From country comebacks to blockbuster set-jetting, here are Exodus Travels’ top 10 adventure travel trends and tips for 2016:
1. The Cecil Effect – African Conservation Safaris
Last year’s global outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion has put the fate of wildlife tourism under the microscope. Exodus anticipates Botswana will see a rise in bookings, with safari-seekers choosing to spend their tourism dollars in this southern African country, which has made a serious commitment to wildlife and environmental preservation. If a chance to spot the Big 5 wasn’t reason enough to go, Botswana celebrates 50 years of Independence in 2016.
2. Set-Jetting – The Jungle Book
From Indiana Jones to the Hobbit, the biggest Hollywood hits always motivate travellers to set-jet to exotic new locales. India’s jungles and animals will steal the show in 2016 with the release of a new adaption of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. With a star-studded cast of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken and Lupita Nyong’o, India’s tiger and safari parks are destined to be one of the year’s travel blockbusters.
3. Unveiling The Treasures Of Iran
With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad out of the political picture and travel sanctions lifted in 2015, Iran has recaptured the attention of globetrotters who’ve been waiting to tick it off their bucket list. The world’s finest Persian architecture and historic sites, bustling bazaars, artistic masterpieces, mind-blowing cuisine and hospitality steeped in ancient traditions promise an extraordinary adventure.
4. Extreme Wellness Holidays
Forget about yoga, spa and wellness retreats, 2016’s travellers are asking for rigorous, physically-demanding and mentally-challenging adventures that focus on extreme biking and trekking. Exodus has seen a huge spike in bookings that take the ‘wellness concept’ to a whole new level with full force adrenaline expeditions, such as biking in remote Madagascar and the Alpine Cols of the Tour de France or climbing volcanoes in Indonesia and the Three Peaks of Ladakh.
5. Time Off For Travel
Workaholics, listen up. Studies show that employees who regularly take overseas vacations are more energized, creative and ultimately more productive in the workplace. Some companies, like LinkedIn, are even offering unlimited vacation policies as a way of encouraging its passport-ready staff to seek new challenges, find inspiration and reduce burnout.
6. Cuba Calling
Remember there’s more to this Caribbean archipelago than palm fringed beaches, colonial architecture, classic cars, Che Guevara and mojitos. In 2016, Exodus draws the curtain back with new experiences like staying with local families, Hemingway haunts, the limestone karsts of Vinales Valley and caves linked to the 1962 Missile Crisis.
7. Eastern Europe’s Road Less Travelled
Europe buffs are moving further east to uncover a welcome refuge from the well-trodden paths of Italy, France, Croatia and Switzerland and to immerse themselves in a collision of ‘east meets west’ cultures. Cycle through Romania’s rolling hills, gaze wide-eyed at Bosnian architecture or test the waters in Slovenia with a week of white-water rafting, canyoning and mountain biking on the banks of the Soca River.
8. Rise of the FST (Female Solo Traveller)
Women travellers have tipped the tourism scales in the last couple years and Exodus saw a huge 40 percent increase in their number of female solo travellers in 2015, a trend that is gaining momentum in 2016 because of social media and the added safety provided by experiential group travel.
9. Self-Guided + Stress-Free
With so much to absorb whilst seeing the world it’s sometimes best to take it all at your own stride. Independent travellers can now have it all: the seamlessness of an organized tour combined with the privacy, freedom and flexibility of a self-guided trip. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the bag transfers, where to sleep and the always important 24/7 support.
10. Winter Travel
As mercury levels drop and the snow starts falling, travellers are opting out of fly and flop beach vacations and, instead, taking advantage of the smaller crowds, cheaper rates and unique thrill-seeking activities, like snowshoeing, northern lights, ski touring and dog-sledding, that the winter season offers.