Trends in the way travelers research and make decisions about their final choice of destination are emerging from the various sources of data we have covered so far. The places they search for inspiration, and the way they access different media, are rapidly changing across all demographic groups but particularly for the growing mature sector. It can also be seen that what they are looking for and expect from providers in the tourism and travel industry has become broader, more specific, and in many cases outside the traditional view of what an older traveler wants.
We can see from the examples of country profiles discussed earlier what patterns of travel have been up until now, particularly the increasing numbers of those in the 55+ and more mature 65+ age groups that want to expand their experience of the world. In many cases, there is a link with the sector or type of traveler we have touched on briefly earlier. It is useful to think about these elements in more detail, what it is that makes them an important factor in the decision-making process, before we discuss growing trends in finding new destinations to visit.
The luxury travel sector is expanding rapidly, many commentators seeing this as a clear link with the target group who are considered to be the ones with the most disposable income available. If no longer in full-time employment, or with no immediate family or small children to consider in their final choice of experience to book, they may indeed be ideally placed to enjoy a luxury break. This is a significant trend going forward into 2020. The large-scale Condé Nast 2019 survey, for instance, highlighted opportunities for luxury travel to many locations seen as upcoming destinations for both U.S. and UK markets.
Rural estates continue to be popular destinations and are predicted (Condé Nast 2019) to continue as attractive holiday options at the luxury end. Newer offerings that intend to widen the experience for the guest, such as a working farm in South Africa or a vineyard in rural France, sit alongside traditional country estates such as Gleneagles in Scotland, UK. For such experiences, marketing efforts and publicity materials incorporate reference to the luxury facilities available.
Often this is extended to include reference to the use of freshly grown and picked local produce, expertly prepared on site by a star-quality chef, thus reducing its environmental impact. Even cows in 2000 acres of pasture belonging to an 11th century castle in France, Domaine des Etangs, are mentioned as an attractive feature of this luxury retreat, a reference to the idyllic rural life in the distant past (Condé Nast 2019).
Traditionally considered to be at the opposite end to luxury travel, certainly in the UK, there has been a significant increase in numbers choosing this option. An interesting example of taking the basic premise of renting self-catering accommodation to a higher level, in various price ranges, is the growing Airbnb concept. While other evidence suggests only a small percent of customers would choose to book through Airbnb and hotels are still the most popular choice for the majority of mature travelers, Airbnb found the 50+ and intergeneration groups are particularly keen to consider what is on offer through this option to book.
City breaks are consistently a popular option for accommodation-only bookings and renting a holiday villa with all the facilities and home comforts at hand has long been a feature of travel for UK families. It is interesting to see how this room-only option has also been extended to include opulent, palatial accommodation such as Jaipur’s City Palace in India, the first of its kind to be listed on Airbnb.
Though such properties may not offer the same features needed to attract the eco-friendly conscious client, there is clearly a market for those seeking an exciting new experience (Travel Weekly 2019) such as staying at rooms in the Palace of Versailles, Holyrood Palace, or even a Tuscan estate sleeping 14 people at Castello Uglione in Italy (Condé Nast 2019).
We have briefly mentioned implications for the solo traveler earlier, the critical point being that this refers to “solo” travel, not “single travelers.”
Silver Travel Advisor carried out a separate survey on solo travel with 500 respondents and identified some interesting issues. While 55 percent of respondents said they had no one else to travel with, 41 percent stated they have a partner at home, a finding echoed in the recent Mintel survey that showed 32 percent of their solo traveler respondents had a partner and so were not “single.” If you look more closely at the responses, 30 percent (Silver Travel Advisor 2020) noted that they have very different interests from their partner, while 20 percent just preferred to travel alone. This response was also a feature of the Titan Travel survey.
A regular comment from their more mature customers is how the opportunity to visit places their partner is unwilling, or unable, to travel to is an attractive option. For Titan Travel customers in particular, the advantage of their service is that it starts straightaway with pickup from the home address to the first travel point (airport, rail station, or port) with a designated driver. The most significant trend for them in 2020 has been a substantial rise in bookings from solo travelers for river cruises offering considerably lower single supplements than other providers for similar trips.
The surge in baby boomers booking solo trips is also seen in research from Solo Traveler World. They found that around 40 percent of travelers worldwide took a solo trip in 2017–2018, and a further 21 percent planned to do so in the future (Solo Traveler World 2019).
