The destination managers at Cox & Kings predict Myanmar will be on of the top destinations for 2013, in their annual travel trends predictions. (Shown: Golden Stupa Shwezigon Pagoda) // © 2012 Thinkstock
Keeping with its annual tradition, Cox & Kings — a luxury travel brand with a legacy of more than 250 years — has announced its forecast on the travel trends to watch in 2013.
Headed up by Scott Wiseman, new President of Cox & Kings, The Americas, the company’s team of expert Destination Managers — all veteran travelers themselves — name the top experiences, travel styles and destination picks to look forward to come January. “Authentic, life-changing moments are still high on travelers’ priorities list, and — with this age’s tech savvy — sharing these moments instantly with those back home is more convenient and exciting than ever, creating a rich, dynamic dialogue about travel and new cultures,” says Wiseman.
Five years ago, during the first wave of smartphones, the travel industry could not have anticipated the effect posting, liking, picture-taking, video-ing, re-pinning and sharing would have on how consumers experience their journeys. Today, one needn’t fret on where to buy the best postcard — tweeting a picture or simply sharing one on Instagram drives the “Wish You Were Here!” message more effectively (not to mention with better photo-enhancing filters).
“Sharing instantly allows travelers to give to-the-minute updates on where they are, illustrating exciting on-the-ground experiences as they happen — a real-time guidebook, of sorts,” says Wiseman.
The Art Collector’s Guide to Travel
Some argue that there’s no better travel memento than a piece of art from an exciting destination. Art collecting on the go is on the rise, with street art — including one-of-a-kind, yet relatively inexpensive pieces — being particularly in demand among hip travelers with a keen design eye.
“There’s nothing that tells the story of where you’ve been quite like an amazing work of art,” says Ignacio Vallin, Destination Manager, Latin America & Antarctica, who praises the art scenes of Sao Paulo and Mexico City. “Now with the ability to share images of the work you’re collecting — through visual apps such as Instagram and Pinterest — art hunting while abroad is as covetable as it is personally enriching.”
The Return of the Big Trip
As the economic climate steadies itself — with luxury advertising for global brands a driving force — consumer confidence in extended luxury vacations is returning, with tour operators such as Cox & Kings seeing a strong increase in long-lead bookings, several as remarkable as a year out from departure dates. “We remain confident in continued growth and look for these trends to continue into 2013,” states Wiseman, who will oversee further development and evolution of Cox & Kings’ luxury offerings across the globe.
Safe Solo Female Travel
Traveling solo as a woman can be a particularly complicated endeavor with many elements to consider, including general safety precautions, physical appearance and dress and specific cultural norms and etiquette. “Traveling with an expert — such as a luxury tour operator like Cox & Kings — helps to make far-flung travel safe, comfortable and highly attentive to the individual’s needs and interests, without sacrificing the experiential rewards to be reaped,” says Denise Gogarty, Destination Manager, Asia & The Pacific.
Epicurean Latin America
There has been an increased emphasis on the “personal touch” travel companies can deliver to clients, with customized culinary adventures chief on the list. “Latin America is a phenomenal destination to wine and dine your way through, and working side by side with its talented chefs and wine connoisseurs is a highly intimate way to literally ‘sample’ the region,” says Vallin. Food and wine tours through Argentina, Chile and Peru are ever popular, and Cox & Kings is soon launching brand-new, historically-driven trips to Mexico City and Nicaragua that spotlight modern-day foodie moments.
Journey to Cold War Remnants
Cox & Kings is encouraging travelers to get beyond politics and explore countries that have figured heavily in our national history. With its new 2013 Discovery Group Journey “North Korea Explorer,” Cox & Kings invites travelers to experience one of the most mysterious countries in the world: from hiking through its mountains and rivers to strolling the grounds of its majestic imperial palaces. “Travelers have the opportunity to witness some of North Korea’s extravaganzas that demonstrate the nation's cultural hidden gems with epic Mass Dance performances in celebration of their nationwide holidays,” says Janice Decker, director of group sales.
Travelers are encouraged to venture to global hotspots — Russia (Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi), Brazil (World Cup 2014, Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio) — prior to their hosting of massive world events. It helps that these countries are also emerging as world powerhouses. “It’s a crucial time to venture to the BRICS countries such as Brazil and Russia, as these cultures are rapidly changing due to the speed of globalization, economic growth and world-scale recognition,” observes Thor Forsberg, Destination Manager, Europe. “Each of these countries has their own special rhythm, from the contemporary design culture in Sao Paulo to the dynamic art scene in Moscow.”
Retracing Footsteps: Historical Trails
The opportunity to venture down old paths is enticing to travelers eager to make new discoveries along the way. “Storied journeys such as the Inca Trail and the Spice Route hold enormous appeal to travelers. This, after all, is how the world as we know it came to be — by explorers forging all of these connections, first geographically, then economically and culturally,” states Seema Prakash, Destination Manager, India & The Sub-Continent.
Meaningful Far-Flung Family Travel
“Travel is an exceptional tool for personal education, and it’s no surprise that some of the most tight-knit, open-minded families are also the most traveled,” observes Yvonne Whitcomb, Destination Manager, Africa & Indian Ocean. Traveling with family in tow can seem daunting at first, but with the planning and expertise of companies like Cox & Kings, family adventures can also be among the most valuable bonding experiences in life. Whitcomb notes an increase in far-flung bookings by families to such exotic countries as India, China and South Africa — all of which offer activities and highlights enticing to all ages.
Top Destination Picks for 2013
Cox & Kings’ picks for emerging destinations in 2013 are based on a place’s unexpected offerings — the element of surprise that these countries and cities bring to the table: Myanmar, for its incredible cultural history and low level of Westernization; India, for the Maha Kumbh Mela Festival taking place in early 2013, one of the largest holy gatherings on Earth; Southern India and Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan, for new perspectives on the sub-continent; the Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — formerly of the Soviet Union — boast incredible medieval architecture; Colombia, a diamond in the rough, home to some great South American adventure, culture and food; and Botswana, its Okavango Delta remarkable for being Africa’s “last wilderness.”
About Cox & Kings Travel
Founded in 1758—and making its mark in the Indian subcontinent even before the British Raj—Cox & Kings was the first choice of thousands traveling from Britain to India, Africa and other destinations. Today, Cox & Kings thrives as a premium global brand offering Exquisite Cultural and Wildlife Adventures designed for small groups, families, friends, couples and individuals who are seeking to experience the grandeur of the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Middle East, the Indian Ocean islands, exotic Europe, Asia & the Pacific and Latin America & Antarctica.