Offbeat destinations, grassroots level food experiences and solo travel are just some of the predictions for 2018’s hottest travel trends, according to Intrepid Travel.
From more grassroots food experiences to travelling on two wheels and avoiding over-touristed destinations, there is one overarching theme for travel in 2018 and that is sustainable travel.
Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton commented on the rising trend, saying that people are increasingly aware of their impact on the places and people that they visit as travellers.
“The Intrepid style of travel has always been to travel the local way: using local accommodation and transport, eating in local restaurants and employing locals. That means that our guests enjoy more authentic experiences while ensuring that a larger share of the money generated through tourism stays where it belongs: in local pockets.”
So just what are those top travel trends for 2018?
Over-tourism driving demand for off the beaten track destinations: Over-tourism is reaching crisis point in major hot spots, prompting Intrepid travellers to increasingly seek out authentic local experiences in lesser known destinations. Instead of adding to the masses in Croatia, in 2018 Intrepid is offering its first tour of Cyprus in 2018, and as an alternative to Tuscany, there are tours to Moldova, home to the world’s largest wine cellar. As travellers increasingly seek new and authentic experiences, travel to the Middle East is also on the rise with Intrepid’s Iran departures increasing by 24 per cent in 2017. In South America, new Intrepid tours take in Suriname and French Guiana. Located between Brazil and Venezuela on South America’s north-eastern coast, these little-known countries are in need of tourism dollars. While in Peru, Intrepid is the first group tour operator offering an itinerary to the lesser known area the Chachapoyas, with astonishing cliff hanging sites and newly discovered mummified bodies.
Savvy travellers reap the benefits of off-season travel: Travellers often take a holiday to escape winter but Intrepid is seeing an increase in holidaymakers flocking to winter destinations to make the most of off-season prices and avoid crowds. A new 12-day US and Canada Discovery Winter trip offers the chance to experience the magic of a white Christmas and new off-season departures for its Canadian Rockies and Northern Lights tour encompass the best of Canada without the crowds. Instead of the over-crowded and over-priced Alps, Intrepid offers a winter itinerary to the Tatra Mountains combining a traditional sleigh ride in Zakopane, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Jasna, a Zalipie village visit and cooking class in Krakow. With Game of Thrones driving travellers to Iceland in droves, Finland in winter offers an alternative Arctic wonderland of pristine peaks, snow-dusted woodlands and the chance to get to know the indigenous Sami people.
Active Aussies seek immersive adventures: Travellers are increasingly wanting to get active, stay healthy and really immerse in a destination, and not just see it from inside a bus. In response to this trend, Intrepid has released a series of hike, bike and raft tours in some of its most popular destinations including the chance to raft along white water rapids on the Ganges in India, ride through tea plantations in Sri Lanka, hike along the famous Nakasendo trail that linked Tokyo and Kyoto in ancient times in Japan, and explore the northern Kathmandu Valley in Nepal on two wheels while continuing to help the quake-stricken country rebuild.
More grassroots level food experiences: Moving away from fine dining in Michelin-starred restaurants, travellers are seeking more authentic food experiences. Ensuring valuable tourist dollars make it into the right hands, Intrepid guests are treated to guided tours of local markets and family feasts around the table in a local’s home. New tours in 2018 include the chance to experience Jamaica like a local from dining with Jamaicans to perusing markets, a spicy sojourn in southern India, a visit to Japan to sample the best sashimi the country has to offer, a tour to far-flung coffee plantations in Peru and in the ultimate Middle East feast, everything from succulent street kebabs to chewy baqlava and a home cooked stew in Iran.
Solo travel will continue to rise: Travel isn’t just for couples and young backpackers anymore. Over 50 per cent of Intrepid’s travellers are solo travellers taking advantage of the ease and safety of group travel to enjoy adventures all around the world. To cater to this demand, Intrepid launched its first dedicated solo traveller trips in 2017 and has added even more in 2018. Sparing solo travellers single supplements, the company’s solo-only trips pair each traveller up with a like-minded companion so everyone shares a room, and the costs. New solo-only tours include Morocco, Vietnam, Bali, India and Peru.
More Aussies experiencing our own Indigenous culture: Australians don’t have to go far to see some of the world’s most untouched wilderness or immerse themselves in the oldest civilisation on Earth. Intrepid is offering the chance for travellers to walk in the footsteps of the Yolngu people’s ancestors in remote East Arnhem Land as the local Indigenous people share their culture, history and traditions. Through the seven-day Journey into East Arnhem Land, Intrepid hopes to see indigenous tourism boom in 2018 and beyond.
After a visit to East Arnhem Land, Thornton said Intrepid was proud to be using its position to expose more Australians to Indigenous culture: “While I spent time in East Arnhem Land, I was able to learn about the land and the environment from a culture who know how to look after it. Sometimes we get a bit carried away with the big vision for changing the way people see the world and forget about looking after our own.
“By working with the local Yolngu people on a sustainable tourism product which offers an accessible and engaging way to explore Arnhem Land, we hope to change the way Australian people look at Indigenous Australia, while providing one of the most special travel experiences available down under,” he said.
As part of its commitment to responsible and sustainable travel, Intrepid carbon offsets travel for its travellers.