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Tourism Megatrends: Fearless Forecasts

Department of Tourism
Region III



The travel and tourism industry will soon be dominated by laptop-cuddling travellers and those that have an infatuation for healthful living.

This was the fearless forecasts made by former secretary of the Department of Tourism, Dr. Mina T. Gabor, PhD., in her speech at the 1st Seminar on Community-based Rural Tourism held on March 26 - 28, 2008 at Marriott Hotel, Cebu City, well attended by more than 300 local government units, tourism regional directors and private stakeholders in travel and tourism.

Regional Director Ronaldo Tiotuico, of the Central Luzon Region, said that Dr. Gabor cited the need for the local travel and tourism industry to keep up with the emerging trends in travel and tourism to better respond to the challenges and opportunities now facing the global travel community.

The UN World Tourism Organization has predicted an increase to 1.6 Billion in worldwide visitor arrivals by 2020 as compared to 898 Million arrivals in 2007. And so, governments all over the world have become increasingly aware of the possibilities opened by tourism for social and economic development and for job creation.

In the face of this ever growing population of visitors to various continents Dr. Gabor made the following pronouncements:

Hotels and other accommodation establishments will most likely follow the trend by making their safety deposit boxes or room safes much bigger to accommodate not only cash but even laptops. Today, we see an emerging trend when travellers would soon be depending on the Internet to scour the global travel community for interesting places to visit. Even tourism and hotel management schools will move out of the classrooms and out of the library, onto the web and into the destinations.

The days of the thick travel guidebooks that describe every step of the way will soon be a thing of the past as travellers find the web more convenient to use. And so, authors will be more inclined to do area-specific guidebooks, Gabor said.

Airlines and travel agencies will soon close ranks with financial institutions to offer travel loans such as the old fly-now pay-later plan as more and more people are bound to cross borders for various reasons. Airlines will continue to rack up significant losses as they struggle to deal with high fuel costs, new security requirements, an onslaught of low-cost carriers and brutal competition from open skies agreements.

There is an emerging fashion today to cater more closely to the aging population. Tourist facilities will soon make way for health-related amenities like health and fitness spa to accommodate those that have fallen in love with whatever is healthy and safe. Establishments will build lower rise steps, more handrails and wider doors to make the aging tourists more comfortable. Thus the buzzword “health-tels”. Coupled with this is the increasing number of family-oriented tours. It used to be that children are not welcome in tourist establishments. Today, we see a trend to build rooms where kids can play, out-of-reach of the parents’ attention and safely taken care of by hotel staff.

Tourists will soon go for home food delivery in hotels rather than in-house food. It is not uncommon to now find hotels offering food ordered from a nearby food chain like McDonald’s or Jollybee. They would rather eat something that they like back home.

More and more tourists especially from Europe and North America, older but better-educated, will seek ecotourism and cultural travel products. Rural tourism will become the order of the day. People will look for places where they can put their hands on and learn from that experience like milking cows, planting rice themselves and doing the rituals practiced by the local host population.

The hectic 10-city, 10-day tour package is on the way out as more tourists are prone to travel closer to home – not to overlook what’s in one’s doorstep. Shorter distances and shorter travel duration will be in thing. People will tend to go for smaller destinations and off-the-beaten path. Authenticity is the most important element in tourism nowadays.

Prayer rooms and services for no-pork menu will be installed in tourist facilities to accommodate the growing population of Islamic travellers.

Antarctica will soon become an ecotourism destination complete with hotels, restaurants and full-service tours. The tagline of the future: “Visit the Antarctica before it melts down.”

By the end of the decade, a score of management companies will take control over the world inventory of branded hotel rooms.

The introduction of new technologies in the upscale tourism industry will not replace the human element in service delivery – to the contrary, it will gain importance. People are more likely to patronize hotels with quality service with human touch.

What are the activities that tourists are looking for nowadays? Climbing, ecotourism, agri-tourism, riding, adventure travel, educational travel, and sport and health tourism.

If China is the workshop of the world, and India is the global office, what can the Philippines be?


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