With the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and travel confidence regaining momentum, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year for tourism. However, the industry is still changing, and it’s important for tour operators, DMOs, and suppliers to understand what’s happening so they can adjust their strategies accordingly. Here are six of the biggest travel trends to keep an eye on this year and beyond.

With many countries lifting travel restrictions and airlines bringing back service, travelers are able to start planning trips that were previously out of reach. This means more travelers are able to check off items on their bucket list and enjoy the experience of a lifetime. This is particularly true for millennials who are looking to travel more and get more out of their vacation time.

One of the biggest emerging travel trends is the wellness vacation, which focuses on relaxation and self-care. These trips are a great way for people to take a break from the stress of everyday life and focus on their mental, physical, and spiritual health.

As a result, more travelers are opting for wellness-focused destinations with spa treatments, healthy dining options, and fitness classes. It’s no wonder this trend is gaining so much traction this year.

Another trend to keep an eye on is the boom of bleisure trips, which combine business and leisure. With the increase of flextime and remote work, people are able to take advantage of this new lifestyle and travel on the weekends and during their vacations. This combines their passion for travel with their need to be connected and productive at work.

With the pandemic easing, people are looking to experience a different culture and learn more about the world around them. This is leading to an increased interest in immersive and unique tours that are more than just a typical sightseeing trip. These experiences allow guests to feel like they are part of the local community and immerse themselves in the culture of their destination.

The rise of immersive and experiential travel is not only being driven by the growing popularity of millennials but also by Gen Z, who are seeking adventure and excitement on their holidays. It’s important for tour operators to understand the desires of this group and create experiences that are a good fit for them.

As more and more people look to limit their carbon footprint, sustainable and responsible travel will become increasingly popular. This includes supporting local markets and using local vendors for services while on holiday. This is especially true for millennials, who are the most likely generation to choose travel providers with a sustainability/environmental policy and say they try to use local providers for services while on vacation. To help meet this demand, more and more tour operators are offering greener choices, such as hybrid vehicles and lowering their carbon footprint. In addition, millennials are the most likely to purchase tickets to events and concerts that support the local community.

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