TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - Dec 20, 2016) - In an annual tradition, the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the champions of simple travel search, are taking a look at where -- and how -- Canadians will travel next year. The team shares its predictions for the New Year with its Travel trends and hot destinations for 2017 report, and the good news is that travel has become more flexible, more accessible and more convenient.
Changes coming in 2017 are set to transform every aspect of the travel experience -- from the way travellers book (on their mobile phones in response to deal alerts) to the airline they choose (including an upswing in low-cost options), to how far they can stretch their travel budget (the result of greater competition). All these innovations -- plus the desire for more meaningful travel -- will see some Canadians opt to combine work and travel in a new, nomadic travel lifestyle.
Here are five ways that the Canadian travel landscape is set to change in 2017:
- The rise of low-cost carriers and unbundled airfare - 2017 is the year the low-cost carrier model really makes an impact for Canadian travellers. Base airfares for travel in the U.S. and across much of the rest of the world will continue to drop as more airlines -- from legacy carriers such as United and Delta, to growing low-cost airlines like Allegiant and Norwegian -- add to the volume of available discount seats. For Canadians, this trend will get an added push from the growth of overseas players like Wow, and new domestic start-ups like NewLeaf (and possibly Jetlines and FlyToo), as well as the recent decision to raise the limit on foreign investment in Canadian airlines. Travellers around the world have voted with their wallets, fuelling the demand for low-cost carriers, and now, more and more Canadians will have the opportunity to opt for lower fares, recognizing the upside of saving on their seat and paying only for the "perks" that matter enough to them that they will fork out added cash for the service. While such travel is still not for everyone, it will be an increasingly popular choice as travellers embrace the opportunity to get where they want to go for less.
- A "golden age" for international travel - With airlines around the world offering increasing budget options, international travel will be more accessible than ever. Look for more moves like Norwegian Air's adoption of narrow-body planes and BYO entertainment to ensure lighter, more streamlined flying and continued low fuel costs to help keep airline costs (and thus, airfares) in check. Open Skies agreements have added to this "golden age" for international travel, as they allow for increased cross competition from international airlines. Add into the equation some major currency fluctuations, which have created increased buying power in many popular markets from Europe to Vietnam and Brazil to Japan. Of course, there are some potential headwinds for overseas travels, especially as Brexit and other industry lobbying threaten some key Open Skies agreements and raise the possibility of more immigration and customs challenges. Despite the tumult, some internationally minded folks will see travel as the antidote to the politics of the day. And all should recognize that there may be no better opportunity than the present to get out there and explore the world.
- More airport innovation and investment - Business leaders from markets across Canada are calling for a renewed focus on airport investment and innovation. In the wake of record-setting security and immigration lines throughout North America and increased comparisons to the efficiency of top international airports, such a rallying cry is no surprise. Government moves, like the rules change on foreign investment in airlines and the efforts to streamline preclearance for travel to the U.S., are signs of progress, and we anticipate a few more commitments to new investments and policies aimed at making air travel more efficient and affordable. In the meantime, though, look for a wave of short-term upgrades introduced by the private sector to start impacting travellers' airport experience. Improvements to watch for include automated security screening lanes, higher tech baggage tracking systems, biometric-powered and fast-tracked security screenings, and personalized services like food delivery to your departure gate or print-your-own luggage tags.
- Portable travel search - Mobile technology has changed the face of travel planning and search. The evolution of online travel has extended well beyond the desktop and is now moving beyond the travel website. Whenever and wherever travel inspiration strikes, look for travel search to be close by. At the most basic, it's the simple step of pulling out your phone for an impromptu vacation planning session over dinner. But increasingly, expect text alerts for fare sales and price drops, or to get a price from your favourite voice-based Internet device or through Facebook Messenger. Coming soon: drag a photo from an online article about a team, festival or concert right into a search window and get the flight options for attending upcoming events delivered in real time.
- The decline of the generic vacation - Travel as an experience increasingly eclipses just the basics of getting away. We see an uptick in people looking to travel with purpose. Examples includes:
- Living like a local - Thanks to the popularity of homestay services like Airbnb, travellers can easily take up residence in a new city or a remote bit of countryside, whether for a few days, weeks or months. This is giving rise to the search for a more personalized and "authentic" experience. Paired with services like local tour guide matching and EatWith-style at-home dining with locals, it's far easier to get a full-immersion vacation. These options add fuel to the growing solo travel market, and make it easier to cut the ties to home, which is key to a digital detox experience. For the growing group of travellers motivated to deep dive into a culture, this vacation style is hard to beat.
- Working vacation - While total immersion is one increasingly popular option, there is also a trend for combining work and travel in new ways. One is the so-called "bleisure" trip, combining both business and leisure, where you tack on time and possibly an added destination or two to your work travel. Done right, this is the ultimate in multi-tasking -- add another outfit or two to your bag and have work pick up the bulk of your travel tab. Another spin is the "have laptop, will travel" habit. If you can work wherever you are -- an increasing phenomenon in today's tech-driven, remote employee world -- there's no reason not to take your job with you on the road. Look for more and more people exploring the world by working business hours for their day job and then exploring in their off hours.
- Ecotourism - The ticking clocks of climate change and overdevelopment are getting louder and louder for many people, driving a sense of urgency for seeing destinations that are endangered, and for supporting tourism services that sustain vulnerable lands and species.
- The other "green" tourism - With marijuana now legal or at least decriminalized in a growing number of places, expect to see a rise in this kind of "green" travel as well. The boom in pot tourism in Colorado, after the sale of recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, underscores the pent-up demand. With other places in the U.S. like Massachusetts, California and Maine voting to legalize it this fall, and with Canada eyeing such a law at the national level, we expect to see travel in this segment light up even more.
And where does Cheapflights.ca predict Canadians will be heading in 2017? Rounding out our annual travel trends report are four destinations predicted to be on the rise next year: Cork, Ireland; Polynesia, Finland and Montreal, Canada. To find out why these spots will make it onto travel bucket lists in 2017, read Cheapflights.ca's complete report on Travel trends and hot destinations for 2017 at www.cheapflights.ca/news/2017-travel-trends.
About Cheapflights.ca, part of the Momondo Group
Founded in 1996, Cheapflights is a leading global flight comparison and deals publishing platform dedicated to taking the complexity out of finding the best value flights through the application of innovative, intuitive technologies: Smart search. Made simple. It is now a market leader in the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand generating more than C$4 billion in global downstream revenue for its partners as it expands into numerous other territories. More than 120 million users visit its websites and apps each year, receiving more than two billion search results a month from across 900,000 routes. The 10 million strong opt-in subscribers to the Cheapflights newsletter receive the best deals from more than 120 travel businesses -- for whom it has driven more than C$80 million in revenue this year. Together, the Cheapflights platforms generate enough bookings for its partners to fill a Boeing 747 every five minutes.
In 2011, Cheapflights became part of the privately owned online travel search and inspiration network, Momondo Group.
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