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Travel trends from Avoya 2017 conference

Travel Trends Looking which direction to travel in? Here's some trends

Many of you have asked what we learned at the Avoya Conference near San Diego  in late May.    In short - we learned a lot.  But in this post we'll focus on just one thing: 2017 travel trends.

We heard from just about every major travel supplier including:  AmaWaterways, Holland America, Crystal, Norwegian, Windstar, Royal Caribbean, Travel Impressions, Paul Gauguin, Amtrak Vacations, Club Med, Apple Vacations, Collette, Oceania, Sandals, Hurtigruten, MSC Cruises, Seaborn, Regent, CIE, Funjet, Azamara, Celebrity, Carnival, Uniworld, Princess, Globus (Globus, Cosmos, Avalon, Monograms), Allianz and Silversea.    If you aren't familiar with any of these names, then you're probably missing out on some great vacations.  Contact us directly and we'll be happy to share what each of these suppliers can offer you.

Certain topics kept coming up no matter who was speaking. So here's some trends that we noticed:

Trend 1: The Food Channel effect

It seems like everyone is catering to the Foodie crowd and it seems every cruise line is now aligned with a famous chef.  More and more lines are offering cooking classes.  And we heard a lot of references to farm to table restaurants, vegan options and high quality culinary choices.  And speaking of food choices - this used to be the domain of only a few suppliers but now it seems every supplier gives it's guest many choices of where to eat.  Not sure if it's cause or effect but the Food Channel seems to be having an impact.  Some examples:  Windstar is collaborating with James Beard, Hurtigruten has a new vegan menu, Seaborn is aligned with Dr. Andrew Weil, CIE is now offering food themed tours and Princess now has Curtis Stone planned restaurants.

Top trend: wellness Top trend: wellness

Trend 2: Health and wellness

Many suppliers highlighted their new yoga activities or healthy menus.  Everyone seemed to spotlight the activity levels both on board the ship and on excursions.  Some examples:  AmaWaterways disclosed new Tai Chi classes on some cruises,  Club Med has top notch Sports Academies, Oceania is now offering wellness themed excursions, Princess emphasized their mind and body renewal programs.  Vacationers are getting younger and/or more active.

Trend 3: Ending "Been there done that" syndrome

Just about every supplier touched on new destinations. Globus listed Iceland, the Baltics and Cuba as "hot" destinations.  Travelers are also going to Thailand, and Africa.  Azamara announced several country intensive voyages such as in Japan.  Hurtigruten has voyages to Antarctica and the Northwest passage in addition to their usual Norway adventures.  There's more ways then ever to do the Galapagos.  You can see more of the world than ever before.

Trend 4: Seeking adventure

Silversea stated that Expeditions are their fastest growing segment with three ships in the water already and another on its way.  Princess has excursions designed by Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. U by Uniworld is emphasizing more active excursions for younger river cruisers while Celebrity emphasized their Galapagos destinations complete with zodiac boats. Seaborn discussed their Venture program which includes zodiacs, kayaks and hiking tours right from the ships.

Trend: new investment in ships and facilities Trend: new investment in ships and facilities

Trend 5: Investments in infrastructure

We heard a lot about how strong bookings are in 2017.  And most suppliers are aggressively investing in infrastructure. Regent is adding another luxury ship to their fleet, Norwegian Cruise line will be adding lots of new smaller sized ships in the near future, Crystal has invested in ocean, river, air and yacht vessels,  Sandals continues to invest in new properties and refurbish older ones, Hurtigruten's new ship is a hybrid, which allows it to run almost silently on electric power. And MSC will be launching 22 ships over the next 5 years reportedly worth 11 billion dollars.


Trend 6: Giving back

Many of the suppliers give back to their communities.  Avoya for example, works with Friends & Family Community Connection  - in fact while we were at conference we packed over 40,000 meals for those in need.  Globus generously supports Make a Wish Foundation.  AmaWaterways sponsors an English speaking school in Vietnam,  Royal Caribbean asked that each agent volunteer in their own back yard, and Crystal discussed volunteerism as a way to better connect people.  In fact, most suppliers said that "finding a connection" is a prime motivator for their clients to travel in the first place.


2017 Trends

So there you have it - a list of trends as we heard it from the 2017 Avoya Conference.  Are you a Foodie?  Seeking adventure?  Looking for a new destination or adventure?  Maybe you want to sail on a new ship or visit a recently renovated property? Or you just want to give back and connect with someone else across the globe?  If so, you're in luck!  A great travel agent can take what you're looking for and turn it into a vacation of your dreams.  Let us know how we can help you plan your next incredible vacation.

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