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Travel Trend Expectations for the 2020s

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Single apps for all travel needs, passport free travel, and mobile app check-in are the top three ‘new travel norms’ expected by travelers in the next decade, according to new research by Agoda, the world’s fastest growing digital travel platform.

With the continued advancement of technology, revolutionary travel apps, and better connectivity, people expect a lot more from their travel experience in the next decade.  Specifically, Southeast Asians half of all respondents in Indonesia (56%), Singapore (54%), Malaysia (53%), Taiwan (50%), the Philippines (48%) and Thailand (48%) considering this the norm in the next decade. This compares to only a third of people in the United Kingdom and the United States (33%).

One in two South East Asians also view mobile app check in, allowing guests to skip the registration queue, download their room access key and go straight to their rooms, as the norm in the 2020s, with Singaporeans (54%), Filipinos (53%), Malaysians (58%) and Thais (49%) most expectant of this trend.

Meanwhile, Singapore (50%), Vietnam (47%), Philippines (45%), China (44%) and Australia (41%) are the top five origins most likely to see a future with passport-free travel.  In the UK and US, they are less expectant of this advancement with only 1 in 5 expecting it to be the norm within the next decade.

Technology has already made such a positive impact on how and where people travel as innovative technologies, like those developed at Agoda, give travelers instant access to millions of hotels and home properties around the world with real time pricing and availability.

“It is a technology golden age for travelers, as technology is developed to simplify the way anyone, anywhere can search, book and pay for flights, hotels or holiday accommodation. The 2000s was defined by the mouse and the computer, putting online travel booking just a click away.  The 2010s, was defined by the smart phone and app, and put a travel agent in the pocket of every phone owner, and the 2020s will be defined by the power of data and Machine Learning (AI). This will enable companies like Agoda to provide personalized, more relevant recommendations to make booking travel even easier,” explains Timothy Hughes, Vice President of Corporate Development at Agoda. “Asian travelers, in particular, are enthused by, and expectant of, technology developments that enhance and simplify their travel experience.  Asian based companies are now leading the world in technology adoption and development to achieve this. I expect to see Asia press ahead with that lead in the 2020s – especially in areas such as video and augmented reality, improved mobile services with more chat and voice solutions, and payments to help bring the “unbanked” online”.

Globally, people want to increase travel, but also to make eco-friendlier travel choices

Universally, people want to increase the amount of travel they undertake in the 2020s.  Exploring more of their own country is cited by 40% of respondents globally, while international travel more often is anticipated at 35%.

What’s also interesting, in the context of global narratives on climate sustainability, is the trend that more than a quarter want to make more eco-friendly travel choices in the next decade.  Travelers from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia are most keen to make eco-friendlier

choices perhaps more aware than others with the recent closure of Maya Bay in Thailand, and the Boracay rehabilitation program in Philippines, and thus travelers want to do their bit even when on holiday.

Travelers in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups are most likely to want to explore their own countries and territories more (40% and 42% respectively), with those from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, US and Vietnam choosing domestic destinations within their top three wishlist destinations for the coming decade.

Meanwhile Korean and Japanese travelers see themselves taking more solo trips in the next decade. Taiwanese and Indonesians would prefer taking a sabbatical or gap year.

Kyoto scoops #1 spot as the world’s most desired destination to visit in the 20s

Asia dominates the global travel wishlists destinations for the next decade, as travelers from both Asia and the West showcase a growing curiosity for Asian treasures like Kyoto (Japan) famed for its Shinto shrine, Kyoto is an eclectic blend of culture, food and history, followed by Bangkok, (Thailand) and Bali, (Indonesia).

Travelers in Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia want to cross off their own capital cities from their travel lists. Meanwhile, South Korea, the UK, and Australian travelers are the only one who don’t choose a domestic destination on their wishlists for travel in the next decade.

American and British travelers alike are most excited about visiting New York in the coming decade, with New York also a top three choice for travelers from Australia, Japan and South Korea. Both Malaysian and Indonesian travelers would like to visit Makkah by 2030.

MARKET INSIGHTS – AGODA RESEARCH REVEALS TRAVEL TREND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE 2020S

CHINA

Next Decade of Travel

  • 48% of Chinese travelers see using a mobile phone app to check into their hotel room as the norm.
  • China is top five for seeing Passport-free travel as a reality.
  • 25% of Chinese tourists would like to make more eco-friendlier choices in the next ten years.
  • Kyoto tops travel wishlist for Chinese travelers in the 2020s. This is followed by Shanghai (#2) and then Bangkok (#3).
  • 43% of Chinese travelers want to explore more of their own country in the coming decade, while 38% want to travel more internationally.

