Kuoni has hailed the rise of the mindful traveller in 2020, with carbon reduction, slow travel and the war on plastic increasingly entering wider consumer consciousness.
In its annual Worldwide Travel Report, the operator warns “if we fail to make changes, travel as we know it could become a thing of the past”.
However, it argues giving up flying “is unrealistic and potentially damaging to the destinations that rely on tourism”.
The operator suggests slow travel with low-impact lodges rather than “energy-intensive” hotels; local produce instead of imported food; longer stays; and spending more in local communities will help, along with carbon offsetting.
Among other influences on 2020, Kuoni predicts there will be a renewed emphasis on consumer protection following the collapse of Thomas Cook and a “Boris bounce” following Brexit.
It also believes consumers are now “more cynical about social media, sponsored posts and fake news”.
It asks: “Must everything worth remembering be photographed and shared? In 2020, smart travellers are getting back to basics and experiencing a destination for themselves, not for likes.”
Kuoni predicts a good year for Canada following publicity surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, plus the resurgence of Egypt, with Cairo’s new Grand Egyptian Museum, scheduled to open this autumn, expected to draw five million visitors a year.
In Kuoni’s list of top 25 destinations, compiled from sales figures taken on 6 January, the Maldives leads the board for the 17th year.
Sri Lanka has dropped from last year’s second place to fourth. The destination has swapped places with Mauritius, where Kuoni said social and environmental sustainability “are becoming key selling points” for hotels.
Thailand remains Kuoni customers’ third choice, with Khao Lak and Koh Phangan the biggest growth areas.
Kuoni has seen a 10% increase in 2020 Thailand holidays including three or more locations, plus more Singapore/Koh Samui combinations using a new Singapore Airlines direct service.
One European destination, Italy, makes the top 10, climbing from seventh place to sixth, with Puglia seeing the most noticeable bookings increase.
The only new entry to the top 10 this year was Antigua, with Virgin Atlantic adding flights from June.
Just ahead of Antigua was Vietnam, which is Kuoni’s top-selling escorted touring destination this year.
As in Thailand, three-centre itineraries such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and a beach stay were popular.
Proportion of Kuoni honeymoons that are booked in-store
Average spend per couple on a Kuoni honeymoon