Top solo destinations in 2019 were Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Australia, the Scottish Highlands, France, Central America, and New Orleans. Escorted tours that include these destinations have a growing market within the mature solo travel cohort.
Accessible Travel for Those with Disabilities
There are many examples and case studies that suggest the UK is leading the way to ensure everyone can access appropriate provision as this continues to be a growing trend.
The following examples are a clear indication of where accessibility can be a positive incentive for prospective clients, particularly as they are generally accompanied by family members or carers who make up the party booking.
• Virgin Holidays has an assistance line for customers and agents to ensure bookings can meet any special needs.
• Encompass offers a disability travel consultancy service providing advice and guidance for travel companies.
• Traveleyes arranges breaks for blind or partially sighted clients accompanied by their “seeing” companion.
• Enable Holidays provides guidance on access and adapted vehicle transfers within the destination country.
• Limitless Travel provides social care personnel on fully accessible UK coach tours to ensure the safety and welfare of guests traveling with them.
• Revitalise Respite Holidays has nurse-led care at three resorts in the UK, allowing some respite breaks with full-time care responsibilities.
• Forest Holidays has hoists fitted in specially adapted woodland cabins so that everyone can enjoy the hot tubs!
• Driving Miss Daisy offers adapted vehicle transfers from home to airports, cruise terminals, rail and coach stations within the UK.
• Dementia Adventure offers a range of UK breaks for dementia sufferers and those who care for them, making sure that guests can enjoy exciting experiences not otherwise available to them.
• Personal Touch Holidays now offers dementia-friendly trips to Portugal.
There are many more examples internationally that provide accommodation and activities that can be enjoyed by everyone in the group, and certainly there are many new products coming onto the market that can assist an individual with limited mobility.
Multigeneration travel is also a significant trend for 2020 in the escorted tour sector, not just booking a family size villa or beach break (Titan Travel 2019–2020). There are lots of reasons for this rising trend, not just as a baby-sitting service. Parents with grown-up children may wish to celebrate a special occasion, a reward for achievement, a special birthday or anniversary, or just a chance to relax and get closer as a family unit.
As noted previously, some cruise liners are being opened up specifically as a multigeneration package, and currently 56 percent of U.S. travel agents offer multigeneration packages. Travelzoo’s survey of 1,700 respondents (Travelzoo 2019) found 83 percent said the main reason they chose a multigeneration package was to spend quality time together. In addition, 28 percent said the chance to explore new places together as an extended family was important and 26 percent cited the chance to eat and socialize together was a crucial reason behind their decision to book.
Virgin Holidays surveyed 1,000 parents and 1,000 grandparents who had taken a holiday together to see how each different age/family stage group viewed the multigeneration option. While 25 percent of grandparents said they enjoyed it more than when they holidayed by themselves, it was no surprise that 1/3 of parents liked the access to extra help looking after the children. When asked what they would do differently next time, the main changes would be to go abroad rather than stay in the home country, have more flexible mealtimes, and choose an all-inclusive package to cover all the incidental food and refreshment costs inevitable with accompanying children. Interestingly, a large proportion said the next time they would stay nearby but not on the same resort to give everyone the space to choose what they wanted to do. Both groups identified that it was also important to discuss the choice of activities at the planning stage rather than work it out once on vacation.
Escorted tours where all the travel and accommodation details are arranged are clearly being seen as a valuable option, and as Titan Travel states, their offering of “escorted” tours is much more flexible than earlier options and has many more opportunities for tailor-made provision.
Destinations—Where Do They Want to Go in the Future?
From a UK perspective, the target group is generally taking more holidays and spending more money while away than they did in previous years. In 2018 there were 71.7 million trips overseas, up 29 percent on 2012–2017 statistics (ONS 2018–2019). Interestingly, the average length of each trip decreased from 10.4 nights to 9.8 nights, but the total money spent increased by 1 percent to £45.4 billion, around £633 per person per trip.
However, note that future trends for destinations are often linked to exchange rates between currencies; whether this is the $US, £GBP, or Euro, this appears as an issue when customers are making the final decision of where to go (US Travel Association 2019).
The Oddfellows Travel group survey found 64 percent named the top choice of destination within the UK as England, rather than other parts of Britain such as Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, and Europe as the main destination outside of the UK for 85 percent of respondents. Note that this is a fairly small survey sample rather than a large research study, so results are not necessarily true of the overall picture for the UK mature travel market. They do, however, broadly reflect findings from other surveys.
