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Global Guide Awards 2018


It’s that time of the year that we announce the tourHQ Global Guide awards. As part of the awards, this year we are happy to announce our inaugural travel trends report. This is based on the travel requests that have been flowing through tourHQ for travelers looking specifically for private guides.

We saw some interesting travel trends in 2017!


Where the travelers come from

Here is the map of the world based on where we saw the maximum travelers from. Most of our travelers came from the United States of America, followed by countries in Europe and Australia. Many travelers came packing from India and Brazil as well. We see a trend of travelers from countries with a higher per capita GDP looking for private guides. In the case of India, a majority of the travelers looking for guides were domestic tourists; we will touch upon the latter observation further below.


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The travelers’ destinations were a bit more widespread, though there was primarily an Asia focus that centered highest in India. This is understandable as one would expect the need for a private guided tour to be more in some of these Asian countries. The guides in these countries in many cases not only provide their guiding services, but also provide planning and logistical support such as arranging transportation, hotels etc. Within Europe, Spain and Italy were popular destinations. These tended to focus more on historical or cultural centres, where our travelers chose to opt for the services of a qualified private tour guide rather than choosing alternatives such as an audio guide or guide books. In Africa, we saw travelers seeking guides in South Africa, Tanzania and Egypt.


In certain culturally diverse countries we saw a significant proportion of domestic tourism. For instance, we saw a relatively high demand from domestic tourists in countries such as India, Indonesia and South Africa. In the case of India, a staggering 55% of the requests for tour guides was from domestic tourists. This is all the more interesting, as here, the motivation to hire a guide was not based on language barriers. Travelers in these countries still felt the need to hire the services of a professional tour guide to enhance their holiday, even if they were visiting places in their own country.


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54% of the bookings requests were made more than 3 weeks in advance. This demonstrates that a majority of the travelers who like to book local guides for their travels plan even the activities well in advance.


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Around 18.8% of the travelers requested for a tour guide once they had reached their destination. For some countries, there was a much higher proportion of travelers who requested for guides last minute. These are typically places where the traveler initially feels that they can go it alone, but when they reach their destination, they realize that it would have been better to arrange a guide. The highest proportion of these were for certain countries in the Mekong region, Eastern Europe, the Middle east and some Island nations. Interestingly, certain European countries such as Greece and Germany were much higher than the world average, showing that in these countries many travelers realized the need for a guide after they had reached these destinations.


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The travelers’ age distribution was fairly well spread as can be seen from the chart below. The majority of the travelers however fell into the 24-44 years age bracket. Part of this may have to do with the younger population being more comfortable with technology. We believe that over time we will see the distribution even out more, and potentially even tilt towards the higher age group.


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We also saw that the travel group sizes were skewed more towards smaller groups, with Solo travelers and Couples accounting for more than half the travel requests flowing through tourHQ. Big groups accounted for only a small 9% of our travelers.


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There appears to be a trend to traveling solo, with about a quarter of our guiding requests for people exploring the world on their own. The chart below shows the areas for where we saw the maximum number of solo travelers. There appears to be a concentration of the solo travelers going to India, China and South East Asia.


Now for the awards. There are a few familiar faces from the previous awards, and a few new ones. Keeping with the boom in tourism in Asia, 50% of the top places have gone to guides to Asia. Granted that it’s a large continent spanning from the middle east to south east Asia, but it is also testament to the great work being done by our guides in this area, and the need for guides that travelers to Asia feel the need for. 25% of the top slots have gone to guides in Africa, and the remainder are evenly distributed amongst other places. Read on to see the details of the awards.