London: Ian McIntosh concludes his World Travel Market report

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Each year Euromonitor and WTM get together to predict future trends in the industry – usually without any great success. Last year however the report did contain a winner – the rise in the popularity of cycling and how this is posing a threat to golf tourism following the rise of MAMIL’s – middle aged men in lycra. The trend is world-wide and not just in America.

The 2014 report also correctly pointed out the spectacular demand for non conventional lodging establishments. The Shophouse Social Hotel in Singapore for instance includes a ladies only pink hued floor called No Mans Land.

The hot trends this year include the importance of Iran as the next travel hotspot and the advent of smart travel offering more personalised services.

Ever wondered just how big the sport industry is? Last year 13 million people bought tickets to events like the FIFA world cup, the winter Olympics and more than 70 world championships and 330 million attended top 25 sporting events. Russia is currently the leading global sports nation for 2015 but Australia is climbing on the top 20 ladder – currently number 15.

We all know Dubai, Abu Dhabi and more recently Doha – but how about Sharjah or Ras Al Khaimah? Known as the ‘Pearl of the Gulf’, Sharjah is the neighbouring emirate of Dubai and is the only emirate to have land on both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Ras Al Khaimah is one of the seven emirates that makes up the UAE and boasts mountains, deserts and ancient cultural sites. Expect to hear more from both of them as tourism infrastructure develops.

Love to get a bird’s eye view of the Downton Abbey set? The London Helicopter has launched an exclusive tour. With a flight time of over an hour, the cost is 2,500 pounds for up to six passengers. Other tours include London Buzz, London Sights and London Max.

The Trans-Siberian train is famed for its Spartan facilities – but now Russian Railway Tours is offering the elegant Imperial Russia train.

Planet Hollywood London in Haymarket is celebrating 20 years in business with 20% off food, soft drinks and merchandise.

The KMP Group has released a new eight day Moscow-St Petersburg programme or vv. Details at email

New adventure tours in Wales this year include new zip lines. Wales is fast becoming Europe’s zip lining capital. Velocity is the nearest thing to flying and is the fastest zip line in the world. Confused? You are strapped up and then hooked onto a cable hitched between two peaks. Bit nervous? How about cliff camping with Gaia Adventures?. Campers sleep high above the sea suspended in mid air on a vertical cliff face.

DoctorsBarcelona has launched medVisit promising travellers just about anywhere who need a doctor to call an efficient and high quality service. You get quick service from a professional.

Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa has won the World Luxury Hotel Award for the sixth consecutive year.

Arovada by AKARYN, a  private island wellness retreat in Cambodia where you can get anything from medical care to lifestyle transformation,will open in June 2016.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is being recreated in impeccable detail at Universal Studios Hollywood. Set to open in Spring 2016, it is five years in the making.

The world’s first vertical cablecar will open in Brighton next summer 2016. More than 200 pax per ride will glide up the world’s tallest moving observation tower.

Evaneos Travel claims to be the first on-line platform connecting travellers directly with local experts – in this case 500 on-site travel agents.

ParkCloud lets drivers book a parking space in advance and the network is available to travel industry partners to help complete itineraries. This concept has won a Queen’s Award for enterprise.

According to Tellink, both its travel industry partners and end user travellers are profiting from its new international roaming sim.

Canvas is an intelligent website creator that combines best practice in hotel e-commerce with smart designs for independent hoteliers.

Transylvania invites travellers looking for an authentic rural experience to explore its villages staying in ancient guesthouses. A full range of holidays are on offer – including cycling and driving tours. After the visit by the Top Gear cast, Transfagarasan has joined the list of the world’s most spectacular roads.

Tourism to Iran is set to boom – and the Ghoghnos Tour & Travel Agency is a name to remember if you plan to build a tour. They have ben in business for more that 30 years. There is much to see and do at this crossroads of civilisations. For excellent colour brochures and advice contact Azad Ahmadi email

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