HOL­I­DAY LIKE IT’S 2019

Gaze into the fu­ture of travel

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - COVER STORY - DILVIN YASA

There’s a cer­tain dis­ap­point­ment in learn­ing there are no crys­tal balls or jewel-en­crusted wiz­ard sleeves when it comes to mak­ing pre­dic­tions about the way we’ll travel in 2019, but Vir­tu­oso Asia Pa­cific manag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Lon­dregan swears he has some­thing much more pow­er­ful at his fin­ger­tips: data­bases.

“Not as ex­cit­ing (as crys­tal balls) I’m sure, but a far more ef­fec­tive tool in let­ting in­dus­try in­sid­ers know what’s boom­ing on the hori­zon,” he laughs. “Our sys­tems tell us well in ad­vance what’s be­ing searched for, what’s be­ing booked, and our sup­pli­ers and ad­vis­ers give us reg­u­lar feed­back so we know ex­actly what to ex­pect mov­ing for­ward.”

So, what’s on the hori­zon for 2019?

BUB­BLE TENTS

Pesky walls ob­scur­ing your view? The global sat­u­ra­tion of bub­ble tents will take care of that, pop­ping up around the world in the way of Bub­ble Ho­tel Bali in Uluwatu and Bub­ble­tent Aus­tralia.

On the wish list? The Beach Bub­ble tent in lux­u­ri­ous Mal­di­vian re­sort Fi­nolhu – a cus­tom-de­signed mas­ter­piece fit­ted with wood­en­floors, be­spoke fur­nish­ings and ev­ery crea­ture com­fort you could ever need.

FI­NOLHU.COM

WE’RE SEE­ING SIG­NIF­I­CANT IN­TER­EST IN COUN­TRIES WHICH OF­FER UNIQUE LO­CAL DIN­ING AND COOK­ING OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES

CANADA

Whether you’re dream­ing of a jour­ney on the Rocky Moun­taineer train or a dog sled across the Yukon, you’re in good com­pany: ac­cord­ing to TripAd­vi­sor, the des­ti­na­tion with the largest year-on-year in­crease in unique searches by Aussie trav­ellers falls north of the US. The data makes sense, says Bren­dan Sawyers, gen­eral man­ager of We­b­jet Ex­clu­sives.

“The con­trast of moun­tains, lakes and glaciers is so unique when com­pared to any­thing we find at home, and com­bined rail and cruise tours are the per­fect way to make the most of it.”

TRIPAD­VI­SOR.COM.AU, EX­CLU­SIVES.WE­B­JET.COM.AU

CULI­NARY TOURS

Fancy your­self to be a bit of a Gor­don Ram­say? Rather than a swag of cook­books at Christ­mas to im­prove your ef­fin’ skills, you’ll be far more likely to travel over­seas to delve deep into lo­cal cuisines, cook­ing schools, food tours and pro­duce trails.

“There’s no bet­ter way to get to know a coun­try and its cul­ture than through its food,” ex­plains James Thorn­ton, In­trepid Group CEO. “And as we in­creas­ingly travel in line with our per­sonal in­ter­ests, we’re see­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in coun­tries which of­fer a plethora of unique lo­cal din­ing and cook­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.” INTREPIDTRAVEL.COM.AU

DEEP-DIVE HOL­I­DAYS

Gone are the days of buy­ing the whole al­bum to get those two songs you like; mov­ing for­ward we’ll see the slow fade of “nine cities in nine days” tour­ing, and in­stead turn our fo­cus on ex­plor­ing one par­tic­u­lar town or re­gion for a lengthy pe­riod of time, Vir­tu­oso’s Michael Lon­dregan says. “In other words, you might pay a lit­tle more to down­load those two songs, but you’ll lis­ten to them over and over again with pas­sion.”

VIR­TU­OSO.COM

EX­PE­DI­TION CRUIS­ING

Take a cou­ple of po­lar caps, add a grow­ing num­ber of smaller, ul­tra­lux­u­ri­ous ships and itin­er­ar­ies and you have the teeth-chat­ter­ing ad­ven­ture of a life­time – one more peo­ple will be lin­ing up to ex­pe­ri­ence, says Cassie Lee, prod­uct man­ager Cruise for Hel­loworld Travel. “As travel has be­come more af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble, many trav­ellers feel they’ve ‘been there, done that’ and they’re look­ing for some­thing un­touched and for­eign. Aus­tralians are ad­ven­tur­ous by na­ture, and ex­pe­di­tion cruis­ing caters to those de­sires,” she says.

