Opinions expressed by australiabusinessblog.com contributors are their own.
Travel is back again. With many countries easing Covid restrictions and tourists regaining confidence to travel again, industry numbers are poised to surpass even pre-pandemic levels. To better understand where they’re going and why, I’ve explored five emerging summer travel trends.
Related: Travel Trends Every Business Should Know
1. Family Vacations
After two years of on-and-off quarantine and the postponement or cancellation of important milestones such as birthdays, weddings and graduations, many are eager to reconnect with extended family. In fact, about two-thirds of consumers say they plan to travel more with their families in 2022 than in 2021. And with vaccines approved in the US for children under the age of five, I expect that number will only continue to rise.
But are families going straight to long-standing favorites like Disney World and Disneyland? Those aren’t going away, but I do think the historical definition of “family travel” is evolving over generations to make up for lost time and memories. As such, we will see families broaden their horizons beyond the confines of traditional “kid-friendly” destinations to include locations and experiences that are educational and entertaining for all ages. For example, Yellowstone National Park, Boston, NYC, Cancun and Cape Cod.
2. Bucket List Destinations
While in 2021 we saw travelers flock to domestic routes, 2022 looks set to be the year of the international, once-in-a-lifetime journey – titled “The Year of the GOAT (greatest of all trips).”
Think: dream destinations like the Maldives, Bora Bora, Petra and Machu Picchu — and luxury price tags to match. All age groups, but especially millennials, are willing to spend big on dream destinations, and after two years of saving and planning, many can afford it.
Why the sharp shift? Even as countries continue to lift restrictions and we embrace Covid as a new (somewhat) navigable norm, travelers remain wary of what comes next, but they also understand the importance of seizing the moment. In the same vein, travelers have also become more comfortable booking a trip that they may need to change or even cancel based on pandemic restrictions.
Related: Five Key Trends Shaping the Future of the Hospitality Industry
3. Impact tourism
Impact tourism may be one of the defining buzzwords of travel in 2022. This growing trend represents a movement of travelers to prioritize destinations and activities that focus on environmental sustainability and local community investment.
While the concept of impact tourism is certainly not new, it remained a relatively niche market in the run-up to the pandemic. Today, however, more and more established hotels are adapting their marketing, programming and practices to attract more discerning guests. From partnering with local suppliers and nonprofits to offering low-impact activities to guests to promoting carbon offsets, major chains are ready to adapt to keep dollars rolling in.
Take Costa Rica for example. With white sand beaches mirroring its Caribbean neighbors, it is also a global leader in sustainability, with more than 98% of its electricity comes from renewable sources and 26% of its land devoted to conservation. And holidaymakers flock to it. However, it may also help that Costa Rica was the first country to reopen its borders to visitors after the initial lockdown and the first to drop mandatory Covid tests to enter.
4. Back to Europe
While some European countries still require visitors to show proof of vaccination or recovery upon entry, many countries have completely abolished the restrictions. And the world rushes back in to take advantage.
A trip to or through Europe will not sound revolutionary to most. However, many of these countries maintained some of the strictest and most comprehensive Covid-19 restrictions and have only begun easing the protocol in recent months. At the same time, 8 out of 10 Europeans expect to travel across the continent between now and September. This surge in travel could return some vacation destinations to their pre-pandemic prime. However, balancing crowds can be the key to attracting guests and keeping them coming back for more.
Related: Vacation Rental Scams: How to Avoid Traveling Before Summer
5. Wellness trips
With the continued focus on all things self-care, it should come as no surprise that wellness-focused travel is on the rise. Wellness tourism is actually grow 50% faster than conventional tourism. Six Senses Ibiza’s Andy Barge told Forbes“Well-being and wellbeing are no longer seen as an indulgence, but are instead viewed as responsible investments and priority components of people’s daily routines.”
But wellness today isn’t limited to yoga, spa treatments, and health-focused menus. An interesting trend within the larger wellness travel category is couples therapy and intimacy retreats. And tourism companies and hotels are getting creative to accommodate this growing market.
While destiny and motivation vary, one reinforced theme emerges clearly in all five trends: intent. The pandemic has certainly changed the way we approach travel. And today’s traveler is more aware than ever of how he spends his money and time. So, where are you going this summer?
Business strategies, entrepreneurial advice, and inspiring stories can all be found in one place. Discover the new Entrepreneurs Bookstore.