From digital detox to artificial intelligence: 5 tourism trends to watch

Mar 11, 2020

From digital detox to artificial intelligence: 5 tourism trends to watch

Mar 11, 2020

What travel trends will affect your 2020 vacation? Surely, the way people travel is changing immensely due to new technology advances and accessibility. From finding inspiration on where to travel next to transportation, hotel bookings, and attractions, this year shows an interesting outlook on travel trends.

So, which of these trends are here to stay for 2020? With the help of data crunchers, here are Globally Cool’s predictions for the biggest trends in travel:

1. Digital detox is here to stay

The convenience modern technology offers our everyday lives could feel overwhelming sometimes – from non-stop incoming email notifications on your phone, to the fear of missing out the latest #trends on Instagram. Many people consider digital detox the cure to this feeling. Travellling as light as possible and reconnecting to nature definitely is one of 2020’s travel trends.

The idea of being free from all digital forces helps people relax, mentally as well as physically. But also, and not unimportant, digital detoxing benefits getting in touch with yourself and your surroundings. Time gets spend on activities such as sketching with a pencil and paper, board games with family members or setting off on a tech-free hike. As people more and more book stays in hideouts – by companies such as Unyoked and Vipp Shelter – designed to be removed from the modern world, the forest micro hotel trend is evidently catching on.

2. Slow travelling all the way

Thanks to Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the concept of flygskam,which translates in English to flight shame, prompts responsible travellers to think more carefully about where they fly to and how often. Even airlines such as the Dutch KLM ask society to fly less with their new ‘Fly Responsibly’-campaign. As a consequence, this decade many people turn to trains instead of hopping on an airplane. With a 30% volume increase of transportation services from Paris to various destinations in Switzerland, European train operator TGV Lyria is betting on higher demand already.

In Europe, domestic flights are reportedly down in a bid to decrease climate change. According to, over 50% of travellers take environmental issues into account when picking a travelling destination and do not mind taking extra time in order to reach their destination, at least, if it is a more responsible choice. As more consumers take a moment to think about the environmental impact of travelling, this year there is going to be an increase of interest in traditional and more sustainable forms of transport, such as trains or boats.

Train travel is big business right now. Plus, there are many benefits to choosing rail over air travel. It is often cheaper, quicker – instead of spending hours at the airport, you are on rapidly on your way to your destination – and it also offers a slow way of traveling, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the journey. This encourages mindfulness and ensures you arrive at your destination feeling relaxed and well rested.

3. Diving into local cultures with home-tels

With Airbnb increasingly listing hotels on its platform and hotels attempting to create properties with a more local feel, it is no wonder hybrid home-tels are catching on.

Today’s tourists do not want to be insulated from the places they visit when they step into luxury hotels. They want to stay inside the cultural bubble, engage with locals and participate in their culture. From enjoying local cuisine to celebrating regional festivals and holidays, local experiences are set to become a top tourist trends to watch. To paint a picture: examples of popular local experiences are renting formal Japanese clothes to wear, consuming regional delicacies, engaging in traditional games and cultural activities or visiting Japan during a major festival. Also, looking to learn more about local culture, nowadays more and more people stay with host families in foreign countries over a longer period of time.

4. Workliday: best of both

The concept of combining leisure and tourism with travel for business is hardly new: ‘bleisure’ has been popular for many decades. Bleisure travel tourism takes many forms. Some people decide to engage in tourism during downtime on their business trip. In other cases, companies arrange sightseeing activities as a perk next to busy working events. Another increasingly popular trend is the ‘digital nomad’ phenomenon. These digital nomads are people that solely work online, which enables them to engage in travel as they are not bound to certain locations.

5. The rise of AI en IoT

Probably the most eye-catching travel craze is hotelier AI. After the Hilton Hotel chain introduced their robot concierge Connie, other hotels also joined the robot-staff trend – installing interactive robots to handle certain reception duties or even having them serve food and drinks to guests. Meet Jeno en Jena, the robots that deliver room service in the Jen Hotel in Singapore:

Next to the abovementioned AI trend, the Internet of Things (IoT) is also on the rise in the tourism sector. IoT devices are gadgets equipped with a microprocessor and some form of digital connectivity, allowing them to connect to, and be controlled from, the internet. Examples of some of these devices are heating and cooling systems, entertainment systems. All to procure ‘smart’ hotel rooms that cater to each and every need. The IoT is also used to integrate in hospitality services, such as allowing guests to book activities – a session in the hotel’s spa, entrance to the swimming pool, training in the gym – and request room service or extra linen via a hub or a smartphone application.

In 2020 Artificial intelligence is becoming of great importance to the tourism industry, as it is used for marketing purposes – personalisation in terms of finding suitable tours and trips. And the realization of smart hotel rooms, so guests can fine-tune the environment and services fit to their needs and preferences. Next to this, nowadays many customers book their transportation and accommodation with the help of internet chatbots. These are specifically tailored conversational AI programs, which handle queries and assist customers with helpful information when human operators are unavailable. A lot to look forward to this year!

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