For a side of Alaskan brrr, check out UnCruise Ad­ven­tures through Hel­loworld – small ships which

AUS­TRALIANS ARE AD­VEN­TUR­OUS BY NA­TURE, AND EX­PE­DI­TION CRUIS­ING CATERS TO THOSE DE­SIRES

spe­cialise in the Alaskan coast­line, or Hol­land Amer­ica Line’s Alaskan In­side Pas­sage cruise – a seven-day sail per­fect for first-timers.

HEL­LOWORLD.COM.AU, HOL­LANDAMER­ICA.COM

FE­MALE-FRIENDLY EX­PE­DI­TIONS

Fancy a bit of sis­terly sol­i­dar­ity? The year 2019 will be your year. Not only is the world’s first fe­males-only (and su­per-con­tro­ver­sial) Su­perShe Is­land now open for busi­ness, but womenonly tours and ex­pe­di­tions are surg­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. Check out In­trepid’s Women-Only Ex­pe­di­tions – tours de­signed to help fe­male trav­ellers en­joy de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and sup­port lo­cal women along the way.

GREEN UR­BAN SPA­CES

What could stop an age­ing ’80s rocker from hurl­ing a tele­vi­sion from his ho­tel room? Try a plant-rich space fea­tur­ing a trop­i­cal roof gar­den and ivy-strewn din­ing room walls.

Yes, pay­ing close at­ten­tion to countless stud­ies which show green spa­ces sig­nif­i­cantly de­crease stress, im­prove air qual­ity and – ac­cord­ing to one study – in­flu­ence ho­tel guests to leave more pos­i­tive re­views, ho­tels around the world are un­veil­ing such spa­ces and keep­ing their TVs in­tact.

Check out The Shang­hai Edi­tion in Shang­hai and Hud­son Ho­tel in New York City for in­spi­ra­tion. EDITIONHOTELS.COM, MORGANSHOTELGROUP.COM

GET­TING OFF THE TOURIST PATH

As tourism caps con­tinue to be rolled out in high-traf­fic des­ti­na­tions, trav­ellers will keep look­ing (and book­ing) out­side the box, by­pass­ing the likes of Paris for An­twerp and Bali for Ethiopia.

The de­sire for au­then­tic­ity is a trend also show­ing do­mes­tic prom­ise, says Hans Belle, In­spir­ing Jour­neys manag­ing di­rec­tor . “Whether it’s hav­ing lunch with a fam­ily of dairy farm­ers out in the coun­try, or stay­ing in the mid­dle of a pris­tine na­tional park, we’re af­ter jour­neys to in­spire a life­time of sto­ry­telling.”

AATKINGS.COM

INSTAGRAMMABILITY

Get your duck face on and #blessed hash­tag at the ready; we’ll all be re­ly­ing on our feeds to help guide fu­ture trav­els, ac­cord­ing to Ex­pe­dia’s re­cent #like­to­travel re­port which found that one in four trav­ellers al­ready picks hol­i­day spots based on so­cial me­dia posts, and 67 per cent go by “Instagrammability” when choos­ing hol­i­days.

An­thony Gold­man, Gold­man Group joint manag­ing di­rec­tor, says the trend is on an up­ward tra­jec­tory – and cyclic. “Not only is it about the abil­ity to doc­u­ment travel ex­pe­ri­ences on so­cial me­dia, but ho­tels are cre­at­ing more and more In­sta­grammable ex­pe­ri­ences as well.”

EX­PE­DIA.COM.AU, GOLDMANTRAVEL.COM.AU

JA­PAN

Blame it on the Rugby World Cup next year, in­ter­est sur­round­ing the 2020 Olympics or the coun­try’s epic snow sea­son, but Ja­pan is hot­ter than hell and only go­ing to get more … hellish.

“Ob­vi­ously Ja­pan is con­sid­ered a safe des­ti­na­tion and it’s got a cul­ture and cui­sine that Aus­tralians re­ally re­spond to,” says Chris Malina, head of air trad­ing, Hel­loworld Travel. “But we also have four di­rect air­lines now ser­vic­ing the Aus­tralia to Ja­pan route, which means fares have never been so com­pet­i­tive.” Ac­cord­ing to Ja­pan Na­tional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion, 440,000 Aus­tralians vis­ited in 2017 – al­most dou­ble the fig­ures from 2012.

