TTG Intelligence: Bespoke sector keeps growing

Travellers are increasingly looking to create their own bespoke trips, prompting tour operators to seek to add new destinations to their programmes.

That was the conclusion of the Hayes & Jarvis long-haul trend report, released last week.

The long-haul specialist said that customer demand had pushed it to put in place plans to add holidays to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Java and the east coast of Sri Lanka for 2016, as clients seek new adventures.

Tailor-made bookings are also on the up. Hayes & Jarvis said it defined a tailor-made booking as those which include visits to three or more destinations in one trip, and added that these were now forming an “increasing part of the business”.

“Tailor-made itineraries really are the focus for us,” said Verity Rice, general manager for Asia, Africa and Latin America. “In the Far East travellers have already ventured to Thailand and Bali, so they are now planning to go somewhere different.”

One such destination is Vietnam, where Hayes & Jarvis said it had seen a 12% increase in bookings compared with this time last year. Despite its recent political turmoil, Thailand is also proving popular, 
with 68% of those travelling to the Far East visiting the country at some stage of their holiday.

Other more interesting holiday destinations include Kenya where, despite the recent troubles in Mombasa and warnings from the Foreign Office, the tour operator insisted tourism remains largely unaffected to the beach resorts and on safaris, which tend to attract a more confident and adventurous traveller. The company said it would be resuming booking holidays to the Kenyan coast from December 2014, although it added it would “continue to monitor the situation closely”.

Old favourites
Meanwhile, although some travellers continue to look for new destinations and experiences, figures to June 2014 revealed that the firm travel favourites have retained their hotspots. US favourites such as New York and Las Vegas ranked first and second, while the Indian Ocean’s Maldives and Mauritius came in at three and four. Mexico was fifth.

For the summer period – May to September 2014 departures – the picture was similar, but Las Vegas took the number one spot, while California was number five, largely Hayes & Jarvis said, due to self-drive and touring success. Tennessee is the tour operator’s fastest growing destination with a 20% increase in passengers this year.

Shona Swain, the tour operator’s general manager for the US and Canada, said touring and self-drives in the US had proved to be a real growth area. The Deep South and New Orleans are also seeing further growth, while Canada saw an 11% increase in sales.

Elsewhere, Hayes & Jarvis said it expected an increase in certain destinations due to heightened publicity. This includes Barbados and Grenada, with the new Sandals resorts significantly raising the profile of the islands. The tour operator also anticipates a boost to its Brazil sales after the World Cup, while sales to Costa Rica also spiked following their success in the tournament.

Sourced from TTG Digital



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