5 Travel Trends Expected to Ride the Waves in 2016
Combining what we are seeing at Connie George Travel Associates along with what’s been making the news within the travel industry, I’ve put together a list of the top five travel trends shaping up for 2016.
♦ Multi-Generation Travel
There’s been a growing trend of three or four generations traveling together. We’ve always had instances of a couple of cabins with one containing grandparents, and a second cabin for their adult child, child’s spouse and grandchildren. But we’ve seen a quickly growing trend toward 4-8 cabins with grandparents, their children, all of the grandchildren and sometimes even the blessing of being able to have great-grandparents traveling together.
♦ Conference & Retreat Group Cruises
Conferences and retreats have been popular for decades. As companies and speakers compete against other items drawing the financial and time budgets from the people in their market, it’s becoming even more important to stack multiple features and benefits of coming to their program. This is creating an increasing growth in land programs being moved to cruise ships for coaching speakers and programs involving personal growth in particular. Attendees see even more reasons to say “yes” when the meeting is at sea.
♦ Travel to Cuba
Considering how long the border’s been closed by the United States for her citizens to visit this island country, it’s now opening up quickly. Though there are still restrictions, the pent-up interest for what’s been “forbidden fruit” as well as hearing stories of past generations’ vacation recollections that have been shared, American travelers are excited about getting to Cuba. They will be traveling there by joining escorted tours involving people-to-people programs and humanitarian cruises through cruise lines like Fathom.
♦ Volunteer Cruising
There is a history of cruise groups bringing items like books for schools or wheelchairs for organizations in ports being visited and also of religious groups doing advance planning to help local inhabitants in some way, often with the help of a local church. But a growing trend, mostly due to the interest of Millennials, is volunteer travel and volunteerism cruising. With mainstream cruising, guests plan in advance to donate their time in one or more ports through an organized program. This can be a task involving pushing your sleeves up to do some building or gardening, or assisting with a program involving elderly residents, children or animals. Some cruise lines have recently started adding “volunteer” excursions and one of our popular third party excursion operators, ShoreTrips, has embraced offering volunteer programs in ports . We also have the previously mentioned Fathom operating humanitarian cruises to Cuba and Dominican Republic.
♦ Cruise Prices Increasing
We are seeing a slight but steady increase in cruise pricing because ships are filling. But the good news for consumers is that cruise prices have not kept up with inflation. A cruise in the 1970’s and 1980’s took up a larger percentage of a consumer’s income than it does now. There are a lot of great bargains to be had with the importance being on what the consumer is getting for their vacation dollars. As long as the value is there for the vacation budget being spent, cruising will continue to be a very popular vacation option which is why cruise lines are building so many new ships.
If you would like to discuss a vacation or group cruise involving a conference, volunteering, multi-generation or Cuba, contact us. I would be happy to discuss these trends further with you!
Happy New Year and Happy Traveling!