MORE HOL­I­DAYS

Call a meet­ing with HR pronto: rather than plan an an­nual pil­grim­age as in days of old, we’ll all be lock­ing in not one, but TWO solid hol­i­days a year, re­veals We­b­jet Ex­clu­sives’ Bren­dan Sawyers. “Es­sen­tially, our cus­tomers can now af­ford to have a two-hol­i­day year and they’re at times happy to forgo the ex­pen­sive Lake View room know­ing they’re spend­ing their day out en­joy­ing the des­ti­na­tion, not sit­ting in a ho­tel room.”

NON-STOP FLIGHTS

Whether it’s the Qan­tas Perth to Lon­don Heathrow flight, or Qatar’s Auck­land to Doha (both of them more than 17 hours’ flight du­ra­tion); air­lines will con­tinue to roll out non­stop, long-haul flights, cut­ting out stopover stress and crazed de­par­ture lounge Olympic an­tics. Our ad­vice? Opt for busi­ness class or premium.

PER­SON­ALISED TOURS

One-size-fits-all tours have their place, but a grow­ing num­ber of us are will­ing to pay a lit­tle more for a premium prod­uct tai­lored ex­clu­sively to our likes, dis­likes and per­sonal in­ter­ests.

A solid ex­am­ple of what to ex­pect can be found with APT’s Tai­lor Made Jour­neys – avail­able across its Africa, Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and South Amer­ica pro­grams.

“You can de­sign each el­e­ment of your itin­er­ary in­clud­ing de­par­ture dates, lo­ca­tions, du­ra­tion, modes of travel, sight­see­ing op­tions and ho­tels,” says APT CEO Steve Reynolds of the fully es­corted tours.

APTOURING.COM.AU

RIVER CRUIS­ING

Dis­re­gard no­tions of the Danube or Rhine be­ing for the more se­nior trav­eller; ac­cord­ing to Cruise Lines In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion, in­ter­est in river cruis­ing is through the roof – par­tic­u­larly with Mil­len­ni­als. “For Scenic, I wouldn’t go as far as say­ing Mil­len­ni­als, but we’re cer­tainly see­ing an in­crease in younger guests,” says Mandy Dwyer, from Scenic Tours.

IN­CREAS­INGLY, COU­PLES PRE­FER TO EN­JOY SIG­NIF­I­CANTLY DIF­FER­ENT HOL­I­DAYS SEP­A­RATELY

“Food and wine is a com­mon in­ter­est across all ages,” she says.

“Scenic also of­fers ac­tiv­i­ties to suit all abil­i­ties so you can ei­ther go hik­ing through the Black For­est or take a bak­ing class in Nurem­berg – there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one.”

CRUIS­ING.ORG, SCENIC.COM.AU

SMALL GROUP TOUR­ING

Call­ing time on the joy that is wait­ing for 50-odd peo­ple on your tour to take the “right” In­sta­gram shot, is the rise (and rise) of in­ti­mate group tour­ing.

For the first time, Bus­about has launched all-new Small Group Ad­ven­tures (seven guided trips of no more than 20 peo­ple), as has Col­lette whose new small group Ex­plo­rations tours al­low trav­ellers to stay in bou­tique – and unique – places such as igloos and lodges.

“Small is an in­no­va­tion,” says Gold­man Group’s An­thony Gold­man of the trend. “Not only is it about per­son­al­i­sa­tion – you can get into dif­fer­ent gal­leries and pri­vate Vat­i­can open­ings – it grants flex­i­bil­ity.”

BUS­ABOUT.COM, GOCOLLETTE.COM.AU

SOLO TRAVEL

Dream­ing of a week off from your part­ner’s nascent snor­ing or child’s in­ces­sant whin­ing? Al­though multi­gen­er­a­tional and skip-gen hol­i­days are lead­ing 2019 travel trends, you won’t be sur­prised to learn solo tour­ing is not too far be­hind, with tour op­er­a­tors such as Wendy Wu and Col­lette of­fer­ing a solid range of trips for those who’d pre­fer to go it alone.

“One part of it is about meet­ing de­mand for our chang­ing fam­ily de­mo­graph­ics but, in­creas­ingly, we’re also see­ing cou­ples who pre­fer to en­joy sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent hol­i­days sep­a­rately,” Col­lette head of mar­ket­ing James Hewlett says.

WENDYWUTOURS.COM.AU

SRI LANKA

With its nat­u­ral beauty (hello end­less beaches!), bur­geon­ing din­ing scene, time­less ru­ins and su­per-cheap prices, Aussies by the planeload will be head­ing to sunny Sri Lanka in 2019.