The Titan Travel survey identified that the top five choices of destination for British travelers have changed little in recent years, with the United States, Canada, Italy, India, and South Africa remaining the primary attractions. Crucially, there are many deterrents identified by potential visitors to the United States from all nationalities, which do need to be addressed. Many of them may indeed be perceptions rather than reality, so much of the action must be to overcome the negative concerns in the promotion and marketing materials.
Other regions are moving up the list, particularly Peru and Costa Rica, Vietnam, China, and Japan. As we have seen earlier, the rapidly rising choices are Uzbekistan and Borneo, both recently featured in national TV programs, so clearly this form of promotion has been successful with the target group.
Riviera Travel found 72 percent of customers mentioned that the best time to enjoy travel is over the age of 55, a clear target group of mature travelers. Table 38 illustrates what their customers wanted as their “wish list” of destinations for future travel, with no real surprises compared with previous surveys (Riviera Travel 2020). Following feedback from customers, they have continued to add new destinations and travel experiences for 2020–2021.
Table 38 Wish list of destinations for the future (UK)
|Order of preference||Place to visit|
|4||Yosemite National Park|
|5||Great Wall of China|
|6||Blue Lagoon Iceland|
Readers of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday were asked where they were hoping to travel to in the next five years (to 2024), and although there are some differences in the reader profiles compared with Riviera Travel, their choices were very similar (Table 39).
Table 39 Future destinations in descending order of preference (UK)
|Daily Mail (%)||Mail on Sunday (%)|
|44||Canada or United States||46||Europe mainland|
|39||Europe mainland||43||Canada or United States|
|30||South America||31||South America|
|25||Middle East||25||Middle East|
Canada continues to be an attractive destination for UK travelers, particularly the experience of riding “Rocky Mountaineer” train between Banff and Vancouver over two days. As well as British tourists, its key markets are Canada and the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, with a customer base generally in the 55+ age group.
Though not a sleeper train, its focus is on offering a premium train experience, luxury travel with purpose-built viewing lounges, first class food, and unrivaled levels of service. Rocky Mountaineer celebrates 30 years in 2020, having “welcomed more than two million guests” since 1990 and doubled its capacity since 2014. The focus continues to be on the three core routes between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies with a new service offered in Mandarin for travelers from China (Rocky Mountaineer 2020).
Existing popular experiences of rail travel across Australia, Africa, the Canadian Rockies, Europe, plus new additions linking existing long-distance rail journeys such as in Australia, are an indication of the growing potential within the mature market. A particularly good option currently being promoted through sites such as www.trainline.com is the Euro-wide ticket that allows you to plan your trip yet still giving the flexibility for hop on–hop off to explore and sightsee if you fancy. This service has expanded and clearly attracts those who want to experience a feeling of adventure but within a structured self-planned program (The Trainline.com 2019).
We have seen that the U.S. traveler intends to visit Europe more often than previously, although Table 40 shows European destinations were also the most popular in 2017. Tour operators and travel agents are seeing a shift in preferred destinations since 2017, Table 40 offering some useful insights into what has changed (USTOA) though not the reasons why.
Table 40 Future destinations in descending order of preference (United States)
More waterways are opening up for cruise craft with the opportunity for attractions along the route to increase their profile. Food and wine consistently appear near the top of the list for what people are looking for, so river (and rail) travel provides an ideal opportunity to give added value to an existing trip.
Profile of Travel Destinations and Attractions in the UK
The UK—England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
The UK continues to be a popular destination for tourists globally and Visit England, set up to promote tourism in England (rather than the UK as a whole), found a significant increase in overnight stays during the first six months of 2019, rising to 35 million nights spent. Major cities outside London are popular with both overseas tourists and domestic visitors, with the focus on history and architectural features, restaurants, and the arts.
A growing trend is for visitors to tour scenic routes and more remote places such as coastal paths and small islands around the British coastline. The Ramblers Association is a long-standing organization that provides information about many routes for either short- or long-distance walking. They have established Ramblers Cruise and Walk Holidays, in conjunction with Adagio cultural tours, to combine activities in one package aimed primarily at mature travelers in several countries (Ramblers Holidays 2020).
Long-distance paths, such as those along the borders between Wales and England in the west or Scotland and England in the north, are regularly walked by couples or small groups, again a large proportion of them in the 55+ age group. In some areas, service providers have emerged offering to transport luggage between overnight accommodation, saving walkers the need to carry all of their kit with them for the whole journey.
