American tourism consultant and speaker Dr Peter Tarlow has made some predictions for the tourism industry in 2014. He believes that not much will change relative to 2013, but has identified some trends that could impact on the tourism industry globally, as reported by eTurboNews:
1. The economic status of the world in the past few years has placed greater emphasis on the ‘middle class‘, representing the largest number of travellers.
2. Middle class travellers tend to be more forgiving of tourism mistakes and less perfect service. They are however sensitive to economic changes, and the cost of credit in particular. Interest rate increases makes the use of credit more expensive, and can affect travel. As they live on a budget, middle class travellers will be affected by their expectation of taxes and other major cost increases. Stock market trends influence confidence, even if the middle class does not own shares.
3. The upper class is more demanding of service when travelling, and less reliant on and believing in marketing.
4. Security remains an important issue, and global events, such as the Winter Olympics, the Summer Olympics, and the 2014 World Cup will create security challenges, including terrorism, for Brazil in particular.
5. Airlines will increasingly be disliked, as their service diminishes, as their rates increase, as they merge to save costs, as they reduce their flight frequency, and as their planes become less comfortable to fly in. Train and bus travel may become an alternative.
6. Travel will change, with business and leisure tourism combinations, short long weekend holidays, and unique experience breakaways increasing.
7. Business travellers become more demanding, expecting free wifi internet service. They travel with tablets rather than laptops. expect a printer without being charged, expect flexible check-in and check-out times, and healthy food options.
8. This will be the best year for tourism, says Tarlow, quoting examples of Panama offering one month’s free health insurance, the Dominican Republic having the world’s best trained police force, and the USA is now allowing some returning citizens to re-enter their country via computer documentation rather than stand in a queue.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage