The travel and tourism industry is set to take off in the year ahead. One in five people anticipate traveling more for business this year than last, and nearly a quarter (24 percent) plan to take more leisure trips, according to The Go Group, LLC, which provides ground transportation for airports around the world.

Those who step away from the daily grind, whether for a quick getaway or a family vacation, report greater happiness with their health and well-being, personal relationships and career. Jetsetters are also more likely to rise through the ranks at work, according to Project Time Off. More than half (52 percent) of frequent travelers say they received a recent promotion compared to colleagues who use little to none (44 percent) of their vacation time. Frequent travelers also report a higher likelihood of receiving a raise, bonus or both than co-workers who don’t get away (86 percent to 81 percent).

Wherever travelers are heading, promotional products make welcome travel companions and meaningful gifts. Brands can venture into new territories and reach new markets by incorporating logoed products in their marketing mix. From helpful items on vacation to post-adventure keepsakes, promotional items add value, bring delight, create joy and rekindle fond memories for travelers the world over.

If you currently serve clients in the travel and tourism industry or are looking at pitching new business in this thriving market this year, read on to learn more about its many facets.


Market Snapshot

People want to pack more fun into their lives, but they aren’t doing it in weeklong vacations anymore. Instead, many travelers are opting for mini vacations and taking short getaways more frequently throughout the year. When choosing where to go, many opt for Insta-worthy destinations. More than 40 percent of vacationers under age 33 consider a destination’s “Instagrammability” the most important factor when deciding where to travel, according to a survey by Schofield’s, a UK-based home insurance company.

Wellness travel also continues to rise in popularity. The Global Wellness Institute projects it to grow twice as fast as general tourism, reaching $919 billion by 2022. “Bleisure” trips, those that mix business with pleasure, stand out as another travel trend. Nearly all (87 percent) business travelers look for ways to have some fun on a business trip, according to Avis Car Rental. 

Tourists who want to take their vacation rental to the next level can check out a luxury alternative: Beyond by Airbnb. This super-exclusive club is open only to vetted members who can stay in each other’s homes. Not one of the current 10,000 members? Explore Marriot International’s new Tribute Portfolio, which features handpicked homes in cities such as Paris, London and Rome that live up to the brand’s high standards.

Looking ahead in travel, expect to see trends such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and speech recognition to simplify the way people vacation. indicates that travelers might soon be able to take advantage of keyless room entry via their phones, real-time luggage tracking through mobile apps and robotic concierges who can communicate with them in their native language.



The Financials Behind The Fun

On average, Americans spend about 10 percent of their annual income on vacations. Twenty-five percent spend 15 percent or more.

74 percent of people have gone into debt to pay for a vacation

55 percent of Americans don’t budget for vacations

32 percent prioritize vacation savings while only seven percent prioritize retirement savings

Source: Forbes

Eco-Tourism Expands

Most (86 percent) global travelers would like to spend time on activities that offset their stay’s environmental impact, and more than a third (37 percent) say they would be willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.


A Rise In Travel Technology

Travelers are increasingly turning to their smartphones and using various apps while on a journey:

61 percent of travelers have booked and paid for travel through their smartphone

64 percent use their smartphone enroute to their destination

Leisure travelers use seven to eight apps, with maps (52 percent), weather (51 percent) and branded airlines (50 percent) topping their list of the most widely used apps

When using an app, travelers want real-time flight alerts (65 percent), access to their entire trip itinerary (64 percent), and the ability to search and book flights (63 percent)

 49 percent of travelers want to live chat with a travel rep directly from a travel app

Source: Travelport’s 2018 Digital Traveler Survey



Stay And Play

Here are some of the top reasons why travelers turn a business trip into a bleisure holiday:

They’re visiting an entertainment-packed city – 48%
They’re visiting a bucket list or must-visit location – 43%
The city is easy to navigate – 38%
The number of nights they stay – 37%
The weekend’s proximity – 37%
Additional personal costs – 37%
The destination offers great recreation – 34%
Friends can join – 32%

Source: Expedia

To Infinity And Beyond

Mainstream space travel isn’t here yet, but it’s swiftly approaching. As space technology advances, space tourism won’t be such a giant leap. Nearly half (40 percent) of travelers say they are excited about the prospect of space travel and 38 percent would personally consider the experience.



