2018 Holiday Trends Take Centre Stage At Travel Expo


Skip-gen travel, the demand for personalisation and travel product innovation are among travel trends in the international leisure travel space for 2018.

Although not as prevalent in South Africa, many of these trends are being translated into the travel product and destinations that locals are selecting for their holidays in 2018. Take cruising, for example. The demand for personalised experiences is one of the driving forces behind such cruising innovations as Freestyle cruising by Norwegian Cruise Lines, where travellers are no longer confined to a first or second sitting at dinner. With no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating, cruise passengers can choose when they want to eat, and even where they want to eat. And the innovation in the travel space will continue well into 2018.

“Today’s travellers want to travel the world on their own terms. A once-size-fits-all approach no longer appeals, so travel companies have to re-define their holidays to reflect a level of flexibility and increased ancillary options so that even a guided holiday can be molded to support specific interests,” explains Andrew Stark, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) Middle East and Africa MD.

Multi-generational travel – where mom, dad, kids, granny and grandpa travel together – have been popular for some time. Flight Centre is now seeing the advent of skip-gen travel, where baby boomer grandparents take their grandchildren on epic holidays, usually to celebrate a milestone such as a special birthday or graduation.

“We’re also seeing travel companies re-invent tried and tested travel experiences to appeal to younger generations, like airlines targeting the millennial generation and even cruise lines focusing their experiences on younger travellers,” says Stark.

“Then, we must not forget the new Gen Z generation, who by 2020 will account for 40% of all consumers with disposable income to travel. Their travel will be defined not by what is available. Rather, they will travel based on what they can create.”

We also have the trend towards the desire to travel for purpose among South Africans. “In travel, we refer to the 5Cs of travel: a group of principles that engage consumers emotionally and physically before, during and after their trip.

“This includes culture through heritage and performance art; cuisine where travellers seek out culinary experiences as a hallmark of their holiday; community through story-telling; content in the form of marketing; and customisation, allowing travellers to craft their own unique travel experiences.”

According to Sue Garrett, FCTG South Africa Product and Marketing General Manager Popular destinations on the horizon for 2018 include the usual favourites like Mauritius, Zanzibar and Thailand.

“Although much of what will happen in 2018 depends on the economy, South Africans tend to look for destinations that offer value for money and do not pose a threat to safety. We are starting to see from our data that the Middle East, Italy, USA and new destinations like Sri Lanka are starting to spark interest. South Africans are looking to experience new places.”

At this year’s Travel Expo, an estimated 150 travel exhibitors will bring their best deals to the table for these and an array of other destinations.

Up to 25,000 visitors are expected to attend to vie for an array of travel prizes, including flights, holidays, hotel stays, tours, cruises and more. And to get a taste of the myriad of travel destinations and travel trends that will hit our shores in 2018, special Travel Talks have been included in the line-up.

The Travel Expo is the annual travel event that brings affordable travel to the South African consumer. Visitors won’t find more South African travel companies showcasing what they offer under one roof on one weekend, including such airlines as South African Airways, Emirates and Air Mauritius; tour operators like Beachcomber, Club Med and Trafalgar; and cruise lines, including NCL, MSC and Royal Caribbean, among other renowned travel brands.

Consumers will also encounter an extensive array of local holiday options, December breaks, school holiday specials and savings of up to 50% on selected flights and tours.

Entrance is R50 per adult and free for children under the age of 16. To buy tickets please visit: https://tickets.tixsa.co.za/event/travel-exp0 Pre-register on www.travelexpo.co.za for entry into prize draws and further information.