As the staff Christmas parties roll around and the Christmas shopping panic intensifies, the industry is getting ready to put a big full stop of 2018.
It’s time to rest, recharge, overindulge in Christmas pudding and have a long hard think about 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 Steve Odell, senior vice president and managing director of Norwegian Cruise Lines for the Asia Pacific.
Here’s what he had to say.
Personalisation of itineraries and experiences
We can expect to see an increase in demand for personalised travel experiences that are specifically tailored to the customer’s needs, particularly in the upper premium and luxury cruising sectors.
This is why we always advise guests to take the time to find a knowledgeable travel agent.
Multi-gen and skip-gen travel
Multi-gen travel will continue to grow next year. We are seeing families increasingly opting for holiday experiences that suit all ages – with skip-gen travel, which sees grandparents treating grandkids to a holiday – also expected to grow as a segment of this market.
We are definitely seeing a re-emergence of interest in more far-flung destinations from travellers. Cuba will be one such ‘hot’ destination for 2019, with Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises all offering incredible Cuba itineraries in 2019 to meet rising demand.
We are also seeing a surge of interest in harder to access destinations such as Iceland, with itineraries to the region being increasingly sought after.
Increased demand for ‘road less travelled’ experiences also sees Regent Seven Seas Cruises returning to Turkey next year.
Our Eastern Mediterranean itineraries are designed to explore exotic and historically significant destinations.
Health and wellness travel
We are seeing a significant interest from guests looking to incorporate health and wellness elements as part of their cruise experience.
Accommodating this for guests can be seen across multiple facets of our offering – including more sophisticated spa experiences such as acupuncture, in addition to healthier food options – with Oceania Cruises being the first cruise line to offer vegan menus to guests.
Increased focus on sustainability and social responsibility
Sustainability and minimising the industry’s environmental footprint will be a focus in 2019. Environmental innovations are expected to occur both on and off board.
For example, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings recently announced it will be eliminating single-use plastic straws across its global fleet, building on its global environmental program ‘Sail & Sustain’.
Such initiatives can make a real difference when applied across the whole sector.