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Jacada Travel’s 2018 Travel Trends

September 7, 2017 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

2018 Travel Trends – Jacada Travel

From remote luxury to achievement-based travel, 2018 is set to be a year of long trips, slowing down, and learning to appreciate the world around us. Here’s what Jacada Travel’s experts have to say about the year ahead.

Wildlife in Latin America

Where Africa was once solely considered the destination for wildlife spotting, there have been amazing developments in Latin America’s conservation scene. From bird watching to jaguar conservation, this region has a lot to rival other parts of the world, and there are now several luxury properties that specialise in wildlife viewing. Latin America may just well be giving African safaris a run for their money.

A few notable hotels and lodges dedicated to the local wildlife scene:

  • Caiman Ecological Refuge: Caiman Ecological Refuge, in Brazil’s Pantanal region, is the perfect place for luxury jaguar safaris. The Onçafari Jaguar Project based here is a conservation initiative habituating jaguars in order for people to witness the fascinating behaviour of these beautiful animals. It is also a driver for eco-tourism, with many eco-friendly developments taking place in the area.
  • Cristalino: Cristalino Lodge is dedicated to helping conservation of the local biodiversity of the Amazon Region. Visitors have the chance to go on safari to see some of the amazing wildlife local to the area, like the harpy eagles, giant otters, white-whiskered spider monkeys, and crested owls.
  • Awasi Iguazu: In Argentina, the Awasi group of hotels is opening a third location later in 2017- the Awasi Iguazu. Placed on the edge of the famous Iguazu Falls bordering with Brazil, Awasi’s new excursions will uncover the Atlantic Rainforest, taking guests to parts of Iguazu which are never normally seen. Personal and unique itineraries are developed with a biologist, exploring the area around the falls with a private guide, in the style of a traditional safaris.

Achievement-Based Travel

With 2017 as the year of experiential travel, connecting closely with the country or destination, 2018 will see this taken a step further and people pushing to achieve either a lifelong goal or using travel to find themselves.

More and more, people are travelling to achieve something – such as climbing a certain mountain or hiking a difficult trek – built into their trip. Jacada Travel has seen a rise in the number of trips that involve trekking and hiking. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of such trips taken with Jacada doubled, with a similar growth rate happening in 2017.

This trend is a reflection of another notable trend in the travel industry that sees travellers wanting more from their trips than just a standard sightseeing tour. Looking at our bookings so far, we expect the trend to continue on through the year and into 2018.

Sustainability Gets Interesting

Sustainability has been a buzzword in the travel industry for a few years, but we are finally seeing the concept go from theoretical to legitimate practice, with luxury properties and operators around the world are adopting increasingly interesting ways to put their money where their mouths are.

Several vineyards have taken to using animals, as opposed to traditional machines, to pick their grapes and fertilise the ground. Kayotei in Japan, as well as Emiliana in Chile and Vergenoegd in South Africa, use ducks. Matetic Vineyard – also in Chile and set to open in 2018 – will be letting llamas and chickens roam between the vines, nibbling on the leaves and fertilising the soil as they go. Tractors are heavy and push the oxygen out of the soil, so it also affects the quality of the earth to use  these vehicles.

A few other interesting ways that companies are demonstrating a serious commitment to improving our world’s ecological situation:

  • Baines Camp in Botswana was built using a frame of elephant dung and recycled cans
  • Jacada Travel investing in a portfolio of community projects aimed to help fight climate change – the result of which means that 100% of the carbon emissions from trips taken with them are offset (including all flights)
  • The Kulala Desert Lodge has officially launched E-powered bikes as a fun, easy and eco- friendly way to explore the Kulala concession
  • Solar technology being introduced in Singita Kruger Park in 2017
  • Perhaps the most famous example is Kenya‘s banning of plastic bags, accompanied by hefty punishments for those who break the rules.

Though the travel industry still has a long way to go, sustainability is no longer the theoretical concept we were seeing a few years ago.

Remote Luxury

Luxury is increasingly being associated with remoteness and disconnectivity. And with people dedicating more time towards travel (see below) they are willing to travel to far flung, often difficult to get to destinations in order to feel like they have a small piece of the world (nearly) entirely to themselves.“One thing we’re hearing more and more is travellers looking to get to remote, off the beaten track locations. It’s a great way to disconnect from city life and experience nature at its fullest,” says Jacada’s Director of Sales, George Warren, “It is one of the most popular reasons that people give us for wanting to travel to Patagonia, for example.”

Lodges and hotels are being built completely off the map, specifically in areas that have poor phone reception and are more challenging to get to.

A few of the most popular remote hotels that Jacada sends travellers to:

  • Hosteria Helsingfors, Calafate Argentina – specifically built away from the crowds
  • Annandale, New Zealand – Here, lodges are so remote, you have two options for food: hire a private chef or you can enjoy the ‘We Create, You Serve’ programme where breakfast, a picnic lunch and three-course dinner are prepared and left in your fridge for you to simply pop in the oven and enjoy.
  • Midgard, Iceland – built as far away from the crowds as possible, so guests can enjoy the Northern Lights without an iota of light pollution around
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast, Namibia – Accessible only by chartered flight, deep in the Namibian desert

Zimbabwe and Zambia – The new hot safari destinations

Whilst South Africa is typically considered a favourite go-to for safaris, we have seen an increase in demand for trips to Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the first half of 2017, Jacada Travel booked more trips to Zimbabwe than in all of 2016, and though historically these countries were booked as add-ons to trips to South Africa, people are increasingly opting to go there as a primary destination. “We love encouraging people to travel to Zimbabwe and Zambia as destinations in their own right. They have so much to offer, from top lodges to crowd-free safaris. And the conservation efforts in some of their parks are really admirable.” says Jacada’s Head of Africa, Byron Thomas. Investment in infrastructure in both countries is also on the rise, spanning from airports to national parks. Liuwa Plains National Park in Zambia, for example, was taken over by African Parks in 2003 and has since seen a massive increase in the animal population there (and a decrease in poaching). Luxury properties are following quickly, with the opening of King Lewanika in the park in 2017. Other notable openings, like andBeyond’s Matetsi Lodge in Zimbabwe in 2016, are making safaris in these countries more and more appealing to people after something different.

Long Trips – taking the time to explore

Jacada Travel has seen a growth in the number of travellers who want to take longer trips (defined here as trips lasting longer than two weeks), with some clients even pushing for ‘around-the-world’ trips. In 2017, 40% of bookings were for trips longer than two weeks, but for trips already booked for 2018, 50% are over 2 weeks long.  “People are getting to a point now where they just want to slow down, unwind and fully let go. That often means ‘switching off’ for more than a week or ten days,” says Jacada’s Founder, Alex Malcolm. Jacada has even seen a rise in trips lasting longer than 30 days, going from 1.36% of 2017 trips to 3.4% of 2018 trips booked so far. This is great news for the travel industry, as it shows that travellers are willing to slow down and take their time exploring new places, perhaps adopting more “slow travel” practices along the way.

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