Highlights from the global tourism conference market in 2016
The global tourism conference market continues to be an important source of dissemination and discussion of new and emerging global travel trends, challenges and future directions. Now that TBEX International, DataArt and Phocuswright have held their 2016 conferences, a consensus can be reached on some of this year’s biggest travel industry trends.
Smart Devices and Travel
Global tourism conferences have seen experts from companies like DataArt speaking about the increased desire among travellers for apps and smart device services that are designed for the world of global travel. From wearable tech, to apps that can help the traveller to keep their itinerary, we are seeing increased development of these products and more travellers using them when they go abroad.
Google has been a pioneer in this field, using geo-location to help users find restaurants, hotels and attractions. Additionally, you have apps like Trip Adviser, online translators and services that can help travellers to find events and things to do while they are away.
Increased Travel Among Millennials
The millennial generation is starting to get out and travel more, and this has been one of the biggest factors in developing trends at the tourism conferences. The above-mentioned demand for more travel tech is one of the ways that millennials will help to shape the coming discussion for tourism conference industry trends.
To reach this generation of travellers, businesses will look to increase their social media presence and use social media as a way of communicating with potential travellers. In addition to that, trends have shown that millennials are more interested in unique travel experiences and the possibility of travelling alone.
Adventure tourism is nothing new, but many conversations this year were focused on the increased interest in this type of travel. Now more than ever, you have tourists that are looking to journey to far off destinations and experience untouched landscapes and preserved natural lands. While many of the traditional tourist destinations still do quite well, we can expect to see more of a market for people looking to engage in adventure tourism.
As a related trend, you also have more tourists that want the “unplugged” vacation. For a lot of these adventure tourists, part of the benefit is being able to disconnect from the internet and leave the issues of work and their everyday life behind. Many expect that we will see more resorts and tourism services that are designed specifically for travellers that want to limit their interactions with the internet and other forms of communication that connect them to their regular lives.
The Chinese Market
Another topic that has been prominent at this year’s travel conferences has been the growth and changes to the Chinese travel market. The Chinese market has been the largest growth sector for the last few years now, although 2016 has seen the emergence of new trends.
Chinese travellers are now more likely than ever to travel further, leading to declines in market share for locations such as Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand. These travels are increasingly heading to locations such as Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Japan. These destinations have also seen increasing numbers of Chinese business and conference travellers, necessitating the construction of new facilities, including new Auckland convention venues and the upgrading of facilities in Brisbane and Melbourne.
More companies are making attempts to reach Chinese travellers by building a presence on Chinese social media platforms such as Webu and implementing search engine optimisation aimed at improving their sites presence on Chinese search Engines such as Baidu.
Another emerging trend in the Chinese tourism sector is an expanding sharing economy, with more online services for things like ride sharing and apartment and room rentals. These are services similar to Uber and Airbnb that Chinese travellers may use when they move throughout the country. It has yet to be seen whether these services will take-off in the same way that they have in the West, but expect to see more experimentation with apps and online services in the future of Chinese travel.
What trends and discussions impressed you this year from the global tourism conference market? Do you have any predictions for the travel industry in 2017? Tweet us @TravelMedia_ie and let us know!
Thank you to Alex Cordier who wrote this blog post. Alex is based in Auckland, New Zealand and has worked in a variety of sales roles within the tourism and hospitality sectors in the country. Writing and traveling are her passion, and these have led her to several parts across Asia and North America. She enjoys writing about anything under the sun and has been published in various websites on topics ranging from travel, home living, to health and lifestyle. Follow Alex on Twitter here.