Lombok has been definitely a rising tourist destination in the past five years. But there are also global travel trends that will impact Lombok’s position in global tourism industry. Tourism industry stakeholders in West Nusa Tenggara should examine these trends carefully to understand the impacts of these trends to Lombok’s current and future directions.

According to Luby Fuggle on her post on Dec 11, 2015 in Trekksoft, there are six travel and tourism trends worth knowing about in 2016. The first trend is continued strength of the Chinese market. “The Chinese market for tour and activity companies is the fastest growing tourism source in the last decade, having spent a whopping $498 billion in 2014 on outbound travel,” said Luby Fuggle.

She added that when planning travel, Chinese tourists tend to look for companies with a social media presence on networks such as Weibo, QZone, and Kaixin00. They’re also interested in big brand names and prestige, alongside a mobile-optimized online booking experience. They are the biggest smartphone market on the planet, after all!

The second trend, is that travelers are wanting to unplug. “There’s a rising trend of tourists wanting to unplug and completely sign-off from work on holiday, and the shift from the “always on” traveler has begun. 72% of UK travelers switched off in 2013 – this is only increasing further, and will even more so in 2016,” she explained.

“However, this needs to be on a traveler’s own terms. WiFi remains a key requirement for many tourists, which creates a difficult balance to strike for hoteliers and destinations. Saying that, some remote hotels use their lack of WiFi as a selling point. If someone really wants to have a digital detox, it’s preferable to completely remove all temptations, after all,” she wrote.

The third trend is that tourists are wanting to discover untouched and unique places. Tourists in 2016 will be looking for opportunities to explore lesser-known destinations, especially those that are untouched or unique. “It’s going to be a huge year for adventure travel, with many of us wanting to discover untouched, unique places; create unforgettable memories, cross something off your bucket list, push the boundaries of your comfort zone and enjoy closer-to-home experiences,” she continued.

The fourth trend is that tourists want to see fewer barriers to travel. With each year, the world gets even more connected. Cheap flights make weekend breaks in foreign destinations easier than ever, and smart translation apps are dissolving language barriers.

“2016 will also see an increase in international business travel due to globalization and a rise in multinational organizations, alongside greater flexibility for travel during career breaks,” she elaborated.

The fifth trend is that millennial are looking for adventure. It’s important to align your tours and activities to fit the needs of young travelers, or 20% of the world’s tourists. By 2020, this market will be taking 47% more international trips than in 2013. “Many young travelers are looking for unique and authentic experiences, companies that listen to their feedback, opportunities to learn something new and word of mouth recommendations,” she said.

She suggested that companies should appeal to their sense of adventure and let millennial be ambassadors for their business.

The sixth trend is what she called staycations, or travelling closer to home. It’s not always about attracting foreign tourists to your company: your next happy customer could be closer to home. “Google searches of “staycation” were up 10% year over year from 2011-2014, and the trend of having a holiday closer to home is predicted to continue for 2016,” she added.

Now, it’s up to the West Nusa Tenggara tourism industry stakeholders to examine these trends and grab the opportunities to attract more tourists to come to the province that has so many to offer. (LI/KM)

Surfing in Lombok has been very popular among tourists who look for adventure. (Photo: Wonderful Lombok Sumbawa)

Surfing in Lombok has been very popular among tourists who look for adventure. (Photo: Wonderful Lombok Sumbawa)

About Author: Kasan Mulyono
Writer. Lecturer. Ph.D in Economics. Mine worker. PR veteran. Casual cyclist. Father of 4. Husband to Kartina. Moslem. Lives in Lombok & West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. FB: KasanMulyono2015 Email: k_mulyono@yahoo.com Twitter: KasanMulyono Instagram: KasanMulyono