Boasting a combined 80 years of experience in the Africa travel industry, the Great Safaris leadership team names Wanderlusters, longer trips and stopovers as emerging trends for 2015.
GLENDALE, Cali. – Africa is certainly one of the final frontiers for North American travelers; however, Southern and Eastern Africa are starting to pique adventurers’ interests and have the ability to become top destinations over the next year. Africa is full of surprises and the team at Great Safaris has experienced more than four decades of them. Here, CEO Dave Herbert and his experienced leadership team share what they see as top travel trends for Africa in 2015:
1. Move over Baby Boomers … Wanderlusters want your seat
Everyone thought the retiring Baby Boomers would be the travel industry focus for years to come … think again. In the past, Africa has been the “next stop” for mature, more seasoned travelers, but now Wanderlusters are becoming the largest growing segment in Africa travel. The “Wanderluster” is 30-40 years old, looking for adventure as well as luxury. Africa offers a lot more than just game drives through the reserve and wanderlusters are discovering new ways to make the most of a safari tour. Travelers can cage dive with sharks, bungee jump over waterfalls, take a hot air balloon ride over the savanna then get a relaxing massage to soak in all the amazing experiences.
2. Increasing Family & Multi-gen Travel will broaden traveler demographic
Africa is attracting more and more families spanning several generations because there’s something to discover at every age. Don’t think of Africa as a place where only retirees and wealthy businessmen journey; think about going on safari to celebrate an anniversary or birthday, even a graduation. Africa provides just as much fun (if not more) to family members across the age spectrum, providing a new way for extended families and friends to connect while traveling.
3. Travelers will ditch escorted group touring for more custom itineraries
Great Safaris has watched this trend over a number of years and believes it will continue into the foreseeable future. Small groups, extended families and even individual travelers want to have a unique experience custom designed to meet their travel needs. One-size-fits-all group tours cannot compare to a personalized tour in Africa, which is something more and more travelers are realizing. Great Safaris has seen an increase in requests for cultural experiences; travelers want to have real interactions with natives and authentic immersion into the foreign culture. Things like village visits, shopping in local markets and enjoying a home-cooked meal with a local family are starting to top travelers’ wish lists.
4. Travelers will plan ahead for longer trips
Not long ago, vacationers were booking trips only a few months out, when schedules and savings allowed. Great Safaris is now seeing clients booking 10-12 months out in order to secure the dates and accommodations they desire. There has also been an uptick in tour length. The Adventure Travel Trade Association found travelers booking trips to Africa for an average of nine days in 2013. Herbert has seen a steady increase and believes most people heading to Africa will start booking 15-20 days in order to pack in more activities and make the long trip worthwhile.
5. Stopovers on luxury carriers will gain more attention
Luxury carriers like Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways are expanding their route maps as well as their flight options. They have more daily services at airports around the U.S. and they’re providing more stopover choices for long-haul flights. Stopovers give travelers the opportunity to have a mini vacation in a hub city before heading to their final destination. In 2015, airlines will continue to compete for clientele by offering more options that add value to the overall flight experience.
Tip: Competitive airfare makes Africa more attractive to travelers
People seem to assume that airfare to Africa is well beyond their budget simply based on the distance; however, airfare is not set on mileage alone. Consider this: A flight from Chicago to Paris is $1322 on Carrier A. A flight from Chicago to Johannesburg on the same dates with the same carrier is $1403. That’s less than $100 difference, with Johannesburg at twice the distance from Chicago! Remember, to find the best deal, your dates and destination may need to be flexible, but it’s worth it!
About Dave Herbert:
Dave Herbert is Great Safaris’ CEO and resident Africa travel specialist. Herbert received the Lifetime Achievement Ubuntu Award from the South Africa Minister of Tourism, was awarded with National Geographic’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime for Great Safaris’ tour in Botswana and has headed up several African travel companies in his 40 years in the industry.
About Great Safaris:
Great Safaris is an award-winning luxury African safari outfitter offering the convenience of a US booking office coupled with seven fully staffed, on-site offices in Africa. Destinations include Botswana, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Great Safaris offers luxury programs to help adventurous travelers explore Africa and create enriching life experiences. For more information please visit Great Safaris’ web site at www.greatsafaris.com. Great Safaris is a recipient of National Geographic Traveler’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime award, and a proud member of the United States Tour Operators Association, ASTA Tops, and ARC.