“Aware­ness of this beau­ti­ful coun­try is grow­ing with re­opened train routes mak­ing it pos­si­ble to ex­pe­ri­ence in­cred­i­bly scenic land­scapes that haven’t been avail­able to tourists for over 25 years,” says Sri Lanka fan, Ran­dall Deer, founder and manag­ing di­rec­tor of My Hol­i­day Cen­tre. “Plus, di­rect flights from Aus­tralia have made the coun­try more ac­ces­si­ble than ever.”

Cather­ine Kelly, na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager for Bun­nick Tours, agrees the coun­try is hot hot, hot, but adds trav­ellers must act quickly to catch it at its best. “If you want to ex­pe­ri­ence au­then­tic Sri Lanka, this is the year to do it.”

MYHOLIDAYCENTRE.COM.AU, BUNNICKTOURS.COM.AU

SUS­TAIN­ABLE TOURISM

Re­duc­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­prints will be one of the key trends of 2019, with ho­tel chains and tour op­er­a­tors work­ing hand-in-hand with guests to min­imise the im­pact of global travel.

Club Med, for ex­am­ple, has suc­cess­fully re­moved straws across all of its Asian re­sorts with a view to re­mov­ing them from all 68 re­sorts world­wide by 2019, while Trafal­gar has re­moved all sin­gleuse plas­tics from tours and in­tro­duced a sys­tem where a tree is planted ev­ery time a guest opts for elec­tronic doc­u­men­ta­tion.

“We also pro­vide me­tal wa­ter bot­tles for guests and only choose part­ners whose (en­vi­ron­men­tal) prac­tices are in line with our own,” says Matthew Cameron-Smith, Trafal­gar Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor.

CLUBMED.COM.AU

TURKEY

Af­ter a rough few years, coun­tries such as Turkey, Iran and Egypt are once again feel­ing the love as Aus­tralians turn the other cheek on fear­mon­ger­ing news re­ports and head back to these ex­otic na­tions in droves.

Ac­cord­ing to In­trepid, in Septem­ber 2018, Turkey en­joyed a 132 per cent in­crease in visi­tors to its minaret-tipped cities com­pared with Septem­ber 2017, and with tours such as In­sight Va­ca­tions and cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean head­ing back in 2019, num­bers will con­tinue to rise.

INSIGHTVACATIONS.COM, ROYALCARIBBEAN.COM

VILLA LIFE

Feel a lit­tle claus­tro­pho­bic in ho­tel rooms which fol­low the stan­dard busi­ness trav­eller model? Breathe easy; we’re about to see an in­crease in villa-style ac­com­mo­da­tion, Vir­tu­oso’s Michael Lon­dregan says.

“We’re trav­el­ling in larger groups and of­ten with our fam­i­lies, so prop­er­ties are in­vest­ing heav­ily in of­fer­ing op­tions which suit these groups, from town­houses with kitch­enettes to multi-room vil­las.”

WELL­NESS BREAKS

If your idea of well­ness is to drop and do 20 … dough­nuts, you could be in for a shock. A re­port from Book­ing.com re­veals nearly one in five trav­ellers in 2018 sought hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions based around hik­ing, walk­ing, spa and re­lax­ation and it’s a trend show­ing an up­ward tra­jec­tory.

On the ground, new ho­tel The Westin Bris­bane is on-trend, serv­ing up a two-floor well­ness cen­tre and “run concierge” (a res­i­dent run­ning buddy), while on a Scenic ves­sel, guests can make the most of their ebikes on shore ex­cur­sions.

“It’s not like the gym,” says Scenic Tours’ Mandy Dwyer. “You’re rid­ing around cas­tles and or­chards, so it’s lots of fun.”

There’s still no word on when “eat­ing bud­dies” and “drink­ing bud­dies” will start trend­ing, but we’re putting our money on 2020.

MARRRIOTT.COM

PIC­TURES: TSMIC, IS­TOCK

Unique lodg­ings such as Bub­ble Tents at Fi­nolhu, Mal­dives, and des­ti­na­tions such as Sri Lanka and South Africa are cre­at­ing a buzz for those want­ing to get off the beaten track in 2019.

PIC­TURES: JO­HAN LO­LOS/ DES­TI­NA­TION CANADA, OCVB, IS­TOCK

Moun­tains, lakes and glaciers have Aussies flock­ing to Canada; Ja­pan is hot­ter than ever, and Turkey is back in the spot­light.

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