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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

UNWTO and NEOM Launch ‘Tourism Experiences of the Future’ Challenge

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The ‘Tourism Experiences of the Future’ challenge will source innovative ideas and disruptive business models related to the tourism needs of the future, in line with growing demand for new experiences. All proposals must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and should include the introduction or adaptation of digital and technological elements, as well as being focused at least one of the following areas:

  • Optimizing and maximizing the potential of experiential tourism
  • Harnessing the positive impact of new technology
  • Alternative business models
  • Innovative experiences

The competition is the first national initiative dedicated to identifying new companies that will lead the tourism sector’s transformation in Saudi Arabia. As well as established businesses, the competition also welcomes applications from Saudi Arabian start-ups and innovators with ideas capable of revolutionizing and inspiring tourists by presenting new ways and reasons to travel.

Applications are open until 2 November, with great interest expected, and participants must be Saudi citizens with legal capacity to enter into a contract. Successful projects will be selected based on various criteria, such as the degree of innovation, their viability and sustainability.

An Affiliate Member of UNWTO since 2019, NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a new future might look like. Located in northwest Saudi Arabia along the Red Sea, NEOM is ideally situated at the crossroads of the world, comprising a total area of 26,500 km². A special authority has been established to oversee NEOM, chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

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Time to rethink, transform, and safely restart tourism

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Tourism “touches almost every part of our economies and societies”, enabling the historically marginalized, and “those at risk of being left behind, to benefit from development”, declared UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday, marking World Tourism Day.  

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism could result in a more than $4 trillion loss to the global economy, according to a recent report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 

Emergency for developing countries 

Highlighting the fact that in the first months of this year, “international tourist arrivals decreased by a staggering 95 per cent in parts of the world”, Mr. Guterres said that tourism continues to suffer enormously due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“This is a major shock for developed economies, but for developing countries, it is an emergency”, he added.  

“Climate change is also severely affecting many major tourist destinations, particularly Small Island Developing States”, his message added. There, tourism accounts for nearly 30 per cent of all economic activity.  

Tourism for inclusive growth 

Acknowledging that many millions of livelihoods are in jeopardy, Mr. Guterres said that now it is “time to rethink, transform, and safely restart tourism”. 

“With the right safeguards in place, the tourism sector can provide decent jobs, helping to build resilient, sustainable, gender-equal, inclusive economies and societies that work for everyone”, he added. 

According to the United Nations specialized agency for responsible and sustainable tourism (UNWTO), tourism is a recognized pillar of most the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), particularly Goals 1 (poverty-elimination), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (to reduce inequalities). 

In his message, Mr. Guterres went on to call for targeted action and investment, towards green and sustainable tourism, “with high emitting sectors, including air and sea transport and hospitality, moving towards carbon neutrality”.  

Adding that everybody should have a say in how tourism shapes the future of our societies, the UN chief concluded that “only through inclusive decision-making can we ensure inclusive, sustainable growth, deliver on the promise of the SDGs, and transform tourism to fulfil its potential”. 

The sector could then become “an engine for prosperity, a vehicle for integration, a means to protect our planet and biodiversity, and an agent of cultural understanding between peoples”, said Mr. Guterres. 

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Africa’s Tourism Leaders Identify Investments as Key to Sustainable Recovery

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The African Members of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have met in Cabo Verde to strengthen their cooperation and advance plans for recovery and sustainable growth.

The 64th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) saw 23 countries represented on the island of Sal, with 21 Ministers of Tourism joining five Ambassadors for the high-level event. Opening the Commission meeting, the President of Cabo Verde Jorge Carlos Fonseca offered a warm welcome to UNWTO’s leadership and to all delegates. The President was joined by Cabo Verde’s Minister of Tourism and Transport, Carlos Jorge Duarte Santos, and Prime Minister Dr. Ulisses Correia e Silva in reaffirming support of the highest political level for tourism and recognition of the sector as a driver of recovery and sustainable development.

Chaired by Christine Kaseba Sata, Ambassador of Zambia to Spain and Permanent Representative to UNWTO, delegates addressed the biggest challenges standing in the way of the sector’s safe restart across the continent. Special emphasis was placed on the importance of speeding up vaccine rollouts across the continent, as well as addressing security issues that continue to have an impact on how global travellers perceive Africa as a safe tourism destination. Also on the agenda was the current level of connectivity between destinations, with improved air links the harmonization of travel protocols identified as an effective means for boosting regional tourism.

Tourism’s restart ‘essential’

Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili welcomed delegates to the Commission meeting, providing an overview of UNWTO’s work during the ongoing crisis and how this is driven by the stated priorities of its African Member States. He said. “The continent is united in its determination to use the power of tourism to drive development and opportunity for all. And with coordination and targeted investments, African tourism can finally fulfil its unique potential.”

Rebuilding trust in travel

In Cabo Verde, UNWTO Members were brought up-to-date on the development of the International Code for the Protection of Tourists, a landmark code aimed at helping restore confidence in travel. Members were also presented with an overview of the UNWTO General Programme of Work & Budget for the Period 2022-2023. Additionally, signalling a shared determination to keep moving forward even in challenging times, Members also held elections for key positions within UNWTO decision-making bodies ahead of the 24th General Assembly.

Building capacity

Running in parallel with the Commission meeting, UNWTO hosted capacity building workshops on innovation, digital marketing and investment These workshops were held ahead of the second edition of the UNWTO Global Tourism Investment Forum, opened by Prime Minister Dr. Ulisses Correia e Silva and featuring the participation of investors from Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the USA as well as public and private sector leaders from across Africa. Backing up the workshop on marketing, UNWTO also launched its new Brand Africa publication. Produced with key African Tourism Partners, the publication aims at helping destinations use effective branding to diversify and attract visitors.

Also in Cabo Verde, tourism leader celebrated the signing and approval of the UNWTO Declaration on the Future of Mobility and Sustainable Transportation, a commitment aimed at the better understanding of how investments can help make the sector greener while also encouraging greater cooperation between tourism authorities and transport providers. Concluding the Regional Commission meeting, UNWTO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Cabo Verde. The aim of the MoU is to enhance cooperation between UNWTO and the Ministry of Tourism to strengthen the country’s branding, boost tourism education initiatives, and support research into the socio-economic impact of the sustainable development of tourism across Cabo Verde.

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