Available in any shape and size, custom scarves make fantastic travel gifts or table decorations. Each gift is beautifully packaged with a custom woven tag and artist card. Choose from luxurious silk or polyester. 

Diane Katzman Design   /   PPAI 396045 


Travel and tourism bureaus can use custom pins to create a buzz during tourist season. Whether plastic or metal, these pins make fun keepsakes and help promote cities, tourist attractions and special events.

Knobby Krafters, Inc.   /  PPAI 112301   / 


Logos sparkle on the two-ounce custom shot glass, which is available with filled-in engraving (shown) or outline engraving. Make your brand the life of a beach party or resort happy hour with shot glasses in a mix of vibrant colors. 

Payne Manufacturing Canada Limited   /  PPAI 209947   / 


When pursuing some fun in the sun, tourists can bring along the waterproof and crush-resistant passport locker. With room for a passport, ID and cash, this handy case with a lanyard and quick-release clip is perfect for safekeeping while sightseeing. 

Witz Sport Cases  /  PPAI 317648 


After a dip in the pool or a day at the beach, the Bimini Wet Swimsuit Bag is a lifesaver. Vacationers can use it to keep wet or used items away from clean, dry clothes in their suitcase. The bag features a front zippered pocket and a side handle for easy transport.

BIC Graphic USA   /   PPAI 114187 


Whether imprinted or embroidered, the Jewel Collection Beach Towel makes waves in any promotion. Recipients will love this towel’s larger size and heavier weight. Made from 100-percent cotton terry velour, it’s both soft and stunning.  

Pro Towels   /   PPAI 112755   / 


Whether given as room gifts or part of a special event, books can beautifully bring destinations to life. In Brick City – New York, readers discover secrets, stories and insights of The Big Apple in spectacular detail. Customize with a cover imprint, full-color promo pages or a belly-band wrap.

The Book Company   /   PPAI 218850


Real-World Solutions

When the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board wanted to woo corporate meeting planners and showcase the city’s many exciting amenities, Diane Katzman pitched a creative idea to her distributor: a Build-A-Bracelet program where travel leaders could make a bracelet with Los Angeles-themed charms. “The overall goal was to provide a fun experiential program that entertained and also served as a memorable gift,” says Katzman, owner of supplier Diane Katzman Design.

When guests arrived, the Build-A-Bracelet program set the tone for the VIP experience, which included attendance at the American Music Awards. Katzman designed black and white beads to replicate music notes and also created Los Angeles-themed charms. “Both men and women loved making these keepsake gifts,” Katzman says. “Participants were excited to wear and share their bracelets throughout their L.A. stay and when they returned home.”   

The program resulted in new convention and hotel business for Los Angeles, and Katzman was tapped to create custom programs for the Westchester Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nielsen and the Incentive Research Foundation. 


Getting In On The Ground Floor

Whether travelers are choosing what to pack or picking a souvenir, brands can maximize their exposure in the following ways.

Showcase a region’s local flavor.

People love food. Capture their hearts with edible gifts that highlight an area’s native flavors. Just make sure it’s easy to pack and transports well, such as a bag of local coffee beans or a package of candy. To ensure your client’s brand sticks around after the gift is enjoyed, include a lasting reminder, such as a logoed mug, kitchen utensil or cookbook.

Enhance the traveler’s journey.

If promotional products make the trip more enjoyable or comfortable, travelers will reach for them time and again. Consider how your target audience travels. Are they taking a road trip with family? Setting sail on a cruise? Flying overseas? Look for promotional items that will come in handy on their journey.  

Provide a meaningful keepsake. When a vacation comes to an end, a logoed product can conjure happy emotions associated with the trip. Strive to provide gifts that remind travelers of their experience. 


Audrey Sellers is a Dallas-area based writer and former associate editor of PPB.