In the UK, the sleeper train between London and Scotland has been relaunched (the Caledonian Sleeper), and new travel experiences in Scotland are appearing. For example, a bespoke tour company is offering unique opportunities to enjoy traditional outdoor pursuits on the estate of a Scottish Lord or a stay in one of nine apartments in Holyrood Palace from 2020. Clearly there are opportunities for such rail experiences to be a significant part of packages offered as the content is such a crucial element of the final decision to book.
Large country house hotels continue to be popular, especially as a luxury break, but are becoming more family-friendly, with options to stay outside the main house rather than in the main body of the hotel. For example, the country hotel Lucknam Park offers a stay in the Squire’s Cottage or Keeper’s Cottage, either option remaining part of the hotel service. They include outdoor activities as well as spa facilities, so are ideal for multigeneration groups. Luxury short breaks, such as lodges with hot tubs, were searched for online by 20 percent of visitors to England.
While this trend continues to grow in the UK, it is clear that such properties cannot rely only on being a beautiful house and grounds without something extra to entice potential customers. The main reasons cited by the UK market for choosing a vacation in their home country were the perceived higher levels of safety and security, concern post-Brexit about medical care costs and travel insurance when going abroad, and the increasing pet-friendly options available. As with the trends generally in the travel market, choosing a domestic destination is seen as a greener option especially if traveling by train.
Canals were the lifeblood of the industrial landscape in Britain between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, in the same way that a variety of waterways have been in many countries, but their decline in the context of transporting goods has opened up many new leisure and tourist opportunities throughout the UK. The towpath running alongside hundreds of miles of canal systems is perfect for walking or cycling, mainly level ground, so perfect for the growing numbers of mature walkers. A more recent trend is for these paths to be developed further, providing several sections that are accessible for those with some mobility restrictions. In some areas, public transport runs fairly close to the canal, in some cases with a Bike Trailer fitted to the back of the bus during summer months, so that walkers or cyclists can cover a reasonable distance and get back to their starting point without just retracing their steps.
River and canal craft have also featured widely in the UK TV programs aimed at the mature viewer. Retired, veteran personalities demonstrate how easily (or not!) it is to navigate canal locks, suggesting an impressively calm and easy-going form of travel through rural and urban landscapes.
Although we have seen research that suggests the mature sector is not particularly impressed by celebrity endorsements of a product or service, there is clear evidence that bookings for trips to the destinations featured in such films increase immediately following a TV broadcast (Titan Travel 2019–2020).
We know that the mature sector is keen to find new places to explore and is always interested in learning about new food products, especially when it involves tastings and sampling where these products are actually produced. Certainly, the food and drink sectors are increasingly featured in TV series, both in Britain and overseas, with an ever-increasing number of celebrity chefs exploring products and ways to produce new dishes based on home-grown specialty foods.
For this target group, wine (and food) is regularly mentioned as a feature they are looking for, so tours of vineyards, wine tastings, and more structured “courses” have significant potential to add to tourist numbers. Though not necessarily considered a wine-making region, there has been a rapid increase in the number of vineyards and distilleries in many parts of Britain, with many wines taking prestigious prizes in international competitions. Special interest short cruises, themed cruises, and river cruises around the UK, including Christmas Market shopping trips, have seen an increase as we go into 2020 (Titan Travel 2019–2020).
Profile of Potential International Travel Destinations and Attractions
This section includes a brief summary of features related to destinations identified as potential go-to places in the future. It is not a comprehensive list, of course, as there are so many new destinations being developed and aimed at the more mature traveler. But it is intended to give a snapshot of some areas that have the potential to provide more options, to engage the traveler in the added adventure and experience of new places that this market group has already identified they want.
Most of these destinations are featured in “wish lists,” country profiles, and large-scale survey responses for the Condé Nast report in 2019 (Condé Nast 2019).
A significant change in the last two decades has been the option to fly to the start destination for an ocean cruise, thus reducing the sail time on ocean crossings and therefore cost to the customer. This fits closely with changes in what the 50+ market is looking for (see earlier notes), a more immediate result, rather than for the older target group that may still have the time and funds to enjoy a longer cruise.
The recent increased interest in the river cruise market, more appealing to many than ocean cruises, is in part due to the opportunity to see a country from a different perspective, whether in your home country or traveling overseas. A major attraction is the luxury of all-inclusive accommodation and travel at a much slower pace.
One of the main features associated with India (for those who have not visited) is the beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra, the marble mausoleum built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, yet the continent has so much more to offer. From a UK perspective, there have recently been celebrity road trips shown on TV and films that feature opportunities for older retired people to live in India. “Bollywood” is growing in popularity around the world, so there is already a close affinity with the continent for many potential visitors.
