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With the new year just around the corner, tour operators are weighing in on what was hot throughout 2018 and what will be on the tourism radar for 2019.
Though overtourism will continue to be a buzzword in the coming year, there are plenty of bright spots for tour operators and travel advisors alike. Below are three top travel trends to watch.
Ridin’ SoloTerry Dale, president and CEO of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, says there has been an increase of tour operators discounting or waiving single supplement fees; creating new itineraries tailored to solo travelers; and organizing new ways to connect guests before and during a trip.
This encompasses solo-parent travel, which includes parents who are single or traveling without their spouse. In February, Intrepid Travel began offering six new For-Solo-Parent trips after finding that nearly half its bookings are by solo travelers, and 16 percent of its Family Adventures series is booked by parents traveling alone with their kids.
The More, the MerrierTraveling with the entire family — grandparents included — is hitting an all-time high, too.
Jeremy Palmer, senior vice president for Tauck Land Journeys, says that multigenerational trips comprise one of the operator’s fastest-growing sectors, with a 17 percent year-over-year increase since 2017. Avanti Destinations’ executive chairman Paul Barry also reports a surge in bookings related to multigenerational travel, as well as small-group travel in general.
“Travel is the new Sunday dinner,” said Diana Ditto, director of product design for Collette. “Vacations have become that dedicated time for families to be together.”
Girl PowerThe women’s empowerment movement is still in full force, which has also spurred an evolution of trips exclusively designed for and led by women. Cynthia Dunbar, general manager of REI Adventures, notes that the company is expanding upon the success of its Women’s Adventures collection, which originally launched in January 2017. It now offers 21 itineraries in Africa, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and North America.
In March — coinciding with International Women’s Day, no less — Intrepid Travel launched a line of limited-edition expeditions exclusively for females in Morocco, Iran and Jordan; due to popularity of the trips, Intrepid will offer 17 departures in 2019, as well.