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The Experiential Factor

Cox&Kings presents the top travel experiences that will gain momentum in 2018

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Peter Kerkar, Group CEO, Cox & Kings Ltd

The New Year brings with its new forecast of travel patterns, trends and popular destinations that may emerge winners. Peter Kerkar, Group CEO, Cox & Kings Ltd in this trend reports talks about popular destinations and trends that will shape our travel behaviour in 2018. While destinations will continue to determine the kind of trips one wants to take, one cannot ignore that immersive experiences will take precedence over destinations. The new generation is looking for experiences that are defined by their personality, interests and style, most of which have been evolving over the years but will find a definite pattern as we move towards 2018.

Glamping:

The growing need for experiential travel has made way for Glamping or Glamorous camping lately. Travellers want to be a part of immersive experiences without compromising on luxuries, and glamping is the perfect marriage of luxurious accommodation and in-destination experiences.  With glamping taking various forms – think Canvas tents at TUTC in the mountains of Ladakh, Safari lodges in the thick forests of Masaai Mara in Africa, igloo pods in Swiss Alpes or floating cabins on the coast of Cambodia,  Glamping, clearly is one of the most popular travel segments the coming year.

Genealogy:

Technology has made this world smaller and easier to connect with people from different destinations.  The curiosity to know more about the world and about oneself, their past, legacy, and ancestral history has given birth to the concept of ‘tracing your roots’. Given a large Indian diaspora population has been living in different continents for years, there is a sudden rise in third generation travellers, travelling to their ancestral properties back in India and experiencing their cultural roots. Tracing one’s family back home while exploring other destinations around is fast catching up with the new age traveller.

River Cruising

Cruising in the high seas, has its own charm, what with large cruise liners wooing travellers with luxurious offerings. The evolved traveller has now moved on to more intimate experiences such as river and canal cruises in India and Europe. Experiencing unparalleled comfort while exploring the heart of magnificent hinterlands in River cruises will be the flavour of 2018. Exploring magnificent cities in France as one sails in its inland waters like Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon and Lyon to experience France’s beauty intimately or gliding along Russia’s river waters to explore Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kuzino and Kizhi. River Cruising has piqued the interest of travellers.

Culinary Tours:

While culinary trips as part of larger holidays are already in place, what will emerge in the coming year is Food tours that will not only focus on dining or food tasting but rather delve more into the cooking style, history of cuisines, local flavours and tradition. Gourmet travellers looking to connect with the history and culture are joining local chefs in Spain for hands-on cooking lessons, taking wine tours around Tuscany to learn about fresh produces. The appetite for food and travel is only going to get bigger.

Voluntourism

In a quest to balance social good in everything they do, Millennial, the largest generation is blending purpose with leisure. Contributing to change in its true sense is becoming a new norm for this generation of most frequent travellers. Being environmentally and socially conscious travellers are facilitating Voluntourism across countries like South Africa, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Peru and Mexico to name a few.

Destinations that are shrinking

Climate Change, the unfortunate phenomenon is leading to thawing of glaciers and significant permafrost, islands to submerge, marine ecology to vanish while displacing locales. While the world is working to reverse effects, some iconic places on earth stay threatened. An increased number of tourists will visit the Dead Sea in Israel, The Alps in Europe, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Wineries in America and Archipelagos around the world in 2018 before climate change takes over.

Extreme Adventure

As travellers are spreading into the last unexplored corners of the globe, the demand for bigger, better, and more adventurous experiences is skyrocketing. Pushing travel boundaries with extreme adventure is in vogue. Tough expeditions are being fast taken up such as Ice cycling in Mongolia, Trekking through ice in search of snow leopards in Spiti, Cruising in Antarctica, Mountain cycling in Bhutan, rafting in remote rivers, taking advanced open water courses in Philippines and frozen river treks in Indus valley among many others.

Wellness

Wellness will emerge as people focus more on improving their physical and emotional well-being by travelling for meditation, spa, yoga, Ayurveda massages and bathing in mineral rich water bodies for rejuvenation. Travellers will take detox breaks in the foothills of Himalayas, indulge in spa treatments in Thailand or Bali and rejuvenate through ayurvedic treatments in Gods own country, Kerala.