2020 Travel Trends – A New Era Beckons


Predictions are that 2020 will mark significant shifts in the travel and tourism industry. Fuelled by technology and innovation, as well as a growing sense of responsibility we are on the brink of a completely new travel era.

Recent years have been all about finding the perfect Instagrammable destination, but as a growing number of travellers seek a slower, more meaningful and deliberate way to travel, big changes are afoot.

Travellers are expected to swap over-crowded, mainstream destinations for more unique and unknown places. There is also a tendency to invest in experiences they can learn from and/or will not have a harmful impact on host destinations.

Climate Change A Catalyst For 2020 Travel Trends Change 

With a whole new generation of travellers coming of age (Gen Z – aged 10 to 25), there is a mass awareness of climate change. The devastating fires raging in Australia and other recent natural disasters are putting the spotlight on the fragility of our world and the terrible impact humans have on the planet.

This growing awareness of our contribution to climate change will be the single biggest catalyst of the transformation in travel behaviour. Simultaneously, it is also driving innovation through technology like never before.

2020 Travel Trends

Of course, these changes will come in a variety of different shapes and forms – all driven by consumer demand.

Below, strategic tourism marketing agency Destinate shares three of the most relevant and significant 2020 travel trends that we believe will have the greatest impact on the travel industry in the new decade:

Technology Makes Travel Even Easier and More Exciting

According to Booking.com’s 2020 travel predictions report, 59% of people want tech to offer them ‘wildcard’ and surprise options when they’re looking for places to visit.

They predict that travellers will increasingly make use of and put their trust in applications offering new suggestions of destinations to visit, places to stay and things to do based on their current preferences, previous trips and key contextual factors such as weather and popularity.

Travel’s “Fast Fashion Moment” 

 Travel has hitherto been largely exempt from conscious consumerism, as actions, like buying more organic vegetables or cycling to work, have an additive on one’s quality of life — it’s aspirational.

On the other hand, not going on vacation or forgoing business travel feels like a real sacrifice for affluent consumers.

According to Booking.com’s survey, 76% of Gen Z travellers say they would use more environmentally friendly means of transportation once they have arrived at their destination.

Thanks to Swedish teenage environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, the concept of flygskam, which translates as ‘flight shame’, will prompt responsible travellers to think more carefully about how often and where they fly to.

Consequently, the new decade will see many people turning to trains and boats, as well as cars and buses instead of planes. We expect to see people taking more frequent and shorter breaks closer to home with travellers opting for road- or rail trips rather than long haul flights.

Woman Travelling

The Female Travel Movement

There is no doubt that we’ve entered an era where women are embracing the freedom of travel – whether solo, in groups of girlfriends or with family members.

According to the US Travel Association, in 2018, more than 11% of adult leisure travellers were solo women. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 80% of all travel decisions and 92% of travel purchases are made by women too.

For many women it is about leaving their comfort zones, looking for that once-in-a-lifetime adventure, or finding some solitude and getting away from the routine of daily life. As we enter this new decade, boomers, Gen X and millennial women are being joined by their dynamic Gen Z sisters and daughters.

Other 2020 travel trends to keep an eye on include:

  • Family and pets first
  • Age-agnostic and ‘Grand’ adventures
  • Bleisure- ‘Micro-cations’ replacing weekend breaks and business travellers adding on a few days to their trip
  • The transformational holiday is here
  • Travel is going electric
  • Spartan holidays
  • Nomadic hotels and glamping

No matter where your travels take you this year, let SAA get you there. Book your tickets for your next trip with SAA today!


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