When we consider locations worldwide that are struggling with overcapacity tourism, including the Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle, there is an opportunity for tour operators to expand their provision and focus on other elements of the culture. For India, these are likely to include the colorful foods and spices, rich silk fabrics, and elaborate architecture.
Explore! This tour operator offers a trip across the middle of India rather than the Golden Triangle, traveling through Hyderabad across country and by local train for the final stage to Goa. It is a stunning journey with the opportunity to visit majestic temples and ornate palaces as well as a chance to see the real India without contributing to overtourism.
Since 2011, Egypt has been a difficult location to promote as local unrest and personal security has been a major issue, both for visitors and for those who have planned expansion of services and accommodation. By 2018, it had fewer visitors in a year than the British Museum in London (A. Sattin, Condé Nast). Currently (2020), the situation has improved considerably, and promotion of visitor options has increased, particularly through travel agencies.
Apart from the traditional attractions associated with Egypt that tourists may have seen on previous visits, such as the pyramids at Giza, there are other features to explore.
Visitors and travel agents might consider including a trip to central Cairo and the new museum, which is now the final space for the world-renowned Tutankhamun exhibition. Other potential excursions include sailing on a traditional felucca boat to Aswan or exploring the exotic and unusual plants on show in the botanical gardens.
For the mature traveler, background research into the destination is common, so provision of, or links to, sources of historical information is seen as a positive extra. Although current views on the dress code for tourists is changing, the issue of personal safety and security remains a potential block when customers are considering Egypt as one of the final two to three options to book.
As a potential new market, Northern Sudan is becoming more accessible to visitors, with positive steps being taken to promote what it has to offer. As in Egypt, it has its own array of pyramids, ancient cities with an additional option to “camp” in the dunes of Nubian Desert and stargaze beneath clear night skies with no light pollution. It is a new and exciting destination that few will have been to as a tourist. It has the potential to offer the chance to explore new territories, which is an increasingly attractive option for mature travelers and therefore increase visitor numbers.
At the time of writing, Saudi Arabia is a fantastic new opportunity for travelers looking for something new as it has only recently (September 2019) made visitor visas available. Most potential customers have little knowledge of what there is to see if you visit, so there is a lot of work needed by tour operators to raise awareness and encourage them to include it as a potential destination.
It is a wealthy nation with much to offer the visitor, whether super-scale architectural features or the luxury of 5-star accommodation.
Several renewable energy projects are underway, including installing a tropical reef archipelago, and they are opening up impressive ancient landmarks, such as Jeddah, to tourists from overseas as well as domestic Saudi nationals.
Unrest in the Middle East continues to be a potential problem for tourism generally; so, in reality, such opportunities that exist may be limited at the beginning of 2020. As we have seen already, personal safety and security is an issue for many when they are making their final decisions before completing a booking, so some sort of assurances need to be identified beforehand.
Kuwait and Dubai
Staying within the Middle East region, Kuwait and Dubai are identified as a future trend in destinations for overseas visitors.
Kuwait is known for its varied cuisine, appealing to the mature traveler looking for new culinary experiences. Dubai is rapidly expanding its reputation from being a high-powered business center to one of adventure in its expansive sand dunes and mountains.
Visits to museums and sites of historical interest are consistently high on the list of content a planned package must include, so this region has a great deal to offer the tourist. The recently opened National Museum of Qatar, Dubai’s Museum of the Future, and the Petra Museum include exceptional exhibition spaces that allow the visitor to see and experience its cultural heritage. The museum hub of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island is a unique experience within an unusual and visually stunning setting. This would certainly be a positive option for anyone interested in learning about the arts and the cultural heritage of a new destination.
As we have seen in survey responses and country profiles discussed earlier, there has been a rapid increase in the popularity of Japan as a tourist destination in recent years. Many things have contributed to this, including international events such as the international Rugby World Cup games in 2019 and a continuing fascination with the culture and traditions of Japan, whether real or imagined! For instance, there is a long tradition of visits by both domestic and overseas tourists to witness the stunning show of cherry blossom around March time. Fashion Month Fukuoka Kyushu (www.f-month.com) in March is also a growing visitor attraction.
Note there has been a backlash related to tourists stopping Geishas in Kyoto for photograph opportunities, and again there are several hotspots that are suffering overtourism including Mount Fuji and the capital city Tokyo.
