Travel Agents

Penny Spencer reveals her predictions for 2019

With 2018 well and truly coming to a close, it’s time to look at the year ahead.

So what does 2019 have in store for the travel industry?

Having misplaced our crystal ball sometime in July, we’ve had to bring in the experts to find out what the next 12 months will hold for us all.

We chatted with some of the industry’s most influential figures to get their predictions, which we will be showcasing for you in the lead up to the Christmas break.

Today we have for you the one and only Penny Spencer, founder and CEO of Spencer Travel.

Here’s what she had to say.


If I’ve learned anything in the 35 years or so that I’ve been in the industry, it’s that predicting the future is a risky business.

You might as well grab some tarot cards or tea leaves if you’re hoping for a glimpse over the medium to long-term horizon.

Short-term predictions aren’t quite as tricky, but they definitely need an asterisk and a *correct at [insert date] but subject to change without notice qualifier in the fine print.

I mean, if you’d asked me in August of 2001 what September might look like, I would have said ‘plain sailing’. And, well, I
would have been wrong.

So what are my bold predictions for 2019?

Emerging destination? Sub-orbital space as Virgin Galactic finally takes flight.

In the air? Aircraft will continue to flyer further than ever before as the world’s two major aircraft manufacturers continue their game of ‘ULR’ one-upmanship. We will see some really unexpected city pairs in our GDS.

Disruption? This will be the year that Hyperloop gets real. Lots of Hyperloop news coming out of Abu Dhabi at the moment. Fascinating technology, and it’s coming. Fast.

Luxury? Luxury will seek out the remotest corners of the planet as isolation continues to redefine what ‘getting away from it all’ really means. Expect to see the quiet luxury revolution continue to unfold in developing destinations like Cambodia.

Too much of a good thing? The 2019 European summer will see more mega-destinations like Venice, Barcelona and ‘the Instagram island’ – Santorini – simmer uncomfortably. Not under the glorious summer sun, but under the weight of ever more visitors. Local concerns over cities’ capacity to accommodate tourists are growing, and they’re pushing back.

Destination of the year? Japan as it comes into Rugby World Cup focus, and the 2020 Olympics appear just over the horizon.

This interview is an edited extract from Travel Weekly’s print magazine. To read the rest, subscribe here. 

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