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ANALYSIS: 6 hottest travel trends 2013

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ANALYSIS: NEW TRAVEL TRENDS 2013. With a new year ahead, travel planning gets a fresh start. Some say the world has never been smaller, as cheap airline tickets flood the market and just about every spot on the planet bears signs of human activity.

And yet, new travel destinations continue to pop up, maybe even more so in 2013 compared to the previous year. As the world develops, travel trends always turn in new directions — Syria of today may be haunted by a grim civil war, but in a few years, after the al-Assad regime has fallen — for it will fall — Syria, too, will once again prosper and become a prime target for tourists seeking to explore the Middle East.

And so it continues. The Traveling Reporter has pinpointed the hottest upcoming travel trends, for 2013 and beyond.

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1 • Former war zones

Libyan fighters celebrate. After war comes tourism.

Libyan fighters celebrate. After war comes tourism.

First there was Tunisia, then Egypt and Libya. And we have yet to see the end of the Syrian uprising. The last few years, the Middle East has developed more in the sense of democracy and human rights than anyone thought possible. And yet, much remain to happen, as the Assad regime, with Russian support, continues a civil war in Syria that is eventually doomed to fail the same way the former Egyptian powerhouse of Mubarak fell after violence and bloodshed.

Tourists have already started to come back to Egypt, and, let alone Cairo’s central districts, the country can still be viewed as a destination for international tourism. Resorts further away from the capital are safer still. But Egypt’s economy is suffering badly, and needs all visits from foreigners it can get.

Libya is still in another division, far behind its Middle East neighbor and still with deep, open wounds after the war that forced Muammar Gaddafi out of office and this world.

 

But, provided that no major setbacks occur, the Traveling Reporter believes that these parts of the Middle East are all upcoming hot tourist destinations. Maybe not in 2013, other than for those who care especially much for war zone travels (a category of travelers that have probably already been to Iraq), but sooner or later it will happen.

 

This trend can be found elsewhere too. In Colombia, peace talks with Farc have made progress during 2012, as in southern Philippines. As former guerrillas are disarmed and lose control over their territories, new tourist destinations fill their gap.

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2 • Bizarre Political Systems

Raul Castro, ruler of Cuba.

Raul Castro, ruler of Cuba.

Somewhat related to War Zones, but in a political genre, Myanmar (Burma), Cuba, North Korea and the odd Middle East dictatorship that hasn’t got caught in the uprising there, all pose exciting new travel destinations. Not that Cuba wasn’t a prime target already; in 2013, 3 million visitors are expected, according to the country’s tourism ministry in Havana. But the blockade is still in force, and Americans are not free to visit however they want.

All these countries are interesting because of one single fact: They represent political systems that are quickly going out of fashion. The Castro Brothers may still rule Cuba, and little is known as to who stands to succeed once Raul Castro leaves office, but it is likely that major changes are on its way in a few years.

North Korea, despite its recent change in leadership, has shown less a willingness to open up, but such a bizarre regime is bound to fail sooner or later. In Burma, on the other hand, change is coming fast, and reports from Rangoon, the country’s former capital and largest city, tell a story of fully booked hotels and business people on the search for quick profits.

One or two former Soviet states, such as Uzbekistan, can probably be added to this category, too, and why not a small, insignificant city state as Brunei.

But out of these countries, the Traveling Reporter predicts that Cuba and Burma stand the best chances to increase its profits in the international tourism industry, a boom that will start to occur in 2013.

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3 • Economic Crisis Travels

Greece – the epicenter of the debt crisis.

Greece – the epicenter of the debt crisis.

As tragic as the current economic development is for residents of southern Europe, especially in Greece and Spain, the ongoing debt crisis poses a fine opportunity for visitors. Some of the countries worst hit in the financial turmoil, that have lasted for several years now, carry on with unemployment rates of about 25 percent. Salaries have been cut for those having jobs to go to. Reports from Athens reveal a society under extreme pressure. Greece may still be in the eurozone, and therefore having to cope with the same currency as the rich Germans up north, but as harsh as the Greece economic climate is, visitors have good possibilities to make bargains.

