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Travel trends for 2019 from Audley Travel

Published: 02/01/2019   /   Updated: 20/07/2021

Tailor-made travel specialist Audley Travel conducts extensive research to ensure it is offering its clients exactly the range of options they desire for their bespoke trips, which are designed for each client based on their budget, travel wish list and tastes. From this, the travel provider’s specialists have identified a number of trends in travel for 2019.

Immersion in a destination

Audley’s specialists report an increase in people wanting to spend longer in each place they visit, thus reducing the number of stops on an itinerary. For example, in Sri Lanka clients choose to stay in an area such as Rosyth or Taylor’s Hill for three or four nights and experience tea production from there as well as visit Kandy, rather than a shorter stay before moving onto new accommodation in the tea region. They still experience the same things, but do it in a way that means they spend less time on the road. Similarly, in the USA clients want to enjoy a road trip but they want to immerse themselves in each stop and drive less, for example focusing their trip on only one state rather than several or by splitting an iconic trip such as Route 66 into shorter sections. This trend has been aided by the growth of direct routes offered by airlines, including BA’s recent commitment to open up more destinations in the south with direct flights.

Different combinations

Newly launched regional flying routes across the programme have meant that Audley’s specialists are now able to recommend itineraries that combine different destinations in a way that wasn’t possible before. For example, a client visiting Latin America can now fly from Lima to Cartagena or Bogotá to Cusco meaning that a couple of bucket list destinations can be ticked off in one trip across the Atlantic.

Culinary travel

Audley’s specialists report an increase in demand for culinary tourism, particularly in Latin America. For example, Peru and Mexico are seeing an increasing demand from clients keen to design an itinerary that will allow them to indulge in as many options as possible from the region’s food and drinks. In India, street food tours are seeing increasing popularity with more being introduced across the cities.

Getting away from the crowds

Audley’s specialists are seeing an increase in requests to get away from the crowds, whether that is for their accommodation or the experiences and sights visited. Audley’s Australia team report an increase in clients turning down traditional hotels in favour of privately owned properties. As such, they are now working with a supplier who curate and manage a selection of luxury properties including locals’ primary and secondary residences. With a concierge available during their visit, clients experience a stay in a private home but with the service they would enjoy in a luxury hotel.

Specialists across all destinations report an increase in clients seeking ‘non-touristy’ options – they want to see the sights of their chosen destination but they also want something different that is away from the crowds. Typically, Audley’s clients desire to see something unique to the country or culture that they wouldn’t be able to find themselves.

Trip durations

Audley saw a 160 per cent rise in clients booking trips of over 30 days duration between 2010 and 2017. Typically, clients use their extended time away from home to explore several countries, although some will fully immerse themselves in one just chosen country and its culture.

Destination trends snippets

  • Post World Cup, interest in travel to Russia is rising again. Bookings are now double what they were before and during the tournament

  • China has seen an increase in bookings of 40 per cent compared to last year

  • Uzbekistan is attracting an increase in single travellers, with bookings for solo clients increasing from three per cent to 16 per cent of the total for 2019

  • Guatemala has seen a 40 per cent increase in bookings year-on-year

  • Bookings for travel to Thailand are up 30 per cent on the previous year

  • USA specialists report that bookings to Hawaii have doubled

  • Bookings to Canada remain at a three year high

  • Bookings to Kenya for 2019 are up 50 per cent year-on-year

  • Australia specialists report that bookings are up 35 per cent, with increases for Perth at 50 per cent more than last year, with a further rise expected as a result of the reduction in the one-way car hire fee from Perth to Exmouth

Client research

Each year, Audley surveys* its clients and customers who enquired about a potential booking about their travel plans for the coming years:

  • The top destinations that respondents will visit or plan to visit (outside of Europe) in the next three years are USA (22 per cent of respondents), Australia (16 per cent) and India (15 per cent)

  • Seeing wildlife (63 per cent) and experiencing local culture (73 per cent) are top of the wish-list for clients

  • When researching trips, 76 per cent of respondents said speaking to an expert was important or essential, with an additional 19 per cent agreeing it was useful to have. A travel company’s website is deemed essential or important by 67 per cent, and useful by another 26 per cent and brochures are said to be essential or important by 55 per cent and useful to another 34 per cent.

Notes to editors

*From Audley’s 2017 client survey, which received 4,469 responses.

About Audley Travel
Audley Travel creates unique travel experiences through first-hand specialist knowledge and outstanding customer service. Its tailor-made travel experiences are available in over 80 countries across the world. Each trip is designed by a destination specialist who knows the country in great detail, having lived there or explored it many times. Each trip is designed specifically for a client, based on their tastes, interests and budget with a common commitment to quality and to showing clients the highlights of a destination in a different light, and introducing them to places and experiences that others might miss. For more information on all of Audley’s tailor-made trips, please visit