Gadget-free travel and booking holidays on smart TVs rule future travel trends

Euromonitor, the world’s leader in strategy research for consumer markets released its annual World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2012 at London’s World Travel Market on November 5.

The WTM Global Trends Report has successfully predicted some significant trends in the travel and tourism industry over the last eight years. This includes gamification, or the integration of gaming dynamics in non-gaming environments to create brand awareness and loyalty, as a key industry trend for travel companies. Cape Town Tourism recently led the way in South Africa’s destination gamification by introducing a Facebook game during October 2012.

Some of the predictions of the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2012 include:

• Global economic growth remains polarised, with emerging economies performing strongly, and developed countries continuing to stagnate;
• The IMF predicts global GDP growth of 3.5% for 2012, down from 3.9% in 2011;
• Global tourist arrivals in 2012 will top one billion, showing growth of 3.4% over 2011, driven by Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe;
• Arrivals from BRIC countries continue to boost tourism, while the traditional markets of Europe and the United States remain vulnerable to austerity measures and traveller caution;
• Inbound spending in 2012 is predicted to show higher growth at 4.5%, reaching more than $1 trillion due to fast-growing expenditure by visitors from emerging countries;
• Medical and shopping tourism, rail, cruise and spas are expected to perform the best from 2012 to 2016, while online travel will continue to outperform offline in terms of value growth;
• Emerging markets in particular are expected to see solid growth in online travel bookings, as internet penetration increases, along with improved payment methods;
• Consumers have acquired a more central role in the travel industry thanks to more information and choice offered by the online travel revolution, impacting travel business models.

The report highlights shopping as a major theme, with BRICs flocking to Europe, Indians jetting off on low-cost carriers to purchase gold, and hotels being built inside shopping malls in the Middle East. Technological innovation is the driving force between the rise of smart TVs and creating new opportunities for travel brands. Americans are drawn to countries coming in from the cold, such as North Korea, Cuba and Myanmar, while Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood, is a magnet for intra-regional African travel.

Opportunities for Cape Town and the Western Cape include:

• An increase in the number of UK holidaymakers taking more than one holiday this year could be a sign that the country’s economic fortunes are improving. Following the start of the global downturn in 2008, the proportion of UK consumers taking a holiday dropped alarmingly. However, the WTM Global Trends Report 2012 has revealed more than half, 52%, of the 1 001 UK holidaymakers polled took more than one holiday this year, many of them to long-haul destinations. With 200 000 visitors from the UK visiting Cape Town annually, this bodes well for tourism from this key source market;
• Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Chile, Nigeria and Singapore have been highlighted as the next set of emerging travel and tourism powerhouses. Cape Town and the Western Cape have strong trade relationships with a number of these countries and a focus on business exchange coupled with leisure tourism pose a definite opportunity for the region;
• Travel technology is set to become more interactive and advanced with the onset of Smart TVs. Similar to smartphones, smart TVs integrate television with internet technologies and social media. The days of TV as a one-way entertainment medium will soon be over with new TV models allowing full interaction between viewers and broadcasters, advertisers and app developers, as well as among viewers themselves. In the future, people watching travel programmes will be able to make immediate bookings through their smart TVs via travel apps or web links. Cape Town Tourism’s continued investment in technology and its ability to speak to the digitally-savvy traveller will lead the way for the destination in an increasingly digital travel arena;
• The flipside of the digitally connected coin is starting to emerge with a growing trend in international hotels offering guests a break from being constantly connected. When offering Wi-Fi is standard for many hotels, others are heading in the opposite direction and helping guests to check in and switch off, offering "digital detox" holidays to help stressed consumers relax and unwind, without texts and emails. As far back as 2008, the term “nomophobia” was used to indicate a fear of being without a mobile phone. The WTM Global Trends Report 2012 – in association with Euromonitor International – said this has prompted a rise in the number of hotel “technology-free” packages, with the chance to relinquish devices and indulge in treatments such as massages. Promoting family time or quality “human” time with loved ones is another aspect of the digital detox offering, as electronic devices weaken human communications in everyday life.

Comprehensive highlights of Euromonitor’s annual WTM Global Trends Report 2012 can be found here.

Says Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte Du Toit-Helmbold: “The Euromonitor report again sets the tone for new developments in international tourism trends. Learnings for Cape Town and the Western Cape is clear: the world is moving faster, changing more and appearing smaller as countries, regions and cultures collide and intermix more than before. As the tourism industry we are finding ourselves in a progressively competitive era, one of overwrought resources and huge challenges for markets once considered stable. It is critical that the tourism industry keep an eye on the over-arching trends affecting the world of international travel and continue to look for opportunities as much as prospective drawbacks – remembering the motto of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser; 'problems are only opportunities in work clothes'."

She added, “The opportunities for Cape Town and the Western Cape stemming from interactions at World Travel Market as well as insight gleaned from the trends in the Euromonitor Report demonstrate that we are on the right track in the way we are positioning the region as an inspirational, must-see destination. The search for authenticity in digitally connected destinations continues – especially from our key source markets of Europe and the USA that are increasingly discerning in their travel choices. A strong focus on emerging destinations and Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro’s collaboration with South African Tourism in new source markets of Asia and the Pacific will be a determining factor in growing tourism in the next five years.”

Cape Town Tourism will provide regular updates from World Travel Market and report on the themes of responsible tourism, airline access and social media over the coming days. We are sharing live updates on Twitter as the trade show unfolds. Follow us on Twitter @CapeTownTourism or connect with our CEO Mariëtte Du Toit-Helmbold on @MarietteDTH who is representing Cape Town and the Western Cape at WTM.

For further information, please contact Skye Grove, Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager, +27 21 487 6800, email or see

Released for Cape Town Tourism by Rabbit in a Hat Communications, Tammy White, +27 21 448 9705, +27 73 202 5041,

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