SINGAPORE

Next Decade of Travel

  • 54% of all Singaporeans expect to be able to check into hotel rooms using their mobile phones as the norm, as well as a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 25% of Singaporeans would like to make more eco-friendly choices when traveling.
  • Zurich tops wishlist for Singaporeans in the 2020s. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and

Osaka (#3) both of which are in Japan.

  • 53% of Singaporeans would like to travel more internationally in the next decade.

AUSTRALIA

Next Decade of Travel

  • 44% of Australian travelers see using their mobile phones to check into hotels as the norm while 39% expect to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • Australians are in top five to see Passport-free travel become a reality.
  • 17% of travelers from Australia want to make more eco-friendlier travel choices in the coming decade.
  • London tops wishlist for Australians in the 2020s.This is followed by New York (#2) and then Bangkok (#3).
  • 40% of Australians would like to travel more internationally in the next coming decade, 25% would like to spend more time in Australia, and 21% would like to take more solo trips.
  • Interestingly, Australian travelers have London as one of their three top destinations for travel, British travelers have Sydney.

PHILIPPINES  

Next Decade of Travel

  • 53% of Filipino travelers expect to check into hotels using their mobile phones as the norm while 48% expect to be able to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 35% of travelers from Philippines aim to make more eco-friendlier travel choices in the next decade.
  • The capital city of Manila tops wishlist for Filipino travelers in the 2020s. This is followed by Seoul (#2) and Kyoto (#3).
  • 45% of travelers from Philippines would like to explore more of their own country in the coming decade while 39% would like to travel more internationally.

UK

Next Decade of Travel

  • 45% of British travelers expect checking into hotels using their mobile phone as the norm.
  • 28% expect to make all their travel bookings using a single app.
  • 17% of travelers from UK aim to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling in the next decade.
  • New York tops wishlist travelers from the UK in the 2020s. This is followed by Sydney (#2) and Kyoto (#3).
  • 36% British travelers would like to explore more of their own country in the coming decade while 24% would like to travel more internationally.
  • Interestingly, Australian travelers have London as one of their three top destinations for travel, British travelers have Sydney.

USA

Next Decade of Travel

  • 42% of Americans expect to check into hotels using their mobile phones as the norm while 29% expect to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 12% of Americans want to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling in the next decade.
  • New York tops wishlist travelers in the US in the 2020s. This is followed by London (#2) and Sydney (#3).
  • 38% of Americans would like to explore more of their own country in the next decade, while 26% would like to travel more internationally

Malaysia

Next Decade of Travel

  • 58% of Malaysians expect to be able to use their mobile phones for hotel check-ins as the norm, while 53% expect using a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 36% of Malay travelers would like to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling.
  • The capital city of Kuala Lumpur tops wishlist travelers in Malaysia in the 2020s. This is followed by Makkah (#2) and then Bali (#3).
  • 43% of Malaysians would like to travel more internationally in the next decade, while 40% would like to explore their own country more.

Thailand

Next Decade of Travel

  • Almost half, 49% of Thais anticipate using their mobile phones to check into hotels as the norm, making them one of the highest expectant of this trend.
  • 39% expect to be able to use a single app for all their travel needs.
  • 32% of Thai travelers wish to make more eco-friendlier choices when travelling.
  • The capital city of Bangkok tops wishlist for Thais in the 2020s. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and then Phuket (#3).
  • 36% of Thai travelers would like to explore more of their own country in the next decade, while 30% would like to travel more internationally.

Taiwan

Next Decade of Travel

  • 50% of Taiwanese travelers expect to use a single app for all their travel needs, while 44% anticipate checking into hotels using their mobile phones to be the norm.
  • 21% of Taiwanese aim to make more eco-friendlier travel choices in the next ten years.
  • The capital city of Taipei tops wishlist of travelers in Taiwan. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and then Amsterdam (#3).
  • 48% of travelers from Taiwan would like to travel more internationally in the next decade, while 37% would like to explore more of their own country.
  • 29% of Taiwanese travelers would like to take a sabbatical from work or a gap year.

