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Trafalgar CEO, Gavin Tollman, Recommends Industry Reboot for the Future of Travel

Direct Action by every person is pivotal for the next chapter of the travel industry.

On the 3rd of October, I was invited to Raffles Hotel to attend a short talk by Trafalgar’s CEO Gavin Tillmon (who had travelled 5 continents in 5 weeks) regarding his view of the Future of Travel. I had a really good time understanding how I can travel better and what I can do better to help in global sustainability. 

Trafalgar, the global leader in guided holidays, has stated the need for travellers to be more responsible in their approach to travel. Citing key global events around the world, from the recently concluded UN Climate Action Summit to over-tourism challenges to the devastating trend of biodiversity loss, Trafalgar’s CEO Gavin Tollman seeks to inspire every individual person to take individual focus and make considered choices about what they do and how they choose to travel. 

“2020 marks a new chapter for the travel industry. Travellers have evolved and have very different needs from before. Global warming is causing detrimental consequences on Mother Earth, making it so important to choose companies taking direct action in regard to sustainability and that walk the talk when it comes to doing good in the places they visit” said Mr Tollman during the session. “Every individual must ensure that each trip they take has a positive and tangible impact across three pillars of sustainability: Economic, Socio-Cultural and Environmental”.

Trafalgar, as part of a family of brands under The Travel Corporation and its decade old non-for-profit organization Treadright announced a public pledge to Make Travel Matter on World Tourism Day, 27 September 2019 which I proudly signed for myself and on behalf of The Ladies Cue team, as a sign of commitment to making travel matter, to people, to wildlife and the planet. Everyone is invited to make the pledge online at www.treadright.org/pledge/ . So head over tot the website and pledge too!

Locally here in Asia, Trafalgar has completely stopped distribution of plastic water bottles for guests and will instead provide each traveller with a complimentary stainless-steel water bottle at the start of their trip. Trafalgar has worked with partners in Asia to ensure that there are ample stop-points for travel guests to refill their bottles throughout the trips.

During his talk, Mr Tollman shared that a study by Expedia found that 1 in 3 travellers will choose one company over another based on their environmental record. He shared six key travel trends that will have an impact on the Future of Travel.

1. Real vs Staged Travel

According to the Source Research, 71% of people ​travel to do something new and 70% travel to have experiences that embrace the real culture of the region.

Mr Tollman recommends that the best way for travellers to truly experience a destination is through local connections. “While major attractions are a definite must, when we shift our focus from seeing to experiencing, that’s when one will find the true magic of a destination come to live.  The first step to truly connecting with a place is to get away from the crowds – dip into the small alleyways, get outside the city limits, explore the local sights that are not listed in a guidebook”.

2. Personal Travel: High Tech vs High Touch

Despite living in an app-driven high-tech world, statistics from Trafalgar’s “The Good Life” survey shows that 89% of people found it difficult to plan holidays, 61% felt travel can be overcrowded and 49% felt real experiences were not “real” enough. According to Adobe Digital Insights 2018, 57% of travellers feel that brands should tailor their information to personal preferences or past behaviours.

Travel companies now need to innovate and find new ways to leverage on technology to ensure that personalisation for travellers should start even before the leave home. For Trafalgar, guests are able to share their preferences ahead of their trip with an online travel portal.  Supplied trip preferences are shared with their Travel Director ensuring that guests travelling with Trafalgar can have their own individual experience.

Multi-talented actress, director and professional baker Jeanette Aw shared her reflection of her trip on her blog. She travelled with Trafalgar for the third time this year to Greece in June on an 11-day “Secrets of Greece including Corfu” trip. Jeanette credited the enjoyment of her stress-free holiday experience to the expert Travel Director. “The Travel Directors intuitively know the place better and it does make a difference. I’m not brought to touristy shops and encouraged to by “local products” just so they can earn a commission. Instead, I get to explore little towns and stay in a local home off the main tracks. This is why it is called the Secrets of Greece, she shares with you the things only Greeks would know.”

