From remote luxury to achievement-based travel, 2018 is set to be a year of long trips, slowing down, and learning to appreciate the world around us.
Wildlife in Latin America
Where Africa was once solely considered the destination for wildlife spotting, there have been amazing developments in Latin America’s conservation scene. From bird-watching to jaguar conservation, this region has a lot to rival other parts of the world, and there are now several luxury properties that specialise in wildlife viewing.
A few notable hotels and lodges dedicated to the local wildlife scene:
- Caiman Ecological Refuge: Caiman Ecological Refuge, in Brazil’s Pantanal region, is the perfect place for luxury jaguar safaris. The Onçafari Jaguar Project based here is a conservation initiative habituating jaguars in order for people to witness the fascinating behaviour of these beautiful animals. It is also a driver for eco-tourism, with many eco-friendly developments taking place in the area.
- Cristalino: Cristalino Lodge is dedicated to the conservation of the local biodiversity of the Amazon Region. In 1999, the Cristalino Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, was set up to work in partnership with the eco lodge. Visitors have the chance to go on safari to see some of the amazing wildlife local to the area, like the harpy eagles, giant otters, white-whiskered spider monkeys, and crested owls.
- Awasi Iguazu: In Argentina, the Awasi group of hotels is opening a third location later in 2017- the Awasi Iguazu. Placed on the edge of the famous Iguazu Falls bordering with Brazil, Awasi’s new excursions will uncover the Atlantic Rainforest, taking guests to parts of Iguazu which are never normally seen. Personal and unique itineraries are developed with a biologist, exploring the area around the falls with a private guide, in the style of a traditional safaris.
With 2017 as the year of experiential travel, connecting closely with the country or destination, 2018 will see this taken a step further and people pushing to achieve a lifelong goal or using travel to “find themselves”.
More and more, people are travelling to achieve something, whether that be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro or hiking the Annapurna Circuit. Travel companies have recently seen a rise in the number of trips that involve trekking and hiking. For example, between 2015 and 2016 the number of such trips taken with Jacada Travel doubled, with a similar growth rate happening in 2017.
This trend is a reflection of another notable trend in the travel industry that sees travellers wanting more from their trips than just a standard sightseeing tour.
Sustainability gets interesting
Sustainability has been a buzzword in the travel industry for a few years, but we are finally seeing the concept go from theoretical to legitimate practice, with luxury properties and operators around the world increasingly adopting interesting ways to put their money where their mouths are.
Several vineyards have taken to using animals, as opposed to traditional machines, to pick their grapes and fertilise the ground. Kayotei in Japan, as well as Emiliana in Chile and Vergenoegd in South Africa, use ducks. Matetic Vineyard – also in Chile and set to open in 2018 – will be letting llamas and chickens roam between the vines, nibbling on the leaves and fertilising the soil as they go. Tractors are heavy and push the oxygen out of the soil, so it also affects the quality of the earth to use these vehicles.
A few other interesting ways that companies are demonstrating a serious commitment to improving our world’s ecological situation:
- Baines Camp in Botswana was built using a frame of elephant dung and recycled cans.
- Jacada Travel is investing in a portfolio of community projects aimed to help fight climate change – the result of which means that 100 per cent of the carbon emissions from trips taken with them are offset (including all flights).
- The Kulala Desert Lodge has officially launched E-powered bikes as a fun, easy and eco-friendly way to explore the Kulala concession.
- Solar technology being introduced in Singita Kruger Park in 2017.
- Perhaps the most famous example is Kenya’s banning of plastic bags, accompanied by hefty punishments for those who break the rules.
Though the travel industry still has a long way to go, sustainability is no longer the theoretical concept we were seeing a few years ago.
Luxury is increasingly being associated with remoteness and disconnectivity. And with people dedicating more time towards travel (see below) they are willing to travel to far flung, often difficult to get to destinations in order to feel like they have a small piece of the world – or almost – entirely to themselves.
Lodges and hotels are being built completely off the map, specifically in areas that have poor phone reception and are more challenging to get to.
A few of the most popular remote hotels in the world include:
- Hosteria Helsingfors, Calafate Argentina – specifically built away from the crowds.
- Annandale, New Zealand – Here, lodges are so remote, you have two options for food: hire a private chef or you can enjoy the ‘We Create, You Serve’ programme where breakfast, a picnic lunch and three-course dinner are prepared and left in your fridge for you to simply pop in the oven and enjoy.
- Midgard, Iceland – built as far away from the crowds as possible, so guests can enjoy the Northern Lights without an iota of light pollution around.
- Hoanib Skeleton Coast, Namibia – Accessible only by chartered flight, deep in the Namibian desert.
Long trips – taking the time to explore
Jacada Travel has seen a growth in the number of travellers who want to take longer trips (defined here as trips lasting longer than two weeks), with some clients even pushing for ‘around-the-world’ trips. In 2017, 40 per cent of bookings were for trips longer than two weeks, but for trips already booked for 2018, 50 per cent are over two weeks long.
“People are getting to a point now where they just want to slow down, unwind and fully let go. That often means ‘switching off’ for more than a week or ten days,” says Jacada’s Founder, Alex Malcolm.
Jacada has even seen a rise in trips lasting longer than 30 days, going from 1.36 per cent of 2017 trips to 3.4 per cent of 2018 trips booked so far. This is great news for the travel industry, as it shows that travellers are willing to slow down and take their time exploring new places, perhaps adopting more ‘slow travel’ practices along the way.