In light of the current state of the global economy, people will want to cut down on expenses, while still enjoying the leisure and relaxation afforded by tourism. Here are the Top 10 2009 Tourism Trends, which include several options for the cash-strapped consumer:
1. Domestic tourism—This year will see a boost in domestic tourism as tourists will go around their own countries more than flying to another. This is one of the cheapest ways to travel and may help balance out the anticipated lack in foreign tourists.
2. Travel to nearby countries—As many people still want to explore countries other than their own, the next best thing is going to neighboring countries where they’re not expected to spend as much as a jet-setting spree. Europeans may go backpacking across their continent; Americans may go either north or south; and Asians may island-hop around the tropics.
3. Faith tourism—Sabbaticals, pilgrimage, and other religious tourism subcategories are among the top travel choices this year, along with the usual religious sites. Also popular are personal spiritual vacations where the travelers meditate and “self-help.”
4. Cultural/historical tours—People, especially those tracing their roots, will also be drawn to cultural and historical tours. Parents will be keen to take their kids on these types of tours, supposedly in hopes to keep them connected with their heritage. These historical attractions are often free of charge, as well.
5. Camping—A very cheap vacation option is more preferred this year to replace five-star resorts. This comes in the form of camping.
6. Nature trips—More folk will be interested to go on nature trips and explore the great outdoors and may even take part in adventurous activities like white water rafting and rappelling. The primary purposes of this kind of tourism are education, nature-appreciation, and retreat from city life.
7. Eco-friendly hotels—Environmental issues awareness comes into play even more as educated tourists choose accommodations that are certified green. Environmental responsibility is now a selling point and hospitality associations worldwide are advocating the implementation of eco-friendliness in hotels, inns, and resorts.
8. Visitation—More people will also choose to travel to countries where they have relatives in and most likely stay with them, instead of going to hotels. This will be less luxurious but is a sensible alternative for the budget-conscious.
9. Virtual tourism—The Internet will play a major role in people’s itineraries. Three-dimensional imaging of places will be important in planning one’s trip. Also, travelers are seeking economical alternatives, deals, and packages—thus, the emergence of more travel agency Web sites.
10. Asia—Because they’re relatively cheaper than Europe or the Americas, Asian countries will be popular tourist destinations in 2009. Other countries that are of interest include Turkey, Ireland, Syria, Egypt, and New Zealand.