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From Futuristic Technology to Social Care: The New Travel and Tourism Trends in the UK and Ireland

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Last week, we presented this report to attendees at the Best of Britain and Ireland 2014 travel and tourism conference.  Now, download the full report for free.

The report presents the four key emerging travel and tourism trends in the UK and Ireland, looking at how the travel industry is developing in a rapidly changing economic and social environment.

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Holy Rail

Accessibility in the Midlands is currently limited or involves a number of transfers. The effect of the construction of the HS2 Rail link is set to make a significant impact on domestic tourism, making cities and regions in the UK more accessible to both international and domestic visitors. The North East, Yorkshire and North West lines have seen large declines in UK domestic trips over 2012 and 2013, 9.4%, 8.7% and 3.4% respectively, and could particularly benefit from the new link. Convenient access to the Midlands, Scotland and London can offer further tourism investment opportunities in these areas and encourage growth for both business and leisure travel, allowing tourists the opportunity to visit remote areas, as well as encouraging more regional business meetings.

Need-Based Travel

The over 60 population – ‘the golden traveller’ - is forecast to reach 16 million by 2020 in the UK, according to Euromonitor International. Accessible and respite tourism is a trend that the travel industry needs to recognise as more ‘golden travellers’ require tailored health and wellness products and services whilst on holiday. Currently there are only a handful of operators catering to those requiring specialist care whilst also alleviating the pressure felt by families and carers. There is a clear gap in the market for accessible and respite tourism, representing an opportunity for travel companies to create tailor-made products for this sector that is only set to grow in the coming years.

Go Go Gadgets

Electronic gadgets can significantly improve the travel experience by placing more control in the hands of British travellers. Driverless cars are unlikely to go mainstream for at least 10 years, however, show interesting potential for business travellers over the long term, as they will be easily programmed to get to the destination, so that long flights, jet-lag and the frustrations of getting from the airport to destination points in unfamiliar territory will fade. Connected cars, on the other hand, allow consumers to find tourist information, book hotels and other travel services directly from their cars.  Google Glass, already making an impact with the likes of Virgin who have been trialling the product, will be able to respond to the user’s voice and receive overlaid directional experiences in their field of vision, with the potential to become a remarkable feature for travel.

Peer-to-Peer to Viral

A new social culture has formed as a result of the economic recession, and consumers are sharing much more than before, a trend the British traveller has eagerly embraced.

Peer sharing is dual sided, providing transparent reviews, local travel suggestions and unique discoveries through websites such as Jauntful and Vayable that offer a bespoke and personal guide of city destinations. It is also financially driven with new sharing websites in private accommodation rental and car hire/sharing being used to reduce the cost of goods and services. Peer to peer sharing is increasingly apparent in travel accommodation as illustrated by Airbnb, OneFineStay, Roomarama, HomeAway and FlatClub.


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