The 2012 World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2012 has been released at the World Travel Market (WTM), the leading event for travel and tourism globally.

The report highlights the nine key emerging travel and tourism trends worldwide, looking at how the global, regional and national political, social and economic situation is shaping the travel and tourism industry.

The report focuses on seven regions and two core strategies, highlighting the key tourism trends.

Middle East: Rise of Shopping Hotels

Big spenders with cash to splash are driving the trend for Middle Eastern hotels to be built inside shopping malls. Wealthy consumers from the likes of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have plenty of disposable income and love shopping, thus mega-malls in the Middle East are booming. Shopping malls and associated hotel developments are key elements in the recovery of travel and tourism in the Middle East, which saw a difficult year in 2011. However, visitor numbers are expected to rise in 2012 and 2013, as the impact of the Arab Spring eases.

Africa: Destination Nollywood

Nigeria’s massive film industry, dubbed Nollywood, is the world’s second largest film industry in volume terms, after India’s Bollywood and ahead of Hollywood in the US, with more than 2,000 films produced annually. The increasing popularity of Nollywood in many African countries will be a major growth driver with the leisure sector attracting film fans. Arrivals to Nigeria are expected to record a 3% CAGR over 2012-2016, mainly due to intra-regional tourism fuelled by expanding African economies.

Americas: The Attraction of Forbidden Lands

Since 2010, previously off-limits countries became open to American tourists, hoping to benefit economically from the additional source of tourism revenue.  Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International’s Head of Travel and Tourism Research, said: “It’s a small but growing market. Most US visitors to previously banned countries are expected to come from the Baby Boomer generation because this market has the time, money and preference for more active and off-the-beaten track holidays.”

UK: Tingo Tips up the Rule Book

The UK is a mature online market, with strong online travel retail sales. To remain competitive, travel companies are re-thinking old business models, giving a more central role to consumers.

One example is Tingo, a TripAdvisor-owned website pioneering a new business model that is revolutionising how consumers book. Tingo automatically rebooks travellers’ reservations when there is a price drop for booked rooms, up to 24 hours before check-in, and charges commission on any room sold.

Europe: BRIC’s Grand Shopping Tour

The BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are embracing shopping tourism in key European destinations.  Dynamic economic growth has led to rapidly increasing disposable income levels in these countries. Together with increased awareness of improved quality of life, consumers from BRIC countries are keen to spend more on travel and tourism.  Group tours of Europe are popular, with France one of the favourite destinations.  Shopping, along with art tourism, is forecast to be one of the main growth drivers.

Asia: Car Brand Takes on Hotels

With the outstanding performance of Asian hotels, upmarket brands from sectors such as motors and fashion are seeking to enter this market. Leading the way is Tonino Lamborghini, the son of the founder of the famous car manufacturer. The Italian company is building upon the strong reputation of its brand name in Asia with plans to open 40 five-star hotels in the next few years. There is significant growth potential present in the region for luxury branded hotels, especially in China, expected to post hotel sales growth of 7% compound annual growth rate 2012-2016.

India: Gold Rush on Low Cost

Tourism in the Middle East is mining a rich vein of success thanks to an influx of Indian tourists buying gold. While travel between India and the Middle East has long been popular, the recent surge of low-cost flight options has opened up new travel opportunities for gold fans. Trips from India to Gulf countries are forecast to post a compound annual growth rate of almost 7% over 2012-2016.

Travel Technology: The Power of Smart TV

Smart TVs integrate television with internet technologies and social media. Television viewers will be able to book holidays featured in shows they’ve just watched. Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International Head of Travel and Tourism Research, said: “The penetration of internet-enabled TVs sales in the digital television market is expected to grow rapidly, from a 35% share in 2012 to 74% in 2016. “It means booking a holiday from the comfort of your own couch will become commonplace – and it offers savvy travel firms the chance to stand out from their rivals.”

Global Village: Digital Detox

In a time when technology is an intrinsic part of everyday life, with more consumers addicted to their devices, some hotels are going against the tide, helping guests to check in and switch off. Some hotels are offering “technology-free” packages as an escape for busy travellers. Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International Head of Travel and Tourism Research, said:  “Offering a relaxing alternative for consumers to step off the relentless ‘digital’ treadmill is another example of how hotels are filling a gap in the market and helping to boost their bottom line at a difficult economic time.”