Comment: Top five ways 2018 can be the ‘Year of Adventure’ for agents

Rachel Coffey, director of sales at G Adventures identifies the top five trends for agents to capitalise on

The end of the calendar year is a time for us to reflect on what happened in the world of travel in the past year, and to look forward to the trends that will influence travellers’ habits over the course of the year following.

2017 has been an epic year for G Adventures, and the adventure travel industry as a whole, and here we’ve identified the top five trends for agents to capitalise on to boost their adventure sales even further in 2018.

Travelling the right way

2017 was the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism, which raised awareness for sustainable travel and how it is shifting into the mainstream. It’s had many ‘travel labels’ over the years – responsible, eco, green – but the sentiment of giving back through travel remains the same.

People are increasingly waking up to where their tourism dollars are being spent, in the same way they are asking what it going into their food.

Takeaway – Learn which operators use local suppliers to help keep money in the destinations they visit, as customers like to know their money is being spent responsibly and helping local people.

Travel as a force for good

2017 saw politics sitting high on the travel news agenda, raising curiosity levels about destinations and what they are really like. At G Adventures, we believe travel could be the biggest distributer of wealth globally, and also the fastest path to peace.

Travel brings people from different backgrounds and cultures together, and as they visit new places and experience different ways of life, their world view starts to shift.

Takeaway – People are starting to look for more than just a ‘fly and flop’ holiday and want more experiential travel options.  Be confident about selling the benefits of going somewhere new, exciting, and culturally adventurous.

Going it alone

Solo travel has been a trend for a few years now, but in 2018 we’re going to see an even stronger shift in the demographics of this audience. Around two-thirds of G Adventures travellers are solo, and this skews female, due to the safety and security of travelling in a group.

What we’re seeing is the age is shifting up, and we have more solo males joining our groups. As adventure travel becomes more mainstream, so does the solo traveller demographic.

Takeaway – The options are endless for solo travellers joining a small group tour, whether they are taking a gap year or a gap in their career. They will be travelling in the security of a group, and seeing the world with a group of like-minded travellers.

Escape from over tourism

In the first 10 months of 2017 tourist arrivals topped 1.1 billion around the world, and the biggest industry buzzword for 2017 was ‘over tourism’. While we need recognise the importance of building relationships with locals, we shouldn’t be worried to send travellers away when tourism plays such an important part in contributing to local economies.

Takeaway – If travellers are worried about overcrowding in key cities, look at secondary cities in the same country, travelling off-peak, or consider a group tour that travels through a country. Not only will you be helping control the crowds, but to spread the wealth in-destination.

Adventure cruising moves full steam ahead

Adventure travel is to the travel industry what cruise travel was 10 years ago. And we have to thank our friends in the cruise industry for paving the way for adventurous cruises.

Perfect for travellers who don’t like the idea of big-ship cruising, or those who feel they have graduated to expedition voyages, the small-ship experience is all about a destination, its people and wildlife.

Takeaway – Learn to recognise the customer that thinks they aren’t a cruise traveller but could be a cruise traveller. Adventure cruises are perfect for wild life lovers, photography enthusiasts, and increasingly, multigenerational families.