Environmental issues have become more prevalent in the last few years with concerns about safety and natural disasters. Earthquakes and volcano activity in the wider region, including Japan and New Zealand, are a sobering reminder of the need to balance tourist activity and income with environmental factors and safety.
The scale and size of Australia and what it has to offer is often underestimated. It is interesting to see how the long-distance rail journeys have been expanded so that people can see more of the “real” Australia (see previous notes on rail travel). The beginning of 2020 has seen one of the biggest wildfire disasters in Australia covering huge areas of land mass and threatening lives, wildlife, and homes. This was actually confined to one region in the west of Australia, rather than over the whole land mass, but it will be interesting to see how rapidly they can recover and engage with tourists that contribute so much to their economy.
Given its size, Australia has long had transcontinental trains running from Darwin to Adelaide (the Ghan) and from Perth to Sydney (the Indian Pacific). The year 2020 has seen the addition of another long-distance sleeper train offering a three-day trip on the Great Southern from Adelaide and Brisbane. Australian tour operator “Journey Beyond” is promoting this trip as the ideal of old-style luxury and adventure that we have seen appeals to the mature traveler. This does, therefore, recognize and reflect the trend in extending slower forms of travel and meets the changing needs of our target group.
Cambodia has specifically been identified by U.S. travel organizations as an up-and-coming destination. Many new initiatives being developed for tourists include the two islands of Song Saa with their overwater purpose-built villas, upcycled furnishings, and the owners’ foundation, which has been established to support the surrounding natural environment. This is a good example of combining a range of elements that are important to the target sector and so a worthwhile destination to explore further.
Often associated with safari expeditions, which are growing in popularity as visitors are seeking more than just the scenery, there is clearly much more to Africa that will attract new visitors. If research shows that the target group of travelers are primarily interested in culture, history, food, and wine, Africa has immense potential for more targeted promotion that incorporates these elements as part of the overall package.
Rwanda is not a country most mature travelers consider as a holiday destination given its history of conflict. However, it is starting to develop options that include visiting the Virunga Mountains and the Volcanoes National Park. As with other regions of Africa, it is potentially a new market to explore further.
Zimbabwe still has economic problems (in 2020) but is considered safe to visit (Condé Nast 2019) if using a specialist local tour guide rather than arranging a package alone. It has the potential to appeal to the target group as an adventure trip, as long as safety is the clear message for providers to consider when developing it as a new destination.
Tanzania, already known as a safari destination, is attracting major hotel chains that offer luxury accommodation and organize trips that encompass all the magical sights of the national parks in full 5-star style. The additional message emerging from here is sustainability and the environmentally friendly use of natural resources to reduce the tourist impact.
South Africa has long been an attractive destination for tourists with its majestic scenery, varied plant species, and as a wine-making region, although this is not necessarily the case for other parts of the continent. There is so much more to Africa that can appeal to the mature sector, whatever their age group or interests, so more needs to be done to promote what is on offer to a wider market that has already suggested they would be interested.
There is clearly potential to expand tourism within South America as a target destination for many mature travelers in the future (USTOA 2018). Peru continues to be an attractive destination, with Machu Picchu a hiker’s challenge and one often taken up by mature travelers to raise funds for charity. Note that this is another destination identified as suffering from damage associated with overtourism. Venezuela has suffered from political uncertainty for a while so is not viewed as a positive destination at present. This too had been a favorite hiking destination in the past, from Merida to the Andes, with one of the highest cable cars, an ice cream shop selling hundreds of different flavors, and an opportunity to see the cumbersome Condor laboriously plodding up the hillside to reach a high enough point to launch itself in flight (it cannot take off from flat ground level!).
Cultural visits to Patagonia are particularly popular for those from Wales in the UK, as their Welsh descendants made the hazardous journey to this southern part of South America in the 19th century and the Welsh language is still spoken there.
Some areas of South America are still considered unsafe for visitors, and a recent attack on a wealthy visitor identified as a target on arrival at the airport does not help. As before, personal safety and security is a critical issue for all travel agencies and tour operators to consider.
Alaska is certainly growing as a potential destination for travelers, identified by U.S. and other survey respondents further afield. It is still perceived as an “epic” landscape with extremes of weather and a timeless feel that brings out the pioneer/adventurer in visitors (apparently!) (H Pearson, Condé Nast). It has regularly been featured as an add-on trip for those visiting Canada and the United States but has developed its individual character as a new exciting destination in its own right so it continues to be part of future travel trends.