Travellers on hunt for fresh adventures

Travellers on hunt for fresh adventures
By admin

A growing trend for travel to previously unexplored destinations has seen a greater number of “emerging” destinations exhibit at this year’s ITB Berlin tradeshow.

Head of ITB Berlin David Ruetz told Travel Today that the appetite for “something new” has seen trending destinations that have not been considered tourism destinations before now, such as South Sudan, Myanmar and North Korea, represented at the show.

“There’s also an element of ‘Doomsday” tourism,” he continued. “With Cuba and North Korea, many people are planning to see the communism system before it breaks down.”

In addition, destinations previously seen as “badlands” such as Afghanistan, Iraq or Yemen also appear to be growing in popularity, according to Ruetz.

“During ITB, we will have tour operators discussing the potential of these 'bad' destinations, discussing what has happened, why people really try to go there,” he said. "It's an emerging thing obviously."

Although he identified safety as an increasingly important consideration in the holiday planning process for a specific market segment due to instability in parts of the world such as Egypt and tragic disasters such as the grounding of the Costa Concordia, different target groups are more interested in living life on the edge.

“The need for safety is produced by mothers in the family, but on the other hand we have a growing group of flashpackers,” Ruetz said. “People want to revitalise what they have done when they were students. They have seen a lot in world and now want something really extraordinary and extravagant.”

This adventurous urge is demonstrated by the strong demand for the Adventure Hall at this year’s show, with 34 countries choosing to exhibit within it this year – the sector's strongest ever presence.

“If you think of ITB having 180 countries in total, I think it’s considerable that 34 have decided to have a second stand in the Adventure Hall presenting their adventure program,” he said. “It shows that there’s growth in the segment.”

The hall will also house US-based Zero Gravity Corporation – a space entertainment and tourism company that says it offers the only commercial opportunity on Earth for individuals to experience "weightlessness" without going to space.

With space travel the ultimate extravagance, Ruetz forecast the area would see rising interest over the coming years.

Other trends include more frequent travel but for shorter time, with responsible travel also becoming a major theme for the show in recent times, Ruetz revealed.

"There's a raised awareness but there's still a long way to go," he said.

ITB offers attendees the option to voluntarily compensate CO2 emissions associated with travel to the show, with the money to go towards a "climate conscious" project. But only around 5% of attendees are selecting the option, he revealed.

The tradeshow is currently underway in the German capital. This year's event, which runs from March 5 to 9, features 10,147 exhibitors from 189 countries and is expected to attract 170,000 visitors, including 110,000 from the trade.

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