Photo: A walk in the fields near Tetebatu, Lombok.

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Ten predictions for 2010

Posted by somtam2000 on 31/12/2009 at 14:00 admin

We just sent this out to those on the newsletter list, but thought would post here as well. Please feel free to add in your predictions!

So comes the start of a new decade (or not, if you're really going to be picky) and with it, ten predictions from Travelfish HQ.

1) Use of travel tech will grow
We've hitched the Travelfish.org cart to this particular bandwagon with the launch of our new iPhone app, as we firmly believe that 2010 will see further growth in travellers using their smartphones to access guides.

2) Low cost airlines will expand
Expect to see ever more short-haul low-cost routes added in the region, led by AirAsia. Don't be surprised if AirAsia starts flying domestically in Vietnam. On the other hand, we don't expect the Bangkok Airways monopoly on the Bangkok-Siem Reap route to end. We reckon it will keep on being the most overpriced rip-off routes in the region.

3) Thailand will continue shifting upmarket
Thailand's days as a hub for budget backpackers are waning. Expect to see more flashpacker and "boutique" offerings. For true budget travellers, Indonesia is where all the action is at.

4) Indonesia will relax its tourist visa regulations
Is a three-month tourist visa for Indonesia too much to ask for? We think not, and believe that this could be the year the authorities wake up to the fact.

5) Cambodia's island scene will flourish
Expect the islands off Cambodia's south coast to become de rigueur among those in the know -- this area will remain one of the few spots on mainland Southeast Asia where a beachfront shack for a couple of bucks a night will remain attainable.

6) Thailand will change its visa rules at least three times
Thailand will keep on shifting the goal posts, altering their visa regulations in their ongoing efforts to confuse legitimate tourists to the extent that they they just won't bother to come.

7) Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island will explode
Not literally, but this island will really see a raised profile in 2010. Expect the mainstream press to herald it as the "last unspoilt island in Asia blah blah." It's not -- but it is a great spot.

8) Boat travel in Laos will shrink
Expect to see the Huay Xai to Luang Prabang boat to be the only remaining regular passenger boat service in the landlocked country.

9) Thailand's political uncertainties will exacerbate
We don't expect any sudden solution to Thailand's long-running political problems to emerge. In the event of a Royal passing we would expect things to get worse rather than better. 2010 could be a very difficult year for Thailand -- and so the region.

10) Tourism to Indonesia will grow
The Bali bombings are finally really fading from people's memories. Bali has seen its busiest tourism year ever and we expect the island to see more robust growth in 2010. If you are a budget traveller who relishes off the beaten track travel, Indonesia has to be on your list of where to go. Get. Here. Now!

2009 has been a busy yet satisfying year for us and we hope it has been a great year for you too. Thanks for continuing to support the site -- we appreciate every single one of you.

Have a great New Year's and we'll talk again next decade.

Best wishes for a great 2010 full of travel and new experiences.

Stuart and Sam at Travelfish

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by somsai on 31/12/2009 at 21:11

Well #1 is a given. The constraints of space and weight make the i-phone app an obviously superior choice. I wonder how long until one of the more famous paper books goes under.

#8 might have happened already, if not surely before long. The only one left that I'm aware of that services local traffic is Paklai to Vientiane.

#11 Tourism visits will decline region wide as the price of airline tickets combined with a generaly sluggish economy dampen the urge of oversease travelers.

#2 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 567


Posted by George_S on 31/12/2009 at 22:49

I like the sounds of no.10 - although stories like this won't help: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8435900.stm

I'm planning a trip to S.E Asia in March/April 2010. The original plan was a 5/6 week trip round the usual haunts in Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam but am starting to thinking more and more about Indo.

#3 George_S has been a member since 31/12/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by ComeAndGoVietnam on 1/1/2010 at 16:27

Posted from within Vietnam.

I'd say Phu Quoc has already begun its explosion - impossible to get flights or rooms in high season unless you book way ahead. As is usual in Vietnam when somewhere starts to take off, the authorities are about to step in and f**k it all up:

http://comeandgovietnam.com/blog/?p=122

"Under the plan, Kien Giang Province’s Phu Quoc Island, known for world-class beaches, is slated to become an international-standard eco-tourism area.

The draft plan for the island calls for luxury entertainment services, five-star hotels, casinos, conference halls, exhibition and trade centres, training centres and centres for advanced scientific research."

Go there now, before this happens and it turns into another Nha Trang/Vung Tau.

#4 ComeAndGoVietnam has been a member since 17/3/2009. Posts: 24

Posted by Mangala on 1/1/2010 at 23:19

"Under the plan, Kien Giang Province’s Phu Quoc Island, known for world-class beaches, is slated to become an international-standard eco-tourism area.

The draft plan for the island calls for luxury entertainment services, five-star hotels, casinos, conference halls, exhibition and trade centres, training centres and centres for advanced scientific research."

Love how there is this assumption everywhere that "eco-tourism" will bring in the big bucks spenders and so its best to totally undermine any ecofriendly plans and build things that are the very antithesis of such plans. Like the majority of folks who go to a 5* type place care about ecology, local communities and the like.

Anyways, I digress from the topic at hand.

Thats quite a good list there - the points on Laos and Cambodia are interesting to me with my upcoming trip rapidly approaching (23 days till I leave!), although boat travel along the mekong as often as I can is one of the things I wanted to experience, so its a bit of a "meh" moment if I get there and im stuck to buses alot...

#5 Mangala has been a member since 5/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 14
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Posted by Sparts on 2/4/2010 at 05:20

You of course realise that Nokia outsell the iphone? I'm sure they have over 50% of the smartphone market. You should think about creating apps for Nokia too.
Better phones in almost every way possible, just not as pretty ;p

#6 Sparts has been a member since 5/6/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 167
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Posted by somtam2000 on 3/4/2010 at 10:18 admin

@sparts: We'll be developing for multiple platforms in the future, but building these is a substantial investment and we're tackling one at a time -- for now!

Cheers

#7 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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