Recently, there have been a few setbacks in tourism. The latest being related to the September 11, 2001 attacks and terrorist threats to tourist destinations such as Bali and European cities. On December 26, 2004 a tsunami, caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake hit Asian countries bordering the Indian Ocean, and also the Maldives. This, together with the vast clean-up operation in place, has stopped or severely hampered tourism to the area.
Travel trends to move towards "quality tourism" are difficult given competition from cheaper, unspoilt holiday destinations on the one hand and the legacy of decades of over-exploitation on the other. Tenerife provides an example of the negative impact of mass tourism. Organizations like Greenpeace and ATAN are particularly critical of development on the island, arguing that Tenerife's current tourism industry is both economically and environmentally unsustainable.
Receptive tourism is now growing at a very rapid rate in many developing countries, where it is often the most important economic activity in local GDP.
In recent years, second holidays or vacations have become more popular as people's discretionary income increases. Typical combinations are a package to the typical mass tourist resort, with a winter skiing holiday or weekend break to a city or national park.
The World Tourism Organization forecasts that international tourism will continue growing at the average annual rate of 4 percent. By 2020 Europe will remain the most popular destination, but its share will drop from 60 percent in 1995 to 46 percent. Long-haul will grow slightly faster than intraregional travel and by 2020 its share will increase from 18 percent in 1995 to 24 percent. Since e-commerce has taken off on the internet, tourism products have become one of the most traded items on the net. Tourism products and services have been made available on the net at bargain prices through intermediaries. In recent time, tourism providers (hotels, airlines, etc.) have started to sell their services through the internet. This has put pressure on intermediaries from both the virtual and the traditional brick and mortar stores.
The other global travel trends include Technological Improvement. It is likely to make possible air-ship hotels, based either on solar-powered airplanes or large dirigibles. Underwater hotels, such as Hydropolis, expected to open in Dubai in 2006, will be built. On the ocean tourists will be welcomed by ever larger cruise ships and perhaps floating cities.
Some futurists expect that movable hotel "pods" will be created that could be temporarily erected anywhere on the planet, where building a permanent resort would be unacceptable politically, economically or environmentally.
The Travel Industry Association of America is a non-profit trade association that represents and speaks for the common interests and concerns of the entire U.S. travel industry.
To keep you up-to-date on the latest travel trends, TIA uses 3 methods to track the travel industry performance indicators:
1. The Travel Price Index tracks monthly changes in U.S. travel prices for lodging, gasoline, airfares, and more, in comparison to changes in the Consumer Price Index;
2. Industry Performance Indicators monitor monthly performance statistics for a variety of travel industry sectors;
3. The Traveler Sentiment Index is a quarterly measurement of consumer attitudes toward leisure travel based on the following factors: available time & finances, affordability, interest, and quality of service.
You can use these TIA indicators to keep you apprised of U.S. travel price inflation, relative to overall inflation, to evaluate the performance of your business as compared to national travel trends, and to better understand the consumer's current interest in and orientation to the U.S. travel product.