We are now officially in trend season. It is about this time of the year, every year, that industry experts set out to predict what trends will dominate in the 12 months ahead. While some predictions inevitably don't tally with reality, it's well worth keeping an eye on the trends to see which ones start to take off – allowing you to capitalise on them before they go mainstream.
As far as the travel industry is concerned, Lonely Planet has a reputation for being something of a prophet – time after time it manages to predict what and where is going to be hot in the near future.
Here are some of the travel trends it anticipates will dictate plans in 2017:
Wine and craft beer tastings are so 2016; 2017 will be all about sampling spirits produced with locally sourced ingredients at a regional micro-distillery. In Australia, for example, it's all about award-winning small-batch gin, while in northern Japan, peaty single-malt whisky is considered the 'local delicacy'. "There's no denying that the craft-spirit-making zeitgeist is upon us," says Lonely Planet. If you're a bit confused about the appeal, just take a look at a photo of the Box Distillery in Ådalen, Sweden – as you will see, it's not necessarily all about the alcohol...
2. Working 'on the move'
People have become accustomed to having the flexibility to work outside of the office – some travellers are taking that a stage further and earning while they see the world. Don't be confused with those travellers who work local jobs – 'digital nomads' are freelancers practising their profession remotely, jumping online anywhere that can cater to them.
Bikepacking is a fusion of mountain biking, cycle touring and lightweight camping. It offers travellers a platform to explore areas unknown, while for hard-core bike enthusiasts, it's a chance to test one's mettle against the elements on some of the world's great bike routes. You might have assumed that bikepacking would have to be defined to the perimeter of the country you live in, but Lonely Planet suggests that travellers are seeking out trails in New Zealand, Iceland, and beyond.
4. Mobile travel photography
This might be the safest bet on the list, given the ever-improving quality of smartphone cameras, which is allowing travellers to leave their digital cameras at home. Unless you've got an expert eye, it's impossible to tell between a photo that has been taken using a smartphone and one that has been taken using a digital camera. It's a goldmine for brands in search of some user-generated content on social media.
5. Sustainable travel
The United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. It's the ideal time to start thinking about "how you can make travel decisions that benefit that planet and its peoples, as well as yourself," Lonely Planet suggests. That might mean fewer elephant rides, for example – preferring instead to interact with the creatures in an environment that's safe for both parties.
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