December 19 2011 by Bryson Forbes
'Tis the season for resolutions and predictions. As many of you know, I love to keep up-to-date with the latest statistics and travel trend data from the experts. Well this year, I thought I'd develop my own predictions. Looking ahead to 2012, here are my five travel predictions for the year ahead:
1) Gas prices are going to fall by about 5 percent
Prices at the gas pump and eventually airfare costs should start to fall in 2012. However, timing things perfectly to save money can be tough as you plan your travel. If these lower costs drive more people to travel, supply of hotel rooms will shrink and prices can go up. My tip: plan a trip early and book your room at a Best Western but wait on flights (unless you choose a remote destination). Also, with falling gas prices, a summer road trip will be a terrific option next year.
2) There will be less travel to Europe and more travel within North America
As economic uncertainly and volatility continue to plague much of Europe, I think most Canadians will stay on this side of the Atlantic for leisure travel. This will be a fantastic opportunity to promote travel within Canada and the U.S. in 2012. Although London will certainly take centre stage with the Olympics, there will need to be a much greater sense of stability in Europe before tourists head back in big numbers.
3) The Canadian dollar will be higher than the U.S. dollar
This will bode well for U.S. destinations. Most experts agree the "loonie" should settle at about $1.05 (or up $0.05) meaning that Canadians heading to south will benefit from a 5 percent discount. Last year there was a lot of fluctuation, and in hindsight, I wish I had bought some U.S. money when the dollar hit $1.10. Like many things in life though, timing is everything!
4) Google travel will become a much bigger player in the travel space
They have made some in-roads this year but next year I suspect they will be a lot less quiet about it. Google has a knack for doing things well and will have instant credibility. Get ready to make Google a much bigger part of your travel planning.
5) People will only be comfortable paying for Wi-Fi in two places
The first will be on a plane. Yes, the last bastion of non-connectivity will soon dissipate and your boss will expect a prompt reply from your cross-country flight. The other place we will not feel ripped off paying for Wi-Fi will be in very remote places. People are already tired of paying $20 per day for Internet access while traveling. Fortunately high-speed Internet is included at every Best Western hotel.
There are my five big and bold predictions for 2012. Do you have any predictions to share?