Trends pop up every year and the travel industry is no different. Whether we're renting someone's home through Airbnb instead of checking into a hotel or choosing our destinations purely for the 'gram, it's common to make holiday plans according to what's trending. Here are seven travel trends we've picked for 2020, with a little help from some experts.
Lonely Planet lists it as the top country to visit in 2020 and one of the main reasons is because the kingdom is carbon neutral (visitors are required to pay a daily fee to be in it) and green travel is hot right now. Bhutan is also aiming to be the first fully-organic nation by 2020 so that's another reason to visit. Experts we spoke to agreed that Bhutan is the place to be in 2020.
“For me, personally, Bhutan tops the list of travel destinations that I would love to go back to,” shares Joss Kent, CEO of andBeyond. “In a world that is becoming increasingly hectic in terms of politics, geo-politics and from the perspective of a looming environmental crisis, we can learn a lot from this small country. There is much more to Bhutan than just the much-hyped Gross Happiness Index that they measure policy by. It is in how they live, the respect they show each other and visitors, their focus on what lies beyond this generation and on protecting things for the next and the next.
“Bhutan is a place to breathe, a place to rest, a place to connect. Spend two weeks there and it will change your perspective on many things. I can’t wait to return for the opening of andBeyond Punakha River Lodge in the second half of 2020!”
Luxury train journeys
Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has brought attention to how environmentally unfriendly airplane travel can be.
Also thanks to her, we now know about the Swedish travel trend 'flygskam', which translates to 'flight shame'.
The movement towards train travel is growing and moving within Europe especially is getting a lot easier, as several rail operators there have launched or are soon launching new train services.
And, within the trend of train travel itself, travelling in style is expected to be popular too, leading to a rise in luxury train journeys.
Simon Meeke, Managing Director of luxury tour operator and travel specialist Powder Byrne, reveals that multi-generational holidays is an upcoming travel trend.
“We have seen consistent and sustained growth in the number of families taking multi-generational holidays with grandparents, several families and lots of children. As families grow and scatter across the globe for work commitments and personal reasons, it has become harder for families to meet up in the traditional home setting. Multi-generational holidays in a neutral location have stepped in to provide the perfect solution for large international families in both summer and winter, with the demand for high-quality apartments, suites and villas growing to meet their needs.
“Our private apartments in Flims and Arosa are particularly popular as they give larger families more privacy, lots of space and multiple bedrooms all with ensuite facilities,” he adds. \
Doing home DNA tests have become popular in recent years, as we quench our collective thirsts of knowing where we came from.
But it's become about more than just knowing, as travellers are now keen to explore the places (and people) of their ancestors.
In 2019, Airbnb announced its partnership with 23andMe to recommend heritage travel tips to its customers. This trend of wanting to get a glimpse of past generations and their cultures is set to increase.
Pet owners are thinking of their fur babies too when planning their holidays, giving rise to an increase in trips that cater to pets too.
This is one of Booking.com's travel predictions for 2020 and 42 per cent of holidaymakers said that they'd choose holiday destinations based on whether or not their pets can come along too. In fact, 49 per cent are willing to pay more to stay at a pet-friendly accommodation.
Travellers are seeking out 'newer' destinations, especially with the concept of 'overtourism' being a cause of concern for those who like to do their part for the environment.
Ted Stimpson, CEO of Leisure Pass Group, sees this trend towards traditionally less-visited destinations too. “Our proprietary data shows various interesting trends amongst travellers, and the main trend we see is that travellers – particularly female travellers – are now moving towards destinations and attractions that are off the beaten track,” he says.
“In Singapore, female travellers are shifting away from big cities like London, Paris and New York to visit destinations like Dublin and San Francisco, and seeking out less well-known experiences outside of the city centres.
“Travellers are developing an increased interest in experiencing the art, history and culture of a destination,” he adds. “Based on our data, there’s been a steady increase in the amount of people signing up to visit heritage centres and museums, participate in cooking classes with locals, and go on personalised walking tours.”
With our busy lives, it's becoming harder to go on long vacations, therefore, more travellers are taking frequent short breaks, instead of one or two long holidays in a year. And this trend of micro-cations is set to continue in 2020.