3. Over-tourism vs Under-tourism

To unlock positive tourism growth and impact, Mr Tollman shares that there should be a three-step solution: dissemination, dispersal and direct action. The industry should adopt a ‘’365” approach to tourism, working to ensure continuous tourist footfall beyond the peak season. By encouraging travellers to forge new paths and delve deeper into less visited destinations, destination management can help widen one’s travel path, ensuring more opportunity for anyone to go beyond the guidebooks and away from the crowds.  Most importantly, travel companies and the industry should take direct action to impact change. For example, the Louvre has timed entrance to ensure crowds are properly managed.

To help manage the large numbers of visitors, Trafalgar has helped the UNESCO listed Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland by working with the UK National Trust to build a new visitor centre to help manage people flow. In addition to providing education and interpretation of the area, the visitor centre has a roof seeded with local fauna and also blends into the surrounding environs in a place of natural beauty.

4. Demand for Stress-free Independent Travel

Google analytics show an increase in searches such as “Is it safe to travel to Europe. Travellers are seeking new travel options with itineraries that help save their time on planning. Ultimately, what is now important is a holiday that includes the essentials, BUT still offers them the option to travel their way.

Based on feedback from post-trip surveys, safety and confidence to travel without worrying about getting lost is a priority. Despite information of a destination easily available online, many people prefer to book a holiday where there is a local expert who can help them curate experiences that cover the iconic and the hidden gems. They want to see a destination through the eyes of a local, and want actions on things to see do and experience.

5 . Responsible Travel is on the Rise

32% of travellers say they lack the information needed to make their travel more responsible. Always at the center of Trafalgar’s mission is helping guests travel more responsibly, with Make A Difference experiences on many itineraries that help travellers directly give back to the communities they visit.

Trafalgar has partnered its non-for-profit TreadRight to support more than 80 worldwide initiatives, where the brand has been making a difference to their three pillars of people, places and wildlife and the planet through initiatives that support locals off the beaten track, supporting local artisans, all providing incredible experiences for guests that get them closer to local people, and the places that they call home, for some of travels richest local experiences.

More than 70% of Trafalgar guests choose to receive e-documentation. In honour of each guest that chooses e-docs, we plant a tree in their name. To date, since Trafalgar started in 2018, over 359 acres of devastated land in Northern California and Tanzania has been reforested in partnership with One Tree Planted. 

“We aren’t claiming to change the world, and we certainly can’t do this on our own” said Mr Tollman when talking about the brands initiatives. “What we are doing, is being wholeheartedly committed doing our part and making a difference where we can, and acting with conscious and considered thought across our three pillars while inspiring our guests and partners to join us” he concluded.

Trafalgar ensures guests enjoy a hassle-free holiday with included airport transfers, and the expertise of a knowledgeable and passionate Travel Director who will take care of all the logistics. Guests can then unwind and truly enjoy their holiday as they take a break from their hectic lifestyles back home. Add to this 53% annual repeat past guests, a 4.7/5 independent satisfaction rating on FEEFO and up to 10% early payment discounts, the time is now to book a trip to Europe to enjoy Simply the Best holidays.

To find out more, visit www.trafalgar.com/asia and take a trip with Trafalgar to have a feel of that it is to travel with them!

About Trafalgar

Trafalgar is the world’s leading and most awarded travel brand, spanning all seven continents of the globe. From the iconic to the unexpected, we craft unique Trafalgar Highlights that connect guests to the real depth of the places we go, without them needing to worry about a thing. It’s 74 years of destination expertise and feedback from over five million happy guests that fuels our innovation to continually deliver Simply the Best holidays. 

About the TreadRight Foundation

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, The TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit working to safeguard the planet, wildlife & people for generations to come. TreadRight’s mission is to #MakeTravelMatter through conservation, leadership and support for communities. To date, TreadRight has supported over 55+ sustainable tourism projects worldwide.

Foundation priorities are set by the Steering Committee. Past project partners include WWF, Conservation International, WildAid, The Travel Foundation and The National Trust in the UK. Current initiatives include the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Big Cat fund, WE.org and inspiring nature advocates like Céline Cousteau, Costas Christ and Terri Irwin. To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, please visit us at treadright.org

 

 

The Ladies Cue is a Lifestyle Community across Asia (Founded in Singapore) that brings ladies trends and happenings about Beauty & Wellness, Food, Fashion, Travel and Parenting through digital and offline platforms.
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