During the last decade, the tourism industry has seen many important changes that will have a significant impact on future tourist demand.
On the one hand, the rise of e-tourism, the democratization of travel and the tendency to book and to make up one’s trip online rather than to buy a standard tourist package proposed by a tour operator, stood out with regard to the new traveller’s preferences.On the other hand, natural disasters such as tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes as well as health issues, such as avian and swine influenza, have changed our perception of holiday and leisure.
Therefore, it would be interesting to hypothesize about the future trends in travel ...view middle of the document...
Climate change and alternative future transport
When thinking of the warming of the planet, the erratic weather patterns and the natural disasters that will likely occur and are occurring already, we can describe global climate change as one of the worst disasters to hit the humanity.
Furthermore, destinations should expect climate change to have an impact on tourists’ purchasing trends. We will gradually see new means of transport gaining ground to the detriment of air traffic: Will tourists be willing to fly across the ocean if they consider the carbon footprint of their flights?
Travellers may opt for journeys made by train, boat or coaches especially that these modes are nowadays offering more comfort, great web accessibility and timetables suitability. In addition, shorter trips within the same continent or the same geographical region will more likely outweigh the long ones.
Travel with a mission
Another important future trend is travels that incorporate an added-value rather than just a classic lazy sun and see vacation: Many travellers are nowadays looking for real travel experiences that enrich their culture and let them live and feel the authenticity. Furthermore, they seek out travels that involve volunteering (e.g. providing support to a population in need, humanitarian actions, etc.) or that include a particular mission, for instance, learning a new language, exploring new culinary techniques, attending a seminar, a concert or an event, etc.
As a result, tour operators are now becoming specialists rather than generalists: Some are positioned as experts in golf vacations while others are specialized in cultural tours and so on.
Social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue between organisations, communities and individuals.
The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented rise of social media in many different forms: Collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and micro-blogs (e.g. twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), etc.
Businesses currently refer to social media as consumer-generated media since they are relatively inexpensive and accessible to anyone compared to industrial or traditional media. In the US, for example, social networking now accounts for 22 per cent of all time spent online (3).
However, if destinations or tourism authorities decide to use these online platforms to make promotions or to bring updates, it is crucial that they understand how to deal with social media to become effective influencers and thus cleverly pass the desired message to public. Furthermore, organisations should always bear in mind that people are nowadays resistant to marketing in general and especially to direct social marketing and hence they should find better tricks to be socially powerful. Some studies (4) came up to these organisations with two important suggestions: Either to...