Indonesia

Next Decade of Travel

  • 56% of Indonesian travelers expect a single app to book all travel needs to be a reality in the next decade, while 47% anticipate checking into hotels just by using their mobile phone.
  • Another 39% aim to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling, making Indonesians one of the highest potential leaders of this change with 26% being the average.
  • Interestingly, Bali tops wishlist of travelers in Indonesia. This is followed by Makkah (#2) and then Borobudur (#3).
  • 39% of Indonesians would like to explore more of their own country.
  • 29% of Indonesians wish to take a sabbatical or gap year.

Vietnam

Next Decade of Travel

  • 43% of travelers from Vietnam expect to check into their hotels using just their mobile phone as the norm.
  • 47% of Vietnamese surveyed want to see Passport-free travel to become a reality, becoming them the highest-ranking country for this travel trend.
  • 36% of Vietnamese travelers would like to make more eco-friendlier choices when traveling.
  • Interestingly, Ho Chi Minh city tops wishlist of travelers in Vietnam. This is followed by Kyoto (#2) and then Bangkok (#3).
  • 49% of Vietnamese travelers would like to explore more of their own country in the coming decade, while 41% would like to travel more internationally.

Japan

Next Decade of Travel

  • 34% of travelers from Japan expect to check into hotels using just their mobile phones as the norm.
  • 24% of Japanese travelers anticipate driver/buggy service to be available at airports, becoming the highest expectant market for this travel trend.
  • 7% of Japanese travelers would like to make more eco-friendlier travel choices
  • Interestingly, Kyoto city tops wishlist of travelers in Japan in the 2020s. This is followed by Paris (#2) and then New York (#3).
  • 62% of Japanese travelers would like to explore more of their own country, while 23% would like to travel more internationally.
  • 18% of Japanese travelers would like to take more solo trips.

Korea

Next Decade of Travel

  • 47% of Korean travelers expect to check into hotels using just their mobile phones as the norm, while 40% expect to book all their travel needs using a single app.
  • 19% of Koreans aim to make more eco-friendlier choices in the next decade.
  • New York city tops wishlist of travelers from Korea in the 2020s. This is followed by Barcelona (#2) and then Brisbane (#3).
  • 48% of Korean travelers expect to travel internationally more often, while 42% wish to explore more of their own country.
  • 22% of Koreans would like to take more solo trips in the coming decade.

About the travel data

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Singapore PTE Limited. Total sample size was 16,383 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 December 2019 and 18 December 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults in the respective countries (aged 18+).

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Promoting ‘Brand Africa’ to Realize the Continent’s Tourism Potential

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UNWTO’s African Member States will work together to establish a new narrative for tourism across the continent. To better realize tourism’s potential to drive recovery, UNWTO and its Members will also work with the African Union and the private sector to promote the continent to new global audiences through positive, people-centred storytelling and effective branding.

With tourism recognized as an essential pillar of sustainable and inclusive development for the continent, UNWTO welcomed high-level delegates to the first Regional Conference on Strengthening Brand Africa. The conference featured the participation of the political leadership of host country Namibia, alongside public and private sector leaders from across the continent.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili welcomed the common determination to rethink as well as restart tourism. “African destinations must take the lead in celebrating and promoting the continent’s vibrant culture, youthful energy and entrepreneur spirit, and its rich gastronomy”, he said.  

Windhoek Pledge puts people first

On the back of a series of workshops and a Ministerial Think Tank, UNWTO’s African Member States unanimously endorsed the Windhoek Pledge on Advocating Brand Africa. Under the terms of the Windhoek Pledge, Members will engage both public and private sector stakeholders as well as local communities to build a new, inspiring narrative for tourism across the continent. They will identify positive, human-centred stories, and through strengthened partnerships with the media, showcase them to the world, reaching new and diverse tourism source markets.

Over the coming weeks, UNWTO will work with all signatories to create a common roadmap towards establishing Brand Africa. This will include establishing common values and goals and identifying funding needs and opportunities as well as providing branding toolkits for destinations, including guidelines and recommendations and training and capacity building in market intelligence, digital marketing and data management.

Bilateral meetings show support for tourism

Alongside the conference, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, held high-level talks on the restart of tourism with President of Namibia Hage Geingob, as well as with the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and with the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga

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New report on single-use plastic products aims to advance sustainability in travel and tourism

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), launch a major new report today, addressing the complex issue of single-use plastic products within Travel & Tourism.

