Tourism

“Travellers want to disconnect”: James Thornton on the evolving travel client

That’s it, folks! We’re donezo for the year.

Time to sit back, relax and drown ourselves in champagne and Christmas cake.

But first, we’ve got some words of wisdom for you to help get you set up for the new year.

As you may have noticed over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing predictions for the year ahead from some of the industry’s most influential figures to help our readers kick-start their new year.

And today is no exception.

Below we have for you some great advice from the one and only James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid.

See you all in 2019!


The way people travel is evolving.

People want to travel with companies that have a social conscience and give people real life experiences on the ground that benefit local people as well as the travellers themselves.

Travellers want to disconnect.

Mobile phones were designed to make our lives easier, but somehow they seem to leave to us feeling even busier and stressed and tired as we become more connected and that’s making people feel burnt out.

We’re seeing lots of people who want to get off the beaten track and go to places they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to go and so we expect our expeditions to perform really strongly next year, because they give people the opportunity to disconnect from the real world and I think that will be really important.

Almaty Mountains, Kazakhstan (Istock/Aureliy)
Almaty Mountains, Kazakhstan (Istock/Aureliy)

Destination wise, I think we’ll see more people travelling to the central Asian, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.

Places like Greenland for polar travel, African destinations like Ethiopia and Zimbabwe I think will be quite popular and not just for getting away and disconnecting, but also to escape overtourism, which has gotten so much attention recently.

People recognise the impact that tourism can have if it’s not managed correctly and so I think we’ll see a lot of popularity around alternative destinations.

Japan will really fly next year, it’s just super, super popular and I think it will definitely grow in demand in 2019.

But tour operators will need to offer experiences beyond the traditional destinations like Kyoto, Hiroshima or Tokyo, where overtourism is starting to rear its head.

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