WTM (World Travel Mart) 2017 in London has just loosened its three-day grip on the travel industry, and now it’s time for some well-deserved bevvies and a collective sigh of relief by all who attended.

Including KarryOn.

Over the three hectic days, we attended many of the seminars and talked to dozens of industry insiders about the current trends affecting the travel industry this coming year and beyond. Here are some of the juicy nuggets we think are worth sharing.

To start with, optimism in the travel industry is high – YAY!

According to the 2017 Industry Report unveiled on the opening morning of the WTM, 75 percent of industry professionals are confident that travel will grow in 2018.

Further to that, 80 percent of travel companies expect their business to grow in the next year too (with 56 percent hoping for ‘slight growth’ and 18 percent expecting significant growth.

And it’s Italy that’s most probably on the growth projection charts for many of these optimistic travel companies, with Italy coming out on top as the most popular destination for UK travellers at the moment. Sixty percent of the UK market have Italy in their travel bucket-list for the near future, followed by the USA (54 percent), Greece (48 percent) and Cuba (24 percent).

Italy’s popularity is strong amongst the trade too, with the country featuring in the top three destinations favoured by members of the travel trade for their own holidays. On the business front, Italy was the most popular country the trade wants to do business within 2017/2018, with 84 percent of respondents planning to sign contracts with Italian companies in the future.

Spain and Greece are also showing strong growth on the travel front, as well as Tunisia since the Foreign and Commonwealth Office relaxed its travel advice to the North African country

It’s also great news for hoteliers around the world, as it appears that popularity of peer-to-peer booking platforms such as Airbnb is perhaps is overstated. According to the 2017 WTM Industry Report, only 12 percent of British holidaymakers used a peer-to-peer site in 2017. However, of those that book, 86 percent would book again.

Of course, it can’t come as any surprise to learn that once again the issue of Responsible Tourism was one of the main talking points at this year’s WTM. And unfortunately, although much has been done to limit the impact on the environment and support at-risk communities through a wave of excellent initiatives, there’s still a long way to go.

Whilst it’s true that 75 percent of the industry and a third of UK holidaymakers say that sustainability has improved over the last decade, the stats to come out of the 2017 WTM Industry Report revealed that the travel industry is showing lower levels of support for responsible tourism this year compared to previous years.

For example, this year, 71 percent of respondents claimed that the environment was significantly important to their business, compared with 82 percent and 86 percent in the 2015 and 2014 reports, respectively. Further to that, although 31 percent of companies have a carbon emissions reduction policy, only 25 percent actually implement it.

On the consumer front, only 25 percent of UK travellers offset their carbon emissions when they travel.

Stay tuned to KarryOn for a more in-depth look at this issue and how key players in the industry are seeking to get closer to our collective goals, as well as other articles that will address many more of the key themes of WTM 2017.

Were you surprised by any of these industry trends and revelations? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below…