"Everyday is an adventure," says The Tourism Academy | tourismacademy.org CEO Stephen Ekstrom, a self-described digital nomad. "We're nerds. We love to learn and travel provides those enlightening experiences that bring us joy." He's not alone. Reports from travel companies like Amadeus, Virtuoso and the UNWTO all point to personal enlightenment & cultural enrichment as key factors in determining where visitors will go and what they'll do in 2023.
We asked Ekstrom to share his thoughts on the trends that will rule travel in 2023 and here are his top 6 tourism trends to watch for.
Just take a look at the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer and you'll see that international arrivals are on pace to meet or exceed 2019 levels in the coming year. This, as travelers establish "new normals" and prioritize travel differently than they did in the past.
Meetings and conventions are bringing people together once again. Families that came to value quality time with each other during the pandemic are looking to keep those bonds strong by planning multi-generational vacations. Businesses are getting in on this too; embracing remote work and building events so teams can connect in person. The virtual office extends to vacation time as families plan longer trips that include some time spent working from their desired destinations.
Once thought to be a quirky group of van-lifers, advances in connectivity and the acceptability of remote work have driven more people to embrace a travel lifestyle. These folks have grown more comfortable traveling solo and are pumped to explore less popular destinations. 54 percent of those from the Booking.com survey described adequate WIFI access as non-negotiable. The continued rise of countries encouraging digital nomads through visas and incentives will create easier options for those looking to spend a month abroad.
In a study by Virtuoso, 18 percent of travelers aged 65+ expressed an interest in single travel, up from just 4 percent in 2019. And these visitors are looking to...
41 percent of those surveyed by Booking.com say they are attracted to meditation and mindfulness getaways, while three in five (29 percent) hope to find peace at a silent retreat. As many as 57 percent of travelers want to go 'off-grid' on their next holiday.
Half of UK travellers surveyed said that they're considering off-season travel, longer routes to their destinations, or planning farther in advance if it means securing a better deal. According to a recent article in Forbes.com, "With people hitting the road in record numbers, there’s never been so much frenzy around booking flights and hotels. In response to this pent-up demand, travelers are now booking their trips an average of 58 days in advance for domestic hotel stays, and 80 days for international trips (compared to 2019’s 44 and 60 days, respectively).“
70% of Virtuoso travelers agreed that traveling sustainably actually enhances their vacation experience. Environmental, economic and cultural sustainability have become top considerations among conscientious travelers. This means seeking out suppliers, businesses and experiences that focus on benefitting local people and the economy while also preserving natural and cultural heritage.
Say goodbye to bulky luggage and checked bags. Traveling Light is another trend that has emerged as travelers become more conscious of their carbon footprint and are no longer into the status symbols of designer luggage. Hotels and resorts will make it easier for travelers to slim down their suitcases by offering to rent more bulky items such as sports equipment and exercise gear at the destination.