With 2023 possibly the year that travel goes “back to normal”, social travel brand Contiki shares the top 11 global travel trends to expect from the year ahead.
Bucket list travel
With airlines returning to normal service and countries relaxing their travel restrictions, travellers may finally be able to embark on the trips they have spent the last three years dreaming about.
“The prevailing sense is that travel has been, and could again be, taken away from us,” said Natasha Lawrence, Contiki’s commercial and product development director. “2023 is the opportunity to make it count.”
Travellers everywhere are becoming increasingly aware of the need to travel responsibly. Young people are loyal to brands that share their values and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint.
Also linked to sustainability is the rise in plant-based living. Rebecca Gade Sawicki, creator of Veggies Abroad, noted: “At least 15% of greenhouse gases are attributed to animal agriculture. Consumers are concerned about what’s on their plate and its impact on the planet.”
Young people are travelling more than others
During the past year, 18- to 34-year-olds averaged 2.2 more international trips and 1.3 more domestic trips than those aged 65 and above.
Long trips are in
Pre-pandemic, long trips were declining in popularity. In 2023, they are soaring. This is due to the global cost-of-living crisis and the increase in flight prices.
Before Covid-19 hit, the average length of trips was around 10 days; for 2023, this has risen to two weeks.
Travellers planning longhaul trips would want to spend more time in the destination given the rising flight prices.
Multi-country trips are making a comeback
Multi-country trips, where travellers often visit eight to nine countries in two weeks, have also increased in popularity.
“During the pandemic, people were more cautious about crossing borders,” shared Adam Armstrong, CEO, Contiki. “Now that it’s easy to cross borders, multi-country trips are rock-and-rolling again.”
Social travel is becoming more popular
It’s safe to say that two to three years of missing out on birthday parties, festivals and other social gatherings has affected young people more than others. A 10% increase in multiple bookings (as opposed to solo bookings) highlights an elevated hunger for human connection among young people.
Another example of this is a surge in bookings for six-bed hostel dorms, with people wanting to spend their time in social and community-driven spaces.
Travel inspired by music and TV
According to Expedia, 66% of global travellers have considered visiting a destination inspired by a movie or television show they’ve watched. Grassroots music scenes have also become a huge draw for young travellers, offering up the chance to discover new artists before they break.
The musical pilgrimage trend has had positive consequences for destinations such as Israel which, according to TikTok superstar Brooke Alexx, has one of the “most underrated music scenes in the world”.
Culturally immersive local experiences have also continued to rise in popularity.
In a survey conducted by Hilton, 49% of respondents said they were looking to undertake such experiences while travelling in 2023.
Lawrence commented: “Maybe it’s just my social feed, but I am seeing a lot of positive things regarding inclusivity and connection with other cultures. This could be the fuel for some magical travel experiences.”
As with other luxuries, travel has become more expensive recently. The good news is that more people tend to view travel as being crucial for their welfare, so they will continue to explore the world, however, they will be more careful with their spending and will want to make sure they get the best deal.
More travellers will plan their trips in advance, and subsequently, there will be a reduction in spontaneous bookings.
Budget accommodations are also set to become more popular.
Travel affected by remote working
The remote working trend looks set to continue into 2023 and beyond. The added flexibility is great for travellers but also for the tourism industry.
Rax Seun, founder of NomadsUnveiled, said: “The combination of travel and remote work will continue to proliferate in the travel space. There will be more businesses (or modifications in businesses) catering towards this group, such as co-living spaces, hostels/hotels with better coworking facilities, and experience retreats that combine business and travel experiences.”
With the metaverse whetting an already growing appetite for immersive virtual experiences, virtual travel is tipped to play a much bigger role in tourism in 2023 and beyond.
In a survey conducted by Booking.com, 32% of respondents revealed that they would be more likely to travel to a new place if they experienced it virtually beforehand.