In our hyper-connected existence of the 21st century, the world seems to shrink in size a little bit every day. The Internet and the ubiquity of mobile devices as well as social media networks in combination with the ready availability of affordable flights have largely erased the boundaries of the planet. The only obstacles to traveling anywhere on Earth now are mostly political in nature. The prevailing global tourism conditions have spawned a number of current trends in travel and are also influencing destination choices as well.
Just what exactly constitutes adventure travel is evolving currently. Adventure travel was previously reserved for adrenaline junkies seeking thrills, but is now considered a much wider travel category. Adventure travelers are now seeking experiences with new and different cultures, especially in locations off the well-trodden paths made by many other tourists in more traditional destinations.
Social Media - Opening Minds
Social media is clearly having an impact upon travel destination decisions. Social networks are opening the minds of travelers to destinations which they might have stayed away from in the past or been uninformed regarding a particular locale. For example, research from a number of travel companies has indicated an increased interest by tourists in under-traveled countries such as Poland, Belarus, and Moldova among many other nations.
A considerable number of travelers have grown weary of traditional destinations. Even within countries that have historically experienced large influxes of tourists, travelers are seeking off-the-beaten path experiences. Tour operators are beginning to offer trips to parts of countries previously unexplored by outsiders. A great example is in India where many parts of the vast Asian nation are regularly traveled, but not the remote northeastern part of the country. Now tourists are beginning to discover the rugged beauty of the region, thanks to the opportunities provided by bold tour companies.
From former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan to far-flung locales like Borneo, Ethiopia and Paraguay, the world is beginning to open up more completely to travel, and hotel brands are taking note. Worldwide hotel chains are now opening or are planning to open properties in previously underdeveloped destinations. Much of this trend toward opening up new and exciting destinations is also being motivated by a rather troubling reality. In many of the destinations which have traditionally enjoyed robust tourism and become massively popular, a new term has been created called over tourism.
In part two of this series we will see how over tourism is ruining many of the world’s most beloved destinations and how hotels can offer some relief from the situation.