This year I’m predicting some holdovers from my 2009 predictions to finally happen in 2010 and looking forward to a travel industry with more options for various types of travel. While looking back on my gloomy 2009 predictions that were mostly incorrect I’m holding fast that this year will be a good one for savvy travelers with a few caveats.
1. (Still) More Fees For Just About Everything
It’s hard to escape but in addition to the airlines other modes of travel industries (train, car rental, etc.) will increase existing fees on things that weren’t additional charges just a few years back. (Remember, like in 2003 when you didn’t have to pay $15 to check in a bag?) You can check the Luggage Limits for information on over 55 airlines and expect the fees to increase by around 50% by the end of the year.
2. Backpacking Goes Mainstream
The backpacking community is growing and the media is showing more attention to travelers who leave everything behind with only a few possessions to travel the world. Granted, no matter how alluring the lifestyle, most people won’t do it. (I’ll be the first to say though, that you can overcome the obstacles and travel the world.) The travel industry will pick up on this in 2010 and give everyone else a taste of the life. I suspect you’ll see more offerings being advertised as ‘adventure tours’ and ‘living with the locals’.
3. RTW Trips – More Options and Price Plans
Many people (and plenty of travel bloggers) have taken a year or so off from everything to travel around the world. Several airlines already offer round the world tickets and in 2010 it will really catch on. Airlines will advertise their RTW tickets and offer semi-RTW or extended tickets (e.g. you can use over 5 years). I can also see a subscription service or unlimited package along the lines of Jet Blue’s unlimited flying offer.
4. Major US Airlines Will File For Bankruptcy
In 2009, the US airline industry lost 11 billion dollars but survived the year without a single bankruptcy or major government bailout. In 2010 they are projected to lost 5.6 billion more and it’s a trend that cannot continue indefinitely. It will take government help to keep them afloat and won’t result in better service or lower fares for travelers.
Combined with drop in tourism to the US it doesn’t look good for the major carriers although Southwest’s approach should help them to continue earning profits. (I can’t help but think if the TSA would reconfigure their views on airline security, combined with the weak dollar, the US would be a very attractive destination to many more visitors.)
5. The Rise Of Southeast Asia
Last year I was looking forward to Europe becoming a popular destination again, even for travelers with currencies much weaker than the Euro. With tourism to the EU nations down about 7% for the first part of 2009, it looks like I was looking at the wrong part of the world. Southeast Asia is where your money will go a long way, is very popular with Westerners, and an area of the world where many governments are looking to foster this thriving source of tourism income. Southeast Asia is also the home of several up and coming best places to travel on a weak dollar – is it on your travel plans this year?
Lots Of Niches To Be Filled
Although it can be easy to think of the travel industry (especially the airlines) as a lumbering, uncreative clump of services you have to use occasionally, the economy is opening up with many niches for creative companies to fill. The backpacking community and RTW trips are slowly becoming introduced to the mainstream of people who might not live and breathe travel but are looking for their next trip to be a bit out of the ordinary.
The world of travel in 2010 is shaping up to be an exciting one for travelers and creative minds in or looking to join the travel industry.
[photos by: KrätzschePhotography, _fLeMmA_, alesposit]
“The Rise Of Southeast Asia”
it’s like it’s crowded with tourists already except for Philippines which most people think is not part of Southeast Asia. hehehe
just an additional:
“Low Cost Carriers Thrives in 2010”
because of the increasing number of cost conscious travelers…
“Green Travel” and hopefully more info on “Responsible Tourism”
because of constant info about global warming, environmental awareness etc
The Philippines being still under the radar is amazing and can’t pinpoint a good reason for it. One of my predictions back in 2008 was more ecotourism alternatives but it hasn’t really hit the general consciousness yet. The terms may have but I’m not convinced all of those green offerings are really so green.
I think Europe will become less popular and South America will become the new “major” getaway, especially for people living in North America.
It’s on my travel plans for 2010 🙂
I agree with you JoAnna.
I’m also hoping to head to S. America this year. It sure is easier than flying half way around the world to SE Asia + less jet lag! However, I think that so many North Americans are still scared of developing country travel that it will effect their decisions. People with 1 week vacations still don’t like to rough it that much.
Anil – thanks for the predictions – I hope your right about the niches that are available out there!
Me too Sherry, I’d like to see some creative travel projects in the coming year and have my fingers crossed!
You’re a brave one to make so many predictions – I think the more hidden charges one has already come true – low cost is not always what it seems.
My good streak in 2008 emboldened me last year. I hope I’m more on target with my predictions for 2010.
It’s already sickening how airlines have increased fees on basic services and for others to follow suit would only create a scenario of nickel-and-diming travelers.
Seems like some of the fees were justifiable when they first appeared but funny how once a fee is set it sticks around (and often increases) even when the original reason for it disappears.
Anil, a very well researched piece! I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. But why are airlines still losing billions of dollars? Is it because of the drop in tourism? I didn’t know the drop was that much! I guess it’s because I associate with a lot of travellers (like you), but didn’t really consider the fact that there’s only a small percentage of us who are CRAZY for travel. Most people still can’t afford it or has no interest in travelling…
Fuel prices are the biggest culprit. This hasn’t effected Southwest and several other carriers in the US turning a profit though. Here’s one explanation I found:
“But the fare American needs to charge to make a profit is different from, say, that for Southwest Airlines (LUV, Fortune 500), which, thanks to prudent hedging in futures markets, is paying only $2.01 a gallon for its jet fuel.”
I also think the major airlines are slow to change and adapt. They have the luxury of government assistance which they can use when things get really bad. The effect makes them less competitive and creative in the long term.
I can’t imagine what more they could charge fees for!! Australia are trying to make the airlines advertise their full price but it is a tough battle as airlines are creative. Some bold claims here – look forward to the midyear update on how your predictions are going!!
I like that initiative by the Australians. I hadn’t heard of it before but wish fees were more easily accessible before booking a flight.
Good prediction Anil. All of these will become true thanks to the weakened global economy especially those developed countries. Moreover all these trends will come to a conclusion that budget travellers like me will rule the industry! LoL 🙂
Thanks Cecil. There’s a growing crowd and travel mentality out there I’m waiting for the major players in the travel industry to pick up on. Of course if they don’t, there will be new big players to take their place.