Analyses - September 14, 2005



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September 2005


Print Customer segments, Trends,

Tourism through the crystal ball

From time to time, tourism experts are asked to predict the major developments that will affect the industry in the near future. The following are some of the more significant trends they foresaw in world tourism, some of which are formative and practically inevitable while others are more in the realm of “possibility”.

Products and destinations

Online travel agencies will introduce service fees similar to those charged by conventional agencies.

  • The gap in terms of the services offered by regular and low-cost carriers will widen.
  • In addition to becoming more affordable, cruises will gradually turn into floating entertainment centres.
  • There will be a proliferation of low-cost, short-stay/long-haul travel, i.e., a weekend in Europe or a week in Australia.
  • Beach vacation destinations will be segmented according to specific consumer wishes: relaxation (no cell-phones), families only, celebrations or recreational activities.
  • New destinations will appear on the world tourism stage, with Qatar replacing the Canary Islands, Ljubljana, Slovenia ousting Prague, Slovakia taking over from New Zealand and Brazil set to become the next mass tourism destination.
  • Initially confined to adventure tourists, China’s Silk Road will become one of the world’s most popular destinations.


  • A new kind of “hybrid consumer” will emerge who – for example – will combine a low-cost flight and a gourmet dinner, a stay at a 5-star hotel and a fast-food meal, all in the same trip.
  • As internet-users become more comfortable making online reservations, do-it-yourself travel and dynamic packaging will grow in popularity.
  • Low-cost carriers will make increasingly aggressive efforts to reach business travellers.
  • There will be a growing number of solo travellers making spontaneous travel decisions.
  • The industry will have to adapt to the reality of an over-50 set that still wants to act young.
  • Customers will want to go on a virtual tour of their vacation destination before they leave home.
  • Better-informed travellers will be more demanding with respect to product quality and services.
  • Travellers will become inured to crisis situations and will gradually become less affected by them.
  • Personalization features will enable travellers to design packages that reflect their individual preferences.

Sources :
– Thomson. «The Thomson Future Holiday Forum», [
], 2004.
– Jarrett, Ian. «Travel Weekly’s hottest news predictions for 2004», février 2004.
– IPK International. «World Travel Trends 2003-2004», 10 novembre 2003.

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