Tourism experts say discounts, economic upturn will make 2010 a good year

It’s no secret that 2009 has been a rough year for the travel industry. With everyone tightening their belts, discretionary expenses like holidays are often the first thing to go. But industry leaders meeting in London for the World Travel Market say 2010 is looking better.

Cautious optimism about the economy is one cause for this brighter outlook, but travel companies know positive indicators such as increased productivity and exports don’t necessarily translate to more money being spent on travel. What will also help is the shift to more budget travel options. Tour operators have been choosing budget airlines and more modest hotels in order to offer lower prices, and some budget companies have actually seen an increase in business. This trend will continue into 2010, experts say, which is good news for people who want to get away from it all without spending it all. An increased emphasis on budget travel will keep people moving and hopefully encourage them to choose more luxurious options once we get into another prosperous period.

The travel industry is certainly looking for a silver lining around the tsunami that hit it this year. A report released at the World Travel Market estimates there will be an 8% drop in global travel bookings this year, as well as a 14% drop in airline passengers and a 16% drop in hotel bookings.

With figures like that, 2009 will be an easy act to follow.

Debauchery tourism: travel for partying, sex and drugs

“There is no future! Why save money? Why worry about traditional morality!?”, the anything goes attitude when on vacation seems to be the latest travel-trend amongst western 25-34 year-olds, according to the 2007 World Travel Market’s annual Global Trends report.

A wild spin off the nudist, lifestyle and hedonist resorts concept, the travel industry has tagged this as “debaucherism”, and as long as it’s legal, the hotels will take care of all your demands. Well, almost all: a complimentary copy of Playboy and a box of cigars in your room, and room-service for sex toys, erotic DVDs, and velvet restraints (!). Some of these hotel rooms that encourage debauchery to attract clients even have in-room stripper poles (hmmm.) Gambling and strip-club tours that include chauffeur driven limousine transport and entry to the clubs and all-day US$5000 in hotel pool-parties are among the popular requests.

The crowd hungry for these types of self-indulgent escapes are mainly recent out of university workaholics who just want to liberate themselves and experiment, or those who get a rise by imitating binge-drinking-and-partying celebrities.

Hot debauchery spots include Las Vegas, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Dubai (!!!!), Hanoi and Macau.

Photo gallery: Sex and tourism — how do they mix?