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By Emily Peters
Contributing Writer
MTravel

January is one of the most exciting months of the year for the travel business. The hubbub of the holidays are behind us, hot deals for off-season and pending warmer months are creeping up all over the industry and hopes are high for the year ahead. It’s the perfect time to start planting seeds for your travelers’ next getaway—and we’ve got some of the most relevant travel industry developments to watch in 2018.

Aloha Oe

In December 2017, Southwest Airlines announced its plans to launch flights to Hawaii in 2018. And while the hubs have yet to be revealed, California and Las Vegas stand a great chance to have affordable connections to the tropical paradise before the year is out.

Luxe life

According to a Travel Leaders Group report, luxury bookings are up almost 70% thanks to a stronger economic climate in the U.S.—and that’s after a record-breaking year for luxury trips in 2016. People are spending and traveling more, and the prospect of attracting higher commissions is tangible for the well-poised travel professional. It’s an important factor to consider as you prepare your prospect list for 2018.

Pro tip: beef up your knowledge of North America and Europe—especially Iceland—and target the baby boomers in your life for higher-end anniversary, reunion and bucket list trips.

Getting local

Travel is growing at a remarkable rate, with potentially one in eight households making international trips as soon as 2025 according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. And while the movement is exciting, its impact to areas unprepared for such tourism can be traumatic for local communities—ultimately damaging or destroying the very cultures we travel to experience.

Sustainable tourism should be on the forefront of the mind for every progressive travel agent. With tourist limitations being put in place in 2018 by popular destinations like Venice and Dubrovnik, presenting clients with eco-friendly, locally supportive and culturally sensitive travel opportunities can help tourism be a force for good in the world instead of the opposite.

Royal romance

The revolutionary war may have split us from Mother England over 200 years ago, but plenty of loyalists remain. The recent engagement of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle has sparked attention to the old country once again—and a boost in tourism is expected throughout 2018. It’s an ideal opportunity to capitalize on interest in romantic UK getaways inspired the royal nuptials, which are set for this May.

Bigger, better ships

In 2018, mega cruise lines Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean will all turn their biggest, baddest and newest ships loose in the water. Each ship will offer new features including brand new international dining options (Carnival) a Go-Kart race track (Norwegian) and a mobile check-in service (Royal Caribbean). While river cruising has enjoyed its heyday the last few years, the bigger ships certainly aren’t backing down—giving even season cruisers plenty to get excited about for 2018.

What other travel industry developments do you predict for 2018? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what your clients are chatting about and good selling!

 

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