2017 travel predictions: What travelers expect in the year ahead

The travel industry is shifting faster than you know it. Pic: Cory Schadt/Shutterstock

IT’S been a great year for travel, and an even greater one for Asia. Inbound and outbound numbers were generally high, airlines boomed, the cruise industry is flourishing, and business travel proved stronger than ever, especially in China.

Based on a wealth of data, endorsements, reviews and insights, online travel agency Booking.com shed light on a few travel predictions for the year ahead, and what travelers will likely be looking for.

We break it down.

Instant gratification

. Pic: Pixabay

Sophisticated travel tech has allowed the traveler to be more demanding about live updates and advise, and ultimately, making frequent travelers more impatient.

Based on a study by Booking.com, 44 percent of travelers already expect to be able to plan their holiday with a few taps and swipes on their smartphone and over half expect their use of travel apps to increase in 2017.

With this, travel tech could help eradicate travelers’ on-the-road niggles, deliver answers to specific needs in the moment, and enhance travel experiences with off-the-beaten-track recommendations and short-cuts.

From finding the nearest ATM or available Wi-Fi to queue jumping at top attractions and getting on-the-go advice on how to get over jetlag, meaningful functionality in palm-based technology will abound.

The ‘bleisure’ trend

Bringing together business and leisure travel is becoming increasingly common. Pic: Jason Ortego/Unsplash

The glamour of work travel is typically short-lived and increasingly, we are choosing to forgo a few lonely hours in the business lounge in favor of adding personal time.

Hence, the “bleisure” boom is well and truly underway, and 2017 will see a further upswing not only in the blurring of lines between leisure and business travel, but in the value we attach to workplace travel opportunities.

Sixty percent of respondents in a BridgePoint survey said they were more likely now than five years ago to supplement a work trip with “bleisure” activities, primarily sightseeing, dining out, or experiencing local culture.

SEE ALSO: A guide to nailing bizcations; how to combine business travel and leisure

Off-the-beaten-track locations

Pic: Thong Vo/Shutterstock

Whether it’s trekking into a remote mountain village or finding a gem of a guest house within a local community, Booking.com is seeing evidence of an ever-growing appetite to embrace undiscovered environments.

45 percent of survey respondents plan to be more adventurous in their choice of destinations in the coming year, while 47 percent of travelers would like to explore corners of the globe that none of their friends have been to.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of travelers would like to participate in more independent travel in 2017, a trend particularly prevalent amongst those in India, China, and Thailand.

SEE ALSO: Pai is a peaceful town in Thailand you’ve never heard of

Health and wellness holidays

Pic: Kristopher Allison/Shutterstock

The coming year will see many travelers prioritizing health-conscious trips that promise “harmony for the mind, body and soul” – particularly those from India, China and Thailand.

44 percent of respondents are interested to go on spa and relaxation trips while 38 percent would like to go on a health and wellbeing experience in 2017.

The agency predicts that in 2017, it won’t be uncommon to find a diverse range of SanctuStays, accommodations ranging from villas to apartments, as well as resorts offering complimentary meditation facilities, health spas, wellness workshops and outdoor facilities to promote holistic lifestyles.

SEE ALSO: Cleanse the soul at these peaceful yoga retreats in Asia

Greener trips

Nihiwatu on Indonesia’s Sumba Island is a model for sustainable tourism

It’s inevitable that the tourism industry contributes to carbon emissions and the slow-burning effects of climate change, whether it’s through airline travel, on-ground transportation, hotel operation, or food wastage.

The coming year will see many travelers planning to choose more eco-friendly travel options than they did in 2016, and nearly 39 percent of respondents were interested in eco-tour travel experiences.

Eco-friendly stays are no longer the preserve of the few, but an expectation of the many. As the year progresses we will likely see increased discussion around economic incentives such as tax breaks for eco-travellers, the introduction of an international standard for sustainable accommodation, as well as transport providers giving travelers more information about carbon offsetting.

SEE ALSO: Is the sustainable hotel industry more relevant than ever?