February'20 Message from the CEO

Daniela Otero

CEO Skål International

Trends in 2020 and Challenges Facing the Sector


Technology, a growing sense of responsibility and better connectivity with people and destinations are a few of the key factors that will influence travel trends in 2020, according to a survey conducted by Booking.com among more than 22,000 travellers from 29 different markets and with reference to 180 million customer comments.

Booking.com, founded in Amsterdam in 1996, has gone from being a small Dutch start-up to one of the biggest digital travel companies anywhere in the world.

According to its latest study into market trends, the following are key points to keep in mind:

The rise of secondary destinations

Visits to secondary destinations or places off the beaten path will increase greatly in order to reduce excessive Tourism in certain places and to protect the environment. 54% of global travellers want to help reduce excessive Tourism while 51% are willing to change their original destination to a similar yet less well-known alternative if doing so would help to bring down their negative impact on the environment.

For example, 60% of global travellers state that they would like to have access to a service (app/website) that could recommend destinations where an increase in Tourism would have a positive impact on the local community.

More technology

In 2020, travellers will place yet even more trust in technology when it comes to key aspects of the decision-making process. New technologies are therefore expected to launch in the coming months which will make things even easier for the modern traveller.

59% of respondents want technology to surprise them by suggesting travel options that are completely new to them. Moreover, 46% of global travellers say that they would use an app that makes it possible to quickly and easily search for and book activities in real time while they are on their travels.

Travels with more tranquillity
Rather than being constantly spurred on by the fear of missing out (or FOMO as it is known), travellers in 2020 are set to take a somewhat calmer approach to their adventures. 48% of respondents intend to choose slower modes of transport in order to reduce their environmental impact and 61% plan on taking a longer route so that they can enjoy the journey. Two popular forms of transport that will help to wind things down a notch include both bicycles and boats. 57% of travellers do not mind arriving later to their destination in order to experience a unique form of transportation.

More experiences in the one place

Tourists are set to increasingly favour destinations that offer a wide variety of experiences and enriching attractions all in the same locality. 54% of travellers would like to take a longer trip to a destination that combines all of their favourite activities and places of interest. 62% say that they would choose a destination which is close to all of their activities and attractions of interest in order to save time.

Gastronomy takes prime position

Culinary preferences will play an increasingly greater role when it comes to making travel decisions. More and more travellers are planning their holidays around the gastronomy and food culture of their destination in order to be among the first to enjoy local delicacies before new businesses and trends burst onto the scene.

For many people, the ability to book tables in popular restaurants (sometimes with waiting lists of up to several months) is very important and can even be a deciding factor when choosing where and when to travel.

71% of global travellers consider it important to consume local products when on their holidays.


Tourism is one of the biggest and strongest industries in the world. 

Concretely, it occupies the third spot in terms of export volumes and is beaten only by the chemical products industry and the fuel industry. 

Given this level of importance, one of the debates currently being had within the industry is how to mitigate the impact of adverse events and how to guarantee the safety of travellers.

This topic has become increasingly relevant in recent weeks due to the outbreak of coronavirus, which will have a very direct impact on sectors such as Tourism and consumption across the world. 

An analysis conducted by experts into the biggest viral epidemics to occur in the past shows that the average recovery time for visitor numbers to a destination can be around 19 months; however, with the proper response and the correct management, a destination can recover in as little as ten months. 

Although these analyses are still very preliminary, it is thought that the effects of coronavirus may affect growth in China by between 0.7 and 1.2% while its impact on global GDP remains uncertain.

But despite the challenges... this industry is not going to stop growing anytime soon! 


"The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are". Samuel Johnson

If you are interested in any of these topics, we recommend taking a look at the document 'Worldwide Travel Trends. Latest Insights & Outlook' edited by ITB Berlin.