In the next five years, Myanmar, Nairobi, and Dubai will top the list of the world's most-buzzed-about destinations, luxury car brands may take on the Asian hotel sector, and smart TVs will transform how people buy vacations, all according to a study published today.
Each year, Euromonitor, a research firm, forecasts the big trends for the annual trade show World Travel Market in London.
This year's study (opens as a PDF) includes many bold predictions.
Here are five highlights:
Luxury car brands will lend their names to hotels in Asia
Tonino Lamborghini is in the process of opening 40 luxury hotels in Asia, with nine opening in China. Euromonitor thinks this will inspire other luxury car companies to extend their brands to hotels, too.
Potential other Asian hotel brands include: Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Bentley, and Jaguar.
The birth of the "smart TVs"
The popularity of Internet-enabled TVs will change how vacations are marketed. Today, about 25% of new TVs are Internet-enabled, but that figure will climb to about 75% by 2016, predicts Euromonitor.
Says the report:
In the future, people watching travel programmes will be able to make immediate bookings through their smart TVs via travel apps or web links.
Travel players will build on the emotional connection provided by TV programmes, offering viewers the chance to book the destination or hotel they just saw and liked.
NTOs, travel retailers, hotels, airlines and car rental players will establish a presence on smart TVs through apps and internet TV channels, as well as sponsoring travel programmes.
For an example of what this might be like, check out the application Serbia from the Heart, which works on Samsung smart TVs and promotes Serbia as a tourism spot through vivid imagery.
Americans will be eagerly traveling to destinations that were previously off-limits because of international politics. Restored diplomatic relations with Myanmar in 2012 leads Euromonitor to predict that American visits to Myanmar will increase 71% to reach 24,400 a year by 2016.
Other intermittently off-limits places like North Korea and Libya may also be added to the list, depending on the world's geopolitical stability. Travel to Cuba will double by 2016, if the recent loosening of the rules regarding educationally-themed group visits remains in place and there's no political turmoil.
India's gold rush for Dubai will grow bigger
The gold jewellery markets in Dubai and other Middle Eastern cities are massively popular with Indians, who consider gold to be an ideal wedding pressent and a safe store of value in shaky economic times.
In the first three months of this year, Indians bought $5 billion from the gold souks in the Emirate.
Indian arrivals to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain will average 7% a year through 2016, Euromonitor predicts, thanks to competition from low-cost airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet, and FlyDubai.
To welcome the visitors, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon and Egypt are building 10 large shopping malls, such as the Yas Mall on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, home to seven hotels.
Nigeria will become a tourism hotspot
Many African economies continue to grow, and they're creating a middle class that wants to travel. Nairobi may become a draw for tourists because its film industry is huge on the continent, producing "2,000 films annually,"
Euromonitor forecasts tourism to rise 3% a year through 2016 as people want to see the film locations and celebrity hangouts of "Nollywood."
Lagos is where it's at, with new hotels this year built by Radisson Blu, Four Points by Sheraton, Ibis, and Legacy. There are also hotels in the works by InterContinental, Protea, Hilton, and Accor.
The low-cost airline Fastjet that is set to launch this month is also supposed to start competing in Nigeria in the coming years.