Going to the financially worst-hit countries in Europe is not exploiting, but helping. Hotel managers and restaurant owners need every cent of income they can get, and it may very well be the power of international tourism and trade that save Greece from total disintegration within Europe and the eurozone.

As the crisis go on, there is an increasing risk of civil unrest and violence in these countries, where many have lost all confidence in the political leadership. Several riots have occurred in Athens and elsewhere in 2012.

But nevertheless, the Traveling Reporter predicts, and hopes, that this tourism trend will intensify in 2013.

 

4 • Live Travel Blogging

Mobile blogging device.

Mobile blogging device.

Now what’s this? Well, it may be the natural course of the connectivity trend already seen everywhere. Not so much because of Facebook and Twitter, but instead due to all the new, small and smart devices that are flooding the market. Small cameras, like the Memoto, hanging around your neck, can take a picture every X minute or second and post on your blog via Bluetooth, using your smartphone. You don’t even have to do anything. Other gadgets, like the Ipad Mini and its competitors from Samsung, LG, HTC and others, enable for travelers to manage even advanced blogs, streaming live TV and broadcasting radio from virtually every corner of the world. The impact of all this new technology within the travel industry has not yet been seen.

And remember, we’ve just seen the beginning yet. Soon, eyeglasses will be connected, displaying travel related info right before your eyes. In November, I listened to a speech by a British travel blogger who wore a jacket with a WiFi network build into it. Wherever he walked, Internet was with him.

 

There is one factor, though, that works against the live travel blogging trend: The cost of international roaming. Going abroad and download or upload vast amounts of data is still way too expensive for the average tourist, limiting most of us to WiFi networks in hotels or at McDonald’s restaurants. Indeed, a variety of Mobile WiFi network gadgets, called “MiFi”, are already available on the market, though mostly aimed at business customers.

 

However, the Traveling Reporter assumes that, sooner or later, the telecom industry will have to adapt to the needs (?) of the modern human being and start offering cheaper alternatives. We believe this might start to happen during 2013.

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5 • Cruises

2013 – the year of the cruise.

2013 – the year of the cruise.

One hundred years after the Titanic, and with the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the Italian island Giglio in the beginning of 2012 in relatively fresh memory, it might be hard to picture cruises as being one of the next big things. But we believe it might be. There are a number of reasons. Firstly, accidents like the Concordia usually fade quickly in people’s memories. Secondly, it can be argued that you get quite a lot for your money. For example, a seven day cruise around the Caribbean, departing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with one of the major international cuise giants, will set you and your travel company, assuming you come from Europe, back about US$4,000. Air tickets, some pocket money and a row of experiences are included. You will visit a number of islands, and have access to a floating amusement park. Thirdly, in today’s tough financial climate, the cruise industry has little to gain by upholding the old view of cruises as a getaway for only the rich and famous.

The Caribbean is traditional waters for cruises, and the fjords of Norway is another cruise classic. But the cruising industry are expanding elsewhere, too. Earlier in 2012, a stretch of the Nile in Egypt opened up for cruises, and Asia is on the rise. Not to mention remote and exotic destinations as Antarctica, still expensive and a last frontier, besides space and deep water travels, in the tourism industry.

These are some of the reasons why the Traveling Reporter rate cruises as a rising travel trend.

 

6 • The Off Season Experiences

Last snow of the Sierra Nevadas, Spain, in May. Off Season Tourism is the next big thing.

Last snow of the Sierra Nevadas, Spain, in May. Off Season Tourism is the next big thing.

This one is harder to grasp, but a personal favorite of mine. Let me give a few examples: Going to a ski resort during summer, or visiting a beach resort covered by snow.

The virtues of the Off Season Travel are that it opens up new perspectives, reveals the true nature of a destination, and is almost always a bargain. Usually these destinations are more or less deserted, leaving you with vast amount of time to ponder upon life’s big questions.

Especially for budget travelers, off season tourism is truly the way to go. The Traveling Reporter does not expect the major travel package agencies to advertise these journeys anytime soon, but with the world’s economic situation being far from fantastic, budget alternatives should be in high demand.

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The Traveling Reporter wishes all readers a Happy New Year!

What’s the next big travel trend?
Tell us! Post a comment below.  

The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.

  • Larry

    Isn’t space travels the next big thing?