Travel Trends for 2017

Posted in Consumer Promotions and Loyalty, Travel Promotions, Unique Experiences

by Chris Baldwin on Jul 17, 2017 3:00:00 PM

What brands need to know for successful travel promotions

We reveal all as we take a look at the travel trends dominating 2017 and beyond…

2016 was an eventful  year for the travel industry. We saw the growth of city breaks as a go-to escape, with European trips from British tourists leaping up 9% from 2015. Wellness tourism also continued to gain traction, with the industry’s growth opening the door to a diversification in health-centric trips and activities. 

Now, in summer 2017, we take a look at a number of different trends reports to help you gauge the biggest shifts in travel, and inform your next travel promotion.

Where are people travelling to? What’s the reality of modern tourism? And what can we learn?  

Places to watch

At the turn of the year ABTA, gave us 12 destinations to watch, ranging from "rejuvenated old favourite" Andalucía, to the beautiful southern Indian state Kerala and "the deserts, jungles, pounding surf and spectacular flora" of South Africa.

It’s a diverse spread, to say the least! Each destination has its own charm and distinctive cultural pull, definitely deserving of the attention they’re getting - and not just from keen travellers.

For brands looking to include a travel prize in their next promotional campaign, there’s a chance to take some serious inspiration. Here’s the Destinations to Watch shortlist in full:

  1. Andalucía
  2. The Azores
  3. Bermuda
  4. Chile
  5. County Kerry
  6. Croatia
  7. Denmark
  8. Kerala
  9. Sardinia
  10. South Africa
  11. USA  – The Southern States
  12. Vietnam

2017 at a glance

ABTA’s latest report pointed to another positive year in travel, despite an increase in political unrest across certain regions of the globe. The itch to explore is still being scratched, with more than a quarter (26%) of all holidaymakers saying they’re very likely to visit a country they’ve never been to before — and 29% suggesting they’ll go to a new resort or city.

The thirst for adventure is everywhere and, even though domestic vacations are on the up, city breaks and beach holidays remain a dominant force among Brits.

So what else is happening, and what trends are defining travel? We pulled some key insights from the Trekksoft 2017 Tourism Trend Report to find some answers…

Millennials rule the roost

2017 is set to go down as the year the millennial generation became the travel industry’s biggest target market. Young travellers everywhere are helping to define the modern reality of travel with their ever-growing disposable incomes.

They’re also the first generation to experience full access to global travel from a young age. It’s a huge part of their lives, and their influence on the trends we’re now seeing year-on-year is only going to grow stronger.

Brands looking to engage young people need to take note. Not only because travel is so integral to the millennial lifestyle, but also because the overall state of tourism is now more and more reflective of what they want from their travel experiences.

We’re seeing genuine indications of where to go with future travel promotions. If you’re trying to reach this audience, it’s easier than ever to do so.

Free ebook: Brands on Tour  Yes, brands! Find out everything you'll need to think about for a successful  travel promotion in our free ebook.

Experiential holidays are booming

Experiential travel has continued to flourish. We’re seeing a greater demand for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that take travellers as local as it gets. People want to experience the authentic, they want to get up close and personal, and do things that "provide them with new ways to understand our world".

And this trend isn’t just limited to classic British getaways such as Spain, Greece and Turkey. Travellers are prepared to go off the beaten track in search of these travel enigmas.  

This is where brands can set their promotional marketing apart. With truly unique and inspiring prizes, they can satisfy the consumer "craving for customised local experiences wherever they roam".

What’s more, you can offer amazing experiences in remarkable locations without busting your campaign budget wide open. Authentic travel is sometimes the simplest form. Not everyone is looking for five-star accommodation — many just want to rub shoulders with life-long residents.  

Food tourism

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world - food festivals, markets and renowned restaurants are everywhere you turn. It’s no wonder more people are judging destinations by their dishes.

Food is closely bound to the experiential travel trend: how better to immerse ourselves in a culture and experience and local way of life?” — Trekksoft


There's such massive diversity in the food of the world, an incredible variety in the way it’s consumed. Flavours have become synonymous with specific locations, giving marketers plenty of wiggle room when it comes to deciding on a foodie-themed promotion.

Whether your product has a cultural or geographical heritage that you can relate your travel prize to, or you’re trying to reach an audience of fitness fanatics with a holistic cooking retreat, there’s plenty to think about.  

Destination in focus

Back to ABTA now. And we’ve taken a closer looks at what one of their dozen Destinations to Watch has to offer.

Where? County Kerry.

Why? Because there’s nothing wrong with a travel prize a little closer to home!

“Come and feel the force in beautiful County Kerry as the latest Star Wars movie features the stunning County’s Skellig islands.”


This isn’t just one of the most scenic locations in Europe — it’s up there with the best in the world. Ireland has its own charm and County Kerry is arguably the jewel in its crown…

“County Kerry contains some of Ireland’s most iconic scenery: surf-pounded sea cliffs and soft golden strands, emerald-green farmland criss-crossed by tumbledown stone walls, mist-shrouded bogs and cloud-torn mountain peaks.” Lonely Planet

Boasting eye-watering landscapes and wildlife to match, it’s safe to say that it makes for an appealing destination. And it’s close too, so it won’t cost you the earth.

By sending prize winners on a short-haul trip to County Kerry you can introduce them to places and experiences they may have never known existed without breaking the bank…

Five activities and experiences in County Kerry:

Ring of Kerry: Visitors can tour and soak up the beauty of County Kerry with a picturesque, 111 mile drive around the southwest of the county.

Muckross House: This 19th century Tudor-style mansion is a must-see for tourists. Designed by British architect William Burn, it really is a one-of-a-kind.

Killarney National Park: The first national park in Ireland is famous for its lakes and woodlands. It’s also home to the country’s only native herd of red deer, and the Torc Waterfall.

Ross Castle: Dating back to the 1400s, Ross Castle is the ancestral home of the O’Donoghue clan. Steeped in history, this isn’t one to miss.

Carrauntoohil: The highest peak in Ireland, Carrauntoohil is fantastic for adventurers with a passion for hiking and rambling through rugged countryside.

Travel advice

Our eBook, Brands on Tour, offers an in-depth guide to executing a remarkable promotional marketing campaign that centers around travel. Ensuring you support prize winners and deliver the best experience possible is crucial — and there are more than a few logistical aspects to consider.

ABTA’s report takes a look at the travel advice provided by Foreign and Commonwealth Office for 2017. And while these are aimed at tourists, many still apply to brands – so we thought it was worth providing you with a summary of the dos and don’ts of organising a travel experience…

  • Fully research the destination. It’s a good idea to find out the local laws and customs of the relevant country so your winners don’t get into hot water.  
  • Whatever the age or fitness of your prize winners, be sure to provide them full travel insurance, or risk footing the cost.
  • If winners are travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, recommend they apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • Research the known health risks so winners can get the right vaccinations and take other preventative measures.
  • Ensure winners’ passports are valid to avoid disappointment on the day.


Are you ready to take your consumers on a trip for the ages? Click below to learn more about using travel as a prize for your promotions:

Download ebook


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