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Eco-travel, solo trips, bleisure are some travel trends that will rule 2020

Interesting concepts amongst the global travellers make 2020 a very exciting year for travel.

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Last Updated: Dec 20, 2019, 06.25 PM IST
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Get the calendars out and make your travel plans now.
By Mohit Poddar

Milleninals and Gen-Z defined the importance of travel around the world this year.

According to the annual UNWTO report, a whopping 1.45 billion people had travelled internationally in 2018. And the report also said that the number of travellers are expected to project a 3-4 per cent growth by the end of 2019.

Tourism has been a major driver of economic growth and global development, and these numbers are a testament to it. However, today's traveller is influenced by a multitude of reasons which include sustainability, reduced security risks, technology and the ease of access.

Here are five travel trends that are going to make 2020 the best year to travel.

Sustainability | Eco-travel
Eco-travel or eco-tourism is becoming increasingly popular as a new generation of travellers enter the marketplace. This kind of travel involves visiting lesser-known natural areas without harming the eco-system, booking electric vehicles instead of conventional ones, and/or choosing eco-lodges for accommodation that serve organic food and use solar energy. Tourism accounts for about five per cent of global emissions, and 40 per cent of that is from air travel alone. More travellers will choose direct flights and avoid layovers (as take-off is responsible for the consumption of a massive share of the fuel), or will opt for road-trips if the destination is easily accessible. Other eco-friendly travel practices that have been increasingly popular include using reusable water bottles and biking around the city.
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One of the biggest advents in solo travel as seen in recent years is co-living.

Solo travel
Travel has always been considered as a multi-person activity. This is set to change with more people choosing to travel solo. Travellers are getting comfortable with doing a lot of the work alone such as - planning the trip, keeping track of the schedule, making changes in the schedule if required, and choosing the pace of the whole journey. This kind of travel gives an individual the complete freedom to decide what and when they want to do during the duration of the trip. One of the biggest advents in solo travel as seen in recent years is co-living. Many prefer to stay in shared hostels and co-sharing spaces due to multiple reasons such as affordability, trendy locations, events conducted there and space constraint.

Going cashless
Gone are the days when you'd have to get down at a forex kiosk and get currency exchanged. Even travellers' chequebook is a history. Thanks to VISA and others getting on the bandwagon of going cashless, we have moved from paper money to making payments via apps on our phones. This is only set to increase as convenience while travelling and not having to worry about having cash in your wallet is going to become of paramount importance to the modern traveller.


Robots/Chatbots
Technology is always going to stay at the advent of most developments. Over 65 per cent of all hotel bookings are now made online, and is set to generate about $2.3 billion of revenue by 2020. Many hotels chains including the Hilton have now adopted robots as a concierge in some of their hotels to help their guests make informed decisions. Many customers now take the help of chatbots, which use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to make travel and accommodation bookings. AI and machine learning have also become a massive part of marketing in this industry and help in personalising ads, find patterns and preferences of guests and make relevant suggestions.

Bleisure/Bizcations
Combining business and leisure travels have not been something unheard of with nearly 50 per cent of business travellers already choosing to add a day or two to their business trips and extend it to a bizcation. Studies have shown that these kinds of travel enhance creativity and improves your overall productivity output. A few companies are also encouraging their employees who take business trips to pursue this. This trend has been picked up by many hotel and travel brands with them providing special discounts and offers to capitalise on this. Working remotely is also been seen as a fast-growing trend with the introduction of 5G, connectivity access and instant messengers such as Slack letting you work from pretty much anywhere.

Many more interesting concepts such as the advent of virtual and augmented reality, the introduction of cryptocurrency, mental-health oriented tourism, the increasing popularity of veganism amongst the global travellers make 2020 a very exciting year for travel. So, get your calendars out and mark your travel plans now.

(The author is CEO and Co-Founder of Shoes on Loose)

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)

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