‘Rethinking Single-Use Plastic Products in Travel & Tourism’ launches as countries around the world begin to reopen, and the Travel & Tourism sector starts to show signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which has been devastating.

The report is a first step to mapping single-use plastic products across the Travel & Tourism value chain, identifying hotspots for environmental leakages, and providing practical and strategic recommendations for businesses and policymakers.

It is intended to help stakeholders take collective steps towards coordinated actions and policies that drive a shift towards reduce and reuse models, in line with circularity principles, as well as current and future waste infrastructures.

The report’s recommendations include redefining unnecessary single-use plastic products in the context of one’s own business; giving contractual preference to suppliers of reusable products; proactively planning procedures that avoid a return to single-use plastic products in the event of disease outbreaks; supporting research and innovation in product design and service models that decrease the use of plastic items, and revising policies and quality standards with waste reduction, and circularity in mind.

Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, WTTC said: “WTTC is proud to release this important high-level report for the sector, focusing on sustainability and reducing waste from single-use plastic products in Travel & Tourism.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the sustainability agenda with businesses and policymakers now putting an even stronger focus on it. As a growing priority, businesses are expected to continue to reduce single-use plastic products waste for the future and drive circularity to protect not only our people, but importantly, our planet.

“It is also becoming clear that consumers are making more conscious choices, and increasingly supporting businesses with sustainability front of mind.”

Single-use plastic products can be a threat to the environment and human health and without deliberate effort across the sector, Travel & Tourism can and will contribute significantly to the issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had both negative and positive impacts on single-use plastics pollution.

The demand for single-use plastics items has increased with safety being a high concern among tourists and take-away services being on the rise. According to the Thailand Environment Institute, plastic waste has increased from 1,500 tons to a staggering 6,300 tons per day, owing to soaring home deliveries of food.

However, the pandemic has also catalysed consumer demand for green tourism experiences around the world, with a 2019 global study finding 82% of respondents are aware of plastic waste and are already taking practical actions to tackle pollution.

The report recognises that global solutions are required to address corporate concerns about the use of single-use plastic products. It aims to support informed decision making based on the potential impacts of trade-offs and of unintended burden shifting when considering the transition to sustainable alternatives.

Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director of the Economy Division, UNEP said:

“Travel & Tourism has a key role to play in addressing the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, as well as making circularity in the use of plastics a reality.

The advent of COVID-19 and consequent proliferation of single-use plastic products has added urgency to the crises. With this report, we hope to encourage stakeholders in this industry to come together to address this multifaceted challenge. Only by doing so, can we ensure meaningful and durable change.”

With around 90 percent of ocean plastic derived from land-based sources and the annual damage of plastics to marine ecosystems amounting to US$13 billion per year, proactively addressing the challenge of plastics within the Travel & Tourism sector is key.

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UNWTO and Greece to Collaborate on Maritime Tourism Research Centre

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UNWTO is to collaborate with the Greek Ministry of Tourism in establishing a first research station dedicated to measuring the sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism across the Mediterranean.

The new monitoring centre will be based at the University of the Aegean in Greece. From here, experts will capture and collate measurement data and analysis relating to the environmental, economic, and social impact of tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Coastal and Maritime tourism is one of the most important economic drivers within the Mediterranean basin. This new research centre can provide key data to guide the restart and future development of the sector, ensuring it fulfils its potential to provide opportunity for coastal communities and to protect and celebrate natural and cultural heritage.”

The United Nations specialized agency and the Ministry of Tourism confirmed their collaboration on the initiative during the UNWTO High-Level Conference on Coastal and Maritime Tourism, held in Athens and co-hosted by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Celebrity Cruises.

The Tourism Minister of Greece Harry Theoharis said: “I express my immense gratitude for UNWTO’s support in this endeavour. The Research Center will soon become a reference point for the study and protection of our coasts and seas.”

Pierfrancesco Vago, Global Chairman of CLIA and Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises added: “CLIA is pleased to support the UNWTO research and monitoring centre on sustainability and coastal maritime tourism in the Mediterranean. As part of the cruise industry’s commitment to responsible travel, we are pursuing carbon neutral cruising in Europe by 2050, and we work closely with cruise destinations and coastal communities to support economic growth in a sustainable manner.

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