Travel Trends 2019 – Part 1

Travellers don’t just “go on holiday” any more. The days of jetting off in economy class to spend 2 weeks half-board in a sea-side resort, barely moving from a sun lounger seem to have passed as travellers are demanding more from their overseas expeditions.

A “holiday” won’t cut it anymore. They now want experiences they can treasure and share with their friends and families, that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

But just what is motivating people to travel nowadays and seek out these experiences? And what’s going to be motivating them for the future?

To help you out we’ve pulled together the latest research from across the travel sector and condensed it all down into easily digestible nuggets of info, split across a mini-series of 2 blogs.

The first blog will help you better understand what travellers are now looking for from their trips abroad, getting under their skin to understand their motivations.

The second blog will then give you a steer on what you need to do so you can make the most of these trends and ensure your brand is front of mind for travellers when they’re booking their next trip.

Bon Voyage!

The Latest Travel Trends

What is motivating people to travel nowadays, and which trends could (or should) you and your brand be making the most of?

Currency Consciousness

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) believe the falling value of the pound (down 15% after the Brexit referendum) is likely to stunt UK travel spending overall.1

With the pound down against the Euro and the Dollar this is likely to have an impact on UK tourists heading to countries with the Euro as currency as well as long-haul travel to the USA and the North Americas.

However, ABTA found that 71% of travellers are expecting to spend the same of more on their holiday in 20182 – suggesting that holidays aren’t something that people are willing to tighten their belts on. Travellers are simply looking to get more for their money, with expedia finding that more than 60% of travellers saying budget was the key factor in deciding on their travel plans.3

ABTA also think travellers will continue to look for “currency conscious” holidays, with a stress on value for money.4 This often drives people to visit places where the pound goes further, like Argentina and South Africa, and look at different types of holidays, like all-inclusive resorts where spending when actually on holiday is minimal.


The children are the future…

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) believe there’ll be almost 300 million international youth trips a year by 2020.5

And in their “The Power of Youth Tourism report they found that young people tend to spend more than others on their travels, and are most likely to return to the places they’ve visited. Giving them a high lifetime value.

The UNWTO think it’s worth targeting young travellers – as they not only offer a large spend over their lifetime, but they also believe environmental and political factors like terrorism, civil unrest, disease and natural disaster are less likely to put them off travelling. 5


Doing it “for The Gram”

Social media is playing a much more important part in holiday choices – especially among younger people.

As many as 40% of millennials (18-33 year olds) now take this into consideration when choosing where to go on a holiday.6

Global travel motivation trends show that people are looking for obscure destinations that are unexplored by their friends and family.7 And this is especially a motivation for younger travellers.

Young people are likely to want to share their travel experience as part of a ‘boasting’ social media culture – making unexplored destinations a perfect choice. This isn’t something that’s just done by young people but is definitely a motivation for the 18-30 audience surveyed.


A spirit of (specific) adventure

Active and adventure trips are seeing growth over all age groups for activities like hiking, climbing and once-in-a-lifetime water sports.8

The recent Euromonitor report points out how this is following a global trend of people moving away from valuing possessions, instead wanting actual experiences.

Interestingly, people aren’t searching online for terms like “active holidays” or “adventure holidays” though – instead they’re searching for the specific activities themselves, with a rise around activities like climbing and snorkelling.


  • Peak: March/April
  • Mini Spikes: January/ February and August
  • End: November/December


  • Peak: August
  • Mini Spike: January
  • End: November


(data pulled from Google search trends analysis)


Taking a trip to give back

The UN called 2017 the ‘international year of sustainable tourism’9 – and it’s a trend that looks set to continue, with a recent AIG report showing that 52% of travellers think sustainable travel is important.10

Travellers want to give something back to the community they’re visiting – either through ecotourism or voluntourism. And it’s thought that responsible and sustainable tourism will actually become incorporated into UK tourist’s holiday bookings. found that over a third of travellers (36%) plan to choose more eco-friendly travel options compared to previous years – and that nearly 2 in 5 are interested in eco-tour travel experiences.11


Holistic Holidays

Wellness holidays are expected to become more popular in the UK, with rising interest around living a healthy lifestyle. found that 2 out of 5 people are interested in a health and well-being travel experience, with just under half saying they use their holiday to “reflect and make better life choices”.12

And travellers are looking for unique ways to “relax, unwind and recharge holistically” according to Trekksoft.13

Wellness holidays go hand in hand with the trend for sustainable tourism – with those motivated by wellness likely to expect eco-friendly tourism as part of their trip.

Global Gastronomy

Holidays that include a taste of local cuisine are growing in popularity and show no signs of slowing down. Travellers want an authentic food experience from the local area of their destination.

18-33-year-old travellers are also influenced by the chance to post pictures of their holiday food on Instagram and Facebook – and the opportunity to do so will influence destination choice.14


Short and sweet?

According to an ABTA report, City breaks are now the most popular type of holiday15 – making up 53% of holidays taken in the year leading up to September 2017. They’ve overtaken the beach holiday, after the two were “head to head” in the previous ABTA Travel Trends Report for 2016.16

This is due to a change in the way UK holiday makers are travelling.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have noticed that UK tourists are not taking two-week holidays like they were a decade ago. Instead they’re enjoying multiple shorter holidays from two to seven days.17

The holiday trend is seen in a lot of UK travel shows like ‘Travel Man: 48 Hours in’ and ‘Rick Steins Long Weekends’ – giving ideas and inspiration for the short city break.

This could likely because of the rise of budget airlines offering cheaper flights.  This is about “filling a gap between longer holidays”. People want to take a short break outside of the summer months – often as short as 2 days in length – to break routine, relax and spend time with loved ones.


Peace of mind

Terrorism has had a huge impact on global travel – with destinations that have been victim to terrorist attacks, like Paris, Barcelona and Berlin seeing a noticeable downturn in tourism. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) however suggest that some destinations have actually seen a rise in inbound tourism, like Cyprus and Bulgaria as they’re seen as “safe” destinations.18

The UK government have said that there is currently a higher threat of terrorism against the UK and areas of interest and has asked UK residents to be wary when holidaying abroad. An official stance like this from the UK government will likely mean UK residents rethink their destination choice.


Having got to grips with the trends influencing and motivating people in this blog, the second blog of this mini-series we will give you a steer on what you need to do so you can make the most of these trends and ensure your brand is front of mind for travellers when they’re booking their next trip.



Part 1 references


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