Three new markets you might not yet be thinking about
While the lockdowns made many of us feel like it was constantly Ground Hog Day and that time was suspended, they also accelerated some trends.
Visitors change over time. The visitors themselves change, as they go through different life-stages. The type of visitors each area attracts change too. Places with a niche appeal become more mainstream. Hidden gems become known. Well-loved destinations can fall out of fashion.
The reasons why we travel, make decisions to visit an attraction or try an activity change too. Over the next couple of years I think we're going to see an increase in three kinds of visitor:
Change your life tourism
As house prices testify, there has been an exodus from cities into the countryside, with more and more people thinking they might like to live in a greener area. This is well documented in the media, but there's been less coverage of a related trend: people who are thinking twice about their career, how they live their life, whether they want to work in an office or from home, the relative importance of time and money, who they want to spend time with.
At some stage this will impact on the tourism industry, as visitors seek to spend time in different areas, taking time out to consider what they'll do next, perhaps staying in holiday accommodation for a while to investigate the lifestyle they might enjoy somewhere else.
The great benefit of "change your life tourism" is that it can happen out of season, and it can encourage longer stays.
An increasing number of people now work from home and spend their working hours online. The lockdowns have demonstrated that they don't need to go into an office and can manage without too many in-person meetings. So now they're realising that they might not need to live in a fixed place. There's very little preventing them from renting somewhere for an extended stay and working from there.
Digital nomads are often associated with younger travellers in exotic locations, but that's set to change. Expect people at every age range and stage of life enjoying more extended stays in different locations, working from 'home'. All that's needed is a good wifi connection and comfortable desk and chair.
We associate trend-setting with forward-thinking but not every trend looks to the future. Some look back.
During uncertain times, the power of nostalgia grows as people try to anchor themselves to what they might perceive as better times. This can lead to nostalgic short breaks and holidays, either going back to places we once enjoyed or introducing our own off-spring to childhood haunts. It's a useful trend for well-established destinations looking to re-vitalise themselves.