The year may be at its end but it was a year marked with travel stories that owned headlines for days at a time. From the Costa Concordia disaster in January to the countless delays and cancellations caused by Hurricane Sandy in October, travellers had to contend with their fair share of woes.
So what does the new year hold in store for jet-setters and globe-trotters? Well,in terms of location, a few new names are emerging as up-and-coming travel destinations. Countries like Tunisia, Ireland and Sri Lanka — all once plagued by civil strife — have opened their doors to travellers looking for something more than the typical tourist hot spots. Tunisia in particular has become popular for its "year-round sunshine and low cost of living in resort", reports the Daily Mail.
The demand for river cruises, on the other hand, is anything but low. Once found only in Europe, like those carried out on the Seine River in France, river tours have exploded in popularity. Travellers looking to explore rivers outside of Europe can now do so in places like the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar or Southeast Asia's Mekong River, according to Kensington Tours, a vacation tour group.
And in what could be the most welcome news of the year, for those who'd rather stick to the skies instead of water, airfare is expected to get cheaper — but not for everybody.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the International Air Transport Association's chief economist, Brian Pearce, said that failing oil prices in 2013 would result in cheaper air fare for passengers flying economy.
“Economy fares are more flexible in their reaction to oil prices,” said Pearce, adding, “I expect the best deals will be at the back of the plane, although there will be bargains throughout the aircraft."
But the costs for business travellers heading to places like China, India, Russia and Brazil are expected to rise modestly, mirroring companies' interest in doing business with those countries. As the International Business Times reports, that could spell for more expensive hotel bookings, plane tickets and car rentals for visitors.
At the same time, 2013 is expected to see a new wave of smarter, savvy travellers who do their homework online to stay informed about destinations and deals but still use travel agents as fact-checkers of sorts, according to David McCaig, chief operating officer with the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies.
“Because travellers are more social media savvy, they will be looking to agents to use their credibility to interpret all the information they have researched,” said McCaig at a tourism conference in Toronto in December. While industry professionals expect more and more Canadians to use the internet as well as apps to help plan before their trip, the same can't be said for during the trip.
Pegged as "digital detoxes", more and more hotels have begun to offer customers technology-free packages as a means to travel without emails, texts or phone calls, according to a report by World Travel Market. The rise in technology-free spas, cruises and even safaris come at a time where 80 per cent of smartphone users do not leave their home without their phone.
What travel trends does 2013 holds in store for you? Feel free to sound off in the comment section below.