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Emerging Travel Trends to Watch in 2017

December 22, 2016 OTA News No Comments Email Email

As 2016 draws to a close, has compiled its top five global travel predictions to help travellers prepare for the year ahead – from bigger and better airports to more international travel, Australians are set to encounter many exciting developments in 2017.

1. Unbundled airfare for the win – Travellers have voted with their wallets, fuelling the growth of low-cost carriers and spurring airfares to continue to drop, hitting a five year low in 2016. Becoming increasingly savvy about how to pick and choose “perks”, 2017 is the year when fliers will finally embrace bag check fees and other pay-as-you-go costs and services to take control of their budgets. While such travel is still not for everyone, the nostalgia for the “good old days” when airfares were all-inclusive will largely fade away as people focus on getting where they want to go for less.

2. “Golden age” for international travel – With airlines offering more budget options, overseas travel will be more accessible than ever. Look for more moves like the growth of Tigerair’s ‘narrowbody operation’ and BYO entertainment to ensure lighter, more streamlined flying and continued low fuel costs to help keep airline spending (and thus airfares) in check. Agreements between Chinese and Australian airlines will aid this phenomena too, with Virgin Australia tipped to launch daily flights to Hong Kong and Beijing from June 2017. The first direct flight linking Australia to the UK (via Perth and London) is also a game changer – reducing a long and tedious journey that required stopovers to one 17 hour flight.

3. More airport innovation and investment – 2017 will see some important Australian airport changes start to impact travellers’ airport experience. Brisbane Airport will roll out $3.8 billion worth of major projects over the next decade, including terminal expansions, car parks and building upgrades. Canberra Airport is undergoing redevelopment too. Dubbed the ‘AirVolution’, there will be more retail, food and beverage outlets, as well as a business centre and kids play area. The Australian Government will also invest $3 billion on a second airport in Sydney at Badgerys Creek, which is expected to be up and running by the mid-2020s.

4. Portable travel search – Mobile technology has changed the face of travel planning and search. Globally, Cheapflights already receives 60 per cent of demand and over 40 per cent of revenue from mobile, and this is only set to increase. At the most basic, it’s the simple step of pulling out your phone for an impromptu vacation planning season over dinner, but increasingly, expect text alerts for sales, or to get a price from your favourite voice-based Internet device or through Facebook Messenger. Coming soon: drag an article about a sporting team, festival or concert into a search window and get the flight options from Cheapflights for attending upcoming events back right away.

5. Decline of the generic holiday – Travel as an experience increasingly eclipses just the basics of getting away. Next year will see an uptick in people looking to travel with purpose:

 Living like a local – Thanks to the popularity of homestay services like Airbnb, travellers can easily take up residence in a new city or a remote bit of countryside for a few days, weeks or even months. This is giving rise to the search for a more personalised and authentic experience.

 Working holiday – While total immersion is one increasingly popular option, there is also a trend for combining work and travel in new ways. One is the so-called ‘bleisure’ trip, where you tack on time and possibly an added destination or two to work travel. Done right, this is the ultimate in multitasking – add another outfit or two to your bag and have work pick up the bulk of your travel tab. Another spin is the ‘have laptop, will travel’ habit. If you can work wherever you are (an increasing phenomenon in today’s tech-driven, remote employee world), there’s no reason not to take your job with you on the road.

 Ecotourism – The ticking clocks of climate change and overdevelopment are getting louder for many people, driving an added sense of urgency to seeing destinations that are endangered and supporting tourism services that sustain vulnerable lands and species.

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