We know that the way that people travel is constantly changing; we see this in the places that we choose to travel to where a destination that was once ‘off the tourist map’ is now a hot and happening place to be. In other ways we see it in the reasons why people decide to travel; who they choose to travel with and what they hope to achieve through their journey. With demanding modern lifestyles, the need to travel, to escape and to experience, is something that we look for when we decide to book a vacation.
So with all that said, what can we expect in 2017? Will travel trends remain or will we see some new ones creeping in?
Below are a few travel trends related to African travel that we foresee for next year:
An increase in travel to African destinations
Wilderness Safaris US Sales Manager, Craig Glatthaar believes that we will see an increase in travel: “Both southern and East Africa are growing in popularity as destinations of choice across most of our markets, not only due to the incredible variety of experiential travel options available in each region but also due to various global political and macro-economic factors at play. The variety of experiences and quality lodges, new hotels and exceptional guiding have made Africa a must-see, safe and adventurous experience; certainly not a once-in-a-lifetime destination but a regular travel option with a variety of incredible experiences to choose from.”
The desire to disconnect
Africa’s wilderness areas offer an escape from the bustle of big city life. It is here where we can kick back and readjust to nature’s pace. The need to disconnect from our everyday lives and connect to the wilderness is becoming increasingly sought after. We are seeing more people opting for experiences that are good for the soul and not purely for travel consumption. People are also seeking out places where they can disconnect from technology. The idea of disconnecting in order to reconnect has always been a part of Wilderness Safaris’ promise to guests – offering space, intact ecosystems and the opportunity to connect with nature, family and friends – and indeed, yourself.
There is a rise in responsible travellers who hope to create positive change and give back to both conservation and community empowerment. We have recently introduced our “Living the 4Cs” campaign to entrench our sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation and showcase these projects to our guests in a way that imparts knowledge and hopes to influence positive action.
Multigenerational travel continues to grow with more families travelling to Africa. Being in a wilderness area, we can truly ‘disconnect to reconnect’ and enjoy extraordinary areas and experiences together. We have also recently enhanced our Bush Buddy programme for our young guests by launching a new activity-packed interactive children’s booklet called “My Wilderness Journey,” ensuring the safari experience is not only fun but educational for the entire family.
Experiential travel remains popular with active and adventurous travellers looking for unique experiences that go beyond the game drive vehicle. Experiences that are popular include our hot air ballooning safaris in various regions, as well as walking safaris and sleep-outs. Paul Kao, CEO of Tripverse.com says, “People, especially young people, appreciate and prefer experiential travel, by which I mean having a unique experience rather than just going to the landmarks, experiencing a destination like a local, or seeking a secondary city as a destination.” This trend is part of a growing movement of travellers looking to experience travel as authentically as possible.
According to Trip Advisor’s 2016 trends, “globally, 27% of travellers say they have visited a destination because of the culture and people of the specific country.” As globalisation flattens the uniqueness of culture, more travellers to Africa are seeking authentic cultural experiences. Culture plays into every part of our safari experience – from traditional fireside dancing and singing to cultural excursions that give you the opportunity to meet the residents of local communities.
US Sales Manager, Craig Glatthaar also feels that technology trends are also likely to influence the safari business landscape for 2017. “With online booking platforms so key for companies to canvas new buyers, this has led to numerous cross-bookings from, for example, America to the UK. Becoming more ‘mobile’ has also made the promotion of special offers much more spontaneous, allowing companies to showcase attractive pricing almost immediately which can then lead to strong sales. It is vital for the African safari industry to keep up with the growing trends in technology.
We are also seeing growth opportunities from our non-traditional markets such as Asia, with more discerning and independent travellers interested in experiencing an authentic African safari."
We look forward to seeing what lies ahead for us in 2017... Watch this space.