You’ve seen the uber-stylish trend forecasters on TV, who predict what we’ll all be wearing. I do the same - for Israel travel.
I work in an office where we’re busy ensuring that the 30,000 visitors we bring here annually all feel they got the best best possible trip. We do this by making sure that we always stay current. We recognize that it’s not only about keeping on top of new trends, it’s also about how and when we integrate them into trips, missions and delegations.
Graffiti tours have been a huge success story. Some people thought they were an odd idea at first, but thousands of visitors every year now explore Tel Aviv’s street art for a unique insight into Israeli society, culture, art and language.
So, here are my predictions for 2020:
More and more visitors will seek new sporting challenges on vacation - anything from rollerblading and biking to yoga and belly dancing - so they can maintain healthy habits from home. There’s a ninja craze here, thanks to the TV program Ninja Israel, and would-be warriors are clamouring to have a go at one of the ninja parks popping up across the country. These will be a big tourist draw. Visitors also like to relax, so spas will enjoy high occupancy. There will be greater demand for healthy food in restaurants and cafes, and even more growth in Tel Aviv’s flourishing vegan scene.
Authentic Food Experiences
We are seeing more and more tourists requesting “authentic” food experiences instead of the hotel restaurant. We take them for traditional meals in Bedouin tents, we go to Druze homes for sweet tea and treats, and we enjoy hospitality from an Ethipoian immigrant who shares her cuisine. Tours around the best shops for “cholent” -- the Sabbath stew sold on Thursdays and Fridays -- have suddenly become huge. This year will be big for these food trends.
From culinary tours on your smartphone to electric scooters for hire by the hour, technology is transforming the visitor experience here.
Israel’s tourism industry is embracing high-tech, much of it homegrown, to offer a range of new and exciting experiences. If you see excited foodies following their phones to hidden market stalls, they are probably taking a tour with bitemojo, an app for self-guided culinary tours.
Israel has a range of street games that you play with a tablet - remember The Pokémon GO? - and I expect many more new games to arrive in our app stores this year.
Other technologies are changing the way people explore the country. Segway tours are more popular than ever, and my prediction for 2020 is that more adventurous visitors to Tel Aviv will give the Gett taxi a miss, and hop on a scooter instead.
Travelers are increasingly concerned about their ecological footprint, and want tour planners to be conscious of it when designing an itinerary. They're also becoming more interested in visiting places that are pioneering in ecology. Ramat Hanadiv, a botanical garden that is leading the way in “sustainable gardening,” is a major tourist magnet today. More groups asking to spend a day on volunteer programs that help people and the environment, such as picking and packing fruit that would otherwise get wasted, for the needy. Sites and programs that focus on ecology, environment and making a difference are in for a busy year.
I love the fact that Israel constantly evolves and changes. Alongside archeological ruins, and century-old olive trees there are new buildings, new restaurants and new ideas. It’s a hothouse for exciting trends -- which is why tourists - even those who have been her dozens of times - always find something new here.