in and around the Emirates could be a change from the daily hustle bustle.
Glamping- Encountering the untamed and unique parts of the world where nature comes in contact with modern luxury is indeed an experience and also a growing travel trend. Those looking for a glamping experience should try luxury backpacking this year in the African Jungle or the Indian desert.
Individual trips - Young individuals who love to travel alone could tick off the streets of Cuba and the peaceful Indonesian Island off their bucket list as these destinations grow in popularity.
Off-the-beaten-track Destinations- Exploring new destinations around the world like the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Slovenia, instead of the traditional travel destinations like New York, Paris or London also seems to be a growing trend among discerning travelers.
Cultural Exploration- A country or a region can be best understood from its history, culture and its traditions. Many visitors flock to museums and galleries to gain this understanding and to enrich themselves with knowledge.
Culinary Holidays – Culinary tours have been growing in popularity as travelers opt to explore and understand a city through its myriad food items. According to the World Food Travel Association, 75% of leisure travelers visit destinations because of local food-based activities.
Bleisure – With many slaves to a hectic work schedule and work travel, it is not wonder that visitors are learning to use the time wisely by combining both leisure and business together. Hotels too have begun to take note of this trend as they offer various amenities to cater to these guests.