This article collects our thoughts about new trends in the travel industry and tourism markets, Travel Industry Trends and Predictions 2004 Articles especially with regard to sustainable tourism. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and is quite general. These trends are included as an overview, a synthesis of our readings and experience, and should not be taken as results of our formal research. They are based in part upon the research results of other organizations. We plan to update and refine these thoughts throughout the year. If you have comments or questions, or you are interested in Leave Home’s travel marketing consulting services, please visit or contact the author directly.
Leave Home sees significant realignments in tourism decision patterns and roles within the industry, as a result of global economic, political, and social changes and the impact of new communications technologies. As in some other sectors of society, these technologies appear to be encourage a greater decentralization of distribution, greater individual access to choice and information, and a realignment of roles for tourism intermediaries. We recognize major opportunities for tourism industry participants who provide value as “experts”, respond to demand for individualized service, fulfill higher level needs and aspirations of tourists (“fulfillment”, “self-actualization”, “individuality”), and remain flexible and responsive to change. We find sustainable tourism projects and products especially well poised to take advantage of these changes, to provide unique value to tourists, and to spread the benefits of responsible tourism to new areas and a wider segment of the host populations.
Tourism, global security and the economic picture
Overall, tourism expenditures and international arrivals began recovering in the last half of 2003 and appear to be continuing this trend in 2004. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) organized a panel of 180 tourism experts, whose survey results about the promise of 2004 in terms of tourism industry recovery are markedly optimistic. Continued global instability should give caution to long-term prognostication, however.