Trends for 2017 will be changing our mindset on travel with new ways to see and experience the World.

In the modern mind-set, travel is overtaking designer handbags and sports cars as the ultimately lifestyle accessory. Idealistic depictions of wanderlust, dreamy photos on Instagram and a growing thirst for adventure have made the travel industry one of the success stories of recent years. To capitalise on people’s enthusiasm for travel and willingness to try new things, travel providers have had to come up with innovative ideas to keep ahead of the competition.

So where will this innovation take us in 2017? Here’s the predicted travel trends for the coming year.

Continued Rise of Sharing Tourism

Services such as “community marketplace” Airbnb (where people host tourists in their properties throughout the world) dominate the travel industry, and in 2017 the sharing economy is bound to take a bigger hold. People are increasingly more enticed by immersive travel experiences – where they get to meet the locals, stay in unique places and dive into the culture – than “sleep by the pool” holidays. This is something the sharing economy can provide.

The very top end of the market is catered to by the exclusive property investment fund The Hideaways Club, who let members enjoy luxurious holiday homes on a shared basis. For those with a tighter budget and desire to see their destination through the eyes of a local, Homestay gives people the chance to stay with a full-time resident of the area their visiting. With the sharing economy offering unique experiences, 2017 is likely to see a further move away from traditional travel providers.

Increased Popularity for Wellness Experiences

Wellness travel is growing 50% faster than regular travel, and is closely related to the flourishing health and wellness market. Various health trends (from clean eating to hot yoga) have increased public awareness of wellness, and people want the glowing skin and calm outlook of the bloggers and stars of this industry. Furthermore, people are becoming more conscious of the impact holidays can have on their health and stress levels, with jet-lag, overindulgence and baking in the sun taking its toll.

Wellness experiences, such as yoga retreats, detox juice holidays and fitness travel, promise to rejuvenate and de-stress the people who go on them, leading to…

Transformative Travel

The concept of experiential travel, where people become immersed in a culture, meaningfully interact with locals and feel like an explorer rather than a tourist, has been firmly established in the industry for a while now. Transformative travel is the next step, and involves holidays that create a physical transformation, shift in perspective or spiritual awakening – or indeed all three. A meditation retreat, for example, may profoundly change its attendees, but this trend isn’t confined to wellness. Adventure holidays, staying with locals or touring little-known parts of the world may all have similar effects.

Polar Exploration

For more adventurous travellers, especially those who are lucky enough to travel regularly, finding novelty can be difficult. Furthermore, there’s been increased focus on “last chance to see it” travel, where a warming planet has put some striking landscapes in imminent danger of transforming forever.  These things combined have led to a new fascination in polar travel.

Record low levels of summer ice mean that more boats have been touring the Northern polar region, full of travellers who want to experience this stark and otherworldly place – ironically exacerbating the environmental issues that are endangering this delicate Arctic landscape.

Virtual Reality

Incorporating virtual reality into something that’s meant to be an amazing real-life experience may seem like a strange idea, yet it seems VR is becoming a key part of the industry. During the booking process, virtual reality can act as an immersive “try before you fly” visual brochure, giving people the chance to have a look around before they head off somewhere. Then, once on holiday, virtual reality continues to enhance the experience.

A virtual reality headset in the hotel room has the capability of welcoming travellers to the area with an introductory show reel, or give them insider tips on nearby treasures and things to look out for. With a VR rig, a diving instructor could allow the family and friends of holidaymakers go diving along with them, and the evenings where you’re too jet-lagged or tired to leave the hotel room can be made more entertaining with virtual reality tours or concerts.

As a fairly new technology, it’s difficult to say exactly how it may be applied, but 2017 is bound to shed more light on the potential of virtual reality.

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