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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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Tourism and COVID-19: UNWTO and WHO Call for Responsibility and Coordination

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As the current outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) continues to develop, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are committed to working together in guiding the travel and tourism sectors’ response to COVID-19.

On 30 January 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a set of Temporary Recommendations. WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and the global community on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.

Cooperation is key

The tourism sector is fully committed to putting people and their well-being first. International cooperation is vital for ensuring the sector can effectively contribute to the containment of COVID-19. UNWTO and WHO are working in close consultation and with other partners to assist States in ensuring that health measures be implemented in ways that minimize unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.

Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies and tourists, in line with WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations.

UNWTO and WHO stand ready to work closely with all those communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, to build for a better and more resilient future. Travel restrictions going beyond these may cause unnecessary interference with international traffic, including negative repercussions on the tourism sector.

At this challenging time, UNWTO and WHO join the international community in standing in solidarity with affected countries.

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UNWTO Places Tourism in the European Parliament

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To mark the start of the new mandate of the European Commission, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was in Brussels for a series of high-level meetings. In a notable first, the head of the United Nations specialized agency for tourism met with Elisa Ferreira, the new European Commissioner responsible for Cohesion and Reforms.

Jobs, climate and rural development on the agenda

The talks focused on making tourism a more central part of the European Union agenda, with a particular focus on the sector’s potential to contribute to the creation of more and better jobs and to achieving the ambitious climate goals set out in the new European Green Deal. At the same time, as UNWTO celebrates its Year of Tourism and Rural Development, the role the sector can play in regenerating and driving sustainable growth in rural communities across Europe was also highlighted.

Addressing the Committee’s members, Mr. Pololikashvili said: “The new European Commission has rightly put sustainability and the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of its strategy for the future. We now have an opportunity to place tourism front and centre in the debate over what kind of Europe we want to build now and for future generations. Above all, as we face up to the biggest challenge of our lifetimes in the climate emergency, we must make sure tourism’s potential to contribute to the European Green Deal is fully realized.”

UNWTO offers strong support to China and tourism

Secretary-General Pololikashvili also used the opportunity of addressing the Committee and Transport and Tourism to reaffirm UNWTO’s support for the people of China and the global tourism sector as it deals with the effects of the current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). He stressed tourism’s proven ability to help drive recovery from setbacks including health emergencies, and reaffirming UNWTO’s close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese authorities.

In Brussels, Mr. Pololikashvili was accompanied by three Secretary of States for Tourism, representing Spain, Portugal and, coinciding with their current Presidency of the European Union, from Croatia. Additionally, the UNWTO delegation also met with Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania.

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Greece Welcomes UNWTO Support for Sustainable Tourism Growth

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Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was in Athens for high-level talks with political leaders, as well as high-level representatives from across the private sector. The discussions focused on the key issues of harnessing tourism as a driver of education and opportunities for all, encouraging entrepreneurship and promoting tourism investment.

Mr Pololiksahvili said: “Greece is one of the world’s true tourism leaders. They also chair the UNWTO Regional Commission for Europe, highlighting the country’s commitment to international cooperation and to sustainable and responsible tourism.” Looking forward to returning to Greece in the very near future, he added: “I am delighted to be further strengthening our partnership and look forward to working more closely with Greece to make sure as many people as possible, including rural and coastal communities, are able to enjoy the many benefits tourism can bring.”

Greece Committed to Working with UNWTO

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed UNWTO’s visit and support of the national tourism sector and showed a sincere interest for prospects of the cooperation with the Greek tourism sector. At the same time, Minister of Tourism for Greece Harry Theocharis expressed his thanks to the UNWTO for the official visit and welcomed its readiness to work alongside Greece in promoting year-round tourism and digital transformation.

He added: “Working with UNWTO gives Greece the chance to learn from the lessons of other countries, share positive experiences and build useful partnerships in the areas of education, innovation and sustainable development.”

European context

UNWTO welcomed Greece’s commitment to sustainable tourism development, making the case for tourism as pillar of stability in uncertain times.

The visit of UNWTO to Greece comes as UNWTO assumes leadership of the global tourism sector’s response to the climate challenge. Later this week, Secretary-General Pololikashvili will address the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN). The intervention in Brussels will be made against the backdrop of the first meeting of the Tourism Task Force, with its Members to discuss the place of tourism in the European Green Deal, including both the opportunities and challenges.

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