In 2023, there is a real sense of pent-up demand for travel, with many travellers ready to re-energize their lives and explore new destinations. As a result, we’ve seen a rise in wellness breaks and solo travel. But there are other trends gaining momentum too, with a focus on sustainable tourism and a greater desire for human connection, local experiences and bucket list trips.
For instance, gap years are firmly back on the agenda as younger people seek out “a life-changing experience”, according to Natalie Paris in The Telegraph. In addition, there is a renewed interest in slow travel, which “is an antidote to the hurried mentality that characterises so many of our lives today”, writes Lizzie Thomson in Metro. This approach to holidaying involves a more purposeful pace and considered attitude that enables tourists to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience a destination like a true local, rather than a tourist.
With airlines returning to normal operation and countries gradually easing international travel restrictions, it seems that 2023 is finally the year for those long-awaited bucket list adventures. According to a recent survey, 49% of baby boomers say they plan to increase the number of vacations they take in 2023. In contrast, 35% of Gen Z say they will maintain their current vacation habits and only 10% intend to decrease their frequency.
This shift in attitudes towards vacations is being fuelled by the growing interest in sustainability and a desire to have a positive impact on the world. In addition to wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, travelers are becoming more aware of the need to support local cultures and the environment and are holding travel companies accountable for the actions they take.
As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for travel businesses to promote their commitment to sustainability and to showcase their efforts. This includes ensuring that tours and activities are run by responsible providers who have the local knowledge, expertise and facilities to offer the best experience. For example, tour company The Adventure People recently reported that it has sold four to five times more trips to Thailand, Vietnam and Australia this year compared to last.
One of the other big travel trends that has emerged is bleisure, or business-plus-fun, whereby travellers combine work with leisure to achieve a healthy balance of career and personal growth. In addition, a growing number of travellers are looking for ways to make a meaningful difference in their travels by taking part in volunteer activities or apprenticeship classes that enable them to learn new skills.
A further interesting trend is set-jetting, or travel to locations featured in movies and TV shows. Whether it’s to walk in the footsteps of characters from Middle Earth or down the streets of Downton Abbey, this travel trend enables fans to connect with on-screen worlds and relive their favorite scenes. In short, a great opportunity for travel brands to promote their offerings as the perfect way to re-create the magic of film and television.