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Last-chance tourism: The biggest travel trend of 2018 | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Touted as the biggest trend this year, last-chance tourism is expected to make a major impact on the travel industry. So what’s last-chance tourism about? In simple words, it’s about visiting places that are in danger of getting wiped out mainly due to global warming. The Great Barrier Reef, Dead Sea, Arctic and Antarctica regions are some of the most prominent sites on this list. Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head Leisure Travel and M.I.C.E, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, says, “Last-chance tourism will emerge as one of the biggest trends fuelling wanderlust. From millennials visiting pristine countries like New Zealand to spending time in the Arctic, visiting endangered destinations will continue to thrive in 2018. This trend has experienced a surge in popularity of the off-the-beaten-path destinations.”


As new-age wanderlusters seek novel experiences, they want to head to destinations that aren’t seen in travel brochures. Neelu Singh, CEO & Director, Ezeego1, says, “Travellers seeking unique experiences are increasingly visiting destinations that are soon going to disappear due to climate change. They are doing everything possible to get this once-in-a-lifetime experience. This growing desire and popularity to visit shrinking destinations has put the spotlight on many unknown and unexplored places, thereby driving tourist inflow.”


Experts have noted the rapid spike in the number of people booking their tickets to these locales. Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings, says, “Yes, there is a steady growth in demand to visit sites such as Maldives, China, Israel, Venice, Galápagos, and Antarctica since the past few years. This year, the demand for Maldives has gone up by around 17 per cent as compared to last year.”


FOMO (fear of missing out) is one of the key reasons for people to head to these destinations. With social media becoming extremely important for many travellers, the lure of these locales becomes even more. Says Manisha Shah, a social media influencer and avid wanderer, “In many places which are in danger of being wiped out, travellers worry that those governments might put a cap on the number of people allowed to visit, or worse, they might not be open to tourists at some point. Hence, the hurry to get there.”


A number of destinations are likely to benefit from this trend. Rajeev adds, “This could be the last chance for travel enthusiasts to see wild Rhinoceros in Africa, the Great Barrier Reef or Argentina’s glacier fields. Rising popularity in demand for exceptional safari experiences and the increase in poaching across the African continent, especially, Kenya has reduced elephant populations significantly. Also, a destination like Machu Picchu faces a huge influx of visitors, and to combat it, Peru’s Ministry of Culture now allows only 2,500 visitors to the ancient Inca site per day.”


While some believe that this will heighten the problem these places face, others hope that tourism will bring in more revenue that could be used to conserve these destinations. Says Neelu, “Tourist inflow to last-chance destinations are helping preserve endangered ecology as well as sensitising travellers on the effects of climate change. It also helps create employment for the locals. However, tourism professionals need to follow a strategic plan to control the inflow of visitors to educate them about eco-friendly ways of travelling to such destinations. Like, Machu Picchu is one of the most-desired last-chance tourist destinations and is on everyone’s travel bucket list. However, the rapid increase in the number of tourists has caused more harm than good even though the government is now taking the required measures to limit the tourist inflow. It is important that as we promote last-chance tourism, the industry also finds a balance between growing demand and sustainable tourism.”


While some experts feel that airlines, too, will take note of tourists flocking to such places and cut down on ticket prices, others are taking a more cautious approach. Rajeev says, “Last-chance tourism’s popularity has increased since airlines began bringing down prices, thanks to budget airlines.” Neelu adds, “Depending on connectivity and travel distance, airlines may provide discounted prices.” Karan feels, “Air connectivity has always been there and that’s why it is easy to access these destinations. However, this does not mean that airlines will reduce prices as it depends on demand and supply.”

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