The 2018 tourism trends here to stay

Now that we are well into 2018, we’ve spent the last few months keeping a close eye on the projected trends for the rest of the year and pulled together what we see as the trends that are staying and proposing new opportunities for travel. Smart travel, hipster holidays, co-living, staycations, travelling with a purpose, are still some of the main trends for tourists. Sparrowly Group's Jacqueline Hicks gives a round up of what's here to stay. 


Whilst flying is still the most common form of travelling, other means of travel are having a resurgence. 

Some travellers are opting for deals and planned itineraries with days at leisure as organised by most cruise and rail companies. The Cruise Line International Association have said that river cruising is one of the fastest growing cruise sectors for Australian and New Zealand travellers. River cruising appeals to many because unlike ocean cruises, guests can access the shore every day for extended periods of times. Cruising is also trending as a popular multi-generational travel choice.

Train journeys are very popular for the tourists who seek a slower pace to their travel. This is more about the journey being the destination. Australian TV viewers were mesmerised when SBS revealed its ‘slow TV’ 17 hour documentary showing the Ghan and its route in January. For smaller rail journey’s, the Canadian Rockies train packages range from 2 to 11 nights depending on itineraries. 


Pop up ‘glamping’ tents are becoming increasingly popular over the last few years as a form of boutique hotel. Glamping is known to set up in diverse locations including tree houses, yurts, tents, tipis, eco pods, and cabins and has become a viable solution to accommodation shortage in regional areas. Melbourne’s St Jeromes Hotel recently set up on their rooftop! Pop up glamping companies at festivals or events like Flash Camps are a great option when managing increasing demand for accommodation for events, whilst highlighting the natural element of a destination. Internationally, a Korean company is extending the proven model by upgrading it even further, by designed eco friendly tents appealing to the modern world of glamping with high tech features.


The nuclear two parents, 2.5 children doesn’t work for most of society let alone travel. It’s great to see with changes in family units, that travel companies are finally catching up and accommodating making travel a more viable option including single parent and multigenerational family holiday packages.


Like sustainable and aware tourism, responsible tourism is essentially travelling with the intention of doing good and acting in a responsible manner in the host destination. It incorporates animal welfare, especially the use of animals for the purpose of economic gain. This also includes caring for the local communities and ensuring they are benefitting from the visitor economy, which entails staying in locally owned accommodation, hiring guides from community, and buying products fresh from their farms. 

It encourages tourists to journey out of the main cities and spend time getting back to nature. The Travel Impact Alliance are a community of more than 15,000 travel professionals around the world who are committed to improving our world through tourism through education and advocacy around sustainable tourism. You can find our more on their projects here


There has been a huge rise in health-conscious travel with adventure sports and activities taking central focus on itineraries. Active holidays are also incorporating experience based itineraries which includes action based activities, whilst also adding cooking classes, wine tastings and local market visits. By combining nature, culture, and activity into itineraries, it has become popular for tourists who are seeking for experiences different to others.

Wellness holidays continue to rise in popularity with yoga and vegan style retreats becoming extremely popular. Billabong Retreat in the Hawkesbury just one hour north of Sydney is “somewhere where people could come and reconnect to the nature and life within them and around them”, and offers nutrition, community, yoga, meditation, mindfulness & kindness. Gwinganna Retreat, near the Gold Coast, offers an exclusive customised environment well regarded for its transformative effect on guests’ lifestyle habits.


Another developing industry is agritourism - where agriculture and tourism interact. This is not a new trend for European countries such as Italy and Spain, where visitors have been able to experience food and wine sourced from the region whilst exploring it for a long while. It is becoming very popular for Australia, especially in regional and rural regions incorporating farm stays, tasting trials, gate sales, long table lunches, which has contributed greatly to regional economies. In the NSW Hawkesbury region, there are so many opportunities for picking your own produce and on farm dinners. When in Tasmania, check out the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail.