What have we learnt in the past three years? That the world, and particularly our industry, can be fickle, unpredictable and that we have to expect (and prepare for) the least expected. With that preparation in mind, we’ve set out to make a few travel trend predictions for the year ahead.
We admit that, while we edged a little closer to normalcy in 2022, travel hasn’t quite returned to its glory days. And while talk of a looming recession may dampen the excitement that many of us had post-pandemic, we still expect travel to continue growing back those fickle wings. Here are the travel trends we foresee for 2023.
Our leadership team, Managing Director Suyin Lee included, agree that this will be one of the strongest trends to grow throughout 2023. Travellers are choosing longer stays for multiple reasons. The reality is that flight prices have soared since the pandemic and to make it “worth your buck”, many are opting to stay longer in their chosen destination. Added to that is the growing “digital nomad” market, with more and more companies allowing people to work from anywhere for longer periods of time.
We expect this trend to particularly take off in Asia, with many countries having the appeal of lower travel and day-to-day living costs. We also expect air transport capacity to come back to full swing in the region and foresee fares dropping by mid-year.
Finally, and not surprisingly, we see this trend growing given precisely because of the nature of the past three years. Many have either not yet had the opportunity to travel, or have only travelled domestically. As a result, more and more travellers want to make the very most of their overseas holidays, and that will likely mean longer stays.
We try to look ahead positively but have to acknowledge the threat of a recession next year. Whether flight prices drop or not, we expect the average traveller to be more financially cautious throughout 2023. As a result, we predict a greater demand for lower-budget accommodation and activities.
The same, James Munro, our newly appointed Global Director of Product, predicts won’t apply to luxury travel. He sees the luxury market and short haul travel being the least impacted. There may even be a surge of new luxury travellers who forewent travel in the past couple of years and saved up enough to truly “treat” themselves in 2023.
And despite the possible shift toward budget holidays, we still expect to see a positive upward trend for tourism in 2023. Most of our destinations have seen a steady increase in tourist arrivals throughout 2022, and we hope to see the estimated future growth for places like Costa Rica to become a reality.
In conversations with numerous agents and operators, our Sales General Manager, Chad Anderson, has noted a trend in greater demand for reunion holidays or special occasion holidays that include family reunions, friends’ holidays and birthday or anniversary travel.
It’s another trend that is clearly defined and has grown from the restrictions of the pandemic. People are seeking greater intimacy with family, friends and other loved ones after having felt the effects of separation. We won’t be surprised then to see more “connected” travel, whether it be with people or even simpler times through “nostalgic escapes”, as Booking.com predicts.
Our General Manager for Discova Active, Adam Platt-Hepworth, has seen this drive towards greater connected travel similarly in the active segment: “It seems like the desire to travel with likeminded people is stronger than ever. More people seem to be trying to convene groups of friends, even if they then book on an open/join-in tour.”
You’ll see this listed not just here but in many travel trend prediction articles to come, but soon we expect this to no longer be a “trend” category. It’s made the list every year for a while now because travellers are growing continuously more conscious of the impact of their travel and lifestyles. As the urgency around sustainable living and preservation of our planet intensifies, we will see more and more requests for sustainable accommodation and responsible, mindful travel experiences.
Regardless of growing demand, we as a company will increasingly shift our business towards sustainable travel – you can see our Responsible Travel Report for 2022 for a summary of what we’ve done in this realm so far. We owe this as much to your travellers as to our destinations and the communities we work with.
It’s a trend that has to, and will, become the norm.
Interested in booking experiences for your travellers that meet these growing trends? Talk to us today!
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